Saturday, June 30, 2012

Obama's Affordable Care Act

Exactly one month ago I devoted my blog to all things that make me happy. So today I will be happy by ranting about the Supreme Court's recent decision on Obamacare. In this wonderful age of the internet, the supreme court's slip opinion is available for one and all to see.

So what if it's a few hundred pages. Turn off the T.V. and find out for yourself where this country is headed. The first 59 pages are Justice Robert's opinion. Justice Ginsburg's opinion is another 61 pages. Finally, we read the dissenting Justice's opinion. I'd like to throw out a little teaser for you about what the dissenting Justice's opinion contains. There's a little something called "The Act's Minor Provisions," beginning on page 62. "It spends government money on, among other things, the study of how to spend less government money.42 U. S. C. §1315a." This is taken directly from the dissenting opinion. Studying frugality is one thing, implementing it is, apparently, quite another!

Laurel and Hardy, a 1930s comedy team springs to mind. One regularly says to the other "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into."

If this weren't a tragedy, it would be a comedy!

BTW: Another good read: "Amusing Ourselves to Death" by Neil Postman.
The book is a bit dated, but the content is still great.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Never the Twain Shall Meet

"It is food for my soul." These were the words I spoke to Youngest Daughter as she lay recovering from the dentist's handiwork. Mission accomplished! No more wisdom teeth. I wasn't talking about teeth, though, but of rose bushes, shrubs, and flowers the gardeners were unloading from the trailer. The landlord promised for almost a year to replace the plants and shrubs that died last year during the heat and drought. Well, it is now June and the temps are already in triple digits. Which means if these new arrivals are to survive, I'll be watering dusk and dawn.

In my last post I shared my amazement with the human brain and its ability to bring things to the forefront of our minds. Today, "Never the Twain Shall Meet" came to mind as the mosquitos, no-see-ums, and I fought for the same turf. Apparently this is a phrase from Rudyard Kipling's book titled Barrack-room Ballads published in 1892. The stanza goes:

"Oh, East is East, and West is West,
and never the twain shall meet"

Here Kipling laments the gulf in cultural differences between Britain and India in the 19th century and their inability to unite. What's my point? In my love of gardening, I've always battled with both plant eating and man eating bugs. East and west have met, and fought, and continue to stand their ground. The bugs win their little battle by eating me alive and I win mine by having beautiful food for my soul.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer

I've always been amazed how the brain works. My amazement doesn't stem from a scientific, technical knowledge but from first hand experience. It's similar to my view on electricity. I have no clue how it works, but the concept amazes me. It seems that when words are set to a rhythm, our brains retain them almost effortlessly. Wednesday was the first day of summer. Instantly, The Lazy, Hazy, Crazy Days of Summer, an old Nat King Cole song from the 60s popped into my head.

Recently, I read a book titled Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking . The author, Susan Cain, introduces her reader to a series of people, artfully drawing out their individual characteristics while correlating the uniqueness of their brain's responses to behavior. She cites several experiments using MRIs and the results as they relate to two very different types of individuals, introverts and extroverts.

To put it simply, extroverts draw energy from people and introverts draw energy from solitude. For this reason, their environment affects them in opposite ways. Extroverts usually love parties, introverts are usually most comfortable observing, watching, and listening, or not going to the party in the first place. Extroverts often give introverts topics to write about, research, discuss, and ponder.

Have you ever heard of a composer's hut? It is exactly what the name implies. A hut built in a quiet place, allowing composers such as Gustav Mahler and Edvard Grieg the solitude and brain space to compose beautiful music, out of ear-shot of their hectic homes. These men must have been introverts, according to Susan Cain, innovators and artists often are. I think I'll ask Husband if he'll build me a painter's hut on top of the garage so I can escape there with my oil paints and canvases, away from the crazyness of our large and electrifying family.

Speaking of quiet, the twins left for camp this morning. They'll spend five days in Georgia having a great time with friends from church and I will spend five days at home enjoying the quiet. But, no matter how much noise these boys make in my life, I'll miss their witty remarks, warm conversation, and good company.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Few of My Husband's Favorite Things

Among "happy things" today were the
I made Husband for Father's Day.

First, I'd like to state that, although I like chocolate as much as most other foods, I am not a choco-holic. That title belongs to Husband and Eldest Daughter. I'm a sushi-aholic, but that's a story for another day. When it comes to gifts, staying in the "food and chocolate" realm is a sure hit. Husband's hobby is cooking so I occasionally find new cookbooks on the shelf. Green & Black's Chocolate Recipes contained this decadent, but very simple truffle recipe. After a quick visit to Joann's to pick up small candy boxes, tissue, and ribbon, the end result looked like something from Godiva Chocolatier. But one thing was decidedly different. No sugar. I used stevia instead and replaced the Green & Black's 70% chocolate with 100% chocolate which also meant using more sweetner to offset the change. This resulted in a completely sugar-free but naturally sweetened truffle. Oh, I almost forgot to mention, the chocolate was infused with fennel and lavender.