Friday, February 29, 2008

Political Drivel on blogs, Obama, and primaries...

Today I had an interesting experience. Some one told me on my blog that I was mindless. Gotta love the virtual living room. Lots of space there to put up your muddy shoes, and speak a foul mind if the notion takes you.

I have to admit, I still find it amusing that I am not speaking solely to the 4 or 5 people that I know read my blog. And really, when I posted about my new found interest in the political happenings of the Democratic Primary, I expected it to go completely unnoticed. I was really writing for myself. But I have now been called out, so to speak, so here I am, to answer to my previous post.

I logged into my mail today to find this in the comments of "On Hillary, Obama, and Presidential Things":

Posted by Anonymous: "I have yet to hear Barack Hussein Obama say anything of any substance. You have been inducted into the cult of Obama...mindlessly following and worshipping him as though you have no will of your own."

Oh the horror! How could I have not known! I always wondered where my will had gone. And I am so obviously in need of something to worship, my life being devoid of meaning these days. I only have my incredible husband (infuriating and breathtaking all at the same time) and my children, who lead me to new discoveries about life, the universe and everything daily (also infuriating and breathtaking all at the same time... I doth detect a pattern). I must have needed a cult! And so conveniently, there was Barack Obama, so utterly unimportant to my daily life and well being. Yes, that must have been what happened.


Okay, enough sarcasm. I went back and re-read my post. And considering that I was really talking to myself, and the 4 or 5 loyal readers that stumble onto my blog on occasion, it was really good! So I tell myself. It was also a little vague as to exactly why I think that Obama is not only a charismatic leader, but has it in him to be an inspirational and EFFECTIVE leader.

First of all, he is, without a doubt, charismatic. He inspires loyalty. He inspires hope. He makes people WANT to believe him. This is a talent that every politician in the world wishes they could drink for breakfast every day, and if McCain and Hillary were so blessed as to have this, you had better believe they would be using it to pave their front walk in gold. Then we would all follow the yellow brick road to the White House, and reap what mindless following sows. This is exactly what happened when Reagon was elected. The only thing that he actually succeeded in doing that had any lasting benefit for the United States is that he engaged in the ultimate game of one-up-manship that eventually put the USSR into bankruptcy and ended the cold war. Good on ya, mate! But considering the dismal failure to help the USA in any other capacity, and that he nearly bankrupted us as well, I refuse to vote for another Reagon. So, charisma aside, what is Obama made of?

Genetically? He's a little mix-up boy. A 50/50 bar, that is both white and black, all at once. Personally, I love this. My babies are little mix-up babies, 50/50 bars that are both hispanic and white, all at once. I refuse to not be counted here as their mother, and I think that Barack and his mother (were she still living) would not like the way that he is only black in the eyes of the media. He is what he is. A bridge, across nations and ethnicities. I think that the world can use a lot more of that.

He is a thinker and a believer - raised agnostic, he found God and a church that allowed him to think, did not compromise his ability to reason, and which could help him achieve his goals. Brilliant.

He has been "there". He grew up poor in Hawaii and Indonesia. He lived a middle class life when he moved in with his grandparents. He came from a broken family - his father left him when he was only 2. His mother's second marriage didn't last either. He lost his mother to cancer. He has been discriminated against, likely his whole life. He grew up feeling like he didn't belong. He admittedly used drugs. He walked a path that few find their way back from. But he did. And when he came out of that dark tunnel, he found himself an idealist, building on old fashioned values - faith, integrity, and honor. And he decided that being an idealist did not limit him to hoping and dreaming, but that he could do something about it.

He is an organizer, and an agent for change at the community level. He has worked with people in need for over 20 years, worked not just at putting band-aids on fatally flawed systems, but at making real changes that help real people. He is not afraid of making an unpopular stand. He is a first in my experience - a politician who is not concerned with how to be elected/re-elected, but with what he believes is right. I have more respect for that than just about anything else.

He fights for things I believe in. Health Care/Insurance that is affordable for an average working family. Child Welfare. Sane placement of troops, and using diplomacy before force. Ending dependence on foreign energy sources. (This might end all of the insane wars all by itself...).

Finally, he gets things done. He has been in the US Senate for 4 years, and in that time has passed a significant amount of legislation, addressing global topics, and making bold strikes at fixing what needs fixing in a flawed and overburdened law book. He has authored/co-authored more legislation that HIllary Clinton. He has passed more legislation than Hillary Clinton. He gets bi-partisan support on his proposals. She is the sole author of many of hers. I think that makes it pretty obvious who has the ability to get it done in the White House. HIllary Clinton wants to be the first woman President. Barack Obama wants to change the world. I know which is more important to me.

Should you want more information - if you care at all - here's a little light reading.

I Refuse to buy into the Obama Hype

Barack Obama, Wikipedia

"Change We Can Believe In: Meet Barack"

Barack Obama, U.S. Senator for Illinois Website

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Turning Heels...

Hands down, or perhaps I should say heels down, my favorite part of knitting socks is turning a heel. It seems magical to me the way the tiny short rows create this perfect little cup for my heel, to cradle it. I get tingles in my tummy every time I get to this part of a sock. I love it. And I love even more that I'm back in the sock knitting groove again. I had put down my sock needles after my failed attempt at making my mother in law socks. I had to rip back one sock to the start of the heel, to make that a little wider, and then I added another half inch to the length of the foot. The other one I had to pick out the toe, then rip it back. That hurt. Alot. But hopefully this will be a sock that fits her perfectly. If not, I'm totally donating these to charity, because I am not doing it again. Everyone keep your fingers crossed. I'll be taking them to her when they're done for the final fitting. Sigh. Now I have to put down my needles and feed my children.

Happy knitting to you all!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Sadly, not much knitting...

is going on in my life right now. I am not entirely sure why, but it has actually been days. I am currently working on a Tomten for Liam, and a simple scarf. Oh, and I have a lace scarf on the needles, but I haven't picked that up in a few weeks. Sigh. Actually being caught up in the goings on of a political campaign is new for me, and I find myself wanting to watch debates, and reading analysis blogs that I would never have bothered with before. I think Javier is afraid I'm going to become some political nutcase, or worse, be disappointed in my choice. I sincerely hope not.

My mom comes home today, and hopefully I will be able to help my father get their little "residence inn" condo livable. Right now it looks a little like a fall out shelter, covered in boxes and stereo equipment. Strangely no food... I love my father dearly, but he does have a bit of the absent minded professor to him. He has all his music, and nothing to eat. My dad seemed to think that my mom would take care of that tomorrow when she is looking over the damage to their house, and I'm sure she will. It just seems funny to me that he wouldn't have brought anything with him except wine before that. It was also funny how he had already managed to cover every flat surface with SOMETHING! I think if my dad has a super power, it is the power to obliterate clear flat surfaces! :D I must have inherited that particular power from him.... Maybe my super power for being stubborn comes from my mom. Now I just need to find someone with the super power to clean anything, and I will live peacefully for the rest of my days. Gee, I must be missing Heroes. Anyone know if that is schedule to come back soon? (she asks, crossing her fingers and hoping fervently that the writers strike is almost over...)

Other than that, I really hope to get some work put into my own home today. My own super power to obliterate clear surface space has been top notch lately, and I have to do damage control, or risk having hubby blow sky high. I have a pile of toys waist deep in the living room begging to be sorted and put away, so that is probably what I will be doing today. And I definitely have a date that cannot be missed with Mt. Washmore.

Hopefully I will achieve a great deal while hubby is out running today. Javier is starting to near his next big race again. The AR50. That would be 50 miles of trails around the American River up in Sacramento. Last year was his first time, and he did not make it to the finish, but made an incredible effort. This year, his training looks quite a bit different to me, but his work schedule is a lot different. I am worrying a little about him, but I know that he will run hard, and do his best, and that is a lot. I would just hate to see him not finish again. He was so bitterly disappointed last year. It is kinda funny how him finishing is not intrinsically important to me, but because it is so important to him, it becomes important to me. Anyway, send him your good thoughts on that.

Now it is time to tie up my children to their beds.. the sibling sagas continue....

Monday, February 18, 2008

On Hillary, Obama and presidential things....

Today I woke up with my mind busy at work already. Strangely, about the Democratic Primary. I have always strongly believed that to vote was one of the most important things I do as a citizen. But I seldom fret about what happens after that. I spoke. My voice was counted. The people made their decision. Sometimes I shake my head in wonder, or even disgust, but usually, I let it go. The worst was when George W. Bush Jr. was elected president the first time. I threw a shoe at my TV as I sat watching the lunacy that handed W. the presidential mantle, and Gore the popular vote. Still can't quite get around that one. Oh, I know how it happened, courts or no courts. But it still seems wrong on so many levels. When our intrepid president was re-elected, I cried. And turned my presidential thoughts to 2008, when I knew that there was hope for change again. I bit my lip. I grumbled about policy, the raping of the earth, bad economy, and worst of all, a war that there was no way to win. Time moved on, as time will, and here we are, 2008, and change is coming.

I remember voting for Bill Clinton. He was my first election ever, and I remember him with the fondness that I think only your first can engender. I had just turned 18. I had been too young to vote in the primary, but I was excited to join the adult population and have a voice that November. Friends sat around the Mirror Pools at PCC, or we talked over criss-cut fries at Carl's Jr. debating the pros and cons of re-electing President Bush, or bringing in someone new - namely Clinton. Full of hope, I voted, and experienced the joy of having my candidate elected. And he did not disappoint. There was economic prosperity. No more wars. And best of all, the national deficit was disappearing, and Social Security was being shored up. There was hope. There was prosperity. And even though some people accused him of waffling in his decisions, I knew that he was one of the most intelligent presidents we have had, and that intelligent people consider new information and change their stance as necessary.

I slowly became aware of Hillary at that time. She was a strong woman - so strong that people suggested that perhaps she ran the Oval office. I would laugh. I liked her. She wasn't afraid to speak her mind. To work for things that made our lives better. She stood out. I was proud to have a first lady that did more than smile and wave to the camera. She fought for healthcare - something that I did not fully appreciate until I had children in the midst of the fiasco that became our economy as W. took over the reigns. And she became a real woman to me as she fought with press and husband over infidelity and questions about decisions that she has made. Secretly I admired her strength and her ability to forgive. When she ran for Senate I applauded the New Yorkers that gave her the chance to have her own political career outside of her husbands. And I liked most of what I heard about her decisions, and I hoped that she would run in 2008 and blast away the blundering idiocy in leadership that I have been forced to endure for the last 8 years.

So when the California Primary came around I looked at the candidates that would be on my ballet. John Edwards I had liked from before - but I was certain Hillary was going to grab the nomination. I hoped he would be VP. Obama was nearly completely off my radar. I had heard his name. Saw his face. Heard his slogan of change. But I didn't see anything new in my cursory glance at him. I was voting for HIllary. And I did.

And then Barack Obama caught my attention.

I began to realize that this person I had barely noticed was giving Hillary a real run for her money. Why? I started to look for articles. I watched YouTube clips. I began to notice a difference. I listened to him speak. And strangely, I began to hope. It was like he was picking my secret political desires from deep inside my head and speaking them out loud. Real change in Washington. Unification of people and politics of this country. Healthcare that I could afford, and not be penalized because I couldn't. Someone who not only spoke against Federal Lobbyists, but who actually didn't take their money! Someone who had shown himself to be a man of high moral standard and values, and who had acted upon those values from the beginning of his career. Hard Work. My word is my bond. The way the world is, and the way it should be. Hope. Don't lose hope. It is not lost unless you allow it to be.

I realized I had allowed true hope to slip through my fingers. I had voted for Hillary because I thought she could do a damn sight better than the establishment to date. And I still believe that. But Barack Obama touched deep into my soul. He speaks to me from his heart. When I hear an ad from Obama, I hear his voice, I see his face. I see honesty. I see a man I can respect as a husband and father. I see a man that I can stand behind with pride. He has inspired me in a way that I have never before felt in my life for any candidate, in any race, ever. I am daring to hope that he could make it into the Oval Office and not only retain his integrity, but inspire integrity in others on Capital HIll. That we might begin to fight over what is right, and not over an invisible party line. That I could be a truly proud American. That I could be proud not only of the freedoms that this country affords me, but of the leadership, and the global direction this country takes, instead of apologizing for bad leaders, bad policy, and warmongering.

My husband began to notice my obsession with my computer.

"You know, this is what you should have done BEORE the primary." He said.

"I know." And I felt truly awful that I had not, for it would have been one more vote for Obama in a hard race. I have never been that passionate about politics. It has always seemed a broken system to me. Money, power, little concern with what is right, and too much concern with what to say to get elected. Not what to DO, what to say. Not who you are, but who you seem to be. I have been nearly hopeless for a long time. To feel real hope for real change blossom in my chest is truly frightening. I suddenly seem to have so much more to lose. And it means so much more to me. That Obama win, and not just a Democrat suddenly seemed important.

Did I mention that my husband is a registered republican? I bring this up because though I barely managed not to hurt him for voting for W. not once, but twice, we have always been able to agree to disagree. That is why his next statement floored me.

"I really hope Obama wins."

"What, the Primanry? He just might. But why? Do you think McCain will have an easier time beating Obama than Clinton?"

"No, not that. He needs to be the next president. He is going to change things in this country." I held my breath. Could it be? We agreed? Did my husband dare to hope too? Had he been as lost as I?

"He'll be the first black president. That is definitely going to get someone angry, and when it does, he is going to become a Martyr for this country - just like JFK, just like Abraham Lincoln. And when he dies in office, it will open people's eyes across this country and change will come. Just like it did for JFK. The best thing he can do for this country is die in office."

I watched my husband walk out of the room, speechless. My husband WAS daring to hope, had been hopeless, just as I had. But he did not believe the way I was beginning to. He still cannot believe in any one politician, or in any real change in the way things are done in Washington. My heart raced as I realized that I was beginning to. I wanted change. And Javier is right, Obama dying in office would definitely create an uproar, and change would happen. But my insides screamed. I don't believe that the change my husband hopes for can only be achieved through death. I believe that Barack Obama can be that man that we need to make changes in this country from top to bottom. To heal the wounds that have simply been ignored. And that in the process we can have what we haven't dared to dream in decades. Real, honest leadership that we can believe in as a country. For the first time in my life, I feel myself becoming passionate about the politics of this nation, and I believe that anything is possible right now.

I have become not just an Obama supporter, I have become a believer. The apathy of years past is beginning to evaporate, and I am afraid. Will it matter? I have to believe that it will. For I have found hope.

Don't get me wrong. I still believe that HIllary would be 10,000 times better than continuing with the inane policy set forth by the current administration. She is, after all, a woman, and has GOT to have more sense than most on capital hill on that quality alone. And though I have more respect for McCain than most Republican leaders, he still represents more of the same. I cannot just accept another 8 years of this insanity.

So today I find myself in a unique position for my life. I hope. I dream. And now I wonder, will my dreams come true? I must pin that hope on a man I have never met. Who doesn't know me, and likely never will. If I am lucky, some day he may thank me for my vote, should I be allowed to give it to him. And yet, I dare to believe that he will continue to touch into my private hopes and dreams, and bring them to the light and to a reality that I want to be a part of.

If you have not seen the change, if you have not heard the voice, if you do not have hope or belief in what we have in this country, go look at Barack Obama. There are clips of him in the news, on youtube, on his website. Read his policy. Read his hopes and dreams. They are good ones. And you might just find hope, real hope, blossoming in your own heart. Don't be too afraid, for I have learned that lack of action due to fear has never solved anything. Facing your fear, and doing something about it - that is where our true power lies. I will be hopeless and powerless no more.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mama! Camu! Camu!

"Shamu! Shamu!"

The chant echoes through the stadium as an enormous orca speeds through the water. You can see the water dip behind him as he builds speed for his next leap in the air, and then there is a wall of water rushing toward you. My son, Brandon reaches out to try to touch it.

"I want to sit in the splash zone next time, mama, can we?" I laugh, thinking that next time better be during a hot summer day.

We got to Sea World early, after a somewhat extended misadventure attempting to find a breakfast place. Jack in the Box has never been my idea of the ideal breakfast place, but beggars cannot be choosers. Still, we were there before the park opened, and happily wandered in to look at Shamu in the underwater viewing tank. My daughter was entranced. She kept repeating "Camu? Mama, mama, camu?" She would wait for him to swim past, face pressed to the glass. We had to bribe her to leave the tank so that we could see some of the other animals there.

Luckily she wasn't disappointed. Next was feeding bat rays at the Forbidden reef. We stayed there for quite a while.

I have to say, feeding bat rays is a truly unique experience. It feels like a wet and slimy vacuum cleaner sucking little fish out of your fingers. If you have never tried it, I definitely recommend it as a truly unique experience.

Maia comes nose to nose with a bat ray looking for love....

Liam was the bravest. He would pet them on the nose, and then stick his fingers under the mouth and giggle as they slurped up the little frozen fish.

It was amazing watching these animals climb half way out of the water to get to the hands that had the fish.

As it lifted it's head out of the water you could hear these incredibly loud sucking noises against the side of the pool.

Amazing how this didn't get old.

We even had one try to climb into one lady's lap! Watch him come right up out of the water.

Just look at how fast Brandon and Liam (and everyone else too...) get out of the way.

Quite the excitement.

Our Liam was quite the photographer for the day too. Here he is getting a shot of a Moray Eel.

Lovely, isn't it?

And of course there were the Penguins. Notice how bright it is in there? If you have ever been to see the penguin exibit in San Diego, you will know that they mimic the natural light of the Antarctic there - which means that it has been dark every other time that I have seen them, as our summer is the antarctic winter, and thus no light.

In fact, the prospect of actually seeing the penguins in the light was a large motivation for planning this trip at this time of year. I think it was worth it. Look at these proud Emperors up on their ice slab. Very cool.

There were Walrus
(The polar bears were sleeping....)

And Maia communed with the great white whale....Gotta love the Beluga.

Things we didn't get pictures of were feeding the dolphins (I had the best time with this. There was one female that kept coming up to me to have her nose rubbed - whether or not I had fish.) and the Shark Encounter. Maia is constantly asking when she can go back to see "Camu in the water." And Brandon is planning on a special encounter with the penguins next time. Liam is looking forward to finding more sharks. We had the best time at Sea World. Definitely an experience to repeat.

As to other news, things are moving along with my parents house. There is a whole team of people from the ServiceMasters Clean Team packing up everything in the house so that floors, walls, and ceilings can be replaced. It is quite something to see dazed looks on a professional packers face as they attempt to size up the vast quantity of art, literature, books, and instruments that my father has collected over the years. It can be intimidating to the uninitiated, and downright overwhelming to those who have to figure out what to do with it all. I am projecting positive, can do vibes in their direction tonight.

Ooohhhhmmmm. Ooohhhhmmm. (Boot to the Head) Ooooohhhhhmm.

Friday, February 15, 2008

When the sky is falling...

Last weekend we spent a totally awesome weekend in San Diego. My kids were introduced to Shamu. They fed dolphins and bat rays. We walked all over the world famous San Diego Zoo and lived to tell the tell. I even have pictures.

But that's not what I'm writing about today.

Have you ever had the feeling that the sky was about to fall? Well, that would be what my father was feeling as he watched the roofer walk away Wednesday afternoon. There was no roof on his house. He could look up through beams and see stars through the loosely weighted tarp - all that separated him and his home from the elements. And then -of course- it rained. I have never seen so much damage done in a few hours, with a little rain. It wasn't a big rain. No howling winds. I didn't even wake up to the sound of the pitter patter outside my window. But that little bit of rain early Thursday morning has put my Dad and brother in a hotel room for the next 6 weeks or so. My mom (lucky soul) is in Hawaii at the moment with her sister. I'm not sure that I would rather be thousands of miles from the disaster of my home, but if I had to be anywhere, Hawaii is a pretty good place to be. I get to be her surrogate tomorrow and attempt to pack what she will need for work and weekends for when she comes back a week from tomorrow. It is an odd feeling, desperately trying to clear a room with a little twin bed for your father to sleep in after a distress call at 6pm. But I was grateful that I had a bed to offer him. And I'm grateful that he and my mom (and brother) are going to be comfortably set up by the insurance company in a hotel for the next six weeks. I didn't mind putting them up, but all I have to offer is my daughters bedroom, and one twin bed. We were going to have to get at least one more bed, and my father, mother, and brother would have had to share it. Not exactly comfortable or private. I'm happy that they have a two room suite with a kitchen (can anyone say privacy?)

Now we just have to wait and see how many walls and floors need to be replaced. Amazing how things seem so normal one moment, and soo uh, NOT the next. Sigh.

Here's to hoping that everyone enjoys a wonderful long weekend.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Knitty Gritty

Hey Ya'll

Sending out word that Knitty Gritty apparently needs a little help. Found this on the knitlist.

"If you haven't noticed it Knitty Gritty seems to be being faded out
on DIY and HGTV, it has been religated to ridiculous time slots, and
no new shows have been filmed!!
It seems like the craft shows in general are being tossed aside for
other topics!!

When the networks cancelled the show Jericho there was an outrage and
outpouring of support. The fans did a crazy thing. They each send 1
peanut to the network! On May 29th the network received 10,000 pounds
of peanuts.. Needless to say Jericho is back!

So let's follow suit! There is a campaign on to bring Knitty Gritty
back to a decent hour, and get more new shows filmed and aired!

Simply do this.. Knit a 7x9 swatch out of acrylic, or other washable
yarn. And send it to the network at:

Scripps Networks P.O. Box 51850 Knoxville, TN 37950

We want to try to get the bulk of them there on Valentines day! So
put a note on the swatch that you love Knitty Gritty! We are
encouraging Scripps to send the swatches they receive to Warm Up

We have rocked the vote before getting a loom knitting show on Knitty
Gritty, so let's show our thanks by supporting them when they need it!

Please.. if you love Knitty Gritty, join us and lets flood the
networks mailbox with Knitty Love!!
And get the word out on your blog or whatever forum you are member of
where you think that there would be interested knitters!!

Let's Knit!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Pink Cowboy Boots

"My Boots! My Boots! Mama, my Boots!"

This is what I hear over my shoulder as I peruse the Knit and Tonic website. Girlfriend looks a lot like Maia from behind, and I happen to be contemplating buying the pattern "Girlfriends Swing Coat Sweater." In the photo, Wendy's little Girlfriend is wearing the brightest pink cowboy boots. And apparently, Maia believes they are hers, and that I should produce them post haste, because obviously there she is, wearing them. I love 2 year olds. If I try hard enough, perhaps I can believe that the model in my magazine is me too....

Anyone know where I can get hot pink cowboy boots?

Sunday, February 3, 2008


Okay, you all can just shoot me now. I have been thinking about finding a new kitten for a couple of weeks, when I suddenly got a bug in my ear for a Ragdoll. I had heard of them, I don't even know how long ago. They are the ultimate people cat. Large, friendly, and loving. I think that sounds about perfect for my menagerie of a family. I'm a little bit squeamish on the price, but who knows. It might never happen. But go look at these little beauties... aren't they cute?

I was reintroduced to this breed by way of Wendy Knits. Her Ragdoll Lucy is the belle of the ball. So cute and cuddly. I must have cat envy or something. So who knows what I might do at this point. I might shell out some dollars and get a "purebred" kitten - or most likely - I will wander over to the local shelter and pick out someone to come home with me. Sigh. As if I don't have enough babies around here... :D