Saturday, November 29, 2008


me: Yeah, my cholesterol shot up again, so I'm cutting back on cheese and eggs again, and trying to bump up the exercise.

aunt: Well, it's probably because you've gained weight.

me: Uh, yeah, but my cholesterol was 164 earlier this year, and I was heavier then, so I don't think it's as simple as that.

aunt: You should lose weight, though, because it's got to be contributing.

me: I know, but I don't think it's strictly a weight thing, otherwise my cholesterol would have stayed high all year. I am trying to lose weight, slowly, but I seem to have best luck with the cholesterol by cutting out dairy and eggs.

aunt: Yes, but you should lose weight. And exercise. What are you eating for breakfast?

me: Oatmeal, six days a week.

aunt: Oh, well that should have helped. And then what?

me: A frozen thing for lunch usually, or a sandwich.

aunt: So, that's calorie controlled. You need to watch the calories to lose weight. 

me: Uh huh. I know. 

aunt: Then what do you eat?

me: Well, I admit, at work, I often have a snack from the vending machine mid-afternoon. 

aunt: Ah-ha! Well, you've got to stop that. Take a small apple and some almonds to work and have those. That'll help you lose weight.

me:...I know I have to lose weight. And I'm sure now that I'm no longer going through the depression of failed IVFs and eating a pint of ice cream for dinner, it'll come off me slowly, but I don't want to diet because I always end up gaining it all back again, and then some.

aunt: Oh, you must stop eating ice cream.

me: I know. I have.

aunt: Because you'll never lose weight if you keep eating ice cream.

me: Unnnngh. 

Friday, November 28, 2008


I am in the big city to the south of where I live. I'll give you a starts with "mi" and ends with "ami."  This is where the couple of family members that I have in this country live. And I have kind of a weird love/hate thing going on with it. I know that my aunt will never leave, and if I want to be near her (and I do) then I have to move here at some point. Especially if/when I adopt. When I first thought of moving to the States, this is where I wanted to be. But I didn't find a job here that would get my visa for me, and got stuck elsewhere waiting for my green card. Then, as often happens, where I lived started growing on me. I liked that it was smaller and quieter than the big city. I liked that it was less hectic. I liked that the property prices were lower so I didn't have to live in a tiny apartment the size of a shoebox. I liked a lot of things. And I guess with many places that have bigger and better known neighbors, there are a lot of people were I live that don't like the city, or have a chip on their shoulder about it, or whatever. So I constantly hear people saying that they don't like it, and giving one reason or another why not. It started to sink in, so I started finding fault with the place.

And yet, I am always reminded when I come here that there are so many more things to do in a big city. So many more cultural opportunities. So many more food opportunities (oh the yummy croissant I had for breakfast this morning, straight from the French bakery). So many more people to mingle with. So half the time I come here, I come away thinking that moving wouldn't be so bad. 

Anyway, we had a fabulous Thanksgiving picnic, in a park, by the water. I wore a floppy hat because the sun was beating down. There aren't many places in the country where you can do that in late November. That should remind me that the place I fight and rail against moving to is actually pretty darn nice.  We had a couple of young kids around, and this was the first year for a long time that it didn't strike like a knife through my heart. I was able to enjoy them without pain.  I'm thankful that I finally have peace over infertility, although I can't help but be reminded that last Thanksgiving I was in New York doing an IVF cycle. Oh well, live and learn.

I'm having a nice time. I'm thankful for that.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Florida gay adoption ban ruled unconstitutional.

Impulse strikes again

I bought a knife.  So much for careful deliberation and thinking through my purchases so I'll only buy things that I will have a lifetime.

Well, umm, it was shiny?

I went to that fancy kitchen store to play with the fancy kitchen knives. I made the sales associate let me get each brand out of the fancy locked knife cabinets. I hefted them, I felt their weight, I considered how their handles felt in my hands, I made practice chopping actions.  I wasn't intending on buying any.

But oh my lord, I fell in love. And not with the knives that I thought I would fall in love with. One of the ranges was just so dang pretty, and felt so right in my hand. They weren't too heavy or off-balanced. The handle could have been designed just with my particular palm in mind. I knew right then and there that there would be no other knife for me, and that I may as well just cough up. It was a shit load of money. But what can I say? It was like I got this big whoosh of adrenaline when I picked up the right one and knew I had to have it. I can see why shopping can be addictive if people get that whoosh on a regular basis.

I bought one all-purpose knife. Hopefully over time I'll figure out what I really need so I can have one or two or maybe three, and that's it. Maybe like a chef's knife and a bread knife along with the utility knife.

I have immediately set aside 20 kitchen items to take to Goodwill in penance.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The "good" stuff

Do you use the "good" dishes in your house? The "good" silverware? Or do they sit gathering dust in a cabinet somewhere?

I have been musing over the concept for the last few days. It started with a knife. Someone posted to a board about this amazingly fancy and expensive kitchen knife. And I looked. And lusted. And that reminded me that I'd lusted after some (slightly less expensive) knives made by this company previously. And then I went off on a little window shopping tangent, thinking about what knives I would buy if I was in the market for that sort of thing. Which of course made me think about how much I hate my kitchen knives, and how they were only supposed to be a cheap, temporary stopgap measure and yet have been used (and hated) for years. So in the end, I might actually buy some nice new knives to use instead. But only two, because as a vegetarian I surely don't need a set of fancy knives for all sorts of meat dismembering when all I ever do is chop a few veggies and occasionally slice a loaf of bread. And I would have to immediately donate all the old crappy knives to Goodwill, because otherwise I know the "good" knives will end up in their box not getting used, just because they need to be hand washed. Yet, it feels like frivolous extravagance, especially in this economic climate to think about splurging - although there's a part of me that thinks it is my duty to the economy to spend money while I can afford it, because not everybody can and we really don't need to head in to a depression.

But while thinking about knives and such, I thought I'd check the silverware that I have, in case there was a carving set there. Or a bread knife. Or something. So that perhaps I would only need one fancy sharp knife. Because I have this enormous set of "good" knives and forks and spoons that pretty much never gets used. It was my parents set that they got for their wedding or some such occasion. I actually really like it, and I'm not entirely sure how I ended up with it - there may have been some theft involved on my part, coupled with a father who has absolutely no interest in such thing and who was remarrying someone who presumably couldn't care less about my mother's soup spoons. Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, I have this set, and hardly use it, and that seems a shame. Except you can't dishwash that set either, so I don't want to damage it by using it all the time in case I accidentally throw a knife in the dishwasher and ruin it, thereby ruining the entire set. Darn wooden handles! And I do also have quite a nice set of every day silverware that my aunt gave to me when she inherited a super nice "good" set of silverware so she moved her previous "good" set to her every day set, and gave me the old every day set. And I put MY old every day "set" of mis-matched cutlery that I had cobbled together since my student days in my guest cottage, which my tenant now uses.

Aha, I thought, well, my "good" stuff is presumably worth something now that it has been babied for 40 years or so, so I googled it. And, well, we're talking less than 50 cents a spoon. Substantially less. So my mother and I have coddled these things, not used them, saved them for special occasions, and for what? So they can accumulate dust and be worth less than new silverware?  There's something about that that I find very sad. I don't have a separate set of "good" dishes, but instead spent my money on good solid stoneware that is nice for every day but can also take a beating. And of course, I haven't had a wedding to register for all sorts of fancy china. But this set of silverware sits there, waiting to perform its function, doing nothing 364 days a year.

But why do we do this? Why do we think that every day is not special enough to celebrate by using the good china or the good tableware?

There's a description in a novel I read many years ago (and have since re-read multiple times: Shroud for a Nightingale by PD James) about a woman - a murder victim, actually. But it has always stayed with me, and there are so many ways in which I have wanted to be this woman, and still regard it as an ideal - without the 'murdered' part, of course.

It was the room of a woman who preferred to be unemcumbered. It contained the necessary basic comforts and one or two carefully chosen embellishments.  It was as if she had itemized her needs and provided for them expensively but precisely and without extravagance. The thick rug by the bed was not, he thought, provided by the Hospital Management Committee. There was one picture but that was an original watercolour, a charming landscape by Robert Hills, hung where the light from the window lit it most effectively.  On the window sill was the only ornament, a Staffordshire pottery figure of John Wesley preaching from his pulpit. Dalgliesh turned it in his hands. It was perfect; a collector's piece. But there were none of the small trivial impedimenta which those living in institutions often dispose about them to provide comfort or reassurance.


He opened the small left-hand drawer. It held her make-up, the jars and tubes neatly arranged on a small papier-mache tray. There was a great deal more than he had expected to find: cleansing cream, a box of tissues, foundation cream, pressed powder, eye shadow, mascara. She had obviously made up with care. But there was only one of each item. No experiments, no impulse buying, no half-used and discarded tubes with the make-up congealed around the stopper. The collection said: 'This is what suits me. This is what I need. No more and no less.'


He moved on to the wardrobe and examined again the collection of clothes. Three pairs of slacks. Cashmere jumpers. A winter coat in bright red tweed. Four well-cut dresses in fine wool. They all spoke of quality. It was an expensive wardrobe for a student nurse.

I omitted a couple of paragraphs, but included the points that resonated the most. I bet that woman wouldn't have"good" knives or "good" china that she never used. She would have selected a small number of items with care, and would use them every day. She would have figured out exactly what she liked and would have stuck with it. Why can't I be more like her, instead of someone who is surrounded by the baggage of ill-thought out impulse buys or cheap, quick-and-dirty temporary solutions to things that ended up becoming permanent? Why is it hard for me, even now, to just use the damn "good" silverware? Why can't I not worry that "good" china might get broken and just use it anyway and enjoy it for what it was meant to be? Or pare down my large knife collection of cheap, ineffective knives to just one or two really nice pieces?  

I would love to be able to reduce my possessions to only a few select pieces of good quality. I mean, even with a kid in the house should it matter? Should it matter if they break a Wedgewood plate as opposed to a Target plate? Should I have two super sharp fancy knives that are kept in a special place out of the reach of small hands and yet are used all the time as opposed to many cheap knives scattered all over the kitchen that I can't keep track of but which still can cause injury? Why do we feel the need to surround ourselves with junk just because it might get damaged or because we don't want to spend the money on fewer, nicer objects?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

...Florida style.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Ah, no.

Sorry, not going to be posting preferred names for kids on here. See, while my real name is, in fact, Sarah, and I post it for all to see, I reassure myself a little bit that Sarah is a common name and you can't really find me just by some random googling - you need additional information about me to add to the name. I am sure that if you were really motivated, you can find me without too much trouble (and please, don't do it to prove to me that you can and then post my social security number in the comments, because I'll be a bit miffed at that - I trust that you could if you really wanted to). However, I'm thinking more of the not-terribly-motivated nosy neighbor or frenemy here.

And I figure once I start adding more names, I become much easier to google. If it suddenly becomes Sarah + Ermintrude + Genghis then a family is more easy to track down. And if you were the nosy neighbor across the street, suddenly you're coming up with the entire history. Which I'm not sure I want you to have if you're my kid's 9 year old frenemy.

So I'll probably use pseudonyms.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

On boys vs. girls

So, a couple of you commented about me putting down girls names. No, I don't think I'll get a girl necessarily. No, girls aren't more common than boys. No, I'm not only fantasizing about girls and playing dress up and all that. I did write the following:

Not boys names at the moment as my preferred boy name already seems fairly multi-purpose.

Which I thought summed it up. But I guess it was kind of hidden! My preferred boy's names are already multi-purpose. I think I could use them for any boy. Well, maybe they're not so typically hispanic, but somehow they wouldn't seem like a bad choice even then. So I'm sticking with the boy's names I already thought of. But my preferred girl's names were/are very girly and anglo, and suddenly neither of them seemed right.

So that's why I was only musing about girls names!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Can we talk names?

OK, right from the outset I want to say that I don't want any comments on how I'm overthinking things, or worrying too much. I'm not overthinking, or worrying. I'm musing. There's a difference. I'm musing because I'm not even going to the adoption orientation seminar for a couple of weeks, and I've got nothing else to muse over. It means nothing. I may or may not act on my musing, but to me, it's a harmless diversion. A bit of fun. Something to think about.

Right, with that out of the way, I'd like to talk names. Over the years that I was TTC, one of my favorite 2WW diversions was thinking of baby names, which helped keep me positive. They changed a bit over the years, and the boy name especially went through various incarnations. But with the girl names I had two early favorites and they stayed favorites. However, I'm now not so sure.

See, here's the thing, I wouldn't name a child until I saw them. I would wait for inspiration as to what I thought was a good name that "fit" that little person. But I want to have 2 or 3 (or 5) front runners for choices that I would go to first to try on for size. Now that I have decided to adopt, in all likelihood I won't be specifying a preferred race. But the thing that I keep musing over is if a child is placed with me of, say, Haitian heritage or Guatemalan heritage (two BIG local groups), whether giving that child a really "Anglo" name would seem as if I want to try to ignore that heritage. I would want to be sensitive to whatever ethnic background a child has, and try to include something from their culture into our lives as they grow up. Same as if I adopted from China, I'd want to, I don't know, take the child to Chinese language lessons, buy some cute silk Chinese PJs, eat lots of yummy Chinese food and have a name that either at least has some sort of Chinese "ring" to it, or reference, or a Chinese middle name (presumably the child's birth name that I might not necessarily want to keep as their first name). That sort of thing. I want to be able to celebrate and incorporate the child's cultural or ethnic background into our family.

Of course, by adopting from the State I won't have much notice of when the child is coming or what ethnic background they are. They may or may not already have a given name (presumably a safe haven child would not but others would). I may or may not want to change that or switch it to be the middle name. And, more importantly, I wouldn't have much time to make the name decision. I am one of those people whose minds tend to go completely blank if I have to come up with a decision quickly. And I don't want to make a decision on the spur of the moment that I might regret later. Of course, it may all be a moot point. It's probable that I'd have absolutely no information on their background anyway. The kid may be a white kid who could be named a very anglo-sounding name without a second thought. I don't even know if I should care anyway, but I am clear in my mind that I want to celebrate a child's heritage not just pretend it doesn't exist.

So it would be nice to have a selection of names ready to go that could be varied slightly to give a nod to a child's ethnic background. Or an all-purpose name that works for anyone. But what names are good all-purpose names? I'm looking for ideas! [Not boys names at the moment as my preferred boy name already seems fairly multi-purpose.]

Here's an example of my thinking.

Charlotte - a bit Anglo. Would it be right to name a Guatemalan-looking kid Charlotte? I don't like Carlotta so much so don't necessarily want to just vary it.
Josephine - nice French ring to it, would be lovely for a Haitian background kid as well as plenty of others. Could be changed slightly to Josefina for a hispanic kid. Josie is a cute nickname.
Juliana - seems more all-purpose - could use for any kid.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Bah humbug, and other grumbling

I tested my cholesterol this morning, getting ready to go the docs to get a checkup in advance of potentially having no health insurance.  There goes my theory of my cholesterol being high due to IVF medications. I haven't taken anything for months and it was way high again (251). But I just don't understand how it can bounce around so much - I mean, it'll swing like 100 points - it was 164 a few months ago.

Anyway, I've been a slacker on exercise lately, although I exercised Thursday, Saturday and now today as well so I'm going to pick it back up again. I guess I shall have to go vegan again to try to bring the level down.  Sigh.  And I've been having oatmeal for breakfast consistently as well, so I expected it to be good. Bah frickin' humbug.

I'm being very bah humbug on faceb**k too. Honestly, what is so good about it? Every time I log on (which is rarely) I have several dozen little things people have sent me. OK, so it's mostly the same 2 or 3 people sending stuff - clearly everyone else has better things to do. But. Ugh. 

And finally, what is UP with the weather? Yesterday it was 88 degrees. Today it is going down to 50. What a swing. Although clearly I prefer this to being in California - every time I read about those fires, my heart sinks. I hope all my bloggy friends are safe!

Yours, grouchily...

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thank you all

Thanks for all the kind thoughts on my next adventure. Of course, there'll be a lot of "hurry up and wait" about the whole thing, but that's OK. I feel like I can finally look forward to this actually working one day, than always have to couch things in terms of "IF" I ever become a mother.


In the meantime, I am as ever, concerned about the size of my arse, how much of terrible procrastinator I am, providing a nice home for my tenant, and various other things. I feel like I'm entering into the home stretch with college - only 4 more weeks or so of serious classes, another week of exams and then I'm done with that part. Then it's on to the more strenuous college, but this at least feels like it it winding down. 

I've also started yet another new "diet." I'm calling this one the sandwich diet. After having various things stick in my mind over the years about just how little skinny people eat, like: "oh, I just have half a sandwich and a cup of soup for dinner and that fills me up!" I started thinking if *I* could possibly get by on so little. Clearly the answer is "no," but equally clearly, I need to eat less than I do now. So I am aiming to reduce my consumption, and the first step as a temporary measure is to try to make at least one meal a day a sandwich. I'll put anything on it, yes, even real mayonnaise, and I will make it tasty but it has to fit between two regular slices of bread, and I will try not to have sides like chips. Or dessert. And a fried fat-laden 5-cheese blend sandwich doesn't count. Or I will have a bowl of soup. Or a SMALL bowl or plate of something.  Yesterday I had a sandwich, a small salad and a small cup of noodle soup because the sandwich alone left me hungry. I will try to work my way down.  Today for lunch I had a sandwich and am kinda peckish now. OK, I am hungry.  But essentially, I'm trying to go for high quality, lower quantity. 

We'll see how long it lasts...

Monday, November 10, 2008

That thing

What? What do you mean there's a big elephant in the room? I don't quite understand what you're getting at.

Oh, wait, you mean that elephant? That giant one where I promised to post about my decision on future motherhood, and then went completely silent and changed the subject? Ah. Yes. That one.

We'll, I'll spill.

I've had time to sit with my decision. To roll it around, play with the idea, think about pros and cons. Think about whether it is really what I want, and whether I'm excited about it. And yes, I am excited. So now I'm ready to reveal all.


I have decided to adopt from the state.

I do not necessarily want to do foster-adopt, although that is the program I guess I will have to go through. My biggest issue is to be allowed to have a newborn whose parental rights are either already or about to be terminated. Or a safe haven newborn. I don't want to have to deal with heart-wrenching custody hearings and family members trying to get the child back. I don't even know if I can register the criteria that I want, but I am going to find out. If there's no way to do it, then I will rethink, but given that I don't mind waiting, I would rather wait for an infant where I can know that that child will be mine from day one than remain in painful limbo.

My state has a four-step process to be able to do foster-adopt - you have to attend an orientation first, then do a 10-week parenting course, then have the home study, and then you are approved and finally go on the list. I've figured out the orientation I want to attend, and tried calling this morning to book myself a slot, but getting through the crazy phone system was proving difficult so I think I will wait until I am at home tomorrow before spending a bit more energy on it.

I am concerned about the course, as it's usually arranged on Saturdays or on weeknights, and most of mine will be taken up with acu school. So maybe I'll have to drive a long way to find one I can attend, or maybe I'll just have to only go on Saturdays when school is out. Or something. But I can find a way to do it somehow.

And of course I'm concerned that the time I am spending in school/work/commuting will be a detriment. But I think if I can show that I can cut my hours down even further, work from home, and arrange care easily (for example, I am sure my aunt would be able to do all day on Saturdays for me) then I hope it will not be a big issue that I'm going to school. And if it is, well, I'll just have to wait until I've finished school. But I'll never know unless I start going down the road to find out, so that's what I'm going to do. I'm going to get moving on it.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

The tears

Before I went through infertility, I was not the crying type. I actually cried very little. I mean, sure, some books or movies would have me leaking a few tears. Getting really angry and frustrated would cause a few sobs. But that was it.

Now? Now it's not yet 9am on a Saturday morning and I have already cried twice. Once at a scene in "The Subtle Knife" by Philip Pullman that makes me dissolve into sobs every time I read it. And I've read it probably 5-6 times by now - maybe more. And once at a speech on AIDS by Mary Fisher. Delivered at the 1992 Rep. Convention. Yes, I was researching for a paper I have to write for college. God, it made me cry.

I don't know whether to laugh at myself or cry some more...

Friday, November 07, 2008

Not quite sure where all the money's coming from

I seem to be rolling in cash at the moment. It's a bit disconcerting to say the least, seeing that I cut my hours down so I'm only working 3 days a week. Not that I want you all to hit me up for a donation, don't get me wrong. I am trying to sock money away for tuition for next year, seeing as the stock market decline has wiped out a fair amount of what I was going to use. And then there's the little matter that I'll probably lose health insurance coverage in January too, if I cut my hours at work even further once I am doing more hours at college. So I need to build in a buffer for that. And I am about to start paying on a loan for the solar panels (which I don't have yet).


It has really brought home to me just how much money I was spending on fertility pursuits. First there was the $333 (pre-tax) per 2-week paycheck for my flexible spending account. Which went towards an IVF, of course. Then on top of that there was all the other IVF-related spending. $400 for an u/s and bloodwork here, $500 for some flights there, a little something-something on vitamins, or pregnancy tests, or ovulation tests, another $250 for another blood test. It all added up to a staggering sum of money. Just staggering. My credit card bill alone was routinely four times as much as it has been for the last couple of months. Four times!

And yes, I am trying to be fairly frugal, so maybe that has something to do with it. But it isn't like I've cut out all spending. I'm still buying myself a treat here and there. Still not quite grocery shopping at Aldi. Still not as frugal as I could be.

Still, I'm fairly amazed at the financial drain that fertility treatments were having on my life. Actually, I had to be somewhat frugal while undergoing treatment, so I could pay for everything, so it has probably greatly eased my transition to my current income level. And, not that I'm complaining, please don't get me wrong. I was and am immensely lucky that I had the funds available to continue for paying for fertility treatments for as long as I did. I wanted to keep doing treatments, and I am glad that I was able to get to the end of that road in my own time (which as many of you know, is slooooow), rather than being forced to stop treatment early solely due to the financial aspect of it all.

But. Wow. Holy crap, and all that.

I'm even actually starting to give to charities again, which is a great feeling. It was one of the (many) wrenching aspects of fertility treatment - to get the begging letters and emails from causes I used to support, and to have to make the decision not to send them anything.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Bleary eyed

Oh yes, I stayed up far too late last night. But it was so damn exciting. I started the night at a results watching party. Where I sat next to a cute single guy who seemed interested in me. We twinkled eyes at each other, bumped arms every time one of us excitedly pointed at a TV screen with results coming in, and tried out out-liberal each other with our various political statements. Neither of us succeeded with the out-liberalling, so that was good. And we both got up to leave at exactly the same time, so ended up leaving together. But then got awkward and just said quick goodbyes. But maybe there's potential there - he's a coworker of a friend of my coworker so we can definitely find contact information if interested. I might even not play the usual coy thing and shoot him an email. He's probably ridiculously young, though.

Then I wended my way home during a lull in the results calling, but stayed up late late late watching, and then listening, to the speeches. I fell asleep to NPR burbling commentary into my dreams.

And I'm so proud of my county which came in VERY solidly blue. I'm proud of my state too, which turned from red to blue. While my part of the state is usually solid blue, I'm proud of some of the cities to the north which also made a big impact. 15 counties out of 67 were blue last night, but that was enough to carry the whole state. More to the point, given where I live, I'm proud that we got our electoral act together and didn't make fools of ourselves.

But I'm mostly just happy. This is a historic, giant step forward. I am so proud of us all, America.

Monday, November 03, 2008

It's almost over

The election is tomorrow. The campaigning is almost done. Thank the lawd! Even though I have been trying to avoid TV for the last 3 months, I can't help myself and turn it on every now and then, and then I can't stand the damn ads. One local congressional race in particular is highly irritating - the R's are running one single negative ad non-stop. I have not even seen an ad from the D candidate - I don't think she has any money for ads, but her name is mentioned without fail every single ad break with the same message repeated ad nauseum. I think if I hear "job killing taxes" one more time, I shall scream.

Anyway, please, go out and vote tomorrow if you haven't done it already. Even if you think your vote doesn't matter or won't count, please vote. For a lot of us, even having the ability to vote was a hard fought, hard won concession. Women were not allowed the vote until 1920 or thereabout - my own grandmothers were born before women in America were able to vote. It's shocking really, how long it took. And it seriously chafes that I am not entitled to vote because I am not (yet) a citizen. And why am I not a citizen? Because of damn government bureaucracy, that's why. So I need you all to do me a favor, and go and vote on my behalf because I am not able to. Even though I pay my taxes and am otherwise an upstanding law abiding (non-) citizen.

Yes, even if you vote for the R's, I will thank you, because you will have exercised your duty as a citizen. At least, *I* think it's a duty. It's certain something we should do to pay honor to the women and men who fought so hard for universal suffrage.

But I shall thank you even harder if you vote for Obama. I tuned in to his infomercial on Wednesday, and it brought me to tears. I truly believe that voting in Obama is vital for the future of humanity and the planet as a whole. No, I'm not exaggerating. At the risk of coming across as a loon, I confess that I have definite new age tendencies, and there are people out there who believe that there really will be a change in the world in 2012, as predicted by the Mayan calender, and that we are on the brink of a major shift - either to peace and a new evolution of the human race, or to destruction and war. Given that the stakes are so high, I'm willing to give these theories the benefit of the doubt, and to work as hard as I can towards greater peace over the next four years, just in case [- after all, if they're wrong, what have I lost? A few hours of meditation and sending loving thoughts out there, a few hours of community service - those are good things to do anyway]. I believe Obama is the only one who can bring this country back to greatness, back to peace, prosperity and stability, and who will care for the environment and reverse the staggering carbon emissions we have. Please vote for him. If you're undecided, if you're being swayed by the negativity and some of the scary (untrue) things being said about him - please give hope and peace a chance. He can't do any worse than Bush, right? So give him a chance. Vote for Obama.