Monday, March 31, 2008

The rewards of getting older.....

Yesterday was my birthday. I spent most of my day just chilling out -- reading, playing on my laptop, doing some quilting and just generally not working.

The DH cooked a lovely pork loin roast with a b-b-que flavored spicing, and it was quite tasty!

My daughter got me this book mark -- its metal with a ribbon at the top, and stamped into the metal is a quote from George Eliot "It is never too late to be what you might have been"

She's good at giving me a swift kick in the butt and letting me know I should not give up on dreams (and I in turn try to return the favor!)

She also gave me Sarah Brightman's newest CD (which I am listening to as I write this) -- its lovely

My sister gave me this way too cute little critter! Being's as I'm the "black sheep" she got me this tape measure to keep in my knitting bag -- on the far left is the sheep with the tape retracted -- the cute little tail is where you pull the tape out!

Amazing timing in this gift! Just a couple of days ago the pull out tape I had been using decided that sometimes it will retract and sometimes it doesn't want to. It won't get thrown away, but it will no longer go in the travel bag because it could become a big tangled mess. So I was quite delighted to get the sheep.

This was quite a weekend. On Saturday the DH and I went into downtown Denver (not something we do everyday, but we'll leave that story for another day!) and picked up my cousin at her hotel. She is here for a music convention, and we had made arrangements to pick her up and take her to my parents house for a family gathering. I had not seen this cousin since 1975, and we had never spent a lot of time together as her family lived in Nashville. What a sweet time to be together and discovered those things that we have in common. I will be making a stronger effort to stay in touch in the future.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Thoughts on what Obama and I have in common

I know, you’re all thinking – “what, are you nuts?” and I understand that train of thought. After all, I’m a white woman over 50 with no college degree. He’s a younger bi-racial man with a law degree. So just what could we possibly have in common?

Well, let’s consider some of the things he said in his speech the other day. He said “I have…nieces, nephews…cousins, of every race and every hue”, and we share that heritage. In my extended family between my husband and I there are cousins, nieces and nephews who are Japanese, Vietnamese, Mexican (as in born in Mexico, not just of Hispanic background), Black, Eskimo, and American Indian. My husband is a first generation American; his parents were from England and the Netherlands. My family (or at least part of it) has been here since the days of the founding fathers. We are as a family perhaps as “melting pot” as it gets. My daughter says she needs a T-shirt that says she’s “Western European Mutt!”

He said “…we may have different stories, but we hold common hopes; that we may not look the same and we may not come from the same place, but we all want to move in the same direction – towards a better future for our children and our grandchildren.” And here I say a rousing “Amen, brother!”

Obama speaks of the blacks of the generation before him that grew up in a Jim Crow environment. As a white woman I can not possibly know the ultimate humiliation that generation of blacks endured because they simply looked different. Surely that kind of humiliation is an explanation for some of the frustration and suspicion that they look at whites with. I have had the rare opportunity of hearing the bigots on both sides, from whites that had never actually known a black person and from blacks that had never actually known a white person.

He speaks of the idea that a lot of “working class…white Americans don’t feel that they have been particularly privileged by their race. …They’ve worked hard all their lives…they are anxious about their futures…your dreams come at my expense.”

We continue to deal with others as if they are either “one of us” or “one of them” without understanding that those of us who are simply the everyday folks, ordinary Americans with concerns about our families, we are all “US”. As Obama says "this nation is more than the sum of its parts - that out of many, we are truly one."

The big “THEM” are the presidents and CEOs of the big corporations that are using us all like so much expendable machinery that can be easily replaced. “THEY” live in their $16 million mansions and sit in the board rooms and decided that your little family is costing them too much to pay you a living wage or keep your pension or your health insurance or to even work for them when they can get it cheaper elsewhere.

Do I think that Obama will be the magician that will make all of this instantly better the day he takes office? No. Nobody can do that. But he has a vision of a better America for his children and my grandchildren that at least tries to heal some of the wounds. He speaks of hope.

We need hope to recover from all that has been done to us everyday folks by “THEM”. We need to learn that no matter what color our skin is or where we worship on Friday or Saturday or Sunday or where we were born, we are all the same. “THEY” have successfully used divide and conquer to make us fight each other and not see the real cause of our misery.

I hope he succeeds in redirecting our vision as a country and turning us again to hope.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The next time you use your cell phone....

say a little word of thanks to Arthur Clarke.

You know, the guy that wrote 2001, A Space Odyssey

He died yesterday, at age 90, and it seems writing is not the only thing he ever did.

"Clarke also was credited with the concept of communications satellites in 1945, decades before they became a reality. Geosynchronous orbits, which keep satellites in a fixed position relative to the ground, are called Clarke orbits.

In the wartime Royal Air Force, he was put in charge of a new radar blind-landing system.

But it was an RAF memo he wrote in 1945 about the future of communications that led him to fame. It was about the possibility of using satellites to revolutionize communications — an idea whose time had decidedly not come.

Clarke later sent it to a publication called Wireless World, which almost rejected it as too far-fetched."

(ok, to those of you who sometimes are cursing at the driver talking on the cell phone, be kind, Clarke is not responsible for world stupidity!)

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Ugly Email

A few days ago I received an email from someone I've known for a number of years that shocked me. It came from an educated person, someone that before retiring taught school.

It was ugly.

I'm sure that many of you have seen the anti-Obama stuff that is floating about on the net.

I will not give the whole thing a repeat display, but there are a couple of parts that I want to address (just so I'll quit "stewing" about this)

Here then are the parts that bothered me the most:

Item #1: "we are AT WAR with the Muslim Nation"

There is no such thing as "the Muslim Nation”. The individuals that were responsible for the terrorism committed on our soil in 2001 just happened to be part of a radical Muslim group.

We are in a war of aggression in a country that had NOTHING to do with 9/11 even though that is constantly referred to as the reason we are there. As a result of this we have totally forgotten what it was we were supposed to be doing in that part of the world and along the way we have sacrificed the lives of thousands of young soldiers and their families and totally wrecked our own economy.

Item #2: ”when he was sworn into office he DID NOT use the Holy Bible, but instead the Koran”

This is a flat out lie. There has been only one person that has ever done this. His name is Keith Ellison (D, Minn).

It strikes me that part of the reason that all of this raw hate is circulating is that we are standing on the threshold of new and unknown territory. Remember how much uproar there was about JFK being Catholic? Now we have a black man with a dream and there seems to be a lot of fear about the idea that he might actually become president.

Are we going to just keep going in the same wrong headed direction we have gone the past few years, watching our jobs dwindle away because of NAFTA, watching another generation of young people have their lives destroyed by an unjust, unwarranted war?

Remember – without hope the people perish – if ever we needed hope it is now