Snow Brook, oil on canvas, 9 x 12
by Charles Gray
"I am proud to shut down the government for border security ... I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it." –Donald Trump
|The Snow Man|
|by Wallace Stevens|
One must have a mind of winter To regard the frost and the boughs Of the pine-trees crusted with snow; And have been cold a long time To behold the junipers shagged with ice, The spruces rough in the distant glitter Of the January sun; and not to think Of any misery in the sound of the wind, In the sound of a few leaves, Which is the sound of the land Full of the same wind That is blowing in the same bare place For the listener, who listens in the snow, And, nothing himself, beholds Nothing that is not there and the nothing that is.
When I posted this announcement, Shaw volunteered to be my aunt and make me worm sandwiches. So that is how Shaw became my aunt.Putting Myself Up for Adoption
The way natural birth or adoption works, children have no rights in choosing their own family. Since adults are the ones who make the decisions (or have an “oops”), you get what you get - for better or worse.
However, suppose it worked in reverse? Suppose children had the right to choose their parents, their family, their siblings? Trade in a doofus brother, for instance, for a more companionable roommate? One who shares your penchant for drawing murals on living room walls with crayons and magic markers? Or adopt a spirited sister who can dump a full box of laundry detergent into the washing machine and turn the house into a sudsy romper room? A sibling who conspires to leave on a faucet in the upstairs bath long enough to transform the staircase into a water slide?
Here is my problem. I am an only child and have never experienced the joys of growing up with a sibling. My mother was an only child too; hence I had no first cousins with freckles and pigtails. Better late than never, I say.
I have decided to take matters in hand and adopt a sister. I asked Sheria to be my sister, and she has agreed. So I am pleased to announce that henceforth and forevermore, Sheria is now my adopted sibling (and don't mess with my sister!).
Christmas has come early in Minnesota.
After an intense battle over government spending shut down its government for 20 days this summer, the state now is forecasting an $876 million surplus over the next two years. That’s a huge surprise compared to the $5 billion projected deficit that Minnesota expected in July, setting off a national, highly-partisan battle over the best way to close that gap.
What changed? State officials chalk a lot of the good news up to factors specific to Minnesota. The state has seen its revenue increase as its unemployment rate is lower than the national average. The state has, for example, regained about a third of the jobs lost since the recession began. Nationally, that number stands at 22 percent.
Minnesota has also cut its spending, particularly on health care, in unique ways. It’s one of just four states, for example, to expand its Medicaid program in advance of the health reform law’s required expansion. For doing so, it’s received a higher Medicaid matching rate for some patients from the federal government.