Can I get a protest, please?

Who is excited besides me that there our President gave the commencement speech at Notre Dame last week?

Well, I am off the charts excited for a number of reasons!

No, I have not become a closet Notre Dame fan – but, I am utterly enamored of our President and the calm confidence that emanates from him and surrounds him like an aura.

There in the audience were protesters – yes, in the audience.

Protesters.

Speaking freely.

Protesting.

No government officials had relegated them to a “sanctioned site” some dozen blocks away.

They were there, in the building.

Moreover, our President handled them with gracious confidence.

Democracy in action… just a few miles south of my house.

It almost makes me giddy!

Last week was a banner week – not only were there protesters, our President actually mentioned Sri Lanka and the Tamil Tigers. In a sentence that actually made sense! In the 8 years of the Bush Presidency, I do not believe I heard him mention the civil unrest there once.

It is refreshing to have someone in office that cares about what is going on in the world around him.

Very refreshing.

Adding to all this excitement are what have been a month of “lasts” for my household – as in Heidi’s last classes, Heidi’s last concert, and Heidi’s last day of school – a momentous week to be sure. I have been unexpectedly melancholy about her graduating. I have shed a tear or two, vacillating between wanting to wring her neck and wishing she was just starting high school. Fortunately, the feelings of wishing she was just starting high school have been winning – so she will live to graduate on June 1st!

In addition, there was knitting…in case you were all wondering. FLS is off the needles and on the body and I love it! Pictures coming soon, I promise! I would knit this again! It is the perfect sweater!

This just might become the Summer of Sweaters – I am breezing along with my other summer sweater. Sleeves soon to be cast on…

Also, just to keep things interesting, I have cast on Indigo Ripples II – I have about 3 inches and knitting! Last time, silky wool, this time a little denim-y number!

All this in a week with overtime! Okay – So just, do not expect a well dusted home… seriously.

Anyway, I am off to bed – have a good holiday weekend all!

Springtime in Holland…

Springtime in Holland…

I have had several quite startling conversations with people recently about some topics that on the surface seem to have nothing to do with each other, however it could be that they are indeed, more closely linked than one would imagine.

Therefore, I ask you, Gentle Reader, where you fall in the following topics. I am seriously interested in your responses.

Why? Because, someone told that I represent a minority in my beliefs and I find that incomprehensible. Not from the standpoint that my belief is in the minority, because seriously – I often find myself in the minority. Rather because it seems to me there is an obvious right and wrong.

It all began over breakfast with a friend a couple of weeks ago, when she mentioned the termination of Rick Wagoner and included the word Dictatorship in the same sentence. Curious phrasing, to be sure, and I tried to joke that I did not believe that we woke up in Cuba. She did not laugh.

She went on to express her extreme dislike with what President Obama is proposing with his national health care plan. She went on to lament that any form of a nationalized health care plan would equate itself to no care, like our poor neighbors in the world for whom the government controls health care.

At this point, for me the conversation became heated.

I pulled out my soapbox, climbed to the top, and shared with her my thoughts on health care…

What we have is not working.

At least it is not working for the majority of us.

I have been saddened to see more “self-pay” patients who are coming to the hospital much sicker, requiring hospitalization and treatments that are more rigorous. This has become such a problem, at least for the hospital that I work for that they recently started a new initiative just to encompass the people who find themselves without any health care at all. I am not sure how many other hospitals are doing this, but I can tell you that I am proud to work for an organization that is taking steps to help the people who live in West Michigan! If you are interested in reading about the details of MetroCare, you can find the link here.

Lastly, on the Torture Debate that seems to be everywhere you go. I heard this report on NPR. When I brought it up to discuss with a friend, he shocked me with his statement that my beliefs were in the minority and that a majority of my fellow Americans think there is nothing wrong with torturing another human being. Yeah, if that does not depress you, I do not know what does.

I guess you can just call me a dictator-loving socialist who would not hurt a flea, much less another person!

I am just looking for a kinder gentler world, really…much kinder and miles gentler.

On a lighter note, I took a weaving class from the amazing and incredible Jane Patrick of Schacht Spindle Co. fame… she is a great teacher and add to that the opportunity to spend the weekend at Beth’s shop and you have the ingredients for a most remarkable weekend. I learned volumes. All I have to say is that what happens in Mecca stays in Mecca… however; the look on Lousmith’s face when I paid him a dollar was worth the price of admission!

Spring has been quietly arriving here in West Michigan and it is more than welcome. I leave you with a shot from the Crab Apple tree in my front yard!

Do not forget to share your thoughts on health care and torture; I am eagerly awaiting your input to this ongoing debate!

Spring '09 by you.

Have a great weekend!

The spoils of failure?

I have been closely following the taxpayer bailout of A.I.G, as you all have more than likely been doing also, and I have been stunned with each new turn of events.

Okay, truth be told, I have been more than stunned – outraged might be a better word.

Being a hard working, taxpaying citizen, who with my fellow Americans has become an unwilling co-owner in A.I.G. ; the recent news has me more than a bit confused with the idea that there is a reward for failure!

I do not know about you all, but in any review of my work performance, not once have I been rewarded for failure, and most certainly would never expect to receive compensation for putting my company in financial jeopardy, nor would anyone with an ounce of common sense! Yet, it seems that this is exactly what is happening. Moreover, beyond that, a clamor has gone up that there is a contract to pay, so pay we must, it seems.

Yes, that is right, there are, evidently, contracts that state bonuses are due even if the employee looses billions of dollars and pushes their employer over the edge of financial responsibility, causing a federal bailout to keep them afloat.

Excuse me?

I mean really, do they expect us to believe that?

What I would really like to know is why these people are still employed and are still drawing salaries, much less getting bonuses – some of which were in the neighborhood of $3 million dollars! I do not know about you, but from my perspective $165M is a hell of a lot of money and that is what A.I.G. paid out thanks to the taxpayer. Although, a reporter from the New York Times pointed out on the Today Show this morning that the majority of the payouts did not exceed $1,000.00.

I suppose that to someone earning upwards of $500K, a thousand dollars is chump change.

Maybe that is chump change for some, but I would hazard a guess that for the majority of American’s a thousand dollars would indeed be a windfall.

It appears to me that there is such a vast divide between the “haves and the have not’s” today that they have put themselves in a bubble and have been floating around in something that does not even resemble reality and frankly is more like Peter Pan’s Never, Never Land.

New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo wants to shame these wastrel’s into giving the funds back and President Obama is up in arms and wants the contracts torn up – okay, good ideas, but it is a bit like closing the barn door after all the horses have gotten out. There is clamoring from the legislature to put a new law on the books to prevent this from happening, another idea with some merit but it seems a day late and several billion dollars short, if you ask me!

I do not know about you, but it seems to be that if one looks at this from a moral and ethical standpoint no bonus payout ever would have happened. Yet how do you get a group of people who obviously do not have morals or ethics to give them back or even to admit that they are the least deserving of any bonus compensation? A group of people who have obviously not given one thought at all about a contract that probably required them to be fiscally responsible for their employer or the shareholders, so tearing up a contract that has no value at all is likewise meaningless. Similarly, the legislature of morality and ethical behavior seems futile.

Once again, with the taxpayer held over a barrel in a damned if we do, damned if we don’t predicament it appears we have few choices.

It seems to me that when one is dealing with someone for whom reality does not exist would be t0 approach the situation from his or her level. In that vein, we should consider asking Tinkerbell to transport them all from Never, Never Land for a visit with Alice in Wonderland where I will gladly play role of the Queen of Heart’s and bring back the guillotine where off with their heads will be the agenda for the day!

In addition, if A.I.G. is concerned about how to replace the casualties they need look no farther than the ranks of the unemployed  which I believe contains a multitude of worthy candidates!

…the promise of things hoped for.

Twenty-seven years ago, I made a very difficult decision – one that forever changed my life in a million different ways. As it often is with difficult decisions, it was ultimately the right decision to make, and here is the beautiful part of this decision – it was not only the right decision for me, it was the right decision for one very small child and one family for whom this child was born.

Today, the thing that I hoped for, longed for, dreamed about but never, ever expected to see come to fruition on this side of eternity happened.

But, the day was not just spent in anticipation of this pending visit, you see I had lovely distraction this morning. I took a drive south to Kalamazoo to have breakfast and while I was there, I was even fortunate enough to get the 25 cent tour of that fine city, one that I thought should have cost much, much more. It seems that even in this economy if one looks very carefully that which is practically perfect is right there waiting for you! Yes, my visit south seemed to be just what the Dr. ordered for a day such as this.

But, I digress…if I told you that I remembered clearly the last day I saw this child, you might not believe me – but remember I do in vivid detail – Technicolor, for those of you beyond a certain age!

Yet, I am sitting here right now and there are no words to express exactly what I felt when I saw her in person standing in front of me. Add to that mix the incredible woman whose job it was to raise her, change her diapers, kiss her scrapes, and sit up with her when she was sick all night, and put up with her teenage moodiness – she had the hard job. Yes, it was quite miraculous to be in a room with women as gracious and giving as my daughter’s mother and Godmother are. That they are here to share her with me humbles me to my innermost being.

To see my children embrace their sister, to see eerie similarities in their faces and mannerisms was like nothing I ever imagined, and it filled me with indescribable joy.

Moreover, tomorrow is a brand new day and I have faith that it will be so much more than what I hope for.

T-minus 36 hours and counting…

Some twenty-seven odd years ago, my life changed drastically and this weekend the Object of that Change is arriving to visit.

The past weeks have almost had a surreal quality and I truly cannot quite believe that the very thing that I always hoped for, but never believed would happen is coming to fruition this weekend.

I have vacillated between moments of incredible joy to tear filled fear as the day has drawn closer.

What is this monumental occasion that has my world turned upside down, you ask? Gentle reader, the daughter I released for adoption just over 27 years ago is coming for a visit.

In person.

On my doorstep.

To say I am a wreck would be a huge understatement.

She is bringing her mother and her godmother with her for this visit.

Now, the question – who do I hug first?

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