Friday, March 27, 2009
Went to the eye doctor today. I can't see. Not that I'm blind or anything, but without contacts or glasses I can't see. So it was time for new glasses. The guy that fitted me didn't do such a hot job so I had them done again. And these aren't right, either. The doctor there today said to try them out over the weekend, that even though my subscription has changed, the frames we put the new lenses in are larger than my current pair and it may just be my eyes getting adjusted to the greater distance they have to travel in these new progressive lenses. Because yes, I've discovered after 48 years, that I am vain. To a degree. I don't want bifocals that look like bifocals. So I spend extra and get progressives so you don't know that I'm as old as I am and as blind as I am...
I imagine I'll be incommunicado until later tomorrow night, after dinner - my flight leaves NJ at noon, I get in after 2pm local time, and have to make my way to the hotel and shower and get ready for dinner and then find my own way there (we're all in different hotels). I'll probably check in when I get back from dinner and am sitting down in front of the TV to decompress.
Just for the record, too, I'm traveling to New Orleans with NJ winter clothes - the lightest and thinnest I have, granted, but we were still at 22-29 degrees in the morning earlier this week - I'm by no means ready to pull out my spring/summer wardrobe! I think I'll be okay, though - lighter pants with 2 thin tops and a cardigan for the 2 dinners, and a pair of pants and a couple of light-ish sweater tops for the convention center. Wearing yoga pants down (so I can also work out in the gym if they have one in the hotel) and bringing a pair of jeans "just in case." Keep your fingers crossed - although having to go shopping wouldn't be the worst thing that's ever happened to me...
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
"Editor's Note: Republican strategist Alex Castellanos was a campaign consultant for former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney's 2008 presidential campaign and has worked on more than half a dozen presidential campaigns. Castellanos is a partner in National Media Inc., a political and public affairs consulting firm that specializes in advertising. For a rival view, click here
(CNN) -- Things I learned Tuesday night from President Obama's press conference:
Obama and congressional Democrats are angry that greedy Wall Street executives took $165 million in bonuses that the president and congressional Democrats gave them.
We have made them give it back, but they have to keep the trillion-dollar bailout.
Apparently, our education system is worse than we thought. Neither the president nor Democrats in Congress actually read the bailout-bonus bill.
Per-family household debt more than doubled from 1989 to 2007, going from $42,000 per family to $97,000 per family, in inflation-adjusted dollars. Most of it, 85 cents of every dollar, is home equity or mortgage debt. This is not the consumer's fault for borrowing it, nor Congress' fault for legislating it, nor the Fed's fault for enabling it, nor Fannie Mae's or Freddie Mac's fault for packaging it. This is all Wall Street's fault.
It is also all George W. Bush's fault.
If there were an inheritance tax on problems, Obama could pay off any deficit.
Taxpayers living next to a toxic waste dump is a bad idea. Taxpayers buying a trillion dollars worth of toxic assets is good idea.
Taxpayers borrowing a trillion dollars to buy those toxic assets is an even better idea. Though it is still Bush's fault.
Obama isn't on the ballot next year, but Democrats in Congress are. You can make money betting they will lose more than 25 seats, but not as much money as by purchasing toxic assets with taxpayer dollars.
The problem with America's economy is that the last bubble, the "home-mortgage, derivative, credit default swap bubble" popped, as all economic bubbles eventually do. We must never let that happen again.
It is imperative that we re-inflate this bubble immediately.
If we all loan a lot of money we don't have to each other, we will all be more prosperous.
An Obama press conference offers hope to everyone. Both those who want to drive the deficit up and drive it down receive encouragement.
A dollar when given to failed auto companies or hollow banks has great stimulative value for the economy, but there's almost no dampening cost to the economy when the dollar is taken from taxpayers, who will have to pay our debt back.
If he does not drive the deficit down, within this decade, interest on the Obama debt will total more than a trillion dollars a year.
Bush was laughed at for saying, "Yes, we are getting the job done. It's hard work," though it's OK for Obama to say only hard decisions reach his desk.
Enhanced border security was a bad idea when Sen. John McCain and Republicans proposed it but a good idea now that Obama is for it.
Trickle-down economics from Republicans got us into this mess. Trickle-down government from Democrats will get us out of it.
Washington was doing such a great job making things work before the meltdown that we should give it more to do, like running health care, the energy industry, banks, Wall Street and the car business.
Our economy is so complex that millions of Americans can't plan for it, but Timothy Geithner and a couple of other smart guys in Washington can.
Political greed is more noble than corporate greed.
We have to short-change charities that help people, so government can help people.
Wall Street and the U.S. government are too big to fail though the American taxpayer isn't.
The Barack Obama experiment, conducted by this 47-year old man, is the riskiest economic wager the world has ever seen.
Next year, when this experiment in European-style socialism isn't working, the Democrats up for re-election will panic and make the spending this year look like an appetizer. To appear responsible, they then will raise taxes on "upper-income taxpayers" to the stratosphere, paralyzing investment and the economy.
Obama's communications gifts are powerful and poetic -- but round-the-clock campaigning on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno," "60 Minutes" and this press conference won't save bad policy. Nothing kills a bad product quicker than good advertising. iReport.com: What did you think of Obama's press conference?
Obama has never built a business, created real wealth or produced tangible prosperity. His understanding of our economy is theoretical and academic.
Obama is a privileged young man who has not yet made many mistakes in his life. Having a president who belongs to the Harvard elite and the community-organizer streets is not the same as having a president who has lived a long life among middle-class Americans and understands them.
Impatience lies not deep beneath the surface of Obama. There is no shortage of self-confidence in this young man. It is a short step from such confidence to arrogance.
Arrogance in a politician is not healthy. Hubris, combined with inexperience, can be fatal. Obama could be a one-term president.
Obama is looking a little older. There would be nothing wrong with acting like it.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Alex Castellanos."
Friday, March 20, 2009
My husband was too sick to go to work for 2 days. In the past 19 years, I've never known him to take a sick day. He took funeral days, when he had to. We scheduled our wedding in the summer so he would have to take the wedding days he's entitled to. He goes in through wind, rain, and winter storm (yes, I think I'll write a song, and no, he doesn't work for the Post Office).
Yesterday, on his second day out, he calls me in the afternoon and says he can't find Dr. Rubelino's number on his cell phone. [Perhaps that's 'cause that's not his doctor's name!!] I call the doctor who's on his way out the door and can't stay late, and the office recommends we go to the ER. Okay. The ER? How about the Immedicenter? Why, the nurse asks, what's wrong with going to the ER? I said nothing, but I'm not the one with the problem - my husband is, and he just doesn't ever feel like a trip to the ER.
Since they thought, based on his worsening symptoms, that he might be suffering from a kidney stone or a urinary tract infection, she said to tell him that he could go to the Immedicenter but that if what he had needed an ultrasound, they'd send him to the hospital anyway...
Turns out I didn't get an argument. He must have really been hurting!
We went to the hospital. But the driveway to the ER door was blocked for construction; I had to park in the parking lot and we walked to the ER. Well, we almost made it to the ER. As we approached the driveway, Jack looked up and saw the road was blocked and almost shouted, "NOW how do we get in?!?!?!?"
We walk to the other end of the driveway and up the road and to the door. Simple.
We made it to the ambulance drop off and he just veered in and collapsed into a wheelchair.
For those of you who have never met my husband (or his mom, sister or daughter), well, they're regular Energizer Bunnies! They never sit still. For him to sit in a wheelchair, let alone let me push him? Well, THAT'S when I started to get scared.
We went in, suffered our way through triage and into an ER room. They gave him a shot of Toradol, a step below morphine, I understand. He finally relaxed enough to pee into a plastic bottle.
Turns out: Congratulations, it's a bladder infection! NOT a kidney stone, no surgery necessary, no overnight stay necessary...
But it wasn't the flu.
He has a week of antibiotic and some heavy duty Motrin, and has been instructed to go see a urologist. None of which he argued about so he must be feelin' not-so-good.
On the way out the ER door, he thought of a question for the dr: Could I have aggravated it 'cause I hold my bladder rather than go when I think I have to go?
The dr looked at me, looked back at Jack, and said: Mr. Salvetta, when you gotta go, you gotta go!
Monday, March 16, 2009
Daddy, I miss you. And I love you. And I so wish you were here to torture my husband whenever he does a home repair job 'cause I just know you'd know how to do it better! And whenever Jack or his sister say that Mommy is the only parent we have left - well, it makes my heart hurt. I really wish you were still around to be a father-in-law. Jack always smiles when he talks about you. He says he really liked you, that you were a nice guy, and a smart guy. He never minded talking to you at the garage when you came in 'cause you were "one of the good ones." (Some of the other customers, not so much!) Me? I think of you every time C says either J or A did something wrong; I know in my heart of hearts that lots of what's gone on these past 19 years would never have happened if you were around - and they just have no idea what they're missing by not having had a chance to have you in their lives. I think of you every time the dishes settle on the sink when they're drying. I think of you when the lights flicker. I think of you whenever I see a wysteria bush. Of course, I think of you every time I go to Mommy's house. Daddy, you were, and are, the BEST. And I miss you so very much. Come and visit me, please? I want to see you in my dreams, I want to hear your voice, I want to feel you hug me again. It can't happen in real life, but in my dreams I know it's possible. I never dream of you (only maybe 3 times since you died). I know Mr. S. comes and visits Toni-Ann quite often - why can't you come and visit me??? I miss you. I love you.
Okay, on to everyday "stuff."
I think it's time I share some neighbor tales... You've met some of my neighbors in previous posts, but there are some tales I can share here that you haven't heard before...
So, when I lived at my mom's house, when I was (much) younger, what I loved the most was the fact that it was a neighborhood. We knew all the families; they knew us. I played with the girl down the street (learned how to ride a bike on her purple Schwinn with the banana seat! My family couldn't afford bicycles for us). I went to school with the boy up the street and for many years, he was one of my closest friends. I learned how to be friends with a boy from Gary; wish we were still in touch. My mom's bestest friend in the whole world lived right across the street from us - she died several years ago and we miss her so much! (Hi, Jackie! I know you're listening!)
But as the years passed, so did the people. Some died. Many moved. And we got some new neighbors. And as much as we loved Jackie and Ronnie, and Frank and Elaine, the new ones? Not so much. People don't really know how to be neighbors anymore, at least not in my mom's neighborhood. Case in point: G next door. He's bipolar or manic-depressive, one or the other. When he's on his meds, he's perfectly polite and friendly. When he's not? LOOK OUT! For instance, on meds: he offered to donate blood for my dad when he was in the hospital. Off meds: Jack threatened to beat him up for being mean to me. No joke! I've only ever seen my husband "in someone's face" twice in 19 years - once here when G was being abusive and obnoxious to me, calling me names, etc., and once when some kids at Action Park were trying to push their way ahead of everyone else on line for the ride. You know, you don't mind one or two joining their "family" up ahead, but when 12 or 13 kids try the same thing, and they're all in the same group, well, you don't mind it!
My mom's been a widow for 22 years. Do you think just once any of her neighbors have taken out her garbage or mowed her lawn or shoveled her snow? I must admit that over the past couple of years, once in a while, not at every snow, someone's shoveled a single shovel's width path on her sidewalk... Thanks, whoever you are! They're under no obligation to do any of it, but give her a chance to say, "No thanks, my daughter/son-in-law/grandson will do it. But that was so nice of you to offer."
In my neighborhood we're really neighbors. We make food for each other (well, they make food for me since my kitchen isn't kosher!), we drive each other to hospitals, we babysit for each other (well, I babysit for them since I don't have a baby to sit!), we sit on the front stoop and chat for hours, we watch the kids play, we shovel each other's snow (well, Jack shovels their snow!) - it's just like it used to be when I was young. I'm SO glad I live where I do.
Next door to me: S & D, and their 5 boys. Across the street, S & E, and their 4 girls. Up the street, S & T and her 2 girls and his 2 boys. Across the street and over one, A & S, who wrote us the nicest note when we got married (I want to be them when we grow up!). Down the street, T, who's been friends with Jack for many years. And C & A, and their 5 kids. I LOVE LIVING HERE!
Okay, before I get in trouble for writing and not working, I'm going to sign off here and continue my ranting and raving another day...
Monday, March 09, 2009
He was tired. We all get tired. But I know when I have to make a good impression. And I know when to be respectful to my boss, or his boss, or a visiting executive, or one of our co-publishing partners...
An Obama staffer said the UK is not all that important, they're just as important as any of 190 other countries in the world. I'm paraphrasing, yes, but the gist of it is on the money.
And, yea, a bunch of DVDs, what an awesome "It's nice to meet you, Prime Minister" gift.
Classy sort of guy...
To say nothing of this photo of our esteemed President (and I use the term loosely):
And supposedly we're overreacting, those of us who object to a picture like this. You know, you're right. What he does on his off time is his business. But what happens if he has a few, goes home, goes to sleep, and that phone call comes, the one in the middle of the night, the one he has to answer with a clear head... "Sure, wtf, I'll push the damned button!"
And don't bother responding to this (unless of course you agree with me!): I'm entitled to my opinion. This is my blog.
Friday, March 06, 2009
These are paw prints of something HUGE! They were literally about 7 or 8 inches across! So I know it's not a dog; could it be a bear? I'm no hunter so I haven't a clue! (Yes, again, I'm clueless!)
The new picture of us to the right of the page was taken this same day! I like it! We were having loads of fun on our walk!
I might have posted about this before, and I think she has a good idea.
Especially lately, I've been hearing a bit too much about tickets and speeding and disrespecting the police... and that's just in my own extended family!