It’s Politics Talk Today

Some of you may be surprised that I’m a Republican.  Strangely enough, I was very surprised when I found out my dad was a Democrat.  I found this out when he was in his 80’s!  I think he chose to be a Democrat because he related more to them when he first came to this country.  They were probably more pro-middle class and more helpful to immigrants.  I’m actually not all that into politics, don’t know much about any issues, and can’t debate worth beans.  I also don’t have any strong feelings about any particular issue that’s really worth debating.  In general, I’m really more of a “I don’t care what you do as long as it doesn’t infringe on what I do” type of person.  I’m also not a far right Republican either; in fact, I’m sure my more conservative friends may be surprised about what I really think about some things (but not strongly!  )… it’s just that when you register to vote, you have to choose something, and I guess I felt I was more conservative than liberal.  Even with all that, I try to ensure I vote at every election, no matter how small it is.

Part of me want to see history made.  If Barack Obama picked Hilary Clinton, I possibly would have voted for him (GASP!), but he didn’t.  He picked Joe Biden.  I don’t know a lot about him, but he has been in politics for over 35 years.  That’s great experience, but … is that really a good thing?  So I went back to John McCain.  He chose a woman as his vice president!  That’s a pretty innovative and daring choice for a Republican candidate to make.  Of course I’ve never heard of her.  I know she is a fairly new politician being the governor of Alaska, although she has been a mayor before.  She is a mother of five, including a baby with Down Syndrome, and she is a Christian.  I think I know who I’m voting for president.

Many comments have been made about her running for VP while caring for her baby with special needs.  If she were a father instead, would anyone even question it?  She’s a mother of five; we should believe she knows what she’s doing.  There are real life mothers who have Down Syndrome babies who are working full-time too.  With the resources that Palin has, she should be able to campaign and carry out her responsibilities.  Family values doesn’t mean being a stay at home parent; it means valuing family.  I don’t believe that life should stop after you have a child (yeah, I know it’s really hard though) because you will grow bitter very quickly.  What a great role model she would make if she were to become vice president! 

Give me a couple of months, and I’ll tell you if I’ve changed my mind.

First Day of Middle School

Today was Caitlin’s first day of middle school.  She was SO excited last night and could barely sleep, finally falling asleep a little after 11:00 p.m.  Of course I woke her up when I came in at 11:20 p.m. to give her kisses.  Funny thing… for the first four years of her life, I NEVER went to check on her after she fell asleep because I was so scared she would wake up (we had this long bedtime routine that ended with me holding her until she fell asleep… which could be a 10 minute or a three hour – one time only – event).  When she turned four, I told her she was on her own… and ever since then, almost every night I’d go and “bother” her after she fell asleep because I knew she could fall asleep on her own if I woke her up.  I know many moms who would pick up their sleeping infants to caress and play with them while they slept.  Umm, no way!  Anyway, I digress…

She woke up with a smile in her voice this morning.  She’s now in charge of making and packing her lunches, so she microwaved her pork bun and stacked her snacks and fruits into her lunch box.  She had a back pack filled with all her supplies, two bags of supplies, and her lunch box.  We went outside to take our “first day of school door photos” which you’ll never get to see because I used the film camera  First, we took one at the front door.  Our front door is at the side of the house, so my back was against the fence.  I declared, “This is the last year I’m going to be able to take a full length shot of you because you’re going to be too tall next year.”  We took the second one in front of the garage door.  I’ve always done that because I knew some day, we would run out of room at the front door.  Then she put on her new “middle school” jacket which is navy blue instead of burgundy, and we loaded her stuff into my car.  I looked at her and said, “Sweetie, you look SO grown up in your new jacket.  We have to take another one with your jacket on at the garage door” and did just that.

I drove her to school, walked her up to her extended care room which was filled with all the middle school kids noisily talking to each other.  I took a final photo of her with her friends, but first I had to announce, “Okay everyone.  This is a film camera.” I turned it around so that they could tell there was no screen.  “That means I’m only taking one photo!”  One of the girls yelled, “WOW, that’s really cool!”  I snapped the photo; they were perfect models.  I left.  Oh, I make a lot of announcements to them.

We went to our traditional “first day of school” dinner at Denny’s after her volleyball tryouts.  I ordered the Zesty Nachos, she ordered a sizzling breakfast platter, and Daniel ordered a burger.  Being in charge of her lunches mean that she had to plan the menu, figure out the quantities, and buy the food.  We went to the supermarket after dinner; it looks like Chef Boyardee and Mac and Cheese are in her future.  Afterwards she commented, “This is tiring!”  And she wonders why I resort to turkey sandwich and banana for her lunches!  When she got home, she packed her backpack with everything she needed for tomorrow, packed her clothes for volleyball practice, and made sure she had everything in place for packing her lunch in the morning.

I’d call it a successful first day of school.  My baby has suddenly matured!

Last Day in Miami Or Why American Airlines is the “Do Everything Yourself” Airline

1/8/08 Miami

We packed, went to La Carretta for our last meal in Miami of Cuban sandwiches, returned our car, and headed off to the airport.  This is the adventure of the day…

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry about my American Airline experience.  In a way, after the fact, it was kind of humorous.  While in Miami, I saw an interview on TV with the CEO of AA talking about how they are the only airline that didn’t have to file for bankruptcy.  He talked about how management worked with the union to ensure that money was saved and work was efficiently done, but I know why they are still in business!  It’s because the customers do all the work!

Last night, I had already gone online to print out our boarding passes.  When we got to the airport, we were met with long lines that we had to get into, along with our suitcases and carryons.  I thought the printing of the boarding pass bypassed that process, but we were waiting for our turn on the computers.  What I did the night before was input part of the information.  Now I was entering more.  After I entered the data, we waited for an agent to do the next step.  I don’t know what it was because the person directed us to another line to the left.  We dragged our suitcases over to the line, tagged our bags, lifted our heavy luggage, and placed them onto the belt that took our suitcases to the baggage area!  We did that!  They didn’t do that!  Then we walked our sweaty selves to the gate! 

It’s no wonder they are charging $15 more for heavier luggage (the luggage already weighs about half that much!), $25 for the second bag (which used to be free!), and  most recently, $50 for frequent flyer upgrades.  By having the customers do all the work and piling on the extra charges, of course they can afford to say in business!

Oh back to the vacation… first, thank you for continuing to read my blog.  I know my vacation has gone on and on… and on.  A 12-day vacation took me almost eight months to finish writing!  All in all, I had a wonderful time.  We visited a new country,  we tried new foods and experiences, we met some great people, and got to touch an alligator!  Maybe our next trip will be longer and the blogs shorter…

Just Like CSI Miami!

  Monday, 1/7/08, The Everglades

Our plan was to maximize our GO card, but we were also running out of steam.  We decided to visit the Everglades and take an alligator tour!  Of course before that, we had to eat lunch… it always starts with food.  The fact that we ended up at JJ’s Diner at 10:45 a.m. leads me to believe that we must have missed breakfast at the hotel! 

We were the only customers.  The service was efficient, especially for a diner.  Initially, a waitress was going to take our order but got sidetracked by a cellphone call.  Her co-worker wisely stepped in, and the original waitress stopped by to apologize that it was an emergency call.  I was quite impressed.  Prices were a little high; $10 for burger (can’t remember other prices).  The strangest thing was that the food was great and the portions plentiful, yet we were the only customers!   The burger was cooked just the way DH ordered it – medium rare, and it was huge, like you couldn’t really stuff it in your mouth, truly 6″ high, with generous toppings and french fries.  My Cobb salad was very big – I did eventually finish it, but everytime I looked at it, it looked like I didn’t start yet. 

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Do you see how big my salad was?!  And how large the burger was?!

Alligator Tour

After lunch, we drove out to the Everglades, following a map that showed almost nothing except for a large area marked “Everglades.”  Great.  We got lost several times but eventually found our destination, Gator Park.  We went inside the gift shop and was given a tour time.  Since we had to wait… of course we walked around the store to be enticed by the souvenirs.  We also took some photos outside of the store and finally got on our tourboat.

The tourboat operator had a good sense of humor and made the ride interesting.  What we found out was that alligators just like to lie in the sun without motion… unless they got hungry, so all the scary stuff we see on TV is on crocodiles.  We saw some turtles and birds as well, along with several alligators on land.  Once we got out of the slow canal area, the driver told us to use our ear plugs because it was going to get loud.  Umm, some of us didn’t listen, so we had to plug our ears with our fingers and hold onto our caps because he picked up speed and swerved around in the swamp land.  Doesn’t this look like CSI Miami in the background?!

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After the tour we went to an exhibit area where we were upclose with scorpions and alligators.  Here’s Daniel and Caitlin holding onto a small alligator and happily posing for the camera!

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Afterwards we went to La Carretta, a restaurant in the Cuban area.  Outside of the restaurant is a large wheooden wheel.  Parking is available behind the restaurant.  When we walked in early evening, the dining area is about half full.  Silverware was placed in plastic bags and we were served water and given bilingual menu… in English and Spanish.  We ordered the Cuban Sampler #1 (obviously they get their share of tourists!) and Imperial Rice which was sort of like fried rice with chicken.  The best part?  We got six slices of garlic bread!  We knew we were coming back… but we had only half a day left!