Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Thanksgiving dinner

As far as I am concerned Thanksgiving dinner is the best meal of the year. My husband and I are hosting at our house tomorrow. My parents and my mother-in-law will be joining us for our yearly feast. Our menu consists of turkey and gravy (of course), stuffing,butternut squash soup, peas with crispy bacon, potato casserole with carmalized onions, sweet potatoes, brocoli casserole, cranberry relish (homemade), yeast rolls (homemade), deviled eggs, my great-granmother's holiday strawberry jello salad, pumpkin pie, and fruit trifle.

We should have lots of leftovers for the weekend and beyond....



Thanksgiving is tomorrow and I have a lot to be grateful for this year. I finished my graduate degree, found a full-time job in my field without having to move and uproot my family, and everyone in my family is healthy. I am grateful for all of the men and women who are willing to sacrifice their time, energy, and sometimes life to serve in the military and keep the rest of us safe.


Monday, November 22, 2004

More knitting....

I also learned how a new method for beginning my knitting projects. I was taught the "knitting on" method of casting on my stitches -- basically you begin the project by knitting a row of stiches. But while watching the DIY Network I found a show called Knitty Gritty, which was demonstrating how to begin knitting. The insructor showed how to do a "long-tail cast on" which only uses one needle with two strands of yarn. I decided to give this a try and found that it was much faster and easier than what I had been doing.


Knitting away....

I spent the weekend working on assorted craft projects I have in progress. I finished knitting a scarf, made good progress on a needlepoint pillow, and made the little bag shown on the cover of this book. The only difference between the picture and my completed project is that I used a ribbon yarn rather than a wool blend. It only took me 5 hours to do the entire project.

I also spent a lovely hour and a half in a local yarn store -- just looking at beaurtiful yarn. I finally feel that my knitting skills have advaced enough for me to use nicer yarn. It was at this store that I learned to knit four years ago. Knitting was a craft that I wanted to try but I did not know how to begin. I did not know any knitters and could not make heads or tails of the instructions in the book I found. I stopped into this store on a lark to ask if they knew of anyone willing to teach me how to knit. The owners were great -- they told me that if I came in on a Saturday afternoon they would show me the basics. So that is what I did. I spent 4 hours or so in the middle of the shop learning how to knit and purl -- which is the name of the shop as well (Knit 'n Purl). I've gone back to buy several books and needle sets since then. Now I am ready to buy some of their gorgeous yarn -- maybe some mohair or maybe some cashmere.....


Thursday, November 18, 2004

Donating blood

This week marks the anniversary of my first blood donation. Every year there is a competition between the University of Tennessee and the University of Kentucky as to which community will donate the most blood -- we call it the Blue/Orange Blood drive. Prior to last year I was afraid to give blood because I thought it would be too painful. My husband dared me to donate so I did. Since then I have given as often as I'm allowed. My blood type is the universal donor (O-) and can be used in emergencies by everyone. So I get to help someone, receive a fre t-shirt, and get a cookie.

The only thing that bothers me about the process is the increasing list of questions. Don't get me wrong, the blood supply has to be safe and I am glad that the questions are asked. But since I am a regular donor, giving blood every 60 days or so, couldn't some of the questions be elimiated? I was not born in Africa and that will never change. I have never been in the military and am too old to join now. I only spent 2 weeks in England between 1980-1996. None of these facts will ever change. Why couldn't that info be saved in the database and eliminate the need to ask the questions?

I encourage everyone who can to donate blood. It is relatively painless, fast, and as mentioned earlier you get a cookie.


Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Not so fast...

According to stories in today's Nashville Tennessean, TennCare has been given a short reprieve. Both sides in the various lawsuits will meet in U.S. District Court to discuss the possibility of setting aside the consent decrees that are helping cripple the program.

TennCare needs to be reformed or it will drag the whole state economy down with it. The eligibility requirements are so broad that almost anyone can qualify for coverage. This country does not have socialized medicine, which is a good thing in my opinion, but TennCare was an attempt to bring certain aspects of socialized medicine to the United States. Should there be a safety net for those who are at the bottom of the economic ladder? Of course. But this safety net should not be so large that it begins cannibalizing the economy of the entire state.


Thursday, November 11, 2004

Veteran's Day

Today is the day we honor all of those who have served in the armed forces. All of us owe our freedoms to those few among us who are willing to make the sacrifice to serve. My grandfather, father, husband, uncle, grandfather-in-law, brother-in-law, and uncle-in-law are all veterans (Army, Air Force, Army, Air Force, Army, Air Force, and Army respectively) and I am forever grateful to each of them. In addition, my brother is currently on active duty in the Air Force.

On this anniversary of the end of World War I and as our military is fighting another war, we should all give thanks to our veterans.


Happy Birthday, USMC

Yesterday was the 229th birthday of the United States Marine Corps. They have served our country well -- even before we were officially a nation. The Marines are often the first ones into a battle and are always considered riflemen first -- no matter what their specific job within the Corps may be. They truly are the few and the proud.

The Marines' Hymn
From the halls of Montezuma
To the shores of Tripoli,

We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land, and sea.

First to fight for right and freedom,
And to keep our honor clean,

We are proud to claim the title
Of United States Marines.

Our flag's unfurl'd to every breeze
From dawn to setting sun;

We have fought in every clime and place
Where we could take a gun.

In the snow of far-off northern lands
And in sunny tropic scenes,

You will find us always on the job -
The United States Marines.

Here's health to you and to our Corps
Which we are proud to serve;

In many a strife we've fought for life
And never lost our nerve.

If the Army and the Navy
Ever gaze on Heaven's scenes,

They will find the streets are guarded
By United States Marines.


TennCare is going away

TennCare, our state's version of Medicaid is on its way to being dissolved. Governor Bredesen announced yesterday that plans to reform the system have not been able to be implemented -- mainly due to lawsuits. So rather than continue the downward drag on the state's economy (the increasing costs of TennCare were projected to take all of the state's future revenue growth) the Governor announced that he and the Legislature are dissolving the program. The state will go back to a traditional Medicaid program, losing some federal money but helping to ensure that the state remains on good financial footing.


Good riddance

I know that you are not supposed to be happy when someone passes away. But I can't help but think that Yasser Arafat's death will only help the volitile situation in the Middle East. At the bottom level, this man was the leader of a terrorist organization. I feel no sorrow that he is dead.


Damage to Univeristy of Hawaii library

Almost two weeks ago a flash flood went through the library at the University of Hawaii. The wall of water reached 8 feet, knocking out walls, toppling stacks, and destroying the government documents and map collections. The Library & Information Science program was also housed in the library and those offices have been destroyed. Luckily this happened at a time the library was closed and the few LIS students who were in the building attending class were able to get out through a window. Below are some photos of the damage:

LIS Photo Archive

Flood Damage

One of my areas of interest in in preservation of library materials -- which also includes disaster planning and recovery in situation such as this. My library has had some minor water damage (leaking roof and walls) but nothing on this magnitude.


Friday, November 05, 2004

Agenda for the next four years

I know that President Bush has many, many experts advising him on the important issues of the day. However, I do have a few things that I would like to see happen during the next four years. With a larger majority in Congress I'm hopeful that some of these will come to fruition.

1. Reform of the Social Security system. Ideally I would like to see the system completely privatized. Let me be responsible for my own retirement. I'm sure that over the course of my working life I would get a better return in the stock market than what the government offers me in the current system. I realize that a complete privatization will not occur, but I am hopeful for a partial one.

2. Reform the tax code. The recent tax cuts have added 10,000 pages to the Federal tax code, bringing the total number of pages to over 50,000. This is a ridiculous number. Make the tax code simple. Eliminate loopholes. Make sure everyone pays their fair share. Heck, eliminate the federal income tax altogether (thereby letting me keep that withholding that is currently taken out) and replace it with a national sales tax.

3. Appoint constructionist judges to the federal bench. Let's be sure that the judges are not making law. No more finding creative reasoning within the Consitution. Let the states decide what they want to do on certain social issues. One key to this point working is making sure that Arlen Specter is not chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He is not a friend of the administration and should not be in a position to block important appointments.


Wednesday, November 03, 2004

No Terror Attacks in US

When Spain had a national election, there was a terrorist attack that killed and wounded hundreds of citizens. The best that Osama Bin Laden could do to our national election was to send a video tape threatening us.

That tells me more than anything how successful we have been in fighting this new type of war. It has been over three years since the attacks on our soil and there has not been one single attack.


4 more years

The AP and CNN are reporting that John Kerry has called President Bush to concede the election. I'm grateful that Kerry is doing the gentlemanly thing and not dragging this election out for days or weeks.

While President Bush has won both the Electoral College and the popular vote, this country is still divided -- but not just aboung red and blue states. The division is between urban, metropolitan areas and smaller, more rural areas. I honestly don't see how this is going to continue. But the urban areas are losing people. Based on the last census New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio all lost electoral votes. People are moving away from these centers of population and that is going to have a larger effect on future elections.

I'm hopeful that we can remain civil to each other in coming years, but I can't count on it.


2004 Election

It is 1:30 am on Election Night and I am unable to go to bed. President Bush has carried Ohio and Florida and is sitting at 269 electoral votes right now. He is also ahead in the popular vote by 3 million. It looks like President Bush is going to win by such a margin that (hopefully) the lawyers will not get involved. Furthermore, the Republican Party is going to hold onto the lead in both the House of Representatives and the Senate. Tom Daschle, minority leader of the Senate, is currently trailing in his reelection bid.

Hopefully this will all hold true and we will have a clear winner before daylight.....