“That we go numb along the way is to be expected. Even the bravest among us, who give their lives to care for others, go numb with fatigue, when the heart can take in no more, when we need time to digest all we meet. Overloaded and overwhelmed, we start to pull back from the world, so we can internalize what the world keeps giving us. Perhaps the noblest private act is the unheralded effort to return: to open our hearts once they’ve closed, to open our souls once they’ve shied away, to soften our minds once they’ve been hardened by the storms of our day.”
~ Mark Nepo, from “Hearing the Cries of the World”
“I know my obsession with Lea is partly selfish. Her story is like a hologram. Tilt it, let the light hit it from a different angle, and the dead girl we’re talking about is me. We’d both gotten cited by police at 14 for drinking beer on the beach. At the height of our friendship I matched her drink for drink, inhale for inhale. If I’d had a little less luck, or she’d had a little more—how would this story go? In my memory, yes, I’m the sidekick, yes, she was the one always egging us to take one more step into the shadows, where we could really get hurt. But wasn’t I holding her hand, encouraging her with my willingness to follow? One night, while we laid outside in the field, a little tipsy, she grabbed my arm and made me promise her I’d never let her turn out like a druggie girl who lived in the rundown apartment complex behind my house. I promise, I told her. I promise.”
Sometimes, more likely, most times, I am my own worst enemy. I was reading more news about the fallout from Steubenville and CNN when I decided to click through on some links. The road I went down was not yellow-brick or rainbow-hued or lined with daisies. It was dark and dirty and left me feeling literally sick to my stomach.
This is what I have deduced from just a quick perusal:
Girls/women who are raped are fair game for name-callers, haters, and anyone else interested in further harming them emotionally thanks to easy access to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Children are not safe anywhere, not in school, not in church, not in their counselors’ offices, not even in the dental chair.
Our society has become emotionally numb to this news because it is so damned pervasive.
I also read a blurb about this phenomenon that occurs mostly with Japanese male youth in which they decided never to leave their bedrooms. I can truly appreciate this and wonder why it is not more widespread.
It’s kind of hard to decide which social travesty is breaking my heart more these days: the ways in which rape is treated so cavalierly, especially among our youth, or the prevalence of pervs in every single facet of our society.
In case you think that I’m overreacting, feast your eyes on the following:
In Ohio: Two teenage girls were arrested and accused of using social media to threaten the young victim in the Steubenville Rape Case.
In Indiana: A woman is charged with trying to sell her one-year-old daughter for child porn.
In Florida: A man has been charged with using his neighbor’s wi-fi to download child pornography.
In Pennsylvania: A man admits to paying a 10-year-old neighbor for sex.
In Iowa: A 48-year-old male daycare provider has been accused of sexually abusing a number of children from as young as four-years-old.
In California: A 14-year-old boy has been charged with molesting two children who attended the day school run by the boy’s mother.
In California: A dental hygienist has been accused of sexually molesting a teenaged girl; there may be more victims who have yet to be identified.
In New York: A rabbi has been found guilty on 59 counts of child sex abuse.
In California: A former teacher is facing allegations of molesting 12 children; principal had been warned about questionable behavior three years prior.
In Arkansas: A church volunteer who was a member of the youth ministry has been charged with possession of child pornography.
No more. I had to stop myself. This is precisely why I stopped watching the news on television and also why I limit how much and what I read on the interwebs. I’m not made of strong enough stuff for this.
“Iris,” by George Lawrence Bulleid (date unknown, watercolor)
“Blue oblivion, largely lit, smiled and smiled at me.” ~ William R. Benet
What a strange, strange day. I slept about an hour during the night, then another hour around 8 this morning. The migraine began around 4 a.m., creeping behind my eyes then gradually exploding in my head.
I tried to go back to sleep but became distracted in trying to find a replacement cpu cooling fan for my computer. Had a fruitless conversation with an HP representative who told me that he couldn’t tell me how much the part would be unless I bought a new service contract or a new computer . . . Right . . .
Slept again from about 2 to 4 this afternoon. Ah, the rich pageantry of that is my life. The sweet, sweet irony of being me: I need to see my pain doctor to get something to sleep, but I cannot see my pain doctor until I can pay out-of-pocket for a visit since my insurance situation is more convoluted than ever, but we don’t have the money for an out-of-pocket visit, so I will continue to be at the mercy of my insomnia, which exacerbates my migraines, which means that I need to see my pain doctor.
On the other hand, Corey is scheduled for 74 hours this work week. He will be lucky to work half of that. Such is the reality of depending upon boat schedules.
“The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!” ~ Jack Kerouac
So here are some random musings:
“We the people” seems to be pretty straightforward. It doesn’t say “we, the white people.” It doesn’t say “we, the rich people.” It doesn’t say “we. the religious people,” and it sure as hell does not say “we, the straight people.
The Dems really need to grow a spine, and it needs to be soon. Being the party of passivity is just as bad as being the party of no.
Majority rule does not necessarily equate to the best rule. Often, the majority comes from a place of racism (separate but equal), sexism (women do not need to vote), and fear (all Muslims are terrorists).
Tradition does not truth make. For example, a traditional marriage in this country used to be between opposite sexes of the same race. Anything else was seen as straying from the norm. Caucasians married Caucasians, and persons of color married persons of color, and never the twain shall meet. If this tradition had remained unchanged, I never would have been born.
“They hang there, the stars, like notes on a page of music, free-form verse, silent mysteries swirling in the blue like jazz.” ~ Donald Miller
A few tidbits from the outrageous:
A woman in Cleveland, Ohio discovered that her husband married another woman by viewing a FaceBook page that featured over 200 photographs from his other wedding. The husband, John France, claims that his marriage to Lynn France was “never valid” so he was not cheating. Whether or not Lynn France already knew about the marriage before the FaceBook discovery as John France claims is moot: He filed married with the IRS . . . My guess is that Lynn France does not want to play Farmville with her husband’s wife.
A man in Atlanta, Georgia called a Wendy’s to complain, not about the food but about the small take in the cash drawer. Seems he wasn’t satisfied with the outcome of his robbery.
A woman in Gaithersburg, Maryland was sprayed with human semen. Police have since learned that more people were attacked. Things that make you cringe and say eww . . .
Shanon Marketik, 38, is a former Miss USA who, it seems, has fallen on hard times. So hard that she had to steal over $90 in Oil of Olay beauty products from a Texas Target. I think that it’s all of that aerosol hairspray that pageant queens use: It eats their brains.
In Snohomish, Washington, a teen found a wallet beneath the cushions of a couch when he was searching for his cell phone. The wallet, which contained $650, belonged to a woman who had lost the wallet during a 2005 party. The woman was found via FaceBook, so maybe that cancels out the bigamist.
“The touch of an infinite mystery passes over the trivial and the familiar, making it break out into ineffable music . . . The trees, the stars, and the blue hills ache with a meaning which can never be uttered in words.” ~ Rabindranath Tagore
Monet’s Pool by Ron Jones
Some parting words:
I wish that I could peer into the future to see when (if) things will begin to get better. It seems that not only are our lives in perpetual chaos, but so are the lives of so many other people, and so is this country. It’s hard not to be disheartened.
Summer storms remind me of my father.
I spent yesterday searching online for temporary guardianship forms for Alexis. Her friend Jennifer is not getting better. Actually, she is getting worse. The prognosis is not good, and everyone feels absolutely helpless. None of the five tumors in her head and on her spine are operable. It’s such a sad, sad situation. Please keep good thoughts.
How does a young woman reconcile herself to the idea that she may not see her 30th birthday, that she may not see her son reach his teens, that she may never leave the hospital?
Situations like Jennifer’s remind me to cherish my children (who are no longer children). Life is so fleeting and unpredictable, much like the nature of water itself, which can appear blue and calm in one moment and then can turn into a churning black in the next. Nothing is certain. The only thing that is forseeable is the unpredictability of fate.
It is now three hours later than when I first began. Outside it is pouring. The words did not come easily today.
More later. Peace.
Eric Clapton Unplugged, “Tears in Heaven”: Beautifully heartbreaking
“Although our intellect always longs for clarity and certainty, our nature often finds uncertainty fascinating.” ~ Karl Von Clausewitz
It is April 30. That’s incredible to me. One quarter of the year has passed, and I have nothing to show for it. Do you have any idea how depressing that is? I have no reliable method of tracking time any more—no scheduled meetings, no deadlines, no appointments with students. I am loathe to admit that I measure time by evening television shows: If CSI is on, then it’s Tuesday.
I have calendars everywhere: on my desktop, on the wall next to the desk, in the kitchen, in my purse, but I never have any idea as to the date, which is why I was so surprised to see that today is April 30.
Perhaps one of these days the fog will lift, and I will see things clearly again. Until then, I will continue to measure out my life “in coffee spoons,” as Eliot put it.
Corey worked last night and got home at 8 this morning.
ARGHH. I went to save, and WordPress kicked me back to the sign in page, which means that I just lost THREE PARAGRAPHS. NOOOOOOOOOO………..
“Life is not an easy matter . . . You cannot live through it without falling into frustration and cynicism unless you have before you a great idea which raises you above personal misery, above weakness, above all kinds of perfidy and baseness.” ~ Leon Trotsky
Let’s try this again, shall we?
Corey worked last night and got home at 8 this morning. Then the guy who makes the schedule called him at 11 and asked if he could come in until 3. Apparently, they have several people out today. It’s now 4:45 and he isn’t home yet; he’s running on about three hours of sleep, and he was tired before he went in last night. I just hope that he doesn’t have to work too long.
Of course, the more hours that he works, the bigger the paycheck. I just wish that the schedule could be more even, not 30 hours in three days, and then nothing for five days in a row. Of course, who am I to complain?
Speaking of jobs, Alexis began her new job with a manufacturing company in Virginia Beach. When I asked her what they build, she said that she didn’t know; all she knows is that she adds wires to some kind of component. It’s a job. She is working with a large group of Filipino women, so I told her that at least she’ll eat well. Filipino people love their food, at home or at work.
Of course, my mother is beside herself over Alexis losing her job. When Alexis told her about it, my mother proceeded to rant about how I had lost a few jobs—almost a decade ago. Mom told Alexis that she didn’t want her to turn out like me. Lovely, just lovely. Then, without fail, my mother called me to complain about Alexis. When she asked me how much money Mike makes, I told her that truthfully I didn’t know because it wasn’t any of my business, and it’s not any of my business. My mother is of the belief that anything and everything in my life and the lives of my children is her business. It’s more of that privacy issue that I was talking about before, as in, there is none with my mother.
Today she called and started to talk about the same things all over again. I reminded her that we had already had this conversation, so she turned it around to be a commentary on the relationship between Alexis and Mike. She just doesn’t understand it. Has he ever asked her to marry him? I don’t know, not my business. And so it goes once again. I know that if Mike had proposed, Alexis would tell me, but by the same token, should I be asking her constantly when/if they are going to get married? As I told my mother, they’ve been together for seven years, and it seems to be working for them.
“Be gentle with yourself. You are the truth unfolding.” ~ Joseph Goldstein
I just made a shocking discovery: We are out of Pepsi. How do I go on?
Truths for Friday:
Oprah is on a toot to eliminate texting while driving. I absolutely agree. Is anything that important? Just remember the train engineer who caused that fatal crash because he was texting—25 people died, including the texting engineer
Is it weird that I still miss Izzie the Trooper? I loved that vehicle, and even though SUV sales are declining, I would own another Trooper.
Have you heard about “Marysville, OH, 43040”? It’s a Facebook group that is praying for the death of President Obama. Call me crazy, and I probably am, but I was never taught to pray for someone else’s misfortune, let alone death. The group has over one million members.
Am I the only one who thinks that the legislators in Arizona are on crack? I mean, that is the only logical explanation for their recent blatant racist, xenophobic legislation. An article in the Huffington Post reveals that the Arizona Department of Education has told schools that “teachers with ‘heavy’ or ‘ungrammatical’ accents are no longer allowed to teach English classes, this after the state spent 10 years recruiting teachers for whom English was a second language.
As the pictures continue to pour in revealing the devastation caused by the recent oil spill in the Gulf, Rush Limbaugh lets loose with his latest conspiracy theory: “Environmentalist whackos” may have blown up oil rig to “head off more oil drilling.” Really Rush? Gave that one a lot of thought, didn’t you?
And finally, on Gawker.com I found one of the best blogs ever about the Real Housewives of New York. Richard Lawson’s post, “Everyone Kills the Messenger,” is so much more entertaining than the show. To wit: “Meanwhile over in Bitchington Acres, everyone couldn’t believe what had just happened. Naturally when one is confused about a situation one turns to the very sage Kelly Bensimon, who is always good at unpacking an issue and making it understandable to the common laypeople below her.” To paraphrase the article would not do it justice, so I will leave you the link. Anyone who is interested in excruciatingly funny sarcasm and incisive wit, especially when it comes to the vacuous Housewives, should take a few minutes to peruse this post. Truly. The only bad thing I have to say is that I cannot believe that I didn’t find Lawson sooner.
Looking Skyward by Janson Jones
Happy Arbor day, the annual celebration of trees. In honor of this holiday, I am featuring pictures of some of my favorite trees: Eastern Hemlock, Eastern Red Bud, Weeping Willow, Japanese Red Maple, Flowering Crabapple. I also love Yoshino Cherry and Weeping Cherry trees, but I just featured pictures of those in a recent post.
“All my life I have been on the brink of either a break down or a break through.” ~ Diane Ackerman
Our Internet has really been acting funky, which has made it hard to post. We have a wireless network in the house, and given that our house is not very big, there really shouldn’t be problems, but of course there are. My computer is farthest from the router, but that hasn’t seemed to make much of a difference until recently. The other computers in the house have Internet service, but I do not. It’s very frustrating, but we don’t really know why this is happening unless the router is going bad, which may be the case. I suspect the router because replacing it would cost money, and that’s how things work in this house. If it’s a simple, cheap fix, it doesn’t break; if it’s expensive, then it will break.
Anyway, yesterday, I wasn’t even able to look at videos on YouTube, without my computer locking up, so I decided to abandon any hopes of posting. Today, things seems to be working fine, so I’ll take my chances.
I think that I’ve decided to abandon Facebook. I don’t have much to report in the status bar, and my life isn’t so involved that I feel a need to update everyone on what isn’t happening. I think that Facebook can be fun for the people who participate in the games and polls, which I don’t. And it has been nice making contact with some people from my past, but after that initial contact, is there anything more to say?
I think back to my old post on becoming a hermit, which I wrote sort of tongue in cheek, but I really think that a part of me is very much like a hermit: I don’t crave the company of lots of people, and the more time that I spend here in this little corner of my bedroom, the less I feel that I am connected to the outside world. I’m not bemoaning my fate, just making a statement.
“I must say a word about fear. It is life’s only true opponent. Only fear can defeat life. It is a clever, treacherous adversary, how well I know. It has no decency, respects no law or convention, shows no mercy. It goes for your weakest spot, which it finds with unnerving ease. It begins in your mind, always . . . ~ Yann Martel, Life of Pi
The port security company called Corey to schedule an interview, which is great. But now he is anxious, worrying about impressing them. I told him that it’s normal to be anxious given that he hasn’t really interviewed for a job in a long time, but he is convinced that he is not qualified. He finished his port security training with the Coast Guard but did not graduate because of his injury; therefore, he doesn’t have any certifications. I told him that he just needs to explain what happened, but he is tying himself up in knots over this.
He does have the qualifications for this type of job. I just hope that he can make it through the interview. If he can do well in the interview, he has a good shot at the job.
Being unemployed for so long has insidious effects, which are now coming to the front. Unemployment strips your confidence, makes you feel inadequate, and the longer the unemployment continues, the more you begin to believe that you are a failure, not worthy of consideration. Having had my own bout with unemployment, I truly understand what Corey is feeling, and unfortunately, all of the loving supportive words in the world cannot erase that overwhelming feeling of insecurity.
Here’s hoping . . .
“You can never have too much sky. You can fall asleep and wake up drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad. Here there is too much sadness and not enough sky. Butterflies too are few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still, we take what we can get and make the best of it.” ~ Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street
I’m back to not sleeping. I have no idea what’s going on, and I’m at the point at which I don’t even try to ascertain reasons. Last night, for example, I fell asleep somewhere between 5:30 and 6 a.m. I got up at 7, 9:20, and 11 to let the dogs out. I don’t really think that they need to go out, but they get restless. I finally fell into a deep sleep after 11.
This is so backwards. I did have a migraine for three days, so that probably contributed to things. Funnily enough, a representative from my long-term disability insurance called for an update a few days ago. I told her that absolutely nothing had changed. Still seeing the same doctors, still taking the same medicines . . . she asked about my days, as in what did I do. What could I tell her? I sit at the computer for a few hours, read, watch television. She wanted to know if I do any cleaning. I told her that I do some things but not others.
Those periodic conversations really bring into focus how much my life has changed in the past two years, how I have gone from working a full day and then going to classes in Alexandria, how I have gone from cleaning my whole house to cleaning parts of my house, how I have gone from sleeping 6 hours to sleeping 10 hours. It is more depressing than I can begin to describe.
I spend hours with ice packs on my head. I spend hours on the heating pad. I take my pills, and I look forward to small things: new episodes of NCIS, a good book, a movie, my favorite coffee. So while I have lost so much, I have also relearned the art of appreciating small things. I don’t exactly see it as a fair trade-off, but it is what it is for however long it stays this way.
“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. when you come out of the storm you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.” ~ Haruki Murakami
In the news: Ben Stein, commentator for CNN (why should anyone listen to the former Nixon speechwriter?) says that he knows why Republicans are not in favor of healthcare reform: “. . . The answer is much higher percentage of Republicans are taxpayers than Democrats and the Republicans are the people paying for it, and the Democrats are the people receiving it.”
Let me just pause here for a moment while I collect my breath . . . First, and probably most importantly, the IRS does not have a spot anywhere on its myriad of forms that asks taxpayers to indicate their political affiliation, if any, so how, pray tell, did Stein come up with that factoid? Second, and this is personal, we pay a boatload of taxes, always have. A January 2009 report by Forbes magazine stated the following:
“The 400 highest-earning taxpayers in the U.S. reported a record $105 billion in total adjusted gross income in 2006, but they paid just $18 billion in tax, new Internal Revenue Service figures show. That works out to an average federal income tax bite of 17%—the lowest rate paid by the richest 400 during the 15-year period covered by the IRS statistics. The average federal tax bite on the top 400 was 30% in 1995 and 23% in 2002.”
This report says nothing about political parties, just income levels. In my many years of paying taxes, I have never had a 17 percent rate. Never. Stick it Ben Stein, you blowhard. (Thank you Skyewriter for the heads up.)
In other news, former Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis only received $32,171 in compensation for 2009. Poor Lewis. Oh wait. I forgot to mention: Lewis also received $73 million in accumulated compensation and retirement benefits, which brings his net to $73,032,171, approximately . . .
Fannie Mae wants another $15.3 Billion, yes with a B, in aid. Okeedokee. Let’s take these things and compare them to the fact that unemployment benefits for millions of people expire this weekend, but lone Republican Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky is holding a temporary extension hostage over concerns about the deficit. On Thursday, the House passed a bill temporarily extending the programs for a month until lawmakers can address the issues long-term. The Senate tried to follow suit, but the lone Republican Senator held out.
Don’t get me wrong, I, too, have issues with the deficit. Perhaps we can ask Ken Lewis for a contribution, say $73 million or so?
Enough financial news. It makes my eyes water and creates a sharp pain behind my right eye.
More later. Peace.
Music by Imogen Heap, “The Moment I Said It” (heard it on “Criminal Minds,” which has a soundtrack almost as awesome as “NCIS.”)
*Corey took all of the pictures featured the day after the snow storm we had here a few weeks ago.
For my friends who are tired of me writing about nothing but politics, I thought that I would take a break since I seem to be alienating my Texan readers (you know who you are) . . .
I woke myself up this morning while doing my nails in my sleep. Now while that may seem odd to some of you, there are those of you who will find this completely normal for me. I was having this wonderfully wild dream in which I had stopped by my favorite nail salon to paint my nails myself (I know, this makes no sense), and I was painting them a truly fugly shade of beige, something I would never do. Believe me when I say that I am a RED woman: garnet red, blood red, ruby red, “Woman in Love” red (one of my favorite shades), and then the darker shades of red once the weather cools. I do not do beiges or neutrals. Unfortunately, due to the economic downturn that began at our house months before the NYSE plummeted, I have been unable to keep up my nail fix for months, so I have finally begun to dream about having long nails again. I suppose the fugly color that I was painting them was to bring myself back to reality. However, the funny part was that I woke up with my right hand in the air and my left hand moving a pretend polish brush over my nails. Ah, que sera, sera . . . whatever.
Angelina Jolie Makes it Hard for the Rest of Us
I was reading an article online about La Jolie that was accompanied by pictures taken by none other than her love (who was my love first; he just did not know it). The pictures were black and whites of A. aprés the twins, and of course, she looks absolutely lovely. In the article she talks about how Brad wanted to capture her changing body after giving birth and how he accepts all of the changes in her and how wonderful that is. I only mention this because the pictures were not retouched, and several were close-ups, and of course, it is terribly hard to see these changes of which she speaks.
I have always found Jolie to be one of the most sensuous women on the planet earth. There is just something about her that I find terribly compelling, and it’s not the lips; it’s in her eyes. Her eyes are ageless. They have seen things. I have always been partial to men and women with dark hair and eyes for the most part. Jennifer Aniston is pretty, but she does not seem to have depth. Brad was always pretty, but he did not seem nearly as interesting until he found Jolie. Now that he is older and has crinkles around his eyes, he seems to have much more gravitas.
But I digress . . . The thing about Angelina Jolie, for me at least, is that she is so much more than a face or a body, and so it shows in her face. No makeup, head covered by a scarf, t-shirt, or completely decked out for the red carpet. It doesn’t matter. Her eyes reflect a very old soul.
From the Exquisite to the Mundane
I’m trying to break myself of my ice cream habit, so I’m eating more jello. I had forgotten how much I like jello, and how few calories are in one of those little snack cups. Of course, if you eat two snack cups at a time, it kind of defeats the purpose of the calories, but hey, I’m trying here. The problem is Corey. It’s really his fault. You see, when he fixes me a bowl of ice cream, he won’t make just a small portion. He makes these great big portions and pours on lots of caramel or chocolate topping, so I’m blaming all of the calories on him. Does apportioning the calories also transfer the calories?
My Space Versus Face Book
Dilemma: Friends who are opening Face Book accounts when I already have a My Space account? I’ve had a My Space account for about two years now. I finally have it set up just the way I want it. I have my music players set up; all of the fonts are finally the correct size. I finally got around to putting my pictures in different folders and labeling them, and I even created a slideshow.
Now Jammi and Mari have set up Face Book accounts. Traitors!!The only way I can look at their FB accounts is if I open an account too, and because I’m so anal, I won’t be able to just set up a half-assed account. I’ll have to go in and set up a real page with everything, and if I set up a real page with everything, then I’ll have another page that I have to check everyday, and if I have another page that I have to check everyday, then I’ll never get any writing done. Oh it sucks to be me *&@(!
It Really Is Fall in Naw-Fick
Wouldn’t you know it that if I wrote (several weeks ago) that we never have a real fall around here, we would actually have more than two weeks of wonderfully temperate weather? I’ll have to remember this and write the same thing before spring. We’ve actually had weeks of weather that’s been in the 70’s with light winds and sunshine. I know that I’m taking a big chance in actually writing about this, probably jinxing myself. I’ll probably regret even acknowledging that this is happening, but it’s been so wonderful that I wanted to thank the weather gods for such manna.
The air conditioner has been off for weeks. The nights are in the 50’s. The dogs are pleasantly sunning themselves in the backyard (except for the horizontally tall one who refuses to leave my side for more than a few moments at a time; as I type, he is quietly snoring by my feet). I see more and more mums in bloom all around the neighborhood (along with lots of McCain/Palin yard signs; alas, it is a predominantly Republican neighborhood). High school football games keep getting postponed because of gang threats. My next-door neighbor is putting a new room on her house, which gives her a new excuse to spy on our backyard (she’s my arch nemesis).
All in all, it’s a beautiful fall in the neighborhood. I wish that I were in the mountains taking pictures of all of the turning leaves. Oh well, maybe next year, after Obama has been in office for his first nine months. Oops, sorry. This was supposed to be a politically-free one, wasn’t it? Just can’t help myself.