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Friday, February 27, 2009

Nationwide Chicago Tea Party - San Diego Edition

Today the boys and I headed downtown for a poor-fiscal-policy protest.  The broadcast location was simply "just north of the Star of India on the bay."  So, I went to Google maps and typed in Star of India, San Diego, CA.  What came up on the map, closest to the bay, was the Star of India Indian food restaurant.  So, I jotted down the address (because I was already late, of course), and headed into the bright, blue yonder.  It was a gorgeous day today.  Perfect for a Pork Protest. Sunny, spritely, serene.  Spring is totally in the air here.

Right, so back to the Tea Party.... I followed my directions "to the T" (heh heh), but never found the Star of India restaurant.  Instead, my directions took me right into the East Horton Plaza parking entrance.  So I went with it, parked, got out the stroller and supplies, and decided I could walk a few blocks.  No big deal, right?  I exited the parking lot, paused a moment to take in the sights, sounds, and smells of downtown San Diego nestled against the salty-aired harbor.  So fresh.  And off we went.  I headed toward Broadway and followed the thoroughfare toward the harbor.  After a block or so, I figured I should probably ask someone where the restaurant was instead of wandering aimlessly about the city.  I approached a group of friendly-looking homeless folk.  One man emerged from the group when I mentioned the Star of India and pointed me down Broadway saying that I had to walk right to the harbor and I'd find it there.  That's when it dawned on me that perhaps we weren't talking about a restaurant, but a ship.  And then I remembered that the Star of India is a replica of an Old World vessel.  Duh.  Seriously Liz, sometimes I could just..."Knock, knock.  Anyone home upstairs?!" :0)  Oh well, we walked briskly to avoid extreme tardiness, stopped to say hello to Daddy whose building we passed on the way, then charged on to the harbor and our fellow rally-goers.  The boys had a great time absorbing the city folk and structures.  I can certainly always use the exercise.  No complaints here.

The rally was well underway with an estimated 600 (!) protesters.  People were lined along the bay front road, eliciting horn honking and cheers from autos and trucks.  Bullhorns were blowing, children were scampering about, folks were chatting amicably about shared concerns.  And they even actually dumped tea into the harbor amid chants of "Throw that tea!  Throw that tea!"  All in all, I'd say the protest was a rousing success and with reports still flowing in, countrywide protest tallies are already at an estimated 25,000!  People are concerned about the so-called stimulus bill, the mortgage and bank bailouts, and now the $3.6 trillion dollar budget that Obama unveiled yesterday!  He claims he will bust the national deficit in half by 2013, but the numbers just don't add up (or down, for that matter).  In fact, in a FOX news release following the announcement of this new government budget, a breakdown shows that the federal deficit will actually be greater by 2013!
"The cost of the stimulus bill and the increased bailout support would push the deficit for this year to $1.75 trillion, nearly four times last year's record $455 billion and a percentage of the economy -- just over 12 percent -- not seen since World War II. The deficit would remain near $1 trillion over the next two years before dropping to $581 billion in 2012 and $533 billion in 2013, the year that Obama has pledged to cut the deficit he inherited in half."
So, back to the Tea Party (sheesh I get off track easily). :0)  One thing that I am really excited about is teaching my children to be politically involved and active.  Our country needs more people who are not apathetic.  If you think about it, we really have no right to complain about the way things are headed unless we've done all we can to ensure that our beliefs are fought for by the representatives we elect.  Voting is one way to do this, but it is only one way.  Too many people read and follow but don't act.  There are countless other ways to be politically active: lobbying, protesting, rallying, writing to a greater audience (letters to the editor, blogging, tapping into the myriad Internet applications for social networking), contacting our senators and representatives to let them know how "We, the people" feel.  Speaking our mind, our opinions, will naturally make enemies and oft-times friends, but if we don't say anything at all, we can't expect to affect change, real change, not fluffy talk that produces warm fuzzies and nothing else.  In a recent conversation with my sister, she mentioned that when her friends talk about a certain senator or representative they like, she'll ask them how he/she has voted on certain issues and policies.  Her friends have no idea.  They don't know what to respond.  I'm guilty too.  While I've been active on a state and national level, I really don't know who my reps are on a local level, or how they vote on anything.  That's a shame!  I am shamed.  Everything starts with us and ripples out from there. We are the center of government and when control is lost, it starts with us.  So, I'm going to be as politically involved as possible for a mom raising two rambunctious boys.  I want them to have a lifetime of rally and protest pictures to look back on, knowing their mom fought for her beliefs and for their future.  What will you do to protect our nation for your children?

Aaaaand again, back to the Tea Party (wow).  :0)  After the event, we moseyed back to Daddy's building to pick him up for an early lunch at St. Tropez, our favorite French bistro.  I had fun relating the day's events to Dan.  He doesn't share my intense dislike for Obama, but he is patient with me and listens to my concerns, often tempering my passion with perspective.  What a good husband!  We are a good team.  Hopefully a little bit of my passion rubs off on him, too. ;)

Here are some pictures from our adventure today:


So here's what I don't like about the stimulus bill:
  • Only a small percentage of the $789 billion will be going toward practical building projects. The rest is allotted for the creation of more bureaucratic, "ditch-digging" desk jobs (in fact, about 600,000 more on the government payroll that we support with our taxes), tax cuts and credits that penalize ambition and capitalism while rewarding those who don't even pay any taxes, bailouts, bailouts and more bailouts, and earmark funding of pet projects.
“You cannot legislate the poor into freedom by legislating the wealthy out of freedom. What one person receives without working for, another person must work for without receiving. The government cannot give to anybody anything that the government does not first take from somebody else. When half of the people get the idea that they do not have to work because the other half is going to take care of them, and when the other half gets the idea that it does no good to work because somebody else is going to get what they work for, that my dear friend, is about the end of any nation. You cannot multiply wealth by dividing it.”

~The late Dr. Adrian Rogers
  • Oh, and let's not forget that a HUGE chunk will be going toward the initiation of universal health care here in the States.  One step closer to socialized health care.  Ever seen what socialized health care looks like in countries that have implemented it?  Let's just put it this way, Canadians cross the border on a regular basis to PAY doctors for health care services just so they won't have to wait in a hospital waiting room until the Second Coming in order to be diagnosed and receive medical attention.  Now, don't get me wrong, something has got to change with our healthcare system because to deny people medical care due to a preexisting condition or lack of employment or lack of income is wrong.  It is.  But universal healthcare is a scary way to go about that.  Where insurance companies operate on the basis of individuals regularly paying into a consumer pool and essentially paying for the sick consumers or the off-chance that they themselves get sick, increasing the number of individuals taken on by insurance companies will naturally increase the premiums the rest of us have to pay.  I don't explain this well, but here's a great 20/20 series with John Stossel and Michael Moore that addresses the issue of socialized healthcare and touches on this insurance arrangement.

Here's what I don't like about the mortgage bailout:
  • Duh.  Who wants to pay for a financially irresponsible person's mortgage?

  • Um, I'd really like to save my money to buy MY OWN house.

Here's what I don't like about the $3.6 trillion dollar government budget:
  • Double duh.  Spending money increases debt.  It really is that simple.

  • Government shouldn't be gambling with taxpayers dollars.

  • This budget response from a couple of our senators sums it up nicely:

"I agree with the president that we need to make some tough decisions regarding how we spend taxpayer dollars. Unfortunately, at this juncture, while the American people are tightening their belts, Washington seems to be taking its belt off," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement. 

"This budget makes clear that the era of big government is back, and Democrats want you to pay for it," House Minority Leader John Boehner said in a statement.

Obama White House Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel said, "Never let a serious crisis go to waste...it's an opportunity to do things you couldn't do before." What does that mean?  What good things can you NOT do except in crisis?  Hmmm...can't think of anything.  We can always do good things.  But often the chaos of crisis provides the opportunity for monster policies to be pushed quietly through under the radar (kind of like the fact that very few, if any, legislators were able to read all 1073 pages of our current, ratified stimulus bill).

Here's a funny video addressing government spending, bailouts, and economic "stimulus":

P.S. The lowlight of the day was paying an exorbitant $30 for parking just because I was 40 min past the free three-hour limit!!  (Shhhhh, Dan doesn't know about this yet.  He's gonna flip).  :0) How's that for great money-saving practice. :0)  Hey, let's just chalk it up to me being an inexperienced city girl.  Today I got out of my comfort zone not by going to a protest, but by going to the heart of downtown and having to fend for myself with regard to parking and navigating and "finding."  :0)  I've learned my lesson.  Curse the Horton Plaza parking structure!

UPDATE 9:56pm: Dan just flipped, but only partially because of the price.  You see, apparently I can still get my three free hours of parking validated and then only pay for the additional 40 minutes I racked up.  *Sigh*  Still knockin' on this noggin.  Anyone home up there?  Sometimes I do the dumbest things!  Horton, you've been vindicated.  Curse Liz!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Passion v. Anger

Following the recent, "spirited" conversation that graced this blog, I have been thinking a lot about the difference between passion and anger.  You see, despite my assurances to the contrary, at the close of our discussion I was declared an angry person.  This surprised me.  Truly and honestly.  I read and reread much of what I wrote, genuinely confused at the basis for the assertion.  My conclusion is that there is a disconnect in recognizing the difference between passion and anger.

I am generally a happy person.  I say generally, because I am human.  I have my regular moments of frustration with my disobedient children or my "relaxing-amid-a-dirty-house" husband.  But I would rarely, if ever, call myself an angry person.  Anger, in my opinion, denotes a lack of control. I don't like to lose control and avoid it like the plague, taking pains to walk away rather than escalate.

I am, however, a very passionate person.  I am passionate about a lot of things and my true friends can attest to that fact and love me either for it or despite it.  I am passionate about striving toward greater independence from modern medicine.  I am passionate about homeschooling my children (though my husband does not share this passion...yet). :0)  I am passionate about taking a stand against marriage and family redefinition.  I am passionate about cheesecake (seriously).  I am passionate about the gospel of Jesus Christ.  I am passionate about become self-reliant and self-sustaining.  I am passionate about teaching my children what is right and what is wrong; what is good and what is bad.  I am passionate about a great many things and my passion doesn't stop at the keyboard; rather, it flows through it.

The fated conversation sitting dormant a few posts down, begun in response to an innocent post about an innocent two-year-old's imagination, still tickles at the back of my brain now and then, offering much food for thought.  I have been alternately baffled, humbled, penitent, stoic, adamant, and of course, forever passionate.  I am convinced that my initial response to my inquisitor was natural and fair.  However, once Lisa explained what she didn't mean, I let my need for validation get the better of me by continuing the conversation in the hopes that she (or Kari) would, at the very least, express an understanding for how their words could have reasonably been perceived, by me, the subject at which they were directed, as unkind and inappropriate. Instead, our discussion continued to escalate as I sought validation and Lisa offered up explanations.

For my part in the escalation, I apologize.  Profoundly.

Kari was partially right about one thing, though.  I have changed.  But I don't think it's for the worse.  It used to be that I wouldn't disagree with anyone about anything.  I was a people pleaser. I still am, to some extent, but if this marriage debate has taught me one glaring thing, it's that I have a strong opinion and it's okay to share that on my home turf.  I figure if people don't like what I write now, they are more than welcome to not read what they disagree with.  In fact, I have a lovely friend who does disagree with me on some issues I am very passionate about.  We have reached a very amicable truce.  She doesn't read those specific posts and I don't bring it up with her (though I have slipped up before, completely on accident...sorry L!).  We simply agree to disagree.  And I don't ever express a dissenting opinion on her blog, so I guess that's why Lisa's comment caught me by surprise on my blog.

So why write this?  Why dredge up the past?  Why not let it lie?  Well, I guess because for me, it has not really passed.  Not yet.  I still think about it and I have been wanting to express my thoughts here at "home."  Some of the things said were hurtful.  I've got thick skin, but hearing stuff like that from friends is never easy or appreciated.  I guess the purpose of writing this post is to convey my thoughts as they've been tumbling around in my head lately.  And perhaps a little bit to vindicate myself and offer up an alternative to the crazy, angry, hyper-sensitive lady image that Kari suggested then rescinded.

I know that Lisa and Kari are good people, children of God, great mothers, etc.  I know that I should have walked away rather than escalate.

In the end, I hope to convey that I was (am) passionate, not angry.  I was defensive, not angry.  I was upset, not angry.

I am me.  I love being me.  I love learning and growing...and even changing.  I don't like feeling as though my parenting is being called into question by a friend, but as Lisa assured that was not her intent, I should have trusted that and refrained from seeking validation of my erroneous interpretation.

I am sorry, Lisa.
I am sorry, Kari.
I am sorry, Blog World.
I am sorry, Lord.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Mormon Battalion Commemoration - Saturday, Jan. 31, 2009.

A couple weeks ago we had the opportunity to head down to Old Town and enjoy the Mormon Battalion Commemoration celebration. Whew, that's a mouthful. It was a warm, sunny day and while Dan had to work in the morning, the boys and I headed out on this educational excursion. As we approached the festivities, we were transported back in time by the sights, sounds, and smells of the 1840's. Everywhere you looked there were ladies dressed in smocks and bonnets. Dutch oven prairie meals were slow cooking over hot coals. And horses whinnied and snorted from holding corrals not too far from the commons. Kids weaving in and out of the milling throngs kicked up dirt clouds that drifted lazily in the warm, thick air. Knowing we had a whole morning at the Commemoration before Daddy could join us from work, we took our time. Soren and Anders lounged on the ground in the main thoroughfare, then sauntered over to inspect a gigantic cactus. Anders doffed his shoes and refused to put them on again. I snapped picture after picture, thrilled with the authentic displays and subjects available.

Here is a little blurb I found on the Internet that does a fair job of summing up the history of the Mormon Battalion:
The Mormon Battalion Trek in 1846 consisted of over 500 men (and some of their families) who marched over 2,000 miles to help the U.S. government secure the state of California from being taken over by Mexico. It was a known fact that many of the men felt it wasn't their duty to help the government, as Mormons had not been protected by the government when they were persecuted and exiled from their own homes. At the Mormon Battalion Visitor Center, you will be able to learn about their hardships and experiences walking from Iowa to California--the longest military march in history. There are interactive exhibits, living history reenactors, and several films that take you back in time to walk a mile in their shoes and learn more about Mormon history.
And here is a link to an article with a more in-depth history of the Mormon Battalion.

Mormon Battalion - Crafts and Creations

The boys made it to a few tents before balking at the rigidity of purposeful movement. They got to make teeny tiny bricks and boy dolls that they named Diego and Boots. They also got to check out some genuine pioneer games and test some guns. Soren stopped to write all our names in the dirt and Anders, like a pinball, managed to make a random friend, beat a drum, and spectate.

Helping make "Boots."



Guy toys.

Look out behind!

Daddy Mommy

Soren Anders

Making new friends.

Practicing for the high school drum line.


Mormon Battalion - Cannon

The boys spent the better part of our excursion clambering all over this ancient cannon. And I had a great time capturing their boyish energy and excitement on film. They sat perched atop that cannon watching everything going on around them with rapture. There was a stage with square dancing being taught to willing volunteers. There were tents all around the perimeter of the great square, with pioneer activities being instructed and learned in each. This was pure eye candy for a people-watcher like Soren, and little charger Anders got his kicks by climbing onto the cannon every which way he could devise, then pretending to shoot people with his deadly, pointed fingers.

Mormon Battalion - Battalion Laundress

This was, by far, Anders most favorite activity. He charged right into this little tent and plunged his arms up to his elbows into the murky water, getting right to work - plunging, scrubbing, squeezing, plunging, scrubbing, squeezing, etc. What most amused me was the realization that my boys were using the clothing to wash the basin rather than the other way around. A couple of the ladies tried to correct them, but to no avail. They were going to get that bucket clean if it required the use of every single item of dirty clothing within to do it.

This is when I decided it was time to leave.  Anders was sampling the water.  Ew.

Anders hanging up his sock.

Totally soaked and lovin' it.  It was the perfect day for a soaking.  So warm!