Tag Archives: politics

Things that are making me happy about the election results

1. Maine, Maryland, and Washington all voted to legalize same sex marriage, while Minnesota defeated their anti-gay marriage amendment.

2. Two of the rape apologist assholes (Akin and Mourdock) were defeated in their races.

3. The first openly gay senator was elected. (Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin.)

4. Both of our nieces (and, I hope, any children we have) will have been born with Barack Obama as president of the United States. That was one classy acceptance speech.

Out with the old

Dan did this after he got home last night. And then we watched the President’s address to Congress.

Now there’s a Wombat on our fridge, and I think he looks splendid.

(Also, did I mention we have internet at home now? Yes! Internet, and CABLE TV. I haven’t had cable since I moved out of the Ancestral Manse in 1996)(The best part is that we don’t have to get up to adjust the antenna when the HD signal goes wonky.)

Civil Marriage = Civil Right


Dan had some schoolwork to do on Saturday morning, so after I worked on Wombat’s blanket (I’m so close to being done I can taste it) I headed down to the city and county building to attend the anti-prop 8 rally. The rally was held simultaneously in cities across the country, and the one in Denver probably had close to 1,000 people.

The rally was peaceful and beautiful. I just wish more people had known about it; I know PrideFest here attracts a huge crowd every year.

Here are some of the photos I took.




Disappointed in my home state

I have been wanting to write about this but haven’t found the right words. Let me sum up: despite being elated at the result of the presidential election (and in particular how Colorado voted), the fact that Proposition 8 passed in California has cast a pall over the last several days. I am both flabbergasted and seethingly angry that California voted to make conditions more humane for farm animals, yet at the same time voted for a constitutional amendment to take rights away from people. Rights that my husband and I feel so strongly that everyone should be able to have that we used an exerpt from the Massachusetts Supreme Court decision on gay marriage in our wedding ceremony.

I…I just don’t understand it. I don’t understand the propaganda hate machine that somehow convinced 52% of the voting population that continuing to allow gay people to get married would equal children being “taught gay marriage in school”, would mean that “churches would be forced to marry gay people!”. Maybe I’m just an unfrozen caveman lawyer, and your world frightens and confuses me, but my husband and I got married in California and the few months California allowed gay marriage didn’t affect our marriage one bit. Children aren’t “taught” straight marriage in school, let alone gay marriage. During those months, nobody forced any church to marry anybody. Nor have these things happened in the other states that allow gay people to marry.

I know I’ve mentioned my favorite wedding photographer before, and it makes me feel good to know there are so many people in California (both in the wedding industry and not) who are so in favor of everyone having the right to get married. Jessamyn Harris wrote a beautiful post in her blog (and included some amazing photos she’s taken of same-sex weddings this year) here. I hope that the energy that helped to boost our next president into the White House can continue in the fight against Prop 8, to restore what should be a civil right for every adult in this country regardless of sexual orientation.

What a difference 4 years makes

Four years ago, Dan made curried red lentils for dinner – a dish we both really, really like. We had the news on and were watching the returns for a while. We each ate about 5 bites of dinner. And we didn’t eat red lentils again for at least a year.

Last night, after running a fruitless errand and picking up a bottle of pink champagne (in honor of Leah and Simon, who understandably chose Martinelli’s instead), I prepared a meal of, well, stuff. I modified a recipe from the Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and it turned out amazingly good. When it was done, I ate every bite of my portion with great gusto as the returns came in on the teevee. This is a quintessential fall dish, and one I’m sure I’ll be making again several times.

MLE’s squash, pear, and carmelized onion thingy

1 smallish squash, maybe 1 to 1.5 pounds (I used a delicata, but I’m sure a butternut squash would work too)
1 large pear (I used comice because it worked so well in the pear tart I made over the weekend, recipe to follow)
2 small candy onions (you could use one medium sized regular yellow onion)
dollop of olive oil
1 cup cooked chicken, cut/torn into pieces (Dan roasted a chicken on Sunday night so I used chicken leftover from this) (Leave this out if you want the dish to be veg. friendly)
salt and pepper
garlic powder

2 slices dried bread, turned into crumbs (we save our bread ends to use for breadcrumbs)
generous amount of grated parmesan (maybe 1/4 cup?)
1 tbsp butter, melted
salt and pepper

Slice onions into thin rings and then cut rings in half. Carmelize onions in a skillet over low heat with some olive oil. This will take a while. Turn the heat up under the onions when they’ve all turned translucent. They will start to smell Really Good. Peel and seed squash and cut into 1/2 inch slices. Peel and core pear and cut into thin slices. Layer squash, pear, and chicken in bottom of 8×8 glass pan (mine went, from bottom to top: squash, pear, squash pear with chicken kind of mixed in). Add some salt and pepper and garlic powder. Top with carmelized onions. Cover pan with aluminium foil and bake at 350F for about 35 minutes.

When the stuff in the pan is steamy and seems pretty soft, remove from the oven. Combine bread crumbs, parmesan, and seasonings and mix in melted butter. Sprinkle over top of pan. Put it back in the oven, uncovered for another 15 minutes.

SO FREAKING TASTY.

ps. Great minds think alike.

Full of Hope

Last night, as we were settling down for the evening, I told Dan that this was the first election in my memory that, in my opinion, there was an excellent candidate, someone about whom I am very excited, someone who I can’t wait to see get into office. There have been good candidates, and terrible candidates, and worst-ever candidates, but never in my living memory a candidate that I thought was a truly great candidate.

I also told him that I want this candidate to be president, not just for the sake of the country (and our worldwide reputation) or for my sake but for the sake of my future children. I want my kids to grow up in a world shaped, in part, by this person.

While today has been somewhat of a nail biter (though I haven’t actually bitten my nails), for the very first time in this long, drawn out election process, I am letting myself feel hope. Hope that the candidate I support wins the election, but also hope that the state I live in helps him to achieve that goal. I never thought I’d see Colorado go so blue (Currently, we have a Dem governor, one (soon to be two, fingers crossed! Dem senator, and likely 5 of 7 reps Dem as well. Crazy.

Even Weebl and Bob are impressed with Obama

To add to my husband’s videos, here’s another tasty link for you.

Mmm, pie!

Choices

The girl had washboard abs, highlighted by her teeny tiny running shorts and sports bra. Glowing as only a young 20-something can, she filled out her form and joked with my friend who was helping her register to vote (or, perhaps, to change her address for her voter registration). She was the fourth person I saw come up to the table and ask for a form in the three minutes I’d been there, and I had yet to be trained on how to fill out the paperwork, to fill out the receipt, to code the form so the Powers That Be would know which drive the form came from.

“Register to vote!” said the large sign in front of the table, set underneath a shade tent beside a tree in the park on Saturday. There were also Obama ’08 signs and a Mark Udall sign, the democratic candidate for the up-for-grabs senate seat. There were bottles of water, pens galore, not enough chairs. After I’d been trained, another volunteer came by, and the two of us went out to roam around the park, me with my floppy straw hat, her looking efficient and preppy. “I’m a registered Republican, lifelong,” the woman told me, “but I’ve voted Democrat in the last 3 elections. And now I’m volunteering for the Obama campaign.” We came upon a group of people about to sit down to a cookout, parents and children and babies and old folks, people who were Southern expats, all football fans of the Southeastern college football conference. Normally arch rivals, once a year they gather together to celebrate the start of college football, strangers in this strange land of the Big 10, where people don’t plan their Saturdays for months around football games. One man registered.

We approached small groups and large groups. Many of them seemed nervous at our arrival, and visibly relaxed when we asked if they were registered to vote, and moved on at a “yes.” We passed a large volleyball tournament, people lounging in the shade and munching on all manner of foodstuffs, and I signed up three people to vote, all change-of-address. Someone offered me a bagel. It was warm, verging on hot in the sun, and the dark clouds to the west meant that we’d probably get an afternoon thunderstorm. The air was changing, becoming oppressive, and my back and neck were bothering me from the hard yoga class I took on Friday. I signed up another person, born two days before me, only a US citizen for two years so it was her first time voting. She held her curly-haired cherubic daughter on her lap as I filled out her reciept, feeling that the sun and the sore back and the angry woman who shouted at me when I asked if she was registered were all worth it, because I got to witness something truly powerful.

* * * * * * *

My first thought was that it smelled like Berkeley, like Telegraph avenue.

“Wanna go see what’s going on out there?” asked my coworker yesterday around lunchtime. “Sure,” I said. We left (through the front door, making sure we had our IDs) and headed for Civic Center Park, the area between the state Capitol and the City and County building. The park was milling with people in orange jumpsuits, with people selling buttons, with people holding signs. It smelled like Telegraph, a combination of patchouli and pot and unwashed people I thought unique to Berkeley or maybe Haight street 10 years ago, but just as I had that thought I turned around and saw at least fifteen police officers on horseback watching the unorganized protestors. Next to them were two men in “Cop Watch” neon green vests, I guess to make sure there were observers to witness any police brutality. And then I laughed out loud, because one of them was the guy who sells political bumper stickers on Telegraph Avenue, the guy with the long hair and beard that used to be mostly red and now is more white and who has been selling stickers in the same spot for at least the last 12 years. And here he was, in Denver, watching cops.

I wandered through an interesting structure, built of some sort of fabric to look like a mosque, filled with photos and faces of Islamic people just being themselves. It was clear that the purpose was for us bloodthirsty Americans to see what Muslim culture is really like, that there is more to Islam than suicide bombing and burning American flags and jihadism, but it struck me as trying a little too hard.

Many of the protesters started a march down the 16th Street mall, at the other end of which is the Convention Center where the DNC is being held. Throngs and crowds of people don’t appeal to me, but I was curious so I watched for a little while as the protesters were followed by police on horseback who were followed by cop watch guys who were followed by curious onlookers. I saw lots of people wearing Obama merchandise and only one wearing Hillary stuff. I went back to my office, unwilling to see the outcome of the protest because there were just too many people in that one space.

* * * * * * *

Having spent the last two weeks watching the Olympics, seeing the occasional puff piece about China (the food on sticks! the wall! the gymnasts taken from home at age 3! oh. wait.), I’ve been thinking a lot about our trip to China back in 2005 (the reason I started this blog, in a way, so there would be a place to store Dan’s trip report). I thought about what it was like to be a Western tourist in China, to visit so many of the places they showed during the Olympics (especially the Marathon, they ran by all kinds of stuff we walked by when we were there), to observe people living their everyday lives in a mix of ancient and ultra-modern. One of the reasons we went to China when we did was to see some of the ancient stuff before it was torn down and covered over by modernity, and even back in the fall of 2005 everyone was very excited to be on the world’s stage in 2008. I thought about what the Olympics means, to have a host and hundreds of countries compete against one another in pure unadulterated atheletic achievement, to set aside political differences and just enjoy the opportunity to meet people from all over the world while performing great feats of physical strength, grace, speed. I was not surprised when journalists were denied access to certain websites (despite China’s assurances that they’d have access to everything). I was not surprised when stories arose about underage gymnasts and other ways in which China might be bending the rules in order to win the most golds. I was not surprised when I learned of the nationwide training program begun in 2001 designed to develop athletes who could compete against the best in any other country in as many disciplines as possible, and kids were taken from their homes and families and put through the Chinese Olympics Machine, doing nothing but training (no school, no time to do anything but become the best). I was not surprised because, as much as China wants the rest of the world to see how enlightened and developed and modernized they are, the truth is far murkier.

I will forever be grateful that I was born in, grew up in, and live in a country where I have choices. The athletes in America choose to train and compete, and the livelihoods of their families are not dependent on whether or not athletes continue to train and win medals. Citizens in this country have the right to vote for whomever we please to the highest office in the land. And we have the right to protest when there is something we feel strongly about, whether it be a war or animal rights or abortion or something else entirely. We are not punished for speaking our minds or for wanting to have some say in how our government is run or for deciding that hey, we’d rather go to college to become a dentist than remain a national diving champion. When Chinese citizens have these choices, I think China will truly have shown the first world that they’re ready to compete. Until that time, I’m going to continue to be pleased by the choices that are available to me and my fellow Americans and my future potential progeny, and be thankful that everyone in this country has those choices.

Brooding

Things on my mind these days, in no particular order:

* The Olympics, and why I have been watching them so much. I haven’t watched anywhere near this much Olympic coverage since 1992 when I babysat all summer and they had 3 channels of events going on. Maybe it’s because we have such a pretty TV for the first time ever.

* Dan started school last week, and his INSANE schedule (six classes and part time job!) means he doesn’t get home until 10 PM every night but Friday. My evenings are mine to do with what I wish for the first time in a long time. Mostly I’ve wished to read books I’ve already read because I don’t want to buy more. And I’m cooking dinner every weeknight for the first time since he moved in 5 years ago.

* I really, really, really don’t want to be in this job anymore, especially since it’s nearly fall and I don’t want to do my insane fall schedule again. I’ll be spending a good chunk of next week (when most of my coworkers are taking the smart route and avoiding work) to help make that a possibility. If I find something new by then end of September I’ll get to go to Philadelphia but won’t have to do the rest of the stuff.

* My knowledge of East Coast geography sucks. Jive Turkey has informed me that Philly (where I’ll potentially be) and Pittsburg (where she will definitely be) are 5 hours of driving apart. Sheesh.

* Speaking of JT, she’s got some Big News. Go say congratulations!

* So yeah, next week is the Democratic National Convention here in Denver and it’s going to be totally insane. The place where I work is literally across the street from the State Capitol building and we’re on virtual lockdown all week. They’ve had us do umpteen drills in the last couple of weeks and a good chunk of the major highway that goes north-south in Colorado will be shut down on Thursday because it is close to where Obama will be speaking. I am SO GLAD I don’t have to drive in this area. Dan is off school all week (his campus is right next to the DNC so they elected to not try to hold classes that week) so he is volunteering for the DNC. And I will be volunteering for the Obama campaign this weekend, just helping people get registered to vote if they need to register.

* I think I might be allergic to my own leg hair.

* Two workouts a day 3 days a week and one workout a day 2 days a week have resulted in me being fricking exhausted all the time and not losing any weight. In fact, I think I’m gaining because my muscle (especially in my harms, abs, and back) is bulking up. And for all you out there saying “vary your workouts!” rest assured that during the course of my week I take 2 difficult yoga classes, one power pump (weights) class, one cardio/weights class, I hamster on the elliptical/ride the stationary bike at least twice, sometimes swim, and do a full weight circuit on the weight machines. It’s varied. Also, I still can’t run. Stupid leg.

* My sister and her husband got to hold poison dart frogs and see sloths on their honeymoon. I am green with envy.

* I need to sleep more. Stupid Olympics.

* Confession: I really, really enjoyed doing the flowers for Lissa’s wedding. And our wedding. And if I’d had more notice, probably for our ex-friends’ wedding last fall as well. I find myself thinking up interesting flower/greenery combinations, with unusual elements sometimes. I exclaim over unusual flowers at the grocery store even though we never buy flowers. I daydream about doing wedding flowers again. I think I’m a freak.