Wednesday, January 21, 2009

President Barack Obama Inaugural Address

...or as my five year old niece Jillian would say, here is a speech by our new President, Rock Obama:

"My fellow citizens: I stand here today humbled by the task before us, grateful for the trust you have bestowed, mindful of the sacrifices borne by our ancestors. I thank President Bush for his service to our nation, as well as the generosity and cooperation he has shown throughout this transition.

Forty-four Americans have now taken the presidential oath. The words have been spoken during rising tides of prosperity and the still waters of peace. Yet, every so often the oath is taken amidst gathering clouds and raging storms. At these moments, America has carried on not simply because of the skill or vision of those in high office, but because We the People have remained faithful to the ideals of our for bearers, and true to our founding documents.
So it has been. So it must be with this generation of Americans.

That we are in the midst of crisis is now well understood. Our nation is at war, against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred. Our economy is badly weakened, a consequence of greed and irresponsibility on the part of some, but also our collective failure to make hard choices and prepare the nation for a new age. Homes have been lost; jobs shed; businesses shuttered. Our health care is too costly; our schools fail too many; and each day brings further evidence that the ways we use energy strengthen our adversaries and threaten our planet.
These are the indicators of crisis, subject to data and statistics. Less measurable but no less profound is a sapping of confidence across our land - a nagging fear that America's decline is inevitable, and that the next generation must lower its sights.

Today I say to you that the challenges we face are real. They are serious and they are many.
They will not be met easily or in a short span of time. But know this, America - they will be met. On this day, we gather because we have chosen hope over fear, unity of purpose over conflict and discord.

On this day, we come to proclaim an end to the petty grievances and false promises, the recriminations and worn out dogmas, that for far too long have strangled our politics."

"We remain a young nation, but in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.

In reaffirming the greatness of our nation, we understand that greatness is never a given. It must be earned. Our journey has never been one of short-cuts or settling for less. It has not been the path for the faint-hearted - for those who prefer leisure over work, or seek only the pleasures of riches and fame. Rather, it has been the risk-takers, the doers, the makers of things - some celebrated but more often men and women obscure in their labor, who have carried us up the long, rugged path towards prosperity and freedom.

For us, they packed up their few worldly possessions and traveled across oceans in search of a new life.

For us, they toiled in sweatshops and settled the West; endured the lash of the whip and plowed the hard earth.

For us, they fought and died, in places like Concord and Gettysburg; Normandy and Khe Sahn. Time and again these men and women struggled and sacrificed and worked till their hands were raw so that we might live a better life. They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction.

This is the journey we continue today. We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished. But our time of standing pat, of protecting narrow interests and putting off unpleasant decisions - that time has surely passed. Starting today, we must pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and begin again the work of remaking America.

For everywhere we look, there is work to be done. The state of the economy calls for action, bold and swift, and we will act - not only to create new jobs, but to lay a new foundation for growth. We will build the roads and bridges, the electric grids and digital lines that feed our commerce and bind us together. We will restore science to its rightful place, and wield technology's wonders to raise healthcare's quality and lower its cost. We will harness the sun and the winds and the soil to fuel our cars and run our factories. And we will transform our schools and colleges and universities to meet the demands of a new age. All this we can do. And all this we will do.

Now, there are some who question the scale of our ambitions - who suggest that our system cannot tolerate too many big plans. Their memories are short. For they have forgotten what this country has already done; what free men and women can achieve when imagination is joined to common purpose, and necessity to courage.

What the cynics fail to understand is that the ground has shifted beneath them - that the stale political arguments that have consumed us for so long no longer apply. The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works - whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public's dollars will be held to account - to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day - because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government.

Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched, but this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control - and that a nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our Gross Domestic Product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on our ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart - not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.

As for our common defense, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals. Our Founding Fathers, faced with perils we can scarcely imagine, drafted a charter to assure the rule of law and the rights of man, a charter expanded by the blood of generations. Those ideals still light the world, and we will not give them up for expedience's sake. And so to all other peoples and governments who are watching today, from the grandest capitals to the small village where my father was born: know that America is a friend of each nation and every man, woman, and child who seeks a future of peace and dignity, and that we are ready to lead once more.
Recall that earlier generations faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions. They understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. Instead, they knew that our power grows through its prudent use; our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

We are the keepers of this legacy. Guided by these principles once more, we can meet those new threats that demand even greater effort - even greater cooperation and understanding between nations. We will begin to responsibly leave Iraq to its people, and forge a hard-earned peace in Afghanistan. With old friends and former foes, we will work tirelessly to lessen the nuclear threat, and roll back the specter of a warming planet. We will not apologize for our way of life, nor will we waver in its defense, and for those who seek to advance their aims by inducing terror and slaughtering innocents, we say to you now that our spirit is stronger and cannot be broken; you cannot outlast us, and we will defeat you.

For we know that our patchwork heritage is a strength, not a weakness. We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and non-believers. We are shaped by every language and culture, drawn from every end of this Earth; and because we have tasted the bitter swill of civil war and segregation, and emerged from that dark chapter stronger and more united, we cannot help but believe that the old hatreds shall someday pass; that the lines of tribe shall soon dissolve; that as the world grows smaller, our common humanity shall reveal itself; and that America must play its role in ushering in a new era of peace.

To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.
To those leaders around the globe who seek to sow conflict, or blame their society's ills on the West - know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy. To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist.

To the people of poor nations, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world's resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.

As we consider the road that unfolds before us, we remember with humble gratitude those brave Americans who, at this very hour, patrol far-off deserts and distant mountains. They have something to tell us today, just as the fallen heroes who lie in Arlington whisper through the ages.

We honor them not only because they are guardians of our liberty, but because they embody the spirit of service; a willingness to find meaning in something greater than themselves. And yet, at this moment - a moment that will define a generation - it is precisely this spirit that must inhabit us all.

For as much as government can do and must do, it is ultimately the faith and determination of the American people upon which this nation relies. It is the kindness to take in a stranger when the levees break, the selflessness of workers who would rather cut their hours than see a friend lose their job which sees us through our darkest hours. It is the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke, but also a parent's willingness to nurture a child, that finally decides our fate.

Our challenges may be new. The instruments with which we meet them may be new. But those values upon which our success depends - hard work and honesty, courage and fair play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism - these things are old. These things are true. They have been the quiet force of progress throughout our history. What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility - a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.
This is the price and the promise of citizenship.

This is the source of our confidence - the knowledge that God calls on us to shape an uncertain destiny.

This is the meaning of our liberty and our creed - why men and women and children of every race and every faith can join in celebration across this magnificent mall, and why a man whose father less than sixty years ago might not have been served at a local restaurant can now stand before you to take a most sacred oath.

So let us mark this day with remembrance, of who we are and how far we have traveled. In the year of America's birth, in the coldest of months, a small band of patriots huddled by dying campfires on the shores of an icy river. The capital was abandoned. The enemy was advancing. The snow was stained with blood. At a moment when the outcome of our revolution was most in doubt, the father of our nation ordered these words be read to the people:

"Let it be told to the future world…that in the depth of winter, when nothing but hope and virtue could survive…that the city and the country, alarmed at one common danger, came forth to meet [it]."

America. In the face of our common dangers, in this winter of our hardship, let us remember these timeless words. With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come. Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations."

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Abraham Lincoln Quote...

"Nowhere in the world is presented a government of so much liberty and equality. To the humblest and poorest amongst us are held out the highest privileges and positions. The present moment finds me at the White House, yet there is as good a chance for your children as there was for my father's." --Abraham Lincoln

...and today that was proven.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

16 Things About me....

Ok, my long-distance friend, Sandi, considered me "tagged" so here goes:

1. I absolutely LOVE television, I can't go to sleep without watching for a while, until I'm tired.
2. Its all about the texture of food for me, I can't stand broccoli because of the "furry" flowers on it, it has to be cooked and chopped. I'm wierd about tomatoes as well, I hate grape/cherry tomatoes unless they are cut in half.
3. I love most colors, except I have never really been a blue person. It looks terrible on me, and I only really like Navy and powder blue for crafting.
4. I can't stand recycling -- I know, I know, its good for the environment, global warming, etc. but I'm from the "Throw it the F%*$&(% out" generation (the 80's) and I can't stand the mess or effort --but I try to do it.
5. I'm terrible with cards; birthday, holidays, etc. I'll be really good one year, and really bad the next. Its not that I don't care, I just can't get it together sometimes, even though I make them.
6. I HATE having to put on makeup and do my hair (which takes forever to dry and straighten). Hair and make up is an effort for me and most of the time a big waste of time.
7. I have always had a little black dress, and until recently (the last few years), wore it frequently. However, when giving the option, I'll wear red first.
8. I love to cook but hate to decide what to make -- just tell me what to cook, no matter what and for how many, and I'm fine...but sometimes deciding what to make is my hardest decision of the day.
9. I'm not a big dessert eater. I will eat it, but most of my excess body weight is from snacks, noshes and portions of food...not sweets. My favorite flavor of ice cream is mint chocolate chip -- I like crunchies in my ice cream (like chips or sprinkles) and will put sprinkles in my coffee (on top of whipped cream) if I'm going to be really indulgent.
10. Even though I have a coffee-themed kitchen, I was never really a coffee drinker until recently (last few years) and I have to have stuff in it (Equal, cream), not ever black, like my mom. I never have coffee in the a.m, I always drink tea with lemon for breakfast -- coffee is my dessert/treat.
11. I love doing laundry but totally hate folding it and putting it away. I will wash and dry (fluff and fold) all day -- but leave it all in a big pile at the bottom of my bed and it goes from the floor to the bed several times before it actually goes in the closets/drawers.
12. I don't like most people right out of the gate -- most every one I have worked with or have met, I'm not real keen on but they grow on me.
13. I bought a standard transmission car before I knew how to drive it. It was a little red Ford Escort GT (sport) and I barely got it home...my uncle had to take me out and teach me how to use the clutch and drive up hills.
14. I love to read junky books that I can finish in a day or two -- the more "intelligent" books usually take me forever because they are too easy to put down. I love authors like Danielle Steele, James Patterson, John Grisham because I can finish them in a day.
15. I'm blind as a bat and can't function without glasses or contacts -- don't ask me to hear you while I have my glasses off either...cause it won't happen. I need three kinds of eye gear currently, bifocals, contacts and reading glasses (hello, I'm over 40).
16. Most people laugh when I tell them my age -- people think I'm at least 10 years younger than I actually am and have had people in doctor's office go hysterical when I tell them how old I am (really, it just happened in the mall the other night).

This was much easier than I expected! Thanks, Sandi!

OMG! AMAZING Chocolate Chip Brownies!

Just LOOKING at these will make you gain weight, and I have been trying REALLY hard to follow Weight Watchers, but, of course, I couldn't resist. I clicked right over to Betty Crocker's site and made them today...there is only one word to describe them: ORGASMIC! They will definitely be the next "dessert" I bring anywhere...so easy and so GOOOOOOD!

"Playing store" comes full circle...

When we were younger, my sisters and I would get packed up and travel about 1.5 hours to Sheffield, Mass. (past the big smiley faced barn and the checkerboard wall) to my "Aunt Peg's" house -- she was Peg Smith, of Peg Smith Fashions in Mount Kisco, New York and my mom worked for her before she had kids. She retired to Mass. and had an AWESOME "potting shed" (this thing was about 100' by 10') and it contained an old cash register, old green guest check pads, and all sorts of fun and interesting items that we played store with every time we went there.
Full circle for me came when this past weekend, we were moving the last of the stuff around Martin's shop so that they can finally sheet rock and put in outlets and lighting post-fire (last January)...we found the old Crop Room electric cash register and some odds and ends that Caitie thought were as special as my Aunt Peg's old bits and pieces.
To quote my sister Carol, "That household has more fake food than anywhere I have seen!" We have plastic fake food, imitation brownies, cakes, cookies, waffles, breads and orange juice (the kind you find in furniture stores)...and even little shopping baskets...instead of a huge shed, we have a huge closet (in the loft). When Jillian came to visit, the two of them played in that closet for HOURS!

I hope this memory will be as special for them as it was for me and my sisters.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

What do you wish for 2009?

I think I'm going to make this for dinner. Edited: I couldn't find pistachios anywhere in the store, so I used a Thai Peanut "breading" instead.

I'm tired of boring, not knowing what to make for dinner nights...I think my wish for 2009 will be to keep things exciting, moving forward and "out of the pile"...how's that for a transition? I'm going to ponder this for a bit longer, but it really connects with my one-word for 2009, DO...I wish that I can keep that mentality, stop wasting time...it moves quickly enough as it is...

Here's a couple more pictures, first is my veggie soup I made yesterday -- it started as a Weight Watchers veggie soup, and I just kept throwing everything that resembled a vegetable from my fridge into it, including pesto and a leftover tomato. I ended up adding some leftover orzo pasta and believe it or not, chunks of chicken from leftover Chicken Marsalla! It was delicious and I have a big container in the freezer!

The next picture is my new awesome Dansko clogs -- its not secret that my feet ALWAYS hurt me, whether I work a lot, stand up a lot, rest, whatever! I got these on sale, wore them for four hours last night and my feet and lower back feel GOOD today! So far I think they were well worth the money I spent on them.

Monday, January 5, 2009

My horoscope supports my "one word" for 2009

"Deadlines have to come first, no matter how much you'd rather be off having fun"

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Day 3: 365 Photos

Here is my Day 3 photo, which is the first day I did this ... Day 1, I had a house full of people who were focused on eating and vegging (myself included) and Day 2, I think I was just in shock and awe that I survived the holidays. This is my own version of the Project 365 a KOTM by Becky Higgins...the kit sold out really fast -- but Tracy is giving one away here.

So here's a couple of pictures of this year's "Coffee Tree" one of the only trees we decorated (aside from the Christmas Ficus with red lights and candy canes) since we were away.





Some highlights of the holiday aside from Disney World were:
1. I got to spend time with both sisters and their girls.
2. Elizabeth and I started a "fluff and fold" service for Carol, whereby my washer never stopped for three days straight -- but we got all her laundry done!
3. We had some awesome Mexican food for New Year's Eve and got to see the Mariachi band, including my dad's Mexican brother.
4. We had a nice "family dinner" with the cousins with Raclette and a sorry attempt at chocolate fondue.
5. Chloe had a ball with all the kids and only left us a few "presents" (she's forgiven, it was very cold and snowy outside...poor "Southern pooch".)
6. We got tons and tons of snow on New Years Eve, but still had a nice lunch with my Aunt Val and Uncle Ray...and we learned that the girls are piano savants! LOL! We also made awesome sprinkled cupcakes where there were more sprinkles than cake!

I hope you all have a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2009! Lets all focus on our "One Words" and just DO it!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Ok, okay...got it -- I need "one word" for 2009!

More than one person has told me that "one word" is the way to go for the future, rather than a list of resolutions...so looking at the list and what I want to accomplish this year...I think probably the best fitting word is:

do
1. to perform (an act, duty, role, etc.):
2. to execute (a piece or amount of work):
3. to accomplish; finish; complete:
4. to put forth; exert: Do your best.
5.
to be the cause of (good, harm, credit, etc.); bring about; effect.
6. to render, give, or pay (homage, justice, etc.).
7. to deal with, fix, clean, arrange, move, etc.


I'll elaborate more on this later...but for now, I think this sums up the goal of this year...I have collected, saved and procrastinated enough for 2008...it feels good when its DONE!

Thanks, my firends....especially Sandi and Grace!