Tuesday, December 29, 2009
As we get into the new year, I'd also like to make it a goal to let go of the meat. My occasional turkey and chicken consumption has become too frequent and the next couple of steps are getting back to vegetarianism and more water.
The five dollar cost for each missed workout is a good incentive to just do it....
So the quest continues. I wish I was slimmer again already, and I wish I was already in great shape again already...especially since I've now been asked to do some publicity for the book within the next couple of weeks. So the next challenge - how do I look even slimmer (or like my old self) on TV when I'm not quite there yet? Perhaps I should just focus on the book, how well it is doing, and how it will help people...and basically just get over myself. It is, after all, a work in progress.
Thursday, December 24, 2009
The snow started falling here in Twin Cities late yesterday afternoon. After shoveling twice - both times it felt like a few inches - it kept on coming down overnight. I awoke Christmas Eve morning to another 5-6 inches of snow. More snow is expected for a couple more days - up to two feet! Flights have been canceled, there are less cars on the road, and I see lots of people out shoveling and firing up snow blowers. I plan to leave my car tucked away in the garage. Anywhere I needed to go was yesterday, anywhere else will be tying on my hiking boots and walking through the snow - which I wholeheartedly plan on doing today!
I am glad to be staying home this year, and frankly glad to be snowed in with my guy. It is rather cozy actually, and our fridge is full of lots to cook and bake...a nice turkey, fresh raspberries, bananas, grapes, and strawberries for a fruit salad, red potatoes, Delice de Bourgogne triple cream and cheddar cheeses, broccoli casserole, fresh rolls, cranberry sauce, a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting...we even have the traditional Christmas Plum Pudding this year! (I am an English redhead, after all)
Now, granted this food will all last for a week or more....we are very blessed.
To my friends who don't celebrate Christmas, Happy Chanukah and Happy Kwanzaa as well. We all have our own way of celebrating. There are more similarities than differences...and all talk of respect and love. So Happy Holidays to everyone! May the season find you blessed, loved, and happy!
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Since this was a few years ago now, enough excuses. I've been carrying quite a few extra pounds around off and on for quite some time now, and I've had about enough of this. I've tried several different things, but what I ultimately end up doing is just berating myself more for what I used to be.
I always hear, "You are lucky you are tall," as I'm told it doesn't show so much. But it does. My normal Size 8's are way too small, so now I'm wearing a 12. Which, again, isn't horrible for a tall person. But, it isn't me. And it hasn't been me for quite some time. I will never be comfortable with an extra 30+ pounds.
So, last week I made a deal. Three times a week for my regular aerobics with weights, three (opposite) days with Pilates. For every workout I miss there are consequences - $5.00 payments to my fiance, and I have to give up something I want to watch or do that day. It has been one week. He made $5.00. So, I only missed one day. Not a horrible start, but that is enough of that. And, honestly, the tiredness/fatigue is only worse with extra weight anyway. It's all about accountability.
My last trip to the doctor not only showed the weight increase but high cholesterol and warnings of pre-diabetes. I've not only been inconsistent with my workouts, but inconsistent with eating. I don't eat all day long, and I don't eat enough or enough of the right things - and I've shut down my metabolism. I don't drink enough water. I used to eat a pure vegetarian diet with very little sugar. I spend all day long in and out of my car, also a contributor to weight gain. I spend so much time taking care of everyone else that I've stopped taking care of me. I'm tired of being tired, tired of making excuses. Tired of feeling like a slug.
Perhaps the real revelation wasn't just the doctor and the closet full of cute clothes that don't fit, the real one was my mother. Ah, mothers, so honest - often when you don't want them to be. When I was trying to encourage her to knit again she asked if I needed anything. I said I would love some things that she made. What did she say? "Well, I'd have to get some more yarn, because you are bigger now." Ouch....but thanks, mom. Perhaps that is the other inspiration I really needed.
So, I vow to once a week post my progress - what I've done for workouts, the changes I see, and how it feels. I was going to put it on a different site, a new blog. But why not just put it on this one. I became open about the MS this week, why not be open about this too. No crash diets, no crazy stuff. Just back to me. Back to my vegetarian diet, back to sweets only occasionally, drinking more water again, and most importantly back to regular exercise. Basically, back to me.
Saturday, December 19, 2009
Jessica Lipnack, who wrote the piece "Feeling Numb" reported on her blog:
Voices of MS Sells Out!Congrats to Jessica and all my fellow authors. Just think of the people this can help!
Publisher Victor Starsia reports this morning that Voices of Multiple Sclerosis, where an excerpt of my essay, "Feeling Numb," appears, has sold out of its first printing in barely three weeks since its publication date. "This is the fastest this has happened for any of the books," Victor told the group of authors in an email just moments ago. Congrats to everyone involved!
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
To my fellow writers: Thank you so much for sharing your story with me. I am truly honored to have been a part of this project.
To other readers: Please take a look at their blogs when you have a chance. There is such a wonderful variety of authors in this book...with some very interesting blogs. Here are the first two:
Jessica Lipnack, "NetAge Endless Knots"
Rachel Pollock "La Bricoleuse"
Monday, December 14, 2009
I admit, I like the snow. I don't even mind shoveling it. I think it is pretty, I love bundling up and walking in as it crunches under my feet.
I don't even mind the cold...when it is in the 30's, or 20's, sometimes even in the teens. Tonight, however, it is 3 degrees. Yes, 3. I'm sure the windchill is a negative number. Everything seems different....cars sound different when they drive by, people hurry more when they are outside, faces are covered with scarves.
Winter wonderland, yes. Nice for Christmas, yes. But, 3 degrees? The birds have it right on that one...I'm thinking of a nice warm beach with ocean waves and soft sunshine. The only word for what we have here is "Brrrrrr...."
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
I read somewhere once that only two percent of the population are natural redheads. I didn't always appreciate my hair, and really don't appreciate that now there is a little gray mixed in occasionally - but as I get older I like it more.
I've always been a pretty strong individual. Some things were by choice: I changed the spelling of my name in second grade so it wouldn't be like everyone else I knew with the same name. Some things weren't: I was usually the new kid with the funny accent as we moved around a lot, and I was always taller than everyone else - including a couple of teachers in elementary school. Nowadays I appreciate the height and the red hair...and my accent is a mixture of all kinds of places.
Isn't it funny that no matter how much we want to be individuals as kids we still want to fit in? Perhaps that is why I didn't wear heels a lot back then and why I wished I was blond with blue eyes or dark-haired with darker skin. Now it is different. I wear heels most of the time, and I "enhance" my hair to make it even redder (and conveniently cover that gray that is sneaking in).
I recently discovered - or perhaps just didn't remember - that when my fiance was joking around with me and calling me the "little redheaded girl" it actually was a character from the Peanuts that I didn't know about. I remember Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Schroeder and his piano, Peppermint Patty - and, of course, Snoopy. But not the little red haired girl - who was actually named Heather. She was the one Charlie Brown was in love with for years, and the one that Charles Schulz apparently put into the cartoons because of an unrequited love of his own who had red hair. The inspiration for the character was a very real woman named, Donna:
Even cartoons are based on real life experiences. I can appreciate that as a writer. And, naturally, how can I not appreciate the whole thing about the red hair?
A former coworker, Donna Johnson (born circa 1929 in Minneapolis, Minnesota), was Schulz's inspiration for the character. A 1947 high school graduate, Johnson was working in the accounting department of the Art Instruction, Inc., a correspondence school where Schulz worked. Johnson and Schulz eventually became romantically involved and dated for three years, but in 1950 when Schulz proposed to her, she refused him, ended the relationship and abruptly married fireman Allan Wold on October 21, 1950. Schulz was devastated, but he and Johnson-Wold remained friends for the rest of his life.
Said Schulz of the relationship, "I can think of no more emotionally damaging loss than to be turned down by someone whom you love very much. A person who not only turns you down, but almost immediately will marry the victor. What a bitter blow that is." This experience became arguably the most poignant of all story lines for the entire Peanuts strip.
"I'd like to see Charlie Brown kick that football, and if he gets the little red-haired girl, that's fine with me," Donna said around the time Schulz announced his retirement in 1999.
So, to my fiance, thanks for not only appreciating me for being different, free-spirited, rebellious and all, but for introducing me to a character out of a favorite cartoon I didn't even know about. But, just for the record - and to assure you - there is one big difference: your love is not unrequited.
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I am blessed with so many good friends who are interesting, cool people. A family of equally interesting people - a super-smart older brother, a sweetheart of a sister I love to pieces, and her twin - a very cool, extremely funny brother who I also adore...and parents who celebrated their 60th Anniversary this year. And a great fiance who is supportive, smart, and really fun.
I also feel fortunate that I am a paid writer now. I am on a deadline for an article right now that puts me up in the teen numbers for paid articles, as well as - I still can't believe this one - being published in a book a couple of weeks ago. And my day job isn't all that bad either: I get to help people everyday that are interesting and appreciative.
So, for the former coworker from England, it is more than just going into a food coma for all the food we consume. And for my long passed grandfather - also from England - it may seem like a menial holiday, but it really isn't. Because while we should remember what to be thankful for everyday, often times we get caught up in the busyness of life. So one day a year to pause to give thanks - and have some delicious food to toast it with - is actually a really important thing.
Monday, November 23, 2009
In a bold move that we can only hope would follow here, Europe has taken a stand with one of their major magazines. As reported in the Minnesota Women's Press:
You go, Europe!It is about time a stand was taken on this issue. I love fashion, or creativity in any form, but models are way too thin and go to unhealthy measures to stay that way. It isn't just about the message it sends to young women, it is the message it sends to all people. Years ago models were a Size 8, now they strive for Size 0. That isn't so bad if you are a small, petite woman, but models are generally very tall and that is extremely underweight.
Germany's most popular women's magazine, Brigitte, has decided to ban professional models from its pages in an effort to combat unrealistic social beauty standards. Editor-in-Chief Andreas Lebert said, "We will show women who have an identity - the 18-year-old student, the head of the board, the musician, the football player." He said the move is a response to readers increasingly saying they are tired of seeing "protruding bones" from models who weigh far less than the average woman.
Meanwhile, in England, a UK size 12 model (size 6-8 U.S.), and two other "curvy" women appeared alongside stick-figure models in Mark Fast's London Fashion Week show. Amanda May, Fast's creative director, said the designer 'wanted women to know they didn't have to be a size zero to wear a Mark Fast dress.' Fast is also involved in All Walks Beyond the Catwalk, an initiative that uses models up to size 16 and age 65. Sources: www.bust.com and www.feministing.com
It is equally cool that this magazine is showing different ages and are coming off of the youth obsessed scene. Beauty comes in all ages and sizes. Showing normal sized women is a much clearer message - and showing athletic women also sends a healthy message.
So, thank you Europe for addressing this issue and making a clear statement. One can only hope it will be followed by others now.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
As usual, well said. And funny. She basically says what most of us are thinking.
Here are my thoughts – for what they are worth:
- Even if he got it for remembering to leave the seat down for Michelle and the girls, Barack Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize is a good thing. Don’t we want the United States to be seen as an instrument of peace in the world? Erick Erickson probably had trouble spelling his own name in grade school and Michael Steele is clueless as to the irony of his job title.
- The little boy didn’t get into the balloon. End of story. To report anything more is helping a means to an end that leads to a reality show none of us needs to see.
- Sarah Palin wrote a book. It was co-authored by a million monkeys on a million typewriters.
- Is Jay Leno at 10PM really all that different from Jay Leno at 11PM? What network executive came up with that stroke of genius?
- The Boston Tea Party was a key event in the growth of the American Revolution. The British Parliament responded in 1774 with the Coercive Acts and the Colonists in turn responded to the Coercive Acts by convening the First Continental Congress. The crisis escalated, and the American Revolutionary War began near Boston in 1775. The 9-12 Project, by comparison, was proof positive that people who watch Glen Beck can’t spell.
- The only person I like less than Rick Perry is Dick Cheney. What a shame Kay Bailey Hutchison has lost her sense of smell because that is one big pile of shit she just stepped into.
- Palin having an opinion about Levi Johnson “selling his body” is like Roman Polanski having an opinion about Woody Allen’s choice in girlfriends. Pot meet Kettle.
- John and Kate minus eight equals one jackass and the woman who deserves him.
I get that these news channels have to fill up 24 hours worth of programming. But what exactly would be wrong with filling up today’s 24 hours with thoughtful reporting on what happened during yesterday’s 24 hours? Anything else really is just opinions disguised as news.
- Give Rush Limbaugh a football team. Who better than he understands the effects of massive head injuries?
And for the overreaction from far too many on the trial of the 911 terrorists in New York City: Are you kidding me? First of all, no one has EVER escaped from a maximum security prison. Trials have been conducted on some of the worst criminals in history, and it hasn't gotten half of this reaction. Secondly, if these guys somehow did get free (ya, right), how far would they get in New York City? They wouldn't make it off of the courthouse steps. As discussed on the Daily Show:
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Law & Order: KSM|
The point is, the media is so completely out of control on most of these things. Those of us who have (a) Common sense on the larger issues, and (b) Have a life so we don't give a rip about the stupid things (a floating balloon), find it all pretty ridiculous. It would actually be really sad if it didn't give writers and comedians such great material. I mean, seriously. Or, as Margaret always says at the end her posts: "I mean it. Really."
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
A couple years ago I had a particularly difficult client - on a particularly difficult day - say something that hit me a bit hard. You develop a thick skin in this business, but I admit I'm still a sensitive soul, some days more than others. On this day he was really struggling and he lashed out at me, "It must be nice to not have anything wrong with you." As nicely as I could say without lashing back I said, "I suppose it would be, but I wouldn't know. I have plenty of things wrong with me. Remember, not everything is visible." I let it go at that, and changed the subject. Because, frankly, when you are working with someone who is having a hard time, you put the focus back where it belongs and off of you.
I've thought of that a few times since that time. Some of my clients are just elderly and frail, some are younger with physical problems, some have had traumatic brain injuries, and some are very mentally ill. I sincerely like all of my clients. I learn from them as much as I can teach them. I help them, and often times they unknowingly help me. I have numerous quotes for future books, many funny lines, and some characters that are so rich I couldn't make them up even if I tried.
But, one of the things I say all the time is that "we all have something wrong with us." We are all human. So, for my client that said it must be nice to not have anything wrong with you, at the time I actually felt fortunate that my issues were hidden. That I've had asthma since I was a kid, and until better medications came out a few years ago, I would frequently be in the emergency room getting adrenaline because I couldn't breathe. Or that I lost the ability to ever have a child like a normal woman a few years back. Those two things I've become open about. But, one I have always been quite silent about.
I wondered a few years ago if I would ever realize my dream of being a recognized writer. Now, about a dozen or so articles later, that has become a realization. But, this week, I finally got into my first book. An anthology. And this time the thing I've always been silent about has made it so I just can't be silent anymore.
Because, if you can help someone, you should. And if it is a story that reaches out to others, it should. And even if it is invisible, maybe there is someone else feeling the same way and it is time to use your voice to tell people that "Hey, I live with this. Everyday. But, I'm living pretty darn good. And I'm positive and happy. And I struggle like everyone else - no matter what their particular struggle is."
So, I'm honored to be in my first book ever. And I was thrilled when it was sitting on my doorstep two nights ago, wrapped in a cardboard box. An advanced copy of: "Voices of Multiple Sclerosis." The subtitle is the "The Healing Companion: Stories of Courage, Comfort, and Strength." And I'm honored to be a part of this book and as scary as it is to tell a then-awful story of the discovery of the disease, during a then-awful year, things are different now. I have trouble with my eyes sometimes, I'm a big unbalanced, I have some pain in my legs, and I have a hard time with fatigue and heat. But, like my clients, I too am not just a survivor. I am also excelling - and learning - everyday.
My friends remember all the horrible things I went through during that time and the MS diagnosis was just the tip of the iceberg. My little story near the back of the book called "Tough Year" sums it up pretty well. But I lived through it, and now it is just another example of how good always comes out of bad. My first anthology, my first book, my first real voice on the matter. And for that I am thankful, and blessed. And, most importantly, no longer silent.
Monday, November 9, 2009
He took home a large piece of the wall that he still has sitting on a bookshelf to this day. On one side is graffiti, on the other bleakness. He gave me a small piece of his part of the wall, which I still cherish to this day. It sits with other treasures of mine in a keepsake box on my writing desk.
Today Berlin Marks the 20th Anniversary of the Wall's Fall. As noted in Voice for America:
World leaders, dignitaries and thousands of visitors are in Berlin to mark the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. It is a time to remember the past and celebrate the November day in 1989 that changed the future.Americans cannot even begin to understand what it is like to live under a communist rule. To have so many limitations put on their lives. We have so many freedoms that we take for granted - because, as Americans, that is all we have ever known.
Despite the rain, crowds gathered at the Bornholm Bridge, the first checkpoint in the Berlin Wall to open the night of November 9, 1989.
The Wall stood for nearly three decades, dividing the city and Germany into East and West. But in the end, protests and peaceful revolutions, such as in Poland, and changes in Moscow brought it down. That led to the reunification of Germany and the end of the Cold War.
When I visited Germany in 2002 I did not make it to Berlin. But I did have the opportunity to go to Oktoberfest in Munich and visit friends in some other small towns, as well as see Rothenburg, a beautiful medieval city with wonderful sites and shops and a solid wall built around it. I wondered then what it must have been like just to be surrounded by that wall, let alone the Berlin Wall with its guards and barbed wire. Rothenburg's wall was originally about safety, the Berlin wall was about control.
I have not been back to Europe again since 2002, but hope to go again soon. I have always felt I would live there for a few years, especially in France or England. I felt very much at home in Europe, often times more than I do here in the Midwest.
Until that time, I wish the people of Germany the best in their celebration of the fall of the wall. I wish them happiness and health and to truly enjoy the freedom and unity that the destruction of the wall brought to them. And although I cannot get back there quite yet, at least I still have my little piece of the wall sitting on my desk at home.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
The Uptown is closing and in the process of finding a new location. The last day open for food is Saturday, October 31, 2009. The last day open for music is Sunday, November 1st, 2009.
Established in the 1930's as a beer and burger tavern, the Uptown Bar has changed its look a number of times to keep in step with the changing times and changes in the neighborhood.
Although times and neighborhoods change, we want our present patrons to enjoy our atmosphere, food and beverages just as our customers have for over 50 years.
Relax, be comfortable, and feel welcome. You are important to us.
So, good luck to you, Uptown Bar. It isn't that you're the fanciest place to go have a drink, or that you offer the most elaborate and expensive food or that the clientele is the social elite. But that is exactly the point. Wedged in between many great places in Uptown, it really is in a league of its own - and should be a landmark. It has been there for all those years....
They can move it and the people will move with them. But it would be cooler if they just left it alone.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
It is amazing to me that there were opponents to this bill. The original crimes that it were based on - both well-known, both deplorable acts - were more than just crimes. They were statements against these men just because of the way they lived. It is about time it has been singled out in the right way - everyone deserves respect, and everyone deserves to live their life. To have stronger laws for these types of crimes has been long overdue. It may not change the small, sick minds who commit these types of crimes, but it will at least hopefully make them stop and realize the tougher consequences.
"After more than a decade of opposition and delay, we've passed inclusive hate crimes legislation to help protect our citizens from violence based on what they look like, who they love, how they pray or who they are," Obama said in signing the defense budget bill that includes the new hate-crimes law.
The new law basically expands existing hate-crime protections to outlaw attacks based on sexual orientation or gender, in addition to race, color, religion or national origin.
In a later ceremony devoted to the new law, Obama told supporters, "No one in America should ever be afraid to walk down the street holding the hand of the person they love." He cited statistics that in these past 10 years, there have been more than 12,000 hate crimes based on sexual orientation.
"We will never know how many incidents were never reported at all," Obama said.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
The women I mentioned this to responded with comments like: "They still do that silly thing," to "Who cares anyway, it is hardly an intellectual contest," to "Wow, how appropriate for a group of women who are the farthest from what most of us stand for anyway."
So, one has to wonder. Why do we still have these contests? Nowadays, the women look more and more like Barbie dolls, with the same type of plastic parts, and virtually nothing based on their brains. It's all about strutting around in bikinis and overdone evening gowns, with breast implants, and liposuctioned bodies. Little, if any, emphasis is put on developing the mind at all. In the case of Carrie Prejean, the mind just seems completely closed off.
But, if they are going to have the contests anyway, shouldn't some care be put into who is judging it? On Huffington Post today, Limbaugh's latest sexist comment was noted as he insulted CNN reporter Carol Costello:
Keith Olbermann gave Rush Limbaugh the silver medal in his "Worst Persons in the World" segment for insulting a CNN reporter, Carol Costello, who examined Limbaugh's show and monologues for a piece on talk radio. Costello consulted a psychiatrist to delve into what Limbaugh is really doing; the shrink concluded that Limbaugh is a bully. Limbaugh's reply was, "Carol you need to go sit on a fire hydrant and, you know, improve your day."
As Olbermann put it: "You do not need a psychiatrist to figure out that piece of emotional fantasy. Emotionally Rush Limbaugh is a 14-year-old boy."
My guess is there is a few in the group of contestants who probably are smart and are using the contest to put themselves through school or better their lives, but I would bet they are in the minority. Still yet, maybe the remaining ones don't realize Limbaugh makes these types of comments regularly, or don't think it is any big deal.
But it actually is. Because even though it isn't a contest of intelligence, it is still a representation of women - even if it is an embarrassingly weak one. And to put a sexist pig like Limbaugh in there to drool over them while he insults them at the same time seems more than a little lame.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
I'm with Jon Stewart. This should have been one thing that was voted for unanimously. But, there were actually thirty Republican senators that voted against this! How would they feel if something like this happened to their mothers, or wives, or daughters, or sisters? How did they go home and look them in the eye? On Strong Progressive the names are listed along with the address and phone numbers to call to protest this:
The old boys club that the Republicans are running, and all their sticking together has just plain gone too far. Gang rape that can't be prosecuted because it is Halliburton? It is beyond disgusting. Any woman - any decent human being - should be outraged!
Who are these thirty Republican paragons of virtue? I've finally got the list. Here are the nays:
To write or call to protest:
Office of Senator (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510
Friday, October 16, 2009
Most of the people I know are very intelligent, well-read people. Not everyone I know is liberal, some are conservative. We generally agree to disagree. And everyone agrees with free speech. But free speech that is full of hatred, and invokes violence - and is said over the airwaves - takes it a bit too far. In that case, they are responsible for what they incite.
The blond bimbos on Fox don't really do much of anything as far as news reporting goes. They check their facts about as much as Michele Bachmann does. Even my father, who is very much a conservative, says he never watches it because "they make things up." That is not news, that is sensationalism. Glenn Beck takes it to a whole other level.
News channels are always a bit biased, depending on what you are watching. But to show continued disrespect to our president and incite hatred among people who aren't that bright in the first place is about as smart as putting a cell phone in the hands of an already bad driver. It is dangerous.
Over and over again during the Bush administration we were told to "respect the office" even if we didn't respect the man. What happened to that advice? I'm not saying everyone should agree, but we can respectfully disagree. And to expect a new president to clean up eight years of mess in ten months is a bit ridiculous.
So for the Glenn Becks and Rush Limbaughs of the world...just shut up and quit with your hate-filled sexism, racism, and stupidity. It is pretty clear you will do yourselves in at some point with either a complete meltdown or getting caught with something that you criticize. Because even more than being racist and sexist, you have to be the biggest hypocrites I've seen to date. And that always comes back around to bite you.
Sunday, October 11, 2009
We lost touch after that, and many years went by. In a miserable marriage that was happy in the beginning (and I choose to remember the good years), and turned abusive in the end - it ended many years ago. Today I see it as the best thing that ever happened to me. I am now with the man I should have been with in the first place. In hindsight, back then we were too young, too different, and were two people that never should have been married that were married to each other. I still recall my brother saying before the wedding that "you are too young and he is a small town boy, and you are not a small town girl." Why we do things in our youth is hard to understand when we get older.
As a writer, you live things twice, and even the bad things can be good when you live through them and learn from them. That past seems like a different lifetime and I am a very different person now.
Through the whole process, contact was lost with my former sister-in-law, Cindy, and her daughter, Lindsey - who I adored and always considered to be my niece. I thought the world of both of them and thought of them often through the years.
When I went on to Facebook awhile back I located another former roommate and found out she had passed away from cancer. I was too late. I did end up talking with her mother and that was pretty special, but I'll never be able to talk to her again. I didn't want that to happen again. So, I dug around. And dug around some more. With a very common name, I just didn't know how I would find Cindy and Lindsey. I knew what state they were in and was hoping that remained the same.
I was blessed a few weeks ago to find them both. And I finally had a conversation with Cindy two days ago. Turns out she has been through some ordeals, just as I have. Turns out Lindsey has too, and is now a grown woman. I wish I had found them sooner - but am grateful I have found them now.
Life is short and it goes by too fast. People you think of, and who remain in your thoughts over the years, are there for a reason. I don't believe in coincidence and believe every encounter, every acquaintance, and every loved one in your life is not by chance. We often don't know why, but it's true. All the time I was concerned of digging up old wounds, but found they were long buried and even forgotten. And it really didn't even come up when we finally talked.
We talked about us, about wonderful memories, about current struggles. But mostly, we reconnected. I've had many blessings in my life, and many things to write about. But, reconnecting with someone as dear as Cindy and Lindsey are at the top of the list. And for that, I am not only grateful, but especially glad I am a writer. Because, yes, writers do live things twice - and some things you're blessed to live twice are just that much more sweet when they happen.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Friday, October 2, 2009
I live in Minnesota. I never hear a nice thing said about Tim Pawlenty, never hear anyone say they like him. He has made jokes out of bus strikes, has continually cut social services - including his recent changes that eliminate personal care attendants to parapelegics and disabled senior citizens. He lacks charisma, lacks integrity, and lacks class.
Now he has joined the band wagon to be disrespectful to both our President and the regular, hardworking people of Minnesota. His comment about the Cash for Clunkers program once again shows his complete inability to relate to the people of Minnesota. As quoted in City Pages:
"Gov. Tim Pawlenty's latest money quote to ponder: "There's a joke out now that says the main value of the Cash for Clunkers program may be that we'll get a lot of cars with Obama stickers off the road."He then goes on to compare President Obama's health care plan to a manure spreader in a wind storm. Way to go, Tim. Laugh at people that are poor, laugh at people that want change, and laugh and show disrespect to our president. Weren't you another one of the guys that kept saying that "we should respect the office" when people were getting disgusted with Bush? The sad thing is that you think you are funny. It is actually quite hurtful and uncaring to people who live in your own state.
You are also pretty clueless - Minnesota is a state with crazy weather, extremely cold temperatures, and bad roads. Most people here - even if they do have considerable money - don't want to spend it on a car that will get beat up. They will drive them until they are clunkers. Between our bad drivers, increasingly bad traffic, lack of decent public transportation, extreme weather, massive amounts of snow and salt to handle it or - best of all - the crater-size potholes we have to try and drive around...if our cars aren't clunkers, they will eventually become just that. You even refuse to fix the potholes because it might raise taxes a little - when the residents overwhelmingly want them to be fixed. (I, for one, would much prefer that to the $450 I had to fork out to fix my car after hitting an invisible one last year).
We know how you handled the bridge falling, and we know how you handled the bus strike - which also affected thousands. It is my hope that for your next bid for higher office you will, once again, be standing in the wings with egg on your face while someone else - who at least pretends to care - gets the nod.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
We still have to deal with - often blatant - sexism in this country, and it is way too accepted. But we do have rights here, we do have freedoms, we can go to school and work in the jobs we want to. We do have opportunity.
One of the rights we have had since 1920 is to vote. The right to express our opinion. This was fought for years ago...
So now we have John Derbyshire, a British-American conservative author and columnist for the National Review. He has written a new book "We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism." There is a section in the book called "The Case Against Female Suffrage." According to a posting by Think Progress: John Derbyshire thinks our country would be "better off if women didn't vote."
"The conservative case against it is that women lean hard to the left,” Derbyshire responded nonsensically. “They want someone to nurture, they want someone to help raise their kids, and if men aren’t inclined to do it — and in the present days, they’re not much — then they’d like the state to do it for them.”I did a post on women voting on September 22, 2008. After what women went through to be able to vote this moron thinks that right should be taken away?
Well, I guess he is right in my case about a couple of things: I'm very liberal, and very opinionated. But, I know plenty of women who don't lean to the left, and I don't have any children. I do, however, know many single mothers who have worked hard to raise decent, educated children - all by themselves.
So, here's another opinion, Mr. Derbyshire: Perhaps you should crawl back into your dark hole in the dark ages when women, even in America, were simply there to be seen and not heard. I love that women can voice their opinions and their votes in this country. The only opinion I don't really want to hear is yours.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
He cannot fix everything at once. But one thing could start to change things: start bringing our soldiers home and quit sending in new troops. The rebuilding of Iraq - after all the tearing down - should no longer be the priority. For a war that we never should have been in in the first place, why are we still there? And why do we continue to try and rebuild it when our own country is in dire need of rebuilding and bringing back hope?
Then there is Afghanistan. Perhaps in 2001, that was the place we should have been in the first place...but I am not a believer in war anyway. It really never solves anything, it just creates more loss of life and more destruction. Has anyone ever "won" against Afghanistan anyway? In a country of such treacherous terrain, extreme temperatures, and people that will fight for their cause no matter what?
Let's move on. September 11, 2001 was a terrible blow. But aren't we just extending it? And aren't we done ruining lives and killing soldiers? Yes, we need to keep a watchful eye out on these people, and yes we need to defend ourselves. But until we build our own country back up and get back our hope and faith, we are really only spinning our wheels and doing nothing to move forward.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
We watch week after week as our friend, Fidel, finally comes out of the coma after his brain surgery. We thought he was getting close to getting out of the woods. He left the hospital, and then progressed to rehab. He was starting to eat again, talk to us, and was moving around more. He looked like our old friend again - especially when his sense of humor returned.
Last night the seizures started and they couldn't get it to stop. Back in intensive care, the doctors don't know yet what it is causing this - a change in medication, the wrong levels, infection...Too many unknowns, too little answers. Again.
These things never occur in a straight line. They curves around, takes steps back, zig-zag. As one nurse said: "It's like you're driving through the desert, and then suddenly hit a cactus, and have to back up before going forward again."
Fidel will push past all of this. He went into all of this strong, young, and healthy. A setback is only temporary...and it is just one more way he will beat the odds.
Friday, September 18, 2009
Perhaps the fact that I work in social services and see people who have nothing and only get good care through Medicaid (government run), or the fact that most of the people protesting government health care are older and are on Medicare (also government run), or the fact that I - like many others - only have health insurance because I am employed. If I was to lose my job or change jobs, I would either start a new job with less coverage because of a preexisting condition, or pay almost $700 a month for Cobra. Enough already of older people on government run Medicare protesting a government health care system. They must be kidding.
We have been very tolerant of the Republicans and all their ridiculous games, lying, and spreading of fear. Enough already - pass this thing. Give people choices who want them, give people different options, and mostly give people health care who don't have it. Going to the emergency room is not preventative care. It is emergency care. And often it is too late.
And, lastly, enough with the illegal immigrant thing. They are not covered in any proposed bills but, interestingly enough, illegal immigrants have always been taken care of now and in the past. If they go into a public hospital, they are not turned away or ignored. They are treated and, as nurses routinely say, it is everyone else's insurance that actually pays for it. It is yet one more way the costs are escalated and out of control.
The lies and the scare tactics go on and on. But, really, enough lies - from people who have the best care. It isn't a game, and it isn't funny. Simply said, it is about people having basic health care, respect, and choices.
Friday, September 11, 2009
As stated in the New York Times:
House Democrats intend to pursue a formal resolution admonishing Representative Joe Wilson for his outburst against President Obama during the president’s speech to Congress on Wednesday night unless he apologizes on the floor.This kind of behavior wouldn't be tolerated in a high school assembly toward a principal, let alone toward the President of the United States. It is really time for the Republicans to stop the lying, stop the ridiculous behavior, and stop acting like children. It is unacceptable and appalling behavior. Once and for all, learn to discuss and respectfully disagree - not heckle and blatantly disrespect - our president. Enough is enough.
Senior aides said Friday that the leadership had decided that the behavior of Mr. Wilson, a South Carolina Republican, in shouting “You lie!” merited some response by the House even though he had issued an apology and expressed his regrets to the president through Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff.“It is a clear violation of the rules of the House, and it needs to be resolved on the floor of the House either by an apology or by a resolution,” said Brendan Daly, a spokesman for Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
According to Education Secretary, Arne Duncan, noted in the Associated Press:
He said Obama had no intention beyond talking "about personal responsibility and challenging students to take their education very, very seriously."With the usual paranoia and disrespect, far right conservatives are seeing this as a bad thing and saying they will keep their kids home from school. He isn't going to turn the kids into socialists. He isn't going to influence them on other issues. He is going to give an eighteen minute speech on education. The funniest part of the big deal made out of this by some of the parents: What usually happens when a parent forbids a kid to do something...especially a teenager? They seem to forget about sheer rebellion.
When I was a kid I would have been really honored that the President of the United States would even think to speak to me and other kids. I'm getting really irritated at the fact that no matter what our president does, he is disrespected and looked at in a negative light by these people. Education is important for all kids' futures. To have the leader of our country emphasize that can only be good - and this is true whether you agree with him on other subjects or not.
Thursday, September 3, 2009
As I was searching for old friends, I decided to look up an old favorite roommate, Sue. We had lived together during college in our early twenties for a couple of years. She was a great roommate - open, funny, and a joy to be around. She was also a very caring individual and a good friend. We stayed in touch over the years and passed e-mails back and forth. Birthdays were always remembered, and we always said we would get together "one of these days." We lost touch a couple of years ago. I didn't realize why. In fact, I didn't realize anything until I came upon this editorial in Facebook when I did a search for her. Written by her mother in the Star Tribune, it was a tribute to Sue offered at the time the bridge collapsed in Minneapolis in 2007:
Daughter had a chance to say goodbye, but the victims didn'tI am sad that I did not know for two years that Sue had passed away, and sad that we had lost contact. I am also sad that I was not able to go to her funeral and honor her. So I choose to do that now.
"I am writing this in memory of my daughter, Sue Belan, who died of cervical cancer on Sept. 9, 2007. She was a patient at the university hospital at the time of the bridge collapse. As sick as she was, she said to me, "Mom, I know that I'm going to die, but all those people on the bridge never had a chance." Right to the end, she was concerned about other people!
... Because of the wonderful communication tool of CaringBridge, I have been following the lives of several people that were injured on that bridge. In addition to the physical injuries, there are a lot of emotional and psychological problems that each one must overcome. It seems to be a "new normal" for them as it must be for those who lost loved ones.
Let us continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers."
So, this is for you, Sue. My funny, sweet roommate - we went out to see many bands in those days, danced the night away, and missed more than a few study sessions. You told me many wise things - the least of which was to not marry my former husband - for which you were right. I had many roommates over the years, but you were the best.
I'm sorry you were sick and sorry you struggled. For all the laughs we shared, and all the tears we shared - I shed some tears for you tonight. I will remember your jokes, your support, and your friendship...and that very contagious laugh of yours. I've missed you over the years, and thought of you often, but now I know what missing you really means. Rest in peace, old friend.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
According to the Colorado Independent, Bachmann stated - no screamed - this rant when talking about health care reform:
"This cannot pass," the Minnesota Republican told a crowd at a Denver gathering sponsored by the Independence Institute. "What we have to do today is make a covenant, to slit our wrists, be blood brothers on this thing. This will not pass. We will do whatever it takes to make sure this doesn’t pass."
“Something is way crazy out there,” Bachmann said in her remarks, billed as a “personal legislative briefing” by the Golden-based Independence Institute, which bills itself as a “free market think tank.”
“This is slavery,” Bachmann said after claiming many Americans pay half their income to taxes. “It’s nothing more than slavery.”
Seriously, who voted for her? I used to think she was just not that bright. She is downright crazy. Something is way crazy out there? She must have been looking in a mirror when she said that.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
I am not Jewish, but I was so honored to be there for this lovely service - among a family that I really like a lot. To see the closeness and faith in this family, and friends, was beautiful. They even had a recording of her laugh - a contagious, hearty laugh
It also reminds me that we are all more alike than different. Whether Christan, Jewish, Buddhist, Muslim....does it really matter? We all have our beliefs and should all respect the differences. If we remember and honor the differences and try to learn and understand from each other, that just makes our own worlds that much more rich. God said to love and not judge. I wish everyone in the world could see it that way.
Paula was a very special person, and she will continue to be missed. I remember when I met her. She made a very sweet comment to me about my fiance: "He's a great person. You won't hear a bad thing about him," she said. I suspect the same is true about her. I also suspect that, although she will continue to be missed here on earth, in heaven everyone is probably really enjoying that hearty, contagious laugh right about now.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Despite his status, he always looked out for regular folks - and the underdogs. He authored legislation on a so many things, among them being better access to health care (he was still fighting to take it further), increasing the minimum wage, and even funding Meals on Wheels for seniors on fixed incomes. He also looked out for the youth by reducing the voting age from 21 to 18, and helped women athletes to get better funding. His goals were not only varied but very needed.
I will remember him for being a fellow Massachusetts resident many years ago and for all he did for people. He will always have my respect and he will be missed. Rest in peace, Senator.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Calhoun Square only has a couple of unique places left. It used to be there were some very quirky shops that you couldn't find other places. Those have slowly disappeared. There are only a couple left and they are pricey.
Now they are talking about taking away the Uptown Bar. Is it super classy? Not really. But that's not the point - and it is a landmark. According to the Star Tribune:
"Hopes of saving the Uptown Bar & Cafe at its present location dimmed Monday as the Minneapolis Planning Commission unanimously approved a development plan to level the long-beloved rock club and brunch spot in favor of a new, three-story retail space."When they built the ridiculous condo development on Calhoun Parkway and Lake Street that absorbed the Uptown Theater sign that you could always see from across the lake, well, that was somewhat tolerable. Adding cool restaurants and shops - also tolerable. But, don't continue to take away the things that are landmarks and really make it a unique place to go. Uptown is the closest thing to the Village in New York that we have here. It isn't supposed to be the regular stuff that you can get everywhere else.
For those of us who like to hang in Uptown, it is the unconventional people, landscape, and places that make it so....well, unconventional. It is already bad enough when suburbanites flow into the scene with their big SUV's and act like the own the place.
Try to remember what Uptown stands for and leave some things as they are. It is, after all, what makes it Uptown and what gives it its very original heartbeat. I guess as things continue to change, there is some comfort in what is left. If not, at least we'll still have Magers & Quinn.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
As Hurricane Bill plows through the east coast, we are reminded that the beauty of the water can quickly turn powerful and frightening. In this picture, you can see the height and strength of the waves. As it crashes - literally - on the shore, the beauty and peace of the water changes dramatically.
I'm reminded of all the times I experienced hurricanes when I lived on the east coast - especially the time a tree crashed on our roof in Massachusetts. But, the funniest memory is a conversation I had with a fellow student when I moved to the Midwest. They insisted that they too had hurricanes in Ohio. I stated they were a little too far from the ocean for that, but they became even more insistent. As it was not an uncommon trait in that town to be a bit ignorant, I am continually thankful I spent only nine months in that tiny town. I'm not much of a small town girl anyway.
One thing I learned from my oldest brother when I was very young: "Don't get in an argument with an ignorant person, you're just wasting your time, and they'll just frustrate you to no end." I remembered that in this conversation too.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Then, we have Limbaugh. Instead of realizing it was an offensive and ridiculous question in the first place, he makes this statement about Frank, as noted on Huffington Post:
On his show Wednesday (via Mediaite), Limbaugh responded, mocking Frank and asking, "Isn't it an established fact that Barney Frank himself spends most of his time living around Uranus?"Oh, funny one, Rush. How original - and way to go off on something totally irrelevant and even more stupid, and defend a woman who is nuts. You continually prove yourself over and over again: as a close-minded, malicious, pig. Maybe after Glenn Beck finally departs the airwaves, you will be next.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Working in social services, I know there is a need for reform. Working full-time in a job that supplies my health care for only as long as I work, I know we need reform. Living in one of the richest countries in the world and having some of the worst health care - well, isn't it obvious?
So, we go on with this debate. The lies go on. The "death squads," the socialism, the blah, blah, blah. Fact is, we need reform. Spreading lies only proves more and more the fear that is out there. The same old argument that has been going on for years continues. It is now just padded more with lies and scare tactics, especially for older folks.
So, to quote a great blogger: strongprogressive.blogspot.com, quoting another great blogger: Hunter at DailyKos, this is quite well put:
Three general guidelines for the health care debate:First, whenever someone is spouting off about "communist fascism", you may ignore everything that person says from that point forward. Fascism and communism are two entirely different things, and a primary tenet of fascism is its opposition to communism.
[...]Second, you cannot be "against socialized medicine" and at the same time think Medicare is good. Medicare is, in no uncertain term, socialized medicine, and government run, and all of that very scary stuff. If the concept of "socialized medicine" outrages you, you are against Medicare. If you are for Medicare, then by definition there is some level of "socialized medicine" you are willing to accept, and at that point you are exactly where the entire rest of the country is, and we're merely arguing about the details.
All of the people who say that they are afraid of socialized medicine but that they support Medicare are liars. All of them. They either secretly don't support Medicare but are unwilling to say such an unpopular thing out loud, for obvious reasons, or they aren't in fact afraid of "socialized medicine" but still want to use the talking point.
[...]The third guideline: the first two guidelines are freaking obvious.
I'd also add a fourth guideline: call them a liar to their face, and walk away. Anyone who says one. some, or all of the above talking points has drunk the kool-aid for far too long to listen to reason.
What else is there to say? It gets funnier and funnier, except it isn't funny anymore. Most of the people debating this are older folks on Medicare! Get real, and see past your own nose. As Craig T. Nelson, a mediocre actor at best (what was that silly show he was on years ago?) said in his incredibly stupid comment last spring on the even more half-baked Glenn Beck show: "I've been on food stamps and welfare. Did anybody help me out? No!"
Really? Didn't help you out at all? What do you think food stamps and welfare are?
Let's face it, these folks aren't only drinking the kool-aid, they are drowning in it.
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I was ready to write them a letter this morning about supporting Glenn Beck's craziness, and was happy to read they had pulled their ads from his ranting show as well. According to Daily Kos, a letter from State Farm stated that:
"We have a policy of not advertising on political or opinion programming. These ads were mistakenly aired, we have corrected this issue and have taken steps to make sure it does not happen again."Thank you, State Farm. And here is to many others pulling their support from this lunatic.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Healther Skelter - Obama Death Panel Debate|