Something We Can All Agree On – (Please, read to the end)

Dear Democratic Leader Pelosi:

I write to you here because as I do not live in your Congressional district,  my attempt to email you failed.

Congratulations on your election to remain the House Democratic leader.

Having said this, please know that I am removing myself from this email list, sadly. I am personally surprised at my fatigue in all things politics, especially now, after this month’s mid-term elections, when my Party’s numbers in Congressional representation have been reduced so significantly. And while I want and need to stay informed, I feel that there is a constant free-for-all in the emails that are sent to me. I am done with the emails that sensationalize everything, that always request a contribution, and that appear to divide the gap between the two parties even further.  

I received the news that you have been re-elected as House Democratic leader, and was asked for a contribution. I am always asked for a contribution, no matter what the news. I appreciate your hard work and tenacity, but, (and yes, there is a “but” here) must all emails include a request for money? Perhaps an announcement, and a call to rally would have been sufficient, and not tipped me over the edge. I am unsubscribing to these emails.

Here’s why I am tired — through this constant barrage of emails, the appearance is that elected representatives from both houses cannot do their jobs without airing dirty laundry, without constantly asking for money, without inane and sensational “Subject” lines that are at best humorous, and at worst, infantile and embarrassing. I am tired of reading multiple times a day that all is lost. I am also tired at the lack of respect for the offices of representing citizens; that respect has been whittled away by infighting, and also by these so-called “chummy” emails. Remember, citizens get these emails multiple times a day. Representing the people of the United States is serious business, and the behavior of elected officials as portrayed in these missives is unprofessional. This goes not only for the legislative branch, but also for the executive branch. Compound this constant campaign of ridiculous emails with the work that is not getting done in the beautiful and historic chambers in the Capitol building, and one might begin to understand why voters, well, I can only speak for myself here, why I am tired of the way business is being done today,

While something deep inside me knows that money is needed and campaign reform laws are paramount, I have been worn down to the point that I can no longer spend energy every day sorting through these missives, reading accounts of how the political parties continue to fight and how nothing is getting done, and then cringing as I am asked for and yet another contribution. 

Again, I sincerely congratulate you, Congresswoman Pelosi, and I wish you all the very best. I appreciate your hard work and tenacity and service. I also hope that a sense of decorum can be re-established, that people can see that the Congress is willing no longer to use the citizenry to jump in and take sides as if this were a big sporting match where we shout each other down. I fear that we have become a laughing stock. I look forward to a day when, while entrenched in vehement disagreement, there will be some respect for each other and for the electorate.

As you prepare for a new Congress, my thoughts are with you as you attempt to negotiate policy in a profound climate of non-partisanship, and urge you to take a new tack. I also urge your party members to do the same. Who knows? Perhaps this is something to which both sides can agree.

Respectfully,

Kathleen M. Galgano

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GREAT NEWS!

Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton

Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton (Photo by Kathy Galgano 11/6/2014)

Lick Observatory in the Diablo Range

Lick Observatory is high atop Mr. Hamilton in the Diablo Range (Photo by Kathy Galgano 11/6/2014)

This spring, I wrote about Lick Observatory, the world-class astronomical observatory research center and San Jose gem. Funded by the University of California, Lick’s days were numbered as U.C. was withdrawing its funding for this great institution of science and learning. For a refresher, you can check out my piece, “Keep It Open” at: https://kathygalgano.wordpress.com/2014/04/24/keep-it-open/ So here’s the news and yes, it calls for a drum roll!

The University of California will continue to fund Lick Observatory!

Phew. U.C. made the right call, and, you played a big part. Thank you, Readers, for your calls and letters to the U.C. President and the U.C. Board of Regents. Thank you, also, for contacting your local, state and federal officials, and a big thank you to these elected officials who worked hard to keep Lick Observatory the world-class facility it is. Thank you for letters to newspapers, and for your calls and letters to Lick Observatory, expressing your support. Most importantly, thank you all for keeping the conversation alive, and for your interest, care, concern and positive attitude that something could be done to keep this historic and important scientific observatory funded and operational.

Everybody wins!

Here are a few links announcing the great news:

UC overturns decision to withdraw all funding to Lick Observatory http://www.dailycal.org/2014/11/03/university-overturned-decision-withdraw-funding-lick-observatory/?fb_action_ids=10204291122349777&fb_action_types=og.likes

UC confirms continued support of Lick Observatory http://news.ucsc.edu/2014/11/Lick-support.html

University of California Observatories http://www.ucolick.org/

http://www.ucolick.org/SaveLick/lick_future.html

Thanks, U.C. And Thanks, folks.

 

Kathy Galgano

November 6, 2014

 

A Special Birthday – A Children’s Story

(I dedicate this story to my Great Niece, T, who shares a special birthday.)

Once upon a time, on a chilly November 2nd, a baby was born. This was a beautiful baby! Word spread quickly throughout the town as this was a special day.

From a telephone booth at the hospital, the daddy excitedly called the grandparents at home. The grandparents called the family members, and the family members called the friends. Soon everyone knew that the baby had been born on November 2nd.

Good news travels fast!

The proud and happy parents named their beautiful chubby baby Carl Vincent, II, after his Daddy. His blue eyes were just like his Mommy’s eyes, and he had brown hair just like his Daddy’s hair. He was a happy baby who liked to laugh, and he loved his family.

Carl Vincent, II grew up loving music. When he was a boy, he studied guitar. First, he played an acoustic guitar, and later he bought himself a beautiful electric guitar. It was very fancy and very fine. He played slow songs and fast songs and serious songs and silly songs and old songs and new songs. He made great music.

When a singer named Elvis Presley became famous, Carl Vincent, II played and sang just like him. He even danced like Elvis. When cousins came over to visit, Carl Vincent, II played his guitar and everybody sang. Every time Carl Vincent, II pulled out his guitar, there was a little family party with lots of music and singing and laughter!

One day, Carl Vincent, II met a wonderful woman named Janis. Janis also liked to sing and play the guitar. The couple was very happy together and were married in the presence of their loving family and friends. After the beautiful ceremony, the younger family members decided to go for a swim in the family pool because it was quite warm outside. Now most people do not go swimming at weddings, but Carl Vincent, II saw the children in the pool, picked up his guitar, walked very close to the edge of the pool and began to serenade the children. Everyone loved this! He even played Rock ‘n’ Roll.

So Carl Vincent, II and Janis loved their family, and their friends, and music, and laughter. And they loved something else — Animals. Mikey, a gorgeous green macaw with colorful, long tail feathers, lived in the dining room in his large birdhouse. He enjoyed watching people when they entered the house and everyone said hello to Mikey. Was Mikey a clever and funny bird? Yes!

From his birdhouse, Mikey liked to call Carl Vincent, II. “Carl, Carl,” he exclaimed, and Carl Vincent, II and Janis would laugh. Sometimes it sounded like the microwave was beeping, but really it was just Mikey making the b-e-e-p sound. When the telephone rang, Mikey said, “Hello.” “Hello.” And when Janis stroked his beautiful feathers, Janis and Mikey would both sing, “That feels g-o-o-d!” Every time someone approached the big birdhouse, Mikey would bob his head up and down; he loved his family and his friends.

On one chilly November 2nd, Janis gave Carl Vincent, II a special birthday present. It was gray in color, had four legs, was very soft, and meowed and purred. Carl Vincent, II named his new kitty “Mrs. Jingles the Cat,” and she lived in the house, too, except she didn’t sleep in the birdhouse with Mikey.

Mrs. Jingles the Cat loved to jump on the sofa and relax with Carl Vincent, II and Janis. Purring like a little motor, she stretched her legs and rolled on her side when they stroked her soft, smooth, pretty, gray fur.

While Mrs. Jingles the Cat and Mikey may not have been best friends, they did well for a cat and a bird. Both animals liked it when Carl Vincent, II played his guitar. The kitty swished her tail, and the bird bobbed his head up and down. When family and friends visited, the animals enjoyed the little party with lots of music and singing and laughter.

Mikey liked special birthday parties most, because the dining room table was right next to his birdhouse. While he nibbled on his favorite delicious little birdie num num treats, everybody sitting around the table nibbled on delicious lemon meringue pie, Carl Vincent, II’s favorite birthday treat. Afterwards, Carl Vincent, II would play his guitar and Mikey would dance a little dance, bobbing his head up and down while people sang and laughed.

Mrs. Jingles the Cat was happy, too. She swished her tail and stretched her legs and rolled on her side as the children stroked her soft, smooth, pretty, gray fur, even while she was hiding under the bed! Purring like a little motor, the children knew that she was saying, “That feels g-o-o-d!”

The End

This book is also dedicated to the memories of my brother and my sister-in-law, the coolest people ever!

Kathy Galgano

Original Copyright November 1, 2013,  Renewed Copyright November 2, 2014

All Rights Reserved

Kathleen M. Galgano

Halloween Revisited

A Few Hundred Kids from “the ‘Hood” and from San Jose

  1. Original costumes: One little boy dressed as a mime silently moved his lips “Thank you,” and then bowed after I put some candy in his bag. One mom held a KFC bucket with her little doggie dressed as a chicken in the bucket. A boy designed his own costume of an obscure character from a video game I had never heard of, and patiently explained it all to me, even though he could have been running down the street with his buds racking up more candy. One young lady was a TARDIS. They all earned extra candies. Plus, parents who dressed-up had the best year ever at catching candy I tossed to them down the steps in the dark. I told them not to steal their kids’ stash!
  2. Most popular costumes: Disney princesses, Ninja turtles, followed by Day of the Dead (with fabulous make-up) and vampires, SF Giants and SF 49ers players.
  3. Family Awards: Father and Son Firefighters team; Father and Daughter/ Sons Superheroes; Family of five – All dressed up in different get-ups looking great.
  4. Costume, Make-up, and Hair Awards: A little girl in an elaborate sparkly blue dress said, “My Daddy made my dress.” Kids sporting white make-up, painstaking face-paintings and temporary tattoos, plus a topnotch head of dreadlocks all had their moms to thank.
  5. Safety Scale: High. Most Trick or Treaters carried glow-sticks, and a couple little kids sported special “light-up” Trick or Treat bags with glowing handles. Many parents carried flash lights.
  6. Kudos: Kids strolling past my house answering my call if they were going to come up the drive for candy: “Thanks but we were there already!”
  7. Oops Moment: One costumed dad told me he worked at the neighborhood fitness center. I told him I’m always seeing folks run through the local church’s parking lot as a shortcut (instead of running the full block.) I just figured the exercisers were too darned tired from the elaborate gym work-outs I see them doing every time my dog and I file past the shop. The guy was stunned. “REALLY?” From the sidewalk, I heard “Oh, NO!” from several people in this large group of Trick or Treaters. Next, people started yelling, “NOT ME!”
  8. A growing trend: Neighbors offering neighbors walking the ‘hood with their kids a red plastic cup of liquid treat aka California barrel-aged red wine.
  9. Post-Halloween Morning Toll: Five small candy wrappers and a lollipop stick = total trash in front of FOUR houses! No smashed pumpkins. No graffiti. No eggs. No toilet paper on trees. No hooliganism. No damage. WooHoo! Normal Everyday Toll (I live near restaurants): Multiple coffee and soft drink cups, cigarette butts, straws, candy and food wrappers, plastic lids, receipts, bags, and junk almost always left by adults.
  10. Best Year Ever! Kids Win!

Kathy Galgano

November 1, 2014