I spent a few minutes this morning, snuggled on the couch with K, who was wrapped up in her "Blankie" and sucking her thumb. We were watching Good Morning America, which is on ABC and which was participating in the "Day of Giving" to raise money for the Red Cross to benefit victims of Storm Sandy.
Just a short 1/2 hour of television and so much emotion and thoughts going through my head. Sometimes it is difficult living inside my head, so funny to try and make sense of everything swirling around in there. (Rob sometimes shakes his head at me when I switch subjects, wondering how I get from one to the other.) But I digress. Wait, what was I talking about?
During one of the commercials, they ran one of my all-time favorite holiday commercials - the Hershey Kiss one, where they are set out in the shape of a tree and the one red one does the extra ringing at the end and then says "phew!" as it wipes its brow. Truly, one of my favorites and makes me smile every time. But as I was watching, my second thought was "huh?" It's November 5 and they are running holiday commercials already. Why? I realize that the stores have been decorated (except for Nordstrom, but more on that later) since weeks before Halloween, when they started clearing out the Halloween decor, but why would broadcasters (or merchants) run those commercials now? Do we really need a kick start to the holiday shopping that early?
Election coverage - one story on GMA was about the First Lady and Ann Romney doing some last minute stumping. It never fails to amaze me at what people consider news. Part of the "hook" for the article was something about why the ladies were so emotional. But the story never actually got around to telling me why. I am left to ponder. On the flip side of that coin, the candidates themselves. While I have promised myself and others (even on this blog) to remain apolitical in an effort to maintain friendships, I am truly confused by some of the things that I read on friends' pages. Whether it is comments from others that they share, pictures that they "like" or status updates of their own thoughts and feelings, I can't help but wonder at what drives these friends of mine, and what the basis is for their positions, on both sides of the aisle. I don't mean this in a facetious way, or to be in any way demeaning. I am really curious about it, and at some point might like to sit down and discuss it. Not because I think they would convince me to change my views, or that I would try to change theirs, but more because I would like to know if I am missing something or only have half information on these topics.
To give one big example, female friends of mine have professed support for the Republican party and Romney as the candidate. Some of the comments that I see discuss the economy and jobs and it looks like those are the reasons for the support. I think others may just be fairly conservative in their approach to politics which is more in line with the Republican philosophy. I myself considered Reagan to have been a great president (although, I was in elementary school when he was in office, so it did not have the same effect on me as the presidency does now.) Here is where my confusion sets in. Romney's running mate, Ryan has gone on the record as saying that he wants to do away with a woman's right to have an abortion. He has even spent some time running around with his foot in his mouth, after that crazy comment about pregnancies resulting from rape. (If you are curious, Google it.) Republicans normally (I think) take a more conservative approach to the "Pro Life/ Pro Choice" debate, but this year's presidential slate seems to be taking such a harder line, wanting to challenge (or even get rid of ?) Roe v. Wade. So much so, that I have to wonder how any woman could consider voting for someone who wants to take away their right to control their own bodies. Yes, the economy and foreign policy and those other things that make up a platform are important. But I simply cannot get past giving up a fundamental right to decide what happens to my own body - particularly on a topic that is driven by men - who can never truly understand how a woman's body works. I understand that there is a religious component to this issue, but at the same time, I cannot get past the idea of a man trying to tell me what to do with my body.
I'll give you a real life example. After B was born, I had post-eclamptic seizures. The doctors were baffled as to why it happened following a "textbook" pregnancy, but everything seemed to resolve itself and B and I were both fine. When I got pregnant with K, the doctors kept a closer eye on me, but for the most part, the pregnancy was normal. 7 days after K was born, I had post-eclamptic seizures again. My doctor sat down with me in the hospital and said "no more children." While we have taken steps to follow the doctor's advice and don't plan to have any more children, strange things happen and you never know. VP candidate Ryan would have us believe that if I got pregnant, it would be for a "reason" (i.e.: G-d wanted it to happen) and therefore I should not be able to choose whether or not to continue to be pregnant, therein having to choose between my own life and that of an unborn child (but essentially taking away my choice.) What would be better, that another child might be brought into this world (running the risks of problems stemming from my own health issues) or choosing to end the pregnancy and save my life, so that my 2 already living children could continue to have a mother and my husband continues to have a wife. No one should have to make that choice, but why should someone in politics who has never met me or my family get to make that choice for me?
I did not intend this post to become political, but as I wrote, I realized that this is an issue that I feel very strongly about, partially because I do potentially have health issues that would affect a pregnancy and my ability to have another child. I just don't believe that anyone else should be allowed to tell me how to handle that situation. And I won't even get started on the issue of what overturning Roe v. Wade would do in increasing "back alley" abortions. I shudder to think. But back to some less-heavy stuff.
As I mentioned, ABC is having a Day of Giving, taking calls from people donating. (You can text "Redcross" to 90999 to donate $10 on your phone!) During one piece, the camera panned the phone banks and Grover was taking calls! (Yes, Grover from Sesame Street.) Sitting here typing this, I think I should have called to see if Grover would talk to K - that would have been fun this morning. Grover made me smile. All of the Muppets and Sesame Street pals never fail to make me smile, which is a good thing, because at one point, I found myself almost tearing up. Pictures of the devastation and destruction of the storm break my heart. Pictures of the signs that people have made, both to Sandy and to people passing by, melt my heart. I sometimes feel so helpless and wonder if there is more that I should or could be doing, beyond donating a few dollars here and there. It is a tough time of year, and I typically "adopt" a family or children locally for the holidays, but at the same time, I wonder how families in New York and New Jersey will get through this holiday season and the cold weather that is on its way. There are stories from the aftermath of Katrina, of student groups that went to New Orleans and helped clear trash and debris and helped rebuild. Somewhere in my mind, I wonder if I could have done that. I have to hope that there are groups even now helping the victims of this storm. I have to hope that my few dollars goes to help someone buy a child a new toy or buy someone warm clothes or pay for a place to sleep. In the midst of it all, I have to have hope.
I did not start this post with a thought towards the serious, but it seems to have ventured that way all on its own. I hope that if nothing else, we all stop to think for just a moment. Whether it is about the election and who you might vote for (Regardless of who, get out and VOTE - especially all of you ladies), or about how you can help someone in need, just think for a moment outside of your usual sphere of influence. That's all, just think.
OOPS! I almost forgot - Nordstrom.... someone posted a picture on Facebook the other day, of the Nordstrom sign saying that they would not be decorating their stores until after Thanksgiving, and that they believe it appropriate to celebrate one holiday at a time. This is from the past few years and so far, I haven't been able to find anything for 2012 on it, but I'm guessing they will continue with that same idea this year. An interesting thought, when all others have been decorating since September. A random story - I remember when I first moved here to LA, I got a job in a Halloween store that was fairly popular in the area. The store did a crazy amount of Halloween business, with rentals for props and costumes and such. It was the day after Halloween that killed us - all of the Halloween had to come down and all of the holiday went up, virtually overnight. The store owner used to say that "everyone else has had Christmas up for 2 weeks, I've got to catch up!" I don't remember it being that big of a thing then, but now I notice it more often. Of course, I've been listening to Christmas music here and there for a few weeks and have already bought a few presents, but that's just my own craziness.
One last note, to my friends who are doing a 30-days of gratitude project of some kind (I have seen several), I commend you. I always think about it after the fact, but maybe I'll get it rolling right here. (1) I am thankful that Rob and I have created some great friendships out of business connections. (2) I am grateful that I can freely go to Temple and worship as I choose. (3) I am grateful for old friends. (4) I am grateful that the kids slept in just a bit with their extra hour. (5) I am grateful that Grandma Trudy is on the mend and getting better everyday, and that my girls get to know her and spend time with her. (Today is a double helping!)
On that note, I will leave you. VOTE tomorrow.