I'm actually working on a soil laboratory test called an "Atterberg Limits" which helps define the classification of a silt or clay soil. It's an odd sort of procedure based, so far as I can tell, on backcalculating from empirical data which once prompted a biologist girlfriend of mine to exclaim (about soil engineering) "You...you people aren't really scientists at all, are you!?"
Anyway, rolling dirt worms is the sort of repetitious, meditative process that lends itself to woolgathering. Adding the Internet to the process simply provides streetsigns for the sheep. So over the course of the past several hours my mind has traversed quite a distance.
I started over at my friends' place; they have been hopping around like a kindergartner with a pantsload of soda pop since late September when they were referred a pair of rumbustious little two-year-old twins from Zhengzhou in Henan Province. Well, they finally received their Travel Authorization ("TA") yesterday, meaning they could be holding two little wrigglers by Thanksgiving.
Now that's a good reason to be Thankful! So, congratulations on a another step closer to diapers, pillow fights, head colds, warm, wriggly little boy hugs, tantrums, night terrors, breathlessness from running, sticky kisses, tears and the quick beating of a little heart on your chest.
And I thought a little about China, and by connection the world, and - since the election is still in my forebrain - the changes I hope to see in the way my country deals with the rest of the world...and what that means for us here at home.
I think I mentioned that my candidate for the Oregon seat in the U.S. Senate was a guy called Steve Novick? Well, he lost in the primary to the man who eventually defeated Gordon Smith, Jeff Merkely (yaay!). But here's a good example of why I liked Novick. Here he is talking about the challenge facing the Obama Administration (doesn't that have a nice ring to it?) on the financial - and probably soon, fiscal - crisis:
On the federal budget, the key facts are: Defense, Social Security, and Medicare and Medicaid (combined) are each about 20 percent of the budget; earmarks are less than 1 percent; interest on the national debt is 8 percent; and most of the rest of federal spending is for things such as education, transportation and veterans' benefits. That means we can't balance the budget merely by cutting a few things that everybody dislikes. Ending the war in Iraq tomorrow would make a dent but still leave big deficits. Serious efforts toward fiscal responsibility will require things such as cutting the defense budget, restraining rising health care costs and raising some money.Read the whole thing - he talks terrific sense on budgets in general, and my thoughts are: what the man said. The loyal Bushies have spent eight years getting us into the perfect cleft stick: now, more than ever (with consumer spending dropping like a paralyzed falcon and unemployment rocketing off the pad) we need direct Keynsian stimulus; the very reason that governments run surpluses in good times. But we don't HAVE a surplus; the stupid bastards pissed away money like a Korean B-girl buying herself champagne cocktails with your bar tab.
And, at the same time, the usual suspects will be clamoring about Obama's plushie softness on terrorism and war in general. Despite the fact that we spend a monstrously idiotic amount on war toys the same talking heads who have parroted the Bushie's insistence on shovelling cash at what my friend the Ranger calls the "Phony War on Terror"
Bottom line: China does not have to be our enemy. Even if they become one, the present generation of weapons in our arsenal are more and again sufficient to stick a finger in the eye of the PLA. To continue to pretend that defense spending is somehow sacred and untouchable is the sort of foolishness that made the Bushies so...foolish. I hope Obama's crew has the sack to wield a firm blade in slicing back the ridiculous defense budgets.
What to do about SS and Medicare I dunno...
That made me think about my parents, and Mojo's parents; the first living in a comfortably self-prepared retirement, the latter hanging on barely between income and Social Security. What would happen to them without FDR's social insurance program I don't dare to think. Which made me reflect on the collapse of the GOP into the party of the rich, the holy and the caucasian.
In my youth my parents were what used to be called Rockefeller Republicans: socially liberal to moderate, fiscally and internationally conservative, the GOP of the 700 Club and Sarah Palin horrified them. My father and I talked yesterday and he recounted his meeting with a bunch of his old cronies in small town southeastern Pennsylvania. I think he and one other fogy are the only admitted Democrats out of a group of fifteen or so. Political passions had run so high that the group had forbidden debating the election until Wednesday. That morning when they gathered to discuss the results, of the ten or so Republicans who admitted their votes half had voted for Obama.
I'm fascinated. I think the next couple of years will be enlightening; will the GOP continue to shrink to the Party of the Old Confederacy? Will they become the American equivalent of the Christian Democrats of Europe? Who will emerge to lead the Republicans out of the Bush despond?
Will Bible Spice run in 2012?
From there back to adoption; how do you deal with a little girl who's a two-year-old and yet not a TYPICAL two-year-old?
Little Miss is developing a full set of Terrible Two reflexes. She wants what she wants when she wants it and will not take "no" for an answer. But she doesn't respond to "no" like the Peeper did - no tantrums, no screaming, no violence at all. Instead she just falls on the floor and sobs like Woodsy the Owl thinking about Love Canal (and no, you adolescents, that's not a porno. Follow the link, dammit. Am I the only Golden Ager on the Internet? And you kids get the hell off my lawn!!)
So how do you "discipline" a little person who just responds to any sort of restriction, no matter how gentle, with a FLOOD of tears? Where's the Dr. Spock of adoption parenting? Who's publishing self-help books for moms and dads with little ex-orphans?
In other kidlet news, here's the Peeper and his beautiful Thanksgiving Turkey.Is that an Impressionist turkey, or what? We had hella big fun doing that one; note the actual feathers for the tail, courtesy of the Oregon Department of Fish and Game pheasant that gave its life last September so that Pheasant Marengo might live...
Well, the worms have turned, and I need to go put them in the oven. Thanks for coming along on my mental detour.