Democratic Primary Debate

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​Tonight is the next Democratic Primary Debate. It begins at 8pm EST on CNN. I think it’s important to watch these debates and see the distinctions between the candidates. Even if your position is that you’re voting for whomever the Democratic nominee is, it still behooves you to know about each of them.

This is merely my three second opinions on each candidate in tonight’s debate.

The views expressed here are my own. I have not endorsed a candidate nor have I been paid by any candidate for a good review.

Biden DE

experienced, a little too old imo, I wouldn’t mind him as Secy of State or AG (I’d like Kamala to stay as Sen)

Booker NJ

I like him a lot, but I want him to stay as Senator. I could say that about almost all of the Senators running for President

Buttigeig  IN

I like him a lot. I like his thoughtfulness, I like his ability to step back and change his view when confronted with other opinions that he can then think about. I like that he’s smart. I think in eight years I’d want him as President, but he’s still on my short list for 2020

Castro TX

I like him, but I’d like him in the Admin, maybe VP.

Gabbard  HI

Not even a little. If she were the nominee, I would not vote for her.

Harris CA

She’s in my top 3. I’d like her to stay as Senator or possibly AG. I like that she doesn’t back down, she doesn’t mince words.

Klobuchar  MN

I like her style, her intelligence, and her experience. That said, I’d like her to remain as Senator.

O’Rourke  TX

I like that he speaks out on things that others are somewhat afraid to. I like that on occasion he uses the F word. He shows his humanity. I like his stance on guns and immigration. That said, I’m thinking vice president.

Sanders VT

Not as much a fan anymore. I will vote for him if he’s the nominee, but I definitely think his recent heart attack is disqualifying unless he has an extraordinary vice president.

Steyer

I don’t know enough about him to offer a cogent opinion. If he’s the nominee, I’ll vote for him.

Warren MA

She’s in my top three. And she keeps going up. I like everything about her. I like that she doesn’t back down. I like that she has a plan for everything. I like that she’s intelligent, and willing to talk to everyone and listen.

Yang

I like his UBI (universal basic income). I like his forward thinking about jobs that won’t be coming back. I like his tech background. I wouldn’t mind seeing him in an administration, in Commerce or Treasury, but I’d have to see more of his qualifications, maybe Labor.

October – Fall into Halloween – Quotation

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I had wanted to share some quotations from murdered journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, but I couldn’t choose. So please visit The Washington Post and read what he’s written including his last column, published posthumously. 

Also, if you’re so inclined, please support the Committee to Protect Journalists.

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, define yourself.”

-Harvey Fierstein

October – Fall into Halloween – Reflection

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​I mentioned in my initial blurb earlier in the month that October is my favorite month. The leaves are changing colors, the pumpkins are in full force in the neighborhood, the kids are talking about their costumes, I’m preparing my own costume, my son’s birthday is happening, we go applepicking, there is usually a one day retreat, comic store activities, the return of The Walking Dead, my parish’s anointing mass, the Living Rosary, and a host of other motivations and inspirations for writing and centering.

This year, however…

Ugh.

It is 15 days before the midterm elections. Most years I vote, but I don’t pay that much attention. I trusted President Obama and even President Bush, who I did not vote for, to keep the country steady. I trusted Congress, even in its usual disfunction to keep a check and a balance on the President, although the Republican Congress during the Obama years went a little crazy on the obstructionism. I trusted the Supreme Court to follow the law. Even Scalia, who I didn’t like and disagreed with on almost everything, had a moral compass.

But this year….Good Lord. The hyperbole is strong – this may be our last free and fair election. Vote now, you may not get another chance. This is the most important election of our lifetimes.

And you know what?

It is all of those things.

In early 2017, I re-read 1984, and i was kind of amazed at how much of it I had forgotten, and also amazed, and petrified at how much of it seemed to be coming true with the new Trump Administration. I hesitate to call it a Republican administration, but the Republicans in  Congress seem to have forgotten their function in favor of…I don’t know what it’s in favor of.

So, yeah, long story short, tl;dr, yell, scream, run, don’t walk to your nearest polling place, and VOTE!

We also were not able to go applepicking this year. This is the first year since we’ve had kids that we haven’t gone. Even when my son was nine days old, we still went applepicking. I’m so torn about this.

My oldest child is moving out.

I know; it’s time. He’s ready. I’m not, but I probably would never be, but he’s ready. He also has two jobs, a car, and has been feeding himself for mostly a year now. He’s ready. I need to keep telling myself that.

I was late to my doctor’s appointment this  morning, and I would have only been less than five minutes late. Except for the speeding ticket. I can’t even.

I was going to go as a Hufflepuff professor for Halloween. I just needed a witch’s hat, and then Jamal Khashoggi was brutally assassinated in Istanbul. In 2016, I went as a journalist because of all the attacks on the media by the Trump campaign. Back then, I had no idea how bad it would get for the journalists and their colleagues. I would have never expected any President of the United States calling our free press an enemy of the people. I even less expected that after the murder of a US Permanent Resident, writer for the Washington Post, that any President would take the side of the murderers and make excuses akin to covering up that murder. So I’m recycling my journalist costume, both in honor of the free press and in memory of Jamal Khashoggi.

Let me try and think of three positive things before I go.

My brother may come for a visit for a few days. The kids are excited and it would be nice to see him. We’ll have to come up with something interesting to do. We’re a boring group, but I think we can fake it. We’ll need to start cleaning now. Like right now.

I’m planning on doing Nanowrimo this year. I loved how last year it gave me focus and motivation. I need that again, and am very much looking forward to it. It begins in ten days!

I got hearing aids this week. I’m still getting used to them. Some things are a little too loud, but the amount of times I say “what” and cup my hand over my ear has gone down by about 99%, so that’s a bonus. I’ve noticed a real difference in church, hearing the kids talking to me from the backseat of the car, talking to a waiter or waitress in a restaurant, and I’m more disturbed by the rattling that I can now hear my car making.

October – Fall into Halloween

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​October is my favorite month for a lot of reasons. It is also the beginning of a very stressful and anxious time for me. It’s almost every year, and once this was brought to my attention, I was able to pay attention to the signs, to be self-aware, maybe a little overly self-aware to remember to take care of myself and to enjoy what I do enjoy and push through what I find difficult.

For one thing, school is humming along. All of the back to school paperwork has been handed in, drama club has begun, my son’s birthday is in two weeks, the leaves are changing, we’re planning our applepicking day, choosing Halloween costumes, not buying candy so we don’t eat it before the 31st, and I’m kind of getting ready for Nanowrimo. For the past two Halloweens, we’ve only started buying candy on the 29th and 30th. So far, so good.

I have a lot of medical stuff getting done this month. I’m about to schedule a mammogram, and my physical and colonoscopy is near the end of the month. I’m getting hearing aids in two weeks, which is nerve-wracking, depressing from a getting older perspective, and also excited anticipation so I can hear half of the things I’ve been missing.

I was also just informed (cautiously, nicely, with as much gentleness as was possible) that my oldest child is moving out. To be honest, I know he’s ready, and he’s thought it through, and he’s good and decent and it’s time, but also to be honest, I’m devastated. I can’t think of anything else. He’s been working two or three jobs for the last year, so it’s not like I’m used to seeing him around anyway. His main job is an overnight, so he gets home in the morning while I’m still sleeping, and he’s sleeping when I get up for the day. He hasn’t eaten dinner with us in weeks (months, really), he only answers about half my texts, and so physically not much will change.

But I’m still distraught.

The depression is building.

It’s also an election year – it is the most important election year in our lifetimes. That is no exaggeration. It’s time for those of us in the majority show the rest of the country what that actually means.

We are about to seat a new Supreme Court Justice, and the nominee (without the baggage of credible allegations of sexual assault) is the least qualified, the most lacking in temperament, the most self-entitled man to be chosen by any President in modern times. I’m also still deeply pained by the disgusting partisan insulting treatment of Judge Merrick Garland, and the traitorous  behavior of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, not only for that, but also for refusing to sign onto a bipartisan statement informing the American people of the Russian election interference in the 2016 election.

I am not over that election. I will never be over that election.

A foreign government put their finger on the scales of a fair and free election, and our Republican party helped.

I do apologize for this political outburst. That is not what this monthly blurb is about, but this hangs heavy over my October this year.

I’m going to take a deep breath, and make a few suggestions to you, and to myself while I try to keep October on an even, mindful, centered keel. As the campaign season winds down to Election Day (in thirty-four days), more than likely we will all need some form of self-care, and October actually lends itself really well to some unique ways to bring ourselves back to the center.

1. Take a drive to see the fall foliage. Many regions of the US have a beautiful change of season. I am very lucky to live in the Northeast, so it goes from green to bright oranges, reds, and yellows, sometimes in a matter of days.

2. Go applepicking. While you’re there, definitely eat one apple from the tree. Clean it on your shirt, and listen to the sound of the crisp, juicy snap of that first bite of the apple, its stem still attached, the leaf brushing against your nose. My favorite variety is the snapdragon, a relatively new hybrid.

3. Cook something comforting. Stew, chicken soup, chicken pot pie, mac&cheese, apple bread, apple pie.

4. Have a cup of tea. Or better yet, a mug. And keep them coming.

5. Light a scented candle. I like lilac.

What would you add to this list?

34/52 – October

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​October.

When the real fall begins.

The colors of the leaves are changed just enough to notice on every highway; every corner.

If you have kids they will bring home fall art of trees using “fall” colors in torn tissue papers, sponge prints, fingerprints with tiny thumbs red from pressing apples onto the trees.

Rows of pumpkins appear on every church lawn, primarily Methodist for some unknown reason (to me) reason.

Harvest festivals and school fundraisers as well as my local retreat center and interfaith council.

Apple, pumpkin, and sweet potato pies fit for space on supermarket shelves.

Trying to squeeze in family applepicking before the apples are gone, but scheduling around work schedules and birthday parties.

October is also the month of the rosary. This year is a special one as we celebrate the centennial of the Marian visitation to Fatima, Portugal. The process for Sister Lucia to join her cousins, Jacinta and Francisco in sainthood has begun. Will she be beatified on the centennial of the final visit (October 13th)?

This will be my second year participating in the Living Rosary at my church.

Jack O’Lanterns, spiders, and a row of little Batmans and Disney Princesses round out the moth and usher in the holiday season from Halloween until the New Year.

October has arrived.

My Annual Guilty Pleasure

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This is the only time of year that I eat Butterfingers. There is something about the crunchy, crispy, almost melt in your mouth peanut buttery, warm with chocolate that is just so amazing.

Unfortunately, this is the only time of year that I love then. I even steal them out of my kids’ candy bags the day after Halloween. Sometimes the night of.