Another Blonde Adds Her Thoughts

It was a stunningly beautiful day on the trail. Crisp fresh air, wild flowers lasting longer than usual with unusually cool days. We hiked faster than ever, fully oxygenated. The leader of our hiking posse had these thoughts today about the political right’s position on immigration:

Why wouldn’t Republicans want to extend citizenship to millions of hard-working Mexicans who contribute “illegally” to our economy? Today’s bile-spewing Republican “leaders” seem really eager to tax the poor.

These workers would provide a new source for tax revenue — while keeping the marginal tax rates (on wealthy, country-club Americans) from returning to Clinton-era levels. Oh, right. Boehner and his cronies don’t want to raise taxes… but they are okay with reducing social benefits, effectively denying access to higher education, and realistic health care options for the people who most need assistance. Thank you, Nancy, for making this point.

The Tea Partying, flag-draped, Bible-banging self-anointed Keepers of the Constitution don’t get it. Do they have a plan to “repatriate” millions of people who’ve lived here for decades — their nannies and cooks and gardeners and maintenance workers — back to Mexico? I haven’t seen one.

Can one be truly Christian and also be uncharitable to the extent we hear screaming at us from the faces on Fox News? Do we really want to maintain permanent (and rapidly growing) sub-rosa, terrified underclass in our country?

Shame.

Blonde will shortly regain her composure and return to humor. Or something like that.

Blonde Goes Political: Let’s Get Real on Immigration Reform

There are many ways of looking at the state of immigration in our country. It’s complex, and the solution isn’t clear-cut. “Right and wrong” may seem fuzzy. but it’s time to put aside politics and look at real lives, and into the eyes of real people. Cogent and arguable points abound on every side. A few simple things are quite clear.

We have a brain and talent drain concerning the excellent, brilliant and talented grads who train at our universities and who are eager to start or enrich enterprises (and employ our citizens) here in our country. But our policies make this difficult. Most are compelled to return to their homelands to find work. These are people who often fuel new enterprise: their successes are most visible throughout Silicon Valley. But many more cannot give back to the country that has advanced their education… because of roadblocks in the H1-A visa category.

The situation concerning illegal workers who’ve been coming here from Mexico over the past decades is more complex. There are tens of millions of people here, harvesting the crops that in turn fill our bulging supersized supermarkets; cleaning offices, resorts, casinos and factories; working in construction and doing the “dirty work” that nobody else wants to do. Stephen Colbert said it best. We are not going to miraculously expel tens of millions of people from our country — people whose work keeps us fed, housed and able to maintain “our American lifestyles.”

Yes, they are here illegally. They also have children who are now young adults. Most of these people have been in the U.S. since they were babies and toddlers. They speak Spanish, but have never been to Mexico. They are of Mexican heritage but see themselves as Americans… similar to the waves of immigrants who came here for the past two hundred fifty years. They want to serve in our military. They want to improve their lives, and the lives of their hard-working parents, by going to college. But every access to assimilation and “giving back” to the U.S. is blocked by our current absolutist immigration policy.

This letter from President Obama arrived in my inbox today. I invite you to read it. Continue reading Blonde Goes Political: Let’s Get Real on Immigration Reform

Saved by The Borowitz Report

Double Rainbows really look like this!
Like April weather, my moods have been changing unpredictably and frequently these days. Things that are pretty much routine, like reconnecting with my inner-blonde, have not been happening lately.

I’ve tried to find causality, the reasons-why, in all kinds of places. Too much bad news in the news. The tsunami in Japan. American fundamentalists’ growing influence in Congress. My missed-trip to Paris. Too many cancer diagnoses among people I know. One of our dogs keeps on spite-peeing in hard-to-find places. Rolled up together, things large and small have taken their toll on my usually optimistic, though slightly twisted, outlook on life.

On the worst days, I try to hike, get refreshed and focused by the glories of spring in northern California. The end of rainy season brings countless rainbows — and lots of double rainbows! — as well as trails lined with bright green mosses, ferns and stunning, delicate wild flowers. The trail, enjoyed with my friends, usually sets me right for a while.

When things stubbornly remain crappy, there’s the Borowitz Report, Andy’s always clever, amusing and in-the-moment newsy blog. I drop whatever I’m doing when his latest scoop arrives.

Today, Andy spoofed the idiocy of the “birthers,” reporting on antagonistic “balders” who rant that The Donald can’t be President unless he proves his coiffure’s country of origin.

The Donald's Do, Borowitz Report, 4-25-11

The Borowitz Report never fails to remind me that humor really does make everything — even the worst of things — tolerable. Thanks, Andy! Love you.

GPS-free Driving, or “It’s a long way home.”

Real Blonde is on the road, having dropped her husband off for a flight.

“Hope flight was good. Before I left the airport, I had my first pee at the Atlantic Jet Center. All was well as I proudly found the route to 888 North. This is a woman who knows her way!!!!

http://bit.ly/hRWFqu
Real Blonde with a purpose

Sitting there watching the scenery go by I miss the 280 exit…… OK… I keep on going and I see that in another 150 miles there is a turn-off for 85…. This is good because I know I’ll have to pee again. I do take 95 and I am waiting for the 280 turn-off, which I realize is there just as I pass it. I now really have to pee. I look for an exit sign that will ring some sort of a bell since nothing else in my head is ringing.

Finally, El Camino!!!! Yeah! I know that one. Take the turn-off, find a gas station. I am now in one of those towns with strange-looking people milling around. Bad bathroom but picky is one thing I’m not at this time. Not sure I’m on El Camino. Leave the gas station, street names still not ringing my bells.

I drive on, now I have to pee again…. I finally decide to ask where I am and there’s a store that looks nice. Turns out to be Whole Foods and I am in Los Altos and have driven for miles and miles already on El Camino!

I pee again and buy some Arnica for bruising. Not related to this car trip. I get to Stanford around 11. Tell Tina I am joining her 5-mile-radius group. Not venturing out anymore. Oh, I had to pee again at Stanford.

By the way, it’s freezing here but the sun is finally coming through. Say hello to all.

Love, Inky”

Matching Ears

This post comes from Inky, our Real Blonde! guest writer. So just ignore the NQB “signature” that appears under the date. It’s a programming thing. Rather than fight it, we’ve chosen to ignore it. We’ll let you know up-front when Real Blonde is writing.

Nobody prepared me for this. Certainly not my Nordic family. To start with, I am married to an American – Italian man, which means that nothing is held back and he needs to be heard.

We’ve reached the age where ears play a major role in our lives. We just came home from dinner with friends at a local restaurant. Here’s what happened.

Can you hear me?
I'm all ears, honey

We checked in with the 23 year-old hostess and informed her that we would like to be seated where the noise level was manageable because of bad ears. She had no clue about Old Man Ears.

“Matching ears ” is an essential part of restaurant life in our world. That, and the location of the air conditioner, which I will get into later.

The men tell us which ear is the good one and which one bad. The wife should sit next to the bad ear because she really doesn’t have anything new to say to the husband anyway. When we are all matched up, ears aligned to the right listeners, the wives sit down in assigned places. (With the ear issue organized, we turn our focus on whether there’s an air conditioner blowing on anybody’s eyeballs or giving anybody a stiff neck. These things don’t happen to anybody under 40.)

My husband’s right ear is bad, which makes it hard on me when he drives and I am saying something brilliant. Hearing “What?” three times (getting louder each time) takes away some of my spontaneous brilliance and after awhile I just ask myself “Do I really want to say this three times?” The answer is usually “No.” I give up.

Another common ear thing that happens is when you are three rooms away from your husband and you hear “Have you seen my keys?”

You answer, truthfully, “No. I have no idea where they are.”

Then you hear a cranky voice, “How do you expect me to hear you from three rooms away?!?!”

Of course, if you are five rooms away and whisper, “Do you want to have wild, uninhibited sex, anything goes?” The ear thing clears up in a second.