October 27, 2008

Another Look at Sarah Palin and the Election

I've been watching all the media hoopla and have seen interviews with Sarah Palin and of course the vice-presidential debate. At first I thought she came off as a good choice; she is a good speaker and has a good track record. Then I was swayed by the media and thought she was a totally clueless bimbo who didn't have what it takes to be a president if John McCain died in office.

But lately, I've been thinking about the interviews, the clips that are continuously played for us, and I don't think she's been given a fair shake. Take the interviews with Katie Couric and Charles Gibson. Unless she was given a list of the questions they asked beforehand, and it's quite obvious she wasn't, they already had the advantage. And I wonder if either Couric or Gibson would have known the answers to some of their own questions if they (or someone on their staff) had not researched them and had the answers. And why aren't they asking Obama these sneaky questions?

When Couric asked Palin what magazines she read, I do wish Palin had been honest and said she was traveling all over America memorizing speeches, meeting people, and didn't have time to read magazines; but that she had people who read them and briefed her on the important issues. Instead, she went into politicalease nonsense and looked ill-prepared and unqualified. And as far as the Bush Doctrine question Gibson asked her, I imagine the majority of average Americans had no idea what he was talking about either. She just made it worse by trying to talk around it. It was obvious that Gibson was trying to make her look bad and I'm disappointed in that. I used to respect him. After doing a little research, I have found that there isn't just one Bush Doctrine.

Another thing that was brought up is that she was for the bridge to nowhere when she was campaigning for governor, but when she found that most people were against it, she changed her tune and campaigned vigorously against it. Maybe I'm just an insignificant little housewife, but it seems to me that that is exactly what we want our leaders to do - listen to us and then push for our demands.

I think Palin's biggest handicap is talking too much. She does beat around the bush quite a bit, but then, so does Obama. He just does it in such an intense way that he comes across as believable. She is more like those high school girls who don't know the answer to an essay question, so they write two pages of nothing in their gigantic cursive loops hoping they might accidently hit on the answer.

And that brings up another thought. It seems to be an election between Obama and Palin instead of Obama and McCain. No one can deny that McCain is qualified for the job, and there isn't enough dirt on him to make good copy, so the media wants the public to decide between Obama and Palin.

Poor Joe Biden is getting left out of the spotlight altogether. He got more media attention after being introduced as John McCain than for anything else. Joe the Plumber has gotten more media time, and look what the media did to that poor guy. He may have to work at McDonald's after his 15 minutes of fame.

Joe Biden is probably more qualified to be president than Barack Obama, he just doesn't have Obama's charisma. Unfortunately, McCain also lacks charisma, which is probably one of the reasons he chose Palin as his running mate. It's too bad McCain didn't pick Biden as his running mate. Their campaign would be as boring as warm milk, but both solid and competent.

We are continually told that McCain's age is his biggest handicap. He is 72 years old, and has had a couple of skin lesions diagnosed as melanoma which were removed and have not recurred. Not enough reason to think he is going to drop dead during his term. Ronald Reagan was 69 when he first took office and 73 for his second term and I don't recall that his age was such a big issue.

No matter what policy changes a candidate has in his platform, he still has to get them passed through both House and Senate before they become law, so it is unlikely that anything extreme will get through. Because of that, I'm trying not to focus on the things the candidate wants to change, but on what kind of decisions the candidate will make in a crisis. Obama seems to be cool under pressure, and hopefully will surround himself with good advisers. McCain is already experienced in war and a depressed economy, and hopefully will have learned from that as well as selecting good advisers.

Morally, I don't like either McCain or Obama. So the question for me is do I go with experience or charisma? Or does it even matter?

Until next time, may you have blessings and discernment,

October 22, 2008

What a Waste!

I am not frugal by nature, but have a tightwad upbringing and have put in diligent frugalista training for the last ten years. I know frugality and conservation are still not the norm, but I guess I hang out with so many folks who are like-minded that I expect it of most people. When I see waste, either of reckless spending or thoughtless trash, I am both amazed and disgusted.

Yesterday was one of those beautiful fall days with a temperature in the low 70's, low humidity, and almost no wind. That afternoon, my neighbor and I went on a seed hunting adventure on a nearby secluded road that is often visited by locals who don't want to pay a garbage dump fee. Usually they sneak in and out when no one is around, but occasionally we do see a truck enter or leave there and sometimes we get lucky and get a license plate number.

Still, I was flabbergasted by the things we found yesterday. It looked like someone had cleaned out the house of an older person because there were boxes of unopened adult diapers and vitamin supplements as well as a lot of other stuff I associate with older people. There were also unopened mailed boxes which we kept because of the identifying name and address on them.

There was also a lot of perfectly good stuff that we trash picked. Our haul included a wooden rocking chair with a repairable spindle, a brand new plastic ice chest, a minnow bucket, a small tool chest with a socket wrench set inside, a birdhouse, Easter basket, double shepherd's hook for hanging planters, brand new car battery, screw drivers, Christmas ornaments, framed pictures, a pedestal type tv stand, and believe it or not, a box of coins, mostly nickels, but it added up to almost $10.

I do not understand why these people can't make the effort to donate the usuable stuff to a thrift store, recycle the batteries - they can even get paid for the batteries, and put the other stuff in their own trash. These people live in town where they have city trash service for crying out loud. Instead, they ruin a beautiful area, leave trash that attracts animals and creates a breeding ground for rats and mosquitoes.

This bothers me on another level too. Even though many people have title to a plot of land, we cannot truly own the land. Leviticus 25:23 says "The land is mine and you are but aliens and my tenants." We may have temporary custody of it, but it will endure long after we have taken our last breath and become part of the earth. As stewards, we have an obligation to take care of it, preserve it, and enrich it. God rewards stewardship, (see Matthew 25:21) and I have been privileged to see the rewards firsthand. And then I see such wanton disregard for this land and for the people who live around it.

Deep breath. Ok, rant over.

Do you want to see my get of the day? American Beauty-berry which produces beautiful purple berries all along it's branches.

Until next time, may you have blessings and stewardship,

October 21, 2008

The Eat Anything Diet

I didn't make that up. I saw it on tv so of course it's true. Well, we'll see. But I haven't stuck with anything else so it's worth a try. This is how it works. You can eat anything as long as it's no more than a half cup serving. You can eat every two hours but every other "meal" has to be either a non-sugar fruit or vegetable serving. And between each "meal" you have to drink a cup of water.

For example, if you want pancakes for breakfast, with syrup on them, you can, but only a half cup. Then, two hours later, if you are still hungry (and who wouldn't be?), you can eat something like a half cup of carrot sticks or a half cup of V-8 juice. And between these two servings you drink a cup of water. Doesn't sound too hard, and hopefully will keep me from quitting or putting it off because I fell off the diet wagon.

I still have to quit drinking caffeine and all carbonated drinks and a few other things the doctor has recommended, but if I am craving cookies, I can eventually have one or two. I just can't sit there eating one right after not paying attention to how many I've eaten. One problem I see is how do you measure out a half cup of a sandwich? Another problem, and I am probably just making this a problem, is that I eat oatmeal for breakfast, with no sugar. Would a grain count as a vegetable serving? I think so.


Update: After trying this method for a couple of days, I found that I was always hungry and not in a good way. More like stomach-growling-pain hungry. So I upped the portion to a full cup rather than a half cup, and tried it for another day or two and it worked much better.

Until next time, may you have blessings and will-power,

October 20, 2008

How to Make Your Derriere Look Smaller

Well, not really, but it sounded good. There are several rules of dressing to look thinner, and I've tried most of them: wear dark colors, don't wear anything tight, wear shirts that cover the derierre, wear dresses instead of pants, wear patterned clothes over bulgy areas, stuff like that. But today I learned something new and that is the art of distraction.

I had a chiropractor appointment and I was weedeating the yard and lost track of time. When I noticed the time, I put everything up and jumped in the shower. I didn't have any clean pants except one pair that is really too tight and shows every bulge which is a violation of one of the above rules. And to make it worse, the shirt that goes with it was wrinkled, really wrinkled. I was in such a rush that I only had time to iron the front of the shirt, and figured it would be ok since I walk into the room first and then the doctor comes in and he leaves before me.

But when I got to the office, I recognized two of the five women in the waiting room. There are almost NEVER people in this waiting room when I've been there before, or at most just one other person. And these two women had been in a group I once belonged to, and they never failed to comment on other women's weight, often in earshot of the poor women.

This is the difference between men and women. Men look at a woman and if they don't like what they see, they look away and instantly forget about it. Women look at another woman and if she is overweight, they say something along the lines of "I'm glad I'm not that big," "I'm not that big am I?" or "How could she let herself go like that?" And then they repeat that to everyone they see.

So, knowing this, I was prepared to keep a blank face when I heard the inevitable after I walked past them. But lo and behold, all I heard was "Did you see how wrinkled her shirt was?" Whoohoo, I can live with that! I may never iron the back of my clothes again.

Until next time, may you have blessings and no need for wrinkled clothes,

October 19, 2008

My Girls Came Home for the Weekend

It's been a long time since they've both been home at the same time. Oldest daughter had to work so we didn't get a lot of time to spend with her, but it was still nice to have them both under my roof. Every mom knows that you worry about them every minute you don't know where they are, no matter how old they are.

Until next time, may you have blessings and family dinners,

October 17, 2008

Is Coffee Really Tea?

I was watching The Bonnie Hunt Show this morning. She cracks me up, and her show conveniently fits the time slot between Bonanza and the noon news. Anyway, on the show there was a woman named Ivette Soler with worm tea, made with - you guessed it - worm excrement soaked in water.

And she's not the only one who brews tea for garden use. Howard Garrett also brews tea from compost and adds such delicacies as worm castings, manure, and molasses. The definition of tea from dictionary.com is "any of various infusions prepared from the leaves, flowers, etc., of other plants, and used as beverages or medicines" so both Ivette and Howard as well as Lipton are correct in calling their concoctions "tea".

So I was thinking, as I am prone to do when I drive the little red convertible in ever widening concentric circles, (that's my Snapper mower for you city people) that coffee must be a tea. So why don't we call it coffee bean tea?

Until next time, may you have blessings and your favorite tea,

My ordinary life

October 16, 2008

The Standoff

I love fall, the cool mornings and evenings and that crisp smell in the air. Today was one of those cool, crisp mornings when I felt the need to be outside doing something. Or at least I did until I actually stepped outside. I had already decided that today was the day to start walking and cycling again, so I shrugged off the chill, snapped on my pedometer, and started out. That's when I remembered that I had stopped walking here because of roving dogs from the next street.

So I thought, no big deal, I'll just skip walking and ride my bike longer to make up for it. After I aired up the tires, I hopped on and started down the street. Something was terribly wrong with the bike. I think Hubby must have tightened the chain or something. I could hardly push the pedals in 3rd gear. Surely it couldn't be that my flabby legs just couldn't move the pedals. No, I'll blame it on the Hubster. I geared down to 1st, and the pedals turned, but I could have walked faster. I got around the corner and here came the dogs. I bumped it up to 2nd gear but the dogs were still faster. I pulled out my pepper spray, checked the wind direction - no wind, and stopped to face them.

I think that confused them because they stopped too; they probably aren't used to their prey stopping for a confrontation. So I stood there, holding my arm out and straddling my bike, realizing I was going down if they jumped on me. I yelled all the key words I had ever heard for dogs, "Down", "Off", "Back", "Home", and some I made up on the spot. Obviously, these dogs had never been trained, at least not in English. German, maybe. I don't know any German. I tried to remember any episodes of Hogan's Heroes and all I could think of is "I know nothing!"

Now the standoff was getting a little strained. They were too far for my spray to reach them, and the wind was beginning to blow - in my direction. Do I back up, bike and all, or do I try to go forward and intimidate them? Since the pedals were behind my feet, keeping me from taking a step backward, forward it was. Little tiny tiptoe steps since that is all I could manage while straddling the bike. Blasted bike. My desire to be out in the crisp, fall weather had definitely waned. I started to hate fall. I was cold now that the wind was cutting through my knit shirt. I realized I hate exercise and would rather be fat and unhealthy. The dogs don't care. They were warm and furry, and now curious to see why I was inching toward them.

Finally, I was within spray distance and the wind had momentarily died down. I aimed. I fired. Nothing. Nada. I was three feet from the beasts and my sprayer was dead. They were walking toward me then. My last attempt was to wave my arms in the air and yell menacingly. They backed off and I felt victorious, until I looked around and saw a car behind me.

Great. Now I'm the neighborhood lunatic.

Until next time, may you have blessings and working pepper spray,

My ordinary life, Exercise

October 15, 2008

Political Rant

I am not a political person, I don't care to argue with other people about it, and don't even share my opinions with anyone outside my immediate family. I vote by process of elimination usually, and base it on the candidate's previous record if he or she has one, or if they believe in something I am totally against. And this year, the pickin's are pretty lean, both for local and national elections. So I am not here to try to convince anyone who to vote for, or even who not to vote for.

What I am upset about tonight may not even have anything to do with politics, unless it is the politics of television and ratings. I can understand when four or five channels all break into regular programming for announcements of national or global tragedies. But having the presidential and vice-presidential debates on all the major channels just rubs me the wrong way. If I want to watch a debate, I'll find the channel it's on, but forcing me to watch it by putting it on every channel just smacks of, dare I say it, of heteronomy.

Luckily, tonight Fox thinks the baseball playoffs are more important than the presidential debate.

Until next time, may you have blessings and choices,

October 13, 2008

I Could Have Picked a Peck

After my first batch of pepper plants froze this spring, Hubby came home with new pepper plants. Among them a was a jalapeno pepper, at least that's what the tag said. I don't like jalapeno peppers but he wanted them for roasting dove and making salsa. My tomatoes didn't produce in the quantities needed to make his salsa, so we ended up giving away most of these peppers, and the tiny red ones that were supposed to be cerrano peppers. Now here it is the end of the season and I found out that these green peppers are Anaheims, a mild chili pepper! Argh! I could have been using them in tortilla soup all summer if I had only dared taste it.

Until next time, may you have blessings and flavor in your life,

October 12, 2008

Make a Cheap Picture Frame with Raised Design

I have been looking for a flat picture frame so I can put a design on it, but haven't been able to find one, and wondered if I could make one.

October 09, 2008

I Could Never Be a Pioneer Farmer

I finished chopping down the okra today and then tilled the garden, or at least half of it. This year, I expanded the garden by about five feet, and that part was really hard to work. Not only because the ground was rock hard, but the tiller kept getting bound up with the grass and a bolt in the handle kept loosening and falling off. I usually till with tines going backward, and to free them when they get clogged with grass, I reverse the tines. Once the tines are free again, the tiller takes off like a bucking bronc until I can get it stopped. It seemed appropriate that I name her Nellie (as in Whoa Nellie). In turtle speed, it's an effort to hang onto the handle and keep her going straight, and my arms are shaken all the way to my shoulders. Who needs a gym membership?

After I finished tilling, I raked out the grass from the new area, spread some wheat as my winter cover crop, raked over that, and watered it in. I'm beat, and I only did half the garden; the other half still has tomatoes, peppers, and okra growing in it.

Until next time, may you have blessings and soft soil,

October 06, 2008

I'm Baaaack!

I got busy last February, and quit posting for awhile. My father-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimers, then Parkinsons, then not Alzheimers, and has been having a lot of medical problems. We had decided to move, and then buy a duplex or house with separate apartment. Then Hubby decided we would convert the garage into an apartment. Then he decided we would add on to our house. Then we were back to selling.

Anyway, by the time things slowed down and I could get back to regular posting, I had lost my password and couldn't remember what email I signed up with. Maybe I am the one with Alzheimers.

I did look back over my last few entries from January. Not only have I gained weight this year, I have totally lost motivation for losing any weight. I think I'll wipe out my weight log and start over again. But first, the Cokes and Chocolate have to be out of the house, consumed of course by me.

And just for you Di, a picture of my front porch.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a happy fall, y'all,