Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Prop 8

November 12, 2008

Of course I am outraged at this. That comes as no surprise. But it seems that everyone I know is outraged by its passing, and if not outraged, than at least indifferent. I can’t say that I know anyone who would have voted to pass Prop 8. I don’t even think my Catholic mother would have. And even if I have met the occasional person who is still so backwards in their thinking or so “religious” that they would vote YES, how on earth does it make up over 50% of the voters in California? HOW?! This just doesn’t compute to me.

If you would have voted “YES,” on constitutionally banning gay marriage, please let me know why. You can even e-mail me at tashamort (at) hotmail.com. If you can read or watch the following things and still argue against it, then I am even more curious.

A great, PRO gay marriage blog post. These are some amazing arguments that I had never even considered.

Keith Olbermann’s special comment. His passion is on parallel with what I feel. How can you deny a couple the same rights you enjoy? It’s so unfair that it hurts.

Don’t tell me it leads to worse things. No one in Massachusetts is married to their dog.

Don’t tell me marriage is about God. I know people who married without God. Specifically, my future sister-in-law. They did not marry in a church. They did not use a religious figure as their officiant. In fact, the woman who married them was a good friend who happens to be a lesbian! They did not have any bible readings (I don’t think…). They had readings from books and poems that expressed their love in the truest way. One of their readings was even from the MA Ruling about gay marriage!

And they are married. They are not civil unionized. MARRIED. Should they not be married because they didn’t marry under God? That is not the God that I believe in. Will I have God in my marriage and ceremony? Yes I will, but that will not make me any MORE married than them. And you know what? The fact that they married the way they did, does not in ANY way infringe upon my marriage.

No one wants to force churches to perform gay marriage ceremonies. That’s not the issue. So the fact that religion has entrenched itself in this part of the government is kind of ridiculous. How does the fact that a same sex couple would be married diminish your marriage?! Does it bother you so much that there are states that allow this? Perhaps you should move to Iran, where they don’t have any gay people!

It doesn’t surprise me that there are people out there who harbor these views, generally based on their religion. People who believe homosexuality is wrong, immoral, an abomination. There will always be extreme people in this world. What is absolutely shocking to me is that more than 50% of California voters harbor this particular view.

Why?

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What Happens When They Call Wisconsin

November 4, 2008

When Wisconsin goes Blue, we bring out Champagne.

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When they call Ohio for Obama, we open it.

Here’s to being a happy, giddy drunk tonight…

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Halloween and Baking

October 29, 2008

Okay, here we go. Some pictures. These are from the last two weeks or so. I still have things to talk about from even further back, but that will have to wait again!

I have been baking like a madwoman. Why? Because this baby has been in my kitchen for the last two weeks:

My mom’s Kitchen Aid mixer. Sure, I can bake things without a mixer, but this puppy makes the impossible possible. Including creaming butter and sugar, because I do not have Popeye muscles. This is probably to me what pictures of sexy sportcars are to men:

So I have been baking up a storm. Since I borrowed the mixer, here is a list of what I have made, along with pictures, if I remembered to take them, and some comments.

For Bosses Day, I made Apple Pie Cupcakes (again) for my work and Peanut Butter Nutella Brownies for David’s work. They were all a big hit.

Then I attempted to make Slime Filled Cupcakes for Sandy’s Halloween Party. I had never made a lime curd, or even a lemon curd before, so I was really wandering into uncharted territory. At first, things seemed fine.

But as it cooled, it turned into this lumpy green jello stuff. And it tasted TERRIBLE. It was like lime x1000. It was just sick. So at the last minute, I had to switch my game plan. I had already made the cupcakes and the green buttercream frosting from that recipe, but I wanted it to be a little more special. So I filled them with chocolate buttercream frosting from this recipe. They were still a big hit. The cupcake batter was pretty easy and tasty. They were pretty light and fluffy. I would definitely use that batter again.

I made these Margarita Cupcakes for a party I had during the week. I know someone took pictures of them, so I’ll have to share later. Yeah, it uses a box mix, but it also uses real tequila. They were not your typical cupcake, but they were tasty.

I had a whole bunch of leftover chocolate and vanilla frosting, so I thought I’d try out another cupcake recipe to use it up. Later that week I made Vanilla Brown Butter Cupcakes. OMFG SO GOOD!! This might be my favorite recipe yet! The cakes were very dense and rich. And… they don’t even use the mixer! So I can still make cupcakes when I finally have to give it back. Surprisingly, they were totally amazing with the chocolate frosting. I had never browned butter before, and must have had beginners luck, because it was almost perfect. SO GOOD!

I made these Apple Hand Pies(or as I like to say, pocket pies) over the weekend. We had some friends over to carve pumpkins and eat them. These things are AWESOME. The dough was a lot of work, and I know I can do better, but it was worth it. The final result was so tender and flaky and warm and just.. MMMM!! It’s not a great way to use up my apples though, as I only used three for the recipe.

Also on Sunday I made Oatmeal Jumbos. They did not turn out very jumbo. I needed to use up some chocolate chips and some mini peanut butter cups. The cookies were good, but I think the batter got too warm, I over mixed it, or my baking soda is bad. Or all three. They were very flat. But they were still tasty. It made a HUGE amount of cookies. David and I both took a bunch to work, and they didn’t last long.

Monday night I made good old Chocolate Chip cookies. I’m pretty sure my baking soda has given out on me, because these again weren’t as thick as I had expected. They were still plenty chewy and delicious. Are they the best chocolate chip cookies ever? Quite possibly. I just bought more baking soda, so I will be trying these out again soon.

Also on Monday night I made up the dough for Shortbread Cameo cookies from my Sweet Miniatures book. The dough is in my fridge, just waiting to be cooked up.

 

Sandy’s  Halloween Party was super fun. I left a little early to finish up the night at a friend’s bachelorette party after I didn’t win the costume contest!! That’s okay, I was close. Being an election year, there were a number of political costumes. I went as Sarah Palin and David went as Joe the Plumber.

The “redneck” was wearing a wifebeater that said “GOD IZ REPUBLICAN” and the “clown” had a sticker that said “Votin’ for McPainin’.” Ohh, funny people.

There was also a hockey mom.

And Peanut Butter Jelly Time. And a Ceiling Fan.

And even the USA.

His costume was interactive. He has a real tattoo of Wisconsin on his back. So he brought markers and we all got to finish the US across his body. Hilarious.

The rest of my party pictures can be found HERE. And Cristina, apparently I stopped caring about taking pictures after I started mixing rum with my punch. So I missed a lot of action and a lot of people and a lot of costumes. 😛

Finally, check this out. It’s hilarious!!

Woes

October 3, 2008

I watched the VP debate with my dental bills spread out before me. I always want to help others, but in times like these, I really need to help myself. I had great respect for Joe Biden when he admitted that assistance to foreign countries could not be as great until we solved our problems at home. This is also why I really respect the Obama/Biden ticket for wanting to end the war quickly and carefully.

I also believe that I will have more money in my pocket under the Obama/Biden tax plan. Is it fair that big companies and people making over $250,000 get taxed a little bit more? No, I honestly can’t say that’s FAIR, but I’ll be perfectly honest… It’s really difficult to have sympathy for those people while I sink deeper into debt and the dream of ever owning a home slips farther away.

I don’t want their money. Rather, I want the money in my pocket that Obama is promising me. I want the regulations on Wall St and I don’t want my employer to pay taxes on my health benefits.

This is really not supposed to be about politics. It’s supposed to be about the money pit I’m in.

I am trying to think about EVERY SINGLE PENNY that I spend now. Last month was a disaster. I drove up to Eau Claire to visit my sister and we drove to the Mall of America. I gave myself about $100 to shop with. I spent $120 on myself. Not bad. Except then I also found Christmas gifts for people and spent another $60. I try not to give myself too hard of a time about that, because if it’s Christmas and if I didn’t spend it now, I’d just spend it later. Oh, and don’t forget about the $60 tank of gas I had to use.

The next weekend we went camping and had a tent disaster in which we had to BUY A NEW TENT. “Only” $30, but still. That Sunday was the Packer game that I went to. $200 for two tickets. It was a great deal, and I had to go. The value of the experience was worth much more than $200, but still… I had to empty out my accounts and David and I lived off my credit card for the next week. And again, with the tank of gas.

These are all things that I would have had money for throughout the year, but the fact that it all happened in two weeks was pretty tough. Still, I feel like I start fresh with each new paycheck, and so far I’ve done pretty well and payed off the extra stuff I put on my credit card.

I got the final crown put on my molar on Monday. So far, so good. My dentist wasn’t worried about it not “working,” and so I’m feeling pretty good about it. Until I added up all the bills. Between the root canal and the crown, the amount I’m responsible for is $760. That is a lot. I mean, A LOT A LOT A LOT. And I have dental implants to look forward to in about 5 years or so.

My dad might be able to help me out, but right now I owe him about $300 for my car and cell phone (David and I just went on his family plan to save money.) So to be fair, it’s a wash. I have already paid about $400 on that dental bill, $200 from my savings and $200 on my credit card.

So now I have another $360 to deal with. It will have to go on my credit card, because my savings is empty. I had been hoping and dreaming about paying off my credit cards by next summer, but now it doesn’t look like that will happen. It is so frustrating, because I just want this debt GONE.

A couple months ago I was feeling good about paying it off and saving for a wedding sometime soon and taking a nice trip for David’s golden birthday. Now I don’t know where I am anymore and it’s frustrating and a little heartbreaking.

I’m trying to take it one day at a time. Do I need that cup of coffee? Why would we pick up dinner when we have a box of Mac & Cheese at home? I guess that’s all I can do right now, and hopefully I’ll be halfway out of this hole again sometime soon.

Whew. <end pity party>

Exciting Stuff

September 18, 2008

I am thisclose to getting to go to the Packer game on Sunday. They play the Cowboys. If anything, it should be an exciting game. My coworker’s brother has extra tickets, and I’m getting them, if she can get a hold of him and they’re still left. I’m completely on the edge of my seat about this. I’m trying not to have high hopes, because I got badly burned on some Packer tickets last year. But still, I’m really afraid that I’m going to be disappointed by the end of the day.

And if I’m not? I’ll probably be the happiest girl in the metro area. Even though I’ll pretty much have to eat Ramen Noodles for every meal until my next payday.

David and I are going to see the Brewers play on Wednesday, courtesy of my dad. We will be in the FIRST ROW on the 3rd base side. Hopefully the Brewers can come out of this slump they’ve been in!

I just placed a huge order on Barack Obama’s website. I ordered over 20 of these:

The Obama campaign offices are consistently out of the yard signs, and it was suggested we just order online. In order to make it a little more efficient, and save on costs and energy, I sent out notice to friends and family, asking if they’d like a sign. The response was overwhelming! I also ordered 8 bumper stickers and a couple other items.

There might  be something left over that I can give my youngest sister, as she, at the tender age of 13, likes Obama. It’s cute, and a little surprising since my family rarely talks politics and my parents have voted Republican for the last twenty years. Four years ago, during the Bush vs Kerry race, she decided she liked John Kerry. Where that came from, I have no idea, but that’s what happened. I guess they were doing a mock election to learn about politics in her elementary school, and she made the choice to vote for Kerry. I was shocked, since my parents’ large, prominent yard was host to an equally large, prominent sign for Bush. Her friends parents are mostly republican and so are her friends who, like myself in my teenage years, assume that they have the same views as their parents and choose to copy that. My little sister is so strange, in so many ways, but it’s things like this that give me faith that she’ll grow up to be a strong, healthy, smart person. NOT because she’s a 13-year-old democrat, but because she’s out there, thinking for herself.

And finally, David and I are going camping this weekend! We’re headed to the Kettle Moraine on Friday after work. We both come from major camping families, but this will be the first camping trip either of us have been on in years.  And our first one together. It will be a lot of fun, but it’s a little… interesting. Since we both have done a TON of camping with our families, we have very distinct ideas of what we need and how things should be done. Like his family never used bungee cords, whereas my family would get my dad bungee cords for his birthday! It’s silly little things like that; things that are so ingrained into us, that we can’t help but think that “my way” is the best way. It’s kind of funny when I step back and look at it. We’ve talked about this, and agreed not to kill each other and to just have fun this weekend. It’ll be an adventure, and we’ll be able to just hang out in nature and enjoy each other’s company. I’m so excited for that! Oh, and I’m extra excited to sit in front of a campfire with him while I make myself some s’mores. Only myself, since he doesn’t like s’mores. Who doesn’t like s’mores?!??!!! See what I mean…?

What Is Important

September 11, 2008

On this, the SEVEN year anniversary of the attack that brought down the twin towers, I can’t help but feel a little different. I can’t help but think about what I’m doing and what is truly important to me.

Also, I still can’t think about that day without losing my breath and tears forming in my eyes. I didn’t know anyone who was injured, or worse, that day, but my heart just breaks for those who were, and the families that are still reeling from the events.

I don’t think I’ll ever forget where I was when I found out, or how that day felt. I remember watching the coverage in the evening, sitting alone at the kitchen table, trying to do my math homework. I remember my mom keeping my (then 6-year old) little sister in the den, with the TV on PBS, because they were running the normal after-school cartoons. I remember feeling lucky and grateful that my dad’s flight to New York City was scheduled to leave at around noon that day, rather than the early morning flights he was usually on. I remember crying, a lot.

I could go on and on, but I won’t. If anything can be gained from this, let it be that the empathy and spirit of Americans can continue, and we can save and use the best parts of ourselves from those days. Patriotism is not liberal or conservative and neither is compassion. It’s human.

Confronted with our mortality, what is important to us? If we were to die tomorrow, would we be happy with what we’ve done and what we have?

I know that I am not ready to leave this earth. I still have a lot of life to live and a lot to figure out, but I do know that I feel confident in what I’m trying to do and where my priorities are.

  1. Love
    It wasn’t hard for me to realize that love is the single most important thing to me. And because of this, I am SO happy and SO grateful that I have the most amazing person to love, and to love me back. As long as I have that, life can never be too terrible.
  2. Family
    My family is extremely important to me. I’m so happy that we’re all so close. As I grow, I feel their love and support behind me even more. I’m not totally and completely 100% sold on having a family of my own. But I think I will, and the idea really excites me.
  3. Career
    Here’s where I’m stuck. I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! I was foolish for not finishing college when the opportunity was practically handed to me on a silver platter. As a result, I sometimes feel hopeless. I have a good, steady job that pays the bills, but it’s not where I see myself forever. But I don’t know where I see myself forever. I love theater, but am slowly coming to terms with the fact that I’m just not good enough to make a living of it out there. That hurts, but I have to be honest and realistic. I love photography and I love baking, but I don’t think I know enough about either to run with the idea at this point in time. Going back to school for a degree in business would be the easiest option, but all I can do with that degree would be to hope to end up somewhere, and doing something, that I love. At 23, I know I have plenty of time to figure things out, but I’m frustrated in not having any great ideas at the moment.
  4. Money
    Let’s face it, money is important to most people. I can’t live without money. I would like to have more money. I would like to be able to pay off my debt and go to college and travel and have a wedding and a house and kids… but I would not trade money for any of the first three items on my list, and especially not the first two. As long as I have those, I know I’ll be okay.
  5. Cake
    While not a traditional basic need, as long as there is cake in this world, there is good in this world. I speak the truth.

If anything else is gained from the memory of this date, I hope it is that everyone can be reminded of what really matters.

Based On A Conversation

September 4, 2008

Thanks to Cafepress.com, any idiot can take an inside joke or obsession to far.

I made this today. I’m THISCLOSE to ordering it.

This is proof of how much I love cake. Bacon is thrown in there to appease David, and the rest of the salty crowd.

Sunday Love

August 25, 2008

I have been needing a Sunday like this for a long time. It was a little bit of heaven that will keep me going through the week. David and I have been pretty busy lately, and haven’t been able to spend much quality time with each other. I can never get enough, but this weekend was pretty awesome for our couple time.

Sunday was almost magical. Simple, but wonderful.

David and I had been out late the night before, and so we slept in. It was noon before we were heading out the door. We (David) had made up a game relating to Obama’s Vice Presidential pick. Who he picked would determine what we would do. For example, if he had picked Sebelius, we would have rented a paddleboat down by the lake. If he somehow picked Clinton, we would have had to go to Great America! He picked Biden, and so we were supposed to build a fort in our living room, have an indoor picnic in there, and watch a scary movie.

Well, upon walking out to the car, I decided it was way too nice out to spend the day inside. I said we should have our picnic outside, by the lake. David didn’t seem over the moon about the idea, but he agreed. We decided to build our fort next weekend and watch a scary movie. We figured we’d drive to Whole Foods and buy our entire picnic lunch from there. Pricey? Yes, but delicious.

We wandered the aisles, tasting samples, and trying to pick which goodies to fill our cart with. When we tried some barbecued beef brisket, we knew we had to get those sandwiches. We steered our cart through the rest of the store, picking up grapes, Terra Crinkles Garlic Mashed potato chips, a tiny $3 piece of 10 year Wisconsin aged cheddar, a couple iced teas, and the best “healthy” cookies I’ve ever tasted, Grace’s Best Sunflower Seed Cookies.

From there, we drove down to the lakefront to look for the perfect picnic spot. We wanted to be a little secluded, and we needed some shade. The lakefront was pretty crowded, and where it wasn’t, it was smelly. We took a turn up towards Lake Park Bistro, thinking we’d find a spot at the top of the hill, overlooking the lake. Instead we made a right, towards the baseball diamond and big picnic areas. It was practically deserted.

We popped the trunk, hoping we had some sort of blanket back there (when we left the house, we weren’t really sure what we were doing, and so we didn’t prep at all). We had a sleeping bag and a big beach towel/blanket. We walked to a big tree in the middle of the grass and spread out our blankets. The sleeping bag gave us a little cushion against the ground.

This is when the magic really started. It was such a beautiful day. The sun was peeking through the branches of the tree, warming us, and a cool breeze kept us from getting hot. Our food was so delicious. We ate our sandwiches, and snacked on the rest while David read to me. He started reading the book Ender’s Game out loud to me a couple weeks ago. I had always meant to read that book, but never got around to it. So far, it’s pretty great! We stretched out on our blankets and I relaxed as his words poured over me. It was fantastic.

Except for ONE thing.

The spiders. There were several of them throughout our stay in the park. I was laying on my back, my head propped up on an extra blanket, and I saw movement. I looked down, and there was a SPIDER. ON MY BOOB. Sweet baby Jesus. I screamed about it and David was kind enough to remove it. Ick!! I hate spiders, and am terrified of them. I know I was out in THEIR territory, but any spider that came onto our safe haven of civilization, was quickly removed. Fortunately, after boob spider, none were quite as shocking.

Other than THAT, it was just awesome. Time seemed to stand still for us. David read a couple chapters to me, and we lay around, talking and holding hands and smiling. It was sick, really. There was hardly anyone near us. It was like we were in our own little world. We even moved the blanket so that my side was in a patch of sun, and his side was in the shade. I cuddled in his “nook,” in the sun, as he finished one last chapter for me.

When we finally decided we should get going, it was only just after 3:00. What?! We had only been there for a couple hours. It felt like so much longer, in the best possible way. It felt like time had slowed down, so we could enjoy hours and hours with each other, without the whole day being gone.

In the last 20 minutes or so of us laying there, a family had come to the picnic tables nearby. A mom, dad, a boy of about 10, and an (I’m assuming) adopted girl of about 4. I watched them as Dad ran around with the kids, playing frisbee. He and his son were teaching the daughter how to throw it and catch it. I saw her make a catch and she ran around cheering about it. David and I watched them play as we walked back to our car, arm in arm. It was one of the most adorable moments I’ve seen. I may have gotten a little teary eyed, thinking about taking our future family to a park for a late summer picnic. Of course we don’t know what our plans are for kids yet, but I can imagine us having a family that looks very similar to that one.

To anyone else, it was just a picnic. To us, it was the best day we’ve had in a long time.

The rest of the day was nice, but the memories of those couple hours will be with me for a long time. While curled up in bed, David asked me a question. We have been having some religious discussions for a while. He is very much NOT religious, but has been feeling that he wants to believe in something. I’ve been telling him about the things that I believe. Especially about heaven. He asked if that was what heaven was like. I thought about the love and warmth and peace that I felt out there. Yes, minus the spiders, yes, that is what heaven is like.

Persian Girls

July 2, 2008

I just finished this book on my lunch break today.

It was heart-breaking and eye-opening.

One of the critic quotes reads, “Nahid Rachlin’s memoir reads like a novel- suspenseful, vivid, heartbreaking.” I definitely agree with those three adjectives. I didn’t want to put it down. I wanted to find out the whole story and to understand what her current perspectives are.

I did find, however, that it seemed autobiographical almost to a fault. There are some details that are glazed over and some time periods that are ignored. I was left wanting to learn even more. Of course, that would have made the book three times as long, I’m sure. The way it is written, and the story she tells, makes me trust her facts and opinions. It doesn’t seem like she made up any details to replace things that she didn’t know or remember. I can respect that very much.

To that effect, the reader is left only with what the author knows. And it’s unfinished in some ways. The final line of the book almost sent tears down my face. Somehow, after everything she went through, she was strong enough to write truthfully about her life.

What was personally interesting to me, was comparing the timeline of events to what I know of my father’s life. Nahid (I feel like she’s my friend after reading this, so we’re on a first-name basis now.) is older than my dad, but as she recalls events, I can try imagine where he was in his life at that time.

I don’t know how my grandparents did it, but it seems like they sent my dad and is brother to the US in the nick of time. The Iranian revolution happened in 1979 and it was right around that time that he came to the US. As the revolution continued, travel and communication between the US and Iran was nearly impossible. My dad was in high school during the hostage crisis in 1979-1981. In his first year there (in Adam’s Friendship, WI) he says he was a novelty. He was elected as homecoming king! But then things got very tense. The hostages were held for over a year and between hearing my dad’s stories and reading this book, things were not very good or easy for Iranians in the US at this time.

Another critic quote that I found to be accurate was this, “Hers is one of the voices that must be heard if Iranians and Americans are ever to understand each other.”Oh, this one gets me. Iranians are not bad people. Just as Americans are not bad people. But does each culture have some evil wackjobs? YES!

Her story starts in the 1950s. She talks about Iran oil and how people from other countries worked in refineries and other jobs. Most of them were American or British. The Shah at the time wanted to be modern and Westernized, but this caused a backlash among Iranian citizens. And I can’t really blame them. Americans and British were taking over jobs and money that an Iranian could work and earn. Earlier, Americans and British helped create a government police force that put the Shah into power and helped keep him there. They would execute those who dared speak out against him, and that kept getting worse as they gained more and more power.

In 1979 Khomeini took power and pulled Iran back into it’s religious roots. It seems to me that he got rid of all the good things the Shah did (like women’s rights, more religious freedom) and expanded on the bad (state controlled media, increased police power). No one Nahid talked to in the book was happy. They talked in hushed tones about how the current situation wasn’t what they fought and hoped for.

The government still presses down on people in Iran. They have the so-called “Moral Police.” If a man and woman are walking hand-in-hand, it is well within their rights to stop them and demand to see documents proving they are married, for that is the only way that behavior is allowed. It is my belief and understanding that very few people in Iran want to live like that. Times are changing. In my dad’s pictures from his trip to Iran, there are very few women who dare to wear anything but dark colors outside, and they always observe hejab, or the head scarf to cover their hair. But in the privacy of their own home, it’s another story. The scarf comes off and the bright, modern clothes shine.

I felt intensely connected to this book. The stories she shares are beautiful, although sometimes a little shocking (especially related to women’s rights and marriage). I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone just looking for a summer read, but I think her perspectives and opinions as an Iranian American are interesting, informative, and invaluable. Maybe now, more than ever.

Govern!

June 11, 2008

David is at jury duty right now. Or, actually he’s at jury SELECTION right now. He left for the courthouse this morning. He was not allowed to bring ANY electronic devices, so no text messages updating me on what’s going on! I won’t know anything until tonight. It’s weird.

It was awesome getting to sleep in this morning. Usually we have to be out the door at 7:15, because we carpool and he works at 7:30. Today, I didn’t get out of bed until 7:15!! I got ready and left for work on my own schedule!! Which of course means I was late. But it was awesome! And I was only late by a minute or two. And it was kind of on purpose, daring anyone to say anything so I could respond, “I’ve been here 10-15 minutes early every day for the past several months!”

Not that I actually start WORKING 10-15 minutes early.

The only bad thing about going our separate ways in the morning is not getting to hold hands on the way to work. But a good-bye hug and kiss was almost as nice. If he get selected, we may be doing a lot of that for a while.