Words of Wisdom

One of the wisest men I know, who was once described by a business associate as a man with “impeccable integrity,” my father, wrote this:

Today is my birthday, so I think I will do something I do not usually do.  I will blog. I had hoped…even believed…that I would get my greatest birthday gift ever, a new President.  But I learned a long time ago that we don’t always get what we want, at 62 I am old enough to know that.
I have paid close attention to politics since I was in college.  The first presidential election I was eligible to vote in was 1972, Nixon vs. McGovern.  I did not like McGovern’s policies and I couldn’t understand how this man, McGovern, who admittedly started with nothing when he entered politics ended up quite well to do, but that is another story.  At the time, I was young and idealistic and I thought the biggest disservice a President could do to the public was to lie to them.  In a democracy you need information to make proper voting choices, so lying to the public, to me, was worse than bad policies.  I voted for McGovern, it was a protest vote.
I knew Nixon was lying big time.  His Watergate lies hadn’t been exposed yet, but the evidence was overwhelming if you were paying attention.  I grew up in a very conservative neighborhood.  All my friends, and especially their parents, were behind Nixon.  I was the maverick. They were kind to me, but they couldn’t believe the President of the United States was out right lying to them.  I knew he was, and in fact he was.  That revelation to the country came after the landslide election victory that Nixon won, and led to his later resigning from office.  I mark that as a turning point in American society, the time when respect for authority suffered a great blow that it has never recovered from.
Indeed, now many people assume their government routinely lies to them, and I believe they are often right.  But there is something worse than a government that lies to the public, and that is a public that accepts the lies, either out of indifference, ignorance or too often, convenience.  Just recently we had a former President who had explicitly lied to the public on national television, then later to a court of law under oath, complain that we shouldn’t trust a man who would lie to us to become President.  The saddest part of that sorry episode is how few people paid attention or cared what he had just said.  Just more of the same.  Too inconvenient to hold him to account; he is after all a popular fellow and agrees with the majority’s world view, so what difference does a lie make?
I think that is where we are today, and I think that is one of the major reasons the biggest con man in American history has just been re-elected President of the United States.  A majority of the public no longer care much about the truth. To quote another great con man, “the truth is inconvenient.”  No, a majority of the public is happy to go along with the free lunch propaganda.  We are all Greeks now.A majority of the public and most of the media are all too happy to look the other way while great lies are told and honorable men have their reputations trashed because that is easier than telling the truth or addressing real issues.  My friends and their parents in 1972 looked the other way and we re-elected a liar whose lies had a profound impact on the morality of the entire country.Many in the government have been lying to us for years.  They do not tell the truth about how they spend our tax money.  They do not tell us the truth about who pays the taxes.  They use budgetary gimmicks or simply ignore accounting for it all together (off budget items).  That other great con man, Al Gore, lied to us about many things, but I think my favorite was the Social Security “lock box”.  We will soon be opening that lock box and the assets big Al promised us won’t be there.  The lock box is filled with slips of paper, mere promises from a lying government.

We just went through a campaign where one candidate simply made up false stories about what the other believed and a majority bought it.  Too much work for the press and public to actually pay attention, but then paying attention would be inconvenient to their world view.

We just went through a campaign where one of the most honorable men in our political history was willing to run the gauntlet of lies and distortions because he wanted to help his country.  He didn’t need the job.  He doesn’t need any job.  He didn’t need it for his resume; he already had one of the most impressive resumes of any man to run for President.  He didn’t need it for a cool address, he already owns one of the coolest houses on the planet.  He didn’t need it for his ego, so unlike the great vanity of his opponent.  He was a man who understood that his many and great accomplishments were not the most important measure of him.  He was the best kind of humble, he chose to be that way.  He was truly a man prepared and ready for this difficult time.

But the lies had it, the motion carried.  We were conned again.  The country just made a huge mistake because a majority is willing to accept being lied to by their government and press.  They say you can’t fix stupid, maybe they are right.

So do I think the Country is going to hell in a hand basket?  No, not yet.  We are blessed to live in the greatest country in the history of the world. Our economy is the biggest and provides the best standard of living to the most people of any in the world.  It will take a lot to wreck it.  It can be wrecked, and if we don’t eventually change course we will ruin it.

I feel most sad now for the people who are already struggling, who can’t find good work…whose homes and businesses are sinking.  The country has just chosen to make it much more difficult to fix our problems.  There is going to be a lot more pain before things get really better.  It didn’t need to be this way but if you are willing to be lied to and still want to believe in Santa Claus, then you get the government you deserve.

What will turn this around?  When it becomes more inconvenient to continue believing the lies and in the free lunch that Government Santa is supposed to bring.

The Soviet Union and the former Eastern European Block (not to mention innumerable banana republics) went through this already and died.  They sought to redistribute income and only redistributed poverty.  Santa really is make believe.  Their demise was prolonged and delayed through brute force, but they eventually collapsed.  Much of Europe is going through this now; but they are merely socialistic, not communistic so it will take longer to unfold.  It is only a question of degree.  We are perhaps a generation behind them, so we have more time.  But our time will come if we stay on this course.  If it does, I trust in the basic goodness and resilience of the people of this great country to get back on track.  It won’t be pretty, but I believe we will make it.  I believe we will still remain the greatest country in the history of the world and the greatest hope for mankind.

This is a great country, and that is no lie.

My Three Sons

…hiking with Dad.  (While Mom, sick, rested alone at home.)

A MUST read:  Mark Steyn’s “Dependence Day.”

A couple of choice excerpts:

When William Beveridge laid out his blueprint for the modern British welfare state in 1942, his goal was the “abolition of want,” to be accomplished by “cooperation between the State and the individual.” In attempting to insulate the citizenry from the vicissitudes of fate, Sir William succeeded beyond his wildest dreams: Want has been all but abolished. Today, fewer and fewer Britons want to work, want to marry, want to raise children, want to lead a life of any purpose or dignity.”

For Americans, the quickest way to understand modern Britain is to look at what lbj’s Great Society did to the black family and imagine it applied to the general population. One-fifth of British children are raised in homes in which no adult works. Just under 900,000 people have been off sick for over a decade, claiming “sick benefits,” week in, week out, for ten years and counting. “Indolence,” as Machiavelli understood, is the greatest enemy of a free society, but rarely has any state embraced this oldest temptation as literally as Britain. There is almost nothing you can’t get the government to pay for.”

Seriously though, you should REALLY read the whole thing HERE.

Pumpkin Smoothie

Pumpkin Smoothie

1 cup nonfat plain or vanilla yogurt

(plain will yield a tarter flavor)

1 cup pumpkin, chilled (fresh puree or canned)

1 banana, preferably frozen (sliced or in two halves)

1/2 cup crushed ice (or cubes)

1/3 cup water

2 T brown sugar

1 t ground cinnamon

1/8 t ground nutmeg

dash of ground cloves

1 scoop protein powder, optional

honey to taste, if desired (for a sweeter flavor)


Fall by Four


It has been a busy, fun-filled Fall ’round these parts, and as I have had many aspirations…yet few actulizations…of blogging, here is our Fall summed up in four photo collages:


Although we planted four pumpkin plants (one jack-o-lantern and three pie), only one plant survived and only one solitary pumpkin on that plant thrived.  As pictured above, the boys had quite the time trying to decide just who that one pumpkin belonged to; in the end, I took possession of it for cooking purposes.  It was just a medium-small jack-o-lantern pumpkin, but we made the most of it, and it yielded pumpkin cream sauce (over ravioli), a pumpkin roll, baked pumpkin seeds (for an Autumn salad), and two pumpkin pies.  Surely, just one pumpkin for the season wouldn’t do, so we bought many more and made:  more pumpkin rolls (x2); pumpkin soup (x2); pumpkin muffins (x2), pumpkin bread (a lot); pumpkin smoothies (look forward to the recipe in a later post), pumpkin ice cream (recipe here); pumpkin cookies (many).  And I still have FIVE pumpkins to cook through!  It’s a darn good thing I love pumpkin, and my family does too!


Cleaning out pumpkins for cooking and carving, sugar cookie decorating…the pictures say it all.


There has been a lot of running and racing in this family of late.   I kicked it off for the season with the St. George Marathon in early October (a long overdue post probably to come…), which didn’t go as well as I had hoped, but I followed it up with three PRs (personal records) in three different distances, so I’m feeling great regardless. 

I had my boys “training” whenever we went to the park.  I registered them for two races this season (at their insistence, mind you).  I want for them to learn while they are young that running is fun and doable.  I don’t want them getting to their first “mile” in middle school P.E. and having a dreadful experience, as I did.  I don’t want them to have a preconceived notion that running is too hard and horrible, as I did.  I want them to remember that they RAN their first mile when they were only 5 and 7 (in a race last June), and that they did GREAT!  They will decide on their own if they really like running; my objective is to simply keep them from hating running.  So far, they love it…or at least the racing aspect of it.  The first race they were to run was in conjunction with my half marathon, and they were supposed to wear their Halloween costumes.  They were SO excited, but unfortunately it was canceled as the vineyard they were to run through was too muddy and rocky.  No matter, their dad and I took them to a deserted stretch of road near the vineyard and had them run a quick point to point race from him to me.  It was a short and spontaneous substitute, but at least they felt like they got to run their race and that they earned their medals.  The second race was a Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving that the whole family (even Dad, 5K) participated in.

As for me, after the marathon I ran a local 5K (3.1 miles), a GORGEOUS half marathon (13.1 miles) through the vineyards of Sonoma Valley, and a 10K (6.2 miles) Turkey Trot in San Jose.  I set new personal records in all three distances:

5K:  22:59; 10K: 48:51; 1/2 Marathon: 1:51:04

The 10K Turkey Trot was the easiest course of the three, the only problem being the thick crowd of runners to navigate through (nearly 15,000 runners between the 5K and 10K, which partially shared a course..holy cow that’s a HUGE field!)  The local 5K was actually a very poor course, and I think I could have run it faster had the course been one good loop or a straight way out and back.  Instead, it was two laps of a really weird loop, with short out and backs included and far too many turns, some particularly sharp ones.  For a short race that is meant to be run fast, this course was NOT helpful…I felt like every time I gained some good momentum I had to slow way down to make a turn without taking a spill, and I had to focus far too much on simply making sure I stayed on the course, period.  The half marathon was hands down the most beautiful California race I have run thus far…picturesque, as in post card/calendar worthy.  It began at a really cool winery and wound it’s way along this old rural road that took us past 23 family owned wineries, ending at Lake Sonoma Receration Area.  The weather was perfect, and the course was nice…neither difficult nor easy, with gently rolling hills the entire way.  I LOVED this event.



Our three-year-old was having a very hard time at first with his two older brothers starting school and leaving him behind during the day.  Soon though, he discovered that being the lone kid home does have some good perks.  One (unfortunately hot) September day his dad had the morning off work, so we took him for a hike up a local iconic mountain…sans the brothers.  He loved having both Mom and Dad to himself for such an outing, and he still talks about hiking up that mountain with us whenever he spots in out the car window.  I took all three boys to a nearby creek/recreation area for some easy hiking and great exploring the day before Thanksgiving.  One thing about boys I know:  they love to be outside where they have plenty of space to run and explore.










Farewell, my favorite season, until next year…

This year marks my husband’s and my tenth Thanksgiving together, and this was the first we’ve shared with no extended family or friends (we’ll be spending Christmas the same way this year).  It was just us and our boys in our little home, in our own kitchen, at our uncrowded table.  My original plan was to go out to eat, but after consulting our budget…and to the delight of my hubby…we decided to stay in and cook ourselves (er, myself).   Actually, we were amazed at how well and with little work or fanfare it all came together.  And also at how well we enjoyed the intimate setting of just our usual five.

The one thing I really missed was breaking out the fine china.  It just didn’t seem worth the effort to dig it out of boxes in the garage, wash up, eat off of, wash again, then put away for just my hubby and me (the kids won’t be eating off of it for a few years yet).  But, if we had had but a single guest, I would have brought it out!  (I just noticed that whoever set the table put the spoons in the wrong place…again, if we’d had even one guest I would have double checked to make sure the table was set properly.)

Little Helpers


We went ’round the table and each spoke of one thing we were particularly grateful for on this Thanksgiving day.

Our five-year-old answered “turkey,” and he got some….

I answered, a healthy body that is capable of running, because running makes me happy.  It was on my mind, as the whole family had run in the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot earlier in the day.  Hubby: 5K, Me: 10K, Boys: Fun Run

I set a new PR (personal record) in the 10K (6.2 miles) distance: 48:51

How I placed:

525 out of 4,118, overall

80 out of 2074, women

18 out of 370, age division (F 30-34)