Monday, November 29, 2010

The X in Xmas

This morning started the postings on Facebook regarding the man's attempts to remove the religious aspects out of the Christmas holiday. The first major offense being the "X" in "Xmas."

In an effort to set the record straight, I would like you all to know that the "X"
isn't an English alphabet "X." It is the Greek letter "chi."

I realize that Franklin Graham once said that it is "a war against the name of Jesus Christ," but "X" has been used to represent Christ as far back as 1021 AD.

If you don't agree with the "X" in Xmas, then you also need to remove all Labarum from your life.

Rather than focusing on any one of the numerous Christmas controversies, why not focus on making sure you yourself act a little more Christ-like this holiday.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Superfluous Spending is Stupid Regardless of the Actual Total

Hyperbole often leads to people actually missing the point.

There was this big hubaloo a couple weeks ago regarding whether or not an Administration trip to India was costing the taxpayers $200 million per day.

The local newspaper included a reprint of Thomas Friedman's op-ed piece (with a new title), "Never Let Facts Get in Way of Bashing Obama."

This column does an excellent job of praising Anderson Cooper for finding the truth (a.k.a. doing his job). The column also does an excellent job of pointing out how shameful it was for House Representative Michele Bachmann to have used the information prior to actually checking the facts (and the subsequent use of the misinformation by conservative radio hosts). "All you can hope is that more people will do what Cooper did - so when the next crazy lie races around the world, people's first instinct will be to doubt it, not repeat it."

I agree, people need to check their facts - that's why was created!

Unfortunately, the morale of the story - wasted spending - was completely overlooked by the fact that some moron jacked up the figures.

Anderson Cooper was able to find a ballpark figure on how much the President's trip to India DID cost the taxpayers. Robert Gibbs, the White House Press Secretary, was quoted as saying, "[This trip] is comparable to when President Clinton and when President Bush traveled abroad. This trip does not cost $200 million a day."

Cooper then pointed out that "Clinton's 1998 trip to Africa - with 1300 people and of roughly similar duration, cost, according to the Government Accountability Office and adjusted for inflation, 'about $5.2 million a day."

If the initial reporting regarding the trip to India would have said that the trip was costing the American taxpayer $5.2 million a day, we could have had outrage at the fact that the President was wasting our tax dollars on something extremely superfluous. Unfortunately, the story became about the exaggeration and about malicious journalism aimed at "bashing Obama."

From what I could tell, he spent two nights in India. At $5.2 million per day, that totals at least $10.4 million.

For whatever it's worth, I am outraged that millions of dollars were spent to send the President to India to talk about economic growth (a.k.a. outsourcing). This could have been done over the telephone.

Please Be Smarter Than the Proganda Thrown at You!

Hope for Our Economy is often the message I see in my local newspaper.

I'm all for keeping a positive attitude, but I think these articles are blowing smoke up our collective asses.

The Yahoo article states that "[Unemployment benefit claims] remain near their lowest level in two years." And because of this, and some other convoluted measure of unemployment benefit claims, there is once again "encouragement for the economy."


I'm sick and tired of hearing how unemployment benefit claim numbers are improving, and thus signalling an improvement in our economy. To anyone who has half a brain, these numbers don't mean diddly squat.

Why? Because these numbers don't count a plethora of people.

Who? People who are underemployed.

Anyone who took a pay cut (i.e. salaried workers with furlough days).
Anyone who works less hours than they used to (including loss of overtime).
People who are staying at a job they HATE because there are no better options (Military retention at historic highs).
People who are employed less than their skill level (i.e. working as a cashier at the grocery store rather than an accounts payable clerk).
And finally, people whose benefits have run out. (Please notice the first quote above - "lowest level in TWO YEARS." No one gets benefits past two years, so of course there are less benefits been paid.)

It is annoying that the media and the politicians and the economists think the general population is too stupid to know when they are feeding us a bunch of bullshit.

I wish they would just be honest - America's economy is NEVER going to be what it was, and that's OKAY. But that's really a whole different issue :)

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thanksgiving Dinner is ON!

When I thought about Thanksgiving earlier this month, I was concerned that I might wake up Thanksgiving morning and just not have the energy to cook a turkey and all the fixings. Plus, knowing that my unemp benefits are coming to an end, I was a little worried about the idea of feeding many people for Thanksgiving.

Then, my husband said his co-workers were asking if I was going to cook. Well that just put a little spring in my kick ;) Last year, I so greatly enjoyed providing a meal for some sailors and friends that weren't going to see their families (or just wanted to hang out with us!). I'm really thankful that it impacted some peoples' lives :)

And then today, I opened the Sunday paper to see some AMAZING sales at Ralph's and at Fresh 'N' Easy.

I know this was never meant to be a blog about bargain shopping, but seriously, I am awesome at grocery shopping! I have previously posted evidence of this:

Bargain Shopping

With $68.23, I bought:
39 lbs of turkey
20 lbs of ham
5 lbs rump roast
2 cans evaporated milk
6 cans cream of mushroom soup
2 cans cream of chicken soup
5 cans chicken broth
2 cans beef broth
3 cans vegetable broth
4 cans Hormel chili
4 boxes stove top
4 lbs butter
4 cans cranberries
1 box hot cocoa
3 cans soup

I think we've got Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's and maybe even Easter covered :)

Seriously, Southern California is FULL of transplants! If you don't have family to visit on Thanksgiving, you are more than welcome at the Broussard house :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

The One Thing That's Too Personal to Write About

Over my lifetime, I have written some very personal things on paper because that is how I have processed the emotions.

Over the past few years, I have published a LOT of those things on the Internet because I enjoy writing and sharing my writing.

Over the last couple months, however, the one thing I have not posted much about is my pregnancy.

I have been writing in a journal (when my carpal tunnel allows), but that journal is for my child to read someday.

The best that I can explain it, is that this pregnancy is MINE (and Chris's, of course). But I just don't want every little piece of information broadcast to the world. I do not put a lot of information on Facebook. I do not post my journal writings. I do not talk to anyone but Chris about my fears and joys and intimate moments with the baby.

I'm such an open book about every aspect of my life - my past, my marriage, being a stepparent, my extended family, my work history, whatever. If you have a question, I will answer it - sometimes even before you actually ask it.

But I guess, one of the quirky things that has happened during this pregnancy is that I am not interested in sharing these special moments with anyone but the father of my baby.

It might be superstition, "If I don't show the universe how excited I am, it won't take it away." There might be a little part of me that just cannot handle being inundated with advice and belly pats and opinions.

But my guess is that I just finally found something very personal and extremely sacred and my love and reverence and happiness is mine alone to enjoy.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day

PostSecret chose to honor the Veterans this week by posting a four-minute video of postcards from soldiers and their families.

I am disappointed that you would allow such a biased video to be presented on such an importantly honest website: one of the few in our world these days. (I even arranged a PostSecret Event at my undergrad institution). There is not a single reference to the horrible death and emotional ravages of war and that's just misinformation.

-----Facebook Comment-----
My husband has done two 12 month tours in Iraq. He made it home safely both times. I thought I was "hardened" to all the heartfelt military stuff, but I started crying at the second postcard. Thank you for reminding me how much joy, pride, patriotism, loneliness, heartbreak, empowerment, frustration, sadness, camaraderie, and LOVE there is in being a military spouse.

The first comment, apparently emailed to PostSecret, is so heartbreaking I cannot even find the words to describe my disgust. Though I am biased, I still don't think it is that difficult to separate support of the men and woman of the military from one's personal opinion regarding war.

The Facebook Comment brings me so many tears of joy, I cannot even find the words to describe my pride in being a MilSpouse.

Our First Separation
Thankful Pride
The Man I Support

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Best Laid Plans

"The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry." The famous line, translated to current English from Robert Burns' poem "To a Mouse," is expertly explained on as meaning:

"No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong with it."

As I learned this summer, God always has better plans. (That Freewill Reunion led to the bun in my oven!)

However, often times it sucks when our best laid plans falter. Rarely is it due to anything we did wrong or planned poorly. Sometimes, our plans just fail. Unfair as it may be, sometimes that is just the way it is. There is no rational justification - there is only 20/20 hindsight that maps the choices that led us to this disappointing moment. Unfortunately, hindsight is a tricky bastard that can lead us awry! We need to be careful that hindsight does not lead us to regret perfectly awesome decisions that just somehow did not work out in the end.

It sucks to watch a loved one's best laid plans falter. Especially when you can see that it was not due to poor decisions or faulty planning. It is just one of those unfair shitty life moments. It sucks to be helpless to fix it. It sucks to be only able to say, "Wow. That sucks." Especially when it is someone you really love who truly had perfect plans and some outside force just swoops in and goes Katrina all over their lives. Especially when it is someone you really love who is a really good planner who had really great plans that just spontaneously combusted and the remains have the potential to cause irreversible physical, emotional and spiritual damage on peoples' lives.

How do you lovingly encourage someone through that without sounding like you are down-playing it or worse yet, overreacting? How do you help someone without sounding like you are being condescending or even worse, pitying them? How do you shrug it off and lament with them, all the while encouraging them to find a better solution than the present - knowing full-well that the PERFECT plan is no longer an option? How do you guide a heartbroken individual to a place where they not only accept the hand they have so rudely been dealt but actually convince them to embrace it with doe-eyed optimism, mindful excitement and even curiousity?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

There are no Coincidences

A couple years ago, I heard a gentleman on the radio talking about his book, "Have a New Kid by Friday."

I finally thought to get the book from the library early this fall when Brytin and I were struggling.

The book, however, must be pretty popular, because it wasn't available for me to check out until around mid-October.

I realized today that the book was due back to the library yesterday, but I hadn't even cracked the cover (too busy reading mommy-to-be books)!

I tried to renew my check out, but of course, could not because someone ELSE has already requested the book!

So I started reading, thinking I could just skim it and return it this afternoon and the fine would be 25 cents, no harm no foul.

As it turns out, the book is pretty awesome and I don't want to skim it. But of course, I am too cheap to buy it. BUT, my library has fine free Fridays, so I figure that I keep the book until Friday (so I don't have to actually pay for reading it) and read the book in the meantime. Sneaky and unfair to the person waiting for the book, I know, but I promise I'll learn something!

Ironically, 20 minutes ago, I received a phone call from a friend who was having some issues with her offspring. And even though I am only on chapter Tuesday, I was able to give her this helpful advice:

(from pages 26-27) "Today's parents often don't act like parents. They are so concerned about being their child's friend, about not wounding their child's psyche, about making sure their child is happy and successful, that they fail in their most important role: to be a parent. They snowplow their child's road in life, smoothing all the bumps so the child never has to be uncomfortable or go out of his way. And why should he? He's used to having things done for him."

I suggested she let a snowball hit the boy in the face ;) I think I've spent too much time reading "Moms Who Drink and Swear!"

Anyway, all that just say, God sure has a funny way of bringing everything together for the good of those who love Him!

Be sure to read my review of the book :)