Books, History, Food, Politics, and Life

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

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

The New 3 AM

I remember when I was younger and the only concern I had was constant entertainment/stimulation... I would stay up all hours online, playing video games...doing nothing productive.  
Now I'm up at 3 AM again and its different.

3 AM is pretty fun with this kid around.  Now granted, when he starts fussing and I am still asleep I groan, get annoyed...mutter something inappropriate under my breath and then get up.  By the time I have the bottle in his mouth I am smiling at him and trying to make him laugh, which he now does and it is hilarious.  
We usually spend about an hour or two like this... he eats, changes, and then I spend about 30 minutes getting him back to sleep.  I usually do a bit of reading or like I am doing tonight... blogging... while he settles down.

He was laughing and cooing as I changed him and I tried... to get it on camera but he is a coy little one.  He is now cooing behind me, he laughed pretty loudly a second ago...watching his lambs go around in a circle.  That amazes him.  

So now I have a wake up break for about two hours in the middle of the night sometimes.  Aiden is a pretty awesome baby so he does not wake up like this every night and I am sure it will lessen over time and these little moments will be something I tell him about when he is older while I lament that my little one has grown up so fast.  They do grow pretty fast... he is already out of some of his newborn outfits.  ;)

Six weeks old and he already has his dad and I around his fingers... as it should be.

I'll be in the bed again in a few minutes, I still get up at 7ish every morning because of school work and grown up obligations, I was never the lackadaisical sleep 'til noon type anyway...  People lie when they say growing up sucks...

Monday, January 28, 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different...

I am well aware that at times my blog can be a bit heavy.  I am one of those passionate people who bleed what I believe and feel the need to share it with every person I meet... in a non-offensive way I hope...
Anyway, I do realize I have been a bit pressing on my political views as of late and decided to give that a bit of a rest and do something different today...

After a lovely weekend in Atlanta with my husband, I will write a bit about what we did, what we purchased and some reviews of beer and wine (something I am rather good at...please do not even make the obvious Irish=lush connection, I watch Downton Abbey thank you... I know its typical...(btw I totally support Home Rule, I think Bobby Sands was a martyr and that the horrible wench Margaret Thatcher only perpetuated a problem...politics over) more thing....

Ok... On to the trip....

We had a chance to make it up to Atlanta over the weekend to sort of get away.  I felt a bit stir crazy and it was nice to go out and just spend some time together.  First we went to Antico Pizza which is owned by an Italian family.
Here is their website, I urge to to visit if you are in Atlanta.

The Pizza was amazing...
This is a traditional pizza with basil, Mozzarella, and I added hot chili peppers... I cannot tell you how good it was, I can only say that usually I eat one slice of pizza when we go out...this time I ate 3 1/2.
When we were there I had Peroni, which is an Italian beer... 

It is probably Italy's version of bud, but I liked it and it was great with Pizza lunch.

The rest of the day we wandered around Atlanta and just purchased foods and alcohol... lol we are awesome I know...

We did stop at Octane Coffee, which has one of the best cups of Coffee I've had (sorry Octane, but the Italian run place in Manhattan has you beat...but just barely)

To be fair... I probably needed that after the Peroni and the 5 AM feeding of the formula beast we like to call Aiden.
After our coffee break, we went to a place called Hop City that sells a large selection of beers and wines... I stocked up there and bought some Magner's Irish Cider and a Newcastle called the Founder's edition... It is a bit lighter than traditional Newcastle but it has a smooth taste and its great if you love the Brown Ale but you want something different...

If you see it and you like traditional Newcastle, give it a chance... I liked it.

Now onto other things... We went to Trader Joe's I purchased a ton of wine... TODAY I am trying their 3 buck chuck Shiraz.  Yes, the bottle cost 3 dollars...

Trader Joe's 3 dollar wine.

The first thing I notice is it smells rather nice, you can get the dark notes but also the rich fruit smells, maybe cherry...

The shiraz is not overly dry at all, but smooth and rather tasty... wow for 3 dollars... this is a reason to drive to trader Joe's in itself.  The Shiraz has this full body which I would not expect for 2.99... so good job Trader Joe!

Now after a day of riding about, eating, drinking, and being merry... we did get to come home to this...

So I will say the day was a complete success....

Friday, January 25, 2013

Women in Combat

Here is an article I read on today:
Women are already in combat...

I am of course of the mind that there are plenty of women out there who are just as capable of handling themselves in combat and let us be aware that there are already countries that not only have women in combat positions but require service so it is going to be hard for me to entertain the argument that a woman cannot hack combat situations based off of gender restrictions, to me that is about as outdated as the women should not vote because they are too delicate for politics argument of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Also... I have had the special privilege of getting to know women who have served, experienced combat, and have the wounds to prove it.  These women are brave, tough, and lived up to the challenges presented to them.  They gave and they experienced the same things as their male counterparts and in my opinion to deny them that equal right demonstrates the lasting stigma that women are somehow lesser in our society.

We still make less, there are still pretty stringent gender stereotypes, and I think that we all need to move forward and not rely on a ban put in place in the 90s that never made sense to me as a woman.

So in essence, if a woman wants to serve in the military, even be it on the front lines, she should have the chance to prove she can.

Here is another example

This is Tammy Duckworth who now a US Representative for the Illinois 8th congressional district.  She is apparently the first disabled woman elected to the US House of Representatives and she became disabled during her service in the Iraq war where she lost a leg and sustained other injuries when her helicopter was hit.  This woman is able, intelligent, and proves to me that these women are not delicate or unable to meet the physical requirements of war and so I really think its time to put even the well meaning protection instinct of some aside and let women be who they wish to be, in any capacity.  

It should not matter what gender a person it, it should matter if they have the desire, the drive, and the ability to meet the challenges in front of them...

There are plenty of women I could use as examples, who faced carnage and suffering from times long forgotten and so its time to let them face those challenges if they so choose.
We are not delicate flowers.

Here are some more pretty gutsy and hardcore women:

Long long ago...

An American Military History

Women in WWII

More women in WWII

Let me add... that my grandmother Mary R. Slaughter proudly served in Europe during WWII.  She received two bronze stars for her service and told me stories of her adventures when I was young, one of the reasons I love history...

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I cannot say I hate anyone. I posted a Martin Luther King Jr. quote on my Facebook Monday to that point...hate takes so much work. Now I can vehemently disagree with someone or even deeply dislike to the level of disgust a person's actions... But to hate a person... I just refuse to be that way and it is hard to understand hate for me... Talking last night, I thought about the pure hatred some people have for our president and it worries me. Granted, part of it bothers me because they accuse him if "socialism" and "communism" when I'm pretty sure they mean Fascism and they paint him as "hitler" while displaying an obvious lack of historical knowledge and a great deal of hubris about their painstakingly wrong assumptions... But underneath it all is hate, pure unbridled hate... Coming from a lot of people who by the open admittance of their dedication to belief and God, should not have hate in their hearts... That being said this is NOT a rant against faith and I politely ask no one use my blog as a platform for religion bashing because I know many devoted and faithful people who work tirelessly to spread acceptance and love... I'm just saying these people who tout hate need to embrace their faith. If our president was white and had a different name,... I don't think it would be as much of an issue and that is painful.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Oh man time flies, he's already a month old!  We attended our monthly Dr. appointment today and he was none too pleased with being examined and prodded, but we survived and are back home a bit fussier than usual. lol.

8lbs. and 14 oz.  woot woot!



The Power of Non-Violence .

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Smart Gun Control Does Not Oppose Liberty

There are a lot of articles surfacing on the internet, in the news, and in papers recently that resemble this one:  

Stephen Henderson: The right way to stop gun violence

In response, there are a lot of claims that any method of gun control infringes on a person's liberty and their right to own a gun...which is, let us just face it, wrong.
Just because you have an oddly worded right to own a firearm in a document written in the 18th century does not mean that our government cannot enforce laws that protect the lives and in turn liberty of other people from getting shot by illegally purchased guns in the wrong hands... which are at the core of gun violence in America.

I am not going to diminish the weapons like the AR-15 and high capacity clips that are military grade and have no business in the hands of those who are not in the military, but I am going to state that more people get killed from common handguns than those who are killed in mass shootings... so we need to look at both if we really want to curb violence (the trick is there are some who I don't think care... like the NRA, they care about money... not people).  

So look at this article and realize that enforcing laws that make sure guns are purchased legally whether in a store or between two people is IMPORTANT.
In addition, having stricter enforced laws on improper ownership and sales is crucial when addressing the real problem.  That does not infringe on a person's right to own a gun...that is common sense and safe....

So... we need to ask ourselves... why are the people in the NRA saying that they will not support such sensible legislation???

Because any gun sale is a good thing for an organization that gets a ton of money from weapons and ammo manufacturers.

I wish people would wake up.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Health Care is Not a Business

There are some things I believe we should debate and find a common ground and compromise on...and there are some things I think need to just be stated and done with.

A person's health, their ability to get medical care and medication when they are sick should not be a business....

There are just some things that are human rights and medicine when you are ill should be one of those.  We need to grow up and start giving a damn about each other and let go of our greedy and stingy behaviors involving capitalism when it comes to the poor and the sick.

I find it repulsive that a business (Whole Foods) will offer the mantra that they care about their employees because they provide health care for people who work over 30 hours (in retail that is rare) and then couple that with the fact that the person making at the most 9 or 10 dollars an hour, working 30 hours a week and paying a premium for health care weekly would have a three thousand dollar deductible which the company pays roughly half for...
so 15oo, lets look at that and be honest....

If a person works 30 hours a week making 10 dollars an hour....
After taxes...  that person would roughly bring home 240 dollars a week.  

So monthly this person makes about... 
960 dollars a month. 
we are looking at a month and a half's salary just to cover a deductible for a health care plan that they weekly pay for from their check....
What about rent, power, water, groceries... daily expenses....
How does a person go to the doctor when they are sick when an average doctor visit costs at least 100 dollars???
not eat?  Maybe not pay the light bill or the water bill or car insurance?

This is what people do not think about....
So what does this person get a second job, working 20 -30 hours a week??  If they can right, because any retail job will give you less hours if you have a complicated schedule?  Do they try to go back to school to get a better job??  Well if they can get the student loans because how would they pay for it otherwise?

So this is why people will still show up to emergency rooms to get care they cannot afford, get billed for services they will not be able to pay for, and then go bankrupt because their credit will be ruined when they cannot pay....

This is why health care should NOT be a business...

If we were responsible, paid a bit more taxes and covered every citizen in this country, that person making 960 dollars a month would not have to do the following...which is what retail employees do when they are ill (believe me, I know):

1. Go to work ill, possibly making themselves more ill and also making everyone around them ill causing an entire store or business to pass illness around and make moral and productivity fall. (this happens every winter and spring in many stores you shop at)

2. Refuse to go to the Doctor because you cannot afford it until you are so ill that you have to end up in an ER with high costs and with a more serious condition.

3. Live miserably while you wait out an illness and then perhaps lose hours and pay because you are sick....

I know quite a few people who think, oh well...person shouldnt be lazy and not make enough to pay for a Doctor... in that case, I know quite a few people who are idiots.  

When a person is is simple, they should be able to go to the Doctor and get medication without stressing over whether on their meager salary...they can afford it.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Vacation is Over

It was fun while it lasted, a few weeks of just raising our newborn, wearing pajamas all day and watching history documentaries on Netflix, but the demands of Grad School start back up tomorrow and I am in a way glad... I enjoy the schedule and the constraint for some reason.  

I did have to change my schedule slightly at the last minute so I am taking women's history, which will be interesting.  

My texts for both my classes seem interesting for the next few months so I will probably be busy and use the blog as a sounding board for some of the issues I discover.

I am exhausted, so that is enough for tonight!

Have a good Day!

Thursday, January 10, 2013


I keep attempting to fill my day with things to do because I am restless without class, it starts next week so I will not feel idle for would think a newborn would fill my time, but he is such a good baby that I have time to do things, and will have time to devote to studies...once class starts.
Today I embarked on attempting to organize a list of all my books again... when you have thousands that is a daunting task and I usually give up... because I have so many.

After a page today I stopped because I need to do some laundry... but I realize the little amount of fiction I have.  out of 16 books I itemized, I had one fiction book in the bunch.

Now that does not mean I do not read fiction, I do read it, just not as often.  I like fiction, you need it sometimes to just read something light and for fun...

Today I found my Tales of Beedle the Bard which is a side book from the Harry Potter series that details out the fairy tales referenced in the last Harry Potter book that reveals the Deathly Hallows...
The stories are grim and dark and amazing...
I enjoyed reading them.

If you have not read them... get a copy, its cheap, and the book sales go to charity...

Tales of Beedle the Bard

Have a good day!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

On to the Future

I've begun looking at PhD programs and considering where I wish to apply and want to go once I am done with my Master's which will be sooner than later...  I do know one thing, wherever I go, it will be away from where I live now, a conscious choice I made a long time ago to do everything I could to have the chance to live somewhere else and just experience other places.  I would really prefer living in a city, one a bit larger than the tiny non-city we live in now.  There is something about a city that Adam and I love and no the city is not for everyone, but it suits us rather well.
We have a few cities in mind and each one has its share of colleges that offer PhDs in History, now the trick is just getting in.  There are a few things I am working on to just look like a more attractive candidate.  While some of the programs do not require foreign language (I am studying American History mainly now), I have started brushing up again on reading French (a few of them do want you to be able to read another language and while I have issues speaking French, I can still read quite a bit of it and I also plan on teaching it to Aiden as he is learning to it works out).  I laughed when I realized how much I actually retained when I started reading it again... its like, oh wow... I remember how to do this!!!

I know pushing myself into a frenzy to keep near a 4.0 seems a bit crazy at time... but everything is with the intention of getting into a good program so we as a family can get out of here and just have the opportunity to do more...

Hopefully this will happen!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Sometimes I Watch TV (Downton Abbey Spoilers)

The Spring is when I watch Television.  First, Downton Abbey starts in January and tides me over until Game of Thrones starts in March.  These are my two must see television shows (besides my occasional obsession with Morningjoe and Chopped).  Last night, I watched the two hour premiere of Downton which was pretty good...  I saw some issues, it is the third season and after a while and sadly after you get to know your characters like Thomas and O'Brien you start to just get annoyed when they immediately are up to their old stupid antagonistic ways... poor new guy.

I loathe Thomas, last season and his behaviors in regards to getting himself out of trouble in war and just going back to Downton to plague everyone makes me crazy....  Now he just seems overly bitter, and maybe he is.  

O'Brien is a mystery, she does horrible things, she does tender things and you just do not know where to place her... she is bitter too.

Knowing the actor who plays Matthew will NOT do a fourth season sets up disaster for his character and while you want he and Mary to be happy, his selfish stupid honorable behavior (yea I know he is being noble but there is a point to where you just do what is better for everyone not just your own feelings) just hopes he falls off a tall hill somewhere and Mary finds someone who suits her or she just goes on alone and champion's the family's cause because she has the same mindset as her father to some extent when it comes to how vital Downton is.

Now let me rant about Bronson...the activist Irishman who has married into the family.  Listen not every Irish person is a drunkard and cannot control themselves... it kind of annoyed me.  Not kind of, it really annoyed me.   I know I am partial, but I just thought the character was overdone a bit and perhaps he is struggling that much, if that is the case... perhaps the producers should have angled it a bit better, demonstrate his struggle a bit more so the viewer doesn't see him as such an annoying character as those in Downton does...playing up every stereotype they believe...  Yes, he has very serious beliefs that are backed up by a volatile history during the time that fostered extreme hatred on both sides, and yes he seems to be in the belly of the beast while having a formal dinner with the very people he saw as oppressors (the part about the bomb under the cars seemed the most realistic because he was being candid and not belligerent).... I just think the producers made him look a joke when I think his character represented some serious issues in 1920s.  This coming from someone who knows IRA songs about the Black and Tans so I know I am bias.

Overall, Season III has started out pretty well and I am sure I will enjoy the season, but like all good things... I think perhaps we are seeing the twilight of Downton and I would rather it end strong than linger and become silly.

Sunday, January 6, 2013


I began this blog with a long post about how Aiden coming into our lives has begun to change something in me in regards to the way I worry and stress about pleasing and appeasing other people and how that is going to change... it got a little long and seemed more like a rant than a declaration of moving on so I deleted it and started over...

I will just say this.

My family... my husband, my son, and the people I care about... they are what matters and all the other people who manipulate, use, and abuse... are just noise.  In a sense it can become more complicated than that and I do not see myself basically becoming resolute and not trying to work through things with people... but it is that simple.  I learned my lesson over the last nine months and a lot of stuff I used to stress over... does not matter in the least.

I am blessed to have such a loving family who support and encourage Adam and I.   Without our parents and siblings being there for us over the past few months, things would have been a great deal more stressful.  I am lucky to have had such wonderful support from some of my friends over the past few months, who were there... dropped by, took me to lunch and coffee... kept the conversation light and humorous and let me vent when I was stressed...  I know I have thanked them profusely for what they have done, but their support really meant a great deal.