A New Day

Alli was surprised that I hadn’t posted anything about the election so here it is:

I’m giving President Elect Obama the benefit of the doubt. I hope he’s true to his word about being everyone’s president. I’ll support him and express my opinion when I disagree. I’m hopeful that he can have a positive impact on our country. He has a lot of strengths and positive characteristics…I really think he can be a uniter.

I was disappointed but not surprised that McCain lost (that’s who I begrudgingly voted for). I hope people have learned that you can’t elect a candidate you think others will vote for. You have to have a nominee you personally believe in and will stand up for. I’m even more disappointed in the McCain’s (staff’s) disparaging remarks about Sarah Palin. Throwing the running mate (that he chose) under the bus only makes him look more pathetic.

I listened to several interviews and I was surprised by some people’s reactions. One woman said “I never thought this day would come, I won’t have to worry about my car payment, my mortgage, if I support him, he’ll take care of me.” I’m kind of looking forward to the reaction of these people when they realize he simply can’t deliver that.

I think it’ll be fun to see little kids in the White House.

I listened to several people who were so relieved and gratified to have an African American President. Throughout the campaign I’ve been annoyed by all references to race but when I listened to these ladies I realized I may be naive. One woman was relieved that an African American man would live in the White House that was built by slaves. She said she thinks of those slaves everyday when she passes by. Really? You think of slavery everyday? Another woman said that “all of that” (slavery) is forgiven with the election of Obama. I don’t know what it’s like to think of your ancestors in that position. I don’t know what it’s like to feel oppressed because of injustices incurred years ago. However, it sounds like there are people who do know what that feels like even today and that makes me sad. If Obama becoming president really does heal that hurt and recompense that wrong, then I’ll happily endure an Obama Presidency for the well-being of those Americans. There was a famous compromise years ago to enable our country to survive by allowing slavery to continue. I’ll happily make a compromise today if it will finally end that slavery.

I was relieved to find that Prop 8 had passed in CA. I’m grateful to all of the people who worked hard to see that it passed. What a blessing to know that there are so many courageous people who are willing to stand up for traditional marriage during a time when it is increasingly harder to do so. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


October Weekend #3

No, it’s not over yet-we had a long month! As a sidenote, I would do a Halloween post of RJ and myself but I forgot to have someone take our picture the 2 times we wore our costumes. We were Upper & Lower GI. I got 1 set of fatigues and dog tags and Ritchie wore the pants (lower GI) with a tan shirt. I wore khakis, the tops and a hat (upper GI). It was fun and easy.

Ok, after watching our beloved Cougars eek out a victory in Provo we had some doubts about their fire going into the TCU game. Despite that, we made the trek to Dallas and showed up to a game that the Cougs chose not to. It may well be the worst game I’ve ever seen them play and we felt they owed us SOMETHING for our efforts to drive so far to watch them. Luckily we sat with some good friends and enjoyed their company despite the disappointment of the game.

After the game we spent the night with Uncle Chris and Aunt Sally. We stayed up chatting and eating pizza until we couldn’t keep our eyes open. The next morning we saw them off to work and school (the game was on a Thursday) and then RJ and I headed to Houston to celebrate a certain little man’s birthday…

What a sweet little face. We love hanging out with this boy and his “flamingo”-dancin’ family. Super had received a special Spanish dress from Grandma and Grandpa and K and I convinced her it’d be fun to get “in costume” and chat with G&G on the webcam. We got her all decked out and K proceeded to teach her just what a flamenco dancer does…

And that was with a stiff neck. It was pretty sweet…Super thought so too. Let’s see, what else…Had the Dad kicked our trash in Monopoly, we had a fun birthday party, we played outside, Super covered me in stickers, we had some good food, the customary ice cream and a just a great time, as usual…

We also went out to dinner with RJ’s parents just before their proudly displayed their Pontiac at a local car show. It was fun to see some of the cars people had restored. Dad-you would’ve loved it.

Driving home after church on Sunday, we talked about what a great weekend it had been. Our life seems a little boring these days but we sure were grateful for our October adventures!

October Weekend #2

We spent a quick week(me)/weekend(RJ) in Utah. We enjoyed seeing family and we missed seeing friends but this trip was a full one :). I stayed with G&G one night and got to eat peaches, raspberries, and perfect homemade bread to my heart’s content. After a quick drive south I saw this little one dancin’ her heart out:

I couldn’t give her and her sister enough lovin’. Those girls are so cute~

Heids and I had many adventures just the two of us-a trip up to “the BYU” to meet up with Ash and Tyler and a sleepover at Ash & Nate’s.

We all visited Tyler in his dorm, we went to the Creamery for dessert and I got to watch Steven and Nate play intermurals at 9 pm…it brought back fun memories-those were the days.

One of our more comical moments was observing Ashley’s parking methods when she’s nervous about dinging the fancy car…

Ritchie had a seminar Friday and we got to visit Chris, Heather and the kids that afternoon/evening. We had a fun time playing in their fort, eating pizza and playing statue. (Heather, how did I not get any pictures??)

On Saturday we went to the BYU game which was fun-more from the company than from how the Cougs played. My sisters just buy tickets and then sit wherever they want so we gave it a try since all of us had tickets in different spots. Though I nervously eyed everyone who walked up to section FF, we weren’t bothere the whole time. I was glad we did it :).

After the game and fight through traffic, we stopped in at Nielsen’s for dinner & custard…it was good!

This is what we found the next morning as we spent a fun day with Uncle Mark & Aunt Heidi:

It was pretty great, we got to see fall & winter in one trip.

Finally, on my last night we celebrated with some home-made carmel apples. You’ll notice Ariel there in the background wearing her bathing suit while the rest of us are in jeans and sweatshirts. She’s a kick.

It was a terrific trip-we came home feeling relaxed and grateful for the chance to visit.

An Ill-Fated Day for Dough

When I woke up at 5 this morning and couldn’t go back to sleep, I wondered if it was a bad omen for the day. Trying to think positively, I figured I could be super-productive. Bread-making was on my list today. I always have the best intentions about homemade bread but it seems that I never make it unless I am completely out so I’ve deliberately left bread off my list for the last 2 shopping trips. Being in dire circumstances, I was pressed into making bread today, bad karma or not.

I feel quite domestic when I bake and in all my enthusiasm, I often mix in all the flour without paying attention to the texture of the dough. So after dumping in all 6 cups of flour, I realized that my dough was a little too stiff. I figured my Bosch was equal to the task of softening it out so I let it go to work, figuring I’d take a quick shower and be back to check on it’s progress. Just before bounding up the stairs, I turned it up to high speed, assuming that would help with the dough stretching. 30 minutes later (I, of all people, should know that I am simply not capable of taking a 10 minute shower) I found my dough at approximately 150 degrees and thicker than the proverbial molasses in January. Undeterred, I dumped it into my greased bowl, covered it and set the timer for rising time. Since I needed to make a trip to the store, I decided to “hurry” and dry my hair, return my library book, and go to Walmart, all in 90 minutes. (Note: drive time alone to the library and Walmart is approximately 45 minutes). While I was out I decided to make our truck payment which further delayed my return. When I arrived home 2.5 hours later, the dough had risen but not doubled. My faith that it would eventually turned out had waned but I punched it down to see if it would rise again. After another 30 minutes it became apparent that I’d killed any yeast this dough had working for it. Ever-resourceful, I decided that bagels might be in order instead. Mind you I’ve never made bagels but I figure they need a “stiff” dough and upon consulting my cookbook my assumptions were confirmed. Never mind that the other recipe is completely different from the bread recipe I just botched. I’m pretty sure Einstein’s will be calling me any day now…I did learn a few valuable tips for bagel making…
1. Just like most things made from dough, bagels increase in size as they boil AND bake so you should not start them at full size unless you want mammoth bagels (see above).
2. It is important to completely seal the two ends that you attach to make the circle-otherwise you have half a bagel (see above).
3. There must be some secret to the fancy cornmeal that professionals use…it just made the bottoms of my bagels stay firmly adhered to the pan (see above mangled center bagel).
4. Even if your bagels look horrible they can still be edible with some butter and jam.

And since I didn’t buy any bread while I was at Walmart, it was back to square one with the dough. Hopefully we’ll get bread this time.

October Weekend #1

Cycling enthusiast that he’s become, Ritchie trained for months for his Bike to the Beach. It’s an annual 2-day bike ride from here to Corpus Christi totaling 150ish miles. He started bright and early Saturday morning and rode on the highway shoulder from the AT&T Center to this college in Beeville, TX. I was surprised at how big the campus was for a little town. I just missed seeing him finish the first leg of the ride so I had him stand under the sign instead.

He’s been training twice a week with a team sponsored by the local broadcaster, Clear Channel. It was pretty sweet because we got to hang out in the Corporate tent all day. The free tent amenities included All-we-could-eat Pappasitos, snacks galore, waterbottles, sunglasses clips, t-shirts, and 3 massage therapists (the only thing just for riders). Apparently, this is what a cycling champion eats after riding 90 miles:

(chips & queso)

Everything was very well-orchestrated. The gyms were open for riders to set up sleeping bags on the floor. The locker rooms were open for showers and bathroom use. The cafeteria was open the next morning for breakfast. We actually just camped out in the back of our truck overnight. It was pretty fun but next time we’re going to try foam mats. It was kinda tough to wedge our two air mattresses in between the wheel wells. We were both pretty tired so after a few rounds of farkle we hit the hay. Ritchie bid farewell to Beeville the next morning at 7:30 with a bizillion other people.

(just left of the closest flag)

And then he rode…

And rode…
(“drafting” third from the back)

Until finally:

What’s Growing On Around Here…

So while most of my family members are wrapping up gardening for the year, here in San Antonio we’re just getting started on a new season. Here are a few things we’ve got growing right now…

Oranges-they’re SO good!

(Please pay no attention to the fried grass which is definitely having trouble growing right now 🙂

Tomatoes-Still waiting for these fall ones to ripen

Peppers that are filling the freezer

Plumbago-in all it’s fall glory

Ritchie’s Muscles-from doing so much biking

And this little one…12 weeks and counting

Well Done

I received this article and I agree 100%. The author sheds light on the fact that no action could cause some rough months but it’s not Armageddon. Anyway, he says it much better than me. And then today…even though Wachovia was sold to Citigroup, so far, so good for everyone else. When I left the dentist’s office and heard that the house rejected the bill, I cheered. Unfortunately my rep voted FOR the bill. I emailed him to inform him of our disdain for his vote. I don’t think he’s up for election though so maybe he doesn’t care. Hang in there House!

Thank Goodness Somebody’s Got Some Guts

I was ranting in a comment on Lisa’s blog so I decided to write one of my own. This week I’ve spent a lot of time listening to the radio and reading the paper, trying to learn more about the so-called “Economic Crisis” that we’re in. At the beginning of the week I was angry at the thought of such a huge government handout that will increase our taxes and saddle our children and grandchildren with a ton of debt. Now, at the end of the week, I’m fuming.

The more I learned about this ridiculous piece of legislation, the more frustrated I get because it doesn’t simply contain money for failing banks. As they’re negotiating an agreement, our “leaders” are sneaking in money or clauses for their own special projects or buddies. As if the largest government takeover in history isn’t enough. My tax dollars. Are you KIDDING ME?

I’m frustrated that the government set up regulations requiring lending institutions to give loans to people who couldn’t afford them. Though I feel for them, I’m mad at those people for getting loans that weren’t prudent and I’m mad at the companies for mis-managing them. But what I really can’t get over is the fact that no one wants to take responsibility and end the madness. We think we can just keep with the buy now and pay later philosophy that is rampant throughout society. It will be hard to keep a free, democratic government when half the population seems bent on socialism and entitlement. I’m not excited about the idea of a recession but the free market is a system that corrects itself. The reason that it works is because it ebbs and flows. If we don’t let it correct, the longer we go on trying to live in perma-prosperity, the harder we’ll eventually crash. I can remember money being tight when I was younger, our mom made most of our clothes. Today, I sew clothes and gifts for fun, not out of necessity. However, I’m not afraid of a rough time because hard things make us stronger, help us learn important lessons and most of all keep us humble.

So my gratitude is to the House Republicans who wouldn’t buckle under Pelosi and pass a ridiculous bill. Thank you for standing up for the taxpayers and letting everyone know there are other ways to cushion this economic blow. Thank you for suggesting a much less expensive plan that offers insurance for risky loans which leaves accountability with the companies. Thank you for leading and good luck working with those other dingbats out there who don’t seem to understand that the free market needs to drive our problem solving efforts. Please let people keep more of their own money to invest, free up some cash by limiting the capital gains tax or lowering corporate taxes. Let us invest more of our money and we’ll do it wisely. This may mean that we have some rough years but I honestly think that might do this country some good.

Go Cougs!

So last week I watched the Cougars deliver a sound thrashing to UCLA. Apparently it was UCLA’s worst loss since 1929. I think they could’ve beaten them by more than 59-0 because they put in their second string just after half time. I know a few folks who were at the game and I hope they enjoyed it…those were the days! This past weekend I followed an ESPN GameCast where they beat Wyoming in a shutout as well. This is a great season so far!

In other news, I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. I really like historical fiction. Wars, with their surrounding circumstances and controversies intrigue me. I just finished a Shaara novel about WW1 and I’m currently reading the first in his WW2 trilogy. In both books I’ve been surprised to learn about the circumstances surround the US entry into each war. In each instance, the Allies were DEPENDENT on the United States for victory. In the first world war, we were seen as a dangerous infant, haphazardly flinging itself into the fray. However, the outcome of our fortitude was a victory…a victory which resulted in a flawed treaty but no additional soil for US use.

Similarly, in WW2, the Allied effort recognized that the US forces would rejuvenate the tired troops already in the field. All of this information was a surprise to me (as we were always rushing to cover the 1900’s-present section in history). It’s made me consider those same “Allies” now and how much support they give us when we go to someone else’s aid. I think perhaps they’ve forgotten what it’s like to be the conquered nation, to be the nation in need of help.

It’s also frustrating to read about the diplomats and politicians, the people who were in it for personal fame in the history books. I’m also astounded by Hitler and Mussolini’s BLIND proclamations of victory despite reports to the contrary coming from the North Africa theatre of the war. How is it that I’ve lived over a quarter of a century and I don’t know these things? How is it that I’ve not been taught in school about the amazing bravery and courage of men who fought for strangers, men who fought to preserve someone else’s liberty, men who would carry the scars of war, physically and emotionally for the rest of their lives? The more I read the more I appreciate the destiny of this great country and the good that we have done and will continue to do. God Bless America.