living in the red, vol. 5

from saturday’s letter to the editor:  … as always, i’m the bolded italics.

Isn’t it high time for answers about why the midnight oil seldom burns in the Oval Office? (wait, what? i know several  washington insiders who can attest that the Pres is constantly at work at all hours of the day and night.)  Because we sense a lack of direction as the president travels hither and yon. (? ? ?) Grandstanding in the hinterlands begets headlines, but the public is becoming mighty anxious about whether anyone is minding the store.

President Obama’s 16 trips abroad in 2009 were the most by any first-term president.  (good, it’s nice to have a president try to win back some our allies and open discussions with those whom we haven’t been as friendly.)  He didn’t sit on his hands at home, either: 58 cities in 30 states.  (awesome, it’s great our president is so interested in keeping touch with the American people.)  Likewise, in 2010: four trips to the Gulf  (how many of those are directly related to the oil spill?), plus 27 visits to commencements, memorials and political assemblages. And the First Lady travels, too.  (ahhh, a true family man who spends time with his wife and kids. it’s refreshing isn’t it? and how great that we have a first lady interested in supporting so many great causes in our nation…)

Cost? $68,000 per hour to operate Air Force One, as well as cargo aircraft at $6,960 per hour to transport limos, helicopters, equipment and staff. Not to mention sky-high expenses by cities and states for law enforcement support. By way of comparison, President Clinton’s trip to Asia in 2000 cost the taxpayers $50 million.  (ok… travel for the leader of the free world is expensive. understood.)

The figures speak for themselves. With staggering budget deficits, the public would be best served if Obama holed up in the Oval Office now and then and addressed the problems rather than hitting the road on his extravagant and thinly veiled campaign for re-election.  (wait, so, you’d rather he take a completely isolationist approach and ignore the rest of the world? welcome to 2010, my dear. that philosophy is no longer an option. and not for nothin’ but president obama seems to be working pretty darn hard to me.  between dealing with the oil, working to end several wars, pushing for alternative energy, working on healthcare, creating committees to oversee regulations, helping the banking industry, the automotive industry, working on keeping taxes low, helping americans purchases homes, cars, and appliances, etc etc, i would say he’s doing a pretty banner job so far. what have you accomplished lately?)

PETER M. HAIN
MONETA

101 in 1001 (finally moved from the other blog)

*end date for the list is April 29th, 2012*

so there’s this blog thing that’s been going around — make a list of 101 things you’d like to get done in 1001 days (which is about 2 and 3/4 years). at first i thought it was kinda a dumb idea, but then i really got into making the list. i finished mine a couple of weeks ago and decided to officially start it aug 1st. and so it has begun.

101 in 1001

Education
1. finish master’s degree
2. learn 20 phrases in Italian
3. learn to play at least one song on the piano
4. learn how to change the oil in my car
5. learn to sew a button onto clothing
6. learn to ski
7. learn to can (vegetables, fruits)
8. learn to say ‘I love you’ in 10 different languages
9. learn to change a tire
10. learn how to properly bet in poker

Financial
11. pay off my student loans
12. start a retirement account

Travel
13. travel to Ireland
14. travel to France
15. travel to 2 new states (0/2)
16. keep a travel blog
17. visit a town in Virginia I have never been to
18. tour a winery
19. have a picnic in a garden of a world capital
20. stay at a bed & breakfast
21. share a bottle of wine with Patrick somewhere with an incredible Parisian view
22. kiss the Blarney Stone
23. drink a Guinness at a traditional, real Irish pub

Entertainment
24. watch (or rewatch) AFI’s top 10 movies of all time (Citizen Kane, Casablanca, The Godfather, Gone with the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, The Wizard of Oz, The Graduate, On the Waterfront, Schindler’s List, Singin’ in the Rain)
25. see a play
26. attend a concert
27. become a silver poster
28. add at least 10 new ancestors to my genealogy research (3/10)
29. record a major event in photographs
30. attend a hockey game
31. get a cell phone
32. attend a Salem Red Sox game
33. see a live comedic performance
34. jump in a pile of leaves in the fall
35. drink homemade hot cocoa on the porch while watching snow fall

House
36. renovate the master bath and bedroom
37. organize the media tower
38. wash all dishes immediately after each dinner every night for a month
39. make a Christmas ornament
40. plant a tree
41. organize and label family photos
42. clean the Jacuzzi tub at least once a month (16/33)
43. find curtains for all naked windows
44. fix the kitchen ceiling

Food
45. CREATE my own new recipe
46. buy local (groceries)
47. eat a meat that is not chicken, beef, pork, lamb, fish, or shellfish
48. try at least one new recipe a month (16/33)
49. make the Gingerbread Train
50. go vegetarian for one month
51. eat at 5 new local restaurants (1/5)
52. drink only water for a week
53. eat every meal at home for one month
54. grow my own herbs
55. make homemade ice cream
56. buy organic as much as possible
57. make homemade pasta
58. shop at the farmer’s market
59. create a gourmet 7-course meal at home (with wine pairings)

New Adventures
60. maintain a garden for an entire season
61. play golf with Patrick
62. paint a picture
63. go hiking on the Appalachian Trail
64. recycle all trash for one month
65. try the oil cleansing method
66. hit golf balls at a driving range
67. take 50 photographs that are not associated with travel

Personal Growth

68. buy a pair of Spanx
69. lose 20 lbs (goal: 140 lbs)
70. read 101 books (24/101)
71. start writing a novel
72. eat in a restaurant alone
73. spend one week without T.V. (must be done at home, not on the road)
74. spend one weekend without internet (must be done at home, not on the road)
75. list 101 things that make me happy
76. get a proper bra fitting
77. floss everyday for a month

Relationships
78. send Patrick 10 love letters
79. hold a wine tasting party for family/friends
80. babysit Mikayla and Sean overnight
81. have girls’ night once a month (16/33)
82. write a letter to someone who has been an inspiration in my life
83. call my mother-in-law just to chat
84. tell each of my siblings (incl. In-laws) why they are special
85. get 3 couples’ massages (1/3)
86. host a board game night for friends
87. get caught doing something silly with a friend
88. lay out on the beach with Patrick
89. give Patrick a massage once a month (16/33)
90. Tell Patrick I love him everyday (456/1001)
91. start a conversation with a stranger

Community
92. give a homeless person food or money
93. leave a 100% tip at a restaurant
94. purchase a piece of local, original artwork
95. lend $100 through kiva.org
96. clean out closets and dressers, donating all the clothes to Goodwill
97. pay for the person in line behind me
98. support one boy and one girl from the Angel Tree each Christmas
99. donate $100 to the Fistula Foundation/Panzi Hospital
100. donate $25 to charity (TBA) for each section completed on this list
101. donate $1 to the NRA for each item on this list that is not completed