Monday, November 05, 2012



This week's challenge: Using between 33 and 333 words, compose something that includes the third definition of the following word:


: a calendar year specified usually by a number


My most memorable birthday was in the year 1963. It fell on a Friday. I was in first grade. My teacher's name was Mrs. Kroch. 


In honor of my special day, I got to pass out a carefully selected treat: milk chocolate discs individually wrapped in red and black foil so they looked like lady bugs.

My little celebration was interrupted by the loudspeaker. It wasn't our principal, Miss McCann. It was a scratchy radio broadcast that I couldn't understand. Mrs. Kroch seemed confused and upset and sent a classmate next door to “see if it's true." We kids didn't know what "it" was.

I realize now that, at this point, no one knew JFK was dead, but he had been shot. The teachers conferred in the hall and then we were all sent home – not just for lunch but for the whole day. I don't remember what we were told, but what amazes me about this decades later is that (1) we all walked to and from school, no one got a ride, and (2) the school was confident that we each had a stay-at-home mom who would be there waiting for us.

When I got home, my mom was sitting on the coffee table, staring at the TV and crying. I remember that she was sitting on the table because we got scolded for doing that. I think she wanted to be as close to the TV as possible.

By now everyone knew the President was dead. My mom said she heard the news at the grocery store and was so upset she just left her cart and came home. This was highly significant because it meant I wouldn’t have a birthday cake! Remember, I was six. I barely knew who JFK was, but I sure knew it was my birthday and I wanted cake.

Still, I'd never seen my mother cry like that before so I kept quiet. She was scaring me. There was something very wrong in my world.

About the photo: Life Magazine makes a library of their archive images available for free to use for “non-commercial personal purposes."


Now it's up to Barack

That's 70 Iowans I have called as part of the President's GOTV effort.  I did it for these reasons:

1) My late mother adored President Obama and really, really wanted him to win re-election
2) Bill Clinton is working for him, so why shouldn't I?
3) When the polls close tomorrow, I want to know I did what I could to protect my country

Does #3 sound a little over the top? The following is from the Think Progress website:

1) Romney supported the Blunt amendment. The Blunt Amendment would allow employers to deny contraception to their female employees because of religious objections. That means any woman working for an employer who didn’t support contraception would be denied the right to have her birth control costs covered. When asked if he supported the amendment, Romney said, “Of course.”

2) Romney wants to defund Planned Parenthood. Seventy six percent of the patients who go to Planned Parenthood are seeking affordable contraception options. Low-income women, particularly, rely on the organization to get family planning options that might otherwise be out of their price range. Because the organization uses a sliding scale pay system, it allows the poorest women to get the most affordable care.

3) Romney would restore co-pays for birth control. By repealing the Affordable Care Act, Romney would get rid of the requirement that insurance companies offer women a variety of birth control options without a co-pay attached. That makes it harder for women to get contraception, especially the most effective kinds, which tend to have the highest up-front costs.

4) Romney supports a ‘personhood amendment.’ Romney once told reporters that be would “absolutely” support a state constitutional amendment defining a fertilized egg as a person. Had it passed, that law would have outlawed some forms of contraception — as well as all abortions and in vitro fertilization.

I am personally pro-life. I am personally conflicted about IVF. But these conclusions are the result of my faith, and I passionately support the separation of Church and State. I don't want to live in a theocracy, and I fear that's where Romney-Ryan would take us.

Please keep this in mind when you vote on Tuesday.