Monday, November 29, 2010

Gratitude Journal #68

In this season of abundance and excess, let us be abundantly and excessively grateful!

Today, I am grateful for Sprite Zero, which has helped settle my tummy for the past week but most especially yesterday, when I had to leave church suddenly right after the collection. Best of all, I don't like the flavor of Sprite enough to get hooked on it.
Today, I'm grateful for being off Coca-Cola for 27 months. And George said I couldn't give up the Coke. I showed him!

Today, I am grateful for all the turkeys who unwittingly gave their lives for millions of families across the United States last week to enjoy a traditional feast.

Today, I am grateful that Jack tasted turkey. He ate a green-pea-size piece and almost threw up, but he ate it! And there was much rejoicing in the land! When asked if he wanted more, he said, "No, thank you." My boy has manners, even if he thinks we're trying to kill him with poisoned food.

Today, I am grateful for this song, which I heard for the first time in church yesterday. Have a hanky ready.

Today, I am grateful for the December issue of Real Simple magazine. I'm not even a third of the way through it and have dog-earred about ten pages, including one with this quotation:

"Chocolate is no ordinary food. It is not something you can take or leave, something you like only moderately. You don't like chocolate. You don't even love chocolate. Chocolate is something you have an affair with." Geneen Roth

That's what I'm sayin'!

And speaking of chocolate, I am grateful that Coffees of Hawaii is having a 30% off everything sale for cyber-Monday. I ordered a 5-pound bag of THIS coffee for a special holiday treat. It is "[a]n impressively sweet, cocoa- and dark-chocolate toned coffee with a silky mouthfeel and gentle acidity...a hint of the chocolate-cocoa note persists pleasantly in the finish." In this case, the advertising copy is spot-on. If you miss this sale, definitely sign up for their emails. If you have the money, the coffee is worth every penny it costs regularly. We can't afford to drink it all the time, however, so I relish the occasional treat.

Today, I am grateful for Advent, this time of expectation and joy. If you're the praying kind, please remember to pray for those who aren't feeling that joy this year, who are mourning the loss of loved ones, who are struggling with addiction and mental health issues, who are sick and suffering, who are out of work.

Today, I am grateful for the Salvation Army bell-ringer at my local Kroger. That man is quite the breath of warm air on a cold, cold day. He glows with holiday spirit, cajoles smiles out of the scroogiest Scrooges, and blesses strangers passing by with enthusiastic attention. When I go to the store and he's not on duty, I feel let down, like I'm missing my blessing for the day. I'm going to put a Christmas card in my purse and give it to him next time I see him.

What are you grateful for today?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thinking about the Football

Reading the morning paper, I found an article about President Obama's split lip. Ouch. My lip hurts just thinking about an elbow hitting it so hard it splits.

Thinking about presidential pain, I posed a question to George: "Who has control of the football when the president is on painkillers?"

The football, for those who may not know, is the nickname for the briefcase that the president uses to authorize nuclear launch.

George replied, "Good question. You know, Nixon got drunk at the White House all the time. Who had control of the football then?"

That makes me feel loads better.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Words, Words, Words from Robert Caspar Lintner

"Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day." Robert Caspar Lintner

As I've read around in the current trove of books on happiness research, one theme that pops up again and again is how happiness is tied to gratitude and thankfulness. People who focus on their blessings and feel grateful for them are happier than people who focus on what they can't have, don't have, or might have in the future.

It took quasi-scientific research to figure this out?

Let's take Lintner's wise insight as a challenge. What are you already doing or could you start doing to keep more of the Thanksgiving spirit of gratitude throughout the year?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Things on Thursday: Pumpkin

Last night, we watched a show busting myths about Thanksgiving. The narrator said that Thanksgiving is a holiday that brings together two key American characteristics: excess and sentiment. So true!

Today's thing for Thursday is pumpkin.

Happy Thanksgiving!


I am thankful for...

air, and my ability to breathe it in and out so easily.

water, which makes up most of me and you and the earth in general, and flows clean out of my faucets.

food, which I will eat too much of today, and of which too many people on this earth have not enough.

clothes, to keep me warm and and comfortable, and to keep others from seeing all of me.

my home, which is very comfortable.

my family, who are loved by me and who love me.

my friends, who are loved by me and who love me.

my church family, which is such a blessing to me.

my blog readers, who are the best.

my community, which has all I need and an awful lot of what I want.

my country, which lets me say what I want, worship as I wish, and live free of harassment and fear.

our planet, which is beautiful beyond imagining and deserves more respect than she gets.

the stars, which shine with far-away light and remind me how small I am.

God, from whom all blessings flow.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

On My Mind

The energy to write a coherent essay this week is just not there for me, but I've actually had a lot on my mind lately. So don't expect anything in this post to relate to a single topic. Frankly, I'm all over the place right now. And it feels pretty good, actually.

Considering Christmas
Every year, I am annoyed that stores put up Christmas displays as soon as Halloween is over. This year, I saw plenty of displays before Halloween was over. Target, I'm talking about you. I think this gradual stretching out of the Christmas season is a sign of our increasing focus on stuff, the getting and spending. The focus during the Christmas season should be on love: for Christians, the love of God who sent his Son who inspires us to share His love with the world; for people of other faiths or no faith at all, love in a more general sense of generosity, kindness, goodwill.

That's what all the Christmas songs are about, isn't it?

So many homes are already lit up, with trees blinking in living room windows. People say it takes so much effort to decorate, they want to enjoy it longer. But when decorations are left up too long, you don't see them anymore. They just don't stay special. By the time Christmas arrives, where's the magic? The specialness of this amazing miracle that occurred 2,000 years ago? All the decorations have been out so long they're gathering dust.

Bah, humbug.

Plus, Thanksgiving gets lost in the commercial shuffle. I've very deliberately been thinking about how thankful I am this year, thankful for people, places, and things that make my life rich and interesting and fun. This has lead me to consider writing devotionals about thankfulness instead of Advent this year. Have you seen the annoying Buick commercial of the man whose wife gives him a car for Christmas and as he's sitting behind the wheel for the first time, a Buick drives by. It's obvious he really wanted the Buick and is disappointed in the CAR HIS WIFE GAVE HIM FOR CHRISTMAS!

I'm never buying a Buick.

For me, the Christmas season starts the day after Thanksgiving. I do NOT shop on Black Friday. I start to decorate my house for Christmas. I put out everything but the tree. We cut down a tree every year at a tree farm, and we don't want needles to dry out too quickly, so we wait to get the tree up until about two weeks before Christmas.

All the decorations come down New Year's Day, making our Christmas celebration last a little better than a month, one-twelfth of year. That's long enough to make it worthwhile and keep it special, don't you think?

Considering this Blog
Yesterday, I scrolled down and saw this.

30,000 hits. Wow. I'm blown away that so many people have been reading Questioning. That figure doesn't count the people who read it in email.

Questioning is just about me and my life. It's astonishing to me that so many of you like it. Thank you for your support and encouragement. I'm thankful for you. Each and every one of you.

But I know you really come here for Daisy.

Considering Mental Illness
Did you catch the Randy and Evi Quaid Act about a month ago? I was going to link to an article about their recent troubles, but I decided not to because it sort of reinforces my point that mental illness has become entertainment. Carrie Fisher's latest book capitalizes on her mental illness, as does Portia De Rossi's book. I'm happy Fisher and De Rossi can use writing to work through stuff, and since they authored the books, they controlled how much or how little they shared, and they profit from their self-exposure. The Quaids, however, were being paraded on morning talk shows as entertainment. The chatter on the Internet reinforced this, with most commentary I saw mocking them and cracking jokes about their mental problems.

It reminds me of my friend Karen H. She hated the movie Forrest Gump, and I asked her why. She'd seen it with some of her brothers who laughed at Forrest rather than for Forrest. It left a bad taste in her mouth to have seen Forrest's mental retardation as mocked entertainment rather than sympathetic portrayal of a powerfully engaging character.

It's all in the perspective, I suppose.

Celebrity alcholism, drug use, and mental problems confuse me. Oh the one hand, I think keeping these topics out in the open and talked about is a good thing. Sweeping stuff like that under the rug is never helpful. On the other hand, the discussion can cross the line into either exploitation, as in the Quaid case, or celebrating the problems themselves. I remember watching an interview with Richard Dreyfuss that gave the impression that he was proud of his problems. This may or may not be true, but that the interview provoked those thoughts disturbed me. Celebrities live under a microscope, and the rest of us assume they ask for it and the benefits of massive money and ego make up for it, but I wonder.

Considering Blown Light Bulbs
Many months ago, the bulbs in our bathroom overhead fixture blew out. This wasn't an emergency because we have 8 clear round bulbs over our vanity, so the bathroom still had light. After the overhead bulbs had been out for a while, George sarcastically asked if we were ever going to replace them, meaning when was I going to replace them. He said this just to get a rise out of me, and I knew it, but I'll be damned if I was going to change those bulbs anytime soon after that.

So, more months passed, days got shorter, and about a month ago, I finally replaced the bulbs. I did NOT like the extra light. It bothered me. Enormously. But I figured George would appreciate it.

I was wrong. He completely agreed with me that the bathroom was now painfully bright in the morning.

Isn't it amazing how accustomed we can get to the lack of a good thing, so much so that we resent its renewed presence in our lives? Our brains really are very strange places.

Of course, now, we're used to the bright light. It seems normal. The way things ought to be. When they blow again, we'll be annoyed. Until we get used to them being blown. Then we will replace them and resent the bright light all over again.

If there's a lesson in this, I can't find it. But it does vaguely relate back to getting used to Christmas decorations if they are left up too long.

And with that, I say Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers and Happy Thursday to everyone else. Make it a day of gratitude and thankfulness. And food.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Drooping Daisy

Yesterday, Daisy had surgery to remove her girl parts. This was required by her breeder and desired by us. At the same time, the vet inserted a microchip in case she gets lost.

Some dogs--sensible dogs--will leave their surgical wounds alone. Daisy, as we have irrefutably established, is not sensible. She wants desperately to lick her wound and would no doubt chew out her stitches, thus creating a risk for infection, bleeding, and expensive vet bills.

Thus, she wears the Cone of Shame.

She stood for about ten minutes in the above position, not moving an inch, just drooping with sadness and humiliation. It's pitiful. Tragic.

And then she looked up. And I said, "Come in, Tokyo!"  Because I am heartless and cruel.

When she got no sympathy from us, she dropped her head again and slowly tried to back out of the satellite dish. When she hit the front door with her butt, she drooped there for a while.

She got her revenge last night. Her sleeping crate in our bedroom is too small to accommodate the cone, so she slept in her giant wire crate in the dining room. Since George was still sick, I slept downstairs with Daisy. She kept waking me up by banging the cone against the wire sides of the crate and sliding it around the plastic floor. She was doing it on purpose. I just know it.

Ten days. Ten LONG days, folks.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gratitude Journal #67

My gratitude overfloweth.

Today, I am grateful for this boy, who turned eleven last week. As of today, I'm exactly four times his age. I'm also grateful for my birthday buddy, Aunt Linda, who says I'm the best birthday present my mom ever gave her. Isn't she sweet?!?! 'Tis the season of birthdays in our family, which makes me grateful for my mom who suffered so much 44 years ago today. Sorry about the whole butt-first thing, Mom.

Today, I am grateful for this boy, who cried this morning because he couldn't wear sandals to school.

Today, I am grateful for this pair. Both are having bad days today: Daisy is being spayed, and George has a tummy bug. At least George knows what's wrong with him. Just imagine how Daisy will feel after her little nap this morning. "Wow, I feel funky...." (Name the movie.)

She weighs 41 pounds now.

Today, I am thankful for my close encounter with this gorgeous animal. On Saturday at the Columbus Zoo, she and I made eye contact about eight inches apart. Through nice, thick glass, of course. But I could read her mind. "My, you look tasty," she was thinking. "Be grateful for the glass, human."

Today, I am grateful for glass.

Today, I am grateful for a close encounter with this big boy. His name is Bruce. Or maybe Buck. Whatever his name, he is big. Massive. You don't realize how big these brown bears are until all that separates you is a five-inch thick layer of acrylic and you look in his mouth, just seven inches from your head, and realize that, indeed, he could eat your head like a grape. Like a grape, man.

Today, I am grateful for this little monkey family. The babies are orange, and this one is snuggled into a nap hug. Check out mommy's hand on baby's back. We share a lot of DNA with these critters.

Today, I am grateful for this wild and vicious golden retriever. If you're not careful, she'll jump on you and lick you to death. You don't believe me? If you ever meet her, you'll be praying for glass.   

What are you grateful for today?

Friday, November 19, 2010

Random Acts of Culture

Not only am I posting maniac with seven posts this week, but I'm also really behind the times. This event happened on October 30, which means I'm three weeks behind in the news. But if I missed it, perhaps some of you did, too, in which case, I'll just say in advance, "You're very welcome."

Because you're going to thank me. I know it.

Many, many thanks to my friend Lally, who sent me a link to this blog post about Handel's Hallelujah Chorus being performed at Macy's in Philadelphia, much to the surprise of many shoppers there. Check out that's, well, it's beyond words.

I'm fascinated by the Knight Arts Random Acts of Culture Project. What amazing proof of the beauty and creativity and just plain awesomeness of life. If any of you has participated in it or knows more about it, please share in the comments!

Words, Words, Words about What I Can Do

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." Anne Frank

"Being good is commendable, but only when it is combined with doing good is it useful." Author Unknown

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do." Edward Everett Hale

"Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." Robert F. Kennedy

This time of year brings out lots of opportunities to do something to make even one person's life a little better. If you're looking for something to do right now, in this moment, to make someone's life a little better, to do something useful to someone else, please consider visiting Do One Nice Thing. Whether you find something useful to do there or in some other place, pick a way to start improving the world right now and just do it.

Let's all be part of the ripple effect.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Things on Thursday: Harry Potter

Harry Potter. It's an obsession really.

And George is taking me to see the new movie for my birthday. Isn't he just the best?

Thank you, J.K. Rowling.

Weekly Giggle #24

For Nick's birthday, I baked a perfect cheesecake. After Nick, George, and I inhaled our pieces, George and I had the following conversation.

Me: When it comes to baking, I rock.

George: What about bread?

Me: Baking with sugar. I rock at baking cakes and pies and bars.

George: True. But why don’t you bake cookies?

Me: My cookies never seem to turn out how I want. Except my Angel Balls [a.k.a. wedding cookies]. Those rock.

I don’t consider those cookies.

Me: Why not?

George: They’re spherical.

Who knew?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Food TV

George and I watch very little television. We watched much more before we had children, but over the years, network television in particular has somewhat faded from our lives. NatGeo, Discovery, Animal Planet, History Channel, and PBS tend to be our default channels. I love me some Antiques Roadshow. We did watch LOST…okay, I admit we were addicted to it. But nothing has come up to replace it in the “freaky smoke-monster drama” category, so our new favorite television show is the Food Network’s The Next Iron Chef.

Oh, how we love this show.

The Iron Chef America series pits two chefs—a challenger and one of the six Iron Chefs—against each other. The two chefs have one hour to create five different dishes using a secret ingredient, such as avocados, corn, almonds, or sea urchins. A panel of judges decides whether the challenger or Iron Chef reigns supreme in Kitchen Stadium.

The Next Iron Chef is an elimination show that pits a bunch of professional chefs against each other to, well, decide who will be the next Iron Chef. In general, elimination-tournament shows don’t interest me. Furthermore, I despise shows where nastiness masquerades as entertainment. I’d rather see everyone play nicely and NO ONE be sent home.

But that’s just me and certainly would not make for good television.

So why does The Next Iron Chef appeal to me so deeply? First, it’s about food. I love food. Good food nourishes body and soul. Who doesn’t love food?

Second, chefs are trained to make great food quickly. Taking top-notch chefs and putting them in odd situations (on a beach cooking on a grill, at a State Fair cooking only with ingredients they can find in the booths for gyros and funnel cakes and corn dogs) leads to some fascinating food.

Third, I am in awe of the chefs’ creativity. Three Sundays ago, the competitors in The Next Iron Chef had to make four dishes in 90 minutes: one dish from each of the four regions of the United States (north, south, east, and west). This meant they had to decide what to cook, find the ingredients, adapt if the ingredients were taken by another chef, cook, and plate four dishes. One of the chefs rarely cooks American cuisine, so he was particularly challenged.

Great chefs all have bad days, which is at the heart of what The Next Iron Chef is really about: who has the fewest bad days.

This season, there aren’t any truly annoying chefs. Last season, there were two jerks whose downfalls caused me great happiness. One was a liar (admitted it himself to the world on television), and the other was just arrogant and played mean. This season, I pretty much like them all and have been sad every week. Chef Tsai is a bit snotty, and Chef Canora is a bit of a whiner, so I'd prefer one of the other chefs to win.

But it’s not up to me. I watch helplessly as chefs I really admire get sent home, like two Sundays ago when Chef Caswell had a mediocre day. I like him a lot. He’s cute, which doesn’t hurt, but really, he just seems like a nice guy, the sort of dude George and I would like to have to dinner. It was just so sad.

Next Sunday is the final challenge. Chef Tsai was sent home last Sunday, but sadly, so was Chef Tio. I liked her fresh and gutsy attitude. The final two Iron Chef candidates are Chef Forgione (my favorite) and Chef Canora (the whiner). I can’t wait to see how the final challenge plays out.

George likes to enact his own Iron Chef challenges on the weekends. I take on the roll of the Chairman on Iron Chef America and create artificial constraints (only use what we have in the pantry or make something with a secret ingredient such as sweet potato or a Boston butt). George makes stuff up and almost always scores a hit. It’s a great way for him to exercise his creative itch to cook without taking on the brutal lifestyle of a professional chef. I also think it’s kind of cool that an odd-ball television show can influence and enhance a real-life hobby.

That’s television programming I can get into.

What shows grab your imagination? Why? Has a show ever influenced something you’ve done in real life?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gratitude Journal #66

Today, I am grateful for my own personal Iron Chef. Homemade meatballs, guacamole and steak tacos, pizza...yum.

Today, I am grateful for this boy, who we hope will use his powers for good and not evil when he grows up.

Today, I am grateful for this boy, who makes us laugh every day.

Today, I am grateful for the unseasonably warm weather on Saturday that gave us a perfect afternoon to hike.

What are you grateful for today?

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Golden Daisy

On a family walk last week, we enjoyed gorgeous golden evening light. George got some amazing pictures....

Daisy is almost 6 months old. She's losing that puppy look, but her brain is still very much a puppy brain.

Golden retrievers have puppy brains for most of their life span. Even as old dogs, when their bodies are definitely not able to meet the demands of their brains, they still have happy puppy spirits.

We love that puppy spirit, and it's positively glowing from Daisy Doolittle.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Words, Words, Words from Adam Savage

"Failure is always an option." Adam Savage

For fans of Mythbusters, this quotation will be familiar. The first time I saw Adam wearing a t-shirt with this saying on the show, I felt a pang of regret. Regret that this saying hadn't been there for me when I was a teenager and thought the only way to succeed was through perfection. Failure was, well, failure: a bad thing every time.

Perfectionism is the most crippling attitude I've ever embraced. It's brutal, like trying to batter your way through a brick wall with your forehead.

And it does not work. Not at all.

Thank the Good Lord above, I know better now. Failure is always an option, and very often, it ends up being good thing. We learn from it things like compassion and empathy, determination, resolution, forgiveness, and acceptance. It makes us grow.

Thomas Edison's attitude was this: "If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward." Adopting this attitude has helped me in my crafting (dare I call it art?) and in life in general.

How has failure helped you?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veterans Day

"Freedom is never free." --Unknown

To all those who have served and are serving the cause of freedom, thank you. You sacrifice freedoms so others may have theirs. You give up control of where you live, what you do, how long you stay in one place. You are a slave to bureaucracy, red tape, and politics and still persevere. You leave your family for weeks or months or even years at a time, you miss anniversaries and birthdays and your children's first steps, not because you want to but because you must. You do a job many free people would never do because you know it needs to be done. You see things many people never want to see because you have the courage to look evil in the eye and act against it. You risk your health and wholeness and even your life because you know freedom is never free

Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Weekly Giggle #23

Go here and see the most embarrassing cakes a girl could ever have. EVER. The symbolism of the drippy cherry cheesecake...*shudder*

Cake Wrecks: Parent Appreciation Day

Lucy and Levonna, you're going to need years of counseling for this trauma. Big hugs, girls. Big hugs.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gratitude Journal #65

Today, I am grateful for this quotation from Thomas Jefferson: "It is neither wealth nor splendor; but tranquility and occupation which give happiness." I found it on the Happy News website this morning.

Today, I am grateful for a lovely church service yesterday. The Scripture for the day included one of my favorite (and one of the scariest) passages in the Bible, from the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew: "Judge not.... For with the judgment you pronounce you shall be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get." Kinda makes you want to be nice in your judgment and generous in your measure, now, doesn't it?

Today, I am grateful for health. So many people are sick right now!

Today, I am grateful for the Daisies of this world who spread love and joy wherever they go. I've seen people with sour expressions catch a sight of our Daisy on her walks, and I've watched a smile take over their faces. It's impossible to be unhappy in the presence of a Daisy.

Of course, even Daisies get tired sometimes, and still they make us smile with their unself-conscious, graceless lounging.

What are YOU grateful for today?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Communication Breakdown

George: Jack, I want you to rinse Daisy's water bowl and fill it with fresh water.

Jack: Okay. [Gets bowl, takes it to sink, walks back to the food dish.]

George: Did you rinse the bowl?

Jack: Yes.

George: Do you know what rinse means?

Jack: No.

George: Is there still grass in the bowl?

Jack: Yeah. [Jack puts down the bowl and walks away.]

George [to me]: That was entirely my fault.

Me: Yes. Yes it was.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Words, Words, Words about Bizarre Foods

While George and I were watching Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmerman on the Travel Channel, it occurred to me that George has eaten some bizarre foods himself, particularly when he was in survival training with the military and his team had to care for, kill, and eat a bunny rabbit. So I asked George about it.

Me: Did you have to eat an eyeball of the bunny in survival training?

George: No, but I had to taste the contents of its stomach, which is not really as disgusting as it sounds.

I knew there was a good reason I didn't go into the military. Urgh.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Things on Thursday: Tennis Ball

As I sit at my computer this morning, my firstborn lies sick on the sofa, and my fur baby is growling. Her growls, which surely she thinks are vicious and threatening, sound positively, adorably cute and cuddly, and make you want to annoy her so she keeps growling. Right now, however, she's growling at the tennis ball she's attempting to kill. This tennis ball:

Isn't that the saddest tennis ball you've ever seen? When Hoover played with a tennis ball, he did just as you might expect a retriever to do: he slobbered it up, brought it to a human throwing machine, and then retrieved it. He had the same tennis balls for thirteen years. We bought one canister, and he was good for life.

He never denuded a tennis ball.

Daisy does things differently.

I foresee many canisters of tennis balls in our future.

Two days ago, she disemboweled her favorite raccoon toy.

Note to self: do not leave stuffies in the crate with Daisy. Very expensive vet visit for bowel obstruction might result.

The tennis ball fuzz passes right through. Ask me how I know.

I dare you.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I have a very good friend who is a political junky. She volunteers and makes phone calls and loves the whole process of elections. In fact, she's one of the top volunteers in our area for her party. Because her phone number is unlisted, she doesn’t get the recorded messages and misses them. She loves watching the ads on television and reading the print pieces from all the candidates. The media frenzy fascinates her. She never gets annoyed with it or tired of it.

Needless to say, this is her favorite day of the year.

My response to this media frenzy is different. In the past two weeks, our house has received a number of recorded phone calls from many different candidates. Ohio is a hot state this election, so the activity here has been intense. While intellectually I know that the recorded calls work (no candidate would pay for them if they didn’t!), they don’t work on me because I don’t listen. Yesterday, I was in the bathroom when the phone rang. I rushed to answer (you’ve all done this, haven’t you?) and it was a RECORDED political message. Grrrr.

When Newt Gingrich called my house this weekend, I hung up on him. Putting aside the entire issue of politics, hanging up on Newt was deeply satisfying. I don’t care how famous he is, he doesn’t have the right to bother me in my own home. Click. Score one for the housewife!

We don’t watch network television anymore, so we didn’t see the nasty televised ads. But I’d be tired of them if we had been watching.

I am NOT, however, tired of living in a country that regularly allows me to fill little circles on a ballot and register my opinion. On Election Day, I feel like the luckiest woman alive. I bounce happily into my polling place, full of smiles and kind words to the poll volunteers, take my ballot, go to my little cubicle, and VOTE! I’d squeal with joy if it wouldn’t distract other people.

My political junky friend and I both share this deep and abiding passion for the exercise of democracy. We don’t understand people who don’t make time to vote, who don’t exercise a right that our country’s founders fought to give us, who don’t see the point in doing something that millions of people alive today in less fortunate countries desperately want to do and can't.

Those people, the oppressed and silent masses whose voices are not heard in their own lands…I think of them on Election Day.

For my American readers, if you already voted, I thank you. If you haven’t and aren’t planning to, I urge you to get off your butt and just do it. I don’t care who you vote for, what issues you support or oppose, or what party you identify with.

You can vote.

And that makes you the luckiest human alive.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Gratitude Journal #64

Today, I am grateful for Pajama Day in our house yesterday. It was rejuvenating.

Today, I am grateful that Daisy is growing and healthy. Of course, the fact that she's growing means she can now reach things on the kitchen counter...things like George's favorite gloves for running. So sad.

Today, I'm grateful for cuteness of the furry and not-furry kind.

Today, I am grateful for friends far and near.

What are you grateful for today?