Thursday, January 17, 2008


For a long time now, I've been wanting to move out into the country. I mean, farther out in the country than we are now. We live on the edge of a small town, and there's a cornfield right across the street, but I'd like to have a place where there are no other houses around, and the nearest neighbor is at least 1/4 mile away. I want to have a view to the west that's unobscured, and I want to have the option of playing loud rock music at 2AM without receiving a visit from the sheriff. Not that I'm ever awake at 2AM playing loud music, but I'd like to have the option.

So over Christmas this desire to move became a topic of conversation, and I had a relative remind me that when I was in my teens I hated living in the country. I apparently resented our family's move from the town to our farm when I was seven, and I guess I let everyone know it. What my relative said has been whirling around in the back of my head ever since, and I finally figured out how to reconcile my desire to live in the country now against my resentment of living in the country in my youth.

It wasn't the farm itself I hated. What I hated was the fact that the only place I had to go (outside of school and church) was home, and my Dad (at times) could be a very nasty bully. I felt trapped, and all I wanted to do was get out of that trap. Once I started college, I was able to spend long periods of time away from home, and the feeling of being trapped began to recede. When I married Carl, and he defended me and made my Dad stop his bullying, I finally felt released from the trap and the farm became a very welcoming place to go. I especially liked going home in the fall, when the maple trees in the front yard blazed with orange, the air was crisp and cool, and my kids could play in the large piles of leaves around the house. Those were good years, and they more than made up for the bad moments of my childhood. I had a great relationship with Dad, and so did Carl and the girls. It was an overwhelmingly sad event when my Dad got sick and my parents sold their farm and moved to town. For all I can tell, the farm is in good hands: the family that bought it has made some very nice improvements, and they've allowed the lilac hedge to grow and thrive.

But I miss the feeling of space that the farm had. You could go outside at night and look at the stars without having to deal with streetlights. You could let the dogs out to run and not have to worry about them going across the street to irritate your neighbors. You had room to play a game of football, not just a game of catch. If your neighbors set off (illegal) fireworks, you were far enough away for them not to bother you. Living in town, even a small town like the one we live in now, gives me a closed in, restricted feeling. I feel the need to get out, to stretch out, to have a place where I can look at the stars without all that in-town light pollution.

I feel the need to get out of the trap.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Ew! What's That Smell?

The Iowa Caucus is finally over. In our house, we refer to it as the Iowa Carcass, when political vultures hover over the state looking for whatever they can scavenge. The buzzards squawk at you on TV and radio, and they phone you ad nauseum hoping to suck some political voter blood out of you. Then on Carcass Day the politically active types go and decide which vulture they think is the cutest. All in all, an annoyance that Iowans have to put up with every four years.

Remember - "politics" is derived from the Greek "poly" meaning "many", and ticks are blood sucking creatures.

Get the feeling that I'm fed up with politics, politicians and political ads? You bet I am! I'm registered as an Independent, but that doesn't seem to deter anything. Both parties called our house begging for our caucus support. Meanwhile, as the politicking is going on, we're teaching our girls the difference between liberal and conservative values, and explaining to them why we're conservatives. To that end, Hannah (a chip off the old block) wrote the following:

'Twas the night before caucus, with signs up and other "fun"
No one was stirring, not even Hillary Clinton
And as dumb as they were, they'd wait for phone calls from politics and then
The next day they'd caucus for liberals like Joe Biden
My sister answered the phone hoping it would be Shannon
But the look she had told me it was a politic - it was Bill Richardson
She still had that look on her face, I knew what she would say
She said, "You have the wrong number! Seriously, GO AWAY!"
All I have to say is, "listen to me if you can,
Liberals are not that honest - vote Republican!"

A nice sentiment: what my daughter hasn't learned yet is that the Republican party isn't all that honest, either, nor are they all that conservative any more. She'll learn with time.

And now, a few other observations about politics:

I wish they had a "none of the above" category. If a majority voted "none of the above" it would force the political parties to go back and try again. Hopefully they'd find someone with actual leadership ability.

Joe Biden (who's now thankfully dropped out of the race) was campaigning in Iowa on an honesty theme. This from the guy caught plagarizing stuff in the 80's. Go figure.

Am I the only one who thinks Barack sounds like the noise you make when you hurl?

Ron Paul had a helicopter flying over the Cedar Rapids metro area yesterday, pulling a banner that said "The Ron Paul Revolution". It had the letters EVOL highlighted in red. That's "love" spelled backwards. Doesn't "backwards love" equal "hate"? Is that what this guy stands for? Did he put any thought into that banner? Sheesh!

Also yesterday, very early on a very frigid morning, there were young women standing at busy intersections holding huge "Hillary" banners. Puts new meaning into the nickname "Chillary".

For some reason, Mary liked Mitt Romney as a candidate. I can't get enthusiastic for anyone named after a piece of sporting equipment. Does he have a sister named "Bat" or a brother named "Cleat"? Wouldn't surprise me if he did. However, for Mary's sake, I will end this blog with the campaign slogan that Mary made up:

Wit-A-Pit-Pit, Vote for Mitt.