Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Why Can't politicians keep it in their pants?

Another congressman was caught in an affair - two at the same time actually... WHY!?!?!?

I totally don't understand why men, especially, can't control themselves when it means DISASTER if they are found out about an affair. Not only does it ruin them politically, try repairing marriage when an affair has been made public = when EVERYONE knows?

Now, I TOTALLY think that a person's private life is just that - private. If a man or woman has an affair, that's their business as long as no laws are broken. It is just a fact that men (and I'm using men as that's who our leader's and in the eye people have been) with power or influence or clout, tend to "get around". It used to be "hush-hush" and discreet, now it means blowing whistles.

So, if you are a politician, especially and you KNOW that every single man in modern history who has been caught in an affair has gone down BURNING career-wise, WHY? WHY? do they continue to "do it"?

And WHY does it always seem to be the ones that want the toughest punishments for these "acts" and those that preach family values, that seem to get caught the most? Ironic, isn't it? Thou dost protest too much!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Busy weekend - went to Gettysburg

Late this summer our family realized how CLOSE Gettysburg was to the DC area. We knew it was in Pennsylvania, of course, but didn't realize it was less than a 2 hour drive from where we live. Since my older son didn't have school and my husband didn't have work for Columbus Day, we went to check it out.

First, the Cyclorama is amazing. I had no idea that this was something made in the late 1800s and was meant to be displayed like this. I truly thought it was just a blown up picture from after Civil War, but no... it was painted to be shown like this - a panorama of the battlefield. Others were made around this time too. I guess when veterans of the battle saw it, they cried as it was so reminiscent of what they saw. Here's some info on the cyclorama:

And here is a link to a documentary (first is 4:30, second is 5:20) to the Gettysburg cyclorama: Supposedly there are three parts, but I could only find two (and it seems I'm not the only one).

The other really neat thing was how they have tried to keep the landscape similar to how it was during the battle time - trees growing where trees were known to be, rock fences, where they were, even groves of trees, exactly where they were before.

There is one point where you see a painting made around the time of the battle and you are standing RIGHT THERE and you can see exactly how far the confederate troops are from the Union position. You can imagine them marching across the fields, and you can just imagine waiting, watching the mile long line getting close enough to have within range...

The one thing that struck me the most was - how do you feed and water nearly 80,000 moving troops? How do you get everyone ammunition? Working guns? Together in those three days there were 165,000 troops.... at the end of the battle 7,000-8,000 were killed, but total 53,000 were killed, wounded, captured or missing. Can you imagine this little town? Every farm field was a graveyard, every public building, church and some private homes were hospitals. It took until late 1864 (the battle was July 1-3 1963) to move all the patients and clear out the city of all the doctors, etc. It was Nov. 1964 that the National cemetery was dedicated (with the famous Gettysburg address given by Lincoln). That cemetery is just a PORTION of the dead, most are unmarked graves scattered over thousands of acres.

I can't say that the day was filled with tons of great walks and fun filled hoopla, but it was good and it really does give you the idea of what they faced and gives you an appreciation of several aspects of the war during that time.

Here's the National Park site to check out more:

Friday, October 10, 2008

Why does no one decorate for Thanksgiving anymore?

In my family growing up we had those paper decorations to hang in the window for EVERY holiday important to a Christian raised kid (and let me state, I am not Christian or anything else as an adult). We had decorations for: Valentine's, St. Pat's, Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Now that I have kids, I have a wall tree that we decorate for the holidays. I have decorations - TONS for Valentines, enough for St. Pats, TONS for Easter, Many for spring/summer, TONS for Halloween, Barely ANY for Thanksgiving, and TONS for Christmas.

The last few days and a day last week I went into various craft stores and little stores to find some hanging smallish Thanksgiving decorations and nada, zilch, zip! Halloween stuff is coming out of every row, and a TINY 1/4 aise for Thanksgiving, and then Christmas stuff coming more and more every day, because, you know, it's ALMOST mid October and Christmas is like "right there!"

I know there USED to be more turkeys and pilgrim stuff, but it's gone. It's all generic "fall themed" and even iwth that, no hanging decorations. I'm at a loss! I'll have to check out ebay next because my "thanksgiving tree" looks NAKED! At least Pottery Barn Kids doesn't skip over Thanksgiving....

What a twisted world when Halloween trumps the day of giving thanks - tricking and scareing people is more "in". And then the Christmas blitz takes over even before Halloween hits. Thanksgiving is lost in the shuffle.

Maybe I like Thanksgiving MORE than any other Holiday because it's a day to say, "thank you for all I have. Thank you to family and friends. Just THANKS!" There's no presents being exchanged, no big hoopla of anything except making plans to go to friends and family's houses for dinner and conversation. Maybe it's because religion or christianity is not at it's root (though no one can say it's not "religious" either).

I know Thanksgivings can be a day of stress for some people, but it has always been a special day for my family growing up and now one for my kids. My 12 year old says, "it's my favorite holiday". Ah, he's my son after all! (Normally he is just like is dad!)

Starting last year (and we will continue this year) we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house. It's MEANT to be an open house for all and I really enjoy making a feast to share with those I care about and for new friends being made. So WHY is it being forgotten in the retail stores? The most FUNDAMENTAL holiday of our nation? The day of giving thanks. Any more I think the holiday is more about shopping for Christmas than it is for giving thanks.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Had a dilly of a time with this cake!

My son's best friend's mom and I have become friends and she asked me to make a cake for her IL's 50th wedding anniversary, which HAPPENS to fall on Yom Kippur, so I was a bit nervous. I decided to make TWO, one to start out on, and one to "perfect".

I got them both put together last night to decorate this morning and I was quite skeptical. I SHOULD have taken a picture of them then to compare as you won't believe me unless you are used to seeing "naked" cakes. Last night they looked like HUGE stacked marshmallow snowmen. I thought they looked lumpy and so imperfect. This morning they didn't look so bad (I guess I was super critical last night), but still... How would those marshmallow snowmen transform into elegant cakes?

But, let me start from the beginning: First, the cake was to be a somewhat mini cake. The bottom tier is 6" diameter. The middle is 4.5" and the top is 3". I've never worked with small layers before and it's a bit tricky. First, you don't bake them in small pans, but actually cookie cutter them out of a bigger cake (keeps them moister that way and flatter and more even.

So, on to assembly. First, I made it too tall, like WAY too tall, so I had to chop the "spare" down to size. I doweled it and every time I SWEAR I'm going to smash my cake when I put a dowel all the way through top to bottom. NEXT, came the scary marshmallow snowmen and that's where I left it last night.

This morning I started with dusting it gold. BUT... I got too close for air brushing and had to wipe it all off and start over (you should see the pretty sparkles on my kitchen counter now! (oops!). Then to figure out how to attach the little round balls to the side of the cake and to do the border. (I've never done drops before). For the spare, I decided to just make icing dots on the side to figure out placement (glad I did that!).

OK, then it was time to do the real one and as I worked, I just saw it transform into a cake I'm actually proud of! It's not just the picture that looks nice - I really did a decent job of it!

I don't think my giant marshmallow snowmen are recognizable now... I LOVE this cake... I've been making some weird (not too showy) cakes for awhile, so it was fun to do a "pretty" cake for a change. Now what to do with the spare?