April 29, 2015

Screaming for ice cream



This meme is making its rounds on the internet:



Which, for my family, is only partly true.  While not made in Texas, Braum's offers a reasonable substitute to the current dearth of ice cream.  Our freezer usually has both, but is now Braum's exclusive - right up until Blue Bell is back on the shelves.

No, I am not afraid of contracting listeria.  Or salmonella.  Or botulism.  Or E.coli.  Or any other food-borne bacteria.

Nor do I bathe my shopping cart in handfuls of antiseptic wipes upon entry to the grocery store.

5-second rule for dropped food?  You bet.

My mom defrosted meat by letting it sit on the counter all day while she was at work.  Gasp!  I had perfect attendance for several years of elementary school, so it couldn't have been making me sick.

I grew up on Sunday dinners of freshly killed chicken.  As in, walk out to the chicken coop, wring a neck, and pluck that sucker.  No clean room.  No flash freezing for safety.  No three compartment sink or mandated sanitation process to clean up the utensils.

Raw milk, now a 'thing' amongst foodies and clean eating advocates, is simply an unpasteurized product.  Milk the cow, chill the output, pour it in a bottle.  Guess what?  Raw milk stays good for weeks, and it doesn't go 'bad' like the grocery store product, it naturally turns to buttermilk.

I don't have the patience, or the science knowledge to explain in technical terms what real life has proven to me.  I can understand that bacteria have evolved and gotten stronger, but I also believe that somewhere along the line, all of the purifying, sanitizing, and antibacterial bathing has, or is, creating a generation of humans that are overly sensitive to the world they live in.

Hurry up Blue Bell, I need some ice cream to deal with the stress of worrying about getting sick from eating ice cream.  And Braum's Cappuccino Chunky Chocolate is good, but it isn't Caramel Turtle Cheesecake.

April 25, 2015

My little liberal

As I type, my youngest is in his room, gnashing his teeth, wailing, and calling out, "Why will nobody help me?"

Lest you think I am cruel, I should explain right off the top that there are no privileges granted to the kiddos on Saturday mornings until their bedrooms are clean.  They don't have to wait until Saturday morning to do the cleaning, but that is a lesson they haven't yet grasped.  As a result, Crash bounds out of bed each Saturday morning, eager to bask in the glow of the Xbox or other electronic paraphernalia that he is not allowed to play during the school week, only to be stopped by the room cleaning law of the house.

Crash is 8-year's old now.  He is fully capable of doing every routine cleaning task required of him.  He simply can't forget the glory days of mom and dad helping him with the high dusting, or pushing the vacuum for him.  And, every Saturday morning, he claims that he 'needs' help.  Clearly the need versus want lecture hasn't permeated this area of his conscience.  His cries are annoying, but he is my fourth child, and, well, he suffers or benefits by being the last, and in this case, he could snivel for hours and not ruffle my feathers.  Unfortunately, his father often relents, as the crying grates on his nerves.  And, I can't seem to get the 'if you do it for him he will come to expect it' lesson to permeate his thick skull.

We have escalated now, to the cries of "nobody loves me", coupled with the anguish of being expected to clean up his Own. Damn. Mess.

My little boy can't understand why no one wants to share in cleaning up the flotsam and jetsam that he has strewn about over the past week.  Two weeks, actually, as we were out of town last week and he escaped the evil torture of room cleaning.  He fully expects someone else to do it for him.

I know there are moms out there that would rush to console their little darlings, or would calmly speak to them in hushed tones about how much they are loved and supported, and would then cajole them gently into cleaning their room.  Bless those mothers.  I am not one of them.  And I will be damned if I raise kids who think that other people should clean up their messes and do their hard work for them.

April 20, 2015

FOD

During the six years and 91 days that Obama has been president, he has played golf 224 times.

The Obamas, both together and in various states of separateness, have taken 38 vacations of some sort, on the taxpayer's dime.  This total being prior to last month's trips to Japan and Cambodia.

The Obamas have hosted twelve lavish musical concerts for the PBS series, "In Performance at the White House".  Last week, the theme was 'Gospel', and the concert featured Emmylou Harris, Darlene Love, Pastor Shirley Caesar, Tamela Mann, Rhiannon Giddens, Lyle Lovett, Rance Allen, Rodney Crowell, with Aretha Franklin and T Bone Burnett also in attendance.  

This week, alone, the president will welcome the Ohio State University football team, NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick, and the New England Patriots.

On Saturday, the Obamas will attend the White House Correspondents Dinner, which, inexplicably, includes not only journalists, but a slew of celebrities, many of which are frequent pals of the Obamas.

Of course, the Obamas have hosted world leaders, political figures, and royalty.  They get to decorate and celebrate with someone else's checkbook.

And yet, the tool occupying the Oval made a crack about Michelle not being compensated for her position as his wife.

Granted, you couldn't pay me enough to be in the same room with that jerk, but, the nerve of that guy, to make a joke about pay disparity by pointing out that Michelle isn't getting bankrolled to issue her school lunch edicts.  FUBHO.

Lest we forget:


April 14, 2015

Furiously Franchised

Saturday night my circumstances were such that I had 3.5 hours to kill, at night, far enough away from home that it only made sense to stay in the general area during that time.  I tried to find appropriate activities to fill the time.  I desperately tried to find fulfilling activities, but ultimately what fit into my schedule was a showing of the movie Fast & Furious 7.

In hindsight, I think it might have been helpful to have seen F&F 2 - 6, which I have not.

I never thought I would utter this phrase, "Ludacris and Duane "The Rock" Johnson were two of the best actors in the movie."

FF7 clocked in at 2 hours and 20 minutes.  Of that, there were approximately 18 minutes of believable action on the screen, most of which featured bare female asses.  Vin Diesel changed his facial expression twice, well maybe three times, during the movie, though it is hardly discernible.  There were around 3,000 punches thrown, with no residual bruising to mar subsequent scenes.  I recall at least four instances in which people jumped from one moving car to another, with no ill effect.  Hundreds of cars were wrecked on film, and, after filming was finished, 230 vehicles were crushed to prevent fans of the series from getting their hands on them.

That pesky little 'suspension of disbelief' thing should be explained to the film's director.  People cannot drive cars off of cliffs, out of airplanes, head-on into another vehicle, and not only survive, but pop right out and on to the next bone-jarring scene - makeup and muscles intact.

There was so much gratuitous violence that I found myself looking away for long stretches of fight scenes.  There was nothing enjoyable about watching ridiculous beatings with (unbelievable) predictable outcomes.

Actor Paul Walker died at some point during the filming of FF7, though I am not enough of a fan to track down exactly how much filming had been completed.  The last few minutes of the film are a tribute to Walker, offering up a montage of scenes from the first six movies, and a touching beach scene in which the rest of the cast purportedly comes to terms with the knowledge that Walker's character has decided to embrace the home life with his wife and child and won't be going on any more adventures with them.  The movie ends with a scene in which the two male leads drive side-by-side, and then Walker's car veers off on a path of its own as the last strains of Wiz Khalifa's 'See You Again' play out.

The quiet theater was filled with the sound of grown men sniffling, clearly moved by the emotional ending.  That was almost enough to make me forget that I spent twelve bucks on a shitty movie.

April 13, 2015

FOD

This handshake has been a dominant news story:


Raul Castro and Barack Hussein Obama, during a meeting that BHO termed as "historic".

I have never really understood the United State's stance on trade and travel with and to Cuba.  There are plenty of other countries around the world that support terrorism, are Communist, or would rather see us all dead - and yet the United State's ultimate freeze-out stance against Cuba has lasted for over 50 years, while some other major players in world terrorism and genocide get a pass.

It seems a certainty now, that Cuba will be removed from the list of "State Sponsors of Terrorism", leaving only Iran, Sudan, and Syria.   Other countries not on the terrorism list but restricted by U.S. trade embargoes are North Korea and Burma.  Why aren't Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq on those lists?  Shouldn't our president concentrate more on clear and present dangers to Americans, while tapping the brakes before removing Cuba from the list, knowing that Vladimir Putin is a lot closer to Castro than Obama will ever be?

I can't help but think of Cuba as the low-hanging fruit of an Obama administration desperate to put something on their foreign policy resume.

April 10, 2015

Big Bad Bill is Sweet William Now

I enjoyed hearing Bill Clinton speak a lot more than I thought I would.  And, without going into a lengthily psychoanalysis of his upbringing and why he likely chose to marry a domineering sort of woman, my amateur impression is that he is much different than his wife.  And, as much as I will suffer should his wife find herself getting elected as president, I smile thinking of Bill having the run of the White House again, and getting into mischief.  I think it would be entertaining.

What is often lost in political diatribes is the fact that Bill Clinton is a very smart man.  Book smart.  Yes, he let his little head rule too often, and yes, he and his wife are conniving, murderous, opportunistic manipulators - but that takes a bit of intelligence to pull off.  Clinton was a Rhodes Scholar, studied at Georgetown, Oxford, and Yale.  He is extremely well spoken - and, having been the president, has a great many names to drop and tales to tell.  It was a pleasure listening to him, though he does not, at all, shy away from tooting his own horn.

Interestingly, Clinton spoke of both presidents Bush by name, but never even alluded to the current president.  He spoke of Boehner and Pelosi, spoke of world leaders past and present, spoke of current events and political challenges, but never said a word that remotely referenced Obama.  Waking up this morning to the news that Hillary intends to announce her candidacy this weekend has me wondering if Bill's omission was a hint of a separation strategy related to her campaign.

Clinton bit his lip, got teary eyed, smiled that sly grin.  He chuckled and had that twinkle in his eye, though it was hard to ignore how much he has aged.  Aged well, but aged.  He even made a comment that "youth matters", which led me to wonder if Hillary's campaign had screened his remarks.

I imagine it is difficult to adjust a speech to the median intelligence of a room that spans such a wide spectrum of people.  When Bill spoke of spending $3 billion of "your money" to sequence the human genome, the lady sitting in front of me turned to her friend and asked what a genome was.  He did touch on climate change, but also commented, "There is nothing wrong with fracking technology."  But, no matter what he spoke of, one thing remained as the common thread.  Bill Clinton is optimistic and hopeful about America and the world.  My boss, a staunch conservative, often says that he once heard Clinton say, "Never bet against America", and that piece of advice is a mantra to live by.  After listening to Bill speak, I believe that, no matter his faults, he does love his country and has faith that our problems can be solved if people will work together - traits that our current president is lacking.


April 9, 2015

Slick Willie is in town

I am supposed to be attending a conference today, a vendor produced, energy industry-focused sort of affair.  Instead, I am in the office putting out fires and hoping that I will be able to make some of the afternoon sessions, and at the least, be there for the keynote address.

The fact that the keynote speaker is none other than Bill Clinton, is a head-scratcher.  The Clinton Foundation focuses on issues of climate change, health, and female equality around the globe.  I can't help but wonder what the topic of Mr. Clinton's speech will be.  Will he lecture a roomful of energy industry leaders on climate change?  Or will he choose to address the male-dominated industry on matters of letting the girls have a seat at the table?  If nothing else, I expect it will be entertaining.  I am a little fan-girlish at the thought of hearing that trademark Clinton chortle in person.  Clinton is kind of like that dingbat philandering uncle that you know is full of shit, but you still love to sit around and listen to his stories.

I have to get back to work, so I can get out of here in time to pick up a cigar to go with the blue dress I am wearing.  I can't afford a Gurkha, but I only want something that I can sneak into a picture, should a photo op present itself.

April 6, 2015

FOD

Today the White House hosts the annual Easter Egg Roll.  Basically a photo op, hundreds of kids are welcomed to the White House lawn for all sorts of book readings, tours, and the roll itself, which involves a race pushing eggs with long handled spoons.  I got my fill of whiny kids in scratchy ruffled Easter dresses on Saturday at a local tulip farm, so I have a little sympathy for those forced to work the event.  But, I suppose they are gluttons for punishment anyway, if anything written about the Obamas treatment of staff is remotely true.

The First Family made their annual trek to church on Sunday.  As we all know, the president doesn't just show up anywhere, especially with his family.  This church had weeks of warning, had been searched, vetted, and prepped for the "surprise" visit.  The pastor acknowledged that the president was in the audience:
After the singing stopped, the pastor Dr. Howard-John Wesley came to the front.
“How fitting that on the day we celebrate the rising of our Lord and savior, we also welcome our sitting president,” he said, as the congregation began to applaud and also welcomed the First Lady.
"How fitting..."?  WTH?  What kind of pastor compares once a year church attendance of the president to the resurrection of Christ?  What is "fitting" about it?  The pastor then delivered a politically charged sermon that included this gem:
“Even today in our political landscape, a line in the sand is drawn forcing you to make a decision on where you stand,” he said. “Where do you stand with rights or same sex couples…where do you stand on gun reform, where do you stand with police body cameras? Where do you stand on affordable health care? Life has a way of making you make a decision.”
“Where you stand on the resurrection of Jesus Christ: You either believe it or you reject it,” he added.
Oh, okay.  Gun reform, police body cameras, gay marraige, and Obamacare are of the same caliber as belief in the resurrection of Christ.  Gotcha.

It doesn't take too much work to see what sort of pastor Dr. Wesley is.  Apparently his sermon after the Trayvon Martin verdict was voted as one of the best on the subject by Time magazine - something that his church website highlights in his bio.  I could write a comprehensive treatise on everything wrong with a church that highlights their pastor's media triumphs, but if you are stopping here at my blog, I really don't need to preach to the choir.

I have lost count of the number of times I have wondered how this president and his supporters sleep at night.  There is something just a bit larger, more magnified, about the outright politicalization of a church, and the pastor's sermon on Easter Sunday.  While one of my earthly weaknesses is the desire to be validated - to see God's judgment play out in my time and in front of me, sometimes things are so wrong, that all I can do is shake my head knowing that the judgment they will one day face doesn't begin to compare with any of the evil punishments that my small mind can think of.

April 4, 2015

Not easily impressed - or parted from my money

This time of the year is such a whirlwind for me.  Last week Crash celebrated his 8th birthday (with an archery party, no less, the tales of which I will save for another post), this week The Princess celebrated her birthday, Easter is tomorrow, Boom's college Parent's Weekend in two weeks, Mr. H's birthday, Mother's Day, the end of school, and somewhere in there I am supposed to be planning my son's Court of Honor for earning the rank of Eagle Scout.

Working, chauffeuring, planning, and being a mom force time management decisions that often keep me up late, or up early, or both.  I love that the internet provides options to have delivered to my door things that I don't necessarily have the time to drive to a store and get.

I got an email the other night from Amazon, advertising a service called "Prime Now".  Amazon offers a select group of products that can be delivered to my door in one hour.  People in other cities have a two-hour delivery window, but I live about 10 miles from a ginormous Amazon distribution center, so if I need a sterling silver pendant necklace in the next 60 minutes, I can get it.

I got very excited, what a great service!  I started to browse, with all the upcoming events that required purchases in my mind.  Whose shopping habits helped Amazon determine what products they would offer?  My guess is techie, fitness minded, organic pet food buying, clean freaks.  The categories and top products are an array of the latest tech gifts, Fitbits, (mostly cat) food of the very expensive variety, and an entire section of household cleaning products.

As badly as I wanted to test the one hour delivery system, I just could't find anything I needed.  Which was probably good, as I later learned that despite all the advertising for "free" one hour delivery, there is an expectation that you tip the delivery driver.  Granted, if it was something I desperately needed, and just didn't have a way to get it any other way, I would be willing to pay for the delivery.  But, I hate being bait and switched.  Free means free.

I am not so mightily impressed as others are with the idea of Amazon same day delivery.  Aren't we just circling back around?  Milkmen, grocery delivery, pharmacy delivery - all things that I remember from my childhood.  And, Dominoes has been custom-making pizzas and delivering them in 30 minutes or less for decades.  Hey Amazon, want to impress me?  Get my doctor to make house calls (that I can afford).

April 3, 2015

Grace for Allen

Twelve years ago today, I arrived at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas, via ambulance, as The Princess had decided to arrive some 6 weeks earlier than expected.  My doctor felt it would be best for me to deliver her next door to Fort Worth's preeminent children's hospital, as we expected to have her whisked away to the NICU.

Instead, she was born tiny but absolutely perfect.  By the time I was out of the O.R. and on my way to the recovery room, they came to tell me that there wasn't a single health concern with The Princess, despite her prematurity.  She never had to leave Harris, spending the first few days of her life in their basement nursery waiting on me to be cleared for discharge.  We rode out one particularly nasty spring storm together in that basement nursery, and I remember how peaceful and safe it felt, sitting there with a dozen or so newborns, as the storm raged outside.

This morning, in that same hospital, my friend Allen will undergo surgery to remove as much of his brain tumor as they can.  I hope and pray that he will get remarkable, if not miraculous, news when he wakes up in the recovery room.  I am not usually an overtly spiritual person, but I can't help but draw parallels to the anniversary of my daughter's birth, and the fact that it is Good Friday - and hope that it means something positive that my friend is in that hospital having surgery on this day.

Whatever it is that you do to lift people up - a thought, a prayer, lighting a candle, lifting a glass - will you do it in the name of Allen, and all the other good people who have been dealt a shitty hand, today?