30 August 2008

I heart Sarah Palin (so far)

Like most people, I spent much of yesterday listening to the news or watching when I could and I am floored by John McCain's VP pick. What I know of Sarah Palin, I really like and am very impressed with. There's just so much to say about it!

I think she was a good choice. The obvious fact of her gender is a definitely a nod to women voters but if McCain thinks people will vote for him because he chose a woman, any woman, I think he is wrong. However, THIS woman deserves a closer look, and I don't think it's fair to dismiss her out of hand as simply a token. She does have other things going for her. She may be new to the national political arena, but people have been saying that she is a rising star in the Republican party, even before the world exploded yesterday. I thought one quote was funny, I can't remember who said it, but they said it referring to her ability to be tough and go toe-to-toe with opponents. Someone said, "The landscape is littered with the bodies of those who have crossed Sarah." Now, to take it literally is a little frightening, but I think it's clear that it was meant metaphorically. I'm glad she's not afraid to stand up for what's important to her.

Choosing someone like Mitt Romney, while I've no doubt that he would be a good VP also, would just perpetuate the idea that the Republican Party is full of rich white men, who have no connection to life outside the Beltway. THAT ticket would have been more "same old, same old." At the very least, people are sitting up and taking notice.

I spent some time googling and looking up what I could about her, and what I found, I really liked. She is a staunch conservative who isn't afraid to take a stand on something she believes in (GOT to love that), she has showed she isn't afraid to buck the status quo when she took on her own political party and exposed corruption, she walks the talk and seems to show the courage of her convictions. People will say, "Oh but she has no experience! How can McCain pick on Obama for lack of experience and then choose someone like Palin who also has a fairly short political resume?" But there are a couple of differences I see, right off the bat.

First of all, she is running for VICE President....the #2 guy. Joe Biden himself said that the Presidency isn't something that lends itself to on the job training. But to be VP is a valuable opportunity to learn a lot in a pretty short time, not in the top spot. Yeah, McCain is older and has had health scares and maybe her chances of having to step up to the plate are higher. But Obama, with his 167 days in the Senate, most of which have been spent campaigning for higher office, is running for the #1 spot! With a resume that has at least as many holes in the experience column as Palin's! His VP would have to do a lot of the heavy lifting (or, on the job training) for him. So which is worse? Or to put a more positive spin, which is better? From some of the reading I've been doing, people in Illinois aren't all that impressed with his programs there and some of them seem to be failing, like the universal health care for kids. Which in theory is admirable, no one should have to watch sick kids suffer, but practice seems to be falling short.

And the time that she does have on her resume has been spent actually running an administration, making decisions, making things happen. She has an approval rating well into the 80% range. That's amazing, frankly. Not all that many politicians have ratings like that, especially in a short time. She must be doing something right in Alaska. I find it ironic that the Obama campaign has made nothing but snarky comments about her since the announcement broke. They made fun of her being a mayor of a small town. Never once gave a nod to the fact that she RUNS A STATE. She is the commander of the Alaska National Guard. Instead, Obama stood there and stuttered, "Uh, she, uh seems nice and uh, and smart enough..." and had his hitman spokespeople jab at her for him.

And MSNBC is an asshole. Under a "BREAKING NEWS" banner, they ran the headline,"How many houses does Palin add to McCain's total?" Are they for real? Breaking News, just to be snotty? The way things have gone at the Democratic convention, between things like this, the cops practically throwing a news reporter under a moving bus and demonstrators getting violent with Fox news crews, the Democrats are coming off looking like a bunch of thugs who only want free speech when they are the ones speaking.

Now, in the spirit of full disclosure, I've never been a HUGE McCain fan. I'm impressed with his record and his heroism. As a 16-years-and-counting military member, I have an inkling of the dedication that goes along with service. But what he endured is unimaginable. That said, I'm not convinced that that experience qualifies one to be the president. His volatile temper is concerning and I am not with him on some of his ideas. As I have said, not 100% behind him. But I do think Sarah Palin can balance his campaign out in a positive way and if yesterday is any indication, she has the ability to really light people up. Maybe she can be a driving force to get people behind McCain.

She comes across like someone who could be your neighbor. Down to earth, raising kids in a wide range of ages (one of them being a special needs child), has some of the same concerns and worries that you and I do, accessible. She seems to be more "one of us" than McCain ever has. I don't dislike him or his wife at all, but I have a hard time imagining that they really know what it is like to wonder how you are going to put food on the table once the rent is paid. I think they are pretty far removed from that kind of reality. I know nothing about Sarah Palin's financial standing but it was reported yesterday that her husband (First Dude) earned a little less than $50,000 last year working for an oil company. That's not exactly riches beyond imagination. I don't know what a state governor makes to add to that, but if the President only makes around $400-450K, something like that, I'd guess a state governor makes significantly less. I say "only $400K" because I know that Bush, Obama, McCain and most of the rest of the suits have incomes (or had before entering the White House) that exceeded that $400K by A LOT. Triple it or quadruple it, at least.

Much remains to be seen, and I want to know more about Sarah Palin and exactly where she stands on more issues. She's clearly and unequivocally pro-life, she cuts taxes and wasteful spending, she supports Second Amendment rights, plus she is hot ;) But I want to know where she stands on things like immigration, military and national defense, and social programs like welfare reform. Just because I'm conservative doesn't mean I'm against welfare but we have to be reasonable about it. Make it more attractive and easier to get OFF of welfare than to have more babies to stay ON it.

She'll shake the race up for sure, no matter which way it goes. I was feeling quite cynical about politics in general lately and I hated that feeling. But now I'm more excited about the election.

27 August 2008

The power of prayer

I have always believed in the power of prayer, but the lesson was really brought home to me today.

I've been having some friend trouble lately. Someone who I thought was a dear friend, who was there for me and loved me without judging is showing herself to be someone other than that. And another so-called friend has been talking about me and betraying my confidences and it's really upsetting me. Last night I was really mad about it, and just feeling resentful and bitter, and just angry.

It was the first thing I thought of when I opened my eyes this morning. And I thought, I don't want to spend all day being pissed off about this. There isn't anything I can do to change it and stewing over it isn't going to make it go away. So, I just said, "God please help me to forgive and not hold such anger in my heart. I don't want to be that person, holding a grudge. Please help me today." That was it....no long, drawn out strings of fancy words or anything, just a couple of simple sentences. Then I went on about my day.

I went to the office for a half day today, and on my way I stopped at the gas station to buy a cup of coffee. I MUST have coffee....I need it like an addict needs crack. So I'm in line to pay (in my uniform) and as the man in front of me is walking away, he says over his shoulder, "You're doing good things. It isn't much but your coffee is paid for. Have a nice day." I stood there dumbfounded for a second....that sort of thing has only ever happened once or twice when someone has thanked me for my service. So I put my hat on, grabbed my purse and chased him to his car. I just said, "That was a very kind thing you did and I appreciate it. Thank you." And I noticed on his car was a Vietnam veteran magnet. That made me feel so good. Good thing number one.

When I got to the office, it was just one of those days where everything you are working on falls into place perfectly and all my questions were answered, and everything I touched worked out beautifully. Good thing number two. I got a good amount of work done, and headed home. When I got to the house, I saw a box on the front porch, from FTD floral delivery. ??? What could it be? As it turns out, my friend and coworker Cathy and I were TDY (temporary duty) together last month and we happened to see this particular kind of plant, a Lucky Bamboo plant, and I commented on how cool I thought it was. Out of the blue, for no apparent reason, Cathy sent me a Lucky Bamboo, with the most awesome gift card that read, "If I had a flower for every time you made me smile and laugh, I'd have a garden to walk in forever. I hope this makes you smile." Good thing number three.

Then, after I left her a tear-stained voice mail, I opened my email to find several "I love you" notes from a couple of other friends. Good thing number four. Telling me that, although some people in my life don't seem to value me and my friendship, there are others who do.

Could I ask for any more confirmation that prayer works? No, God didn't stop a building from falling on me, but that isn't how He does things. But with these things that happened to me today, I feel like He set up surround-sound in my world to make sure I heard the message loud and clear.

Roger that.

22 August 2008

Busy busy busy

The older two offspring are now back in school and the little one starts on Monday. We went on our trip to Disney and had a great time. It's fun to go on vacation and always nice to get back home. People warned us about the weather in Florida, and I've been there many times before, but man that humidity will kill a person! Temps were about what you'd expect....mid to high 80's, but I seriously thought I might melt in the humidity. You would start sweating the moment you walked outside....oy.

But it was fun and well worth it. We ran into a family we know from church and school and had dinner with them one night which was fun, and when we got home we had a surprise waiting for us at the airport. My stepson, my oldest son that I did not give birth to, was waiting for us! We knew he'd be in town, and we just thought he'd be at the house, but he met us at the airport. We were all thrilled to see him. He's off to sunny skies and beaches for his next duty assignment. Jerk. Just kidding, it's pure envy speaking.

Today, as I happened to be out and about running around, I bumped into a dear friend of mine....who had the uncomfortable job of informing me that someone who I thought was a good friend that could be trusted, is telling other people very personal and private information about me. What a disappointment. I've had some trouble with some of my friendships lately and it has me wondering a couple of different things....A) am I that bad a judge of someone's character? and B) what am I doing wrong?

Sure, have your opinion of me and have your opinion of decisions I make and things I do, and even tell me about them, good or bad. But don't go telling other people who hardly know me intimate details of my personal life. REALLY personal. And don't sit in judgment on me, when you are just as human as I am. If I wanted my whole neighborhood to know every single personal detail of my life, I'd tell them myself. I'm upset and disappointed and feel betrayed. And I know that it's going to be tough to not say anything to the person who's talking about me, because telling them would open a whole other can of worms. Then she would know who told me and I'd get her in trouble. So very juvenile. But I'm not about to throw my friend under the bus, when she at least had the decency to tell me the truth. I trust her more than anyone else in the 'who-is-talking-about whom' game.

We're all human and we all have secrets and private regrets, things we wouldn't want everyone in the world knowing. Please, if someone trusts you with theirs, don't make it idle chit-chat with other people.

I should just be a hermit.

05 August 2008

Considering a BIG change

I had another drill this past weekend and I came away feeling no better than I did last week. My office (all two of us who work in it) is becoming rather drama-filled as of late. Drama that I didn't create, that has nothing to do with me and that I want no part of. I support my cohort and I know the truth of what happened but beyond that I want no part of it. There is a major power play going on and neither of us needs to be, nor deserves to be, taken down in it. And I found out that a good deal trip that I was supposed to be going on, I may not be able to go after all. I was supposed to be going to a historic event that is a truly once in a lifetime thing. I may still be able to go, but now I've been made aware that I'm on the B team.


With all that going on and the whole promotion issue I whined about in my last post, I got to thinking about what Chief M said to me last weekend....about the possibility of me going back to a previous career field in order to have a little upward mobility. I talked to the husband about it, and while it would definitely create some challenges, it's inside the realm of possibility. The likelihood is VERY small, but now that the idea is in my head, I catch myself thinking about it more and more. I'm considering going back to, or at least asking the question to see if I could go back to, flying. Several things would have to happen in order for it to be likely or possible, and there is no way to know now if those things are going to happen. And it would be a major challenge to work out the logistics of my going to school (months at a time) and my training time (at least a year). It's doable but as the husband pointed out, we'd have to hire a nanny for sure. And I'm not at all convinced I'd want to be away that much. Once I got further into the flying thing, I would have more control over when I was away, but at the beginning I'd be at the scheduler's mercy.

I have missed flying since the day I hung up my flight suit. I didn't really think that once the kids were here, that it was remotely possible to go back to it. Just the thought of being able to get on an airplane and do something fun and cool and useful and worthwhile.....is very exciting. I love what I do now, but frankly I am beginning to feel like, why bother trying so hard to do good work? No one really notices and no one really cares. I know, I know, there's more to work and a career than getting accolades and promotions, but come on people, throw me a bone! A little positive feedback, a little reward for a job well done. I don't need to be publicly petted and praised every time I show up for work, nor do I want that. But is there nothing in between?

Yeah, I'm still whining. And I'm still sort of mad at the husband. Nothing is going to change the thing I'm mad about, but I am feeling like he's kind of saying (without using these words) "I'm going to do what I want to do, and you need to just deal with it."

It's going to rain again tonight.