Sunday, March 30, 2008

Dear blog,

Sorry if it seemed like I was ignoring you for a while. Things have been really nuts lately. So much has been going on at home and I've been really distracted, and unfortunately you, blog, have had to sit by untouched, lonely. In case you're wondering what on earth could be so important to let you be so idle, let me fill you in ...

*chimey daydream musical interlude*

A few months ago, the hubby and his back had a big fallout, which left him hobbling to the doctor's office like an 80-year-old man. The doctor recommended drug therapy, and when that didn't work, physical therapy. The therapy was doing a lot of good for Dave, and the therapist said that she was really happy with Dave's progress, in fact, happy enough that Dave could resume normal activity. (In case it wasn't obvious, the hubby=Dave) That's when all hell broke loose.

You see, Dave was so excited about getting back to his normal routine that he did what he would have done any other week of any other month that he was perfectly healthy. He ran 16 miles (8 miles two days that week), went to a yoga class, a spin class and walked the dogs every day. On Friday, though, he suddenly became that 80-year-old man again, holding onto his back, wary of his next step lest there not be something with which he could hold on to for support. I feared the worst: we were back where we started just two months ago. If only...

We scheduled an appointment with a back specialist, but we wouldn't be able to see him for a week and a half because he was on vacation. Dave got the next best thing until help arrived: Vicodin.

Just last Tuesday Dave saw the back specialist and it was unnerving news: Dave has a weak low spine, probably caused by a fairly common genetic disorder. This, paired with weak spinal support muscles, has lead to an overall weakened lower spine and several inflamed or aggravated discs. Somewhere, somehow, Dave's leg started to feel numb and sometimes painful. The doctor thinks this is attributed to a pinched nerve near his hip somewhere.

We had an MRI on Thursday and my fingers are crossed that once we know more from the analysis on Tuesday that surgery will become a more distant option, but for now, it looks like Dave may have to have some type of back surgery in the near future. I'll keep you all updated, but please keep Dave in your thoughts. We'd both appreciate it.

Since Dave's laid up and can't lift more than 10 pounds, we've given up on the home improvement projects we had planned, like painting the bedroom, staining the deck and doing some serious landscaping. This sucks, but I'll tell you what, rooms can always be painted, yards can always be landscaped.

Hopefully though, none of these back problems will keep us from going on the camping trip we had planned since January. We're (hopefully) going to the Old Settler's Music Festival, which should be really great.

That seems like enough for now... When I know more, you will, too. I promise to not stay away so long again.

Love always and forever and ever,


Thursday, March 20, 2008

But I wanted to be Stencil!!!

Typecast Yourself!

Totally wasn't expecting that... I figured I'd be something a bit more moody and nostalgic. I like her hair, though.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The economy is crashing! Run for your loans!

I'm sure the world has no doubt heard that America is now a nation of poor folk.

Okay, that's not necessarily accurate, but from what a lot of people are saying, you'd probably think that we're all going to end up running on the banks any day now. For folks who failed high school economics, let me explain:

Each nation's economy, by nature, is cyclical. Gains and losses in wealth cause greater changes on larger scales, meaning that as the working class increases their wealth or increases their education the working class will shrink, we will have fewer members of a labor force to produce domestic goods, our economy will shift to a more service oriented economy rather than a commodity or material economy, our imports will grow, exports will shrink and more people will seek assets, like homes.

Now, as more people seek homes, banks and lending institutions will find a way to make the greatest profit on this new trend, so they will offer financing to people that in the previous economic conditions would not have received a loan. To weight their risk in the equation, higher interest rates are charged on the amount of the loan. This is pretty standard practice. It gets tricky when banks get greedy. Because the economy just shifted over a period of years, banks look to the Fed as a kind of weathervane. As the Fed increases the rate at which it will lend money to banks, banks will then pass that cost on to those people who took on loans with Adjustable rates, or sub-prime loans that banks invented to maximize profits.

What happens, though, when the Fed increases the rate and the banks pass on that increase and the sub-prime borrowers can't pay? If there are too many sub-prime mortgages in the market, there is a crash. You see, banks want their cake, ice cream, and a decent offshore account in the Bahamas and they want to eat it, too. They don't make money off of a foreclosed home, so keeping these folks paying on their house is in their own best interest. But as mortgagors can't pay and banks can't pay on the investments they've received from central banks, well... you get into the recession we now have.

Incidentally, in order to minimize the impact of the recession, the Fed has decreased the rate at which it will lend money to banks by, in analytical terms, a whole fucking lot. Meaning that money is cheap right now. Meaning that the value of the dollar is lower. Meaning that traveling abroad and buying imports is ridiculously expensive. Meaning that the service economy we were building will have to transition into creating different kinds of domestic goods and services in order to manage the weakening value of the dollar.

It's just one big cycle.

But if you're in the market for a loan, for home improvement and refinancing, now is a good time to borrow because banks want to give you money to make money off of you in interest.

So, we're going to pay the banks to remodel our kitchen. I'm thinking bamboo cabinet veneers, marmoleum floors, recycled glass mosaic tile backsplash, corian countertop, farm sink and a new custom island.

Any suggestions?

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Lofty goals

Ah, resolve ... Once my only conception of "resolve" was running up and down the household cleaner aisle of HEB looking for something to fix the coffee stain I'd put on the upholstery of my mother's car after borrowing it for a week while in college. It was my savior in a bright read spray bottle.

Early this year I resolved to do a lot of things. I resolved to get better at my inversions. I resolved to lose some of the baggage on my body and keep it off. I resolved to improve my endurance and run a 5k in November. I resolved to dedicate more time to my hobbies (knitting). I also resolved to try to be more balanced.

Do you see a common theme here? Anyone that practices yoga knows that I'm just shooting to live a more yogic life, one that is active and peacefull, one that is more flexible and constant and one that brings wholeness inside and out.

I guess in all of my stressing I'm ignoring the journey; I'm focusing on what I need to be instead of what I need to do. That all has to stop. I've noticed I've been focusing a lot on the negative aspects of who I am, hiding behind self-deprecating humor and general misanthropy. Nothing gets accomplished that way.

So, I know I'll probably never get to nirvana in this life, but here's hoping I can focus on the good parts enough to be at least a little more whole, a little more accepting and a little more at peace. Maybe a little more resolute ...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Thou shalt not be a fat ass

I was really amused that the Vatican announced a few new sins to watch out for. Catholics should shun the following actions: genetic modification, carrying out experiments on humans, polluting the environment, causing social injustice, causing poverty, becoming obscenely wealthy and taking drugs.

To me it sounds like a day in American culture. I mean, aren't Americans known for Franken foods, chemtrails, our record for environmental moral insolvency, segregation and institutional racism, welfare and ghetto government through patronage, more billionaires per square mile than anywhere on earth and a burgeoning drug culture borne of prohibition?

This is a great development, I think, but my real hope is that these new sins will bump a few other ones off of the previous short-list, one-way-ticket-to-hell sins, namely gluttony and avarice, or coveting. I like to eat a lot and watch Food Network and HGTV, which means I was going to hell anyway, right?

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Prediction follow-up: Bass Ackwards in Texas

I was shocked watching the election returns last night. I took a nice long shower after taking a run with Dave and Hornsby to get me away from my compulsive poll-watching. As I refreshed my local news page once we returned from our outing, I gasped after I saw that Hillary was ahead by two percentage points in Texas after just being declared winner in Ohio. Earlier in the evening, MSNBC had called Vermont for Obama, which doesn't surprise me because Vermont is the literal left wing of America. But the last thing I expected was Hillary to pull off a miracle in Texas.

I knew that Obama would take Dallas County. He had way too much momentum here for Hillary to come out on top. Besides that, compared to Austin, San Antonio and Houston, Dallas' Hispanic population is proportionately smaller, and Latinos had been favoring Hillary's rhetoric. But I was surprised that Obama took Houston, Austin and Dallas, and rural Texas and San Antonio were outright wins for Hillary. To see a cool map of the county-by-county wins, click here. Here are the final numbers:

Hillary Clinton: 51%
Barack Obama: 47%
John Edwards: 1%

John McCain: 51%
Mike Huckabee: 38%
Ron Paul: 5%
Mitt Romney: 2%
Uncommitted (whoever the hell that is!): 1%
Fred "The Corpse" Thompson: 1%
Alan Keyes: 1%
Duncan Hunter: 1%
Rudy Giuliani: 0% (This is the candidate our good ol' Gov. Rick Perry endorsed!)

After last night McCain has clinched the Republican nomination. Yay. I'm not a big fan of McCain, mostly for his ultra-hawkish war rhetoric. I don't think America's really all that good with this military-industrial complex stuff, especially since year after year it make us look more and more like Rome: self-indulgent and imperial, worldly yet clueless.

But Clinton and Obama will fight 'til the end, very likely right up to the National Democratic Convention, which is a shame, really. Both candidates are working hard to unify the party, and I think that the best thing to do is for them to share the Democratic ticket with Hillary at top. In fact, Madame Clinton is already hinting at this possibility. According to the AP:

Asked on CBS's "The Early Show" whether she and Obama should be on the same ticket, Clinton said:

"That may be where this is headed, but of course we have to decide who is on the top of ticket. I think the people of Ohio very clearly said that it should be me."

Well, I think you could say now, Hillary, that Texas has said it quite clearly, too. I think it would be a strategic victory for Hillary to name Obama her running mate. Think of it: Hillary wins this presidency, and probably the next, and then Obama, well seasoned from two terms as VP runs for the presidency and wins, bringing us into our golden age.

Gets me excited just thinking about it.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

It's go time? How about "Go to sleep time"?

Long hours at work have my body clock all screwed up. You see, for journalists in Dallas, today is like a fucking religious holiday. Everyone shows up for work dressed like slobs, anticipating a marathon blogging and poll watching session that lasts from as early as you can get your ass up to as late as you can stand to watch the precincts report. I usually cop out around 5:30 or so because I'm not that dedicated. I'm perfectly OK watching the returns from home.

Lots of folks are giving their Texas primary predictions. Here are mine, with Ohio predictions thrown in there for good measure:

In Texas Obama will win, albeit narrowly, with 52 percent against Hillary's 48. Hillary carries the more liberal, heavily Latino cities of San Antonio and Austin, as well as several rural spots. The glut of the delegates are in Dallas and Houston, and Obama walks away with them.

Huckabee makes a strong showing with 35 to 37 percent of Republican turnout, while McCain wins Texas outright. Lots of crossover voting (Tried and true Rs voting D) puts Huckabee in a better-than-expected position, though he bows out after conceding Texas and becomes first in line for VP spot.

In Ohio, Hillary wins with a decent lead over Obama, mostly due to the large proportion of Yellow-dog Democrats that trust Hillary's battle-tested persona. Hillary will take 54 percent of Ohio's vote to Obama's 46.

Huckabee is a non starter in the Ohio race. McCain's the only real choice for Republicans in Ohio.


There you have it, folks. Go ahead and place your bets because the Election Day Oracle has spoken.


There's a lot of energy bubbling around the office, lots of eager faces waiting for the returns to post (in 6 hours, mind you). It's go time for everyone else, but I'd much rather be back in my bed, rolling over wistfully and reveling in the slightly sweet smell of my feather pillow as it cradles my head, lulling me back to sleep until my alarm gets too annoying or it gets too late to call my first meal breakfast; whichever happens first.