Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Birthday Present

My flat-mate's girlfriend gave him a chicken for his birthday. Not a live chicken, or a fuzzy toy chicken, but a dead chicken along with a good roasting pan, herbs and vegetables to roast it with. She presented it to him after he had been out for a walk in the pan with the vegetables and she lit one of my floating candles as a birthday candle.

This was on Sunday. Today when I came home my flat-mate was roasting the chicken with wine and vegetables. I asked him if he was making coq au vin and he didn't know what that was. "I'm just making chicken with chardonnay poured over it." he said. His girlfriend arrived from work and made much of the chicken. She even licked it."Everybody at my office knows this is roast day!" she said with a smile.

They ate the chicken in the kitchen along with the rice and the parsnips and onions. (I sat in the living room and tried to concentrate on my GMAT lesson on factors. My boyfriend ran an errand. And although I didn't taste any of the chicken (I'm a vegetarian-and besides, this was a Birthday Chicken--clearly a two person meal) I am happily enjoying the smell of roast chicken in the kitchen and feeling that something has gone well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

It is done-we have a new president

We now have a president who can speak English. We now have a president without a southern accent (for a change). While it's true that I could have hoped for a more liberal president, I'm not going to judge the man yet--he starts work tomorrow. Quite apart from what Barack Obama may or may not do, I'm proud of my country for electing a black man to be our president. Or, to put it another way, for having elected this man in spite of the fact that he's not white.

Maybe one of these days even a woman can be president*

But what I'm thinking about this evening is not Barack Obama or Joe Biden. I called home to talk to my parents and I was talking to my dad, who's lately taken over running a soup kitchen. He got to talking with one of the women who come to distribute coats at the soup kitchen (I'd provide a link for the organization that does this but I can't find one). This woman had done a good deal of good things-she'd gone into Manhattan and taken homeless people to where they could get food and medical attention and (as mentioned above) she was part of a program to distribute coats to those that need them.

My dad and this woman talked a bit about the election and she mentioned that she had voted for John McCain because she was an evangelical christian. That made me think a bit (or rather it brought up something that I've been thinking about for a while). There are many very good people who are in fact (if they only knew it) for many of the things that us liberals want-helping the poor for example-but they will not vote for a man or a woman that is pro choice or pro evolution. I could get on my high horse and say that they should all leave God out of the voting booth and concentrate on reality, but I would be hypocritical to do so. It would be very hard for me to vote for a candidate that was anti-choice, or had murky views on evolution (and therefore science in general). These are things that are as important to me as they are to these good people (some of whom I am related to).

So what are we to do? My dad listened to what the very nice woman who voted for McCain had to say and said "well perhaps you'll think differently in 6 months."

I hope so. I hope they all do.

*I'm not a PUMA. I didn't particularly like Hillary Clinton for president, because she's too much of a Republicrat, and that in the end was more important than getting a woman in the white house to me.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

39 hours more

in 39 hours or so from the writing of this we will have a new president of the United States of America. I wish that we could be rid of the mess that George W Bush and his friends have left in as much time. This is not possible though. We can't close Gitmo in a heartbeat. (Where are all the non-US citizens whose countries won't take them back to go?) We can't leave Iraq tomorrow (we aught to make some honest effort to help rebuild the country we've ruined). And our president to be actually voted for the latest FISA bill on telecom immunity.

I haven't, since about 2004, believed that Barack Obama was an actual liberal. I think the reason he got to be the democratic candidate was because he hadn't been around as long as Hillary Clinton and as such, had less mud stuck to him. When Primary Day came to Massachusetts, and for the first time ever, there was enough of a contest to make it worth voting I had to think long and hard about whether to vote for Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama. It wasn't because I particularly liked either of them (John Edwards was my man) but Mrs. Clinton's platform was to the left of Mr. Obama's. On the other hand, she'd actually voted for the war. (For the record, I think the fact that Barack Obama didn't vote for the war is partly his luck in being elected to the senate after the fact.) And so I voted for Obama. And I've enjoyed watching people get enthusiastic about him and Change.

So although I try to hold my breath, I still hope for good things. After all, Bill Clinton wasn't the liberal that we'd all hoped he'd be but he was still a marked improvement. Admittedly, even 12 years of Reagan and Bush hadn't left the country in so messy a state as 8 years of Bush and Cheney.

But we watch and wait and hope for the rose that blooms in the middle of winter..

Monday, January 12, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

My New Year's Resolutions for 2009 in no particular order

1) Take the GMAT and get into Grad School. I know what I want to do--I just need to do it, instead of thinking that it'll take to long and it's too hard.

2) Find a local soup kitchen and volunteer there. This is actually one of the hardest. It's not that there are no soup kitchens--it's just that it doesn't sound like much fun (which is why they probably could use a few extra volunteers.)

3) Fold 10 origami cranes a day. Why? Well, for one if I keep at it, I'll get better. I do so few creative things, and I've never been good with my hands. So if I keep doing this one little thing, I'll get better at it and there will be one small artistic thing I can do. Plus, this way I spend at least the amount of time it takes to fold 10 cranes not reading, and therefore thinking more.

4) See my friends and family more often.

5) Save money (I'm going to need it, for that grad school thing.)

So that's my list. And even if I don't accomplish it all--even if I accomplish parts of it--I'll still be a better person.