Friday, August 24, 2012

Apathy and Animosity

Have you noticed that everyone is either snapping and sniping at each other, or they are completely apathetic and don't care? I've been talking to young adults around me, trying to convince them to get out and vote, but they don't think their vote counts so they don't see any reason to vote anyway. It's very annoying. I try to explain why it is so important to vote, and not let a small minority of voters make choices for us all.

I was talking to someone who said they weren't registered to vote and I tried to convince her it was very important to vote. Only about 30% voted in the last election. My friend said their vote didn't count because it was all in the hands of the electoral college anyway. That's just wrong. There are more things to vote on than the Presidential election, although that is a very important reason to vote in itself, You may not be directly picking the candidate but your voice should be heard.

Our electoral system is being torn apart by both parties and their refusal to work issues out and accomplish something. This divisive attitude has been in existence for years but it has never been more prevalent than it is today.

The immediate right wing of the electoral system wants to use their conservative platform to change the face of America and make it a nation ruled by the religious zealots on the right. We do not need zealots with any agenda controlling this country. It has always been a secular country and it should always be. It was never intended to be governed by religion. Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Baptists from Danbury Connecticut  in 1802.

"Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should "make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", thus building a wall of separation between Church & State." 

The Tea party keeps beating the drum demanding that their candidates refuse to raise taxes ever! The uber-rich want to continue the Bush tax breaks for the wealthy. Taxes were 39% until Bush cut them 4%, to 35%. Wealthy people hire accountants who help them manage their money and apply any loopholes they can find to reduce their taxes. Mitt Romney admitted that he has paid 13-15% taxes for the last few years. That is far below the 35% that you and I pay.

The issues in this election are the economy, and the lack of jobs across America. President Obama didn't have any cooperation in pushing his bills through congress, so he may have thought it would be hard to get cooperation with creating manufacturing jobs and developing a diverse array of products that could be sold in America. I believe it is imperative.

Continuing the tax cuts for the rich is not in the best interest of our country. Tax rates aren't nearly as high as they have been in the past for the wealthy in this country. The highest tax rates were 95% under President Eisenhower's administration. 

I think America is schizophrenic. We have to be. I can't explain any other reason that we would flip-flop back and forth between the Democrats and the Republicans. Nobody seems to remember George Bush and his horrible presidency. He was a very manipulative and divisive president. He took this nation into two wars. He spent billions of dollars for war and he borrowed it from a communist country. Raise your hand if you think that's stupid.

The stress is starting to become too much. People think the economy is in the toilet and their lives are being ruined while congress is dicking around fighting each other. There aren't enough jobs out there and the dangerous economic situation we are in is hurting everyone. The stock market is booming though, and companies are making record profits so it's all good. When will we feel the trickle down effect? I want to know.

If the Republicans get into the White House, and take control of the economy, and cut programs, and continue to disenfranchise voters, we will all pay. Every time I have seen the federal government cut spending and taxes, states pick up the slack and start taxing it's citizens. When our state isn't able to tap into the federal budget and get earmarks for pork barrel projects like roadwork, schools, and pet projects everybody is disappointed.

Gordon County has been working for several years trying to line up money for big projects. Some money is needed to revamp ramps on the freeway. They also want government money to create tourist parks and a driving tour throughout places where battles were fought during the Civil War.

I've noticed that when the federal taxes are lower my state taxes are higher. But it doesn't even stop there. My local taxes are higher, too. And I'm not finished. Every freaking bill we get goes UP in cost when the economy gets bad. 

I guess the cable company is losing too many customers when they lost their homes so they have to start gouging the customers they have to keep their profits high. Don't even get me started on everything else that goes up. Oh God! The property taxes! Everyone who owns a home or property is struggling under a crushing debt of taxes. I think the government has a wicked sense of humor because all our taxes are due around Christmas time. I guess they want to crush the human spirit.

The same goes for the other companies that raise rates and slip in hidden charges in our bills. My telephone bill is chock full of coded services and indecipherable information. 

I'm talking about my taxes to let you know that it is impossible to get away from paying taxes. Everybody has to pay the piper. Nearly everything you purchase is taxed. Your YooHoo, your Twinkie, your gasoline, your home. It's all taxed by the man.

If you know me, you already know I'm a Democrat, and if you're ever around me you know I'm adamant. As we roll closer to the end of this electoral battle, I have become very vocal and very insistent in trying to educate and explain why it is important to vote for Mr. Obama again for President.

When Barack Obama ran for president I wasn't enthused to have him stepping into the limelight and stealing Hillary Clinton's thunder. I was poised to celebrate the inauguration of the first female president. 

Obama happened to be at the right place at the right time. Senator Ted Kennedy was instrumental in helping Obama secure the nomination. 

There was no choice between McCain and Obama after McCain picked Sarah Palin for his Vice Presidential running mate. McCain had been a Senator for decades and knew lots of people but he chose an unknown first term governor from Alaska. If that was an example of his first policy choice, it didn't give me any confidence in him. 

George Bush used fear tactics and intimidation to whip the public into supporting two wars. Every time a hearing in congress came up concerning funds, or dissent from anyone, the Republican machine went to work calling people unpatriotic, or traitors. They were quick to label people communists, or socialists. Everyone still throws around those terms today. They still want to control with fear and propaganda and it works!

I think George Bush and his evil sidekick Dick Cheney took American politics to a new low. They tried to instill a sports like frenzy as they distributed playing cards with terrorist's pictures on them. Every time they bombed something, or killed anyone, it was splashed all over the news. They used every tool in the book to promote and inspire a team spirit in America about the war.

People were on such a frenzied high because of the war that they became rabid when they talked to anyone who didn't support the war or the excuses that were used to explain why we were invading Iraq. Bush first expressed hostility when Iraq refused to allow nuclear inspectors in their country. Before a resolution could be reached, and without the consent of the United Nations, Bush ordered the invasion of Iraq.

The news played it as a historic occasion when we "freed the Iraqis" and suggested that we would be greeted as liberators. Bush claimed that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD's). Some sketchy information confirmed this suspicion. When Joe Wilson's report became public that he couldn't find any evidence of Iraq trying to buy uranium from Niger, Dick Cheney allegedly uses his friend and cohort Scooter Libby to out Jim Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, as a spy. Holy Double-cross Batman!

Politics is a dirty business. Backstabbing, and double-cross, and lies are strongly enmeshed in politics. I see it all the time on a small scale when I watch the wranglings of the local politicians but it is becoming very disturbing to see that the federal government is getting deeper in the cesspool now. Their job is to take care of the nation and to help their community. Those two jobs shouldn't be held hostage by politicians who went to Washington to prevent any progress and to block any legislature that would benefit Obama's administration.

People are afraid of Obama. The immediate right paints him as the devil incarnate. He isn't the one who got America in two wars and squandered million upon millions of dollars that would be better spent here in America. He was just the man who had to clean up after it. America and the rest of the world would have sunk into a depression to rival the one in the '30's if Obama hadn't propped up the stock market and auto industry. A Judge in Texas is predicting a Civil War if Obama wins again. The right wing is going dangerously towards the edge. They are creating more loonies every day. Honestly! Can we say Koo-Koo for Coco Puffs?

The rabid right is going to come out in force in November to assure themselves of dethroning Obama at the expense of common sense and their own best interests just to rid themselves of an educated, intelligent, thoughtful, diligent, leader who happens to be black and a Democrat. They are blind to the needs of the less fortunate and the possibility that they may need government assistance some day, probably when they are in a nursing home. I wonder what we will do when families have to face that full financial burden without government assistance.

I saw a comment about the atmosphere of the 2012 election fervor over Obama on a message board which summed it up nicely.

Jame s Holloway said, "So the racists are circling the wagons. The one thing that Mr O's election has done that no one can debate is, it's brought the racists out of the closet into the main street of town."

Nobody should be uninformed in this day and age. Go online and read about each candidate and the issues. If you are not rich, why would you vote for someone who only cares about the rich, and will cut programs for the needy?

Everybody should get out and vote. We shouldn't leave it to the few. Research politicians and issues then go vote in November and help choose our next president. It doesn't matter if you vote for Romney or Obama. The important thing is to exercise your citizen's right to choose. Many people around the world have died fighting for the right to vote. Don't squander your freedom. Don't let someone take the right to vote away.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Baby's Going To School

It's that time of year again. Time to go back to school. We had a good long summer but it's time to get to work again. It's a big shock for little ones who are starting school for the very first time. This is the beginning of many firsts in their lives. The first time many of them are away from their mother. The first time they learn to obey teachers. The first time they go to class all day with other children. The first time they stand in line at the lunchroom. The first time they ride a school bus. The first holiday at school. 

There will be so many things they will learn and get to enjoy. Their innocence is precious and fleeting. I envy them getting to learn so many things for the very first time. 

I loved school holidays. I remember the decorations we made for the holidays. Every occasion became a time of joy as we cut colorful construction paper and pasted it together, as we learned to celebrate each season. School was fun when I was little.

The new school year is no less stressful for the older kids. School is a time of learning and socializing and, as they grow older, the pressure mounts. 

By the time I was in my teens I had to worry about fitting in and looking attractive. I did the best I could with what I had. 

The red and white checkered shirtwaist dress Momma wanted me to get was not attractive. I refused to let her buy it. Everyone would have made fun of me, comparing  my dress to a tablecloth. I can just imagine the comments they would have made. 

If you survive your school years and graduate with your peers you should be proud of yourself. School is much harder than it was when I was young. I'm not sure I would survive it today. I'm glad my boys didn't take after me.

My baby's going back to school again. This will be his fourth year at Southern Polytech. I'll be so happy when he graduates. I've worried about him, and chided him, and encouraged him when he needed it. My baby ain't no baby no more. (Yes, I know that's a double negative.)

I usually stand at the window crying as I watch him drive away. This year I saw him off but I was so tired and sleepy I forgot to cry. 

Colt had been working all summer with Scout but Friday was his last day of work. He took Scout to work on Monday, and I took him Tuesday and Wednesday. I didn't get my usual nap out in the morning and I've been tired ever since. That's why I forgot to cry. 

Sometimes when Colt is around he bothers the crap out of me. I have to go around behind him, telling him to "pick this up" or "don't leave that there" like he is five years old. I don't see know how he takes care of himself when he's living in Marietta. I know he doesn't do any laundry because that's what he expects me to do when he comes home on weekends.

Every time I get used to having him back home, he has to go back to school. Then I have to get used to being alone again. Don isn't much company. When he comes home, he is so tired he plops down in his recliner and watches TV until time to eat or go to bed.

Colt and I have a confabulation every night. The computer is in his room so I spend a lot of time there. When he is not around, I can play on the computer all night. When he is home, he makes me get out of his room so he can sleep. Can you blame him?

We will have to get back into the school year routine. He will be gone through the week but I can expect him to come home with his laundry, and his burdens, ready to unload and relax. I try to give him well balanced meals when he is here. There's no telling what he eats through the week. Probably a lot of ramen noodles and too many energy drinks. I imagine Colt and his roommate, Bob, are typical college guys. By that I mean really, really messy.

I will be so happy when Colt finishes college. I have my fingers crossed that the job market improves soon and he is able to get a good job. We have high hopes. Just one more year. Just one more year. That is my mantra now. Whew! Hang in there baby. You're going to make it. We have faith in you. 

pass it on!

Little Layla started kindergarten this year, too.
Good luck little lady.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Best Laid Plans

I planned on cooking turkey and dressing last weekend for my birthday dinner but didn't get it thawed in time. I tried thawing the turkey in a cooler, but made the mistake of putting ice on it right away. It froze into a block of ice. I should have let it start thawing first, before covering it in ice. Live and learn, I reckon. I finally cooked it on Sunday.

The turkey turned out great and, despite a couple of meltdowns when I panicked, everything was delicious. To make it feel like a festive celebration, I made deviled eggs, and potato salad, to go with my turkey and dressing. 

I tried calling my parents but nobody answered the phone so I called Scout and told him I was fixing my birthday dinner, and invited them. Scout promised to come by later for leftovers. He had already eaten because he forgot I was cooking.

Oh well. So much for my family party. I didn't mind, though. Donny, and Colt, and I were more than willing to tear into everything and stuff ourselves silly with our feast. I don't cook turkey and dressing very often so it was a treat.

I got to eat turkey and dressing sandwiches for a couple of days, too. I love leftovers.

By Wednesday I knew I wanted something else to celebrate my birthday, so I made a pear pie. I know people usually have birthday cakes, but I love pies.

One year a friend of Donny's gave him some pears and I made a pear pie out of them. It was delicious so now I make pear pies whenever I can. If you like apple pies, you will probably love pear pies, too. 

There is a pear tree where Scout lives so he's given me some pears that I put up in the freezer. I got out a couple of boxes and thawed them. I added sugar and cinnamon after they thawed. I also made a flaky pie crust. 

I don't usually brag on myself but I have to admit it turned out really good.

I had a nice low key birthday and got to celebrate it over several days like I wanted to. It's easier to celebrate birthdays when you get older. You don't have to try to impress anyone, or do anything you don't want to do.

Nobody pays attention to your birthday when you get older so it's not a big deal. I got simple presents from my family this year and I was happy with everything I got.

I had to pick Scout up from work on my birthday so I talked him into putting my new tag on the car for me. I really appreciated that.

Colt went to Dairy Queen and bought me a hot dog and a banana split one night. I thought that was really sweet.

Donny came in with an empty 2 gallon bucket they get belzone in at work. I like to use the 2 gallon buckets for mulch buckets because they have a lid and insects can't get in them. That was useful. 

Momma called and sang to me. Who could ask for anything more?

My birthday would never be complete if I didn't get something for myself. This year I went to Kmart and bought a ceiling fan for the washroom and a bunch of yellow rubber ducks for my swimming pool. I also got a cool pink and yellow straw hat for $3 the other day.

I know we're supposed to be in a drought but it's been raining for weeks now. Every day I think about getting in our swimming pool it gets cloudy and thunders so I haven't been in the pool very much this summer.

I can't wait to get in my pool wearing my pink and yellow straw hat, and cheap sunglasses, surrounded by rubber duckies, floating around and around in circles in my backyard.

I may be old but I still feel like a little kid inside. That's why I thought it would be fun to have rubber duckies floating in our pool. Everybody needs a little whimsy in their lives. 

That's how I celebrated my birthday this year. How was yours?


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Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Ah, sweet mystery of life . . . August is my favorite month. The sun is high, the days are long, and the temperatures are really hot. As long as I can find a shady place, or an air conditioned room, with a cool drink I'm happy. At least, I'm lucky. I can go inside where it is cool when I want to. People who work outside don't have that advantage in this heat. People across the world who don't have those luxuries don't have a choice at all.

Last week Scout had some kind of bug and was sick all week. Colt had to work without him. Colt said he and Bob dug 14 post holes by hand one day. Bob dug a few near some underground power lines and Colt dug the rest. Colt said the soil was rocky and hard to dig. It took all day. He came in from work looking beat, covered in dirt, and dog tired. 

I was in the front yard hanging a new bird feeder under my Magnolia tree one day when Colt's friend, Brent, came to visit. He watched me wrap a metal coated coat hanger around a limb to hang my feeder on it. Brent remarked how he couldn't understand how I could stand being in the heat. I didn't think it was too hot. I'm used to it. We were in the shade under the Magnolia trees. It's like being under a gigantic umbrella. 

We use air conditioning in the house but I don't ever turn my A/C on in my car. I like riding with the windows down, soaking up the sounds and the smells around me. I like smelling fresh cut grass in the evenings and listening to the frogs and crickets as they begin their evening orchestration, don't you?

Living through the heat of summer is what makes us who we are in the south. If you can suffer the heat of a southern summer you can just about endure anything. Ain't that right, sugar?

Anyway, we had a couple of extremely hot weeks where temperatures hovered around 100 degrees and then it started to rain off and on for a few weeks. Anybody that's lived in the south knows that causes a summer sauna as the steam rises from the ground and engulfs you in it's hot, humid embrace. I don't know if the weather is extreme because of global warming but I certainly can believe it. It's rained so much we haven't been able to use our little swimming pool. I was just beginning to enjoy it.

My birthday is in August. I've decided to thaw out the frozen turkey in my freezer and fix myself a feast for my birthday. I love turkey and dressing but nobody seems to want to cook it in the summertime. I'm going to fix deviled eggs and potato salad and invite my family over to share it with me. I have two reasons to fix turkey and dressing for my birthday. First, and foremost, it's my birthday and I can do what I want, and second, I need to make room in the freezer for all the food I've been putting up out of our garden this summer. I already filled up one shelf and need room for more.

I have broccoli, cauliflower, turnip greens, tomatoes, and okra, among other things. Right now we are getting plenty of tomatoes and okra so I am stocking up for winter. I found out that fresh frozen food is better than canned food. It's also lots easier to freeze food than it is to can it, although I have plenty of experience canning food. I have a huge pressure canner and lots of jars that I can use if I run out of room in the freezer. I sound like Suzy Homemaker, don't I, but I'm not really.

The green beans we planted didn't do as well as we hoped so we didn't have many of those to put up but I found out that frozen beans from the grocery store are delicious and a great addition to my food supply.

A couple of years ago I decided to use my freezer more wisely in order to save money on my food bill and to decrease waste. I don't like buying canned goods because after they are opened, you tend to have so much waste to carry off. After I started eating more frozen food and found out it tasted better than canned food, I was hooked.

Everyone should learn to put up their own fruits and vegetables so that they can eat healthier and be assured of their food being put up under the best conditions. I hope you will consider joining me in my quest to cut down on waste and garbage. And remember, a mulch pile is a good place to throw out your scraps and it makes a wonderful worm bed. Talk about recycling!

Maybe I really am Suzy Homemaker . . .  Nah!

Tommie Lyn, Pat, Pam, Myra, Nancy, Nancy, Brenda, Chris, Randy, 
Jonnie Bell, Glo, Blake, Bob, Justin, Cole, Jerry

Susan and Bob

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