Memorial Day Fave 5 Conversation Starters

memorial_day_food.jpgGetting ready to head out to a Memorial Day barbecue with friends or family and plan to spend several hours with them? While the first hour or two can be spent catching up on lost time, what else can you talk about before the conversation goes stale? Well, here are a few conversation starters that might cause uproar, debate or juicy conversation around the grill.
1. Should President Obama visit Arlington National Cemetery in honor of Memorial Day or share a burger with his father-in-law in Chicago? Just heard there’s a storm brewing on the Internet over whether the president should take the weekend to spend quality time with his family rather than honor fallen soldiers. He is taking a side trip to New Orleans to assess the oil spill but that’s a whole other conversation that we’ll get to next.
2. What the heck is going on with that BP oil spill anyway? According to the most recent reports, the latest method to stop the oil from spewing millions of gallons into the ocean has failed. Are you kidding me? We can send men and women into space; we can build defense weapons that can annihilate entire countries; but we can’t plug a leak? I think they need to speak with my plumber John, stat!
3. Sex and the City anyone? According to recent reports from friends who have seen the film, it’s not very good at all. Which means, do not, under any circumstances drag your husband or boyfriend to see it. However, do feel free to drag your girlfriends and hit the mall afterwards, because no matter how silly it is, there’s something about the Sex and the City gang that makes me want to you shoe shopping.
4. Talk about Diets. While you’re inhaling a cheeseburger, hot dog and steak, talk about the latest diet fad to have hit the market. In fact, discuss the pros and cons of sampling a master cleanse; whether it’s worth it to plunk down several hundred dollars a week for that new Freshology plan that all the stars are now on; or if Weight Watchers is still the way to go. Also talk about all the outdoor activities you plan to do this summer as you finish your key lime pie.
5. Excuse yourself from the conversation so you can read a good book. There’s something about the start of summer that makes me want to ignore everyone around me so I can read continuously until Labor Day. And for some reason, on Memorial Day, it’s quite alright to leave the table, curl up on a chaise lounge, read and take a nap. Sure it’s not a conversation starter, but it’s certainly one of my favorite things to do hands down!

Now I Know Why I Like President Obama

Call me a hopeless romantic, but despite the moving speeches, the poems, the Aretha Franklin song (and her really big hat), the thumbs up by Malia, the poetry, the two day concert, the list goes on and on, what grabbed me most about President Obama is that this guy really loves his wife. No matter how much weight he has on his shoulders (and he’s got plenty), at the heart of it, he has accomplished his dreams and then some, with a supportive wife, two gorgeous daughters and a family who has encouraged him to shatter stereotypes and achieve the unthinkable.
And today, as I was watching him sign several proclamations, I noticed something that I truly admire…President Obama is a southpaw!!! Which means, he’s creative, a visionary and a born leader. Why do I know that? Simple, I’m a lefty too and despite my terrible handwriting, I’ve been told there are lots of advantages to being born with this trait. Sure I have a million ideas a minute, but no matter the situation, I always love to think of ways to make things bigger, better and brighter. And hopefully, that’s exactly what our new president will do over the next four years.
Are you a righty or lefty? Do you think that has anything to do with the way you think or go about your daily routine? Share your comments now! And if you missed the Obama’s first dance, have no fear – Role Mommy has it on our home page!

Joe the Plumber…Where Are You Now?

crack.jpgNow that Senator McCain has been sent back to his day job, I know you’re all wondering…what’s going to happen to Joe the plumber (bet you thought I was going to say Sarah Palin). Well, I’ll tell you what Joe, or Sam or whatever his name is, is doing now that he’s no longer on the front page of newspapers or on the tips of the tongues of debating presidential candidates. He’s unclogging drains.
To be more precise, that’s what my Joe the plumber was doing yesterday. You see, over the last two years, we’ve kind of let the clogs in our house fester – to the point where it takes at least 10 minutes for the kids’ tub to drain. I was in denial for the better part of that time but the other night, we came home to find our basement ceiling saturated in water. While I began conjuring up visions that those clogs were going to cause our ceilings to cave in, I instantly phoned our plumber (who I happen to have on speed dial) and explained our situation.
The next morning, Joe showed up early…(imagine that) and proceeded to tell me that the water on the ceiling had nothing to do with the clogs in the drains. It was actually connected to another problem that I was going to have to deal with – our gutters were stuffed with leaves and dirt and the excess water was pouring into our house. Translation – I had to hire someone else to clean out the gutters. While Joe was about to leave, I asked him to fix the drains since he was already at our house and I figured if I didn’t ask right then and there, another two years would pass.
And so, Joe checked our drains and found lots of gunk and hair. So much so that it took him at least four hours to snake everything out. Finally, after he had gone out to rent an airvac to suction out our pipes, the problem was fixed and we were able to enjoy tubs and showers that empty within seconds – what a concept.
As I watched Obama’s first press conference later that afternoon, I thought to myself, how lucky I am to have Joe the Plumber in my life. And I’m sure now that the other Joe is out of the limelight, his customers feel the exact same way.
Incidentally, if you are like me and are wondering how you can prevent your drains from clogging so that you don’t have to hire Joe the Plumber to fix them every few years, our favorite Green Home Mom, Michelle Roberts, co-founder of Ecohealth Designs offers her tried and true advice:
The Eco-Friendly Way to Unclog Drains:
Mix Boiling hot water, a bit of baking soda, and vinegar!
The big thing is, wipe down your shower and drain after each shower or bath.
Preventative is always the best.

Who Won the Debate?

Well, I sat through the debate tonight and who do I think kicked some serious butt? Hate to say it, but hands down, John McCain won round one and even one blogger at AOL totally agrees.
While Obama tried to hang in there, it pretty much seemed like he was being lectured by an angry teacher who has been there, done that and doesn’t want some new guy who hardly has any experience telling him how to run this country.
So does McCain’s mastery of foreign policy make me want to vote for him? Not really. So I’m still hopelessly undecided. Guess I’ll have to wait for round two – or just catch SNL’s take this weekend!

The Buck Stops Here

Dear Barack Obama,
While I still haven’t made up my mind in the election (I can’t decide if I’m comfortable electing Tina Fey into the White House), I have to get something off my chest that’s been bugging me for a while now. To be blunt: It’s your emails.
Every single day of the week – Saturday and Sunday included, you send me emails. Actually, sometimes you send them, sometimes your wife sends them, sometimes your campaign manager David Plouffe sends them, but no matter, you have officially become a spammer.
Without fail, my inbox has been littered with your messages – asking me to donate to your campaign at every turn. And today, of all days – the day that Lehman Bros. files for bankruptcy and several other banks are on the verge of collapsing, your handlers send out a blast asking for donations so you can reach your goal of signing up 50,000 more supporters. And yesterday, you sent me a message that you raised over $60 million dollars during the month of August. Go you.
Senator Obama, I have a message for you: If that isn’t the height of insensitivity, I don’t know what is.
You should sooner take the money you are earning along the campaign trail and rather than use it to fuel jets and pay for television ads, perhaps infuse it back into our economy. If your goal is to raise $300 million dollars by November, I can see a lot of great ways to spend that money and it does not involve getting you elected to office. I would rather have received a heartfelt email offering a sound solution to our economic woes than yet another plea to dig into my pockets and DONATE NOW to your campaign.
While I am currently not supporting your opponent, I hope you will realize that sending out emails every single day of the week asking for donations can get a bit taxing on someone who is a small business owner trying to make ends meet with a husband who works in the crumbling finance industry.
Perhaps since I’m a New Yorker, the topic of finance hits close to home, but I’m sure you’re well aware this latest economic news will have implications for Americans across our country. So I beg you – please stop asking me for donations. And if you happen to wind up with extra cash at the end of the election, please use those funds to help those who need it more than our presidential candidates.
Signed,
One mom against campaign donations

Obama’s Favorite Book…

My daughter was working on a harmless homework assignment about the presidential campaign and showed me a page that I thought had to be mentioned on my blog. The page featured favorite things of each of the candidates and at first, I really wasn’t surprised. John McCain’s favorite food is chocolate while Obama’s is chili. McCain’s favorite TV show is “24” (who knew?) and Obama’s? Sportscenter – typical male.
Favorite heroes:
McCain: Teddy Roosevelt
Obama: Martin Luther King Jr.
But then, I came upon their favorite book and that’s what disturbed me.
McCain: For Whom the Bell Tolls (Ernest Hemingway)
Obama: The Biography of Malcolm X
What the? I mean, I saw the Denzel Washington movie (aka Spike Lee) and maybe Malcolm X had good intentions and all, but his movement did lead to a lot of radical stuff. Should I be concerned that this is Obama’s favorite book of all time? Or just leave it at that? I don’t know but a person’s favorite books, favorite ministers, and friends all having questionable connections doesn’t sit well with me.
I refuse to sit out of this election but I have to say between Obama and McCain, they are making it very hard for me to make a decision that I feel comfortable with. Memo to Hillary: time to dust off the pant suits and run on the Independent ticket!!!

If You Can’t Stand the Heat…

Sheesh. It’s funny, I’ve been blogging at Working Mother for the last nine months and have hardly gotten a response to my posts. That is until today. I decided to take on a dicey topic. Politics. And I got slammed. Slammed by Republicans, by older women who have been there, done that; slammed by women whose husbands have served in the military, and pretty much made to feel like if I don’t know my facts about the candidates, then I should just shut my pie hole.
Ouch.
Here’s the deal-io my fine, well-educated feminist friends on both sides of the Republican and Democratic fence. Most Americans don’t know the nitty gritty facts about all the candidates and their stance on all the issues affecting Americans. Plain and simple, many of us vote with our emotions. We make our decisions after watching negative ads or seeing news reports about a candidate’s latest indiscretion. Sadly, we vote like we’re selecting an American Idol contestant. And that is the cold hearted truth. Sure there are some who research all the issues and make an informed decision after they’ve weighed the pros and cons, but when it comes to the current political climate, we’ve just turned up the heat to broil.
Women are saying we should support Sarah Palin just because she’s a woman and if we say petty or jealous things, then we should be ashamed of ourselves. I truly don’t believe I’m jealous of Sarah Palin or being petty for that matter. What I do know is while I respect the things she’s accomplished in her political career, I don’t believe in her stance on issues that affect women. Just because she’s a part of my team, I still don’t feel compelled to support her. Others say we should support Barack Obama because he represents change. And while he has motivated millions with his incredible oratorical skills, conservatives maintain that he has yet to singlehandedly pass a bill or law since taking office. Republicans say we should vote for John McCain because he’s a war hero and will protect us from terrorists at all costs by keeping us in Iraq for 100 years. And Democrats say we should support an Obama/Biden ticket, because Joe Biden is a really decent guy who has tons of foreign policy experience and will finally get our troops out of Iraq.
I guess since I’m sharing my opinions for the world to see I’m fair game for those who think I’m a petty, heartless shrew who shouldn’t be throwing my two cents into an election process I know nothing about. And if I make a joke about a candidate, watch out, I’m going to be lynched by an angry mob of humorless political die-hards.
Here’s what I know about what I want from whomever is elected to office. I don’t want to see anymore friends lose their jobs. I don’t want to ever lose another dear friend to a terrorist attack. I want our environment to be safe for our children. I want my daughter to pursue whatever she wants in her life free of guilt that she’s neglecting her own kids in the process. I want to see cures for cancer, Alzheimer’s and heart disease in my lifetime and I want people to stop being so damn mean on the Internet when others share their honest opinions. Maybe I’m a culprit too and for that, I apologize for being so heartless with my choice of words. Honestly, I write things to be funny and if it seems insensitive, then I’m sorry I offended you, your political candidate and the entire female gender.
Now I’m off to find out more about Ron Paul.

Guess Who I’m Inviting to Dinner?

I don’t know about you, but if you decided to become an Obama supporter, you’ve probably been receiving a ton of email blasts from their camp. The messages come fast and furious – some are inspirational, some tattle on Hillary Clinton’s latest misdeed, others urge you to join the grassroots movement and wave an Obama sign in the next state that will be holding a primary, but my favorite one of all has been the “you can have dinner with Obama” messages.

When I first read the invitation and then saw the big honking DONATE NOW button right below it, I realized it was just a ploy to get me to fork over some bucks to the campaign so that he can keep steamrolling his way through to the nomination. What I also realized is that even if I give $25 to Senator Obama, there’s no way I’m going to wind up becoming the lucky person who will get to break bread with him on the campaign trail.

And so, I’ve decided that if Obama is truly reading all the commentary about himself in the blogosphere, that I would invite him over to dinner at my house. But not just any dinner. I’ve decided to invite Senator Obama to Passover with my family. If he truly wants to know what goes on in the minds of bleeding heart liberals, several Democrats and three staunch Republicans, then I say, spend an evening with the Feldmans and get into that Pesach spirit.

If you get there early, my mom and I will give you a lesson on matzoh ball preparation – follow the directions on the box and add a little seltzer for buoyancy. And then, if you’re lucky, you can take a seat next to my dad, Neil who will re-tell the story of the first Passover from our vintage Waldbaums Haggadahs that we still have since 1976. And don’t worry if you can’t follow along – most of our attendees are not of the Jewish faith since there were lots of intermarriages in our family. My cousin Jeff married Terri, whose Irish; my sister-in-law Sherri, is married to Ed – an ultimate conservative whose family is from Puerto Rico; my father-in-law John is another Irishman; my cousin Lee’s wife Sandy is Catholic but she converted to Judaism a few years back; then there’s George and Evanthia – my husband’s step father who is Greek (as is his girlfriend). So Barack – if you and your family join the festivities, you’ll fit right in with our Jewish melting pot.

Come sing songs with us, learn how to use your red Manischewitz wine to symbolize the plagues. And watch how my son, who is just learning to read attempts to tackle the four questions in Hebrew. We’ve got lots of food to offer – from gefilte fish to chopped liver, to turkey, brisket, matzoh pudding and sweet potatoes mixed with apple compote, walnuts and roasted marshmallows. And here’s the kicker – I won’t ask you to give us a dime to come and partake in our fabulous meal. You can breeze in like the wind just like Elijah does each year.

So if you can make it to the first seder next Saturday, I’m officially inviting you, Barack Obama, your wife Michelle and your two kids to join in on the fun. And if your children find the matzoh, they can feel free to use the $10 they receive to donate back to your campaign.

Don’t feel obligated to attend, because as my Grandma Dora used to say, “If you don’t come, you don’t have to go home.” ┬áBut if you are in the area, feel free to give us a holler before sundown.
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