Sunday, June 30, 2013

I Know It's Officially Summer- My Hydrangeas are in Bloom

Hydrangeas are generally white. But you can play around with the color. Hubby used a special fertilizer to get the flowers to be so many different shades of blue, pink and purple...






There are even some more lovely blooms on the way.....

This bush is my favorite..I lost count of the number of buds.... can't wait till they all open up.




Elise

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Majesty of the Law

Buy Here
In light of this week's major societal meltdowns, due completely to any number of Supreme Court decisions in which one segment or the other of the populace disagreed, I have revisited my all time favorite law book written by a Supreme Court Justice. It is called The Majesty of the Law, by Sandra Day O'Connor. Written upon her retirement from the Bench, she reviews her life's work and provides a textbook of sorts for those in need of a really good civics lesson about our judicial system.

Justice O'Connor begins her foray into explaining how our system of laws works by giving everyone a history lesson. If a person doesn't understand how something of such import as the US Constitution came about, then the document itself has no meaning. There is no reason to defend and protect it. Only after the consideration of the purposes inherent in the Constitution become apparent do we get the full measure of its uniqueness.

She details the reasons and meanings behind the Bill of Rights and the ensuing Constitutional amendments. What they mean for the average citizen and how the Supreme Court is charged with upholding the independence and individuality of each and every citizen while ensuring a viable and productive government. She discusses the three branches of government and why above all else, the justices of the Supreme Court are beholden to no man or political theory except that found in the lines of the US Constitution. She discusses why an independent judiciary is the backbone of this nation.

She dedicates another part to the women in this country that fought for and attained the right for women to vote. We, women of the United States, owe more than a simple debt of gratitude to these early pioneers of women's suffrage. For without their push for voting equality, women would never have moved beyond the bounds of chattel, and societal supplicant. Only when our voices held sway over political outcomes, and hence became important to those who roam in the political velt, would our requirements of equality and fairness towards those of us of the "fairer sex" become something of national concern.

Lastly she outlines her views of law in the 21st century. Where we have been and her hopes for how the future will pan out. She discusses the universality of law and the opening up of borders. She talks about the future of newly free nations and the need to find a reasonable way to resolve disputes between countries. So much more important today than even the day this book was published. With the breaking down of economic borders and the complete internationalization  and interdependence of the world, there must be some valued and equally appropriate method to resolve economically catastrophic disputes.

But without a doubt, the common thread throughout this book is her absolute love of the US Constitution. Her adherence to its values, beliefs and her dedication to the continuing legacy left to us by our founding fathers. She quotes Chief Justice John Marshall:

"The Judicial Department comes home in its effects to every man's fireside: It passes on his property, his reputation, his life, his all. Is it not, to the last degree important, that [the judge] should be rendered perfectly and completely independent with nothing to influence or control him but God and his conscience?"

Justice O'Connor then adds on her own view:

"I am sure that we do not always succeed in striking precisely the right balance between law and freedom. But we must never stop trying.Both north and south of our common border, we believe in law. At the same time, we believe in freedom. Each of these things, if unchecked, can destroy the other. It is, in the last analysis, the judicial branch that must preserve both law and freedom, keep operating effectively for the common good, and assure justice."

Building upon this idea she adds:

E. B. White said, "Democracy is based on the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half of the time." In the narrow view, the Supreme Court is based on the suspicion that five Justices are similarly correct. In the broader view, I think that the Justices contribute to the wider democracy. We struggle with national issues and attempt to define from a national perspective what it is that the federal laws and the Constitution say. If you don't agree with all of the Court's holdings, you are certainly not alone. But you may be confident that we never stop trying in our writings on every case on our agenda to contribute appropriately to the fragile balances of our national democracy.

You may not agree with her on her court-decisions. You may not agree with the Supreme Court this week at all. But this book outlines in nice detail the "legal whys and wherefores" that our sitting Justices review. This book attempts to give us insight into that delicate balancing act they, the Justices of the Supreme Court, deal with as they fight to preserve the ideals of the nation called the United States of America.

It is important to remember that the US Constitution is not a document meant to protect the majority. The majority, through referendum and law, will take very good care of itself. No the US Constitution is a document meant for the Court to protect the minority among us. To give the minority view a stake at the table and a right to be heard. It is the job of the Supreme Court to make sure that the minority view is given respect and understanding. And yes sometimes these rulings have been a painful calling for the country. But simply because the majority of the nation does not agree with the Court, does not mean the Court was wrong. For that reason and that reason alone, the US Supreme Court is the very necessary caretaker, the overseer and the watchman on the wall of our freedom.


Elise

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Maybe It's Time to Cut Back on the Post-Apocalyptic SciFi?

I woke up last night with a start. I had had a nightmare. I hate when that happens. These nasty little nair-du-wells of REM sleep always feel so real that it is terribly disturbing.

In my nightmare, the city was devoid of all human inhabitants, except for those of us who were living in a  cinderblock house, very similar to a rather cubic housing complex I had seen on House Hunters International in Paris. It had struck me as odd that someone had built something so reminiscent of the Soviet Politburo days in the City of Lights. That oddity of housing construct struck me so out of place that that is probably why it ended up stalking me in my dream.

Then there was a young boy/girl, couldn't really tell, who was hiding out with us from the evil hordes that were roaming the street. Hordes, by the way, that I had not seen in my dream sequence as yet since the streets were completely empty in the dream. But I knew the situation was not a good one. Suddenly I told the boys (both of my sons were with me but no hubby) that it was time to go and take our chances in the real world. The youngster with us would not leave so we had to leave him/her behind. The adolescent was left sitting in the corner of the bed staring out the window. Don't know why I would have left a person, especially a young one, to fend for themselves. That is so not me. But I suppose in the event of an apocalyptic world ending event, your instincts take over and the concept of self-preservation, where you defend your own and do what's best for your own, even if others do not want to participate, becomes paramount.

The next scene in my little Jungian drama was me, slinging several  shotguns and an Ak47 semi-automatic rifle (anti 2nd-amendmenters might want to stop here) over my shoulder, ala caricatured Sicilian and Basque countrymen. I also thought I resembled an anti-Nazi partisan from World War 2. Which would fit considering my family's pointed education towards the Holocaust.

Now I had the boys put all the ammo in one backpack, always need as much ammo as you can get when battle unknown apocalyptic inducing foes. The next backpack was full of foodstuffs, and our emergency supply protein bars of course, water somehow included. Then with the third backpack, I told the boys to pack one change of clothes and all the clean underwear they could fit in the backpack.

So even in my minds eye of apocalyptic downfall of humanity I was channeling my Jewish-mother overwhelmingly concerned that the boys should always have on clean underwear....Go figure.

That's when I woke up.

Yuck, I do hate nightmares.


Meanwhile I am so looking forward to the new movie World War Z coming out this weekend. Maybe watching the previews was the catalyst for my dream...





Perhaps its time to stop watching post-apocalyptic scifi dramas?...Nah, what would be the fun in that?


Elise

P.S. Channeling my Jewish-mother again, having watched the preview, I think Brad Pitt needs a descent haircut.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

In a New York State of Mind..Kudos to Alicia Keyes for Choosing Love Over Hate




Alicia Keyes is to perform in Tel Aviv next month. The anti-semitic wackjobs known as the Boycott and Divestment Movement tried to bully her into not performing. Most notably Alice Walker penned a letter to Keyes telling her her immortal soul was in danger. This from a  woman who thinks we are ruled by alien overlords and disowned her own daughter for choosing life over abortionHERE   HERE

Kudos to Alicia Keyes for rejecting the vile hate-Israel movement in favor of peace.

"I look forward to my first visit to Israel,” she said in a statement to the New York Times last week, according to the World Jewish Congress. “Music is a universal language that is meant to unify audiences in peace and love, and that is the spirit of our show."

Anti-Israel crowd is merely tarted up antisemitism
Thanks to the anti-Israel hate crowd antisemitism doesn't exist anymore
Civil Rights, Alicia Keyes and Israel
Alicia Keyes Slaps anti-Israel bigotry
Ignorance of the hate-Israel crowd, especially Alice Walker


By the way, wondering when all the anti-Israel haters are going to protest, boycott and attack human rights abusing nations such as: China, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, Syria (etc)...maybe a boatlift to the Syrian refugee camps is in order considering the ongoing human tragedy there? But no, they're too busy attacking democratic-western-allied-Israel. Having a hate on Israel is not anti-Semitic.....my ass.



Elise

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Stream Away To Pass That Exercise Time

Exercise is important. It's also boring, especially cardio on a machine. But I have come up with a way to make it atleast time-passable. I wait to watch the TV shows I like and stream them on my laptop or iPad while I exercise. Have app or URL and will cardio.

It's actually alot of fun being able to decide what to watch when. Yes, there are still commercials unless you want to buy the show on amazon-video, but its OK. I end up doing several hours of cardio on my machine without even thinking about it.



Yes several hours. When you have older children who can help with chores and are responsible for themselves you do end up having more time for yourself. I chose to exercise and get healthier. You can too....

Of course when I do some free weight training I use videos. I make sure that there is a rhythm to what I am doing and am organized as to which muscle groups get worked when.

NO, not a picture of me.
I've tried to read my kindle on the cardio machine too, but it doesn't work out that well. Actually it makes me a little seasick. I think its trying to concentrate on the very small screen, combined with trying to read and making sure I keep up a good pace. Rocking the body and an inner ear that just wont play along leads to a nausea that just isn't any fun. Decided its best to just keep with the streaming TV shows. Don't want to have to take dramamine every time I want to exercise. The kindle can wait for a quieter moment.

All in all its a good way to spend a few hours taking care of yourself.

Hulu
TIVO
ABC
CBS
NBC
SyFy
TNT
USA
A and E
AMC
TV Land
Amazon


Elise

Friday, June 7, 2013

Positive Tweet Day #2

I have decided that I need to do this more often than once a year.

I have come to the realization that so much that we put on social media is very negative. I know that we use twitter and Facebook and our blogs to vent. It quite frankly is what keeps us mentally healthy at times. But I think there comes a time when you overload on negativity too. So I have declared today, at least for me #positivetweet and #positivepost day. Here are some of my latest....







For those that are afraid that we are losing our freedoms in the USA remember:












Now for the boys:










Now one for me:





One for the hubby:





Oh and I figured out how to use Vine....

 







Elise






Monday, June 3, 2013

Remember ...."Double Secret Probation"

Received this picture yesterday.



Jewish fraternities still exist. (They came about because back in the day the other fraternities wouldn't take Jewish members.) My nephew is a member of one. And yes they are all really smart and do an inordinate amount of charity work.


Sometimes you are simply reminded of fun times....seriously college was never the same after this movie.



And yes I went to a toga party once. It was a blast.  Was the party a hit? The police came by and had to break it up, so yeah it was a big campus hit....

And no I did not wear a toga. I was the nerdy party-pooper who stayed in her clothes. Listen, I wasn't about to get naked and only wear a sheet in a room full of drunk frat boys. But I did get me some attention, in a co-ed not totally bad sort of way....

Ended up the dame on top of a three-person shoulder to shoulder pyramid...kept yelling "get me down," "get me down." You would have yelled too. Frat boys think they can hold their liquor but we all know they really can't. All I needed was one of the drunkies holding me up to fall or need to vomit and heck it would have all come crashing down. My life did flash before my eyes....And at 18-years-old there hadn't been much of a life yet. Wanted to live just a little while longer.

Meanwhile its OK to be reminded of youthful memories as we seek to make new positive memories in our day-to-day world. So much of our life is spent obsessing about things that may have gone wrong or when things were very hard. It is so far easier to be negative in life than positive. But we also need to remember when we were simply happy. Life was simpler then (even though we didn't really appreciate it) and being young and carefree does have its benefits.  (You know the old saying, youth is wasted on the young.) Even with all the angst associated with growing up we are allowed to remember that part of youth that was fun.

And no, you couldn't pay me enough money to relive any of that time of my life. I have come very far from the college girl at the toga party. Honestly, while adulthood has been overwhelming at times, I like being a grown-up. But memories are important, for it is afterall the twists and turns of life that make us who we are today.

You can also rest assured that whenever I go to any function or huge celebration and the band plays "Shout" the memory of that time period does come back and I smile to myself.



Elise







Saturday, June 1, 2013

Really Cute Cheerios TV Commercial Causes Uproar.....

Can you say adorable?




Now read HERE at Jezebel how Cheerios had to cut off comments when the commercial uploaded to YouTube because of all the racist posts. #IStandWithCheerios

Sometimes I forget that while we are living in 2013, there are still some really really really asinine people in this world. I suppose I don't venture out enough anymore.


Elise