Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks

Let's add it all up shall we:

One 13 lb. Turkey: 23.00 Euro

Postage for Package from America with the needed supplies: $52.00

Cleaning and Baking: One Sleepless Night

Sitting on the floor giggling with the Dude and watching a "Charlie Brown Thanksgiving:" Priceless

Here is hoping that you had a lovely day. I know that we have a lot to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Still Alive

Yes, we are still here. We are all even feeling better. The antibiotics helped the Dude get back on his feet and he even slept through the night the pass few days. Last night I got to sleep without nose spray. Unfortunately, the German then got sick last week. Luckily he recovered faster than the Dude and I.

The funny thing about the baby getting sick, is that you think the World is Coming to an End. It also seems like a process that never ends. Once it is over, then it was not as half as bad as one thought. Although I don't want to have to do it again soon.

We have also spent the last few days getting over our "Election-itis." What should I do now? The Dude does keep me on my toes, but I need something else as an intellectual outlet. The Election served that purpose for awhile.

My research and novel sit neglected on my desk and I know that I have to go back to it other wise it will never get done. Also, my work with OVF may allow me to do a bit of political research. This has me very exicited as I never thought that the poli sci door would open again. But there it is.

For now though there is Thanksgiving next week and I am throwing a Bridal Shower for the New Yorker. Look for a few good cooking posts. While randomly surfing the net, I watched Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg make mashed potatoes. I wonder if Snoop Dogg would come to my house for some Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie?

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Stoop

The Stoop
Originally uploaded by govt23

When I was a kid, I loved being sick. Not seriously ill, but sick enough to not have to go to school. My mom let me sleep on the sofa and watch cartoons while drinking ginger ale. To this day, I think Bugs Bunny and a chocolate milk shake can cure all that ales you. Being a mother and being sick . . . that just sucks.

All day Wednesday I had a fever and felt achy. I spent the entire day on the living room floor watching the Dude chase after a ball with CNN playing in the background. I could not decide what to do so I called Dr. Mom, aka my mom.

Thursday I felt a bit better and so I soldiered on. Friday the Dude took a turn for the worse and developed a fever and a cough. He laid on the floor, barely moving. We took him to the doctor, who was worried about his breathing so she put him on antibiotics just in case.

This weekend the two of us are not much better. We are both still pretty stuff and cough all the time. I finally broke down and went to a doctor today. He smiled.

"Yeah, it is just a virus. Go home and take an aspirin. Sometimes you have to power through."

I swear that I thought he was going to punch my arm. He must of noticed my disgust.

"Look on the bright side. It usually lasts two weeks, and you already have one behind you."

There you have it. A silver lining in the midst of my snot.

The Dude is moving around a bit better and as you can see from the video, he has conquered the step in our living room. The stairs must be next.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Virtual Post Election Bash! Great Expectations Edition

The vodka chilled and the glasses were ready. I was all set to drink my Obama-tini and toast a new president. Unfortunately the hangover I have this morning is due to cold medicine and not libations.

It was difficult to watch the election alone. I had no one to share my excitement or to help me ponder the outcome. So at midnight, as my temperature increased, I cuddled under a blanket to watch the first returns. I promptly fell asleep. When I woke up at 3am, I made a cup of tea. By 4am Obama had 198 electoral votes and I decided to hit the bed. However, I got up just in time to see his speech. It moved me to tears.

As I listened to his words, I contemplated how far America has come. But then, if you listened closely, you also heard the President elect tell us just far we have to go. One could almost see the Great Expectations placed upon his shoulders. And he knows it. He cautioned us that creating change will not be easy and it will not happen overnight.

Unfortunately, in the age of the 24 hour news cycle, the American public expects change and they expect it now. It is going to be extremely difficult to meet these expectations.

The German drank his coffee while watching the speech. He joked about my tears. I tried to impress upon how significant it is that an African-American man can be elected presented. We tried to figure out what would be comparable in Germany. "A Jew as Chancellor?" I suggested. The German thought for a moment. "No, a Turkish Jew."

My contribution to the post election bash is a bit somber. However, now is the time to reflect and enjoy America's journey. Tomorrow it is time to go to work.


This Post is part of Diane Mandy's Virtual Post Election Bash! Check out the other posts!

Adam (Germany)
American (in Norway)
Andrea (Germany)
Charlotte (Germany)
Christina (Germany)
Claire (Germany)
Claire (Great Britain)
Dianne (U.S.)
Eusmaca (U.S.)
Evercurious (U.S.)
G in Berlin (Germany)
Ian in Hamburg (Germany)
J (Germany)
Jul (Germany)
Me (United States)
Princess Extraordinaire (U.S.)
Sizzle (U.S)
Snooker (Germany)
Vailian (Germany)
Yelli (Germany)

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Happy Election Day!

I don't know about you, but I am really glad that all of this is almost over! If you live in the U.S., you should go and vote today. If you need information please check out the links below, which will help you locate your polling place and double check your registration status:

In honor of election day, I thought that I would address a few questions that I often get from both Germans and Americans. If you consider this post "unintelligent" or stupid, then fell free to stop reading. I, personally, consider it informative.

Reader: So, Claire, how IS the U.S. president elected anyway?

This is a really good question! The most important thing to remember is that U.S. presidents are chosen indirectly.

When the constitution was written over 200 years ago, the founders decided to use an electoral college to select the president. On election day, voters go to the polls and actually for "electors." For example, many, many moons ago the ballots actually would have looked like this:

Joe Plumber (Republican; John McCain)
Susie Conservative (Republican; John McCain)
John Liberal (Democrat; Barack Obama)
Notta Socialist (Democrat; Barack Obama)

You thus choose an individual to represent the person and party that you want to become president. The number of electors per state equals the number of U.S. senators plus the number in the House of Representatives (e.g. North Dakota: 2 Senators + 1 Representative = 3 Electors). The state's electors then meet up and vote. Almost all states have a "winner-take-all system," in which the states electors go to the candidate with the most votes.

The results are sent to Washington, DC. If a candidate receives a majority of votes then he or she is the president. When nobody gets a majority of the votes, then the House of Representatives votes. This, however, has not been done since 1824.

Most of the time the person elected president also wins the popular vote, but not always (i.e. George Bush in 2000).

Reader: This seems so complicated and stupid. Why not change it to make it more direct?

My first response is this: I am sure it made sense over 200 years ago.

When judging the electoral college, one must remember that it was created during a time when the U.S. had a much SMALLER electorate. Also, the U.S. was going through a bit of an identity crisis. How strong the federal government should be was a "Hot Topic." Read the "Federalist Papers" and you can get a feel for how difficult the debate was. Small states felt that they would be lost and be trampled by bigger states. Thus, they threatened to not ratify the Constitution. In order to bring smaller states into the fold, the electoral college was presented as a compromise.

Changing the electoral system would require changing the Constitution, which in turn requires approval from 2/3 of the U.S. states. A lot of small states would loose their power if the electoral college disappeared. Nobody wants to loose power. Nobody.

Reader: I am an overseas voter. Will my vote be counted even if the race is close?

YES!! The ballots of an overseas voter and a domestic voter carry equal weight. One is not more important than the other. A ballot cast must be counted, no matter how close (or not) the election is. If a ballot is not counted, then that is election fraud.

It is, unfortunately, difficult to tell when and how absentee ballots are counted. Some states open them and count them as they come in. Some states allow absentee ballot to come in up until Nov. 17, and then count them all together. Once the absentee ballot total is known, then that is added to the domestic ballot total for the state total.

Each state and county can choose how they want to run their elections. With this wide variance, it is no wonder that problems pop-up.

Ballot, election and campaign finance reform are three passions of mine. I am completely convinced that there has to be "an easier way." I hope that in the months to come that I can share my ideas with you.

Until then . . . GO VOTE!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Ring of Fire

This morning I had a thought, I bet Dante did not have any children. If he had, then he would have known that there are WAY more than 7 levels of hell. There is the "pouting because I cannot get what I want" hell. The always lovely "just pooped all over my clothes and rolled in it but you still love me because I am cute" hell. Last night we descended into "baby during cold and flu season" hell.

After getting home from my 8 hour day and 1 hour drive yesterday, I was pretty beat. My MIL gave me the Dude (she was babysitting because the German was cutting down trees . . . don't ask) and told me what an angle he had been the whole day. I noticed that his nose was a bit runny and as I wiped it up she said, "Oh, yeah, a lot of yellow stuff has come out of there today!" Uh oh.

The Dude was tired and cranky by bed time. But he ate well and basically went right to sleep, so I thought we were in the clear. The German and I enjoyed a glass of wine and a bit of TV. [insert ominous foreshadowing music here] By 9:45 I was ready to call it a night. As I snuggled in bed with a book, the German stayed downstairs to watch the rest of the football game. That was when I heard the first cry.

To make a long story short, the Dude cried (I mean really cried, none of this whiny, soft moans) off and on until 3:00am. Around 10:30 the German came to bed and promptly started snoring. By 11:30 I could only imagine that this was hell. I was exhausted and had a stuffed up kid and husband. To make matters worse, it felt like a hell of my own making.

I decided to escape and headed downstairs. I continued to read and had the TV on in the background. The Dude would calm down for about 30 minute intervals and about every 45 minutes I had to go into his room, roll him onto his back, pop his pacifier into his mouth and stroke his cheek to calm him down.

Around 2:00 I decided that since I was up, I might as well do something. I cleaned out the dishwasher and finished the dishes. I even planned all of my English lessons for the week. By 3:00 everything had started to calm down and I was about to crash. The snoring husband continued to be a problem and I could not get to sleep on the sofa.

So I decided to be a selfish beast and I kicked the German out of bed and into the guest bed into his office. I fell into bed and actually slept until I heard the Dude around 7am.

Of course we immediately went to the pharmacy this morning and got some nose drops for the Dude. He does not have a cough or a fever. Just a really stuffy nose, which I assume makes it hard for him to sleep.

He is in bed now and I am hoping that things will be better tonight, because frankly they cannot get any worse.

Uh oh. I think I hear Dante laughing in the background and the ominous music starting up again.

UPDATE: The Dude slept from 7:15pm last night to 6:50am. We did not hear a peep out of him. Well, he may have said something but we were both so tired that we did not hear it. I slept 9 hours last night. I am not celebrating, however. Because what the Dude giveth the Dude can taketh away.