Books, History, Food, Politics, and Life

Books, History, Food, Politics, and Life
Things through a different light...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Halloween 2012

                                        Halloween 2012

I had a good time tonight handing out Candy to all the trick or treaters, I hope that I can take Aiden somewhere next year in a cute costume!

This is my fancied up photo for the year.

I hope everyone else had a safe and Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!!!

I LOVE Halloween and I'm pretty stoked to be at home tonight to give out candy.  I have a rocking witch hat and an improv costume (since my normal clothes are not fitting quite the way they used to LOL) and our porch is decorated and ready for trick or treaters!!!

May you eat tons of good candy since I cannot!
I am not bummed that I cannot eat candy, I am just excited that I get to enjoy the evening, it is going to be fantastic.  

So whats going on with me?  
I am still reading the Andrew Jackson book, I am starting to like it, so strange that he is such a complicated figure...he did horrible horrible things, but often seemed so sincere and tender with his family.  I have a paper to write on the book and I will be sure to add that in.

As I am still attempting to stay away from Political stuff, I would much rather use this blog (well for the 5 or 6 people who read it) to ask, beg, plead... with you guys to donate to the American Red Cross!  You can give as little as ten dollars and help so many people out whose lives have been devastated by Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath.  People lost homes, family members and basic items that the Red Cross provides, I urge you to just take a moment out of your day and give to those who need it!

That being said... while I will not write about it, I have noticed that President Obama is picking back up his lead according to Nate Silver.  I really enjoy his blog and I like the fact that he combines tons of different types of polls and meshes them together to give you a more comprehensive look at the voting population at least according to the polls.  I wanted to  vote early but it is kind of a pain out here in Warner Robins, GA and we cannot mail in our ballots unless we have some sort of medical excuse etc....

My husband really wants the new Assassin's Creed Game.  I am slightly intrigued due to the fact that it takes place during the American Revolution and part of me can pretend that I am Daniel Day Lewis' character in the film depiction of Last of the Mohicans (just want to Imagine Daniel Day Lewis in that film actually since the film doesnt take place during the revolution).  I have not had as much time to play games as of late due to baby and school... I still play a slight bit of World of Warcraft, but this game interests me.

Finally, to slightly self promote myself and with the fact that I am not working, in Grad School, and about to have a baby... I put up a donation button (shameless I know), but if you would like to donate to the help Shonda afford Grad School fund, please by all means, do so!  

See you later!

Monday, October 29, 2012

A Lot Going On

Today I am reading American Lion by Jon Meacham, a look at the Andrew Jackson presidency.  As a historian who already has a bias towards Jackson, I am attempting to drop that and read this objectively with an open mind...that being said, it is difficult not to recall throughout (even during touching passages about his relationship with his wife Rachel) the devastation Jackson caused to native American tribes and the horrific Trail of Tears.  

Here is a link to the text if you are interested.

Today is ever so quiet in comparison to last week and weekend.  On top of learning how to manage gestational diabetes and changing my diet (along with checking my blood sugar four times a day), Sunday morning I had a pretty awful scare which landed me in the Emergency Room for four hours.  The baby is fine (yay), but I may have a kidney stone which would explain a lot to be honest, since I have had some nagging pain over the past few weeks.  All still manageable so I am not going to complain, it just made the weekend itself a bit of a struggle and left me in a mood and a bit exhausted yesterday.  I am truly glad that I did decide to stop working when I did, I think that was the safest avenue to pursue because of how my health has been over the past two weeks.  TO my benefit, I am married to an amazing person who has really taken on the responsibility of helping make all of these struggles easier.  Adam has cooked dinner every night since I found out I had the diabetes and he makes healthy and good meals that just make everything a little bit easier.  I love him for it.  

This is baked Salmon, baked sweet potatoes and stir-fry veggies/ A meal by Adam

Adam has also done a blackened catfish that was amazing with beans and a ginger veggie side and tonight he is doing something with chicken, it makes this diet a lot easier to handle and its working because my blood sugar has remained low.  (and thanks to these great meals, I can have my home made brownies without much guilt)

As you can tell, I've steered clear from the Election for a bit, for a few reasons:

1. It is so overdone everywhere... emails, facebook posts, twitter... these sites are overwhelmed with discussion about the election and to be honest, it is no secret about where I stand and who I shall vote for.  Do I still believe Mitt Romney is bad for the country?  Yes, and I have posted various reasons as to why I believe that so I do not feel the need to continue to harp on it for the next two weeks.  That being said... GO OBAMA!

2.   There are more important things going on... Hurricane Sandy is sure to cause a great deal of damage and chaos for people who are living on the upper east coast of this country.  I am very worried about how many people it will effect and hope that all stay safe throughout the ordeal.    If you have a few extra dollars, please consider donating to the Red Cross during this time, people will need help and the Red Cross does amazing work!

3. I've been too busy to rant about politics as much as I have been ranting about them at home.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Sometimes I find I just need a good laugh and today I got one after a kind of rough morning where I discovered that strangely enough Waffles and syrup do not mesh with me right now.... I laid back down, rested, did some cleaning, and then lit a new candle that Adam and I purchased at Bath & Body Works.  It was a pear scent and well, it must really be convincing because my Boxer Lizzie thought it was some sort of wonderful dessert and attempted to lick it.  She is fine, just moped around the house because I fussed at her....but it was my laugh for the day.

I have a visit from a very important person in a few minutes, so I am going to go to starbucks and have a nice and relaxing day!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Break From Politics

I love politics, I like discussing them, I like reading up on issues...etc... but these last few weeks of the Presidential election have soured me completely and I was so "out" of politics last night that instead of watching the debate, I read a book and played on my ipad.  While I understand the necessity of keeping the election going with high momentum so the news channels will have something to incessantly analyze for the next few weeks...I am sure there are other things going on in the world that we should notice like...

The fact that another shooting happened in Wisconsin where 4 people ended up dead because a Man who should not have been able to get a gun, bought one from a "private seller" and thus bypassed all of our gun laws.  This man killed his wife, who recently had a restraining order placed against him and told the court that she feared for her life....

OR...If you want something a bit more uplifting (I know I can be a downer at times)

It is FALL and it is lovely outside and leaves are turning, the air is cooler, smart fall decorations are popping up on doorsteps with pumpkins and skeletons and a variety of beautiful Mums. (I am loving my mums right now).
See this is lovely!
Now I am not advocating everyone take a break from politics on Election Day, by all means...regardless of whether or not you share my opinion, please go Vote...its something that we should all do and I will not disregard the importance of the act...even if you live in a state like I do where most of the people will vote opposite of you, your vote does do not stay home, VOTE!

I just got a bit tired of watching two men who I decided between well...from the beginning.  Two very different visions for the country, one on the other side of the planet than my own... and while I liked watching the other the time this one got started I was like... "Oh man I cannot watch another one of these."

So... read about real news, go outside and enjoy the fall...and have a good day!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Nope, Don't Like It!!

Adam calls me Mr. Horse when I just straight up dislike something immediately.  

This is Mr. Horse btw
I had the RHOgam test today for pregnant women who have O negative blood, so they give you a shot if the test is positive so you wont have any problems if your child has positive blood.  Usually getting blood drawn is no big deal, I have to do it all the time but... lol today, the RHOgam blood draw was a not fun experience.  The people at the hospital were REALLY nice, the actual process and that needle did NOT like me.  So, I Mr. Horseed it completely.  lol.

I have a bit of a heavy school workload this week, partly because I slacked a bit last week (my fault).... but I am reading a book today called Salem Possessed: The Social Origins of Witchcraft and I am liking it.  ALOT.
So... no Mr. Horse where that is concerned.
Here is a link to the book
The book goes beyond the trial transcripts and delves into Salem Village, the atmosphere and things going on in the area at the same time, using records from chuches, taxes, court cases...etc.  I believe what that does is present a well rounded picture of what happened in 1692 that led to the deaths of 19 innocent people...  I am liking the book immensely so at least my assignments are fun this week.

3rd debate is tonight, I am about to Mr. Horse it too... I am not undecided (hell I don't think anyone is at this point) and I know Obama's stance on foreign policy and well, Romney's will change depending on who he wants to attract on what day... lol.   I will probably be in bed by then anyway lol...I woke up at 3 am and could not get back to sleep.  I swear I have overactive brain, I think of ALL KINDS of crazy things and I cannot get back to, work, the baby's room, hanging up clothes, cleaning the house, you name it... at 3 AM, my mind is on it.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

I'm Pretty Lucky

Like everyone on this planet, there are times when my first world problems overwhelm and I bemoan all the annoyances in life (lol I apologize for all the whining I do on here).  Yesterday, I had my baby shower...yes the infamous female tradition of celebrating baby with snack foods, corny decorations, and usually cheesy games (I fought off the games thing, I can't deal with shower  I had SUCH an amazing experience.  
First... since the shower was in October, we had a little fun and had a witch hat contest....

Here are a few of the participants!
I loved it and we had my 3 year old niece and her friend judge, which was hilarious. I also received so many wonderful gifts that it filled my car... I was like wow, just wow.  Such wonderful friends and family.  I need to complain less (of course this will probably fade after I watch the next Presidential debate tomorrow night lol).  I had family come from Florida, friends come from hours away...and we all just spent time together and enjoyed ourselves and it made my day that much brighter...they will never know how much I appreciated it.

Spent today with my husband and had a nice day... now to get into next week and back to the grind... papers, doctor appointments, and reading!!!

But Its nice every now and again to stop and just go.... Things are pretty OK!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Restless Day

Anxiety can creep up on you like a spider.  While I should be relaxing because I am finally on leave from work and have more time to deal with my studies... outside annoyances have crept in and caused me a great deal of stress and concern.  It is hard to express it to people who do not understand or who are not plagued with high anxiety like I am.  I am a worrier anyway and when there are actual things to worry about, the slightest problem can send me into a fit of fear and stress.

First - Stresses with work. I will leave it at that.

Second - A failed hour glucose test, in the grand scheme of things the failure is not a huge deal, many women fail the first test and come out fine the second and my actual levels were not too high over the pass/fail number.  But with the past and my own stresses, I freaked out and had a miniature meltdown which set me back with school work and kind of left me blah the rest of the day.  While I feel a little better now, I spent most of last night awake...just stuck in my own brain and thinking about stuff that I really should not be focusing on at this point... but it is hard not to and while I woke up a great deal more positive, it lends to another sluggish day where I have a lot to do in a short amount of time.  

So my brain is a bit befuddled and tired today... I am hoping tomorrow is better.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Busy Morning

After a not fun Dr. appointment and a few other obligations I had to take care of, the morning was busy and kind of bleh, now I am settling down to read for class and attempt to relax (who would have thought not working was so  much work).

I am not a big fan of pregnancy pics, but there are a few... two from a harry potter party at work on my last day and one from a trip adam and I took to the fair.

Adam, the awesome husband that he is, taking a picture of me buying horrible food.
Diana and I at the Harry Potter party at work, she is dressed much cooler than I
Katie and I on my last day of work (notice my awesome Ravenclaw scarf)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012


I don't see the point in surrounding yourself with people who only tell you what you want to hear and sort of throwing off those who don't.
It is an observation I've had for a while, experienced and well... get tired of.  Maybe some people get miffed by my honesty, who knows...
Perhaps I am just a bit annoyed by some behaviors of people I know recently.

When you have to focus on you and not devote your every waking moment to others, it kind of sticks out who stays around and who doesn't.

My life changed, focuses changed, and my time available changed, and the reaction of some to that has been quite astonishing and upsetting, while those who understand are awesome people and I truly appreciate them more.  What is funny is that some of my best friends have as little time as I do, and they find the time to talk, be encouraging, joke and just be there, even when they live hours away... while others... obviously have other things to do.

I have homework today, as I do every day lol...grad school... and I am going to push this annoyance to the side. A friend is picking me up later for some time out, I appreciate it very much. 

On a more positive note...

Both dogs have taken over the couch and are snoring as they do every day...the life of dogs lol.  The babies room will probably be complete this weekend!!!  I will of course be "in deep study" on the other side of the house because I HAVE to finish a paper (lol) while Adam puts together the furniture.  
This is what they do in the mornings while I study.
So this morning, before my friend arrives for our quick lunch and get Shonda out of the house campaign, I will keep reading Parlor Politics: In Which the Ladies of Washington Help Build a City and a Government.  The book is already interesting in the fact that it sheds light on some of the odd behaviors of the men in Washington and the lack and availability of social mobility for women.  While they lived in closed worlds, sequestered from public life...they had considerable power and used the private life to sway politics. In addition, I am quite shocked at some of our founder's opinions of women (yes I was a long time ago, but we often idolize these guys so much that when someone like Jefferson feel like women were the reason the French revolution got out of hand and often seemed completely untrusting of them as a sex, is odd).  

I had to get a few concerns off my chest, but today is going to be a good day.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cannot Condone It

     No one has the ability to convince me that any sort of religion enables people to hate another person because of who they love.  I've studied a few over my academic career, and while academic study separates you from the belief itself, it does give you an idea of what the tenants mean to those who follow said faith.  No religion I have ever studied says... Hate this person because of who they love.
Now, yes, one could manipulate sentences and verses to support their own intolerant agenda, but that does not make it right and it does not mean the religion in its core supports such things. 
     One thing about progress, the central idea of being progressive, is to learn over time and grow, not to step backwards into barbaric behaviors and sentiments.  To me, the anti-gay sentiment that permeates throughout this country is simply a remnant of some archaic and barbaric thinking, some past where it is acceptable to ostracize another human being for being different from YOU.  I have never subscribed to such base behavior.  I do not believe I am better than others who do, I just consider myself lucky for having the right experiences that taught me to accept another person regardless of who they dated (because honestly, I really do not care).  
     First, I had an uncle who was gay.  He was a loving, candid, silly, and human person possessing great virtues and natural flaws just like any other human being.  I grew up slowly understanding that my uncle was different, that he was gay and at first I did not know what it meant, but all I saw was my uncle, so I really could have cared less.  Once I matured enough to understand, his sexuality mattered even less.  He was again, just my uncle and when he died a few years ago, the only thing I remembered about him was how much I loved him, not who he wanted to date.  Second, I was an extremely shy and awkward child.  I know, I know... that is a shock to my friends now.  I did not like talking, I did not like groups of people, and I had social issues at school... so my parents, in an effort to get a child who THEY saw as open and outgoing, put me in theater to help me get to know people more and enjoy myself.  It was an AMAZING thing my parents did and to this day, I cannot thank them enough for the experience.  So, in theater, I met a lot of different people...of various backgrounds and with a plethora of different personalities, some were gay, straight, black, white...we all just got together and had fun.  To sum it all up, what I am trying to say is during my youth I had exposure to other people and learned to accept people because they all accepted me, and I knew them as friends, family... not some "other."  
     While I get pretty involved in politics, social issues are my biggest cause.  I have had the honor to meet people from all over the country and world who illustrate how great humanity can be when love is a guiding force.  I have family who strive no matter how hard it is, to teach others that LOVE is the ONLY way...and intolerance, hate, cruelty.... is the wrong way.    These people are atheists, christians, buddhists, pagans and muslims....from tons of different faiths and creeds.  So when people who walk around with signs that say "God Hates Fags" and when they boycott places because they have fair policies regarding the equal treatment of gay and straight couples... and they do that in the name of a religion... its painful to me, it angers me, but I have to remember that those people just have the wrong idea.... and maybe if they UNDERSTOOD what they were doing, they would stop.

I'm not saying every person who does not understand what its like to be gay should pretend to be gay for a year (honestly, they shouldnt have to to accept people for who they are), but if they just lived a day in another person's life... if they just tried to think to themselves... I do not know what its like to be this way, so why am I judging this life?  The world would be a much happier place.

Friday, October 12, 2012

School and Things

What a nice day, not as productive as I would like, but nice all the same.  First, it is beginning to cool down.  The temperatures are not 95 degrees every single day and thus I can turn a light bit of air on while I work and read at a comfortable temperature (little perks).  Secondly, I had a very progressive talk with my adviser from school today and we pretty much planned the rest of my Grad program, which is shorter that I thought lol.  It is nice to see the completion in sight and know what you need to do and maintain.  With all of the important events coming up (Aiden mostly) I want to make sure I am not overdoing it or overloading myself with a schedule I may not be able to handle.  Finding out I only had to take two classes instead of three, is a bit of a relief.  

Today I am reading up on Britain in Africa, covering things like the Boer Wars, the struggle for Nile Domination and the lead up to World War I (which I truly enjoy studying).  Lawrence James' The Rise and Fall of the British Empire is a tome of a book, and often his perspective is a bit odd to me, but overall I enjoy reading it... if you ever need something that just covers the entire empire in a concise manner, this is the book for you.  Now if I can just finish my assignment for the week, write out my responses and turn them in... 

The dog is snoring, which makes me want to take a nap as well, but no sleep for the perpetual student.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012


This week we are making a great deal of progress in preparation for baby Wilson.  We have the bed, dresser is on the way, strollers, car seats...along with flooring and painting in the works.  Now, this does mean that we have to put all this glorious furniture together, but I am sure a few hours of yelling and screaming and throwing directions are healthy lol.

On other fronts, this is my last week of work before I go on leave, I had to cut back hours because I just cant stand up for 8 hours which made me feel kind of wimpy but, I will get over it.
School is progressing, currently I have all A's but the semester is still young and I have a long way to go... lots of books to read and write about.  I will say that while the rigorous work is sometimes baffling, I do enjoy Grad School, I love having the ability to constantly study my field, its a great feeling.

Right now I am finishing up:  New England's Generation: The Great Migration and the Formation of Society and Culture in the Seventeenth Century.  It is an interesting book and great for someone who doesn't know the crucial differences between the New England settlers (mostly Puritans at first) and the rest of the colonial settlements of the 17th century.  The New England stock went across the Atlantic for different reasons than your Chesapeake fortune hunters and thus the environment turns out to be quite different.  Because I've done a great deal with Puritans over the years, this book often feels like a rehash, but for someone who maybe doesn't really know a lot about Puritans, its a really informative book.

If all goes as planned, I start on different content tomorrow for my British Empire Class, I love the subject but man that workload is something that sneaks up on you constantly because there are other things often in the way.  I wish I had more time with that class, I really do.

I am having quite a bit of political turmoil with the fact that one good performance (based off of lies) delivered by Mitt Romney has somehow made him the savior of America.  When you can come off as convincing on camera, but all the while tell complete lies.... that just means you would do well as a salesman somewhere, not our President.  His foreign policy comments earlier this week did not help my sinking opinion of the man who often diverts attention from  major problems by fixating on talking points (aka the PBS big bird crap).  He would have stayed in Iraq, he would stay in Afghanistan, he wants to give guns to Syria and invade Libya and well...we know he wants to duke it out with Iran...and yet he complains about our debt and our budget and federal spending and borrowing from China....  I hate to tell Mr. Romney, who obviously does not have time to go over public records very often... our debt to China has nothing to do with PBS and everything to do with military spending that went out of control after multiple wars that were needless, that accomplished little, and killed many young Americans... why on earth would I want to vote for someone who wants to ignore the costs and jump right back into war???

This confuses me... very much.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

A Toast to Things Not Changing!

You know in my fairy princess happy world of unicorns and rainbows I think that people learn from history and that all the crazy stuff going on today is new and insane and just never seen before so perhaps the world has gone crazy....
Then I have to go and study history and my rainbows melt and my unicorns are goats with horns glued on and I'm one unhappy princess!

I would like to believe that our founders, the fathers of Enlightenment thought and the creators of the amazing country had some high minded concept of America that went beyond parties and politics and all the mess we seem to bog ourselves down with today to divide and distrust....
but no...
they started it!

They wrote letters, published articles, had parties and celebrations, funerals for their opponents, sometimes burning them in effigy, and all under the banner of Republican and Federalist (back in the day of course)!
Its funny but its also one of those OMG THEY DID THE SAME THING THAT LONG AGO!!!!!!

Their broadsides and newspapers and public speeches at holiday celebrations have been replaced by tweets, facebook rants, and memes.  

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

New Book

Reading a new book for my Early National America class today and its a pretty strange concept I've never celebrations and public displays o patriotism influenced the National idea.  Sometimes the book can be a bit dry, but overall its very interesting.

In The Midst of Perpetual Fetes

I will say it is at least worth checking out if history is your thing, especially if American history is your thing.

Next up....

New England's Generation

This one is for my Colonial America class...

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Giant Elephant

One of the things that bugs me about politics is that no matter what, when you are on a certain ignore any honest conversation that may challenge your own outlook.  Now I know that both sides do it, so I will totally not even deny that...but yesterday and this morning something I've noticed really began to bug me.

First, call me a bleeding heart, a humanitarian, whatever...but when people are hungry, they should get food, when they dont have a home, there should be somewhere they can sleep, when they work and cannot make the bills, there should be some sort of service that helps them make it and when someone is sick...they should not have to worry if they have enough money in the bank to cover it....

That is how I look at things, poor people are not lazy, old and infirm are not lazy, and they do care about their lives...not everyone has the same situation and so if we begin to just neglect the least of our society, in reflects on us.... 

If we want to have less poor, if we want to have more opportunity and innovation, we need a good foundation in education so people as they grow learn and possess the skills to make it in an ever growing competitive world.  A solid education system is key and not meant to just occupy kids for half the day every season but the summer.... its not a holding place, its a place for learning and it has a important one.

Why is it that whenever we discuss cutting our inflated for the poor, "entitlements," and education are FIRST on the list...while tax cuts for the extremely wealthy and cuts to the military budget are never mentioned?

I don't know to be honest, but it frustrates me.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Can We Just Report News Please?

While sitting in the Doctor's office this morning (poor husband is under the weather), my attempts at reading my next assignment for school repeatedly were interrupted by the morning news.  I don't often pay attention to morning news shows, to be honest when I am up early, I usually occupy myself with school work and read my news in print (well online at least) from a few different sources.  So, I found myself distracted by how ODD the news was...

1. It seemed to be a loop of the same stuff and here were the topics....

1. Obama and Romney camps are being nice to each other before the debates.

2. A woman grew her own ear replacement on her arm.

3. Diapers might be in shortage soon.

4. Milk might go up because congress wont pass a farm bill.


5. Lindsey Lohan got in a fight with some guy in her hotel room....

Is this really the scope of news today???

Because this doesn't seem like news.... Here are some news headlines...