Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Dinner Party

Dinner Party at Mandarin's House by Thomas Allom
Last night we had a little dinner party at our house. We invited some friends over, fixed a nice roast, and all sat down to eat. As much as I hate social events, last night was not that bad.

We had two married couples and another friend, who was unable to bring his wife. All of them are military, and all of them enjoy some of the same hobbies. We had a seating arrangement designed to get everyone talking to each other rather than simply interacting with only their significant others. I think that really helped. It's also the first time I've actually used the Army Wife Handbook that arrived among Will's household goods.

I must admit that it was not a fancy affair, we didn't even have a table cloth (I can't wait until I have a sewing machine. Table clothes are just like my Italian Napkin, but a lot bigger). We used our rickety dining table, and a folding card table that we set up. The dinnerware and silverware was mismatched, along with the drinking glasses. But everyone seemed to have a good time, which was the important thing.

We also did not just host a dinner party we made it a potluck. We provided the meat - with a good beef roast, and the starches. Will made mashed potatoes, while Robert made a fancy cornbread from a bag mix. Of course I made the desserts. Brownies from scratch and apple crisp from scratch. One pair of guests brought a vegetable tray which provided pre-meal nibbles as well as something healthy with the meal. Another one brought a tray of baked vegetables. These were delicious and the recipe was very simple. The final couple brought along a casserole, which looked delicious. Robert and Will both said it was, and it was gone before the end of the night, but I couldn't have any because of the milk.

The whole group really seemed to enjoy it. After the meal, three of our guests left, while one stayed around to play games. We played "You've Been Sentenced!" with the sci-fi/fantasy card addition. Will didn't want to "inflict and educational game" on our guests, but Rue was the one that picked it. So we played. Robert is getting better at his grammar skills each time we play. After the game, we watched the season premier of The Librarians again, because our guests had not seen it, but raved over the first three movies. They went home wanting to watch the rest of the first season. I really hope they renew that one for a second season.

Shortly after everyone left we crashed for the evening, but I did not feel drained like I usually do after such an event. The drain happens whether I am hosting or attending. We all said that it was a very successful party. Hopefully we can do it again. Perhaps next time with linens?

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Republican Response to SOTU


My Grandmother and I often discuss politics (yes, we are a weird family, thank you for noticing). While discussing the recent SOTU address, she asked if I had heard/read Joni Ernst's response. (Ernst is a Republican Senator from Iowa). I hadn't yet seen the whole thing, though I had seen a clip or two during the talking head discussions that I couldn't pay attention to due to too much to do.

I went and found it today and read it while I listened to it. Here's my response, along with a transcript of her speech (transcript from the same source as above - Politico).

I’m Joni Ernst. As a mother, a soldier, and a newly elected senator from the great State of Iowa, I am proud to speak with you tonight. 
A few moments ago, we heard the President lay out his vision for the year to come. Even if we may not always agree, it’s important to hear different points of view in this great country. We appreciate the President sharing his. 
Well, I'm glad to see that she is polite. 
Tonight though, rather than respond to a speech, I’d like to talk about your priorities. I’d like to have a conversation about the new Republican Congress you just elected, and how we plan to make Washington focus on your concerns again. 
This just annoys me. She's responding to the speech, but she insists that she isn't responding to the speech. Just admit that it is a response to the speech, and say that you're responding in the context of "how we plan to make Washington focus on your concerns again," but don't deny that it's a response. 
We heard the message you sent in November — loud and clear. And now we’re getting to work to change the direction Washington has been taking our country. 
The new Republican Congress also understands how difficult these past six years have been. For many of us, the sting of the economy and the frustration with Washington’s dysfunction, weren’t things we had to read about. We felt them every day. 
We felt them in Red Oak — the little town in southwestern Iowa where I grew up, and am still proud to call home today. 
As a young girl, I plowed the fields of our family farm. I worked construction with my dad. To save for college, I worked the morning biscuit line at Hardees. 
We were raised to live simply, not to waste. It was a lesson my mother taught me every rainy morning. 
You see, growing up, I had only one good pair of shoes. So on rainy school days, my mom would slip plastic bread bags over them to keep them dry. 
But I was never embarrassed. Because the school bus would be filled with rows and rows of young Iowans with bread bags slipped over their feet. 
Lovely anecdote, but two things: first, didn't all of this just come out when you were campaigning? I wasn't paying attention to Iowa since we are stationed in Texas, but didn't it come out? Second, sources, pictures, corroboration? I just called the President on not citing sources, why wouldn't I call a senator on it? 
Our parents may not have had much, but they worked hard for what they did have. 
These days though, many families feel like they’re working harder and harder, with less and less to show for it. 
Not just in Red Oak, but across the country. 
We see our neighbors agonize over stagnant wages and lost jobs. We see the hurt caused by canceled healthcare plans and higher monthly insurance bills. We see too many moms and dads put their own dreams on hold while growing more fearful about the kind of future they’ll be able to leave to their children. 
That I am not going to disagree with. We work hard, but it feels like we get less out of it than we used to (I'm not talking personally, I'm talking across generations). However, we have to remember that for every success story we hear coming out of the past, there were twice or three times as many stories about people who just barely kept their ends together. We always like to look at the past as a golden ideal, but we have to remember that it wasn't. There were just as many hardships then, even if many of them were of a different nature. 
Americans have been hurting, but when we demanded solutions, too often Washington responded with the same stale mindset that led to failed policies like Obamacare. It’s a mindset that gave us political talking points, not serious solutions. 
Oh! You mean like this speech, right? Because I haven't seen any serious answers yet, but I'll also address this one at the end. *I'll just add an asterisk here to help me remember.
That’s why the new Republican majority you elected started by reforming Congress to make it function again. And now, we’re working hard to pass the kind of serious job-creation ideas you deserve. 
Trying to say that Obama's new jobs that he was touting weren't "serious job-creation ideas," but they are both side stepping saying what kind of jobs were created. 
One you’ve probably heard about is the Keystone jobs bill. President Obama has been delaying this bipartisan infrastructure project for years, even though many members of his party, unions, and a strong majority of Americans support it. The President’s own State Department has said Keystone’s construction could support thousands of jobs and pump billions into our economy, and do it with minimal environmental impact. 
We worked with Democrats to pass this bill through the House. We’re doing the same now in the Senate. 
President Obama will soon have a decision to make: will he sign the bill, or block good American jobs? 
Assuming all the paperwork and research has been done (and you did a slightly better job of citing then Obama) then I'll agree that Obama should sign it into law. However, I do have a question, what all is attached to this law that he is objecting to? What are his particular objections? 
There’s a lot we can achieve if we work together. 
Let’s tear down trade barriers in places like Europe and the Pacific. Let’s sell more of what we make and grow in America over there so we can boost manufacturing, wages, and jobs right here, at home. 
I'll agree with that. Simplifying the law would help with this a lot, but there is still the cost of shipping overseas. Do you have a solution for that problem? 
Let’s simplify America’s outdated and loophole-ridden tax code. Republicans think tax filing should be easier for you, not just the well-connected. So let’s iron out loopholes to lower rates — and create jobs, not pay for more government spending. 
The President has already expressed some support for these kinds of ideas. We’re calling on him now to cooperate to pass them. 
Good. I agree with simplifying the tax code. I also agree with calling the president out on it. Obama said this, now both of you make good and work it out. 
You’ll see a lot of serious work in this new Congress. 
Some of it will occur where I stand tonight, in the Armed Services Committee room. This is where I’ll join committee colleagues — Republicans and Democrats — to discuss ways to support our exceptional military and its mission. This is where we’ll debate strategies to confront terrorism and the threats posed by Al Qaeda, ISIL, and those radicalized by them. 
We know threats like these can’t just be wished away. We've been reminded of terrorism’s reach both at home and abroad; most recently in France and Nigeria, but also in places like Canada and Australia. Our hearts go out to all the innocent victims of terrorism and their loved ones. We can only imagine the depth of their grief. 
I don't know, those who were directly affected by 9/11 can probably relate. Granted those who were too young to remember it clearly couldn't. Also, those who were not directly affected probably have forgotten their initial shock, fear, and anger. However, we have had a terrorist attack take place on our soil in historically recent memory, even if it isn't in socially recent memory. 
For two decades, I’ve proudly worn our nation’s uniform: today, as a Lt. Colonel in the Iowa Army National Guard. While deployed overseas with some of America’s finest men and women, I’ve seen just how dangerous these kinds of threats can be. 
The forces of violence and oppression don’t care about the innocent. We need a comprehensive plan to defeat them. 
I also agree with this. Those who actually are our enemies, rather than simply politically different, utilize the innocent, and convert the innocent into weapons and soldiers often before they have the mental facilities to attempt to decide for themselves. 

However, two things stand in my way of just going "Yes, this is perfect!" The first of those things is that we have had several defectors go to them, we need to look at our own propaganda, and "truth" and understand why people are going to help them, instead of protesting them. Indoctrination is a part of any nation, fraternity, family, or gang; everyone does it, so why is ours so broken? 

Secondly, calling on her background as a soldier, and then talking about a "comprehensive plan to defeat them," implies that she is looking for a military solution. I am not opposed to a military solution in the abstract, but I do think that we need to go in with clear strong goals to define victory, and a clear plan to achieve those goals. Among those goals and plans needs to be the idea that we would be setting up our own permanent bases there, and sitting on them. When Hitler and the Nazis rolled over Europe, we eventually knocked him back, we didn't just leave Germany we stayed for more than sixty years. We are still there. We helped rebuild, reeducate, and heal old wounds. If we don't do that in the Middle East, then things will just get worse. 

However, the American people are not ready for another operation of this scale, mostly because they do not understand the need for it (back to the indoctrination thing). Until they do, through rational ideas, propaganda, or fear, then the better military tactic is to pull out completely. Let the Middle East deal with itself. I do not condone what I firmly believe would happen there, but they are not citizens of our sovereign nation. As much as I would hate to watch the reports that would come out of that region, if the country is not one hundred percent behind going in and knocking out a permanent victory, then we need to pull back and protect ourselves. Let things develop until the bleeding hearts are screaming for us to intervene, and the isolationists see the threat coming to our shores, and the pacifists are willing to hold their tongues, even if it causes tears and pain. 

So yes, prepare a military solution, keep it updated and on the table, but don't expect me to support something that is so vague or short term that it isn't going to work; or something that is without the backing of the majority of Americans. 
We must also honor America’s veterans. These men and women have sacrificed so much in defense of our freedoms, and our way of life. They deserve nothing less than the benefits they were promised and a quality of care we can be all be proud of.
These are important issues the new Congress plans to address. 
Important things, and as a military spouse, something that I am completely behind. But I fully admit that I am biased on this. 
We’ll also keep fighting to repeal and replace a health care law that’s hurt so many hardworking families. 
I wouldn't try to repeal it until you actually have something in place to deal with it. Because of that, wouldn't it be easier to leave the "Obamacare" title and work to change the wording that is already written? 

Second, source for "hurt so many hardworking families." How are you defining "hurt" or "hardworking?" 
We’ll work to correct executive overreach. 
Because it is a Democrat in office. I'm sure if it was a Republican who was pushing for things that you wanted you would be saying it wasn't over reach. At the very least you would be waffling over it. 
We’ll propose ideas that aim to cut wasteful spending and balance the budget — with meaningful reforms, not higher taxes like the President has proposed. 
Balance, balance is a good word, but I will believe it when I see it. 
We’ll advance solutions to prevent the kind of cyberattacks we’ve seen recently.
We’ll work to confront Iran’s nuclear ambitions. 
Sounds like you are willing to work together, this is good. 
And we’ll defend life, because protecting our most vulnerable is an important measure of any society. 
This is obviously a reference to the "Right to Life" debate. It doesn't matter what I would do personally. What matters is that we built this country on a freedom of religion, which can also be taken as a freedom of philosophy. By that, when you deny access to abortions you deny that freedom of philosophy. So everyone should have access to abortions in my opinion. 

However, I do think that abortions should be illegal after the point at which a child can survive outside the womb. So my proposal would be that for the interim permit the abortions, and then throw research and development funding at helping zygotes live outside the woman, the invention of the artificial womb.

Granted this is not something that the government should be doing, but there are plenty of rich conservative corporations out there. The profit from this would come from ... there's no easy way to say this ... the profit would come from "selling" the infants to families that want them. There are always families that want babies, and never enough babies to go around. Which is one of the arguments against abortion, but pregnancy can be hard on a woman physically and mentally. If she doesn't consider that small clump of cells a baby and is not ready to go through that experience, give her another out - removal of the fetus into a place in which it can live. 

But don't remove her access to abortion until such technology exists. You may think one way, and personally, I wouldn't have an abortion outside of a few very specific circumstances, but that doesn't mean that everyone thinks that way. We don't give children a voice, we have CPS that acts as a government parent, but they are already alive and breathing, capable of living without the womb and learning to care for themselves. A pile of cells doesn't have that ability, so why does it get the same "rights?" 
Congress is back to work on your behalf, ready to make Washington focus on your concerns again. 
We know America faces big challenges. But history has shown there’s nothing our nation, and our people, can’t accomplish. 
Just look at my parents and grandparents. 
They had very little to call their own except the sweat on their brow and the dirt on their hands. But they worked, they sacrificed, and they dreamed big dreams for their children and grandchildren. 
And because they did, an ordinary Iowan like me has had some truly extraordinary opportunities because they showed me that you don’t need to come from wealth or privilege to make a difference. You just need the freedom to dream big, and a whole lot of hard work. 
What about the people that don't want to work? What do we do with them? 
The new Republican Congress you elected is working to make Washington understand that too. And with a little cooperation from the President, we can get Washington working again. 
Thank you for allowing me to speak with you tonight. 
May God bless this great country of ours, the brave Americans serving in uniform on our behalf, and you, the hardworking men and women who make the United States of America the greatest nation the world has ever known.
*So, she has a lot of pretty ideals, but no solid solutions in this speech. I'll wait and see how she actually votes and what she actually does before deciding on a verdict. 

So yes, I had more reaction to this one, even though in some ways it was a lot more vague than the SOTU. 

Any other reactions I should deliberately go look at and see? 

Source link, again: "Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2015/01/gop-response-transcript-joni-ernst-gop-response-114423.html#ixzz3PZOadAFc"

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Response to the State of the Union 2015

Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:
We are fifteen years into this new century. Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world. It has been, and still is, a hard time for many.
But tonight, we turn the page.
Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis.
But what kind of jobs? The kind that support a family, or the kind that press people down?
More of our kids are graduating than ever before; more of our people are insured than ever before; we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we've been in almost 30 years. 
Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over. Six years ago, nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, fewer than 15,000 remain. And we salute the courage and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 Generation who has served to keep us safe. We are humbled and grateful for your service. 
America, for all that we've endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this: 
The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong. 
At this moment -- with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production -- we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.
Shrinking deficits? Prove it. Balance the budget and get the nation out of debt. 
It's now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come. 
Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?
I'm with the "everyone who makes the effort," thing, but who gets to define effort? 
Will we approach the world fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts that strain our military and set back our standing? Or will we lead wisely, using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our planet?
Will we allow ourselves to be sorted into factions and turned against one another -- or will we recapture the sense of common purpose that has always propelled America forward? 
In two weeks, I will send this Congress a budget filled with ideas that are practical, not partisan. And in the months ahead, I'll crisscross the country making a case for those ideas. 
But is it a balanced budget? 
So tonight, I want to focus less on a checklist of proposals, and focus more on the values at stake in the choices before us. 
It begins with our economy. 
Seven years ago, Rebekah and Ben Erler of Minneapolis were newlyweds. She waited tables. He worked construction. Their first child, Jack, was on the way. 
They were young and in love in America, and it doesn't get much better than that.
"If only we had known," Rebekah wrote to me last spring, "what was about to happen to the housing and construction market." 
As the crisis worsened, Ben's business dried up, so he took what jobs he could find, even if they kept him on the road for long stretches of time. Rebekah took out student loans, enrolled in community college, and retrained for a new career. They sacrificed for each other. And slowly, it paid off. They bought their first home. They had a second son, Henry. Rebekah got a better job, and then a raise. Ben is back in construction -- and home for dinner every night. 
"It is amazing," Rebekah wrote, "what you can bounce back from when you have to...we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times." 
And Ben and Rebekah will be on every talk show possible tomorrow. 
We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.
America, Rebekah and Ben's story is our story. They represent the millions who have worked hard, and scrimped, and sacrificed, and retooled. You are the reason I ran for this office. You're the people I was thinking of six years ago today, in the darkest months of the crisis, when I stood on the steps of this Capitol and promised we would rebuild our economy on a new foundation. And it's been your effort and resilience that has made it possible for our country to emerge stronger. 
We believed we could reverse the tide of outsourcing, and draw new jobs to our shores. And over the past five years, our businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs.
And again I ask, what kind of new jobs? 
We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet. And today, America is number one in oil and gas. America is number one in wind power. Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008. And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save $750 at the pump. 
This one I'm going to say thank you, but I'm still waiting for the other shoe to drop. 
We believed we could prepare our kids for a more competitive world. And today, our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record. Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high. And more Americans finish college than ever before. 
But with lower standards to graduate than ever before. More to come on that in later blogs...
We believed that sensible regulations could prevent another crisis, shield families from ruin, and encourage fair competition. Today, we have new tools to stop taxpayer-funded bailouts, and a new consumer watchdog to protect us from predatory lending and abusive credit card practices. And in the past year alone, about ten million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health coverage. 
At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we've seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years. 
Can someone explain the deficits cut by two-thirds? Does he mean just adding to the debt? Because I'd rather see the debt shrinking than still growing. 
So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don't get in the way.
Politics always get in the way. Period. 
We can't slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. We can't put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we've got a system to fix. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto. 
He look he started going off script in that paragraph. (I'm listening while I read, that's the best way I learn.) 
Today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. Wages are finally starting to rise again. We know that more small business owners plan to raise their employees' pay than at any time since 2007. But here's the thing -- those of us here tonight, we need to set our sights higher than just making sure government doesn't halt the progress we're making. We need to do more than just do no harm. Tonight, together, let's do more to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American. 
Because families like Rebekah's still need our help. She and Ben are working as hard as ever, but have to forego vacations and a new car so they can pay off student loans and save for retirement. Basic childcare for Jack and Henry costs more than their mortgage, and almost as much as a year at the University of Minnesota. Like millions of hardworking Americans, Rebekah isn't asking for a handout, but she is asking that we look for more ways to help families get ahead. 
In fact, at every moment of economic change throughout our history, this country has taken bold action to adapt to new circumstances, and to make sure everyone gets a fair shot. We set up worker protections, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to protect ourselves from the harshest adversity. We gave our citizens schools and colleges, infrastructure and the internet -- tools they needed to go as far as their effort will take them. 
That's what middle-class economics is -- the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. We don't just want everyone to share in America's success -- we want everyone to contribute to our success. 
Except they don't. Some of them mooch. What do we do about those? 
So what does middle-class economics require in our time? 
First -- middle-class economics means helping working families feel more secure in a world of constant change. That means helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement -- and my budget will address each of these issues, lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year. 
That sounds nice. That I'd like to see. Thank you. 
Here's one example. During World War II, when men like my grandfather went off to war, having women like my grandmother in the workforce was a national security priority -- so this country provided universal childcare. In today's economy, when having both parents in the workforce is an economic necessity for many families, we need affordable, high-quality childcare more than ever.
It doesn't have to be a necessity. It should be optional, are we going to get back to that point?
It's not a nice-to-have -- it's a must-have. It's time we stop treating childcare as a side issue, or a women's issue, and treat it like the national economic priority that it is for all of us. And that's why my plan will make quality childcare more available, and more affordable, for every middle-class and low-income family with young children in America -- by creating more slots and a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year. 
 If you're making more slots for child care, but also giving bigger tax cuts, then where is the money for these new slots coming from? 
Here's another example. Today, we're the only advanced country on Earth that doesn't guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers. Forty-three million workers have no paid sick leave. Forty-three million. Think about that.
 Because most of those are minimum wage jobs, which aren't supposed to support a family anyway, and most of them are "part-time." 
And that forces too many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home. So I'll be taking new action to help states adopt paid leave laws of their own. And since paid sick leave won where it was on the ballot last November, let's put it to a vote right here in Washington. Send me a bill that gives every worker in America the opportunity to earn seven days of paid sick leave. It's the right thing to do. 
Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages. That's why this Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. Really. It's 2015. It's time. We still need to make sure employees get the overtime they've earned.
This one I full back. 
And to everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, go try it. If not, vote to give millions of the hardest-working people in America a raise. 
You're not supposed to be able to support a family! It's for entry level, high school students, those still trying to get educated. You're not supposed to support a family, and raising minimum wage will just raise inflation. 
These ideas won't make everybody rich, or relieve every hardship. That's not the job of government. To give working families a fair shot, we'll still need more employers to see beyond next quarter's earnings and recognize that investing in their workforce is in their company's long-term interest.
This I agree with. Investing in their workforce is one of the things they should be doing. 
We still need laws that strengthen rather than weaken unions, and give American workers a voice. But things like child care and sick leave and equal pay; things like lower mortgage premiums and a higher minimum wage -- these ideas will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of families. That is a fact. And that's what all of us -- Republicans and Democrats alike -- were sent here to do. 
Second, to make sure folks keep earning higher wages down the road, we have to do more to help Americans upgrade their skills. 
America thrived in the 20th century because we made high school free, sent a generation of GIs to college, and trained the best workforce in the world. But in a 21st century economy that rewards knowledge like never before, we need to do more. 
By the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education. Two in three. And yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need. It's not fair to them, and it's not smart for our future. 
I agree with this. It's unfortunate. 
That's why I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college -- to zero. 
But where are you planning to get the money to support the community colleges? 
Forty percent of our college students choose community college. Some are young and starting out. Some are older and looking for a better job. Some are veterans and single parents trying to transition back into the job market. Whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy, without a load of debt. Understand, you've got to earn it -- you've got to keep your grades up and graduate on time. 
At least there are requirements. 
Tennessee, a state with Republican leadership, and Chicago, a city with Democratic leadership, are showing that free community college is possible. I want to spread that idea all across America, so that two years of college becomes as free and universal in America as high school is today. And I want to work with this Congress, to make sure Americans already burdened with student loans can reduce their monthly payments, so that student debt doesn't derail anyone's dreams. 
Thanks to Vice President Biden's great work to update our job training system, we're connecting community colleges with local employers to train workers to fill high-paying jobs like coding, and nursing, and robotics. Tonight, I'm also asking more businesses to follow the lead of companies like CVS and UPS, and offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships -- opportunities that give workers the chance to earn higher-paying jobs even if they don't have a higher education. 
And as a new generation of veterans comes home, we owe them every opportunity to live the American Dream they helped defend. Already, we've made strides towards ensuring that every veteran has access to the highest quality care. We're slashing the backlog that had too many veterans waiting years to get the benefits they need, and we're making it easier for vets to translate their training and experience into civilian jobs. 
Joining Forces, the national campaign launched by Michelle and Jill Biden, has helped nearly 700,000 veterans and military spouses get new jobs. So to every CEO in America, let me repeat: If you want somebody who's going to get the job done, hire a veteran. 
This I agree with as well. 
Finally, as we better train our workers, we need the new economy to keep churning out high-wage jobs for our workers to fill. 
Since 2010, America has put more people back to work than Europe, Japan, and all advanced economies combined. Our manufacturers have added almost 800,000 new jobs. Some of our bedrock sectors, like our auto industry, are booming. But there are also millions of Americans who work in jobs that didn't even exist ten or twenty years ago -- jobs at companies like Google, and eBay, and Tesla. 
Here is the answer to that question that I asked before. However, there is no source... interesting. Why doesn't he have to cite? 
So no one knows for certain which industries will generate the jobs of the future. But we do know we want them here in America. That's why the third part of middle-class economics is about building the most competitive economy anywhere, the place where businesses want to locate and hire. 
21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure -- modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet. Democrats and Republicans used to agree on this. So let's set our sights higher than a single oil pipeline. Let's pass a bipartisan infrastructure plan that could create more than thirty times as many jobs per year, and make this country stronger for decades to come. 
21st century businesses, including small businesses, need to sell more American products overseas. Today, our businesses export more than ever, and exporters tend to pay their workers higher wages. But as we speak, China wants to write the rules for the world's fastest-growing region. That would put our workers and businesses at a disadvantage. Why would we let that happen? We should write those rules. We should level the playing field. That's why I'm asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers, with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe that aren't just free, but fair. 
Yes, ask for more power... because it's for our own good... In this case it might be, but how do we get the power out of your hands again? 
Look, I'm the first one to admit that past trade deals haven't always lived up to the hype, and that's why we've gone after countries that break the rules at our expense. But ninety-five percent of the world's customers live outside our borders, and we can't close ourselves off from those opportunities. More than half of manufacturing executives have said they're actively looking at bringing jobs back from China. Let's give them one more reason to get it done. 
21st century businesses will rely on American science, technology, research and development. I want the country that eliminated polio and mapped the human genome to lead a new era of medicine -- one that delivers the right treatment at the right time. In some patients with cystic fibrosis, this approach has reversed a disease once thought unstoppable. Tonight, I'm launching a new Precision Medicine Initiative to bring us closer to curing diseases like cancer and diabetes -- and to give all of us access to the personalized information we need to keep ourselves and our families healthier. 
I intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world. 
I want Americans to win the race for the kinds of discoveries that unleash new jobs -- converting sunlight into liquid fuel; creating revolutionary prosthetics, so that a veteran who gave his arms for his country can play catch with his kid; pushing out into the Solar System not just to visit, but to stay. Last month, we launched a new spacecraft as part of a re-energized space program that will send American astronauts to Mars. In two months, to prepare us for those missions, Scott Kelly will begin a year-long stay in space. Good luck, Captain -- and make sure to Instagram it. 
You do know that an "American Colony" in space or on Mars, would eventually become it's own sovereign entity right? That's what happened to us. 
Now, the truth is, when it comes to issues like infrastructure and basic research, I know there's bipartisan support in this chamber. Members of both parties have told me so. Where we too often run onto the rocks is how to pay for these investments. As Americans, we don't mind paying our fair share of taxes, as long as everybody else does, too. But for far too long, lobbyists have rigged the tax code with loopholes that let some corporations pay nothing while others pay full freight. They've riddled it with giveaways the superrich don't need, denying a break to middle class families who do. 
This year, we have an opportunity to change that. Let's close loopholes so we stop rewarding companies that keep profits abroad, and reward those that invest in America.
This I can get behind. Now can you get the Congress behind it? 
Let's use those savings to rebuild our infrastructure and make it more attractive for companies to bring jobs home. Let's simplify the system and let a small business owner file based on her actual bank statement, instead of the number of accountants she can afford. And let's close the loopholes that lead to inequality by allowing the top one percent to avoid paying taxes on their accumulated wealth. We can use that money to help more families pay for childcare and send their kids to college. We need a tax code that truly helps working Americans trying to get a leg up in the new economy, and we can achieve that together. 
Alright, here is where he answered another question from above. The real question is can he get a revised tax code passed? I don't think so, because the rich are willing to pay bribes larger than the taxes they would be paying, in order to convince the right people to leave the tax code alone. No, I don't have proof of this. 
Helping hardworking families make ends meet. Giving them the tools they need for good-paying jobs in this new economy. Maintaining the conditions for growth and competitiveness. This is where America needs to go. I believe it's where the American people want to go. It will make our economy stronger a year from now, fifteen years from now, and deep into the century ahead. 
Of course, if there's one thing this new century has taught us, it's that we cannot separate our work at home from challenges beyond our shores. 
My first duty as Commander-in-Chief is to defend the United States of America. In doing so, the question is not whether America leads in the world, but how. When we make rash decisions, reacting to the headlines instead of using our heads; when the first response to a challenge is to send in our military -- then we risk getting drawn into unnecessary conflicts, and neglect the broader strategy we need for a safer, more prosperous world. That's what our enemies want us to do. 
I believe in a smarter kind of American leadership. We lead best when we combine military power with strong diplomacy; when we leverage our power with coalition building; when we don't let our fears blind us to the opportunities that this new century presents. That's exactly what we're doing right now -- and around the globe, it is making a difference. 
First, we stand united with people around the world who've been targeted by terrorists -- from a school in Pakistan to the streets of Paris. We will continue to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we've done relentlessly since I took office to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies. 
At the same time, we've learned some costly lessons over the last thirteen years. 
Instead of Americans patrolling the valleys of Afghanistan, we've trained their security forces, who've now taken the lead, and we've honored our troops' sacrifice by supporting that country's first democratic transition. Instead of sending large ground forces overseas, we're partnering with nations from South Asia to North Africa to deny safe haven to terrorists who threaten America. In Iraq and Syria, American leadership -- including our military power -- is stopping ISIL's advance. Instead of getting dragged into another ground war in the Middle East, we are leading a broad coalition, including Arab nations, to degrade and ultimately destroy this terrorist group. We're also supporting a moderate opposition in Syria that can help us in this effort, and assisting people everywhere who stand up to the bankrupt ideology of violent extremism. This effort will take time. It will require focus. But we will succeed. And tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL. 
"Advance" and "ground war" both begin to acknowledge ISIL as a legitimate entity, but "terrorist group," still denies it. 
Second, we are demonstrating the power of American strength and diplomacy. We're upholding the principle that bigger nations can't bully the small -- by opposing Russian aggression, supporting Ukraine's democracy, and reassuring our NATO allies. Last year, as we were doing the hard work of imposing sanctions along with our allies, some suggested that Mr. Putin's aggression was a masterful display of strategy and strength. Well, today, it is America that stands strong and united with our allies, while Russia is isolated, with its economy in tatters. 
That's back to going off script in that paragraph again.... 
That's how America leads -- not with bluster, but with persistent, steady resolve. 
In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date. When what you're doing doesn't work for fifty years, it's time to try something new. Our shift in Cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere; removes a phony excuse for restrictions in Cuba; stands up for democratic values; and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people. And this year, Congress should begin the work of ending the embargo. As His Holiness, Pope Francis, has said, diplomacy is the work of "small steps." These small steps have added up to new hope for the future in Cuba. And after years in prison, we're overjoyed that Alan Gross is back where he belongs. Welcome home, Alan. 
Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran, where, for the first time in a decade, we've halted the progress of its nuclear program and reduced its stockpile of nuclear material. Between now and this spring, we have a chance to negotiate a comprehensive agreement that prevents a nuclear-armed Iran; secures America and our allies -- including Israel; while avoiding yet another Middle East conflict. There are no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran. 
But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails -- alienating America from its allies; and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again. It doesn't make sense. That is why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress. The American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom. 
Why would sanctions cause diplomacy to fail? Isn't it one of the tools of diplomacy? I need a better explanation of this one as well. 
Third, we're looking beyond the issues that have consumed us in the past to shape the coming century. 
No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism. And tonight, I urge this Congress to finally pass the legislation we need to better meet the evolving threat of cyber-attacks, combat identity theft, and protect our children's information. If we don't act, we'll leave our nation and our economy vulnerable. If we do, we can continue to protect the technologies that have unleashed untold opportunities for people around the globe. 
Protection is a trade off with Freedom. What "Freedom" are we giving up to secure this protection? 
In West Africa, our troops, our scientists, our doctors, our nurses and healthcare workers are rolling back Ebola -- saving countless lives and stopping the spread of disease. I couldn't be prouder of them, and I thank this Congress for your bipartisan support of their efforts. But the job is not yet done -- and the world needs to use this lesson to build a more effective global effort to prevent the spread of future pandemics, invest in smart development, and eradicate extreme poverty. 
In the Asia Pacific, we are modernizing alliances while making sure that other nations play by the rules -- in how they trade, how they resolve maritime disputes, and how they participate in meeting common international challenges like nonproliferation and disaster relief. And no challenge -- no challenge -- poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change. 
We are not sovereign to the world. Are you wanting a world government?  
2014 was the planet's warmest year on record. Now, one year doesn't make a trend, but this does -- 14 of the 15 warmest years on record have all fallen in the first 15 years of this century. 
I've heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they're not scientists; that we don't have enough information to act. Well, I'm not a scientist, either. But you know what -- I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA, and NOAA, and at our major universities. The best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate, and if we do not act forcefully, we'll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration, conflict, and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.
How are they proving that it's humans rather than a natural cycle? Also, how does it pose "immediate risks to our national security?" I want an explanation on that one as well. 
That's why, over the past six years, we've done more than ever before to combat climate change, from the way we produce energy, to the way we use it. That's why we've set aside more public lands and waters than any administration in history. And that's why I will not let this Congress endanger the health of our children by turning back the clock on our efforts. I am determined to make sure American leadership drives international action. In Beijing, we made an historic announcement -- the United States will double the pace at which we cut carbon pollution, and China committed, for the first time, to limiting their emissions. And because the world's two largest economies came together, other nations are now stepping up, and offering hope that, this year, the world will finally reach an agreement to protect the one planet we've got. 
There's one last pillar to our leadership -- and that's the example of our values. 
As Americans, we respect human dignity, even when we're threatened, which is why I've prohibited torture, and worked to make sure our use of new technology like drones is properly constrained. It's why we speak out against the deplorable anti-Semitism that has resurfaced in certain parts of the world. It's why we continue to reject offensive stereotypes of Muslims -- the vast majority of whom share our commitment to peace. 
That's why we defend free speech, and advocate for political prisoners, and condemn the persecution of women, or religious minorities, or people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. We do these things not only because they're right, but because they make us safer. 
All good things. 
As Americans, we have a profound commitment to justice -- so it makes no sense to spend three million dollars per prisoner to keep open a prison that the world condemns and terrorists use to recruit. Since I've been President, we've worked responsibly to cut the population of GTMO in half. Now it's time to finish the job. And I will not relent in my determination to shut it down. It's not who we are. 
So what are we going to do with the prisoners who are there that we don't want to release? Bring them onto American soil, where they can demand the rights of American citizens, which they are not? Or let them go, where some, if not many, can resume actions against our country? 
As Americans, we cherish our civil liberties -- and we need to uphold that commitment if we want maximum cooperation from other countries and industry in our fight against terrorist networks. So while some have moved on from the debates over our surveillance programs, I haven't. As promised, our intelligence agencies have worked hard, with the recommendations of privacy advocates, to increase transparency and build more safeguards against potential abuse. And next month, we'll issue a report on how we're keeping our promise to keep our country safe while strengthening privacy. 
Looking to the future instead of the past. Making sure we match our power with diplomacy, and use force wisely. Building coalitions to meet new challenges and opportunities. Leading -- always -- with the example of our values. That's what makes us exceptional. That's what keeps us strong. And that's why we must keep striving to hold ourselves to the highest of standards -- our own. 
You know, just over a decade ago, I gave a speech in Boston where I said there wasn't a liberal America, or a conservative America; a black America or a white America -- but a United States of America. I said this because I had seen it in my own life, in a nation that gave someone like me a chance; because I grew up in Hawaii, a melting pot of races and customs; because I made Illinois my home -- a state of small towns, rich farmland, and one of the world's great cities; a microcosm of the country where Democrats and Republicans and Independents, good people of every ethnicity and every faith, share certain bedrock values. 
Over the past six years, the pundits have pointed out more than once that my presidency hasn't delivered on this vision. How ironic, they say, that our politics seems more divided than ever. It's held up as proof not just of my own flaws -- of which there are many -- but also as proof that the vision itself is misguided, and naïve, and that there are too many people in this town who actually benefit from partisanship and gridlock for us to ever do anything about it. 
I know how tempting such cynicism may be. But I still think the cynics are wrong.
I still believe that we are one people. I still believe that together, we can do great things, even when the odds are long. I believe this because over and over in my six years in office, I have seen America at its best. I've seen the hopeful faces of young graduates from New York to California; and our newest officers at West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs, and New London. I've mourned with grieving families in Tucson and Newtown; in Boston, West, Texas, and West Virginia. I've watched Americans beat back adversity from the Gulf Coast to the Great Plains; from Midwest assembly lines to the Mid-Atlantic seaboard. I've seen something like gay marriage go from a wedge issue used to drive us apart to a story of freedom across our country, a civil right now legal in states that seven in ten Americans call home. 
So I know the good, and optimistic, and big-hearted generosity of the American people who, every day, live the idea that we are our brother's keeper, and our sister's keeper. And I know they expect those of us who serve here to set a better example. 
So the question for those of us here tonight is how we, all of us, can better reflect America's hopes. I've served in Congress with many of you. I know many of you well. There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. And many of you have told me that this isn't what you signed up for -- arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision. 
Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something different. 
Understand -- a better politics isn't one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine. 
A better politics is one where we appeal to each other's basic decency instead of our basest fears. 
A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues, and values, and principles, and facts, rather than "gotcha" moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people's daily lives. 
A better politics is one where we spend less time drowning in dark money for ads that pull us into the gutter, and spend more time lifting young people up, with a sense of purpose and possibility, and asking them to join in the great mission of building America. 
If we're going to have arguments, let's have arguments -- but let's make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country. 
We still may not agree on a woman's right to choose, but surely we can agree it's a good thing that teen pregnancies and abortions are nearing all-time lows, and that every woman should have access to the health care she needs. 
Yes, passions still fly on immigration, but surely we can all see something of ourselves in the striving young student, and agree that no one benefits when a hardworking mom is taken from her child, and that it's possible to shape a law that upholds our tradition as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants. 
We may go at it in campaign season, but surely we can agree that the right to vote is sacred; that it's being denied to too many; and that, on this 50th anniversary of the great march from Selma to Montgomery and the passage of the Voting Rights Act, we can come together, Democrats and Republicans, to make voting easier for every single American. 
We may have different takes on the events of Ferguson and New York. But surely we can understand a father who fears his son can't walk home without being harassed. Surely we can understand the wife who won't rest until the police officer she married walks through the front door at the end of his shift. Surely we can agree it's a good thing that for the first time in 40 years, the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together, and use that as a starting point for Democrats and Republicans, community leaders and law enforcement, to reform America's criminal justice system so that it protects and serves us all. 
That's a better politics. That's how we start rebuilding trust. That's how we move this country forward. That's what the American people want. That's what they deserve. 
Pretty picture, but this is how the country has worked for two hundred years. You plan to change that now? 
I have no more campaigns to run. My only agenda for the next two years is the same as the one I've had since the day I swore an oath on the steps of this Capitol -- to do what I believe is best for America. If you share the broad vision I outlined tonight, join me in the work at hand. If you disagree with parts of it, I hope you'll at least work with me where you do agree. And I commit to every Republican here tonight that I will not only seek out your ideas, I will seek to work with you to make this country stronger. 
Because I want this chamber, this city, to reflect the truth -- that for all our blind spots and shortcomings, we are a people with the strength and generosity of spirit to bridge divides, to unite in common effort, and help our neighbors, whether down the street or on the other side of the world. 
I want our actions to tell every child, in every neighborhood: your life matters, and we are as committed to improving your life chances as we are for our own kids. 
I want future generations to know that we are a people who see our differences as a great gift, that we are a people who value the dignity and worth of every citizen -- man and woman, young and old, black and white, Latino and Asian, immigrant and Native American, gay and straight, Americans with mental illness or physical disability. 
I want them to grow up in a country that shows the world what we still know to be true: that we are still more than a collection of red states and blue states; that we are the United States of America. 
I want them to grow up in a country where a young mom like Rebekah can sit down and write a letter to her President with a story to sum up these past six years:
"It is amazing what you can bounce back from when you have to...we are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times." 
My fellow Americans, we too are a strong, tight-knit family. We, too, have made it through some hard times. Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America. We've laid a new foundation. A brighter future is ours to write. Let's begin this new chapter -- together -- and let's start the work right now. 
Thank you, God bless you, and God bless this country we love.

So, that was the whole speech. I'll probably post a little bit more in depth response, and summary tomorrow or the next day. Thank you to the White House Press Core and CNN for the transcript of the speech, so that I could follow along with my full faculties. 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A December Update

It's been awhile since I blogged last. That's because I have been busy getting ready for Christmas break. Planning, shopping, baking, those have all been taking up more of my time than writing lately. I'm not sure whether this is a good thing or not.

So, update news:

Image created using
Fodey's Clip generator
1. Will's health is doing better. He has an MRI scheduled and is verboten from doing some things at
work in order to keep him from suddenly getting worse while he is recovering and waiting for the MRI. We have things that we are supposed to watch for in case it suddenly does get worse. Those things would send us scurrying back to the ER, and they would fire up the MRI for us special. After that it would depend on what the MRI showed.

2. My job status. I am still substituting. I did a pre-recorded video interview that for the school year. It was very uncomfortable. I know there is a job opening that is perfect for me, but I do not expect to get it, because it seems like everyone gets jobs before me. Meanwhile, in addition to substituting and trying for a full-time job, I am also doing some work for a freelance content writing website. It's not very money making, but it does keep me writing. In addition, I am still working on my novel, and will be trying to get that to a state in which I can see about either self-publishing or traditionally publishing. I'm not sure which way to go; we'll see when I have something that is finished and of appropriate length.

3. Robert did well at school this semester. His last day is tomorrow, and they are doing an odd schedule. They are starting an hour later, and then letting out at the standard early out time. I think this is to let the students sleep in a little bit. We'll see what happens. Robert was completely unaware of this when the automated system called the parents to let them know. I hope they tell him today and confirm it.

4. Finally, we are having a smaller Christmas this year than last year. However, thanks to several family members who sent presents to us we have enough to make it a fair Christmas rather than a poor one. So we will open our presents over two days, and play with all of them. We will watch movies together, and play together. Which is what the season is about after all.

Lots of stuff going on. Lots of things on my plate. I hope to get back to posting regularly over the next few days since we will be on holiday. I will still be regularly writing, or trying to get some writing done. However, I should have more time to blog because some companies will not be requesting texts, which means smaller pickings for a hungry crowd.

Coming up in the blog will be a project that Will is helping me with. That should be posted next Monday or Tuesday if nothing goes wrong. There will be a Christmas sonnet or two. New Year's Resolutions are coming of course. Finally, January second we have tickets to the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl on January 2nd. It's going to be a very long, very busy day for us. However, I hope to have a post or two up. The first would go up on January 4th or 5th, and the second two days later (6th or 7th).

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. I hope you are all having a wonderful winter.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

How Many Ways Can I Say That? "Bloody"

The other day I saw this on twitter:
My response was:
Rachel Vincent replied:
Then someone else chimed in:

I didn't have a quick and easy response to that, because I knew that it would not be a quick and easy solution. So, I spent some time looking into it, and I found a couple of solutions.

The first is the thesaurus.  In the context of "bleeding," bloody as eighteen synonyms. My favorites include "blood-soaked," "blood stained," "gory," "grisly," and "ensanguined." Or, one could go over to just "blood." There are nine words there, none of which are excellent, but "vital fluid" may come into play, and having read some of Vincent's works, namely the Shifters books, "juice," "claret," "gore," and "cruor," may all come into play.

If you don't want to go into simple, single word alternatives, some of which are very obscure, then try being poetic with it. Granted, that would depend on the tone and voice of the book, but Oscar Wilde, in "The Ballad of Reading Gaol" described "tears of blood." In addition, in "The Second Coming," by Yeats quotes "blood-dimmed," which would be good to use in situations where the color of the cloth is brighter than the blood. Neon for instance.

Finally, there are the phrasal things that can go in place of bloody. Things like "red river," "drops of scarlet," or even "rimmed in ragged crimson." Those I just made up on the spot, so there are definitely more, but it entirely depends upon the situation in which an author finds a character.

An author should value the story and the clarity of the image for the reader. However, using the same word several times in a paragraph, a page, or even a chapter, can get very old. The repetition breaking the illusion of the story. Be creative, but be understood.






Monday, December 8, 2014

Missed Post

Get Well Soon Tweety by Sister Nightmare
If you pay attention regularly, then you will have noticed that I missed a day in posting. I had a very good reason to miss.

Thursday, Will came home from work injured. I'm not sure how much I'm allowed to tell you. Suffice it to say that the injury was not life threatening in any way. However, he was in enough pain that we went down to the emergency room when he couldn't get to sleep. We were there all night. They gave him painkillers and told him to follow up with his regular doctor. However, we didn't get any instructions with the painkillers, and were told to come back in if things continued to develop.

We ended up going back to the ER on Sunday because he had not been taking them frequently enough. In addition, he had caught the cold that Robert brought home, and the coughing was exacerbating the injury. Now he has enough medicine to get to his scheduled appointment. However, they make him loopy enough that I am supposed to drive, not him. The early mornings that he has leave me feeling tired.

Don't worry too much, I will keep you updated after he gets his appointment. I just wanted you to know that there was a reason I missed a day of posting.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

NaNo Wrap Up

NaNoWriMo is over for the year.

Unfortunately.

However, I managed to pull a win out of my hat this year. As did Will, this was his first win.

As you can see from the graph below, I started out strong and then sort of petered out. I could not figure out what the difference between the dark brown lines and the orange lines were, but it does show my word count.

You can see my word total: 58,563, and my daily average 1,952. I didn't do too bad.

I still do not have even a working title for my novel. This is also a zero draft, so it will not be visible for awhile.

My word total from October and November is 76,211 out of a total desired word total of 120,000. So, in order to help me achieve that goal, I am going to sign up for one of the winner goodies that a NaNoWriMo sponsor is offering. 4thewords bills itself as a "gym membership for writing." It gamifies writing. The first month is free, and now they are offering 60% off and three free months. That means that I can get sixteen months for $15.00. I will do the free trial month and if I like it then I will sign up.

In addition NaNoWriMo includes a "Now What?" page. This offers suggestions and benefits for dealing with the time between NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo. Editing, following their blog, and more things are featured there. I plan to edit as soon as I wrap up the story.

Finally, NaNoWriMo is a non-profit that supports creative writing programs in schools. So, if you want to help then please donate, but something that I am contemplating for next year is joining the Stay Classy fundraising program that NaNoWriMo does.

In other news, I pulled Running for the Stars from WeBook, and am intending to expand upon it after I finish writing NaNo14 novel and before I edit it. That should give me a nice break after the writing and before the editing.

So, two questions:

1. Which one are you looking forward to reading more; Running for the Stars (Young Adult SciFi) or NaNo14 (SciFi Romance)?

2. I would donate if I had the money (and hopefully will next year), but would you donate in support of me?