29 January 2008

Food for Thought...about Amurika

I actually fell asleep watching the State of the Union address by Dubya last night. I was asked this morning why I watched it at all...It was his last one ever, and I couldn't pass up one last time to hear his creative pronunciation...plus I wanted to see the crowd reactions. In between all the standing and applauding (without which that whole spectacle would only have taken a few minutes) there were some pretty choice candid shots of the audience.

For example, they kept swinging the camera around to Senator Clinton. What did they think she'd be doing? Mimicking him like a spoiled teenager? Sawing some logs like her husband during that video now making rounds? She was her usual polished self, listening attentively and standing to applaud when everyone else did.

One of the best candid shots came when in the speech Dubya talked about how we have to stay in Iraq and stay in Afghanistan and basically continue the war everywhere that we currently are. Just after he said:
These successes must continue. So we're adding 3,200 Marines to our forces in Afghanistan, where they will fight the terrorists and train the Afghan army and police.

Defeating the Taliban and al Qaeda is critical to our security, and I thank the Congress for supporting America's vital mission in Afghanistan.

the camera was on those that I presume, from their uniforms, to be the official representatives of the four branches of our military. The audience leapt to their feet...again...with thunderous applause...but those four men stayed in their seats. Maybe it was because they're military and just don't feel it appropriate to join in those kinds of outpourings of emotion...but to me it was very telling. I heard more about this plan on NPR while driving home from work...it seems that there are some in Congress who are wondering why it is that the United States continues to send our troops, specifically these 3,200 that Dubya mentions, into the most dangerous parts of this "war" while the other member nations of NATO send their people into the peaceful parts to rebuild schools and churches and lives. I think we've just seen our answer...once again, the United States charges ahead to take over the fight and be the bully...or savior, depending on your stance on the "war," I suppose...and our soldiers are sent into harm's way. And why? Dubya shared that with us as well...
But above all, know this: America will confront those who threaten our troops; we will stand by our allies; and we will defend our vital interests in the Persian Gulf.
Oh, right, oil. Not democracy. Oil. Isn't that our vital interest in the Persian Gulf?

Let freedom ring...

23 January 2008

A Nancy by Any Other Name...

So all I wanted was to be Nancy Allen again. No more Lassiter, that's his name and not mine. Nancy Elizabeth Allen...just in time to become Nancy Elizabeth Dunne but that's another issue all together.

Because I did not appear in court on the day of my divorce hearing (upon the advice of my ex-husband's lawyer), the request made in the divorce papers to have my maiden name restored was not granted. Okay...trying hard not to get too wound up over that. I did what I was told and was stuck with Lassiter even though I was told I'd be Allen again.

Because...well, I really don't know why, actually, I was never sent a certified and real copy of the divorce decree. I got a PDF copy forwarded to me from my ex-husband that was presumably sent to him by his lawyer. Okay...so now I have to go to Spartanburg County and pay for a copy of something I should have been sent in the first place.

And because of all of this ridiculousness I can't change my name now because that process, per the SSA, could take up to 4-6 weeks to get my card back with my new name, and I don't think I can change my name on my passport if it isn't attached to my social security number...and by the time that's done, I won't have the two months or more it will take to get my new passport before I potentially go visit Simon in May.

I'm going to be Lassiter till I marry Simon, I'm afraid. A Nancy by Any Other Name may still be Nancy, but she's not a Happy Nancy, to be sure.

22 January 2008

...in which I respond to some political rhetoric and other noise...

The New Colossus by E. Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
Just make sure that when you send them, they are healthy both mentally and physically and that they have an aptitude for languages so that they can learn English quickly so that we Americans who have outgrown our own Immigrant status by way of seven or so generations born here won't have to take care of them...because if we will, you can just keep them. Go on, keep the antiquated system of health care we have that leaves a vast population without options for something that should be every person's right. Keep it up, make sure that everyone knows that Obama's middle name is Hussein, and he is therefore unfit to run our country. Remind everyone over and over that we are One Nation Under God because it says so on our failing dollars. And whatever you do, close those borders...we've got enough of everyone else's wretched refuse here already, so slam that golden door fast, before any more of them get in...

If you've read thus far and are afraid that I've hit my head on something hard have no fear. My tongue was so firmly in my cheek while writing that paragraph I think I may have bitten part of it off.

I was just participating in a debate on a message board I belong to that started with someone asking for opinions on the movie "Sicko" and became a back and forth about the state of everything from health care to prescription medications to discussions of how the US is viewed from the outside. And how are we viewed by the other nations of the world today? Lemme tell you, it ain't pretty.

They wonder why we are the wealthiest nation in the world, and yet we leave our homeless, our mentally ill, our poor to live and die on the streets. They see how we seek to fight terrorism, and how we have become automatically afraid of those from the middle east, yet our president is in the back pocket of those in Saudi Arabia that control the world's oil. They see how we have No Child Left Behind, but we seemed to have no trouble with The Lower Ninth Ward Left Behind after hurricane Katrina. We are a nation of contradictions, but one thing seems clear. Americans live in a consumerist society...in that we consume everything, as was well stated by a member of that message board. We are loud, we are rude, we are arrogant. I was on a plane recently on an international flight, and it was easy to spot the Americans in the crowd. Easy! Flashy, blingy (is that a word) clothes and accessories, loud voices, seats pushed back into other's laps, feet sprawled out in the aisles, no realisation that there was ANYONE on the plane other than them...we are a nation of people who have been wearing the title of "wealthiest country in the civilized world" for many years and now take it as our birthright to be obnoxious and rude and superior. I could hear the people around me speak and I could pretty much tell which ones were Americans and which weren't...and I will admit to keeping my mouth shut and wishing I'd picked up an accent in my 10 days abroad so that people wouldn't confuse me with the family three rows up that was annoying everyone from the other passengers to the flight attendants.

Now for the promised response to rhetoric...

Should we have universal free health care? In a word, YESTERDAY. Many people in this, the wealthiest country in the world, don't go to their doctors until they have to because they can't afford it, even with health insurance. We choose our jobs based on what kind of benefits they offer, and not if it is truly a job that we will enjoy and find fulfilling. While I love the commercials put out by the AMA now that say (in reference to those uninsured in America) "1 in 7 isn't just a number, it's 47 million too many," the plan that they propose on Voicefortheuninsured.org is just MORE insurance. Let's don't help people buy it, let's don't make it more affordable...let's make health care become so they don't need insurance at all.

Here's an example: I work with my hands. If I don't have my hands, I don't have a job. I had to stop going for chiropractic care because my insurance company decided that I should pay for my preventative medicine, not them. They will be more than happy to pay a co-pay, however, when I go in for my carpal tunnel surgery that could have been avoided with wellness care via my chiropractor...but only if there is a doctor that deems it other than elective surgery, and only in triplicate.

Another from my personal experience: Thankfully Zyrtec goes OTC on the 24th of this month...I haven't been able to get it for 2-3 years now (whenever it was that Claritin went OTC) because once other allergy meds became OTC my insurance stopped paying a co-pay on my Zyrtec. While I was taking Zyrtec I was FREE of the allergy symptoms I've had my entire life. Free. I had to switch to Claritin, which doesn't help me, really, and supplement it with Benadryl if I want to keep those allergy symptoms at bay. I know, I know, you're thinking "Why didn't you just get the doc to write something up that said you had to take the Zyrtec?" Excellent suggestion. I asked after that, and was told that (at the time, may be different now) allergy medications are "elective" medications in the absence of a condition such as asthma or worse, so he couldn't do anything for me.

I'm sorry, elective? It's not like I asked for a doctor's note to get botox. All I wanted was to be able to breathe. Didn't realize that breathing normally or having clear vision rather than eyes that feel like they have a pound of sand in them was my choice. It's sad when I think I wish that I had asthma or worse because then I could have my Zyrtec. Un-freaking-real.

As for the whole immigration thing, I was out to dinner with a friend last night and we were discussing that very topic. (I'm a tree-hugging left wing liberal commie pinko blah blah blah and proud of it, just in case you've missed that in some of my past posts here at The Lettuce.) I want to live in a country where people can come to get a better life. I want to live in a society where we help each other get along because it's the right thing to do. I want the America back that inspired Lazarus to write the poem above. I suppose there should have been another stanza that said something about "but only until we're full," or "but only if they agree to learn English," or "but only if they promise not to get sick or have babies until they've become citizens," because that is the rhetoric of the "Patriotic American" in 2008.

I really didn't mean for this to turn into a rambling rant...but it has, so I'll wrap it up. I'm annoyed with myself that I forgot to change my address with voter registration so I can't vote in the primaries...but since I'm a democrat living in South Carolina, I have to ask what the point is of making sure that I'm registered come November. Blah. It's a bad time to be an American...or a socialist...or at least that's how I see it. I just hope I'm on the other side when that Golden Door clangs shut and locks.

17 January 2008

winter.


winter.
Originally uploaded by Nancy Allen
We actually got snow in Greenville! Last night it was falling pretty steadily for about four hours or so. HUGE flakes too! Daisy had never seen snow before, so that was kind of a challenge, getting her to actually go outside. Poor thing probably thought the sky was falling! She went out with me one time, but a large flake landed in her eye so she squinted and ran back to the back door as fast as possible.

Today it's raining but it's freezing rain so it's still very cold, wet, and slushy outside. I'm trying to imagine why the state didn't close offices today...only thing I can come up with is that the state capitol is in Columbia, where it's consistently five degrees warmer than anywhere else in the state. I'm just glad I don't have any appointments this morning!!

Just looking at that photo makes me cold...

13 January 2008

Hello from Falls Park!


Hello from Falls Park!
Originally uploaded by Nancy Allen
Just today I remembered why I love Greenville, and why when I was in Alabama last year I longed to get back to the Upstate. Before my friend Leah went back home, we took all of our dogs out to the Reedy River Falls Park for a walk and it was just so gorgeous and tranquil...in the heart of downtown with its bustle is this oasis, and I love it. Late New Year's Res...go to Falls Park with the kids at least once a week!!

Shiny, Happy, Squealy and Tie-dyed...

Me, as Leah let my PPG (Psycho Puppy Girl) Daisy out of the car and I saw her for the first time in three weeks...


Apologies for the noises I was making and the outfit...and much love to Leah for the video!!!

11 January 2008

Via Email and Amy

Liz, Sooz, and the other one or two readers of my blog, you're up!!

1. Coolest birthday you remember: Probably last year's birthday, because the first person to wish me happy birthday was Simon...even though he was five hours ahead of me when it struck midnight and became my birthday.

2. Do you prefer hosting parties or attending as a guest? Oh totally attending as a guest, just don't make me talk to people I don't know.

3. What color is your bedroom? Off white with a dash of dog and cat hair for color.

4. Do you and your man have a song? What tune makes you swoon? We do in fact, several. "My First, My Last, My Everything" by Barry White, "All I Want for Christmas is You" from Love Actually (NOTNOTNOT the Mariah version, bleh), and "Run" by Snow Patrol.

5. What were/will be your wedding colors? Would you change them? First time around the bridesmaids were in navy blue and the flowers were yellow/white roses. Probably would keep it the same if we were having a big wedding, but I think it will be just whatever folks want to wear this time...except for short sleeve Tshirts, Mr. Dunne!

6. Ever sneak out of the house or host a wild bash while the 'rents were away? What's your wild child tale? I was a pretty tame kid really. Hard to be wild when everyone in the town not only knows you're the preacher's daughter but also knows the preacher!!

7. You just won the lottery! Do you stash your cash or pass the bucks? What are the first 3 things you'd do?
1. Pay off my debt.
2. Buy a house in Athens, Georgia.
3. Start a savings fund for my future kids' future plans.

8. You oughta' be in pictures...which actress stars as you in a movie of your life's story? When I was younger it would have to be Molly Ringwald (when she was younger). Come to think of it, she could still play me now if I'd remember to get hair dye when I go to the grocery.

9. What's your go-to meal for quick comfort? A nice curry with chicken on a pile of basmati rice...or a rainbow roll from a real sushi restaurant.

10. Everyone has ups and downs. What's your hardest learned lesson? That you shouldn't see the extra money in the bank as an opportunity to spend.

11. What advice would you give to 18 year-old you? Double major in something like English or History or Education and if someone offers you a car built by Renault say NO.

12. Favorite board game: Trivial Pursuit. I am a font of useless knowledge.

13. Dish it! What's your "me time" guilty pleasure? Sitting at the computer, playing...World of Warcraft. What? Shut up, it keeps me from killing people in real life.

14. What's one thing you'd like to learn to do in 2008? Belly dance. Seriously.

Thoughts on a Friday


My ring
Originally uploaded by Nancy Allen
I've been engaged for a week and a half now, and no sign of a date in sight.

I'm much warmer today than I was last Friday, see photo in below post for proof.

I wonder if the exterminator will be on time this morning?

Daisy comes home today, and I'm anxiously awaiting being clocked in the noggin by her hard little head.

I think I'd like another cup of tea.

My house is a pig-sty. I will clean it after I put my Christmas decorations away.

Is it bad luck to still have my Christmas tree up if I don't turn on the lights?

05 January 2008

Hello from the (slightly) Frozen North!


BRRR!
Originally uploaded by Nancy Allen
I have been in the UK since New Year's Eve, and this trip has just been amazing. First of all, I got to the Manchester Airport and found Simon, only to have him drop to one knee and ask me to marry him...in front of God and everyone and the baggage claim! Of course I said yes...now to figure out how to make a trans-atlantic life work on one side or the other.

The picture here was taken on the beach at Bamburgh Castle in Northumbria just yesterday...I don't know if you can tell, but I was COLD! (Yeah, saracasm, so?) In addition to the temperature, the wind was just awful and made this Georgia girl's teeth LITERALLY chatter. But just look at what's behind me...totally and utterly worth it. I hope that we can go back in warmer weather and get to see more of the castle.

I'll be back stateside in two days where hopefully it will be warmer!!

Dia duit ó GARF.

Almost TOO Irish, that. Go raibh míle maith agat  to Chris Heffron (of the Southern Travel Guide ) for this great shot from last Sund...