Monday, January 31, 2011

This blog is going dark -- please check out my new one!

So rather than learn the bazillion steps it was going to take to transfer this blog over to wordpress, I just started a new one. I won't be posting here anymore so please check out my new blog and consider following it!

Friday, January 7, 2011

This Is Not A Resolution...


> This is not a resolution but I'm at a blogging workshop at Lake Tahoe. Hitting so many birds with this stone.
> Time away from PJ
> Grown up music in the car
> Lake Tahoe
> Interaction with grown ups
> Using my brain
> Lake Tahoe
> Meeting other frustrated writers
> A purse free of juice boxes and snacks
> Wearing cute wedge boots
> Lake Tahoe
> Sent from my iPhone

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Compromise Is Not A Dirty Word

If you've ever been to a county or state political party convention you know how mind-numbing it can be. Grassroots politics often encompasses the most polarizing beliefs and draws the most rabid idealogues. Without realizing it, I witnessed the early percolations of the Tea Party at the Nevada Republican Party Convention more than a decade ago. The whole affair was run by the far right wing of the party, people who were disgusted with moderate and middle of the road Republicans -- it may have been the first time I heard the term RINO (Republican in Name Only). There was no lack of disdain for the moderate tendencies of the state's Republican governor and legislators.

Upon leaving the convention that day, I ran into that moderate Republican governor and one of the more moderate Republican members of the State Legislature. When I asked them if they were heading to the convention they both practically choked at the suggestion and chuckled that they had zero intention of joining the fracas. They may be Republicans but both made clear to me that they had little in common with the folks gathered at the convention. And clearly they would not be joining "the radicals", as they called them. That governor and that State Legislator wouldn't even get invited to the convention today -- the governor was branded a RINO for pushing through a tax increase to preserve education and social service funding, and the State Legislator was easily defeated by a future Tea Party leader in Nevada. Ten years ago the tea partiers were considered the extremists of the party -- the purists who had to be pacified but who did not rule the Republican Party. Today, the moderates are being excommunicated. We saw it in Nevada last week when a moderate who dared cross party lines in a close race has been dethroned from a leadership role he's held in the state senate caucus for more than 25 years. He went against his party for the good of the state and was quickly punished for it.

I'm not a Republican but what I see happening in the party is worrisome. Litmus tests that used to be limited to signature issues like abortion and gun rights have now spread to immigration and education policy. Any Republican who dares not subscribe to a strict tax cut philosophy, support of public school vouchers, opposition to any type of gay marriage equality or support of any plan to deport brown skinned people who aren't carrying their papers can easily find themselves marginalized. Strict ideology used to be reserved for campaigning. Compromise became the rule once the governing began. Not anymore. And it explains why governing is both so ineffective and so difficult. It's not about compromising two viewpoints into one solid policy to benefit everyone. It's about imposing your will on the opposition. And if that's not possible, obstruction at all costs.

Democrats have long struggled to balance the liberal and moderate factions of the party but I don't ever recall one faction taking hold to this extreme and to the exclusion of all others. Ten years ago I told that moderate governor and legislator that they should be more involved in their party if they wanted reasoned and moderate ideology to prevail. Now I wonder if that's even possible.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

I've Already Divorced My House -- But I'm Still Here

So we are moving. It wasn't really something we were looking to do but in this crazy real estate market we got lucky and found an amazing deal, in an amazing neighborhood, with amazing potential. It will most certainly be a labor of love for us in the coming years as we update it and make it our own. I dread packing but I cannot wait to move in. And every day we have to wait for the painting, carpeting and other such tasks to be done is beginning to see like an eternity. Am I that anxious? Not really. I'm just over our current house. Staying here is kind of like having to see that boy you dumped every day in math class. It's awkward and you wish you could look away but there's nowhere else to look when he sits right in front of you. That's kind of how I feel about our house. I love it and we've spent the past six years making it our own. We've done a lot of work -- new backyard, new flooring and carpet, some paint, and a whole lot of time. Every tree or plant in this yard was selected and planted by us.

But now that we've signed on officially with the new house it's getting hard to look at this one. Knowing the renters who live here will never admire it or love it the way I do makes me sad. And a bit guilty. A lot of memories live in these walls -- bringing home our puppy, bringing home our child, holidays with family and lots of good times with friends. I feel sad leaving this house and its memories behind. And I'm sad to know our daughter will never remember her first home -- our first home. This was the place that taught us a bit about how to navigate marriage. How to negotiate both our time and our money into improvements that made us both happy. Like the afternoon we used the scrap deck wood to build our BBQ table. That was a great afternoon. But the table is too big and heavy to move with us. And it wouldn't really fit with the new house and yard. So it stays. When I walk out back I will no longer glance at the table and smile at the memory of that day we built it together.

But that's why I'm anxious to move. I can't wait to get that rush of unpacking my dishes into new cupboards. And deciding where precisely that spare chair should go. And making the new wish list of additions and improvements to this new house. And I can't wait to start tucking new memories into those walls. Who knows what we will build there and what memories are just waiting for our family to breathe them to life.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Love Mad Men -- But The Smoking is Torture

One of my first uses of Netflix has been to get caught up on Mad Men. We recently started watching it on AMC and I can tell I'm missing a lot of the backstory because I haven't been watching from the beginning. I love the show -- the smart writing, the retro fashion, the backstabbing, infidelity and innuendo. The cocktails. I almost always have one while I watch. Honestly what's there not to love. But the one part that I find absolute torture is the smoking. Every time someone lights up -- particularly Betty for some strange reason -- I get that twinge. The one all former smokers get when out of the blue they get the urge for a cigarette. It's a powerful physical reaction and it always takes me by surprise. I quit smoking for good months ago and frankly, don't even miss it. I've even gotten over the hump of wanting one when I have a cocktail. The only trigger I still seem to have is Mad Men. Now, I haven't broken down and I don't intend to. And I don't intend to give up my Mad Men habit. I'm only finishing season one and still have a ways to many layers of Dick Whitman to unravel and understand. So I guess I'll be doing it with a cocktail in hand. But no cigarette.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

30-Day Veggie Challenge

Having a small child and a picky husband in my house means I often resort to salad to getting something green on the dinner plate. But when it's drowned in ranch -- even if it's homemade and not the kind with a long list of ingredients I can't even pronounce let alone spell -- I just don't feel like it's the healthiest way to get my family to eat vegetables. So, I was super excited to hear about a blogger and fellow TwitterMoms member who is hosting the 30-Day Veggie Challenge on her blog,

Every day there will be a new vegetable recipe featured on the Dinner Together blog. Not all of the them are super healthy -- I saw a brussel sprouts and bacon concoction -- but I'm hoping to find some treasures to add to my repetoire. So, in that spirit, I share one of our favorite family veggie recipes, Roasted Vegetable Pasta Primavera.

4 cups your favorite vegetables -- I typically use carrots, broccoli, zucchini, asparagus, cauliflower or whatever I can find in the fridge
1 diced onion
3 cloves minced garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons dried thyme or basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 package whole wheat or spinach pasta -- farfalle or rotini are our faves

Cut all the vegetables into similar and bite-sized pieces and put in a bowl. Add the onions and garlic and toss with the olive oil, herbs, salt and pepper until all the vegetables are coated and seasoned. Spread the veggies on a baking sheet and bake in a 375 degree over for 20-30 minutes or until tender.

Meanwhile bring a huge pot of water to a boil, add salt and boil the pasta until al dente. Drain reserving at least 1 cup of the pasta water.

Place pasta in a bowl and dump roasted vegetables on top. Toss the vegetables and the pasta, adding the pasta water as needed to keep it all moist. Top with fresh grated parmesan. This makes a big batch so unless your family loves leftovers, cut the recipe in half.

Variations: top with grilled chicken, sauteed shrimp or even sliced steak for a delicious and easy meal.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Voting...And Moving On

Early voting just started here in Nevada and my phone will soon be ringing every day with some well-meaning volunteer asking me if I plan to vote (yes), will I be early voting (no), and do I plan to support such-and-such candidate (depends on who it is). As much as I live and breathe politics the two weeks of early voting every two years are those I dread the most. I get weary of the daily calls but refuse to early vote. I'm a purist when it comes to voting and believe Election Day is sacred -- call it my day of worship at the altar of democracy. That's probably a bit blasphemous but democracy, voting and the democratic process of government is what guides me in many ways. I live my life in consideration not just of what's good for me and my family but for my neighbors, my community, my state and my country. I believe that doing so makes my life and the lives of those around me better, stronger, more free and more fair. Despite our ethnic, religious, racial, social or economic differences, our votes all count the same. I think that's awesome.

And voting is our ultimate act of commitment to our community. It clearly demonstrates our participation in our democracy and our belief in our freedom. We are free to run for office, campaign for a person or issue, debate with our neighbors and vote. And then we do the most important and amazing thing -- WE MOVE ON. Whether or not our candidate or issue prevails, we accept the vote. And maybe try again next election cycle. It is an amazing part of living in this democracy. And I never fail to marvel at it.

Here in Nevada there is a lot at stake this election. We're electing a new governor and deciding the fate of the Majority Leader of the US Senate. That's right -- the leader of the Senate is from a state with exactly five members in Congress. And he might not win reelection. If he does -- and I sincerely hope he will -- it will be by a very slim margin. But that's the beauty of American democracy. The fate of one of the most powerful politicians in the country rests in the hands of a few undecided Nevada voters. I'm looking forward to voting...and moving on.