Category Archives: Voting

All in for Fall

Fall has arrived here in Colorado. It seemed to happen almost overnight. Or maybe I’m just not as observant as I could be. The temps are now pretty steady in the 50’s at this point so the days of wearing sandals on the regular are gone, at least until March or April anyway.  The leaves are changing and as I’m driving around I’m treated to the sights of beautiful maples with rich hues of burgundy, gold, and orange.

Here’s what I am loving about this particular fall season:

  • Waking up to those dark mornings. I know, it sounds a little weird, but there’s a coziness I feel when I’m padding down the stairs in pursuit of a cup of hot coffee, of course, in the wee hours after a good night’s slumber and the house is shrouded in the quiet darkness. It’s peaceful and comforting. Though some mornings as a result I have to put up a pretty good internal argument against crawling back under those covers.
  • Cooking hearty meals and delectable, soul warming desserts. Recently, I made a recipe I’ve had forever and came up with a way to make it even more scrumptious. I will share that recipe at the end of this post. I also made my blogger friend CJ’s apple cake on Sunday and it was seriously the bomb! I highly recommend it! I got a lot of compliments from my co-workers when I brought it to work yesterday. It’s the perfect go-to for fall potlucks.
  • Bringing out the fall wardrobe. I was smart over the summer and picked up a few pieces while thrift store shopping to add to what I already had. My girly-girl side came out as I tried on different combinations of things to wear to work and when simply being out and about this fall.
  • Speaking of fall wardrobes, another thing I’m getting pretty psyched about is Halloween costumes. As I mentioned in my fall themed blog post last year, being empty-nesters has allowed us to re-claim this holiday for ourselves. I am currently pondering what costumes we will be donning this Halloween. Contenders are me as a good witch and Hubs as Johnny Cash (my version of super heroes for these times we are in) or “Blue Waves” (which we fervently hope come via our ballot boxes next month). Here’s us in our costumes last year…20171028_201957 (1)
  • Voting season: oh, so many reasons to be happy about this. Like perhaps there will be a surge in the number of Americans casting their ballots. Perhaps sane, rational, not geriatric and not all male candidates will be elected this time. Also that it-namely, the constant political ads and political junk mail-will be over on 11/7.

Now for that promised recipe:

French Dip Sandwiches

Disclaimer: I wrote down this recipe eons ago on a recipe card, and if I could credit the cook who I got it from I would, but I have no earthly idea who that would be.

Ingredients:

3 lbs. beef chuck roast

2 Cups water

1/2 cup Soy Sauce (I always use the low sodium kind)

1 tsp. dried rosemary

1 tsp. dried thyme

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 bay leaf

3 whole peppercorns

French bread

Put the beef in the crockpot. Mix up all the other ingredients (minus the french bread of course) in a bowl. Pour it over the beef. Cook on high for 5-6 hours or low for 8 hours + if you like. Shred or slice (depending on the level of tenderness) the beef and put between two slices of crusty french bread.

My attempt at morphing the leftovers (which I froze last week and am thawing as I write this) into something even better is this: Slice yellow onions and saute them in butter. Drain the liquid from the beef and cook it in a saucepan, possibly adding additional water and beef bouillon. Heat up the slices of beef in the microwave. Put the broth in soup bowls and add the onions, then the beef. Top with shredded mozzarella. Cut up chunks of the french bread and toss it into the soup bowls. Voila! French onion soup, my way.

What are you jazzed about this fall season? 

 

 

 

 

For the kids

One of my Facebook friends shared the address for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, urging everyone to write a letter to the students. I knew right away that this is something I could do. It’s actually the least I could do.

Question for myself is what will I say?

I will surely offer my condolences. Offer my support. Ask how we as adults can specifically support them. I want to urge them to not grow weary of the fight; to soldier on despite the crap the jerks of this world may try to throw at them. Urge them to practice self-care so they can stay emotionally strong. These kids have been foisted into the spotlight, due to an event that they never in a million years could have imagined happening to them. Heck, I read that Parkland, Fl was actually voted the safest city in Florida in 2017. I can’t imagine the shock this was to the entire community.

I believe with the right encouragement from their elders as well as their peers, fighting for common sense gun control could just be the beginning. Our society is sick; there’s an underlying mental health crisis that needs to be comprehensively addressed. Coming up with solid steps to address our nation’s mental health crises may just be the next thing these kids could tackle.

As I’ve been reading online, the kids of MSD high school-actually all the high school kids today-they’re smart. They are savvier with social media than the rest of us. Social media is the primary tool with which they work to affect change. I think it’s important to encourage them to continue to use this powerful tool in a thoughtful, strategic manner. Now this is obviously the parent in me coming out, but I worry what will become of these kids from MSD High School. Will some of them take advantage of their sudden fame and sell out to become famous douchebags with their own YouTube channel? Will some of them crash and burn in other ways due to the stress of trying to change the world? That’s the stuff I worry about. I want these kids to keep their wits about them. I wish for them to stay health, to stay strong.

Isn’t that what we should all be wishing for?

My letter may not make a lick of difference to these kids. However, perhaps if we, as their elders, all commit to penning letters, signing petitions, providing support in financial ways, and casting our ballots for political candidates who we believe will support legislation that actually advances these kids’ causes, great changes may come to fruition.

Please join me in writing letters to and for these kids. It’s a good start, don’t you think? And it really is the least we can do right now.

Guest Post: Sanity

Every day, we arise to news of calamity, death, anger, and threats. Every day is an unending torrent of bad news. How do you stay sane in such an environment? It isn’t easy, but I’d like to offer some ideas.

First, be thankful. For all the tragedy and outrage surrounding us, pay attention to the good stuff. While the Federal Government gets into a pissing war with a U.S. territory and threatens to abandon it, Google and Tesla are finding innovative ways to at least somewhat help out the human condition with solar power units and balloon based cellular relay points. Speaking of that, while we read of the repeal of vast numbers of environmental regulations and accords, solar and wind are now cheaper than coal, almost cheaper than gas, and within the next decade, market dynamics will give us a clean energy economy world wide. New innovations in science are making the world healthier, and we have discoveries every day which move us forward. There are a lot of people out there who don’t live for the almighty dollar as their god, and actually do care about others, this planet, all its species, and improving the world. There are still voices in the wilderness calling us to do right, be kind, and work hard for change.

Second, be grounded. It’s easy to get caught up in the maelstrom of a nation gone mad, where checks and balances break down. It is an emotional, guttural response to see people hurting, and know that while we have the capacity to prevent it, nothing gets done (or even worse, something gets done to make it worse). It’s also easy to feel outnumbered and powerless, and the toll of this stress is affecting everyone. I encourage you to remember and study history. We have been through worse as a country, and each time, we did eventually forge a new path forward. Change happens. You cannot re-bottle a Genie. When the tide of public opinion led to general consensus that LGBTQ people had full rights, it happened over a period of fifteen years, not in one night. That consensus remains. The insane voices on the right may be screeching about religious freedom, but even with a stacked court, the people will not accept a change back to “Make America Gay-hating Again”. As I said, study and know your history; it will show the road we’ve travelled and give you hints at the future.

Third, be statistical. When you feel like evil outnumbers good, and there is no hope, consider this: we have 200 million registered voters in our nation, but only 128 million voted, meaning the real winner on 2016 was apathy, the vast silent center, with 71 million missing votes. These are people who are “not into politics”, or think “it won’t make a difference” or say “I’m too busy”. I would suggest the awful debacle we’ve seen since January may awake some portion of these voters, to the chagrin of Republicans (high voter turnouts always lean center or left). From what I’ve seen, approval ratings for this administration are somewhere around 30 percent now. However, there is a difference between being a person who feels culturally compelled to support their political “faith”, and those who will actually go to the mat for a candidate. I do not know how gerrymandering, voter suppression by the Federal commission, or external influences will change the 2018 vote, but I can reasonably predict that 2018 will have more of the vast silent middle in the polling booths, and a downtrodden Trump base.

Finally, be hopeful. This is the hardest one. Not one of us is guaranteed to be here in 20 minutes, 20 days, or 20 years. That’s not, however, what it’s about. It’s about what you do during that time. You can be hopeful. You can state your case, stick to your morals, and take the hard road to bringing something good into the world. You can dream, and picture a better world, then work to make it happen. You don’t have to change the whole world; you can focus on one thing, take it as your mantra, and stay the course. It won’t be easy, evil will fight you every step of the way, but you won’t be alone. Others are on the same course, maybe not for the same reason, but these people will be part of your community, a community of good. From community springs hope, and that hope, along with our Constitution, will lead us to good again one fine day.

This post was brought to you courtesy of Hubs in case you were all wondering. And I fully concur with his points.

4 Points from a discontented Polly

I have so much to say. About so many things. Things that are important to me as a woman. Things that are important to me as an American. Things that are important to me as a thinking, feeling, hopeful, yet still discontented human on planet Earth.

My discontentment stems from a multitude of bad news. From our so called President, who according to me anyway,  only truly cares about the almighty dollar, to biblical level weather disasters like we are currently seeing the catastrophic, human effects of, to the news of people dying at far too young ages from cancer, as my Aunt Connie (the personification of the term social butterfly), who we lost this week at the age of 64.

I believe very strongly at this moment in time it behooves me, as it should behoove us all, to get real about what changes are needed to begin the uphill climb to a better reality for all of humankind.

It’s time for Polly to climb up on her soapbox. 

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Here I go!

Here are a few things that I believe in my heart and mind need to happen to give every one of us a brighter and healthier future:

We need to push for positive political change. Most importantly, I believe we need to change the electoral college system. We need our government to better represent all Americans.  And we need to greatly improve our voting system so it’s easier to vote and harder for our system to be attacked by foreign entities. And we need to do all we can to increase the number of Americans that vote. Maybe that’s through employers allowing people time off to get to the ballot boxes. Or increasing the numbers of locations where people can vote. But certainly it will involve having multitudes of volunteers in every state getting people registered to vote. I’m down for that, how about you?

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Climate change-it’s real. The vast majority of scientists are in agreement with this.  We have the responsibility for our children’s and grandchildren’s futures to address it head on, by investing in alternative energies,  such as solar and wind power. Coal is not the way to go. It’s the past, not the future. It seems to me that our government and private companies ought to be putting their heads together and collaborating on a plan to train workers in the field of alternative energies. To me, it’s a no-brainer.

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It simultaneously breaks my heart and angers me every time I hear a story of someone who has gone bankrupt because of medical bills. This simply should not be happening. Not in America, or any other country for that matter. “Go fund me pages” should not be the answer when someone has the misfortune of becoming sick. I for one am more than happy to pay higher taxes if it means cancer patients and their families, for example, can focus their energies, mentally and physically, on treatment instead of having to worry about losing their life savings and/or their homes. Along with my endorsement of “health care for all” (a single payer system), which seems to work pretty darn well in other countries, I think more of our tax revenue should be spent on medical research to actually cure diseases like Cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s (just to name a few). If America’s great scientific minds can figure out how to send a man to the moon, cure polio, and build artificial hearts, there is no reason to believe we can’t also find cures for devastatingly debilitating and deadly diseases such as these. I believe if the proper amount of funding was available for medical research, we could eradicate them all.

I firmly believe that more federal funding needs to be allocated for mental health services. There’s just been so much trauma inflicted on so many people due to war, natural disasters, violence due to terrorism and hate/ignorance in my lifetime. I think we as a country have dropped the ball on this. I can’t imagine there hasn’t been a huge increase in cases of PTSD, drug/alcohol addiction, anxiety and depression in the past several years due to all the social and political turmoil in our world, not to mention our engagement in wars that seem to have no end in sight. There’s a shortage of mental health professionals and that needs to end. Not only that, but the costs of mental health treatment I believe keep it out of reach for many. We need to have an abundance of trained, compassionate, professional mental health practitioners ready to meet this challenge. Perhaps the government and private entities can work together to create incentives for folks to pursue careers in the field of mental health? That would certainly be a good start in my opinion.

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There are certainly many more issues I believe we as Americans need to pay attention to and push our government officials to comprehend and find money to compassionately address. I could go on for days.