Archive | November, 2012

Black Friday

23 Nov

It’s the Friday afternoon after Thanksgiving and I am still in my pajamas.  Not back in my pajamas – I said STILL in my pajamas.  That’s because Thanksgiving wore me out.  It wore me out just the way it’s supposed to.  We (there were ten in all around my table) enjoyed a home-cooked meal that included three casseroles, two vegetables, two kinds of cranberry sauce (not including the mandatory pink stuff which has nary a cranberry in it), mashed potatoes and gravy, oh and a roasted turkey with a side of ham. Did I forget to mention the deviled eggs?  And pie – of course there was home-made pie.  Pie day happens on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Pie Day includes myself and a dear friend wearing crazy aprons while we churn out four pies – two pecan, one pumpkin and an apple.  It is one of my favorite holiday traditions because she and I don’t get to see each other that often, but we count on Pie Day.  All in our, including Pie Day, our feast took about 20 man hours to prepare.  It was worth every second even if it is a heck of a lot work.

The preparations start with lists and food shopping, stirring and baking, and then peeling and chopping, and roasting and timing, and washing a mountains of pots and pans.  There’s china and tea cups and a real tablecloth.  There are pounds of butter, pints of cream, and more pecans than I can count.  I absolutely love Thanksgiving because it is THE holiday steeped in traditional recipes indulged in the company of family and dear friends- a full day set aside to give  thanks, share memories and make new ones.  And it has nothing to do with shopping.

The fact that the holiday has become so focused on the deal hunting crazy antics of shoppers and retailers makes me beyond sad.  I’m mournful for all the people who cannot enjoy the holiday because they have to work in order to open the stores earlier and earlier – cutting all the way into the day of thanks that is supposed to be set aside. C’mon America, why not Black Saturday?  Then we could all enjoy our holiday, recover, enjoy a few leftovers and then venture out to shop – if we must.  At least that would allow the retailers to breath and close long enough for a full day off.  I wonder if Nate Silver could make a prediction about the positive effects of the country taking a pajama day…

Reefer-endums and the anti-tax mentality

8 Nov

Election Day 2012 has finally passed and I think I speak for many when I say, “Hallelujah it’s over!” My stress level from October 3 – November 6 was through the roof. Actually, on November 5th, I had a very clear vision about what would happen if Mitt Romney won the election. My vision actually gave me a lot of peace of mind because I realized that if the Republicans took the Presidency, Democrats would most likely win back the House and keep Congress and nothing much would change – at least nothing would change very fast. I also remembered my thoughts about Mitt-ens years ago – thoughts that were very similar to my current thoughts about Chris Christie. “That guy is pretty moderate and doesn’t seem likely to be a crazy, gun-blazing conservative.” This country stays up and running thanks to a balance of power and once again, the country has voted to keep things in check. Several states went Blue for Obama and then sent a Republican to the House. Go figure. I hope the next election cycle brings out more productive debate and discourse about real issues, based on facts, not sound bites. The American public really needs to process and comprehend some of the extremely complex issues we face. As we teachers are learning, the best way to really comprehend something is to talk about it. Speaking of complex issues….

Let’s take legalizing marijuana, as one example. Way to go Colorado, Washington State and Oregon – way cool, dudes! One of the last conversations I had with my dad before he passed away was about the logic of legalizing marijuana, the wasted money spent on catching growers and millions of dollars funneled to drug lords mostly in Mexico, that could be taxed. He likened the laws against marijuana to Prohibition and was completely in support of legalizing the sale of it. Dad never stopped surprising me especially since that was not at all his attitude in say, 1979 – ’nuff said.

Locally, Alamance County, in my blushing Red State of NC, voted down a referendum to add .025% sales tax to increase the county’s revenues, yet passed the referendum to expand the campus of the community college. Hmmm…wonder how they think that will get paid for? This takes me back to one of the main frustrating points of the presidential divide – so many people who benefit from the services the government provides – health care for vets, medicare for the elderly, social security, even the use of roads and airports run by the FAA – balk at paying taxes. Where do you imagine the money is going to come from? People speak of it as “I don’t want to give my hard earned money to the government.” Yo, dudes, wake up – the government is not some separate entity. We are the government. “By the people, for the people, of the people.” If you want to control the money we collective contribute to form a perfect union, run for office – go ahead. Personally I am too tired and busy, but I am thankful there are those who aren’t too tired, who are called to do it. Complain about them all you want, but from the looks of all of us fat and happy Americans, so far, so good.

Hats off to Chris Christie

2 Nov

My heart goes out to the residents of New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania in the wake of Hurricane Sandy. Densely populated areas don’t often have to deal with the mad wrath of a hurricane, let alone one mixed up with an arctic cold front. So, when I heard our President offer his help and support, I wondered how all this would play out given the recent Republican stumping and stomping the Governor has offered to Romney. In his remarks today, Chris Christie won back my respect.

He had lost it with his remarks that “Obama is blindly searching for the light of leadership.” Honestly, I don’t think Barack was “groping in the dark” when he made the call to take out Bin Laden – a move I happen to disagree with, but one that showed incredible resolve and bravery when making the call. Leaders make the call. I don’t think Obama was “lost in indecision” when he negotiated the largest health care reform law in recent history – again, I personally believe he should have held his ground a little more to keep the mandate stronger, but it was a step. Leaders step. And I don’t think he was “the worse leader in history” when he decided to help the American Auto industry – though, I really wished he had crippled the banks and hope like hell there is litigation to bring the financial institutions to justice for how THEY caused the recession.  Ah, different rant.

So, when Christie took all these opportunities to berate and belittle my president who I think has accomplished much and stands for even more, I was put out with NJ’s Gov.

But this week, Christie stood up to the reporters and gave praise where praise was due, put partisan politics aside, and said that the people of New Jersey come first.  When he said he doesn’t “give a damn right now about a presidential election, and if you think I do, you don’t know me! ” –  he won me back – just a little.