October 2008 Archives

five dollars at a time

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What can happen when you have the ability to mobilize a people for a cause that matters to them? Amazing things. I might have even accepted the invitation to drive to West Virginia this weekend to donate time and knock on doors except my early evangelical days reminded me that I really suck at that kind of thing. But I am continually impressed with the efficiency of the Obama machine that gets people off of their butts to volunteer. The creativity is relentless from giving away free tickets to the convention in trade for a few hours of time to the interactivity of their websites and prompting emails tailored to my interests. it isn't any wonder that "we the people" have paid attention. If the campaign is run this way, what possibilities open up if Obama ends up in the White House? I doubt it will involve unicorns and gold falling from the sky but I expect a lot of work will get done.

For those few folk that haven't donated yet here is the affidavit that you have to sign when sending your donation to the Obama campaign.

I am a United States citizen or a lawfully-admitted permanent resident.
I am at least 16 years old.
This contribution is not made from the general treasury funds of a corporation, labor organization or national bank.
This contribution is not made from the funds of a political action committee.
This contribution is not made from the treasury of an entity or person who is a federal contractor.
This contribution is not made from the funds of an individual registered as a federal lobbyist or a foreign agent, or an entity that is a federally registered lobbying firm or foreign agent.
The funds I am donating are not being provided to me by another person or entity for the purpose of making this contribution.

because he is like my husband

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Just a few days away from that sacred civic duty and I am putting some last thoughts together regarding the what and why I choose Obama.

I thought about the style in which I should do this. At first I thought I might compare the voting records of each candidate and cite them side by side, but it is so easy to get into a finger pointing match back and forth that can be unproductive. And when you start looking at what is added to each bill before a vote it makes you understand a little more of how and why one might not vote for something that would normally seem obvious. Its just not that simple. Suffice it to say, I prefer the choices that Obama has made more than McCain.

I also thought about dredging up all the unsavory and gossipy stories and conspiracy theories that have kept us entertained the last eighteen months, but why go there when it really isn't that productive. And haven't we had enough ugliness from those who would rather tear down than build up, cast shadows instead of dealing in the light?

So instead I choose to point out the qualities that I find valuable. Qualities that I think are necessary in bringing this country into the next part of history in ways that will impact not just us, and our children, but the rest of the world for the better. These are not in order of importance, but as a sum complete the measure of what I think Obama embodies.

Team leadership.
Anybody who has done any reading on leadership, either in the church or in business in the last few years knows that the world has experienced a seismic shift from a top down hyerarchy style leadership model to a laterally driven team model. Obama displays this quality in both the economic team he has surrounded himself with as well as how his campaign has functioned. In my opinion the last thing we need is a top down, roguish style leader, even when you give it a sexy brand name like "Maverick". We are a long way from a simplistic wild west where such a thing may have worked. Now we need someone who is willing to humble himself and take the advice of the best and brightest around him. And to be able to assemble that team in the first place.

Being able to inspire.
This is a rare quality that I think we need right now in our leader. This is a characteristic I have seen displayed in my husband during years of ministry and is clearly present in Barrack Obama. When someone has the ability to bring forth the best out of those around them, showing them that they can rise to the occasion and produce great things... well, that is an inspiring thing to watch. Not only does it leave those involved feeling empowered and valued, but it gets much more accomplished for the good. The ability to inspire and to lead in team is another plus for bringing the parties together. Alienating people at the onset by being a "maverick" just wont work.

Quick to listen, slow to anger.
I think this is so important for a leader that has to navigate issues in a post-modern world. Understanding that this time in history where modern thought has crossed into the post-modern is crucial in a host of issues, from knowing how in which to communicate to the next generation as well as knowing how to use language in diplomacy with unsavory leaders that might threaten our country.

He does not deal in absolutes.
Not dealing in absolutes may sound anti-christian. On the contrary, the example Jesus left us was speech and action highly nuanced in persuading each person he encountered. Face to face. So when it comes to making laws in this country that legislate morality I think there is more of a risk of destroying freedom in order to get people to behave a certain way. And history has shown us that it doesn't work. Think prohibition. Don't get me wrong, I am pro-life. But I find it encouraging that Obama comes at these issues from the standpoint that the work must be done in prevention and support and social justice rather than dealing with the absolute... an arguably easier road. Life and the world are multi-layered and complicated and it is very easy to take someone's choices away as a matter of principle until you are faced with that same difficult choice. It is the difference between law and grace, arrogance and humility. And dealing in absolutes so often closes doors instead of allowing progress to be made. Think of Jesus writing in the sand.

How he treats his wife.
This may seem a little weird in regards to the leader of the free world, but I think how a man treats his wife speaks to his integrity, humility, and the way he treats others. Again I see a man like my husband when I watch Obama. It might sound silly and it is in subtle ways that one sees it... following Michelle on to a stage rather than storming ahead of her. The respect that is shown her, the way they appear to be equals. In contrast, I have a really hard time with how McCain appears with his present wife and frankly the way he navigated the ins and outs of his marriages. I don't think being a pow gives anyone a free pass to infidelity. I could maybe even forgive a slip, but it is the abandonment of his first wife for his second that I just can't put aside. It speaks to the issue of trust, vanity, and greed. I don't think being opportunistic is a positive thing for a leader in the times we live in and in my opinion McCain tends to be opportunistic.

Understanding current technology.
This in part speaks to age, but not completely. I think a person of McCain's age could overcome this limitation if they so choose, but he has proven that he has not. We need someone who is well versed in a world of Facebook, YouTube, Google, and even the game Eve. Some of the most interesting economic, moral, diplomatic and social questions may be coming out of that global virtual game. It is a technology driven world and we need someone who can keep up and speaks the language.

This one speaks specifically to matters like the future of Supreme Court and those selections. Being Harvard law is a real plus for Obama in my mind. Knowing the nuances of our justice system will serve well here. And the fact that Michelle is similar in education is another plus. Two for the price of one. The differences in education of the two candidates(and where they ranked in their class) I think really matters. It speaks to intelligence, perserverance, and hard work.

Obama uniquely represents us in his heritage.
Walking in another person's shoes provides perspective that only experience can bring. Obama embodies many people (black, white, american, and international) and from different economic backgrounds. I think that makes him a greater asset in crossing international and racial divides (yes, with diplomacy). He can speak to many types of people and have true empathy. McCain's privilege puts him at a disadvantage in relating in these broad spectrums.Obama is a living example that what we call "the American Dream" can actually exist.

Walking the tightrope of who to pick as VP made Obama the winner in the judgement category in my mind. Balancing the ticket with Joe Biden, the most experienced of the presidential candidates in foreign policy showed wisdom on Obama's part. Again, willing to work in team with someone his senior and not be threatened or arrogant speaks volumes to me. They display an intelligent synergy that is lacking in the other campaign. In my opinion McCain's pick of Palin was another opportunistic move made for the politics of the moment, and now I think it has hurt him. I won't go into my opinion about her here but lets just say if I had been supporting McCain I would be one of those that would have switched my vote because of her.

Getting stuff done.
For all the commenting on Obama's "inexperience" he sure has accomplished a lot in a short period of time. On par when you compare the ratio of authoring bills, voting, being published, speaking(and we aren't talking about campaigning) the last two years of productivity of both candidates leaves McCain lacking. Maybe it is due to youth, exuberance, or something else... whatever IT is, we need it now more than ever from our leader.

Military vs non-military.
I know that our country is somewhat polarized when it comes to this issue, but I think it is for good reason. Passions are high when lives are lost. What we choose to do in this category speaks to generations to come. If we took an aboriginal approach of making decisions thinking "seven generations out", we might be a little more prudent. I feel that having a born-bred-and fed military man in the position of control will not be good for renewing our honor in the world. Again, a broader perspective of our allies, enemies, and those in between may help reshape and restore. Maybe putting hope over fear will make us wiser and more prudent.

Well, these are a few of my musings regarding why I choose Obama. He is like my husband in so many ways. Honesty, integrity, compassion, wisdom, patience, temperance, intelligence. I have chosen not to use words like left-wing, right-wing, liberal or conservative because frankly I don't think they apply anymore except to be used in an inflamatory slur. The candidates are who they are and do what they do...

From the day that Obama's cousin Kevin sat at my dining room table talking for two hours about home, faith, and how people might be better, I have been watching Obama (just like I promised, Kevin).

And now I plan to vote for him.

what she said

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A great article about inspiring the next generation written by the astronaut, Sally Ride and why she will vote for Obama...

Former astronaut Sally Ride in 1983 was the first American woman to travel in space. She is president and CEO of a science-education company, Sally Ride Science, and she is professor of physics emerita at the University of California, San Diego. She wrote this commentary for the Orlando Sentinel.

Read her article here.

interesting...yet another reason why

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psycho and the state of affairs

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Can you imagine my glee when after pouring over ideas of how to invigorate my stalling business, spending way too much brain power (and sleep loss) on how to explain my position as an Obama supporter to my family and anyone else who wanted to listen, and thinking way too hard about inconsequential things like how much pepper to put in the fettucini because my son's vegetarian girlfriend was staying for dinner, I sat down in front of the tv with a glass of chardonnay and discovered that Psycho was on tv.

the classic Hitchcock version.

and just coming from the Suzie Orman show- her explaining the whats and why's of where the economy is...

time to turn the brain into neutral...

or at least enjoy the craft of a creative genius like Hitchcock...

in blissful black and white.

Simple pleasures are the best.

and another

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one of the many reasons I choose

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the measure of a man: how he campaigns


I have been a good girl in terms of ranting about the political candidates and their behaviors. I have held my tongue trusting that they will act like virtuous men and behave like we hope they will, showing what we think real american character is. Like so many, I have endured the slosh and slander that candidates are tempted to use to win in the last days.

But enough is enough.

Cutting taxes is not a socialist plot. In fact both candidates have tax policies that use the same principles (but to different classes).

Shame on you McCain for resorting to these tactics. If you had any honor won by your five years in a POW camp you have spent it all on the slander you propagate now and the slander that you encourage your vp to slosh with little care.

Our country is so much better than that.

I am proud that upon sending a letter to "my candidate", I could say, "continue with a clean campaign, we "the people" are watching, and are impressed with the fact that you haven't stooped into the fray.

A tax cut for rich people is conservative, but a tax cut for poor people is Socialist? Shame on you McCain for invoking the "S" word for those less than educated folk that can't tell the difference. The fear factor is the last, worst tactic and diminishes ones character. Especially after the forced bank funding that makes a successful bank like BOA accept funds to equalize it with lesser banks in order to stableize the economy. Essentially stalling a successful capitalist company. Yes, BOA wasn't given a choice by the government.

And you dare to use the "S" word now?


At one point I may have been on the fence. My family going way back has been hard core republican, but again and again when I see the low road taken by you McCain, I get a creepy feeling in my stomach (and frankly, past campaigns... the ends do not justify the means).

See, I am an idealist. I still believe in virtue. I still believe that one can be rewarded by acting in good character and using honesty and trust to communicate values in order for others to decide if you are worthy...

rather than resort to distortions, fear, and lies to send folk into a fearful frenzy.

The problem is that the past has shown that sometimes these sleezy tactics work to steer people away from fact. If one was to stoop... tit-for-tat...

well just the comparison of Gord Liddy to Bill Ayers...

and yet some people choose not to drag up that dirt to sully their opponent's past...

And frankly, it is the measure of that man that this country needs. Maybe daring to be a little bit above the fray and run a campaign on the issues rather than twisting your opponents' character. To be inclusive and inspirational and productive in your ways...

Thank you Colin Powell for your words about this issue. To call the "r" candidate on the carpet and call it despicable....

it truly is.

And I truly am thankful for someone finally mentioning that if Obama was a Muslim (which the first, knee-jerk reaction is to say... no, no, he is a Christian (which is true)), the other less spoken issue is that... if he was a Muslim... it should not be a problem in the great country of America supposedly founded on religious freedom...

Thank you Colin Powell for finally making that point that so many of us had rattling around in the back of our heads.

And not letting that question sit and stew for folk who don't think any further than their nose.

And having the distinguished (republican) Colin Powell indorse Obama after comparing his friend of so many years (McCain) with the newer offering (Obama) that Powell took the time to get to know and examine...

well it was refreshing to hear an experienced republican general say we need something new...

in Obama.

And he was more gracious than I right now in his rebuke of McCain's tactics.

A man who may soon take the highest office in this government (and the world) should take the higher ground and have a little self control, resist the temptation to stoop to such a low tactic as smearing your opponent with prosecutable slander. Absolute power does corrupt absolutely. Here is proof.

Shame on you McCain.

If I were on the fence before... I am not any more.

it doesn't pay to be stupid

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It would be hysterically funny if it isn't so frightening. When folk who have access to a microphone and apparently an audience that is willing to listen and trusts what they are listening too without a fact check. Of what do I speak?

The Right-Wing-Nut Bob Grant-Rant.

For crying out loud. You think that the man would have checked before making such an ass of himself. But that is the kind of political climate that is emerging right now. Passionate and mindless. Like a toddler wielding a loaded semi-automatic.

If you haven't heard the quote I offer it here for a laugh (or a cry). Grant commenting on Obama's stage as he made a speech in Toledo.

"[W]hat is that flag that Obama's been standing in front of that looks like an American flag, but instead of having the field of 50 stars representing the 50 states, there's a circle?" He then said: "Is the circle the 'O' for Obama? Is that what it is?" Grant later said: "[D]id you notice Obama is not content with just having several American flags, plain old American flags with the 50 states represented by 50 stars? He has the 'O' flag. And that's what that 'O' is. That's what that 'O' is. Just like he did with the plane he was using. He had the flag painted over, and the 'O' for Obama. Now, these are symptom -- these things are symptomatic of a person who would like to be a potentate -- a dictator." '

end quote.

The flag implied to be an "Obama dictator flag" was the Ohio State flag.

Sheesh. Where did this guy get his education?

Truly it does scare me how easy the slander seems to be put out there without conscience. It is unacceptable and irresponsible.

an enduring legacy; moms b-day in vegas

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Sitting in an airport always has the same effect on me. I get comtemplative. Today is no different as I wait for my flight back to my family with an hour layover in cincinnati after a wonderful week with my mom and sis. I even got a little weepy listening to the message my mom left on my cell after dropping me at the airport. It was so good to be with her.

It looks like it has become a tradition, this trip in october.

After the death of my stepdad last year, the traditional trip that he and my mom took to Las Vegas every year to celebrate her birthday morphed into the three of us girls having the time together. It is a time that I truly treasure even though I mourn what precipitated it.

My mom turned 81 this year but you would never know it with us girls trying to keep pace with her.

I don't know if it is her physical health or her bouyant personality that contributes to her energy, probably the latter for all the junk food she consumes. Upon arrival at her timeshare she unpacked a host of snacks and candy that left my sister and I shaking our heads and laughing. She is the only person I know that can polish off a bag of Doritos pairing it with White Zinfindel.

I think she will live forever for all the preservatives she consumes.

But as my sister Marta and I kid her about her poor dietary choices she just smiles as she offers us chocolate covered raisins and miniature milky ways...

I swear.

For a woman who has lost two children, had four miscarraiges, lost a brother and sister to cancer being caretaker to both, as well as caretaker to her own mother until her death, endured a phylandering first husband for 26 years and the dreadful and sudden loss of her beloved second husband who adored her, and whom she adored, she is an amazingly upbeat person.

But that is the fruit of a strong faith.

Spending time with her in vegas, sight-seeing, laughing, and yes...gambling (she loves those penny slots) was a blast but occasionally bitter sweet as she continued to talk about my stepdad in terms as if he was still here, refering to things as "this is how George and I do it", or "We always order this", and other such comments.

But it is all good.

He is still with us in a way. After the trip I heard her greet one of the many pictures of him in her apartment with...

"Hello sweety".

He continues to grace the place in all those pictures that she keeps, and through the large empty red leather chair that was his favorite.

He is truly missed.


Girls At Play

The week started out with a bang as the three of us landed in mom's timeshare just long enough to change our clothes, unpack endless junk food and then head out for a vegas evening. We managed a little lunch of salad and lobster ravioli (split three ways) at the Bellagio. Then playing a few slots (just for good measure), something I know I could not make a habit of, I admit there is a bit of fun to be had when you play a game that suddenly goes into a bonus round that pays off sixty bucks in a blink. In contrast it is not so fun when a machine promises to pay in "just one more spin" only to take that sixty bucks right back.

You win some and lose some.

But watching my mother take twenty dollars and play it for an entire day is a real hoot. A gift I apparently do not have. Not to mention she has an uncanny ability for winning even if it is in twenty cent increments. What fun it was sitting at a slot machine next to her while she coaxed and talked to the characters on the machine, teasing them into giving her a win by waving her hands over them, rubbing the screen and talking to them sweetly...

I swear they listened every time.

I especially liked watching this big guy sitting at a slot machine next to her who kept sending glances sideways (him losing) as she won bonus round after bonus round turning her twenty into a hundred confessing to me later that she didn't even know how that particular game worked.

an angel on her shoulder?

I think it is George.

Mom and Marta laughing in front of Bellagio fountain1vegas08.jpg

Mom taking the picture of me and Marta with her fingers over the lens.


Me pointing out to mom that she had her fingers over the lens;-)


The final picture of Marta and I. (without the fingers)



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Last year we saw O, and this year would be Phantom. But it wouldn't be as smooth a day as I would have hoped. We had breakfast in the timeshare and chatted like schoolgirls until after three and then scrambled to get ready for the big night. I had experienced a brief panic the night before doing a double check of our reservations and seeing what I thought was the wrong date on the printout (meaning we had missed the show). I had arranged for the tickets and feared I had screwed up the date. So that night I phoned to confirm, talking to a real living person who took my confirmation number, my fears were put aside when she said..."You are all set for tomorrow night".


So, after getting ready we walk to the spot where a town shuttle promises to make the rounds every eight minutes. The first bus being too full we wait for the second.

No bus.

Starting to get a little nervous as time gets short, all showing it in different ways (mom stepping off the curb looking for the bus threatening to get hit by oncoming traffic) we decide to opt for a taxi instead.

Good choice.

Lickety split we are in front of the Venetian where the Phantom is playing just in time to collect our tickets at will call.

Handing the printout of our confirmation to the clerk he takes it and ducks into a back room for a second only to emerge with...

"Are you aware these tickets were for last nights performance"?

My heart sank to my feet. Wanting everything to be perfect to celebrate Mom's b-day, this was a complete disaster. Apparently my panic the night before was justified, but why would they confirm it over the phone, I wondered.

Hoping for some way to salvage this...

"I called last night to confirm and the woman that I spoke to said it was tonight".

"Just a minute", and he disappeared back into the little room (at this point I am praying that someone is going to be nice, while still trying to figure out why they didn't tell us over the phone).

He comes back with, "We don't normally do this..." giving me a glimmer of hope that some concession would be made due to the miscommunication.

"Here are your options", He points to a seating chart of what is left. My heart still sinking but at least we are going to get in...

In my sweetest voice I can muster through my disappointment I say, "What would you suggest"?

Without skipping a beat he says, "Balcony".

"Great, thank you SO much" (in my mind I am a little confused because the balcony was what I originally wanted but it wasn't available when I ordered the tickets).

I am starting to feel a little relieved as he finishes by printing out the tickets.

"Here you are, I have put you in the Center Balcony, second row up, which is an upgrade of 30 dollars per ticket which I am not charging you."

God bless him.

Feeling very grateful and slightly stunned I take the tickets and thank him again. We are ushered to our seats overlooking the amazing set of the entire opera house with the stage and the big chandelier front and center.

The seats were amazing and better than what we had before.

The show was wonderful.

The little bit of stress was worth it.

not sure what to do with you

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Some of the sites included living statues. Mom was not quite sure what to do with this guy.


A lion in the lions habitat in Ballys


Encountering a blue man in the Venetian


Trying my hand at a giant slot machine.


Marta gives it a try.


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This page is an archive of entries from October 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

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