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Since Fair is Fair, Let’s Look at What the Democrats are Offering

Shall we?

At first glance, it seems that the Democrats are far more comprehensive in the description of their aims and goals, but let’s take a closer look:

Adopted June 14th, 2014

New Hampshire Democratic Party Platform

New Hampshire Democrats stand for policies that ensure a strong economy, healthy communities, strong families, justice and fairness. Democrats are committed to spurring job creation, building our infrastructure, and bringing fairness and opportunity to our economy and our civic life.  We believe that healthy communities and strong families are essential to the well- being of our citizens and to our ability to foster business development.  We pledge a government that works collaboratively across the aisle to address the issues that matter to the people of New Hampshire.

So far, so good.  Those are some pretty clearly articulated goals there, and it should be noted that the Democrats, right off the bat in their introduction, say something positive about working with their counterparts; the Republicans never said a word about collaboration.

  1. Economic Development and Opportunities

 Business Investment and Jobs

Democrats support policies that foster a vibrant and diverse business climate and economy. The foundation of a favorable business environment is a well-trained workforce with the skills necessary to compete in an increasingly globalized economy. We recognize and support policies that make it possible for businesses to thrive by building roads, highways and bridges that allow the transport of goods throughout our state. We understand that access to broadband and telecommunication technologies is essential to our efforts to recruit business and promote entrepreneurship. Policies ensuring equitable access to credit are critical to promoting the growth of our businesses. Ensuring a robust workforce requires that New Hampshire offer affordable housing, access to health care and a good education in safe communities with clean air and water and we support policies that promote these essential elements of business development.

I can’t find a single thing to argue with in this paragraph that isn’t grammatical (paragraphs should focus on a single idea; this one focuses on about 10, but they’re all related to the main idea of fostering a favorable business climate, so I’m going to let that go)

Job Security

We support our workers and policies that ensure fair and competitive wages and equal pay for equal work. We support an increase in the minimum wage to ensure full time workers do not live in poverty. We support workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively for wages, benefits, and safe and fair working conditions. We will fight for the rights of women in all aspects of society, including equal pay at work.

Again we have some clearly articulated aims and goals which, it should be noted, stand in pretty stark contrast to what the Republicans put in their document.

Job Education and Training

Democrats believe our residents are our most valuable economic asset. Skilled workers enrich our communities, ensure that our economy continues to grow and provides for a strong middle class. We support ensuring workers have access to lifelong learning and affordable career training at high school, community colleges, universities as well as registered apprenticeship programs and other opportunities. We applaud the efforts of our community colleges and private business interests to forge partnerships that create job opportunities.

Okay, here’s where I’m taking some issue.  First, while these are all lovely sentiments, I would like to see some concrete ideas for how they plan to ensure access to learning, and how they define “affordable.”  I’d also like to know how they plan to foster things like apprenticeship programs and what “other opportunities” look like.  Also?  There are some pretty significant (and careless) grammar mistakes in that paragraph; they need to have a proofreader.

Keeping and attracting the Next Generation

Democrats believe that retaining the next generation and attracting young families and individuals to our state are imperative for ensuring economic growth. We need to reach our students at a young age to help them understand that they can stay in New Hampshire, find jobs here that are interesting and exciting, and build careers that will allow them to support their families and climb the ladder of opportunity. We support investing in education, training and providing our next generation with affordable higher education without the burden of excessive debt.

This is important, and is an interesting departure from the Republicans’ platform.  The Democrats say, “{w}e support investing in education [and] training.”  The Republicans make no mention of funding education, only that they “support education choices,” which is another way of saying that they like the idea of vouchers and sending public money to private schools (which, if you’re not familiar with the practice, is very, VERY harmful to already de-funded public education).  Again, though, there needs to be some proofreading over at the NHDP.  Maybe I’ll volunteer…

Rural Development  

Democrats believe that investing in our rural communities—especially the North Country—builds a sustainable economy and vigorous middle class. We support the building and maintenance of our infrastructure, including roads, bridges, water, sewer, renewable energy, telecommunications, and broadband technologies. We support expanding access to capital for rural entrepreneurs, rural businesses, and farms. We will continue to fight for our rural health care systems, which are critical for sustaining a healthy workforce and a growing middle class. We support investing in our local and regional food systems, providing access to fresh and nutritious food while benefiting the economy of our local communities.

There’s no correlating section in the Republicans’ platform for this section, though I think it’s interesting – and heartening – that the Democrats are looking to include those of us in the hinterlands.

Urban Development

Democrats recognize the important role of our urban areas in providing job opportunities. We appreciate the unique challenges presented in urban settings and support policies to address important concerns such as the shortage of affordable housing, the need for greater access to public transportation, homelessness and public safety. We embrace the growing diversity of our urban areas and the cultural and economic benefits it provides.

Again with the fucking proofreading!  Seriously!  Leaving aside the egregious grammatical mess that is this sentence (we’re going to assume that the Democrats don’t want greater access to homelessness…), I like the balance between looking at the hinterlands and the cities (which, let’s be fair, are few around here, but important).  I also like that the issues are pretty clearly articulated, though I’d like to see some more detail about how they plan to make those things happen.

 

  1. Promoting Healthy Communities and Strong Families

Public Safety  

Democrats believe public safety, emergency preparedness, and homeland security are vital to our ability to build and preserve strong communities. We support our fire, police, and emergency responders and honor their often unsung work. Proper staffing is essential to public safety. Police and fire departments should be staffed according to national standards to reduce response times. We believe in policies, including reasonable background checks, that appropriately balance the rights of individuals to responsibly own and use firearms, and to live in a community safe from violence. We support laws that curb violent and repeat offenders, reduce recidivism through prevention, education, treatment and rehabilitation, and maximize taxpayer resources. We believe the administration of our prison system is a public responsibility and function.

So far, this is my favorite section, mostly because it stands in such stark contrast to the corresponding section in the Republicans’ document.  Where the GOP is all about “protect[ing] and defend[ing] their lives,” the Democrats want “reasonable” regulations that “balance” rights and public safety.  There’s nothing about this paragraph that I don’t love.

Transportation and Infrastructure

Democrats believe New Hampshire’s transportation system should be safe, efficient, reliable and cost effective. We support development of affordable public transportation, including buses and rail service throughout the state. We believe investment in roads, bridges, ports, airports, public transportation, water systems, utilities, and broadband access will provide the foundation we need to ensure a strong economy. We support passenger rail from Concord through Manchester and Nashua, connecting with the MBTA in Boston and the return of rail service to the North Country. We recognize that the North Country of our State has a critical need for these investments to overcome its unique barriers to economic development including investment in the improvement of U.S Route 2. We support policies that encourage the use of alternate fuels and renewable energy, and upgrading transmission lines in a manner that respects individual property owners’ rights. Any major energy project, including Northern Pass, must preserve our environmental heritage, utilize low impact technology, respect individual property rights, promote clean energy for New Hampshire’s use, protect existing businesses including tourism and create jobs.

Again, there’s no corresponding section in the GOP’s platform for this, and I like that it’s something that’s on the Democrats’ radar; having a reliable transportation infrastructure ripples out in a number of positive ways.

Environment  

Democrats support responsible economic development that protects our environment and preserves our natural resources for future generations. Protection of our environment is critical to the survival of our planet, to the health and well-being of our residents, and to the quality of life and economy of our State. We support policies that protect land we can cultivate, water we can drink, air we can breathe, and streams we can fish, and that address the threat of climate change and pollution. We support the protection of our public parks and recreation areas which enable us all to enjoy the beauty of our state.

The GOP talks about “…free people, free markets and free enterprise;” the Democrats talk about protecting the environment.

Have a look at the next few sections; there are no corresponding sections in the Republicans’ platform, and there’s really not much I can say about the following sections that isn’t obvious to anyone who can read.

Housing  

Democrats believe affordable housing is essential to the growth of our economy and the strength of our families and communities. We seek solutions for homelessness through a comprehensive approach that addresses its root causes. We support legislation to assist struggling homeowners to refinance their mortgages where appropriate and prevent premature or improper foreclosures.

Veterans 

Democrats honor the innumerable sacrifices made by our military personnel and their families. We support the efforts of our congressional delegation to expand access to health care for our veterans including open access to health care facilities, contracting with local hospitals and bringing a full service Veterans Administration Hospital to New Hampshire. We applaud the recent expansion of outpatient Veterans Administration Services to most rural parts of our state. Our nation must honor its commitments to veterans of all wars, including physical and mental healthcare, education, and disability support. We support policies that create employment opportunities for veterans and address the problem of homelessness. Democrats are committed to welcoming veterans back into our communities with support and honor.

Education

Democrats believe that public education provides the foundation for a brighter future for all New Hampshire’s children by preparing them for participation in society and the responsibilities of living in a democracy. We support policies that ensure all children have equal access to high-quality public education so that each student can pursue affordable advanced education and learning that leads to full and prosperous lives without the burden of debt. We honor and support our educators and applaud their contributions to our communities. We encourage the participation of students in mathematics, science, technology, the arts, history, reading and writing as fundamental tools for life. We support policies that ensure access to participation in public preschool, early intervention services and learning, and elementary, middle and secondary education for all New Hampshire students, including: setting high expectations for all students, eliminating the achievement gap, enforcement of anti-bullying policies and laws, education for healthy lifestyles, education that is evidenced-based and civic education so that future generations have the tools to participate as leaders.  We believe everystudent who wants post-secondary education should have the opportunity, and we support affordable access to New Hampshire’s public community colleges, colleges and universities. Education holds the promise for better jobs to keep our youth working, contributing and living in our New Hampshire communities.

Health Care

Democrats believe all people should have access to affordable, comprehensive health care. In partnership with the federal government, we support policies that build on the national health reform law to expand access, end coverage discrimination, increase transparency about cost and quality, eliminate health insurance companies’ abusive practices, and control health care costs in New Hampshire. We believe Medicare, Medicaid, and other publicly-funded programs are critical to maintaining health and reducing health disparities across the State.  No family should be forced into bankruptcy by a health crisis. Democrats support a public health infrastructure to promote the health and safety of our population, coordinated health care that promotes physical and mental well-being, freedom from government interference in private medical and family decisions, including reproductive health care of women, the right to privacy in such decisions and confidential access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education. We support policies to address the growing shortage of providers in underserved communities and populations. We oppose discrimination in insurance coverage of family planning services, including prescription drugs. We support contraceptive coverage and will not compromise on this important health issue.

Preserving the Safety Net for Our Most Vulnerable Citizens

Democrats support policies that help ensure vulnerable families and individuals may live, work and participate in their communities. We support community-based services for individuals with disabilities, physical and mental illnesses and low-income elderly residents; the increased availability and continued access to affordable, high quality childcare, programs that enable individuals with disabilities and low income parents to find sustainable employment at a living wage; and partnerships with communities to reduce substance abuse and delinquency rates.

Marriage Equality

Democrats support and will defend marriage equality for all couples, including those married in New Hampshire and elsewhere.

Here it is, Friends and Neighbors!  The Republicans are determined to roll back marriage equality.  Where “traditional families” are the center point of the Republican stand on this issue, the Democrats are all about “equality for ALL couples.”  What more is there to say?

Retirement Security

Democrats believe every person deserves to retire with dignity. We believe that all residents of New Hampshire should have the opportunity to be financially secure as they reach retirement. We believe that financially secure retirees benefit the State through their contributions to the economy and their volunteerism.

Again, the GOP is silent about this issue in particular, though a number of their stated values  -“We believe that happiness and success are the result of individual effort, hard work and dedication to a purpose,” chief among them, which I read as “no entitlements” (though I HATE that word, especially when applied to Social Security) – run directly contrary to the Democrats’ goal of making sure that everyone is taken care of.

  1.  Justice and Equality

Voting Rights and Democracy

Democrats seek to secure the right to vote and to broaden voter participation, not restrict it through voter identification laws or measures that are aimed at preventing students, the elderly, voters with disabilities or minorities from exercising their constitutional right to vote. Democrats believe that voting is a right and not a privilege, and that every step should be taken to ensure that all eligible individuals vote in every election. This means that registration should be made as easy as possible, polls should be safe and accessible, no eligible voter should be denied access to the polls, and every vote should be counted.

…while the Republicans are busy talking about the “integrity of the ballot box,” the Democrats seem pretty invested in ACCESS to the ballot box.  BIG difference.

First in the Nation

We are proud to support and defend New Hampshire’s first in the nation primary and will fight to protect this important status.

This annoys the crap out of me.  As I said about the GOP’s stance on this issue, it’s a way for a small and insignificant state to get some credibility and influence.  I would be fine with doing away with the “First in the Nation” crap and just vote like everyone else.

Working Together to Protect our Constitutional Freedom

 Democrats believe in working cooperatively whenever possible with Independents, Libertarians, and Republicans – our neighbors and friends – to move New Hampshire forward. When we disagree we do so with respect. We appreciate the bipartisanship shown during our legislature’s recent consideration of a repeal of the death penalty.  Democrats do not divide the State along lines of race, religion, disability, immigration status, national origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

…unlike our Republican friends and nieghbors, who DO divide people along those lines…

Equal Access to Justice

Democrats believe in equal justice under the law. We support full, fair and timely access to our courts, both criminal and civil, and in the protection of the constitutional right to a trial by jury.

Fiscal Responsibility 

Democrats believe government provides essential services to our citizenry. These services include the rule of law, the health and safety of our residents, consumer protection, the protection of our environment, public education and the physical infrastructure necessary to maintain a robust economy and expand employment opportunities. Democrats have worked to ensure these services are provided as cost-effectively as possible in order to avoid downshifting costs to the overburdened local property taxpayer.  The budget not only must reflect the true costs of operating an effective and efficient government but also must be supported by sufficient revenues and honest revenue estimates. It is the New Hampshire way to take a hard look at all reasonable revenue solutions while respecting both the will of the people and the constitutional requirement of fair and equal taxation. Democrats are committed to engaging New Hampshire residents in an effort to develop fiscally sound, transparent and accountable approaches to a balanced budget designed to serve the needs of our residents and our economy.

Where I suspect that our Republican friends would say that this is just a nice way of saying “we don’t mind raising your taxes” – and they may be right – the point of this section is, I think, important.  The things that we want – the things we need to live out our stated values – cost money.  We have the capacity – we’re smart enough – to figure out how to do that in a way that is both fair and effective, as long as those who are asked to contribute their fair share don’t think that their fair share is “nothing.”

Respectfully submitted,

The 2014 New Hampshire Democratic Party Platform Committee.

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Just So We’re Clear

This is the published Republican Party Platform from my state.  My clarifications are in italics.

Statement of Principles

We, the duly elected delegates of the Republican Party of New Hampshire, in convention assembled , in discharge of the duty we owe to our constituents and our state, unite in the following Platform of Republican Principles:

We, the people of the New Hampshire Republican Party, do stand united in our dedication to preserving freedom, limited government and unlimited opportunity for all.

…what does this mean, exactly?  This is an empty platitude that, unless clarified, means nothing.

We believe, above all else, in the founding principle that all people are created equal, endowed by our Creator with the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, unimpeded by intrusive government regulation and control.

…see above

We believe that the New Hampshire and United States Constitutions were written by our forefathers to limit our government, not our freedom.

…wow.  The NHGOP really likes the “limited government, unlimited freedom” line, huh?  Until someone can articulate what that means in real terms, though, I’m not having it.

We believe that individual liberty is guaranteed under the Constitutions of the United States and New Hampshire, that the liberty of the people must be protected above the power of the government, and that it is only through an adherence to our founding documents that we will continue to grow as a free, Constitutional Republic.

… were I grading this, I’d have written “redundant” a few times by now.

We believe that the Founding Fathers gave the 1st Amendment its pre-eminent position with intent that religious freedom deserves to be protected.

…ah; NOW we’re getting somewhere.  Again, though, I want to have some details.  Does the Party mean ALL religious freedom deserves to be protected?  Do they extend that protection to non-Christians?  To Satanists?  To atheists?  I’m guessing not, but no one’s actually said, so take that for what it’s worth.

We believe that our founding fathers placed the 2nd Amendment in a position of prominence with intent; that law-abiding citizens of the United States of America have a right to protect and defend their lives, their families and their property without government infringement.

…GUNS!  GUNS FOR EVERYONE!  BRING BACK THE CASTLE DOCTRINE!  LEGISLATE STAND YOUR GROUND!  GUNS!

We believe in free people, free markets and free enterprise. We believe that happiness and success are the result of individual effort, hard work and dedication to a purpose. We believe that economies flourish when individuals and business owners retain as much of their hard earned income as possible, to spend and invest as they see fit.

…which includes the right to pay their workers poverty wages and to demand that government pick up the costs for things that would be covered by the taxes that we’re not paying.

We believe that low taxes are the result of low spending; that government has a moral obligation to the people to be as cost effective as possible, to always limit spending and growth of government, and to cut spending and cost of government at every possible turn.

…because we don’t want our tax money being spent on things that don’t directly benefit us.

We believe that a strong national defense is necessary to preserve freedom and opportunity in America, and we believe that secure national borders are an integral part of a strong national defense.

…we’d much rather our tax money be spent on foreign wars and big guns than food stamps and healthcare for poor people.

We believe that freedom can exist only in a nation that is willing to defend it. The utmost honor must be bestowed upon those who are willing to serve and sacrifice in the United States Military. Let us never forget those whose greatest sacrifice has protected a free and strong America for all.

….war.  War is good.  More war, please.

We believe that life is sacred, from conception to natural death and that we cannot diminish the value of one category of human life without diminishing the value of all human life.

…no abortions, ever.  Women, we know better than you what decisions you should make about your body and your life.

We believe that traditional families are the foundation of strong communities, and that family life best nurtures love of country, faith in God, morality and concern for others.

…we want to overturn the State’s marriage equality statute and nullify all gay marriages.  Also, remember what we said a while ago about religious freedom?  Yeah; what we meant was “faith in God” as articulated here.

We believe that we the people are strongest when we stand together, that it is our responsibility to hold government accountable and that it is through the integrity of the ballot box that we do so.

…voter ID laws for EVERYONE!  If you can’t jump through our carefully designed hoops, then you don’t get to vote.

We believe that every child is filled with potential and is unique in their own right; as such we believe there is no one-size-fits-all education solution; we support expanded education choices, including but not limited to: education tax credits, charter schools, and home schooling. We believe in local educational control, beginning with parents, teachers and principals.

…tax credits for private and religious schools, defunding public schools, and encouraging homeschools sounds like a dandy idea.  The dumber the public is, the less likely they are to notice that we’re diverting all their tax money away from local and domestic needs and putting it to big business and war.

We believe as the New Hampshire Constitution states, that acquiring, possessing and protecting property is a natural, essential and inherent right.

…you fucking kids GET OFF MY LAWN or I’ll exercise my SECOND AMENDMENT RIGHTS!

We believe that the beautiful state of New Hampshire, with her rock-solid values and proud history of political activism must preserve her First In The Nation Primary position.

…because, in the grand scheme of things, we’re a tiny and insignificant state, so we are going to cling with bloody fingernails to the one thing that gives us any clout at all on the national election stage.

We believe that the history of the Republican Party is a story of strength, courage and patriotism; our party was founded in the fight to end the despicable practice of slavery, it was the Republican Party that fought for the right of all women to vote, it was Republicans in Congress who fought to overcome the southern Democrats’ resistance to pass civil rights legislation and it is Republican values that will lead our nation forward in freedom and opportunity for all.

…I LOVE this section.  Clearly, the NHGOP has NO grasp of history.  While it is true that all of the things that they list here DID happen under the auspices of Republican activism, the parties switched ideology in the early 20th century.  MY question is this; what have they done for the causes of civil rights, equality, and justice LATELY?

We, the people of the New Hampshire Republican Party, pledge to our neighbors across our great, beautiful and proud state, that we remain dedicated to maintaining a limited, affordable government, to lead with integrity, character and compassion, and to forever defend the freedom that has made the United States of America a beacon of hope for all people.

…again with the platitudes.  I want to SEE what their idea of “integrity, character, and compassion” actually looks like, because if the candidates and their records are any indication, we think these words mean VERY different things.

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Ten Things Tuesday

My new catch phrase is “this is what you get when you vote Republican.” Here, then, are 10 things you get when you vote Republican:

1. I figure I’ll start with the heavy hitter. Louie Gohmert explains ebola

2. Scott Brown explains how your child is exactly the same as a foreign corporation.

Senate New Hampshire

3.  Every time I hear people interviewed on NPR about why they’re going to vote republican, they ALWAYS say it’s because “they (the republicans in question) can go and get things done.”  Really?  No; REALLY?!

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4.  Here, we have the always lovely combination of Republican and Christian.

5.  Paul Ryan hasn’t given up on his goal to destroy healthcare for millions of Americans.

paulryansaysrepublicansaretryingtodestroyhealthcare

6.  Then we have the guy whose solution to the Ebola crisis is mass execution.

7.  Then there’s the female candidate for the House of Representatives from New Hampshire who called women “emotional roller coasters.”  Uh, huh.

8.  Texas is always good for a laugh.  Here‘s a guy comparing the separation of Church and State to – no lie – the Holocaust.

9.  This guy thinks it’s okay to call a female reporter “Sweetheart,” and then wonders why he’s losing the women’s vote by double digits.

10.  Let’s round out our list with this guy, who doesn’t want any of them gays in the GOP.

Seriously; that list was WAY too easy to compile.

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We Have an Obligation to be Informed

I wrote this letter to my daughters’ high school principal this morning. I’ll let you know if I get a reply:

Dear Principal Cromwell,

I’m writing to ask that you make some time to talk to students about the Ebola outbreak in western Africa, and to be VERY clear about the near-impossibility of the epidemic’s spreading to the United States.

My daughters are very well-informed about this issue, so when Bean got into the car on Friday afternoon, she was raging about all the misinformation being spread around the school. She was especially upset that her World Studies teacher had told her class something that she knew to be patently untrue about the way the virus is spread, telling the class that the virus is transmittable through the air, and that people can become infected simply by being in the same room with a sick person.

Punk tells me that her teachers are not addressing the misinformation about Ebola; in fact, she says that her band instructor had a conversation with her class about Ebola causing “zombie-ism.” Her efforts to challenge that claim were met with dismissal from her peers, and she tells me that Mr. B encouraged students to believe that people who died from the virus could come back to life. Punk tells me that she doesn’t think Mr. B believes this, but she also points out that he didn’t refute the claim, either.

The tragedy happening in Africa is frightening enough when we’re just dealing with facts; adding misinformation, conjecture, and fantasy to the mix makes a bad situation that much worse. Students look to adults – particularly parents and teachers – to make sense of the world, so we have an obligation to be informed ourselves. Please; address this issue with the faculty immediately so that they can be calm, accurate sources of correct information.

I appreciate your time and attention.

Warmly,

Mrs. Chili

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Quick Hit: Welling Up

So, I posted an article on my facebook page this morning about this stunningly offensive ad that someone in the GOP thought was just a dandy idea.

Mark, a facebook friend whom I’ve not yet met in real life, said this in response:

The only people buying this load is the extremists in their base. Women are going to carry this country back to sanity in November. Mark my words.

I responded that I am going to do MY part (in that I’m going to vote, and I’m going to make it as likely as possible others vote, too; I’m already taking the day off so I can volunteer to drive people to the polls, and my neighbor is likely going to rope me into volunteering for part of the day at my polling place, as well).

Mark came back with this:

I’ve got your back. Let’s get em.

I was wholly unprepared for how that comment hit me square in the chest, and I found myself welling up over it.

I very often feel alone out here, screaming into the void, being quietly dismissed (or outright ignored) by the people who should be standing – and screaming – next to me. Another facebook friend (who I DO know in real life) mentioned – actually mentioned to me – that when I get to be “too much” for her, she just hides me from her feed. As a consequence of that (and a few other things), I’ve been feeling pretty outnumbered lately.

Mark has my back. That’s what I needed to keep going this week.

Quotation-Richelle-E-Goodrich-support-good-strength-Meetville-Quotes-156917

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Quick Hit: Whoops

So, ever since the kittens figured out how to bust out of the nursery, we’ve been a little worried about the ponytail palm.  She’s a lovely specimen, with long, flowing fronds that are just PERFECT for kittens to bat at and nibble.

I have her sitting on a low plant stand, but with the combination of the stability of the stand and the low center of gravity of the plant, I wasn’t even a little concerned about the kittens being able to pull or knock it over just yet.

I, on the other hand, am another critter altogether.

Yes, Friends and Neighbors; *I* knocked the ponytail palm over this morning – ironically, while cleaning! – and managed not only to get dirt and water EVERYWHERE (because, of course, I had JUST watered all the plants), but also to crack the pot so badly that it is completely un-salvageable.  Observe:

photo copy

Added to my to-do list today is a trip to the greenhouses for a new pot.

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Ten Things Tuesday

DAMN, but it’s been a long time since I’ve done one of these! Today, you get randomness:

1. The kittens – all six of them – are hanging out at the shelter awaiting their spay/neuter surgeries, their first rounds of vaccinations, and their ID chips. As a consequence, the house is very quiet.

2. Well, quiet, but not silent. We haven’t figured out yet if Miss Kes is doing all her talking because she’s looking for her kittens, or because she’s finally gotten comfortable enough here at Chez Chili to let her true self out. We don’t know much anything about her origins, but a quick look at her reveals that there’s GOT to be a Siamese somewhere in her lineage, which could account for her vociferousness.  We’ll see, when the kittens return, if she continues to be as vocal as she is.

3.  In the absence of kittens, I’m doing a major house cleaning today.  I’ve already done two loads of laundry, vacuumed and reset my bedroom, the upstairs bathroom, hallway, and loft.  I’m going to tackle the great room and kitchen when I finish posting this, then give myself a break to watch the Sons of Anarchy episode I have on TiVo before hitting the family and dining rooms.

4.  My composition students at both colleges turned in their compare/contrast essays yesterday.  I haven’t looked at a single one yet, but I have a glimmer of optimism that, for first papers, they won’t be that bad; the classes seemed to embrace the work we did in terms of drafting, and I gave them plenty of time for workshops and revision.

5.  I am taking the first of two barre trainings this weekend.  It’s a four-day intensive thing, and I’m hoping to come out the other side with a skill I can market to both Local U and the health club.  I’m not wild about teaching the strength classes I’ve been given at L.U. (I teach two strength classes and three yoga classes there) and I’m hoping that the barre certification will mean that I get paid at my yoga rate for whatever classes I lead.  The health club doesn’t have a barre installed, but the rumor is that their thinking about adding one, so this certification might be timely.

6.  Except that the timing sucks.  The first day of training coincides with my town’s apple harvest festival, and I’m bummed that I’m going to miss that.

7.  We went last weekend to a big fair in the state, though, and that was interesting.  I have a post brewing that is inspired by all the hysterical “they’re coming for our guns” tee shirts that I saw people wearing all day on Sunday at this event, and I’ve been musing ever since about willful ignorance and the energy which people are willing to put to shoving proverbial fingers in their ears, scrunching their eyes up tight, and yelling “LA, LA, LA, I’M NOT LISTENING TO FACTS!!” at the top of their voices.

8.  There is a strong possibility that I might have a part-time gig at a charter high school in January.  I don’t want to jinx it, but from here, it’s looking pretty good.  I’ll keep you posted.

9.  It’s well and truly autumn here now.  The leaves are lovely, the temperatures are cooling off significantly, and I’m starting to cook comfort foods again.  Also on my to-do list today is to make the pot of spaghetti sauce Mr. Chili requested the other night.  Marc is coming over tonight for a dinner of stuffed shells.  Mmmm.

10.  Did you know that it is REALLY hard to get a good picture of an all-black cat.  I have a bunch of really great shots of Sisko and Jordi, but a picture that does justice to my pretty Nala continues to elude me.  As of right now, this is the best picture of her that I have:

photo“I am Nala, Mistress of Darkness.  Fear me.”

Happy Tuesday, Everyone!

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