Are You Better Off Than You Were Four Years Ago?

That’s the question being asked (again) by the republican presidential campaign.

But it’s the wrong question. In fact, it’s a self centered question that points directly to the “Iv’e got mine, so fuck you” attitude of much of the leaders of the republican party.

The idea that politics is all about “ME” lays at the very heart of what is wrong in American politics. This relentless focus on the individual and individual success leads down a path that ends in an Ayn Rand utopia where the rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and opportunity comes to those who can afford to pay for it on their own.

The question that we all should be asking is:

Are AMERICA, and It’s PEOPLE better off than they were 4 years ago?

My answer would be a resounding YES!

Here are a few examples of why I think the country in a better place today than it was when G.W. Bush left office:

Instead of being embroiled in 2 unnecessary wars that drained our economy and sent far too many of our young men and women off to be killed or maimed, we have ended one war, and are in the process of ending the second. There are those who say that President Obama hasn’t done enough on this front, but it’s harder to clean up the mess than it is to create it in the first place. Simply leaving Afghanistan would create a power vacuum that wreak havoc across western Asia.

The U.S. economy IS in better shape than it was 4 years ago. 27 months of job growth, stock markets at levels not seen since 2008, and an auto industry that not only survived, but is now making money. (Can you imagine what would have happened if the car makers had been allowed to fail? Our economy would have been in a pit so deep that it would have taken DECADES to climb out of it.) Are things perfect? No, but people forget that the policies of the past administration and the republican party thrust our nation into the worst recession since the great depression. It’s going to take a little more than 4 years for things to get back to great.

On the healthcare front, millions of people that have had no health care coverage will now be able to have access to the same services that those of us who DO have health insurance have enjoyed for years. The Affordable Care Act does a lot to improve the health and well being of the entire nation.

The image of the U.S. in the rest of the world has improved. During the bush years, the rest of the world saw the U.S. as the bully on the block, led by an imbecile with little or no notion of what it meant for a nation to lead by example and consensus instead of hegemonic bullying.

The LGBT community is also better off now than 4 years ago. DADT has been repealed (With no impact to military readiness or moral), and the current administration has opted not to defend the clearly unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act in the courts. Over the last 4 years, we have moved closer to equality than we have ever been in the past.

So yes, the country as a whole IS better off than it was 4 years ago, with an bright future ahead of it. Unless of course Mitt Romney wins in November, then it will be back to 2008 and we get to do it all over again.

January 10, 2012: The Lawn Files

Image

Umm, Excuse me ….Mr. Dandelion? ….  I’m sure you must have seen the memo. It’s only January 10th. I’m not sure exactly why you would choose to bloom now.  Yes, I know it’s been a wacky winter so far, with no snow to speak of and temperatures in the 40s and 50s. OK, suit your self…  but come summer, it’s me, you and the Weed-Be-Gone!

I think someone got up a little earlier than normal.

 

Not bad for a 32 year old……

We are watching Star Trek: The Motion Picture , and I’m struck by a couple of things:

  1. Were spanx invented for specifically for Shatner in this film?
  2. This is a 32 year old movie.

The movie holds up rather well for having been made in 1979, in an era before computer effects.

I remember my mother taking me to see this movie for my 15th birthday in 1980. I think I’ve held up well too.

 

One Week Down, 51 to Go!

A quick recap of my first week of the year:

Cinnamon rolls and mimosas. A sweet start to the year.

Sunday January 1, in addition to being New Years Day, was also my 47th birthday. We started the day with cinnamon rolls and mimosas, followed by a late lunch at Smith and Wollensky. The pepper corn crusted sirloin steak I ate was awesome. We passed on the lobster and truffle mac and cheese. Eating that on the first day of the year would make everything else we ate this year seem pale in comparison. Later that evening there was birthday cake, and Steve gave me a new strap for my camera. That was in addition to the new MacBook Pro he helped pay for back in November.

One of these ended up being my birthday cake. I love my husband

 

Monday, Tuesday and Thursday this week were work days. As work days go, things weren’t too bad. Work is kind of slow now, as the patient census is down. This is typical for this time of year. People tend to put off elective surgeries like knee and hip replacements until after the holidays, or until spring. After all, who would want to hobble around on crutches on the snow and ice? In a typical winter, we start seeing people in need of rehab services after falls on icy steps or walks, but this year, with a lack of snow cover or cold weather, that hasn’t happened. Most of the week I only had 12-14 patients to care for. ( That might seem like a lot, but the rehab unit I usually work on can have up to 19 patients, while the long-term unit I work occasionally has 33.)

Days off this week were spent doing homework, or playing Civilization V.  I’m not saying which one got the majority of my attention.

So, one week down, and 51 more to go.  This promises to be an interesting year, with a presidential election coming up followed closely by the end of the world as we know it  Mayan Calendar on December 20. Or 21… Or 23rd…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving day was a low key affair at our house this year, with me having to work all day, and the extended family otherwise occupied.

The day at work was mostly uneventful, except for having to send a patient to the hospital late in my shift. I hated having to do it, knowing that a family’s Thanksgiving celebration was going to be interrupted. But I suppose that given the choice between this being remembered as “the Thanksgiving that Grandma went to the Hospital” rather than “the Thanksgiving that Grandma Died” , most families would prefer the former.

Once work was over, it was time to head home and spend what was left of the day with Steve.

We opted to go out for dinner, and had made reservations at McCormick and Schmick’s, an establishment best known for awesome seafood. For the holiday however, they were offering a traditional 3 course turkey dinner. I’ll admit that my expectations were not that high, having had more than one mediocre restaurant thanksgiving dinner in years past.

I must say however, that I was very pleasantly surprised! From cocktails (My Makers Mark manhattan was made perfectly) to dessert, the experience was well worth the price. The service was awesome, the food was great and over all it was a great holiday dinner.

I’m thankful for so much this year that it would take too much time to list it all. I’ll just say that sometimes, it makes sense to leave your comfort zone, and take a leap. And I’m thankful for the people that made that leap easier. You know who you are.  Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

Autumn, and Everything After

Autumn. The evening of the year. The Earth sheds the bright exuberance of summer with a final blaze of color and gold light that will give way to the dark introspection of winter.

This time of year is the perfect time to remember that the true nature of the world is change. The green leaves of summer change to autumn red and orange, the fields that once exploded with corn and wheat have been harvested and now sport a more somber brown and gold. The buzzing of insects that once filled the evening with music has ceased, and the susurration of the the leaves has given way to the low rush of  wind through bare branches.

All things and beings change with the seasons of life. Indeed, change is the only true constant in the universe.

Change is inevitable and attempting to resist the changes that come our way leads to dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Learning to embrace change, and to “roll with the punches” can bring us closer to happiness in this life.

In Buddhism, we are taught the Five Remembrances:

 

I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old. 

I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health. 

I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death. 

All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them. 

 My deeds (actions) are my closest companions. 

I am the beneficiary of my deeds.

My deeds are the ground on which I stand. 

Many people reading this might think that this is depressing, and makes Buddhism seem like a depressing and nihilistic philosophy when in fact, it is quite the opposite. By learning to embrace these truths, we can learn to stop struggling against the currents of change. We learn to live life in the here and now, instead of expending our energies on the worry and fear of inevitable change.

The over arching question is not “How can I avoid change?” but “How can I make choices in the here and now that will make change easier to deal with?”

For me, Autumn, with its reminder of inevitable change, has always been a time to set goals and to reevaluate the direction of my life. A time to ask “how can I effect the changes I want to see in my life?” A time to let go of things that are hindering me, and to embrace those things that will lead to a greater sense of satisfaction.

Will I be the same person next fall as I am now?  The work at hand is to build the person I will be in the future. One change at a time.

Maple leaves of green

Only reveal true colors

When the work is done

Our Radical Gay Agenda for Oct. 22-23

Our Radical Gay Agenda for the Weekend of October 22 – 23:

Saturday, October 22

We woke up on Saturday to a stunningly bright fall morning, the brilliant October sun chasing the last traces of the year’s first frost from the roof tops. After getting ourselves together, and taking Dakota for his walk, we decided to make the most of the day and head out on a little road trip to see some fall color.

We headed south, thinking that the color, having already peaked here in Columbus, might be more vibrant towards Cincinnati, and we were not disappointed. The trees were dressed in gold and orange, with the occasional red thrown in for drama. There were definitely more leaves on the trees than there was here, since we had just had a 3 day period of rain and high winds that had striped the trees in our area.

As we neared Cincinnati, Steve asked if I had ever been to Jungle Jim’s International Market. I had not. And it sounded just cheesy enough t o make an interesting stop on our trip.

Jungle Jim’s ( Here’s the link to the web site. CHECK IT OUT. Go ahead, I’ll wait………….)   Cheesy Huh? This place is like Cost Plus / World Market and Trader Joe’s mashed together with a side order of every cultural stereotype known to American man. Sleepy looking anamatronic mexican dudes in the Mexican food section, the english german section represented by Robin Hood and Maid Marian, the asian section populated with anglo saxon mannequins in pointed hats and pained on “asian style” eye makeup.

The place is HUGE, closer in size to a warehouse store than a conventional grocery.  The coolest thing about the place was the variety or merchandise available. If you need it, Jungle Jim probably has it.

Of course, I forgot to take any pictures of most of the place, but did manage to snap a pic of this awesome anthropomorphic cannibalistic  hotdog:

Eat me! Before I eat myself!

I also noticed this candy apple stand inside the store. I know the sign is supposed to say “Apples By Sharon” but the font makes it look like ” Apples by Suaron” And I though he was more of a jewelry designer!

One Candy Apple to Rule them All!

After we had seen everything there was to see at Jungle Jim’s, we headed up the road to the happiest place on Earth:

After a quick trip through IKEA, where I swear I only spent $60.00 ( On things we actually needed) we headed home, this time staying off of the freeways and taking Ohio Route 50 form Cincinnati to Chillicothe. Rt. 50 winds its way through woods and farm land, through several small towns. I like drives like this, as it reminds me of the area I grew up in.

Sunday, October 23

Sunday was all about domesticity, starting with home-made french toast for breakfast:

I wonder. If you use Texas toast to make French toast, does a republican have an aneurism?

The rest of the day was spent making split pea soup in the crockpot, doing yard work and laundry, and catching this weeks episode of Boardwalk Empire.

Speaking of Boardwalk Empire, if you’re not watching it, you should be. Some of the best TV on now. And if the guy playing Richard doesn’t get an Emmy nomination next year, there’s something wrong with the universe.

So there you have it folks. Our radical gay agenda. We’ll leave the whole “threatening the very fabric of American society” thing till next weekend.