Sunday, January 29, 2017

Stand up!

When the flag passes, I stand and salute.  I respect the emblem of our republic.  When a state or nationally elected presiding officer enters the room, I stand out of respect for the office.  I always have.  But what happens when you have no respect for the officer?  What happens when a man, selected by a minority of those voting, tramples on the constitution and/or the principles I espouse?  Then I stand for my country.

The question?  What can Mr. Trump accomplish in his first 100 days?  With a flourish of his pen, he can attempt to completely altar the constitution of the United States.  Executive order Trumps rights.  With cronyism at its worst, he can put in place a cabinet that has little or no regard for what it takes to make a living for the majority of the country.  Power Trumps rights.  With inflammatory rhetoric and a smirk to match, he obfuscates the truth with “alternative facts”.  Bold faced lying Trumps rights.
By nature, I have a tendency to be a-political.  I’m not a party person.  I’m an issues person.  I take issue with this president.  As you trample on the right to free expression, I take issue.  As you profile people based on ancestry, I take issue.  As you destroy faith in a fair republic, I take issue.  As you inflame peoples across the globe, I take issue. 
To the elected representatives who are allowing this to happen, I ask you to stand. Stand up for the constitution.  Stand to protect those of us who do not suffer the problem of privilege.  Stand to withhold confirmation of cabinet members not suited for the job.  Stand for decisions based on facts, not “alternative reality”.  I ask you to be the check on unbridled power and corresponding ego.  I ask you to provide the balance that must exist for our nation to survive.  We cannot, we MUST NOT wait 100 days.  If the choice is to “stand by”, none of us will be left standing!   

Thursday, January 26, 2017

It's all about me

For the three people in the world who don't know, today is my birthday.  67.  It will be a good year.  They all have been.  Every one.  I'm sure there have been some episodes in that era that may have provided ammunition to dispel that belief, but hey, I'm old.  Why choose to remember those?  Instead, I will dwell on the most positive thing I can.  Today.

Episode 1
It started early.  Since I was born at 4:00 am, I got up at 4:00 am.  After all, I had this post to do on Facebook.  And while I was sitting at the computer, I realized the beast had pretty much covered a 360 square mile area of the basement floor with dry food, so as the coffee dripped, I swept.  Then it was coffee and one of the most exciting gifts of the day--the Dakota Style salt and vinegar potato chips my lovely bride had found.  If you are amongst the uninformed (as I was until I asked), they no longer are making those.  This was a "vintage" bag we had somehow managed to ferret away (maybe one, maybe two) years ago.  The thrill of unsealing the bag--the aroma--the first touch of the piquant vinegar to the tongue--the after effect of salt on the lips--the chorus of angels singing in the background--all was right with the world.
Now, with a fresh coffee fix coursing through my veins on its way to assuage my one true addiction, I have printed the puzzles and will accede to my throne--the recliner in the front porch--to test my mental acuity, to solve the problems of the world, and to prepare to deliver the PACH totes this morning.  As the day progresses, I shall return to update you.  Try to control your enthusiasm.

Episode 2
The totes are delivered, there are fewer chips, and breakfast has been consumed.  What was for breakfast, you ask (I heard you, you asked!)?  What does everyone have for breakfast on his birthday?  Baked creamed pheasant and grilled sour dough bread!  The pheasant was provided by Bradley--one of our children with whom we are well pleased!  The sour dough was mine!  Even in retirement, our former students amaze and sustain us!  Fortified, it's onward and upward--go pick up the birthday cake!

Episode 3
Running of the beast.  Cath had book club at Our Redeemer, so the beast and I delivered her.  Never one to fail to opportunize (I'm old, I can make up words!), I took the flinger and the ball with us on the trip.  Big parking lot.  No cars.  Beast friendly.  Get out of the car.  Toss the ball.  Walk the length of the parking lot to toss from the other side.  For those of you who have never experienced the parking lot at Our Redeemer, it makes Chicago wind seem like a gentle zephyr.  And cold?  Sweet Mary, the word bitter does not begin to describe.  After what I considered the absolute minimum beast fetches (and the maximum cheek freezing!), we bundle back into the car and head home, awaiting the call to pick up my bride and go to Dempsey's for lunch.  Okay.  Go to Dempsey's for fries!  And probably an adult libation.  Have I mentioned it's my birthday?

Episode 4
The fries.  The amazing thing about Dempsey's is the menu rarely changes but the food does.  Sometimes, the chicken strips are beer battered.  Some times they aren't.  Aren't today.  Usually, the fries are coated in a beer batter and deep fried.  Pretty much regular fries today.  That is NOT a complaint.  Regular fries are still fries, and I managed to eat all mine and 99.5% of Cath's.  I do believe I'm attempting to set a record for salt intake in one day!  Anyhow, we came home to prepare for bridge tonight.  Believe it or not, there are no fries on the menu.  Chips.  Lots of chips.  And a new cheese dip that is baked in a loaf of Italian bread.  And curried chicken salad.  And home-built buns.  And to keep it healthy, there are the vegies (to dip into the cheese dip)!  We may even play bridge!

Episode 5
The afternoon passes, and it's time to heat up the oven for the dip, get the ice bucket out, and generally start putting it all together.  Oven set to 375.  Sit in the porch until it is pre-heated.  Buzzer announces process has completed.  Somewhat put off by the aroma coming from the oven.  Whoever baked something last must have let it run over.  Hmmmmm.  Come to the kitchen.  Can't see the back porch.  Smoke and questionable aromas greet me.  Turn on the fans.  Open the doors.  Pray.  Our guests probably didn't know we believed in burnt offerings.  Thankfully it's still an hour until they get here.  By then, we should be set.  Cold, but set!

Episode 6
Bridge.  What can I say?  The food was good, the company was better, and the cards?  Well, let's just say the food was good and the company was better.  I may have whined a little.  A lot!  But what an amazing group of ladies with whom to share my natal day.  And we were done by 9:00.  That's only 2 hours past my nap time.  Not bad.

As per our usual, everything is put away, the dishes are done, the left-overs stored, the house in its pre-company form.  Years and years and years ago we made a pact never to go to bed with the onus of a dirty house greeting us on rising.  And now, as my eye lids sag (along with a phenomenally full stomach) it's time to reflect on the day.  Started early.  Stayed busy.  Ran long.  And you would have to sand blast the smile off my face.  I am overwhelmed with the greetings on Facebook.  I am overwhelmed by the kindnesses extended.  I am overwhelmed by how bad my cards were (who says I have to quit whining?).  I shall sleep tonight with the knowledge that I am decidedly the luckiest man in the world.  I am full.  I feel loved.  After all, it's all about me!

Saturday, January 14, 2017

The promised recipe

Home built sourdough bread:

In an eight-cup bowl, combine
3 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp. salt
Stir to combine
Add 1 5/8 cup tepid water (1 1/2 cups plus 2 Tbs.)
Stir to combine.  Cover with sprayed saran wrap and let rise in a warm place for 12 to 14 hours!
Remove to a floured surface and knead slightly.
Clean original bowl, spray with a vegetable spray, and return dough to bowl.  Cover and let rise for another 3 hours.
When ready to bake:
Place heavy covered casserole (or heavy enamel pot with lid) in oven and preheat to 400 degrees.
Carefully remove pot, uncover, and spray with vegetable spray.  Roll the dough from its bowl into heated pot.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake another 30 minutes.  When done, tip onto cooling rack and allow to cool as long as you can stand it!
This truly is a bread ANYONE can make.  Start it right after supper.  You will have amazing bread for lunch the next day!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

In my opinion...

The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing. 
                                                                                                           Edmund Burke

Dear Mr. President elect,
I just finished reading the farewell speech delivered by President Obama.  Quite literally with tears in my eyes, I was reassured that my opinion of and support for him were both justified.  The use of language to inspire, not denigrate; the use of a call to unify, not isolate; the re-clarification of our democratic principles; the call to come together; the call to action; all resonated within my soul.  The peaceful transition of power is necessary for our republic to survive.  Therefore, Mr. President elect, I pledge to you my support for proposals you put forward to advance our nation—to uplift those in poverty—to add equality both in rights and the ability to make a living—to keep us in good standing in the international community.  I do not, will not support any effort to undermine the true bastion of democracy—our public education system.  I do not, will not support any effort to impose social values that belong in the purview of the individual.  I do not, will not, cannot support a new form of “bully platform” in which the advancement of one person or group occurs by diminishing those who disagree.
Mr. President elect, you have an amazing challenge in front of you.  I wish for you the intelligence to know that there are two sides of every issue, the grace to occasionally recognize you may be wrong, and the wisdom to surround yourself with people willing to disagree with you—for only then can advancement take place, and only then will we survive as a nation.  With all my heart, I wish you a term that truly keeps us GREAT.  And most fervently, Mr. President elect, I hope you lose your Twitter account