I miss you Sam!!

I miss you Sam!!
I miss you Sam!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

An Article Worth the Read

I wrote earlier today that the piece I was posting would be my last on politics until after the election and then I found this article and it is a little long and will definitely be my last post regarding politics. Some of you may have already read it -- I had, but I thought it was worth a second time.

Frank Schaeffer is the author of CRAZY FOR GOD-How I Grew Up As One Of The Elect, Helped Found The Religious Right, And Lived To Take All (Or Almost All) Of It Back. Now in paperback.

Obama Will Be One of The Greatest (and Most Loved) American Presidents

Frank Schaeffer

Great presidents are made great by horrible circumstances combined with character, temperament and intelligence. Like firemen, cops, doctors or soldiers, presidents need a crisis to shine.

Obama is one of the most intelligent presidential aspirants to ever step forward in American history. The likes of his intellectual capabilities have not been surpassed in public life since the Founding Fathers put pen to paper. His personal character is also solid gold.

Take heart, America: we have the leader for our times.

I say this as a white, former life-long Republican. I say this as the proud father of a Marine. I say this as just another American watching his pension evaporate along with the stock market! I speak as someone who knows it's time to forget party loyalty, ideology and pride and put the country first. I say this as someone happy to be called a fool for going out on a limb and declaring that, 1) Obama will win, and 2) he is going to be amongst the greatest of American presidents.

Obama is our last best chance. He's worth laying it all on the line for.

This is a man who in the age of greed took the high road of community service. This is the good father and husband. This is the humble servant. This is the patient teacher. This is the scholar statesman. This is the man of deep Christian faith.

Good stories about Obama abound; from his personal relationship with his Secret Service agents (he invites them into his home to watch sports, and shoots hoops with them) to the story about how, more than twenty years ago, while standing in the check-in line at an airport, Obama paid a $100 baggage surcharge for a stranger who was broke and stuck. (Obama was virtually penniless himself in those days.) Years later after he became a senator, that stranger recognized Obama's picture and wrote to him to thank him. She received a kindly note back from the senator. (The story only surfaced because the person, who lives in Norway, told a local newspaper after Obama ran for the presidency. The paper published a photograph of this lady proudly displaying Senator Obama's letter.)

Where many leaders are two-faced; publicly kindly but privately feared and/or hated by people closest to them, Obama is consistent in the way he treats people, consistently kind and personally humble. He lives by the code that those who lead must serve. He believes that. He lives it. He lived it long before he was in the public eye.

Obama puts service ahead of ideology. He also knows that to win politically you need to be tough. He can be. He has been. This is a man who does what works, rather than scoring ideological points. In other words he is the quintessential non-ideological pragmatic American. He will (thank God!) disappoint ideologues and purists of the left and the right.

Obama has a reservoir of personal physical courage that is unmatched in presidential history. Why unmatched? Because as the first black contender for the presidency who will win, Obama, and all the rest of us, know that he is in great physical danger from the seemingly unlimited reserve of unhinged racial hatred, and just plain unhinged ignorant hatred, that swirls in the bowels of our wounded and sinful country. By stepping forward to lead, Obama has literally put his life on the line for all of us in a way no white candidate ever has had to do. (And we all know how dangerous the presidency has been even for white presidents.)

Nice stories or even unparalleled courage isn't the only point. The greater point about Obama is that the midst of our worldwide financial meltdown, an expanding (and losing) war in Afghanistan, trying to extricate our country from a wrong and stupidly mistaken ruinously expensive war in Iraq, our mounting and crushing national debt, awaiting the next (and inevitable) al Qaeda attack on our homeland, watching our schools decline to Third World levels of incompetence, facing a general loss of confidence in the government that has been exacerbated by the Republicans doing all they can to undermine our government's capabilities and programs... President Obama will take on the leadership of our country at a make or break time of historic proportions. He faces not one but dozens of crisis, each big enough to define any presidency in better times.

As luck, fate or divine grace would have it (depending on one's personal theology) Obama is blessedly, dare I say uniquely, well-suited to our dire circumstances. Obama is a person with hands-on community service experience, deep connections to top economic advisers from the renowned University of Chicago where he taught law, and a middle-class background that gives him an abiding knowledgeable empathy with the rest of us. As the son of a single mother, who has worked his way up with merit and brains, recipient of top-notch academic scholarships, the peer-selected editor of the Harvard Law Review and, in three giant political steps to state office, national office and now the presidency, Obama clearly has the wit and drive to lead.

Obama is the sober voice of reason at a time of unreason. He is the fellow keeping his head while all around him are panicking. He is the healing presence at a time of national division and strife. He is also new enough to the political process so that he doesn't suffer from the terminally jaded cynicism, the seen-it-all-before syndrome afflicting most politicians in Washington. In that regard we Americans lucked out. It's as if having despaired of our political process we picked a name from the phone book to lead us and that person turned out to be a very man we needed.
Obama brings a healing and uplifting spiritual quality to our politics at the very time when our worst enemy is fear. For eight years we've been ruled by a stunted fear-filled mediocrity of a little liar who has expanded his power on the basis of creating fear in others. Fearless Obama is the cure. He speaks a litany of hope rather than a litany of terror.

As we have watched Obama respond in a quiet reasoned manner to crisis after crisis, in both the way he has responded after being attacked and lied about in the 2008 campaign season, to his reasoned response to our multiplying national crises, what we see is the spirit of a trusted family doctor with a great bedside manner. Obama is perfectly suited to hold our hand and lead us through some very tough times. The word panic is not in the Obama dictionary.

America is fighting its "Armageddon" in one fearful heart at a time. A brilliant leader with the mild manner of an old-time matter-of-fact country doctor soothing a frightened child is just what we need. The fact that our "doctor" is a black man leading a hitherto white-ruled nation out of the mess of its own making is all the sweeter and raises the Obama story to that of moral allegory.

Obama brings a moral clarity to his leadership reserved for those who have had to work for everything they've gotten and had to do twice as well as the person standing next to them because of the color of their skin. His experience of succeeding in spite of his color, social background and prejudice could have been embittering or one that fostered a spiritual rebirth of forgiveness and enlightenment. Obama radiates the calm inner peace of the spirit of forgiveness.
Speaking as a believing Christian I see the hand of a merciful God in Obama's candidacy. The biblical metaphors abound. The stone the builder rejected is become the cornerstone... the last shall be first... he that would gain his life must first lose it... the meek shall inherit the earth...
For my secular friends I'll allow that we may have just been extraordinarily lucky! Either way America wins.

Only a brilliant man, with the spirit of a preacher and the humble heart of a kindly family doctor can lead us now. We are afraid, out of ideas, and worst of all out of hope. Obama is the cure. And we Americans have it in us to rise to the occasion. We will. We're about to enter one of the most frightening periods of American history. Our country has rarely faced more uncertainty. This is the time for greatness. We have a great leader. We must be a great people backing him, fighting for him, sacrificing for a cause greater than ourselves.

A hundred years from now Obama's portrait will be placed next to that of George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt. Long before that we'll be telling our children and grandchildren that we stepped out in faith and voted for a young black man who stood up and led our country back from the brink of an abyss. We'll tell them about the power of love, faith and hope. We'll tell them about the power of creativity combined with humility and intellectual brilliance. We'll tell them that President Obama gave us the gift of regaining our faith in our country. We'll tell them that we all stood up and pitched in and won the day. We'll tell them that President Obama restored our standing in the world. We'll tell them that by the time he left office our schools were on the mend, our economy booming, that we'd become a nation filled with green energy alternatives and were leading the world away from dependence on carbon-based destruction. We'll tell them that because of President Obama's example and leadership the integrity of the family was restored, divorce rates went down, more fathers took responsibility for their children, and abortion rates fell dramatically as women, families and children were cared for through compassionate social programs that worked. We'll tell them about how the gap closed between the middle class and the super rich, how we won health care for all, how crime rates fell, how bad wars were brought to an honorable conclusion. We'll tell them that when we were attacked again by al Qaeda, how reason prevailed and the response was smart, tough, measured and effective, and our civil rights were protected even in times of crisis...
We'll tell them that we were part of the inexplicably blessed miracle that happened to our country those many years ago in 2008 when a young black man was sent by God, fate or luck to save our country. We'll tell them that it's good to live in America where anything is possible. Yes we will.

The Ceiling of My Personal Cathedral

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The Sack Lunches

The politics will be over soon and I know that every one is as exhausted with the subject as I am. I was thinking that I should write something today, but I decided that I had said enough over the past three months. If people think and believe as I do, then they don't need to hear anymore from me and if they don't think and believe as I do, I'm not likely to change them now.

Then this morning a friend sent the following story to me and I thought that it was worth sharing -- it's not about politics or politicians, but it is about how the actions of politicians and their approach to politics affect the lives of so many.

The Sack Lunches

I put my carry-on in the luggage compartment and sat down in my assigned seat. It was going to be a long flight.

'I'm glad I have a good book to read. Perhaps I will get a short nap,' I thought.

Just before take-off, a line of soldiers came down the aisle and filled all the vacant seats, totally surrounding me. I decided to start a conversation.

'Where are you headed?' I asked the soldier seated nearest to me.
'Chicago - to Great Lakes Base. We'll be there for two weeks for special training, and then we're being deployed to Iraq.'

After flying for about an hour, an announcement was made that sack lunches were available for five dollars. It would be a couple of hours before we reached Chicago, and I quickly decided a lunch would help pass the time. As I reached for my wallet, I overheard a soldier ask his buddy if he planned to buy lunch. 'No, that seems like a lot of money for just a sack lunch. Probably wouldn't be worth five bucks. I'll wait till we get to Chicago ' His friend agreed. I looked around at the other soldiers. None were buying lunch.

I walked to the back of the plane and handed the flight attendant a fifty dollar bill. 'Take a lunch to all those soldiers.' She grabbed my arms and squeezed tightly. Her eyes wet with tears, she thanked me. 'My son was a soldier in Iraq; it's almost like you are doing it for him.' Picking up ten sacks, she headed up the aisle to where the soldiers were seated.

She stopped at my seat and asked, 'Which do you like best - beef or chicken?' 'Chicken,' I replied, wondering why she asked. She turned and went to the front of plane, returning a minute later with a dinner plate from first class. 'This is your thanks.'

After we finished eating, I went again to the back of the plane, heading for the rest room. A man stopped me. 'I saw what you did. I want to be part of it. Here, take this.' He handed me twenty-five dollars. Soon after I returned to my seat, I saw the Flight Captain coming down the aisle, looking at the aisle numbers as he walked, I hoped he was not looking for me, but noticed he was looking at the numbers only on my side of the plane. When he got to my row he stopped, smiled, held out his hand, and said, 'I want to shake your hand.' Quickly unfastening my seatbelt I stood and took the Captain's hand. With a booming voice he said, 'I was a soldier and I was a military pilot. Once, someone bought me a lunch. It was an act of kindness I never forgot.'

I was embarrassed when applause was heard from all of the passengers. Later I walked to the front of the plane so I could stretch my legs. A man who was seated about six rows in front of me reached out his hand, wanting to shake mine. He left another twenty-five dollars in my palm. When we landed in Chicago I gathered my belongings and started to deplane. Waiting just inside the airplane door was a man who stopped me, put something in my shirt pocket, turned, and walked away without saying a word. Another twenty-five dollars!

Upon entering the terminal, I saw the soldiers gathering for their trip to the base. I walked over to them and handed them seventy-five dollars. 'It will take you some time to reach the base. It will be about time for a sandwich. God Bless You. '

Ten young men left that flight feeling the love and respect of their fellow travelers. As I walked briskly to my car, I whispered a prayer for their safe return. These soldiers were giving their all for our country. I could only give them a sandwich. It seemed so little...

A veteran is someone who, at one point in his life wrote a blank check made payable to 'The United States of America ' for an amount of 'Up to and including my life.'

That is Honor, and there are way too many people in this country who no longer understand it. And many of those are the politicians who were responsible for this "unholy" war to begin with.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Happy Memories

I watched a very interesting documentary tonight about Kris Kristofferson and it stirred up a host of memories from the past. I have always been a fan of his and, of course, agreed with his politics and views. But it also led me back many years, to other times, other places. Sometimes that’s fun and sometimes it’s not, depending on what memories you stir up. But tonight this brought back lovely memories of my family traveling in our Winnebago all over the west and northwest and Canada. Memories of our four kids, sitting in the back of the motor home, on our bed, listening to what they called their “traveling music”; music they kept in the motor home, specific tapes (that was in the days of 8 track tapes) that they saved for our trips and as far as I can remember, those were the only times they listened to that particular music. Johnny Cash, Neil Diamond and Kris Kristofferson were among their special “travelin’” favorites.

As they got older they all moved onto different genres, musicians, singers and songwriters, but even today they have some of those “old” guys tucked away in their music collections. In fact, the year that I lived in Mexico, my oldest son, David and my youngest daughter, Kerith, came down for Christmas. David had gone back to college the year before and that Christmas his budget was really tight. My Christmas gift to him that year had been his ticket to join Kerith and I for the holidays and his gift for me was a CD he had burned with all of Neil Diamond’s old favorites, the ones we had played and sung along with, and danced to while the motor home moved down the highways, on many of those lovely trips.

So, as I listened to Kristofferson tonight, not only talking about his life and his battles for human rights, but singing some of the old songs that I could still remember all the words to and sing along with and I felt that lovely, warm glow that comes with beautiful, happy memories. I feel so blessed to have so many of those memories to enjoy; recapturing those happy, fun-filled times.

Yes, it has been a lovely evening and I shall sleep well tonight.

Friday Reflections

I’m enjoying a quiet day today, with no reason whatsoever to leave the house and it is lovely! I’ve had a busy week -- fun, but busy. Well, that doesn’t include having to rebuild my blog site, but still, I found a lot of new things, learned a lot more about blogging, so it hasn’t been all bad. There were the usual Tai Chi classes, the Jump Start class as well as a children’s art class where my friend and I had kids from kindergarten to fifth grade. The class is after school, lasts an hour, and is not a mandatory class, but rather one for kids who are really interested in drawing/art. It was fascinating to see the whole group so fixed, intent on their individual projects! I’m going to really enjoy this one.

But today is a lazy, quiet day with just me and the dogs – we’re taking care of our neighbors’ dog while they are out of town, so I have lots of company. The sun may actually get out a little later and if it does then I’ll go down to the park to take some more pictures. I’ve developed a passionate relationship with the camera and I’m really enjoying finding all kinds of things to photograph. Fortunately, there has been no lack of wonderful subjects.

So, blogging has led to photography as well as getting back to writing. They both get the creative juices flowing and that has been very satisfying and fulfilling. I didn’t think I would ever really get back into writing as I had lectured to myself for some time about how pointless it was to continue to write "just because". But you know what? “just because” is the best reason of all for doing anything and particularly, if it brings you joy, fulfillment, satisfaction.

And that has been the lesson for the week. It can’t have been a bad week if you have experienced even one of those “light up” moments that leads you to discover even one of those stars you thought were out of “reach”. So, I offer you some of mine as well as a friend's contributions to helping spread the beauty!

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A New View of the United States

As with most of you, I keep looking for a positive view regarding the elections. Primarily, I just want to get them overwith and start getting this country on the high road to a better future. I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels this way. Nicholas Kristof, NYT Op-Ed columnist had some interesting and hopeful things to say in a recent article, "We're beginning to get a sense of how Barack Obama's political success could change global perceptions of the United States, redefining the American "brand" to be less about Guantanamo and more about equality. This change in perceptions would help rebuild American political capital in the way that the Marshall Plan did in the 1950s or that John Kennedy's presidency did in the early 1960s."

Colin Powell, in his endorsement of Obama said that, "the new president is going to have to fix the reputation that we've left with the rest of the world." It's not about admiration, it's about cooperation that is and will be essential to deal with the challenges of the 21st-century. As Mr. Kristof says, "you can't fire cruise missiles at the global financial crisis.

Mr. Powell continued by saying, "an Obama election will also not only electrify our country, but the world." And this can already be seen. In a 22-nation survey by the BBC it was found that Obama was preferred to McCain by four-to-one over all. Nearly half of those in the BBC poll said that the election of Obama, an African-American, would "fundamentally change" their perspective of the United States.

Europe is, indeed, intoxicated by the possibility of restoring amity with America in an Obama presidency. As The Economist put it: "Across the Continent, Bush hatred has been replaced by Obama-mania."

I do agree with Mr. Kristof when he says that Obama's skin color is a bad reason to vote for him or against him; substance should always trump symbolism. And yet if he is elected, as so many of us hope, it may be a way to restore our global influence and achieve at least some of our international objectives -- in part because the world is concluding that Americans can, after all, see beyond a person's epidermis.

Now, isn't that a beautiful thought to hold on to?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Sky Watch #15

I lost my original blog and have had to start over consequently the first link I
put on Sky Watch today would take you to the wrong site, so I have signed in again as just "Sylvia" and that should bring you to this blogsite. It's been a really bad week! But the skies are still beautiful!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Are We Ready for a New Day?

In spite of all the blog problems that I have been experiencing since the weekend, I have still been keeping up with the political happenings and in many ways they have been far more depressing than my blog’s crash – I could fix that.

The bright spot for me over the weekend was Colin Powell’s endorsement of Barack Obama. I had wondered if he would finally speak out because I couldn’t believe that he hadn’t been upset by the growing list of absurd, insidious rumors and other outrageous actions of his party during this campaign. And he was upset, but according to an Op-Ed column by Maureen Dowd today, what sent him over the edge and made him realize he had to speak out was when he ran across a picture in the New Yorker several weeks ago. It was of a mother pressing her head against the gravestone of her son, a 20 year old soldier who had been killed in Iraq. On the headstone were his name, Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, his awards – the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star and a crescent and a star to denote his Islamic faith.

According to Dowd, Powell told her that he stared at the picture for an hour. He said, “Who could debate that this kid lying in Arlington with Christian and Jewish and nondenominational buddies was not a fine American?”

In a gratifying moment Dowd calls a “have you no sense of decency, Sir and Madam?” moment, Colin Powell went on “Meet the Press” and talked about Khan and the unseemly ways John McCain and Palin have been polarizing this country to try to get elected. It was for her (and me) a tonic to hear someone push back so clearly on ugly innuendo.

Well, Obama isn’t Muslim, he’s a Christian and always has been. But as Powell said … “the really right answer is, what if he was? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s NO. That’s not America. Is something wrong with some 7-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president?”

We all are descendants of people of all races who came to this country with the dream of a better life. So, who decided, and when, that some of “us Americans” have the right to run for president and others do not, regardless of their qualifications? It is the narrow-minded, the bigots, the Rush Limbaughs, the McCain and Palins, the Michele Bachmanns, the Republicans who fear losing this election, that believe this and continue to try to stir up hatred and anger against anyone with a different name, a different color of skin, a different religion, a different view of the world. Maybe what we need these days is a different view of the world, a world that gets smaller everyday; a world where there is no place for prejudice, not if we are to survive – not just in this country, but in the world itself.

We have the opportunity to take that giant step towards setting an example, again, not just for our country, but for the rest of the world. A world that is watching to see if we really are all that we would have them believe. That opportunity is ours now. We can make it happen. The question is – are WE ready for that new day?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Your oldest memory - What were you doing 10 years ago?

I received these questions from a good friend and I was amazed at what suddenly popped into my mind regarding my oldest memory. My oldest memory is my fourth birthday, sitting in a little, "my size", fold up lawn chair, in a pair of new pajamas, next to a cotton field in Louisiana, but those are the only details I remember.

And ten years ago, wow! I was working at one of the best, most fun jobs I ever had, I had taken a cruise and learned to snorkle and was dancing the tango three nights a week! Wow! is right! Wonderful!

Today -Your first thought today, this morning.
My first thought this morning was my lost blog and my new one.

If you built a time capsule today what would it contain?
Pictures of my children, copies of the books I have written, the hoped for results of the election in two weeks, and a dream for a better future for our country and the world.

Tomorrow? Working with the kids in the Jump Start program, working on my blog.
This year? Continue to learn, to be of service in whatever way I can, continue to blog -- hopefully with greater success.

What do you see yourself doing 14 years from now?
Well, considering how old I'll be in fourteen years, I just hope I'm still as healthy as I am now, still blogging, writing, taking photos and enjoying each precious moment of my life, my children and my friends.

Photos of the Day

Tonight it is geese headed south and magnificent clouds
as seen from my deck.

I wish you all a lovely evening.
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Slowly But Surely

It'll take some more time, but I'm slowly getting this new blogsite at least resembling the original. This has been such a pain in the butt that I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy -- even if I had one -- well I might wish it on McCain and Bush, but then they probably can't even use a computer anyway.

But I have to stop for a while -- I actually do have other things to do in my life and that's a good thing -- a few more days like yesterday and I'd be a blithering idiot! So I'm off to Tai Chi class and then after lunch I'm off to work with a children's art class.

The sun is shining and it's a beautiful day here in the northwest.

Again, thank you for helping me get this mess cleaned up, for your encouragement and good thoughts! Lots of hugs to you all!

Monday, October 20, 2008

This and That

After a frustrating day of having to put a new blog together, I didn't have a lot of energy to post anything that required me to think, so I decided to share some interesting clouds, a hawk enjoying a sunset, and a spider trying to build his web in the rain one night on one of our kitchen windows. Nothing like a little oddity now and then.

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A Carry Over from My Other Blog

This was my last post on my other blog before it died on me, so for a little continuity, I thought I'd post it here in the new one, plus I had so many lovely comments, I wanted to add them as well.

Pick Your Color --Gray or Black?

From gray to blackest black, all the news stories this weekend really offered very few bright threads, but we have to take them where we find them. It is increasingly obvious that the whole country – news media included have one hope and that is that this election is over soon and that the candidate who offers the most hope for the future wins by an unquestionable margin.

One of the brightest threads of the weekend was Colin Powell’s endorsement of Obama on “Meet The Press”. One of the darker tales was the story of A.I.G., the insurance giant bailed out by taxpayers for $123 billion. Just when we thought they had finally been shamed into stopping their post-bailout spa treatments, luxury sports suites, Vegas and California post resort retreats, it was discovered much to our amazement, that some A.I.G. execs were cavorting at a lavish shooting party at a British country manor. Check out Maureen Dowd’s Op-Ed piece to read about the undercover reporter who followed the “feckless financiers on their $86,000 partridge hunt as they tromped through the countryside in tweed knickers, and then later as they slurped fine wine and feasted on pigeon breast and halibut.” Dowd says that these days she’s feeling pretty much like what Charles Dickens described as the “vengeful and bloodthirsty Madame Defarge sharpening her knitting needles at the guillotine”. I can relate to that.

Then, how about Icesave.co.uk where British citizens, municipalities and universities – including Cambridge had their savings parked? When Tom Friedman checked out the Icesave Web site he discovered the headline: “Simple, transparent and consistently high-rate online savings accounts from Icesave”, but underneath in blue letters was the following note appended: “We are not currently processing any deposit or any withdrawal requests through our Icesave Internet accounts. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause our customers.” That’s more than an inconvenience – we’re talking total panic. See Tom Friedman’s column for more details.

But then there is an upside to all of this – can you believe that? A recession could actually save your life! According to Christopher Ruhm, an economist at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, the death rates go down during economic slowdowns. Now, granted, the suicides rise but total mortality rates drop, as do deaths from heart attacks, car accidents, pneumonia and most other causes.

Some experts are skeptical. But in downturns we drive less and so car accidents decline, while less business activity means fewer job accidents and less pollution. In addition to the fact that in recessions people have more leisure time and seem to smoke less, exercise more and eat more healthily. For more good news regarding recessions see Nicholas Kristoff’s Sunday column.

However, as far as I’m concerned I have had more than enough of politics, politicians, debates, recession, and fear-mongering. There has still, it seems to me, been more bad news than good for much of the time. Let’s hope the next fifteen days hurry by and that MAYBE we can finally see the light at the end of what has seemed to be an endless eight year tunnel.

Patty - I will be glad when it is over, I think Obama will win. fingers crossed.

Deborah Godin - Thanks for another informative post! And the key words are the last two in the first paragraph - "unquestionable margin" - here's hoping!!

Patsy - I will be glad when it is over, I think Obama will win. fingers crossed.

ugich konitari -I sometimes think we suffer from "excessive-informationitis". The constant statistics, numbers, percentages, of folks living it up/suffering/being laid off/driving etc etc, probably bother us a lot more when we hear the numbers. In an age with no access to instant statistics, maybe each of us would have observed the price of groceries going up, premiums going up, the gradual change in the value of the dollar , how much more a tankful of gas costs etc, and individually taken steps on our own , to gradually tighten up and help the economy in our own way. Hopefully, all this finger pointing,cribbing,accusing etc will come to an end in another 15 days. I have watched previous US elections from afar, and looks like folks are really slugging it out a bit wildly this time. They say there is always bright daylight at the end of a long dark tunnel....ylqmbp

bobbie : Oh yes, I SO want it to be over with. Both local and federal. I never in my life put a political sign on my lawn - until this year. Now I have one for local mayor and councilman at large, in a desperate attempt to influence a few more who might pass by.So far as financial worries - I don't have any because I didn't have any money to begin with. But it has become a very interesting spectacle to watch.

Your photo at the top of the page is stunningly beautiful, Sulvia.Like you, I read the Opinion Page of the New York Times and William Kristol's piece in this morning's edition left me totally bewildered. He was stumbling all over himself trying to justify his Republican views. I think it's getting harder for even a die hard Conservative to find anything appealing with John McCain's slimy campaign.

It's been a hard fall politically but the colors of bright orange, red, intense yellows and dropping leaves everywhere are definitely bright spots. The Northwest doesn't always get beautiful autumns because we have less maples than say the northeast, but I was out yesterday and some areas were really outstanding. Some is we haven't had the heavy rains to ruin the colors-- yet.

Ah, Sylvia, you said it all, as you so often do. When I can't stand to worry about this election for another single moment, I work on my recipe blog. So frivolous of me. However, I am focusing today on Colin Powell's comments. At last, AT LAST, someone has spoken (and most eloquently) about our nation's growing Islamophobia. I will spend the rest of my day hoping that his words take root. It's better than worrying about the voting machines in West Virginia that are
switching Democrats' votes to Republican ones.

Deborah Godin
Thanks for another informative post! And the key words are the last two in the first paragraph - "unquestionable margin" - here's hoping!!

Starting Over

Please bear with me for a bit, having to start from scratch is really the pits, but hopefully over the next few days I can get it all back at least pretty much as it was. Thanks to all the people that have been so helpful in getting the word out about my blogging disaster. Still don't know for sure what caused it -- my old blog is still available to all, I just can't add anything to it. So, I got as close as I could with this one, but as I said, it's going to take some time and my next few days were already pretty filled up with stuff to do and I'm still feeling pretty frustrated and generally pissed off, but what do you do? Sit down and cry or get a new one up and running as quickly as possible. This has been far too much fun, has brought so much pleasure, so many new friends -- it's worth the effort.

Now, back to work!

What Can I Say?

What Can I Say?
I'm interested in almost everything. Use to like to travel, but it's too expensive now. I take Tai Chi classes, swim, volunteer in a Jump-start program for pre-schoolers. I'm an avid reader and like nearly everyone these days I follow politics avidly. I'm a former teacher and Special Projects Coordinator for a Telecommunications company, Assistant to the President of a Japanese silicon wafer manufacturing company. Am now enjoying retirement -- most of the time. I have two daughters, one son-in-law and two sons scattered all over the country. No grandchildren.

Portland Time