Thursday, May 24, 2012

Political Discourse

I haven’t blogged much lately.  At least it probably seems that way.  I have written several posts that I can’t actually bring myself to publish.  And then I have several more brewing in my head that I can’t bring myself to write… knowing that I’m unlikely to bring myself to publish it.  The problem? General election year.

I made a pact with myself in November of 2008.  That pact was to stay out of political discussion on Facebook in 2012.  I didn’t keep my promise to myself in the first few months of 2012, but then I remembered the promise and why I made it and have made good on it since.  Why just Facebook?  Because my blog is my sounding board, and I should be able to post what I want, right?  If you don’t like it, don’t read it.  I can choose to engage in commenting on other people’s blog posts at my own risk.  I never comment on articles as a general rule (WAY, WAY too many crazy people out there). And twitter, well, it is hard to get invested in a violent debate 140 characters at a time. 

But Facebook?  Here is the thing, people just get WAY too personal in the general election year.  (And people get way too personal on Facebook as a standard rule.)  For one, they stop talking about policies and start talking about people.  And this year it is worse than ever.  I think it is that people never really stopped talking about Obama personally.  It’s been kind of amazing and fascinating (and infuriating) to watch.  But there are people—scores of them who have erroneously named themselves after an event in history that doesn’t actually apply to their modern political agenda—who have landed on the side of hating Obama (a man they’ve surely never met and don’t know personally at all) so much that if he were to take his hand off of his heart to sneeze during the national anthem they would use that as evidence that he hates America (that’s never happened. that I know of.).  That voice has been pretty loud over the last couple of years, so now that it is general election time again people are being even more outlandish about personal attacks on both Romney and Obama.  And it is just not discourse that I care to be a part of.  Because:

1) Whatever you feel about their policies these are both good men.  They love their wives and kids, they are kind to others, and they have whole lives outside of the political arena that deserve a lot of accolade. 

Americans talk about politicians and government as though they are the enemy, and they make politicians out to be nonhuman villains. Politicians are people and deserve any common courtesy that any person would. Now, I’ve been known to make a factual statement joke or two about how Bush was trying to take over the world, but I never attacked him personally.  I defended him against people who said he was faithless (which is such a loaded issue that I can’t fit all of my subcomments about it into one parenthetical statement without seeming silly) or said that an alcoholic shouldn’t be president (there are a lot of reasons I thought Bush shouldn’t be president, but that wasn’t one) and I’d do the same for Romney if he were to make it to the White House… although there may be a factual statement joke or two about how his wealth has warped his reality about the problems that America is really facing, which will ultimately affect his policy decisions.  Still, though, good man.  I wish a few more of my friends “across the aisle” would be as reasonable about Obama, and stop painting him as a non-citizen/Muslim terrorist/socialist who wants to destroy America.  (For the record, as a socialist, I can tell you that Obama is so NOT a socialist.)

2) Most of what is discussed in these attacks against presidential candidates during the general election have nothing to do with anything that really matters.  WHY BOTHER?  I like to discuss politics when people are actually discussing, you know, policies.  What Obama believes about gay marriage is irrelevant since he, Biden, and just about everyone else believe that it should be a state decided issue.  Discussing what he believes about gay marriage is about as purposeful as discussing what I believe about interspecies fish mating. And, for that matter, discussing whether or not a Romney is a Christian is a waste of time, since even if he weren’t he has every right to run for office.  I wonder if these people who go on and on about this wonder how they sound to the non-Christian populations in American.  (Hint: they sound like jerks.) Ya feel me?

The other thing is, getting personal about the presidential candidates during an election year isn’t the only problem.  People get incredibly personal in political discussion as well.  I was personally attacked on so many levels and by so many people in 2008.  And there were some who just never forgave me after Obama won, and they continued to attack me every time politics came up until the relationships were just cut off.  I am, admittedly, a bit gun shy.  Because it hurts when someone paints you has a horrible person because they don’t agree with what you’re saying.  I don’t require my friends to agree with me about everything.  I don’t hold differences of opinion as personal affronts.  I do require that my friends have the maturity (and non-center of the universe-ness) to maintain a positive relationship even when they realize you don’t hold the same world view.  It sucks to find out the hard way that this requirement is not being met.

I LOVE discussing politics.  I love a good, healthy debate about the issues.  What I DON’T love is someone who claims they are interested in hearing another’s point of view, but what they are really interested in is others hearing THEIR point of view and why it’s better.  A tell tale sign of this person is when they must have the last word in every conversation, and they have to take every opportunity they can to make sure you know they disagree with you.  Those conversations can be really frustrating because you think the person came to the table to hear you, and all you get in return is an agenda. I think I recognize this type of person because I have the same tendencies.  But, I’ve gained the self awareness to know that when I come across these people, the best thing for me to do is stop engaging them in political conversation (or perhaps in any meaningful conversation where a disagreement might happen) so that I don’t hit the downward spiral. 

Anyway, that is why I’m staying out of political discussion on Facebook for the rest of the year (maybe forever).  And I’ve been hesitant to post anything political because my blog automatically posts to my Facebook via twitterfeed.com.  I didn’t want to stop that from happening because I post about other things (sometimes) too.  But this morning I finally decided to go in and just delete the automatic feed.  And that is when I discovered there is a FILTER, and you can tell it not to post certain posts based on keywords. 
Bring it, y’all. 

Monday, May 21, 2012

A Place of Our Own

So, I’ve referenced our home buying a few times.  It has been quit a journey.  We looked at so many houses.  Bless our real estate agent’s heart, we had several houses that we looked out two or three times thinking that maybe it could be the one…  and it just never was.  We actually made an offer on one house early on.  It was a fixer upper and would have been a lot of work, but it was SUCH a good price and some potential.  Then we had an inspection done and found out it was a basically a death trap.  So, we backed out.  And then there was house after house after house.  And then there was this one house.  We called it Mittens, because it was our Mitt Romney.  We didn’t love it, but couldn’t find anything better.  We looked at it and considered it.  And then we’d find another one and consider it.  But then there were just so many problems with all the other houses and we just kept coming back to Mittens.  We tried hard to find something better, but it was just the best we could do, it seemed. So finally we made an offer.  The problem was that it was bank owned (Bank of America) and they didn’t seem real anxious to sell.  They kept giving us the most ridiculous counter offers.  It was maddening.  But, there came a point when we grew so tired of the process that we seriously considered accepting their latest ridiculous offer.  It was still well within our price range and we just wanted to be done with it.  We were either gonna back out and not buy a house this summer, or we were gonna buy Mittens.  Either way, we were looking at no more houses.  So, we went to bed one night saying that tomorrow we would accept.  And in the morning our realtor called.  She said, “I found a house that you’ll really want to see.”

Enter: The Cat Lady House

Our realtor was contacted by a contractor friend of hers, who is fixing up a house and he was about ready to put it on the market.  The former owner, apparently, owned a lot of pets.  We’ve heard from some that the pets were cats, and from others that the pets were dogs.  Maybe the truth is both.  Either way, there were a lot of them and they ruined the house.  Enter the contractor, who bout the house and has basically completely gutted and renovated it.  When the realtor was looking through it for the first time, she thought, “This is the house the Silvermans have been looking for.” And then she told us about it, and even before she took us to see the inside, we drove by it so we could look in the windows.  And after just looking in the windows William and I were saying to each other, “This is the house we’ve been looking for.”  And the we went with her to see the inside. Love. And the price? Amazing.  Well within our price range, and (even with closing costs, insurance, taxes, etc.) will give us a mortgage payment cheaper than what we’re paying in rent now.  And everything in the house is new, because it’s just been renovated.  It’s amazing. See ya Mittens. 

The only issue has been that it is in a flood plane because it is right next to a creek (!!!!!LOVE!!!!!) so even though it has actually never even come close to flooding (said creek is pretty deep and runs downhill past the house) we’ve had to go through some loops to address any possible complaints the lender will have in loaning us money for a home in a flood zone.  We mostly have it worked out.  And if you follow my husband’s blog, you’ve probably learned more about flood zones than you ever care to know.  We’ve done a lot of research. A. LOT. But the point is that the first floor of the house sits 4.6 feet above the base level, where the flood danger is.  That is good news for us, and means that everything is probably going to work out just fine.  We’ve done all the necessary paper work.  The only hard thing left is the waiting it out and holding our breath ‘til closing, because the lender could give us the boot over the flood zone issue at any point.  It is stressful, but there is nothing we can do but wait.

Without further ado, some pictures (of the outside only because when I went to take pictures today the contractor and co were not there and the door was locked):

The Front, With a bit of debris.
That will go away.DSCN1860
The Back.
It will be fenced in.
DSCN1868
The Backyard.DSCN1866 The Creek!!!DSCN1865

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Simple Woman

Find it HERE.

FOR TODAY:

Outside my window... mostly sunny, with patches of cloud and random wind. It’s starting to get hot. Like, summer hot.

I am thinking... about Indian food.

I am thankful... for music.  I love music.

In the kitchen... William made pizza for dinner.  Which is common.  And it is common for it to be very tasty.  Tonight, it was even uncommonly tasty.

I am wearing... pjs.  Of course.

I am creating... this project.  I’d tell you all about it, but I think I’m going to do a post later on and I don’t want to spoil it.  I’m not craft, and never post about crafty things, so I don’t want to ruin it.

I am going... need to get a good 48 hours sleep before I stop feeling tired.

I am wondering... about camping.  Is it too early?  The nights are still getting kind of cold…

I am reading... Cross my Heart and Hope to Spy by Ally Carter.  And I still have Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier, and Towers of Midnight by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson on docket, but those are slow going.  Rebecca just can’t hold my attention and Towers of Midnight is just such an involved read that I have to find uninterrupted time for it.  The Things make it hard.

I am hoping... that Thing 2 will stop waking up at night some day soon.  It is not that big of deal because he usually goes back to sleep easily.  But, I miss have uninterrupted sleep.

I am looking forward to... fall.  Already.

I am learning… about homemade sunscreens.  I know.  I’ve really gone off the deep end.

Around the house... I’ve kept up with the laundry (and folding!) for like three weeks running.  I know, right?!?

I am pondering... getting some trail running shoes.  Trailing is so much more fun that road running and I’m inclined to do it more.

A favorite quote for today... “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them” – Assata Shakur

One of my favorite things... Bedtime for the Things.

A few plans for the rest of the week… a preschool preview for Thing 1.  I’m 99% sure I’m gonna homeschool, but still think some preschool would do him a world of good.  And me.

A peek into my day...
Snapshot 1 (5-20-2012 8-57 PM)
Sometimes Thing 1 gets his hands on the camera.  That is all.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother’s Day!

After the Time Cover came out last week (yeah, you know the one) I started formulating a blog post in my head about my own response to it.  I didn’t get down to writing about it right away, which I think is good.  I needn’t have wasted my time since pretty much everyone and their mother’s pet has already weighed in.  A little bit of googling will bring you to just about every argument for or against. There is not much that I could say that hasn’t been said.  Just so you know what camp I’m in: I fully support long term breastfeeding if that is what the child needs.  I hated the picture because it was an unnatural breastfeeding position and was intentionally inflammatory.  However, people who have reacted to it by calling the mother a pedophile are disgusting.  If you see breastfeeding as something sexual, I submit that there is something wrong with you.  What I really, really hated about the Time cover was the headline.  It was divisive and promotes the already overwhelming mommy wars that women so love to engage in.  Because for some reason moms don’t feel like there are parenting their children the right way unless they can feel superior about the choices they make.  Those of us who battle to squelch that war just feel exhausted by things like this.

So today I just want to share a graphic created by Mommy Om at newhealthom.com.  Happy Mother’s Day!

momenough by Mommy Om

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Who Are You?

When I was in college out in the mountain west, I fell in love with hiking.  I remember being pretty terrified the first time some friends talked me into climbing a mountain.  But I did it, of course.  Why wouldn’t I have? And it ended up being my favorite thing to do ever.  I went hiking all the time, every chance I got.  I remember once going in late fall, and turning around only when my legs sunk so deep in the snow that it became unreasonable to keep going.  And then there was the time that I decided to leave the switchback path and head straight up the face of the mountain for awhile… about an hour later when I was basically rock climbing without appropriate gear—and kind of clinging to the mountain for dear life--I decided to never do that again.  But, it’s a fun memory now.

That period of my life, when I first fell in love with hiking, was about a decade ago.  I haven’t ever fallen out of love with hiking, I just wasn’t able to do much of it for the years I was living in Florida.  People there say they are going “hiking” on “trails”.  They are mostly just walking on paths.  You need a mountain for a hike.  Just saying.  Either way, this all leads me to an experience I had a few weeks ago.

I was headed up a trail for a hike, which I’m able to do now that we live in the mountains in Virginia.  The Appalachians are no Rockies, but at least it’s not sea level.  And I don’t get to hike as often or as avidly as I once did, because I am responsible for the care and happiness of the Things, but I still like to get out there.  This particular day I was heading up the trail and came to a stream that is about 7 minutes in.  I wasn’t surprised by the stream since I’ve hiked this very trail a lot times since moving here a year ago.  It was raining and I was looking at the water and thinking, “the rain has really made the water rise, and it’s moving pretty fast.  If I cross, I’ll probably get my feet wet.  If I slip I could get really wet.  I should turn around.”

This actually wasn’t the first time I’d come to this stream and turned around.  It had been a pretty run of the mill reaction to the stream.  Mostly if the water looked too high, I started thinking about wet socks  But, all of the sudden, in this moment I had a few weeks ago, I thought of the me a decade ago that was clinging to the mountain for dear life.  That me would not have been all pansy about some wet socks. And then I realized that I was about to abandon a hike because I was afraid of getting wet.  I was standing in the rain, telling myself that I needed to turn around because I was afraid of getting wet.  IN THE RAIN. And then I said to myself, “Leah Marie. … Who ARE you?” 

When did I become this person that talked myself out of things with lame excuses?  And I know  that I could blame it all on dysthymia, because feeling blue makes it easy to tell yourself things that aren’t true.  Like, this is too hard, or this isn’t worth it.  But the whole thing really got me thinking about the kind of person I want to be.  No. It got me thinking about the kind of person I really am.  And who I am is not someone who worries about wet socks.  So this has become a sort of catch phrase in my life lately.  “Who ARE you?” is something I’ve been asking myself in all kinds of moments: when my frustration levels are rising with Thing 1 (is it just me, or is living with a three year old like living with a terrorist?) and I’m trying not to raise my voice, when I’m standing in the kitchen looking for a snack even though I’m not hungry, when I’m thinking I should get some exercise but instead am sitting on the couch, when there is that project/craft that I want to get done but it seems too overwhelming to start, when someone says something hurtful and my first response is to be hurtful back.  I don’t always remember my catch phrase, so in some of these moments I forget myself.  But in all of these types of moments, if I can remember to think to myself, “Who ARE you?” it sets me on the right path.  Because when I remember who I am, I can’t be less than that.  Because who I am is actually really awesome. 

By the way, on that day, I plunged through that stream.  I actually plunged through it several times because it crisscrosses with the trail I was on.  And my feet got wet.  And it was an awesome hike.  And I’ve had several awesome hikes since. 

Who are YOU?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Simple Woman


Find it HERE.

FOR TODAY:

Outside my window... It was warm and sunny, but not too hot today.  Now it’s dark and cool.

I am thinking... about how I’d like a shiny new laptop.

I am thankful... for air conditioning.  I have summer PTSD after living in Florida.

In the kitchen... William is roasting peanuts and almonds to make some butters.

I am wearing... pjs

I am creating... cloth napkins.  We’re trying to eliminate paper products.

I am going... to take Thing 2 to an ENT specialist this week.  He’s finally had enough ear infections to warrant the referral.

I am wondering... about my selenium levels.  I mean, who DOESN’T wonder about that?

I am reading... you guys. I’m reading the same three books I was two weeks ago.  I just canNOT get excited about any of them, and keep finding other things to do with my time.  I might just need to leave them unfinished.

I am hoping... to write a post this week about how we’ve found a house.  I would’ve by now, but I’m afraid of jinxing it, ya know?

I am looking forward to... nothing.  But not because I’m being dull.  It’s just a good time right now.  William has a month off before he starts teaching summer classes and I’m loving it.  Being married to a professor is awesome.

I am learning… about homemade cleaners and beauty products.  Looking for life to be greener and cheaper.
 
Around the house... We’re organizing things and preparing for a move that we hope happens.

I am pondering... nothing.  Now I am being dull.

A favorite quote for today... “Any man who has the brains to think and the nerve to act for the benefit of the people of the country is considered a radical by those who are content with stagnation and willing to endure disaster.” – William Randolph Hearst

One of my favorite things... Cookie dough.  But also, not being fat.  It’s a conundrum. 

A few plans for the rest of the week…  fun family things!

A peek into my day...
I took this picture a second too late.  He fell asleep holding on to the bottom of the balloon, and it was right in front of his face.  I grabbed my phone to take the shot just as he let it go.

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