Thursday, December 31, 2009


Is that what we call this year?

Happy New Year !!!


time flies

tamales were a hit. four dozen. three pork, one chicken. shudda bought a sweet dozen for folks to try. Mariachi band and such a wonderful welcome today at Lunas!

And fun had by all at Bob's brother's house in north Dallas. It was fun to tell Clara that everyone in the room had a mom named Clara, her namesake. Bonnie and Beth. And Bonnie is running for state rep! Bart and Janice. Joel and Mona and Jomona, Clarissa, Andy, Jacob and Clara and Josiah.

home safe and sound on 161. First time I'd ridden on it. roads were moist, but with dry patches. Windshield frozen from moisture trapped INSIDE the car from the four dozen tamales. Wonderful dips and salads. And we gave our cakes a good home. Janice seemed suprised the rum cake was made with real rum.

The sky is clear.

Blue Moon.

Bob said Joel beat him at Scrabble the first game, then he won the second.

midnight fireworks---from the new Cowboy Stadium or Six Flags? wow

sounded like thunder, but we knew the sky was clear.





it is midnight here. central time.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Headed to Luna's during a Blue MOON!

Tamales ordered for New Year's Eve. Luna's Tortilla Factory moved from downtown Dallas to near Love Field. Found it online, and Bob has been by there, but tomorrow is my turn. I mapquested the routes. Now to remember to take Bob to the train tomorrow, or we will end up needing to go by the station parking lot at midnight. Not a good time to be on the road.

Is my house toddler proof? We will see. I am trying to look at the room through toddler's eyes. Bob will wonder why the heck his heart monitor toys are up on the window sill. Relatives driving down from Iowa via Kansas City yesterday and today. I wonder how far they got in the winter weather?

Yesterday's snow was slushy. The streets stayed above freezing all night, thankfully, because of a south wind. Hence, no ice! Yeah! It was our third snow event. Everyone is still talking about the suprise White Christmas that caught the weathermen unawares---what happened there! This latest event they kept predicting would hit 12 and 24 hours ago. And they just kept glibbly postponing it. Guessing the weather is still hit and miss. When one descends too fast, or a finger of it dumps two feet of snow on Wichita Falls and closes 287 in drifts, they call it "the perfect storm" which translated means, we were totally suprised. That thing moved in so fast, they had no time to warn folks and hundreds spent the night in their cars. I heard the National Guard was used to rescue people. and the de-icing solution was washed off by the rain that preceded it.

Bob's siblings are converging on his brother's house in north Dallas New Years Eve. It has been a year since we have seen some.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Monday after Christmas

The sky is clear. Reprovisions secured from Walmart. Another trip to the chiropractor, so I am standing up straighter. A walk around the block. Trying to get it all done because bad weather is in the forecast. It was suppose to start tonight, but now they have postponed the bad stuff until mid-day tomorrow.

I think I have fallen into a rut. Walmart, Tom Thumb, chiropractor.

I need to think of something new to visit, somewhere new to shop.

An antique shop would be fun, or a craft shop. I don't know.

I need to go to the post office and pick up their preferred boxes. Bob and I found Abby some cute socks and CARS slippers.

The guest room is ready for the next group. The portable crib has a sheet on it, and the toddler bed has clean sheets, and I am thinking about a camping air mattress for the great nephew. It is tempting to put up the camping tent, too, and let him sleep in there in the other spare room, but I think they need space to play. Toys are within easy reach in bins in the closet. And I have more toys out in the little house in storage. The brio train set, blocks and a dump truck...if they get bored with the chevron cars and matchbox cars.

Mark Steyn is doing a super job today subbing for Rush today. He'll be the sub tomorrow, too. Then our own Mark Davis on Wednesday. I liked his term for the newest airplane bomber: knickerbomber. He has also used the term panty bomber. This one came from a rich family. His own father had warned multiple countries that his son was dangerous. This guy was on the naughty list in lots of countries. Thankfully, his bomb did not work and 300 people lived on Christmas Day. Why detonate over Detroit?? Why do muslims want to kill muslims?? Detroit has a huge muslim community. No telling how many he would have killed on the ground. Jumped on by a brave flying dutchman, the muslim was prevented from finishing his bomb. Thankfully.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The After Christmas Ham and Beans and Cornbread Dressing

I thought it silly to make cornbread for the ham and beans, as I had plenty of cornbread dressing left. It was good! I should have done the ham and beans in the crock pot, because ham and beans done on the stove top means lots of stirring. We set the timer to stir every fifteen minutes as it started sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Looks like some snow made it through another day. I can see patches of snow in the backyard. Sat outside and cut Bob's hair with the clippers. By the back wall of the house, in the southern facing full sun, it was warm and toasty.

We woke up at 4am to take our firstborn and his family to the airport. The security lines were long, but our almost three year old granddaughter was a cheerful trooper in the cold. Fed her a pumpkin pancake, and I think she was still nibbling on it when they wound through security and out of sight.

We have received a few updates on the travellers---

James and Amber came over Christmas Eve, but headed back to Lawton so that they could continue to California today. I think all three boys were here an hour or so Christmas Eve, and three hours Christmas Day. It seemed to fly by. I baked muffins for breakfast, but an early lunch of ham, mashed potatoes, and veggies with dressing and lots of desserts. I boiled the whole five pounds of red potatoes, and used two packages of cream cheese, so did not need milk after all. See, we had this once in eighty years SNOW storm which gave us the first white Christmas in our memories. Driving was treacherous, and stores were closing early anyway. I should have stocked up on more stocking stuffers and milk on balmy Wednesday when the temp was 75 degrees and we had the windows open. My bad. Ben and Andy found a gas station open when they were running an errand, and got us another gallon of milk. Andy and Lauren are used to driving in ice and snow. So, they enjoyed shopping, and we were the worst babysitters, as Little Miss did not nap, and thus, was overly tired Christmas Eve.

She did help us unwrap presents on Christmas Day. She has the hang of that. We got a signed copy of Sarah Palin's book, and a bread maker. And some sour dough starter, and Collin Street Fruitcake. Whoop! Santa brought Bob some more fancy Thoro Running socks and Balneol. Santa is so practical. Bob read Ben the poem he'd written, and I think Ben liked it--as it was all about Ben asking for Santa's thumb print. Bob's blog has it---

Years ago, Bob put the gifting back onto the boys by encouraging them to save a special fund just for buying each other stuff at Christmas. I am glad they still enjoy doing it. I am glad they still enjoy each other, and call each other, and keep up with whatall the others are doing. Bob and I have been able to step back and just help out here and there as we see a need. I like giving presents all year. It is so fun to pick out something for our granddaughter and send it in the mail. It is harder to know whatall the guys need, but I try to keep my ears open to ideas or clues they give us. I am a failure in the presents for the daughters-in-law department. I need to be a better listener to what they'd like. I am just so thankful they all came here for Christmas this year. I think they'd rather spend them with their folks and travelling is so expensive.

Looks like our little portable crib and toddler bed will get some new visitors this week as nieces and nephews and their families stay overnight on their way to visit grandparents in the area. I have been keeping the washer going today with sheets and towells. Time to throw another load in the dryer so we can remake the guest bed for the next group. It is kinda nice living in the DFW area, as relatives crisscross the country and drop in.

Bob told me the cutest story today coming back from Walmart. When he was five years old, he said, he asked his parents for a truck for Christmas. He was given a toy one, and tried not to let his dissappointment show. Come to find out, he was very literal even back then. He wanted a real truck, just like his Dad's. I hope he blogs about it. Someday we will have to get him a real truck. He kinda uses the old plymouth as a truck. I read a story online today about a seven year old who took his parents front loader and plowed the roads. Sounds like something Bob would do if they had fulfulled his wish.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Abby and her Great-GrandMother

Blogging Does Help Jog the Memory!

I could not remember what we did for the past two Christmases, so I looked up my old blog posts! That helped! I am so glad I blogged about them.

The storm rolling across the plains is giving us some needed rain, but the weather radio report used the snow word. And I don't remember ever having snow on Christmas Eve nor Christmas Day. I remember more balmy Christmases here in Texas where we open the windows!

Andy and Lauren and our granddaughter drove up from Houston last night. They had a wonderful wedding last Saturday where Lauren and Abby were in the bridial party. Wonderful pictures already! And then they had a couple of Christmas celebrations with Lauren's grandparents. And yesterday, they visited my folks and I will try to post the great picture of great-grandmother reading to Abby. So cute.

Ben was not feeling very well, but he met us at the Cracker Barrel and we watched Abby down two biscuits. I am afraid this sorta dulled her appetite for chicken, but the applesauce was an artistic medium. Our countertop table now sports a beautiful gingerbread house decorated by Abby with little candies, and a rock walk of chocolate rocks. It makes the house smell sweet. We will be glad to help them mail some of their loot to their home, as they will not be able to fit it all in their suitcases. And airlines charge extra now. Abby received this cute muppet looking flower. She really likes it, and can put it on all by herself. So cute.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


He came from a wealthy family. He was bald. He was faithful. True to the end. Chosen as a replacement to Elijah, we first met Elisha plowing with twelve sets of oxen. His father had put him over the twelve sets, and he plowed with the twelfth. God told Elijah specifically to anoint Elisha as prophet in his place in First Kings 19:16. Elisha only asked for permission to kiss his parents goodbye, and he sacrificed the set of oxen, boiled them, fed everyone, and arose and followed and ministered to Elijah.

In the first chapter of Second Kings, Elisha gets to watch Elijah call down fire from heaven and consume over 100 soldiers. And before Elijah departs for heaven in a chariot, Elijah will tell Elisha, "ask what I shall do for you before I am taken from you." And Elisha asks for a double portion of your spirit---and Elijah declares it a hard thing, but promises that if he sees Elijah depart, his request has been granted.

I was struck by how different groups come out and warn Elisha that God is taking Elijah home today, and Elisha answers, "yes, I know, be still." The equivalent of "shut up", today?? Elijah seems reluctant to let Elisha see him leave. He tries to distract Elisha a few times, but Elisha clings to him like a glove. Swears to not leave him.

Then it came about as they were going along and talking, that behold, there appeared a chariot of fire and horses of fire which separated the two of them. And Elijah went up by a whirlwind to heaven. And Elisha saw it and cried out, "My father, my father, the chariots of Israel and its horseman!" And he saw him no more. Men ask where Elisha is, volunteer to go look for him. They don't believe Elisha that Elijah left by chariot. They shame Elisha with what if God dropped him on a mountain?? But, never find him.

And one of Elisha's first miracles is dry land when walking over the Jordan, then making the water of Jericho sweet. Removing the curse of Jericho from when Israel entered the land and the city was destroyed.

Elisha was given a year or two (??!!) to be mentored by Elijah. And even though he knew the day of Elijah's departure, he did not like to see it come, and he missed Elijah. He grieved his loss. He took up Elijah's mantle, and would continue a thankless job. He did not have to see Elijah die. And in a strange irony, when it was his turn to go, another man will come to life when thrown in his grave.

Called by God. Not afraid to argue with his mentor. Faithful, ministered, served, respectful, watchful, ready to set aside the plow and family and follow God's call. And the Bible records his grieving. And God uses him to raise to life the child of a woman who gives him hospitality. A child given when she had none...foreshadowing the Christmas Story and Elizabeth. Elisha will multiply the oil of a destitute widow---but makes her "work" for it by borrowing vessels to hold the bounty. He doesn't just hand her cash to blow on liquor or crack. God will use a little slave girl who has heard about Elisha to heal a captain of the Army from leprosy. And make him demonstrate his faith by dipping seven times. Elisha will make an ax head float, and show a doubting fearful servant the Army of God that protects. Invisible to us until God uncovers our eyes...

Elisha is busy even on his deathbed in Second Kings chapter 13. And we hear the king of Israel visit and weep, and and use that phrase again: "My father, my father, the chariots of Israel." That phrase that Elisha exclaimed when Elijah left. Maybe something is lost in translation. Maybe I need to hear it in the Hebrew or have someone translate the idiom or metaphor. But, in both cases, the phrase is used at the death or departure of a beloved prophet who did God's Will to the end. Persevered. Is always ready, obedient, and was given some big, dramatic miracles to get people's attention.

In reviewing my family ancestors, the name, Elisha comes up frequently. My ancestors probably knew the stories, too, and honored his memory by naming their sons Elisha. Bob has a cousin with a grandson named, Elijah.

Enoch and Elijah---both transferred on to heaven without dying. Enoch walked with God, and walked on home to heaven with Him. Elijah and Moses will come back as the two Witnesses of Revelation in the Tribulation, and suffer death. All eyes will see their bodies and then see them raised from the dead.

And it is amazing that even Elisha's bones bring a man back to life. 2 Kings 13:21.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Makes me feel a part

We have caller ID. Mainly, because of the never-ending political season. Seems like we just got done electing president, and the governors race is on. Yikes. I hate robo calls.

We just do not pick up unless we know who it is. Forget the "unknown"s or "private" callers. Let them leave a message, I say.

But, today is James' duty day. And I got a call from a corporal on staff duty wanting James to call McM., and the phone number. So, I retrieved it off call notes, and called James. Seems that no matter how he gets his information updated, we are still his permanent residence, hence, we get the call. It makes me feel a part. Gives me an excuse to call James. For, James wears a leash, a fancy cell phone. He even gets email on it. It is so cool.

I like being an Army Mom. Next time James has duty, I bet I get a call. It will be fun. HOOHAH.

I am an Air Force Mom, too. Wonder how I get on firstborn's duty roster.

Three O'clock in the morning...

What is it with ladies my age waking up at 3am??? What is with that? Most mornings I can fall back to sleep, but not today. I went ahead and got up at 4am just to let Bob sleep in peace.

Got the guest bed remade with clean sheets. I can bend over a little better, and fetch things off the floor I drop, but had to take a break half-way through. It is like my back wears out and gets a hitch for a few minutes.

Clothes are sorted. My Mother would be so proud. She taught me to sort clothing. My whites are white, and my gentle cycle is the other one these days. If dark colored towells pile up, I do them by themselves.

I have been buying the Dunkin Donuts whole bean coffee. It is very low acid, and mild. I prefer a more robust, stronger coffee, but Bob likes it. I have tried brewing it in the old coffee pot, but it tastes the same as in the new Mr. Coffee $10 maker. Dunkin makes a darker coffee, but only in ground. I could buy some and use it when I do not want to wake the neighbors with the coffee grinder. A coffee grinder really helps me get my aggression out. The base broke off, so you can rotate that sucker 180 degrees. It is great for grinding oats, and nuts, too. Andy bought it for us for Christmas a few years ago.

It is 5:45am, and Bob is out jogging. He bought some new running shoes on Saturday, and said they help cushion the joints, so that is good.

Time to clean the catbox.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Jupiter and Sliver of a Moon conjunction

We watched the sun go down on this shortest day. I was picking Bob up at the station. Then we went to Whataburger for their last day of A1. And after we ate, we walked around the block. I only had to stop twice. I slipped a disk a couple of weeks ago, and have been going to the chiropractor every week, using ice gel packs, and walking around hunched over. The chiropractor nagged me about walking again. The disk slipped anterior, and it is pulling the nerves on my ribs down, too. A big breath feels like someone is poking me in the ribs.

Twenty years ago, I was thin, and could run a five mile (10K). Now, I can hardly make it around the block. Bob has started jogging every morning again. He has a new geeky watch and heart monitor, so he will be in fine shape in no time at all.

The sliver of a moon and Jupiter were close tonight. Bob even spotted Mercury. We have so many houses and trees, that Mercury is a hard one to spot. But, I mentioned it when we could see between the houses to the western horizon. And Bob believed me.

Andy called today. Abby did great as flower girl in another wedding. The service was a little too long, so Andy entertained her elsewhere. And she wanted nothing to do with the professional photographers, but enjoyed the dancing at the reception. And she has a passel of new toys from Christmas by the Bay with her Momma's grandparents. I am glad they are having a good time, but it will be fun to see them Christmas Day. And with over ten inches on the ground at their home in Alaska, I wonder if they will be able to get into their house. Maybe the neighbors took pitty, and snowblew their side, too. I sure hope so. Yikes.

The shortest day

Today is December 21st, the shortest day. I just saw a sundog!

It is 3pm in the afternoon.

Monday Madness

I rode with Bob to the train station so that I could have the car today to run errands. Bob likes to take the super early train, so the stars were still out. When we got to the train station, I think Bob noted in a flash that the parking lot was not as full, so he could park much closer than his usual spot. But, I squawked, "where are you going??" and "I am not about to sit in a parking lot all day." (insulted that he had forgotten me...) And then when we pulled in front of the station, I was wondering if his train was next. No matter how I asked the question, I knew I'd be wrong. If I'd said it was raining, he would have said, "no, its spitting." If I'd have asked if his was the next train, he'd of said, "no, the westbound train has not come by yet." So, I asked if we were waiting for his train, and he answered, "of course, why else would we be here." So, I asked, "are these people the ones you ride with?" And he answered, "some are, some aren't." So, I gave up and asked how to ask if his was the next train?? And we both laughed, and he said to blog about it. But, he beat me to it.

Living with Mr. Perfect, Mr. Precise, Mr. Always Right who sometimes consedes, "you may be right." May. Once in a blue moon. And I think this is a very painful concession for him.

Living with Bob, at first I thought it was a math preciseness, or an engineer thing. Then James came along and it was like living in stereo. I could ask them both the same question in different rooms and get the same answer predicated with, "of course..." As if it was so obvious to them, that it could not be any other way. Now I know they just can't help it. And no matter how I ask or what I say, I will be corrected. Herded back upon the best or better path. Armed with this knowledge, I pause and try to ask my questions directly, precisely. Sometimes I just ask, knowing I will be corrected no matter what. Sometimes, I ask the wrong question just to be difficult. That or go mad. If I thought they were doing it to be mean or irritating on purpose, I would be assigning them meanness I don't think they have. But, neither are they clueless. I think they see this in the BIG BANG THEORY TV show, and that is why they enjoy it so much. I don't think they mean to be condescending but, sometimes the sarcasm just slips out. Creatures of habit. Direct. Direct in their paths.

And these kind of people revel in computer programming, and doing things that would make the rest of us cross our eyes and drop from the tedium. Their jobs and interests are not boring, but can help induce sleep with their rabbit trails and terminology. They do better with lots of warning instead of springing a spur of the moment spontaneous change of route just to look at the lights on a particular house. Sometimes they will wax on and on about a subject and you find yourself scratching your head about how they can be experts on painting said Christmas lights, and you wonder are they just testing you? Is this a challenge? Do I need to go home and google about how Christmas lights are made? Are they trying to wow me with their vast knowledge? To challenge their statements with "are you pulling my leg?" would be tantamount to accusing them of lying. And lying is so agregous, so vile, so cruel, you might as well pull out a gun and shoot them first.

It is fun to ask them what they are thinking about. With James, it seems pretty random. And with Bob, he is busy with a computer programming puzzlement, or planting something on farmville on facebook. Blog fodder there.

Going back is hard for them. Getting there is the challenge. Staying the course. Waiting for them to need a bathroom break is bladder burstingly dangerous. Leaving early throws them off, too. They don't like to leave early nor arrive early. That might force them to visit, talk, or heaven forbid, wait. Being early is bad, yet having this extra time to drive through McDonalds for a sausage biscuit, a dangerous variable. Not to be risked. Nor fathomed. Even if I mentioned it the night before, with the statement, "I'd like to drive through McDonalds on our way to Sunday School" he will not remember, and unless you do, it won't happen.

When we were first married, I thought it pagan that he wrote things on his hand. Now I know why he did it. I should have let him continue. I should not have been such a bitch. I should have been more accepting. I killed the card writing in him, and the gift buying, too.

Amber mentioned that James leaves cupboard doors open. I am sure he did it here at home, too, but I probably chalked it up to leaving me a clue or a path to whatall he needed. Surely, James means to close the cupboards, but gets distracted and is on to other tasks and does not look back, but ever forward. Bob is so good about putting dishes away from the dishwasher as he waits for coffee to brew, that he does not disarm the dishwasher. It is stupid that Bosch has this feature that shows a zero for being done, but won't change from this setting until you punch it. twice. Our way of stopping the guessing game of are these dishes clean or dirty is by using the soap dispenser. Whoever fills the dishwasher half-way puts in a cube of soap in the dispenser to signal it has not been run. I just peek inside and get a pleasant suprise when I see the zero, as it is often empty. To rant and rave at Bob about not punching the front would drive him to not want to put the dishes away ever again. Why shoot myself in the foot? Instead, I just get over the fact that the the front indicator lies. Open the door and get a suprise. It is either empty or it needs turned on. Big deal.

All this to say, getting along is a life-long challenge. I think we trade bad habits, and hopefully, good habits. I don't think there is a school or premarital counseling that will get you ready or used to getting along. There are just some things we each do that irritate the crap out of the other. And that is okay. Life is messy, and fun, and if you can handle much of it with laughter, so much the better. Choose Laughter. That helps me choose life.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Quiet Sunday

It has been a quiet Sunday here in Texas. I have only worn my coat in the house for half the day. ha. When one wears an icepack on ones back, then the coat keeps the rest of one toasty.

Or if one decides to eat a bowl of ice cream in December, the coat keeps the rest warm.

Bob attended the church Christmas play. I stayed home and listened to Mar Hill Church online. When Bob purchased tamales, we put half in the freezer, so we ate those for lunch today. (and burped them all afternoon.) But, they heat up in the microwave, and taste just as good as fresh.

We played Scrabble. Twice. Two games, back to back. It had been almost a month since we had played, which is unusual for us, as it sits right here in the middle of the coffee table, and I fold clothes around it. Bob loves to play. There is nothing worthwhile watching on TV.

Bob got the windows washed, and the back yard mowed of leaves after we filled two huge bags of leaves. We are trying to give the green rye grass a fighting chance. Leaves will deprive it of light and rain.

James and Amber were here Friday night and Saturday morning. I tried making the cream biscuits, but did not use enough flour, and they came out mighty soft, but Amber liked them. Andy called Friday night after the wedding rehearsal, so I am wondering how Abby did in the wedding on Saturday night. We ate at Cracker Barrel with Ben on Friday night before Amber and James came over, and then Ben came over to see James and Amber, too. Hopefully, everyone will converge here again Christmas Day. That way, Abby can see her Uncle James and Aunt Amber, and Uncle Ben.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Funny Math

I have two parents.

Everyone has two parents.

My parents all have two parents.

I had four grandparents. When I was born, I think all eight grandparents were still alive. One would live to almost 100 years of age. Four of the 16 great-grandparents were alive. And two of the great-grandmothers were very much a part of my childhood into early junior high.

I had a great aunt who drew up the family trees and gave everyone copies. And I was copying down some of the names and dates for my granddaughter. And going back eight generations, I can give her the names of two of the great-great-great-great-great-grandparents, one born in 1812, his wife in 1818...two of 128 people: Elisha and Catherine. (five greats) I could give her the names and dates of two sets of four greats. We have their pictures. Names and dates.

What I am trying to point out is that of 128 people that all lived at the same time in history, that I could trace my direct line back to, I only know two of the names.

If ones goes back ten generations, if you knew them, you could line up over one thousand of your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandparents.

You, 2 parents, 4 grandparents, 8 greats, 16 great-great grandparents, 32 great-great-great-grandparents, 64 (great x 4), 128 (great x 5), 256, 512, 1024.

Here is where the funny math comes in. If you go back ten generations, with an average of 20 years or so a generation, 400 years, where there over one thousand people scattered all over the world related to me directly?? or, as we see in Jesus' geneology, when you count back to King David--both His mother and father are descended from King David. Mary through David's younger son, Nathan, and Joseph through David's oldest son, Solomon.

Otherwise, counting back, with no duplications, the number grows to a massive number, instead of pointing back to two, Adam and Eve.

(Wonder why Shem's third son is in the line of Christ, and all the rest are firstborns...)

(10 generations from Adam to Noah, 10 generations from Shem to Abraham, 14 from Isaac to King David, and 14 from David to deportation, and 14 from deportation to Jesus in the Matthew account. In the Luke account, Adam is called the son of God. Counting Jesus, there are 42 names from Jesus to King David in the Luke account. 42 generations. In the first 10 generations, they lived almost one thousand years. And even in the 10 from Shem to Abraham, they lived double and triple what we do.)

Here is where I creeped my husband out, and he thought I was in danger of starting another religion: of the over one-thousand people related to me going back ten generations, what if one of them were Jewish? Would I be Jewish? What if we are all Jewish? In the dispersion of the Jews, what if we are all related, and what if Jesus will assign each of us under one of the twelve tribes?

I'd like to think that one of my ancestors was Jewish. Not that it matters in this church age. But, in the future, all roads will lead to Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem. And while the earth will be divided into nations for one thousand years, Israel will be regathered. Blessed.

Most of us know our parents, grandparents, and a few greats, but won't it be fun to get to meet our ancestors stretching back all the way to Adam and Eve? Thanks to Jesus' geneologies, we know how many generations there are.

Names. All I have now are names:

Joseph, Eliza, Elias, Mary Isabel, Elmer, Nora Lucinda, Robert, Edith, Andrew, Pearl, Ross, Marshall, Atha, J. Wilbur, Dorthy, Elisha and Catherine.

And a variety of last names: Smith, James, Robertson, Shepherd, Howe, Christlieb, Pike, Swartz, Collier, Poston

And that many more on my husband's side we have given to our granddaughter. And that does not even include the cousins!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Call me Patty Practical

I can't help it. My gifts lean to practical things. When I spied the scrubbers with the nifty handle that I had been looking for, I bought two---one for me, and one for James and Amber, as I'd been telling them about it. Easier on your hands.

Ben's stocking is stuffed with practical items: a long sleeved tee shirt for work, and a cute tee to wear over it about geeky things. And some manly-manly gold bond ultimate hand cream. And some scratchers. It is colorful. But, might as well be socks they'll be thinking. Hey, socks wear out. Socks are practical. It is important to take care of your feet.

And when I spy Balneol at Walmart---whoa. Bob's stocking is filled with six bottles. A six month supply! And while it is expensive, his boo-hiney is worth it in my humble opinion. For a while, Balneol was impossible to find except online. Then that company quit stocking it. I have all the Walmarts I frequent stocking it now. But, the trick is to find a stache when Bob is on his last bottles. He will be so suprised. But, it is not a very romantic gift. Bob bought himself a gps watch that also tracks your heartrate and plugs into his computer. He was showing it to Andy, and Andy pulled his out!!! THEY THINK ALIKE!!! Like father, like son. I won't be suprised if James gets one, too.

And only practical gifts come to mind for my daughterS-in-law. And what to get Abby that they can fit in their luggage. It was $22 to ship them two presents already, things with magnets that were not luggage friendly.

I got the plymouth washed. Finally getting the mold off of it. There are still a few spots I cannot reach, and the washer place did not get, either. Black mold from all our rain in October and November---formed around the window edges. It rubs off with windex and a paper towell. I just don't think we should be breathing it.

And I went to the chiropractor. I was dreading that visit, but at least I can sorta stand up straightishly more than I could before. A disk slipped and even my ribs were hurting. And my hips were not right. It felt like my innerds were on fire as he adjusted soft tissue. Oh, well. It is a beautiful day. And my car is vacuumed out, and tidy. All the fluids are good. It is dripping something on the drive, but I cannot tell what, as all the indicators show full. It makes a lovely vibrator noise when at the stoplights. Shudders as if the timing or spark plugs are not in sink. The transmission is a little sluggish, and it creaks like it needs the joints greased. But, how much to spend on it? It would cost a bunch just to get everything diagnosed. I don't dare take it in unless I can leave it for days, and I have something very specific. Best not to send them on a hunt at $75 and hour. But, it runs good. And gets us places. And passed inspection for another year. A great second car. 1997. I call it my tupperware car, as everything is plastic. And we have replaced most of it over the years. We are waiting for a sign from God when to let it go. We want to spend our money wisely. It comes in handly this week, as we let firstborn and his family use the toyota for the wedding in Houston. I just have to remember to pick up Bob at the train! Usually, I am sitting here watching Breitbart TV online, a very conservative group, and fixing supper, folding clothes, and waiting for Bob to pull up exactly at 5:45pm.

I have it so easy. Windows open, sun shining through. Everything at hand here---for correspondence, and for looking up stuff, for comfort and joy. Yes, I live like a queen. At 5pm, I need to be ready to drive over to the train station. Just take my knitting, and not get distracted cleaning windows or unloading the dishwasher or throwing another load in the dryer. At 5pm, I should not get distracted re-arranging furniture, nor pictures, nor dusting. Picture myself walking out the door at 5pm. Maybe if I keep setting the hour-timer on the oven it will help me remember.


Bob calls each day as he leaves his office in case he is working late and has to catch a later train. And Bob calls if there has been a delay or incident. But, our little virgin phones do not hold a charge, and while we have plenty of minutes, there is no way to plug it in on the train. Train station maybe. Pay phones are hard to find these days.

Found a cute blog with the name: My Blog is More Boring than YOurs. I beg to differ. I have a contender. Mine! ha

From where I sit here in the south-facing living room, the sun does not rise much above the power lines along the back fence. Bob could tell you the degrees. We are quickly approaching the shortest day. The first day of winter. The winter solstice. But, this past week has actually been shorter because the sun went to bed by 5:22pm. The shortness comes at dawn this week through solstice.

Shall we talk about dry noses? If you faint at the word, blood, then stop reading now. I bought some baby saline spray at Walmart for my own nose. I had been using Vicks, but I had a huge, scary nosebleed this morning from dry nose boogers. Yikes. Got the blood out of my nightgown okay by putting "joy" dishwashing liquid on it immediately. DAWN and JOY work as good or better than other spot removers. Getting old is not for the faint of heart.

What else shall I bore you with? Hum. Cotton Candy? Walmart is so fun to stock it this time of year. And I have the empty containers to prove it. After washing the quart containers in the dishwasher--I need to find an artist or teacher that could use them. Seems a waste to throw them in the recycling bin.

Is the healthcare bill dead for another year? Sounds too good to be true.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Gift of a Granddaughter Visit

I got to pick up our firstborn and his wife and daughter at the airport last night. Their flight had been delayed, so it had been a very, very long day for them. They were suppose to leave Anchorage at midnight. But at 6am our time, the flight was just taking off. I kept track of their progress throughout the day as I cleaned, and shopped, and finished laundry. And I figured they'd want to go to a Whataburger as soon as they touched down because they don't have them in Anchorage.

It was sure good to see them come out of the doors at the airport. And we visited while we waited for their luggage. It had been since July that I had seen them, and our granddaughter had grown a few inches. She seems to remember me. And she warmed up to Bob right away. They have a special bond, as Bob helped our son drive the cars, so he got to see her in her new city. And I think she remembers him from all the playtime there.

Our bedtime is their supper time, so we made pancakes for their supper. And Abby played with the toys for a little while before bed.

I don't think my mom reads the blog, but my folks sent us a case of grapefruit from Harlingon, and Abby ate a little of it for breakfast at noon.

Last night, Abby helped GrandDad finish decorating the Christmas Tree. Abby pointed to a picture of her daddy on one ornament when he was a teenager, and said, "that is daddy when he was a boy." And she pointed to a picture of her mom and dad's wedding picture and said, "that is when mom was a princess." Too cute.

Abby will be three years old in January. She speaks in complete sentences, and has her momma's smile and mannerisms. When she puts her hands on her legs, I can see her momma as a little girl from pictures we got at Christmastime.

She loved the toddler bed Bob assembled. And we encouraged them to take it with them to Houston as they are stars in another wedding.

I have new refrigerator art. And the gift of a granddaughter's visit for Christmas. I have all I need.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Vinegar is my Friend

I love vinegar. I leave an open jug of vinegar in the garage and under the sink to eat odors. I especially like it to splash about on the freshly washed kitchen or bathroom floor to remove the last vestages of soap, and dust bunnies. Better to do this on a day you can open the windows, like yesterday. A cold front came in, so we had to turn the furnace back on. I think the vinegar smell will dissipate before our granddaughter arrives.

Grannies sweat. This grannie starts sweating at 72 degrees if I am just sitting. And Walmart keeps their store at 80 degrees in the summer to save money, and 80 degrees in the winter to give me a sweatbox workout. Another reason why I do not join a gym. Gettin' a workout at Walmart is a two-fer. Here I come. Grannie needs two baths a day!

I enjoy Walmart even when most think Walmart is not cool. Country song in there somewhere. More later. Isn't blogging fun? A place to dump stuff when your husbands ears are full up, or busy thinking math problems. Speaking of which, last night, I used that math man mightily. I only had a few checks to writes for bills due, and he can do the subtraction in his head. I have to get out the calculator and find a light source, as the calculator needs solar power. Now, aren't you glad I told you that? A math man is mighty handy. Handsome and handy.

an hour or so later: Found some stocking stuffers. And bought two yards of Toy Story fleece which is purple and features Jesse, so now to figure out how to hem it. Does one cut off the Disney disclaimers along the side? I think I will wash it first, and wait and ask the next seamstress I see. One edge is already hemmed. We can use it unhemmed for a blanket for Abby as her bed is sorta low to the ground.

Stocked up on juice and fun foods. I bet Abby will like playing with the gingerbread family by Pepperedge Farms. And I found the shoe laces for Bob. Went ahead and got flat and round in case he has a preference, and then for an extra.

New flavor in the one hundred percent cotton yarn department at Walmart! Sunrise is the name. A verigated yarn of orange, yellow, gold and cream. Fun!

The vacuum cleaner will freak out Sallycat. But, hey, I don't want to put it off too long. ha.

And time to check their progress on the website. The flight outa Anchorage was delayed waiting on the plane from Seattle. Why, praytell does the airline tell us too much? Terrorists must love these sites. They could shop by size, seating, engine, thrust. Why do we need to know those things? I just wanna know which gate to pick them up!

More later.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Easiest Cream Biscuits Ever!

Wow. Have I found my new favorite biscuit recipe!! wow.

First, let me say, I am not a good biscuit maker. I like to make bread. So, my pie dough leaves a lot to be desired, too, as I handle it too much. But, I ran across this recipe for biscuits that is just a dream to make! And if I can do it, then you know you can, too!!

One problem I had with biscuits is the incorporating the butter/lard/fat/oil into the flour. Messy! These cream biscuits skip that step because the fat is already in the cream.

I will post the recipe here, but first dust the cobwebs off your rolling pin. Then get a good mixing bowl and measure in two cups of flour. And the recipe calls for a tablespoon of sugar, but I used three, and brown, as its the old sugar I keep around here. But white sugar will do. Add a tablespoon of baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and mix the flour and sugar and baking powder and salt together. It is a dry mixture. Won't get your hands too dirty. or use a spoon or whisk.

the next part is the fun part. You will have had to go to the store that carries heavy cream. This time of year, that does not always mean Tom Thumb nor Kroger or even Walmart. I have found a stash of the heavy cream by Promised Land at our neighborhood Whole Foods. Dump the whole container of cream into the flour. One and a half cups. Mix. It mixes beautifully. Does not stick to the bowl. Dust your counter with flour, and dust your rolling pin and roll out the dough. It makes 12 huge ones. (depending on how thick or thin you roll them) You can brush the tops with melted butter if you like. cook at 400 degrees for 15 or 20 minutes, or until done. Recipe says they freeze well.

This dough would be great for little hands to play with, too, as the cream stays cold and it is a great texture. I have never had so much fun making biscuits.

Cream Biscuits

3 T butter melted and set aside in a bowl for brushing the tops
preheat oven to 400 to 425

2 cups flour
1 T baking powder
1/2 teas. salt
1 T sugar
1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream (Promised Land is what I used)

425 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until done.

I wonder if my grandmothers or great grandmothers ever tried these? So simple. And my grandmother on the farm always had lots of cream when they milked cows.

These biscuits are very, very close to a cookie on a stick cookie I like at our cookie bouquet place. Maybe if I play with the recipe some more---add more sugar, and reduce the baking powder, and roll thinner, they might work as a Christmas cookie you can ice! My mom had a complicated Christmas cookie recipe that called for sour cream. That is what reminded me as the texture is close. But, the biscuits turn out light and fluffy with a great crumb. The biscuits rose beautifully with little cracks in the top. I had layered melted butter in the scraps one using up all the dough. It tasted great with honey!

First Funeral in the Family Life Center

When we started going to our church over ten years ago, they were planning a huge gym to house Sunday School classrooms, and Awanas. We watched as the plans changed, and a stage was added, and the gym made full size. Then as the church grew, it was not long before we bought over 250 stackable chairs and started holding all our services in the gym. My husband and all our sons were once part of the chair stacking and setting out groups with a once a month duty. Most weddings and funerals were held in the old chapel, or fellowship hall.

But, yesterday, our first funeral was held in the Family Life Center. The same gym where we held James and Amber's wedding reception now held all the chairs and a casket and huge sprays of flowers. Part of me was glad our first funeral was not of a young person. While the gym is well suited for that, I have been dreading this day.

The dear lady from our church who died had a large and loving family as well as a reputation of being a wonderful, gentle Christian lady. She was 87. Married to her sweetheart for over 68 years. I never knew she was a redhead, but the story of how they met at our church back when it was called Harrison Chapel, that story and many more brought tears to my eyes. The older pastor usually conducts the funerals of the old timers, and as usual talks about himself toooo much. He said he was seventy now. A lot of old folks love the way he does a funeral, but Bob and I go home swearing don't ever let him do the funeral for one of us. The younger pastor has also grown up in our church and knows the dear lady that passed, and makes a point of visiting in hospitals, nursing homes, wherever, so his last words come from personal knowledge, and close communication. And he gave the Gospel, which is the most important part of a funeral. One solo, an oldtimer, did a great job, and we sang a hymn, but the service needed more hymns, more solos.

(Time to grouse. When area funeral homes are used, they sorta take over your church, and I bristled being told where to go in my own church. And the barbaric custom in this town of making everyone parade by the open casket makes my hackles rise up. I refuse to participate in this barbaric herding. I have been to so many funerals, that I know the drill. I hate it when they herd everyone by the casket and you are forced to listen to dear sister so and so talk about what a wonderful job they did embalming him or her. I don't want to remember him or her that way. I think caskets should be closed at funerals, and I like the idea of cremation ahead of time so that a tiny urn sits there looking at everyone with the sign: Here lies Joyce, thin at last, thin at last, thank you Lord we did not have to hurt our backs carrying her dead body to the grave. Of course, dear sister so and so will remark that there wasn't a casket big enough anyway...)

One hour. One hour to condense down a life of 87 years. One hour because we would not want to intrude or bore or impose. A big dinner was waiting for the family. We feed the grieving here in the South. And this dear, dear lady that passed cooked and cleaned and served at countless such dinners, funerals, weddings, parties, and services. She donated flowers, food, help, sweat, time, and energy. And now it was our turn to do it for her.

One hour. And that includes the singing, so choose the hymns well. And hope the preacher knew ya. And give them the Gospel. The Gospel is the most important thing, because we are here for eighty some years, maybe, yet our lives hang by a thread. And you may be remembered by a generation or two, and your name may be on a plaque or a tombstone with just your name, dates and a dash.

The dear lady that passed, her husband donated the church bell, and had the bell tower built. There is no sadder sound than a bell tolled slowly in grief. No sadder sound. They should have rung it 87 times...or maybe 68, but seven was the chosen number. Like a twenty-one gun salute.

The last of three sisters, faithful wife, gentle, peaceful friend. We shall miss you. Thank you for such a wonderful example. Thank you for showing us such class, such grace, such kindness and sweet words of encouragement. You would have liked the service. The flowers were gorgeous. Say Hi to Sis for us.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ice Pack Time

I am suppose to ice my lower back four times a day. It is a challenge on these chilly days.

A dear lady at church died yesterday morning. Married for over 68 years to her good and patient husband, she is going to be sorely missed. Her sister died a few years ago, so I am sure they are having a fun reunion in heaven. The funeral is Saturday morning at 10am. So, Bob and a few men set up the chairs for the family's lunch in the fellowship hall. I have used facebook to let some folks know, as some that have moved away still check out the church's facebook page. And email.

The dear lady's husband was instrumental in getting a huge bell for our church, and he even built a bell tower. The bell can be heard from our house, as we live one mile south as the crow flies. After the funeral service Saturday morning, the husband wants the bell rung seven times. The neighbors may wonder why the bell is being rung seven times when it will be closer to noon, but supposidly, it is the number of completeness. Sounds kinda superstitious to me. Oh, well. What can it hurt?

The sun is shining. Last night it got down to twenty-two degrees which is super cold for our part of the country. It was colder in Dalhart, Texas yesterday than in Anchorage, Alaska! Now the blizzard is working its way to the east. The water vapor maps on the weather sites show large portions of the country covered in snow---like clouds that do not move. I wonder if folks at the farm in Illinois got snow?

And I wonder if my friends at Brietbart TV will do a live show today from Pittsburgh if they got lots of snow?

I talked to a friend who used to go to our church last night to let her know about the dear lady's passing, and we got caught up on our kids news, and I could hear her three year old grandson in the background. My friend asked what all I do all day. I get this a lot from women who work outside the home. They don't see how they would fill their days if they stayed home. Between laundry, cleaning, vacuuming, dishes, cooking, shopping and playing around on the computer, it is a big mystery whatall I do all day. I give up. Let it just stay a mystery. The washer is beeping---time to throw a load in the dryer. The beeping drives me crazy. I'd love to disable that button.

We don't live in a big, fancy house. And some things will wait to be repaired to when we have the money. Fixing the garage door opener may move up in the line as I haul groceries through there. But, our house is paid for. And our sons launched. Bob would like to travel, but, I don't think my back can take days and days in the car. I am thankful that I was able to stay home when my boys were small, and haul them to all their activities before they could drive. The computer gives me a window on the world. And the newer technologies like facebook and twitter and email give me an opportunity to touch base with relatives scattered all over the USA. I used to write lots of letters, but email and facebook help me save postage these days. Then there is knitting, and trying to be creative in the kitchen. And I don't read books, I devour them. When Bob is done with Sarah Palin's book, I want to read it again for pleasure this time, as she handles words like a pro.

Blogging is an outlet. A place to ponder why are there so many detective shows on TV these days...are there that many murders? And what is with the Ghostwhisperer phenomena?? That show is on one right after the other on one of the few channels the tv computer picks up. I like to switch channels. a lot. and Ghostwhisperer was trying to sell us on the idea of zombies last night. Right. not.

Back to the dear lady from our church who died yesterday morning. Bertha Lee, honey, you missed a beautiful day with horse tail clouds, and bug-killing cold. There was this huge cloud shaped like a flower when I was driving to Fort Worth to eat lunch with my husband. It is a rare thing, to DO lunch with Bob. And we thought of you, and your dear now widowed husband. No more suffering for you. No more hospice and bed sores, and hospitals and nursing homes. No more knee pain and hip pain. No more struggling to eat. You were always so kind to me and mine at church. You loved the cards and letters, and news about our boys, and we have missed seeing you at Sunday School. I am so glad Carol got to see you over the weekend. It is so comforting to know that you heard sweet, gentle Carol.

Bertha Lee's husband tells the story of Pearl Harbor Day as a day that was like so many Sundays---they had gone to Dallas to the picture show, and heard the news when they came out. In the sixty-eight years since, they raised a family, enjoyed children and grandchildren and greats. And yet, were so faithful to assemble each Sunday. Such examples of love and devotion. Never a mean word, never a bad word. Always gracious, and patient, and kind.

Bertha Lee's husband tells adventures with cattle, and we will never forget the exciting one about the bull that jumped out of his trailer going down the road. Our church has this group of elderly folks who were all kids together, grew up and worked near one another, and continued going to this church for all their lives. What a legacy. And while it is sad to see old age catch up with them one by one, they have a history, a wild give and take of a big family without malice, yet spiced with a great deal of humor. Humor born of love and getting along for decades. And while there will be tears on Saturday, a stranger may wonder what he has wandered into when the stories and the laughter also proclaim a life well lived.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Sun is Shining!!! Whoop!

Ah, the sun is shining. Feels great. We have had a couple of drizzly days, and the weatherman predicted super cold temps tonight after midnight. Maybe that blizzard is just going to brush us as it heads east.

I went to the chiropractor again this morning. He said to ice my back four times a day. I admitted I had not been icing it because the house was already cold. And I went by the grocery store. Bought a smallish roast, put it in the crock pot, and then the power went out. Great. For an hour and a half... But, now it is back on, and the crock pot is cooking again, and the frig is humming, and I have a dishwasher full ready to go, too. The power outage happened right in the middle of a blenderizing of more cranberry relish. The fresh blenderized cutie oranges---whole---skin, peel and everything, freshly washed cranberries and pecans, yum.

While waiting for the power to come back on, I got caught up on some correspondence, and used the cell to phone my friend in Ennis. I had called in the outage on the wall phone, and they had asked for a contact number, so I did not want to tie up that line. When I called the power company, you usually get a recording, but instead, today, I was instructed by recording to call the other power company's number, but when I did, a lady answered, and when I explained that there had been a loud explosion/bang, and then no power, she said that their equipment was not showing an outage. Was she calling me a liar? How is one suppose to respond? How about, well, let me call my doctor to have both my hearing and my vision checked??

I did see a policeman drive down the street, so someone knew we were out. When I got ahold of Bob at work after his lunch, he said it only showed our four houses out. So, must have been a critter--like a squirrel touching the transformer and a wire. Could have been a possum, but we have hauled two possums to the park lately, and I saw squirrels on the line.

update: the roast turned out pretty dry because I cooked that sucker to death. (meat thermometer only goes up to 200 degrees)

And not only did we receive our first Christmas card earlier this week, but today we received our first Christmas letter. wow. how are we gonna top a therapy dog? Our cat makes me need therapy. It just does not compare.

Monday, December 7, 2009

One less possum

Yesterday, Bob set the possum trap. And as it is getting dark the earliest these days, (5:22pm all week)I guess the possums are active earlier, too. We caught one in the trap the other day, but then Bob saw a live one running across the yard. I hope that is the one that tripped the trap last night about 9:30pm. We went ahead and took it north of the Trinity River to get it over with. That way, Bob would not have to mess with it in the morning before work.

The big, big 55 gallon heavy duty garbage bags fit nicely over the cage trap. Since my back went out, I have not been much help, but Bob managed all by himself.

I went to Walmart this morning (Monday) and wow it was hot in there. I got so sweaty. I guess you get a workout and a sweat lodge effect along with low prices. I ususally like to stroll, but my back was hurting too much to dwaddle. Still could not find the duct tape. Wasted all those steps to the paint section to look. Oh, well. I will keep it on the list. I know the craft stores have some in vivid colors. Getting whole bean coffee at Walmart is getting harder. The Dunkin Donuts brand of coffee is the lowest acid.

The huge Tommy cat with the shorter tail wanting inside when I got back home today. He is a creamier color that reminds us of our firstborn's old Tommy cat. Looks like he has been in a few fights. I set food outside in the feeder for the cats, as that way our Sallycat has food if she is outside when we are not home.

Wow---who knew that golf was so, uh, unwholesome?! And who knew that someone named Tiger had a mistress at every hole? Why do sluts today give it up so easy?

Frozen blueberries: Best way to cool down after a Walmart workout. Good for your bladder, like cranberries.

Now we have soup, and rice, and cereal---our supper staples. Ben dropped in last night when we were watching the Cowboy game on TV and I did not have any food to offer him. Now I am girded with something healthy to offer him, if he ever drops by again, as well as gummy bears! I had let the cupboards get a little bare knowing we had the Lord's Supper at church last night, and they do an actual supper. Tortilla soup and cornbread last night hit the spot. Pastor Mark read the passage from Corinthians where they were doing the Lord's Supper wrong. Seems strange somehow to teach it by how-not-to... But, we need to be reminded to serve each other and gather as a family. The vocal babies and toddlers gave such a sweet and sometimes loud punctuation to the overly long prayers or speeches.

'Tis a grey day. Drizzly yesterday, and more cold and rain suppose to come this week.

Friday, December 4, 2009

wrestling with a turkey

Wrestling with a turkey
It is not my favorite thing

Most turkeys, they come frozen
so there is that days of thawing thing

Then you get your mind all ready
And you gird up your loins
And clean the sink for turkey wrestlin'
and hope that between the rinsing
and the excavating
most of the salmonilla is washed away

But you tried to note everything you touch
the faucet handle, sink and scissors
the spice bottle and olive oil
and path to the trash can with the innerds
and the plastic, oh, the plastic
and the extra fat and skin
washing ice shards and sharp breast bones
until your hands you no longer feel.

I remembered to preheat the crock pot
I remembered to clear the sink
I remembered to unload the dishwasher
I remembered to position the spices

But, I forgot about the doorknobs
And how hot a crock pot can get
and my back went out on Tuesday
so, my pose resembles a witch
a concocting and a stewin'
yet with a splash of bleach
that sink will harbor no germs
not on my watch
not today.

My hands are slathered with hand cream
for clorox dries them out,
And the window is open
to dispell the fumes
while the crock pot sizzles about
four or five more hours
I suspect it will be done
when the bones no longer hold it
and the meat falls to gravity's pull
and the humming dish-a-washer
will be my guide and clue
that I have blown no fuse
in the kitchen, so the crockpot
cooking is true.

About now I sit and ponder
how my grandmothers did it, too.
But, they were met with feathers
and stink and feet and crop
No nicely packaged in plastic
No frozen bird for them
For theirs was the age before
refrigeration and only a cold winter
their meat locker unless they canned
or brined it or buried it in straw.
But, why can a bird or freeze it
when a freshly caught one in the yard
will bake nicely during church.
My grandmother and her mother
ancestors back through the years
Probably killed and cooked their turkey
just before feasting time.

And I wonder if I'll remember
and get a fresh turkey or smoked
next year when I have conveniently
forgotten what it is like
to wrestle a turkey.

A honey-baked ham is sounded real good right now.
Anyone know of a honey-baked ham store
with a drive through??

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Muffins in the oven

It is fun to see how much interesting healthy fiber I can add to my muffins: oats, more dried cranberries, molasses, olive oil and orange juice as well as milk. Last batch was a little dry. This one should be better.

And fun to run the oven today as it is COLD outside. They are using the SNOW word again in the forecast. I am outa soup, too. I am just asking for a power outage with a growing grocery list of staples and canned victuals. But, tomorrow, I shall risk it and cook the turkey breast in the crock pot. It is finally thawed. Leaking salmonillia juices to prove it. Every time I poke it, I feel like I need to go scrub my hands. It looks like it will fit in the crock pot. But, if it doesn't, I shall do major surgery or whack it with a hammer. The down side is that I will have to have smell it cooking all day. ha.

update: the muffins turned out pretty good. Are muffins just cake that is good for you? Or, are muffins cake we ice with butter?

May I re-direct you to...

Bob's site. funny stuff. Old family story...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Trying to Understand

I hope Bob, my husband, will wax eloquently about the military branches---which one is the heart, the hands, the backbone, the nerves...

I don't understand the history or the way the military is put together. But, I am trying to understand. To me, it does not make sense to take newly graduated from college guys and gals and throw them green into the mix of folks who have had way more experience. The tension between the two groups---officers and enlisted, is palatable. You can feel it in a room, and sense the sneers, and condescension. It is unnerving. But, it somehow works, and it is what we have.

When an officer accepts a commission---he swears to uphold The Constitution of the United States of America and defend her against all enemies, foriegn and domestic. Whereas the new private swears to obey. So, the thinking and responsibility falls upon the shoulders of the officers. And their men look to them for leadership. Sargeants are suppose to gently bring the new green lieutenants along, watch their back. But, how many sargeants do? And what is to keep the sargeant from looking down his nose at this guy with no experience, just book learnin'?

I am amazed at how parents and wives are treated with Rock Star status by the majors and colonels. They seek us out, and shake our hands, and ask how far we have traveled. All the while, our son stands shaking in his boots probably praying we do not embarrass him with some childhood story to his superiors. And threatening the wife---if you don't smack him hard on the chest when putting on the new rank, that he will?? Yikes. From our seats, it looked like Amber was joking around smacking James on his new silver bar, but now I know she was trying to save him from a worse hit. Oh, these traditions---thankfully, they have done away with the "blood wings" directly into the chest. But, the velcrow ripping sound reminded me of an old TV show where this guy is "branded" and all his insignia is ripped off.

hey---howcome when I check my spelling for sergeants, and click on the "editing" it corrects it temporarily. When I then hit publish, it goes back to my own bad spelling! Yikes.

No, I hated Obama's speech. Poorly written. My thoughts in parenthases:

(In my opinion, it should have been titled: Women of Afghanistan, You are Doomed to Wear Burqas forever)

Good evening. To the United States Corps of Cadets, to the men and women of our Armed Services, and to my fellow Americans: I want to speak to you tonight about our effort in Afghanistan -- the nature of our commitment there, the scope of our interests, and the strategy that my administration will pursue to bring this war to a successful conclusion. It's an extraordinary honor for me to do so here at West Point -- where so many men and women have prepared to stand up for our security, and to represent what is finest about our country.

(okay---my thoughts---would I have liked the speech if Reagan or Bush had given them? I don't think Bush would have used the words, "effort in Afghanistan". Effort? Really? I wish I knew how to count the "I"s, "we" and "me"s. There were way too many. And why West Point? Why not the Oval Office? In my opinion, Obama USED our troops. Again. Used them for a photo op. This is their study time. It was hot in there. They were tired. Many were red faced and falling asleep. They looked guarded. The speech was confusing and anything but "clear". When Obama says, 'let me make things clear' it is a sign. He can't. Clear as mud.)

To address these important issues, it's important to recall why America and our allies were compelled to fight a war in Afghanistan in the first place. We did not ask for this fight. On September 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked four airplanes and used them to murder nearly 3,000 people. They struck at our military and economic nerve centers. They took the lives of innocent men, women, and children without regard to their faith or race or station. Were it not for the heroic actions of passengers onboard one of those flights, they could have also struck at one of the great symbols of our democracy in Washington, and killed many more.

(ah, he finally gets around to calling it "a war". How nice. Military and economic nerve centers? Why not say the Twin Towers and the Pentagon?)

As we know, these men belonged to al Qaeda -- a group of extremists who have distorted and defiled Islam, one of the world's great religions, to justify the slaughter of innocents. Al Qaeda's base of operations was in Afghanistan, where they were harbored by the Taliban -- a ruthless, repressive and radical movement that seized control of that country after it was ravaged by years of Soviet occupation and civil war, and after the attention of America and our friends had turned elsewhere.

(my thought: I could hear Bush say these words. I doubt Obama wrote this paragraph. And how much did it cost to fly Air Force One to West Point? And how much time did O spend with the instructors? We would not have known Obama's administration was in attendance if the cameras had not shown them. Was that Jarrett behind Clinton?)

Just days after 9/11, Congress authorized the use of force against al Qaeda and those who harbored them -- an authorization that continues to this day. The vote in the Senate was 98 to nothing. The vote in the House was 420 to 1. For the first time in its history, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization invoked Article 5 -- the commitment that says an attack on one member nation is an attack on all. And the United Nations Security Council endorsed the use of all necessary steps to respond to the 9/11 attacks. America, our allies and the world were acting as one to destroy al Qaeda's terrorist network and to protect our common security.

(History lesson time? Why?)

Under the banner of this domestic unity and international legitimacy -- and only after the Taliban refused to turn over Osama bin Laden -- we sent our troops into Afghanistan. Within a matter of months, al Qaeda was scattered and many of its operatives were killed. The Taliban was driven from power and pushed back on its heels. A place that had known decades of fear now had reason to hope. At a conference convened by the U.N., a provisional government was established under President Hamid Karzai. And an International Security Assistance Force was established to help bring a lasting peace to a war-torn country.

Then, in early 2003, the decision was made to wage a second war, in Iraq. The wrenching debate over the Iraq war is well-known and need not be repeated here. It's enough to say that for the next six years, the Iraq war drew the dominant share of our troops, our resources, our diplomacy, and our national attention -- and that the decision to go into Iraq caused substantial rifts between America and much of the world.

Today, after extraordinary costs, we are bringing the Iraq war to a responsible end. We will remove our combat brigades from Iraq by the end of next summer, and all of our troops by the end of 2011. That we are doing so is a testament to the character of the men and women in uniform. (Applause.) Thanks to their courage, grit and perseverance, we have given Iraqis a chance to shape their future, and we are successfully leaving Iraq to its people.

(This paragraph bothers me because "success" is buried in the last line, "successfully". He just cannot say, WE WON. He deprives the very troops that bought and paid for that "success". Instead, all the "we are bringing it to a close" sounds like, oh, how big of them. "responsible end?" I don't like the wording.)

But while we've achieved hard-earned milestones in Iraq, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated. After escaping across the border into Pakistan in 2001 and 2002, al Qaeda's leadership established a safe haven there. Although a legitimate government was elected by the Afghan people, it's been hampered by corruption, the drug trade, an under-developed economy, and insufficient security forces.

Over the last several years, the Taliban has maintained common cause with al Qaeda, as they both seek an overthrow of the Afghan government. Gradually, the Taliban has begun to control additional swaths of territory in Afghanistan, while engaging in increasingly brazen and devastating attacks of terrorism against the Pakistani people.

("common cause" ? Huh? "swaths"? Who writes these speeches?)

Now, throughout this period, our troop levels in Afghanistan remained a fraction of what they were in Iraq. When I took office, we had just over 32,000 Americans serving in Afghanistan, compared to 160,000 in Iraq at the peak of the war. Commanders in Afghanistan repeatedly asked for support to deal with the reemergence of the Taliban, but these reinforcements did not arrive. And that's why, shortly after taking office, I approved a longstanding request for more troops. After consultations with our allies, I then announced a strategy recognizing the fundamental connection between our war effort in Afghanistan and the extremist safe havens in Pakistan. I set a goal that was narrowly defined as disrupting, dismantling, and defeating al Qaeda and its extremist allies, and pledged to better coordinate our military and civilian efforts.

(THIS paragraph sent me over the edge. He is deceitful, lying, and comparing apples to oranges to compare the 32,000 "when I took office" to the 160,000 "at the peak of the war". Bastard. Commanders asked for support? "but these reinforcements did not arrive."?? What? Where are they? Were they lost? Poorly written. Hazy. Tripping over himself not to say President Bush.)

Since then, we've made progress on some important objectives. High-ranking al Qaeda and Taliban leaders have been killed, and we've stepped up the pressure on al Qaeda worldwide. In Pakistan, that nation's army has gone on its largest offensive in years. In Afghanistan, we and our allies prevented the Taliban from stopping a presidential election, and -- although it was marred by fraud -- that election produced a government that is consistent with Afghanistan's laws and constitution.

Yet huge challenges remain. Afghanistan is not lost, but for several years it has moved backwards. There's no imminent threat of the government being overthrown, but the Taliban has gained momentum. Al Qaeda has not reemerged in Afghanistan in the same numbers as before 9/11, but they retain their safe havens along the border. And our forces lack the full support they need to effectively train and partner with Afghan security forces and better secure the population. Our new commander in Afghanistan -- General McChrystal -- has reported that the security situation is more serious than he anticipated. In short: The status quo is not sustainable.

As cadets, you volunteered for service during this time of danger. Some of you fought in Afghanistan. Some of you will deploy there. As your Commander-in-Chief, I owe you a mission that is clearly defined, and worthy of your service. And that's why, after the Afghan voting was completed, I insisted on a thorough review of our strategy. Now, let me be clear: There has never been an option before me that called for troop deployments before 2010, so there has been no delay or denial of resources necessary for the conduct of the war during this review period. Instead, the review has allowed me to ask the hard questions, and to explore all the different options, along with my national security team, our military and civilian leadership in Afghanistan, and our key partners. And given the stakes involved, I owed the American people -- and our troops -- no less.

(Huh? Cadets apply and are appointed. By the time these finish training and schools, it will be over by Obama's time table. "Some of you fought in Afghanistan?" Really? One or two rare exchange students, maybe? Name them, for heavens sake. And when Obama says, "let me be clear" he just can't. That next sentence is just dithering justification crap. Our troops do NOT have the supplies they need. They are mired down by red tape and paperwork. Just read the blogs from men on the ground in Afghanistan. Try getting electrical work done after the enemy blows up your building. It is winter in Afghanistan, and our troops are living in tents. And they use portapotties. )

This review is now complete. And as Commander-in-Chief, I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan. After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home. These are the resources that we need to seize the initiative, while building the Afghan capacity that can allow for a responsible transition of our forces out of Afghanistan.

(key word---"begin". "begin to come home." There is wiggle room. And just in time for his campaign for re-election. Ironic timing there. I think Rush was right when he talked yesterday about how this has all been a big ploy.)

I do not make this decision lightly. I opposed the war in Iraq precisely because I believe that we must exercise restraint in the use of military force, and always consider the long-term consequences of our actions. We have been at war now for eight years, at enormous cost in lives and resources. Years of debate over Iraq and terrorism have left our unity on national security issues in tatters, and created a highly polarized and partisan backdrop for this effort. And having just experienced the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the American people are understandably focused on rebuilding our economy and putting people to work here at home.

Most of all, I know that this decision asks even more of you -- a military that, along with your families, has already borne the heaviest of all burdens. As President, I have signed a letter of condolence to the family of each American who gives their life in these wars. I have read the letters from the parents and spouses of those who deployed. I visited our courageous wounded warriors at Walter Reed. I've traveled to Dover to meet the flag-draped caskets of 18 Americans returning home to their final resting place. I see firsthand the terrible wages of war. If I did not think that the security of the United States and the safety of the American people were at stake in Afghanistan, I would gladly order every single one of our troops home tomorrow.

(I, I, I---barf. Like we did not know this? Sounds like too much for the guy. Obama delivered this speech cold, arrogantly, as a lecture, or campaign speech.)

So, no, I do not make this decision lightly. I make this decision because I am convinced that our security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al Qaeda. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak. This is no idle danger; no hypothetical threat. In the last few months alone, we have apprehended extremists within our borders who were sent here from the border region of Afghanistan and Pakistan to commit new acts of terror. And this danger will only grow if the region slides backwards, and al Qaeda can operate with impunity. We must keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and to do that, we must increase the stability and capacity of our partners in the region.

Of course, this burden is not ours alone to bear. This is not just America's war. Since 9/11, al Qaeda's safe havens have been the source of attacks against London and Amman and Bali. The people and governments of both Afghanistan and Pakistan are endangered. And the stakes are even higher within a nuclear-armed Pakistan, because we know that al Qaeda and other extremists seek nuclear weapons, and we have every reason to believe that they would use them.

These facts compel us to act along with our friends and allies. Our overarching goal remains the same: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to prevent its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future.

To meet that goal, we will pursue the following objectives within Afghanistan. We must deny al Qaeda a safe haven. We must reverse the Taliban's momentum and deny it the ability to overthrow the government. And we must strengthen the capacity of Afghanistan's security forces and government so that they can take lead responsibility for Afghanistan's future.

We will meet these objectives in three ways. First, we will pursue a military strategy that will break the Taliban's momentum and increase Afghanistan's capacity over the next 18 months.

The 30,000 additional troops that I'm announcing tonight will deploy in the first part of 2010 -- the fastest possible pace -- so that they can target the insurgency and secure key population centers. They'll increase our ability to train competent Afghan security forces, and to partner with them so that more Afghans can get into the fight. And they will help create the conditions for the United States to transfer responsibility to the Afghans.

Because this is an international effort, I've asked that our commitment be joined by contributions from our allies. Some have already provided additional troops, and we're confident that there will be further contributions in the days and weeks ahead. Our friends have fought and bled and died alongside us in Afghanistan. And now, we must come together to end this war successfully. For what's at stake is not simply a test of NATO's credibility -- what's at stake is the security of our allies, and the common security of the world.

But taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground. We'll continue to advise and assist Afghanistan's security forces to ensure that they can succeed over the long haul. But it will be clear to the Afghan government -- and, more importantly, to the Afghan people -- that they will ultimately be responsible for their own country.

Second, we will work with our partners, the United Nations, and the Afghan people to pursue a more effective civilian strategy, so that the government can take advantage of improved security.

This effort must be based on performance. The days of providing a blank check are over. President Karzai's inauguration speech sent the right message about moving in a new direction. And going forward, we will be clear about what we expect from those who receive our assistance. We'll support Afghan ministries, governors, and local leaders that combat corruption and deliver for the people. We expect those who are ineffective or corrupt to be held accountable. And we will also focus our assistance in areas -- such as agriculture -- that can make an immediate impact in the lives of the Afghan people.

The people of Afghanistan have endured violence for decades. They've been confronted with occupation -- by the Soviet Union, and then by foreign al Qaeda fighters who used Afghan land for their own purposes. So tonight, I want the Afghan people to understand -- America seeks an end to this era of war and suffering. We have no interest in occupying your country. We will support efforts by the Afghan government to open the door to those Taliban who abandon violence and respect the human rights of their fellow citizens. And we will seek a partnership with Afghanistan grounded in mutual respect -- to isolate those who destroy; to strengthen those who build; to hasten the day when our troops will leave; and to forge a lasting friendship in which America is your partner, and never your patron.

Third, we will act with the full recognition that our success in Afghanistan is inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan.

We're in Afghanistan to prevent a cancer from once again spreading through that country. But this same cancer has also taken root in the border region of Pakistan. That's why we need a strategy that works on both sides of the border.

(CANCER---YES! That is what islamic terrorists are: CANCER !)

In the past, there have been those in Pakistan who've argued that the struggle against extremism is not their fight, and that Pakistan is better off doing little or seeking accommodation with those who use violence. But in recent years, as innocents have been killed from Karachi to Islamabad, it has become clear that it is the Pakistani people who are the most endangered by extremism. Public opinion has turned. The Pakistani army has waged an offensive in Swat and South Waziristan. And there is no doubt that the United States and Pakistan share a common enemy.

In the past, we too often defined our relationship with Pakistan narrowly. Those days are over. Moving forward, we are committed to a partnership with Pakistan that is built on a foundation of mutual interest, mutual respect, and mutual trust. We will strengthen Pakistan's capacity to target those groups that threaten our countries, and have made it clear that we cannot tolerate a safe haven for terrorists whose location is known and whose intentions are clear. America is also providing substantial resources to support Pakistan's democracy and development. We are the largest international supporter for those Pakistanis displaced by the fighting. And going forward, the Pakistan people must know America will remain a strong supporter of Pakistan's security and prosperity long after the guns have fallen silent, so that the great potential of its people can be unleashed.

These are the three core elements of our strategy: a military effort to create the conditions for a transition; a civilian surge that reinforces positive action; and an effective partnership with Pakistan.

I recognize there are a range of concerns about our approach. So let me briefly address a few of the more prominent arguments that I've heard, and which I take very seriously.

First, there are those who suggest that Afghanistan is another Vietnam. They argue that it cannot be stabilized, and we're better off cutting our losses and rapidly withdrawing. I believe this argument depends on a false reading of history. Unlike Vietnam, we are joined by a broad coalition of 43 nations that recognizes the legitimacy of our action. Unlike Vietnam, we are not facing a broad-based popular insurgency. And most importantly, unlike Vietnam, the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan, and remain a target for those same extremists who are plotting along its border. To abandon this area now -- and to rely only on efforts against al Qaeda from a distance -- would significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and create an unacceptable risk of additional attacks on our homeland and our allies.

Second, there are those who acknowledge that we can't leave Afghanistan in its current state, but suggest that we go forward with the troops that we already have. But this would simply maintain a status quo in which we muddle through, and permit a slow deterioration of conditions there. It would ultimately prove more costly and prolong our stay in Afghanistan, because we would never be able to generate the conditions needed to train Afghan security forces and give them the space to take over.

Finally, there are those who oppose identifying a time frame for our transition to Afghan responsibility. Indeed, some call for a more dramatic and open-ended escalation of our war effort -- one that would commit us to a nation-building project of up to a decade. I reject this course because it sets goals that are beyond what can be achieved at a reasonable cost, and what we need to achieve to secure our interests. Furthermore, the absence of a time frame for transition would deny us any sense of urgency in working with the Afghan government. It must be clear that Afghans will have to take responsibility for their security, and that America has no interest in fighting an endless war in Afghanistan.

As President, I refuse to set goals that go beyond our responsibility, our means, or our interests. And I must weigh all of the challenges that our nation faces. I don't have the luxury of committing to just one. Indeed, I'm mindful of the words of President Eisenhower, who -- in discussing our national security -- said, "Each proposal must be weighed in the light of a broader consideration: the need to maintain balance in and among national programs."

Over the past several years, we have lost that balance. We've failed to appreciate the connection between our national security and our economy. In the wake of an economic crisis, too many of our neighbors and friends are out of work and struggle to pay the bills. Too many Americans are worried about the future facing our children. Meanwhile, competition within the global economy has grown more fierce. So we can't simply afford to ignore the price of these wars.

All told, by the time I took office the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan approached a trillion dollars. Going forward, I am committed to addressing these costs openly and honestly. Our new approach in Afghanistan is likely to cost us roughly $30 billion for the military this year, and I'll work closely with Congress to address these costs as we work to bring down our deficit.

But as we end the war in Iraq and transition to Afghan responsibility, we must rebuild our strength here at home. Our prosperity provides a foundation for our power. It pays for our military. It underwrites our diplomacy. It taps the potential of our people, and allows investment in new industry. And it will allow us to compete in this century as successfully as we did in the last. That's why our troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open-ended -- because the nation that I'm most interested in building is our own.

Now, let me be clear: None of this will be easy. The struggle against violent extremism will not be finished quickly, and it extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan. It will be an enduring test of our free society, and our leadership in the world. And unlike the great power conflicts and clear lines of division that defined the 20th century, our effort will involve disorderly regions, failed states, diffuse enemies.

So as a result, America will have to show our strength in the way that we end wars and prevent conflict -- not just how we wage wars. We'll have to be nimble and precise in our use of military power. Where al Qaeda and its allies attempt to establish a foothold -- whether in Somalia or Yemen or elsewhere -- they must be confronted by growing pressure and strong partnerships.

And we can't count on military might alone. We have to invest in our homeland security, because we can't capture or kill every violent extremist abroad. We have to improve and better coordinate our intelligence, so that we stay one step ahead of shadowy networks.

We will have to take away the tools of mass destruction. And that's why I've made it a central pillar of my foreign policy to secure loose nuclear materials from terrorists, to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, and to pursue the goal of a world without them -- because every nation must understand that true security will never come from an endless race for ever more destructive weapons; true security will come for those who reject them.

We'll have to use diplomacy, because no one nation can meet the challenges of an interconnected world acting alone. I've spent this year renewing our alliances and forging new partnerships. And we have forged a new beginning between America and the Muslim world -- one that recognizes our mutual interest in breaking a cycle of conflict, and that promises a future in which those who kill innocents are isolated by those who stand up for peace and prosperity and human dignity.

And finally, we must draw on the strength of our values -- for the challenges that we face may have changed, but the things that we believe in must not. That's why we must promote our values by living them at home -- which is why I have prohibited torture and will close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. And we must make it clear to every man, woman and child around the world who lives under the dark cloud of tyranny that America will speak out on behalf of their human rights, and tend to the light of freedom and justice and opportunity and respect for the dignity of all peoples. That is who we are. That is the source, the moral source, of America's authority.

Since the days of Franklin Roosevelt, and the service and sacrifice of our grandparents and great-grandparents, our country has borne a special burden in global affairs. We have spilled American blood in many countries on multiple continents. We have spent our revenue to help others rebuild from rubble and develop their own economies. We have joined with others to develop an architecture of institutions -- from the United Nations to NATO to the World Bank -- that provide for the common security and prosperity of human beings.

We have not always been thanked for these efforts, and we have at times made mistakes. But more than any other nation, the United States of America has underwritten global security for over six decades -- a time that, for all its problems, has seen walls come down, and markets open, and billions lifted from poverty, unparalleled scientific progress and advancing frontiers of human liberty.

For unlike the great powers of old, we have not sought world domination. Our union was founded in resistance to oppression. We do not seek to occupy other nations. We will not claim another nation's resources or target other peoples because their faith or ethnicity is different from ours. What we have fought for -- what we continue to fight for -- is a better future for our children and grandchildren. And we believe that their lives will be better if other peoples' children and grandchildren can live in freedom and access opportunity. (Applause.)

As a country, we're not as young -- and perhaps not as innocent -- as we were when Roosevelt was President. Yet we are still heirs to a noble struggle for freedom. And now we must summon all of our might and moral suasion to meet the challenges of a new age.

In the end, our security and leadership does not come solely from the strength of our arms. It derives from our people -- from the workers and businesses who will rebuild our economy; from the entrepreneurs and researchers who will pioneer new industries; from the teachers that will educate our children, and the service of those who work in our communities at home; from the diplomats and Peace Corps volunteers who spread hope abroad; and from the men and women in uniform who are part of an unbroken line of sacrifice that has made government of the people, by the people, and for the people a reality on this Earth. (Applause.)
This vast and diverse citizenry will not always agree on every issue -- nor should we. But I also know that we, as a country, cannot sustain our leadership, nor navigate the momentous challenges of our time, if we allow ourselves to be split asunder by the same rancor and cynicism and partisanship that has in recent times poisoned our national discourse.

It's easy to forget that when this war began, we were united -- bound together by the fresh memory of a horrific attack, and by the determination to defend our homeland and the values we hold dear. I refuse to accept the notion that we cannot summon that unity again. (Applause.) I believe with every fiber of my being that we -- as Americans -- can still come together behind a common purpose. For our values are not simply words written into parchment -- they are a creed that calls us together, and that has carried us through the darkest of storms as one nation, as one people.

America -- we are passing through a time of great trial. And the message that we send in the midst of these storms must be clear: that our cause is just, our resolve unwavering. We will go forward with the confidence that right makes might, and with the commitment to forge an America that is safer, a world that is more secure, and a future that represents not the deepest of fears but the highest of hopes. (Applause.)

Thank you. God bless you. May God bless the United States of America. (Applause.) Thank you very much. Thank you. (Applause.)

(so much of the last paragraphs were blah, blah, blah---trying to mention the presidents he likes, and trying to re-write history, that I don't think they are even worth commenting on. Who writes this stuff?? It seems so cobbled together. As if everyone was assigned to write a paragraph...and it just came off as pompous, confusing, and a very weak call to do what exactly?)

update: Former Secrtary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld responded to Barack Obama’s claims that US commanders were repeatedly refused support in Afghanistan.
The Weekly Standard Blog reported:

“In his speech to the nation last night, President Obama claimed that ‘Commanders in Afghanistan repeatedly asked for support to deal with the reemergence of the Taliban, but these reinforcements did not arrive.’ Such a bald misstatement, at least as it pertains to the period I served as Secretary of Defense, deserves a response.”

“I am not aware of a single request of that nature between 2001 and 2006. If any such requests occurred, ‘repeated’ or not, the White House should promptly make them public. The President’s assertion does a disservice to the truth and, in particular, to the thousands of men and women in uniform who have fought, served and sacrificed in Afghanistan.”

“In the interest of better understanding the President’s announcement last night, I suggest that the Congress review the President’s assertion in the forthcoming debate and determine exactly what requests were made, who made them, and where and why in the chain of command they were denied.”

and he says it better than me: (this from a Harvard history prof on the horrid speech!)