Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My hybiscus finally bloomed! I must remember to prune it sooner this year so it won't take all summer for it to bloom. But at least I kept it alive through winter!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

This is what an Iowa City front yard looks like. When I lived in Upstate New York, I took for granted how beautiful the rolling hills were, how blue the sky could be and how undeniably peaceful it was to take it all in.
I love Iowa City for this same reason. Every few minutes, the landscape seemed to change as the sun started setting -- a nice change from the city of Chicago.
My favorite Beautiful Thing: My Niece, Willa Francis Jackson.
Traveling on I-80 you will eventually run into the WORLD'S LARGEST TRUCK STOP. I am thrilled to admit, I have now been here about 7 times. It's an amazing thing and one of those little gems I look forward to visiting. I enjoy looking at all the little trinket's you can find from "Jesus" t-shirts to Buffing kits for your rig. You can also visit the Trucker Museum, get your teeth cleaned or catch a film, all from the comfort of a truck stop.
If you are even on I-80 traveling through Iowa, I highly recommend you make a pitstop.
An Iowa Sunset
Taken from the car on I-80
A Chicago Sunrise.
Taken from my kitchen window.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I'm not much for "Tweeting" and I don't really care to use a Facebook status to sum up my feelings in 2 sentences or less (unless it has to do with Oprah shutting down Michigan Ave). But this was sent my way, and I realized this person's blog post regarding President Obama's speech to school children is this weeks "beautiful thing":

Original Post can be found HERE

Pardon me while I dust off the corner of my blog labeled "politics." Because wow... it sure has been a while, huh?

But it's time.

I have been watching in shock... disgust... HORROR even...over the last several days, as the media and the citizens of this country talk about the speech that President Obama will deliver to school children today. I don't even understand how it has escalated to this level.

Parents pulling their children out of school?
Schools refusing to air the speech because they don't want to upset anybody?
Protesters outside of the high school from which Obama will deliver the speech?

SERIOUSLY, my fellow Americans? SERIOUSLY?!

The White House, in order to try to calm the hysteria over this, has released the full text of the President's speech. And it, quite frankly, is wonderful. Beautiful. Inspiring. A message every child should hear.

Yet so many of them won't.

For whatever reason, ever since Obama took office, Republicans have been totally on his ass. Not just in the traditional "the opposite party is in power and we have to knock them for it" sense, but in the "we need to DESTROY this man" sense. I don't even know how the guy manages to breathe.

people who disagree with his policies are taking everything he does, everything he says, and blowing it completely out of proportion. They call him a racist. They call him a socialist, or even a communist. They call him a muslim (as if that's supposed to be something negative). It's sick. But then I remember... these are the same people who called liberals "unamerican" and "traitorous" when we had the audacity to voice disagreement with George Bush. In other words, they're into exaggeration and namecalling.

And you know what? That's fine. Every American has the right to disagree with his policies. That's fine. It's the way it should be. It's America.

But in this case, they've (once again) politicized an issue that's not even political. It's not about politics. Read the speech. Tell me what parent would disagree with those messages. Who?

He is the President of the United States. Regardless of whether you agree with him, he has reached the highest-ranked position in this country. He is one of the most powerful people in the world. Should children not strive to be like him? Should he not serve as a role model?

The youth in this country need a fire to be lit under their asses. These are the children who will grow into the adults who will lead this country someday. This country. This totally fucked up country.

And the President of the United States wants to speak to them. So, my god! LET HIM.

I think the saddest part in all of this is that if it were announced that some celebrity--oh, I don't know, let's use Miley Cyrus for an example--wanted to deliver an inspiring message to America's school children, people probably wouldn't have batted an eye.

And she's practically a stripper.

Yet people are up in arms about the PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES talking to school children about never giving up on their dreams and striving for greatness. Oh, the horror.

To take it one step further... I happen to believe that even if President Obama's message to the children was political, the children should still watch it. What is the harm in presenting both sides of an issue to children? Should we really be sheltering them from messages just because we don't agree with them? I sure as hell don't think so. I actually think it would foster educational and thought-provoking conversations between children and their parents. But you see, parents are lazy. God forbid they actually have to TALK to their children about important issues. God forbid should you have to turn your TV off and have an actual conversation at the dinner table.

"No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work. You’re not a varsity athlete the first time you play a new sport. You don’t hit every note the first time you sing a song. You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in... So today, I want to ask you, what’s your contribution going to be? What problems are you going to solve? What discoveries will you make? What will a president who comes here in twenty or fifty or one hundred years say about what all of you did for this country?" (excerpts from Obama's speech)

I believe this is a good message for kids. Sure, they should hear things like this primarily from their parents, their teachers, and their peers. But maybe they don't really hear it. Or maybe they don't have people around them to inspire them in this way. Maybe 10, 20, 30 years from now, there will be just one child who remembers the day back in 2009 when he or she sat in school and listened to President Obama, and it changed his or her life. Is that not worth it?

We should do everything we can to help encourage and promote the opportunities that lay before these children. They have the potential to grow up and change the world.

I think we need that.