Thursday, December 1, 2016

I Don't Understand


I am aghast of people who live in ignorance of a reality based on nothing more than opinion. These individuals do not follow up on statements made or on what the media says. They believe hook, line, and sinker.

These are the individuals who voted for Trump. They rarely double checked his statements, his accusations, or his bombastic remarks. They bought his "truths" because his "truths" are their truths. They believe in white power. They believe in the power of men and the submission of women, whom they regard as sexual entities worthy only of locker room talk.

Today, December 1, 2016, he saved one thousand jobs for the United States and he is thought of as a leader and savior, yet Obama brought back our dying economy, saved hundreds of thousands of jobs and is said to have achieved very little.

I've heard Republicans say Obama has been a horrible president, yet the man has brought grace, intelligence, pride, and honor back to an United States that desperately needed these virtues after an horrific Bush and Cheney era.

I don't understand my fellow Americans. I am at a loss. I go around these days saying, "I don't understand." I say it so often that I am probably beginning to piss people off. I don't care anymore. Trump pisses me off. His Twitter fingers piss me off. His facial expressions piss me off. Need I go on? Honestly, I don't understand how or why intelligent people did not research fact from fiction. Why they didn't care that Trump lied nearly 70% of the time compared to Hillary's 17%. What's going on in this country? Who are we? Where are we headed?

Some people, not my friends, are telling me to let it go, but I can't because I just don't understand.
© Natala Orobello

Our Next President





According to the National Center for Education Statistics, which concluded its findings in 2015, the United States lags behind (we are sixteenth) in world literacy as well as in Math and Science. Perhaps this is why we voted for a Reality TV host who can barely complete a sentence without repeating himself or without using words that are sixth grade level.

It would seem that the dumbing down of America has finally caught up with us. We would rather have a president who knows nothing about the political system or our government than a well-educated individual who has worked in government since college. Ignorance is not golden or blissful; it leads to chaos and upheaval. How did this happen? Why did the citizens of one of the greatest countries in the world vote for a philanderer, tax evader, liar, bigot, and near illiterate? The first answer I heard regarding this question was that the only other choice was worse. Really? But, I don’t want to get into defending Hillary Clinton. What I want is to explain why I believe this happened. As far as my projection of what will happen to our great country, in Trump’s famous words, “I will keep you in suspense.”

I believe Donald Trump, the great manipulator of an audience,  played the citizens of this country. He played the blame game by telling his audience (mostly made up of white, blue collar workers) that our country could be great again if only we got rid of the Muslims and the Mexicans. The beauty of his message is that most white, blue collar workers believe that anyway and he confirmed and validated their fears. They really do believe that once the Muslims and Mexicans are deported, our country will be Great Again!

His audience believes that Obama, the first African American president, created the problems we face in our country, i.e., low economic growth, Islamic terrorism, and Washington dissonance. Unfortunately, they forget what this country looked like nine years ago. They forget who was in power when the Towers went down and they forget who took 1.3 trillion dollars from Social Security to pay for our military debt. Hint, it wasn’t Obama or Hillary. They feared a continuation of Obama, yet they forget who got us out of the great recession and who got us out of Iraq.

It is frustrating to note how easily so many Americans forget the not so distant past, for they cannot mean a great America from ten years ago, or a great America from forty years ago, so what America do they hope for? Should women go back to the kitchens, so they can prepare a hot dinner for their man? Should blacks go back to segregation? Should refugees be turned away regardless of the persecution they escape? Should back alley abortions resume? Should we bomb the hell out of the Middle East and steal their oil? Should we round up all Jews? Is this the America we want?© Natala Orobello

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Thanksgiving Dinner - Italian Style

Turkey

17-18 lb. turkey
Defrost in refrigerator the morning before (24 hours).
Clean exterior with salt and lemon, rubbing the two ingredients into turkey skin.  
Remove all gizzards (can be used in gravy later and don't forget to check beneath neck flap), and clean inside of turkey as well with salt and lemon. 
Rinse with ice cold water.  Drain thoroughly and continue to drain overnight in a deep bowl which has a small soup bowl at bottom. This will catch excess water. Keep refrigerated!


Stuffing

2          cups rice
1          package mushrooms chopped, cooked, and drained
1          small package baby peas
1/2       cup grated cheese
2          stalks celery deveined, and chopped fine
1          large onion chopped fine
3          cloves of garlic chopped
2          sprigs of parsley - chopped
salt & pepper to taste

2          tbs. olive oil
1          small onion
3          cloves garlic
½         cup grated cheese
2          sprigs parsley - chopped
1          loaf Italian bread (3 days old), soaked, squeezed, and broken into bite size chunks
salt & pepper to taste

Rice Mixture:
In large skillet warm  2 tbs. olive oil , when warm and soft, add celery and slowly cook till soft, then add onion; when slightly soft, add chopped garlic.  Add mushrooms, peas, parsley, salt & pepper. 
Cook rice.  When rice is cooked, add to mixture from skillet, which has been placed in a very large bowl.  

Bread Mixture:
Begin with 2 tablespoons of olive oil in the same skillet you used for rice portion. Add more chopped onion & garlic.  Once these are translucent, add the bread, which has been soaked, squeezed dry and broken into bite size chunks, till it ABSORBS the olive oil and mixes well with ingredients, add cheese at end.  

Then mix all ingredients together (rice and bread mixtures). Stuff both cavities of the turkey. Bake according to turkey directions.
© Natala Orobello

Happy Thanksgiving


As we celebrate Thanksgiving, let's put aside all differences, prejudices, bias, and arguments. It is true that there is much that needs change, and the change must begin with the individual. A friend of mine spends all year long being kind, generous, and loving. She treats everyone with respect and expemplifies the true model of a good neighbor.

This morning, as I peeked inside her office, I saw baskets stuffed with food, toys, and lots of other goodies. She was gifting them to needy families. Her generosity comes naturally; it is obvious she doesn't even think of it as something absolutely wonderful.

Her charity spreads from one person to the other because every individual around her wants to give as well. Maybe that's what we are missing in the news, more stories about people who give even when they don't have much to give. That might promote more charity, more generosity, more love.

Many of us have plenty to be thankful for. We have health (never take that for granted), a roof over our heads, shoes on our feet, and loved ones who care about us. Some of us have pets who love us unconditionally, and food on our plates. Some have less and some have more, but I'm sure many have something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving, even if it's just the ability to walk, talk, and love.

© Natala Orobello

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

I Tremble








How do we rise from the abyss?
So deep the well of fear.
Violence already erupting
From sea to shining sea
Is this the America
We want to be?

Women like cattle call
Blacks denigrated in shame
Mexicans derailed regardless
How long they’ve lived this land.

Not even president and yet
He’s frightening with choices he’s made
Threatens to build a wall
Nominate justices progressively small
I tremble at our future
I tremble for us all.

© Natala Orobello

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Women in Literature

This Spring, I am offering a new course created and designed by me!! I am very excited about this course as it has always been my dream to offer a course where women can discuss the trials and tribulations, the joys and elations of being a woman.


FSW State College, where I teach, is offering this course online. I believe it will be interesting, challenging, and motivating.
Join me as we travel the historical road from Mary Wollstonecraft to the smasher and crasher of that proverbial "Glass Ceiling," Hillary Clinton (regardless of whether she becomes president or not).


Registration has begun, but there is still time!!




   © Natala Orobello


When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer

 

When I heard the learn’d astronomer,

When the proofs, the figures, were ranged in columns before me,

When I was shown the charts and diagrams, to add, divide, and measure them,

When I sitting heard the astronomer where he lectured with much applause in the lecture-room,

How soon unaccountable I became tired and sick,

Till rising and gliding out I wander’d off by myself,

In the mystical moist night-air, and from time to time,

Look’d up in perfect silence at the stars.

 
I recall teaching this particular poem by Walt Whitman to my tenth grade students. I stayed late the day before, so I could stick stars on the classroom ceiling. The next day, as my students filed in, they noticed my black robe and my Astrological map (onto which I had attached the poem), but they did not see the stars. After they were finally seated, I introduced Whitman and then read his poem, and at the very end, I shut the lights. All the stars twinkled and shined!! There were "ohhs" and "ahhs."
Yes, some poems can be inspiring, entertaining, and witty.

Here is one I wrote that commemorates a similar experience.

Ode to the Poet

She spoke from the interior

Of a warm library

Where a roaring fire glowed.

She spoke of yellow daffodils

And dogwood trees

Yet she never touched its folds.

She was a poet of old

Viewing through the looking glass

I swear that listening to her

Was truly a pain in the Ass.

I left the interior prison

Stepped on the dew kissed grass

I breathed the great outdoors

At last.
© Natala Orobello

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Humor in Life


One of my favorite poems was written by William Carlos Williams, titled:

This Is Just To Say

I have eaten

the plums

that were in

the icebox

and which

you were probably

saving

for breakfast

Forgive me

they were delicious

so sweet

and so cold

 

The poem is simple, apologetic, and to the point, and that perhaps is what makes it so humorous. Don’t we all have moments like these?

I have had several similar moments. Though, I have written few down.

Here’s a story and poem I would like to share. The premise reminds me very much of “This is Just to Say.”

My husband cheats. When I first caught him, I laughed out loud! Though there was evidence, and I did not think he would dare deny, he did!! Repeatedly!

True story. It was late at night, and I was very tired, (I had probably been grading papers). I gave him a goodnight kiss, and proceeded into our bedroom. I changed into my pajamas, brushed my teeth , and washed my face, but then I realized I had forgotten to take out the steaks for the following night’s dinner, so I opened the door to the living room, where he was watching Law and Order, and low and behold there he was CHEATING!

“Michael,” I said smiling, “what are you doing?”

“Nothing,” he mumbles.

“Really?” I ask, “so, what are those dark spots on your beard?

“Nothing,” he sputters.

“Have you been eating Oreos?”

“Who me? Of course not,” he responds remorsefully.

I reach behind him and what do I see? A bag of Oreos half finished!

So, here’s the poem I wrote about Michael’s cheating ways.


Cookie Crumbs

I saw the crumbs

on your greying beard

And instantly knew

what you had done.

Oreos leave a trail you know?

Your shamefaced smile

admitted all

It said, “I’m guilty,

I thought you’d gone.”

 

 

Mike and I had promised we would not eat after dinner, so our tummies would not have to work overtime while we slept. I kept my promise; unfortunately, he finds it very difficult to do so. Recently, I heard him open up the fridge while I lay in bed and once again he was in the living room and when I heard the rustle of a bag opening, I knew without a shadow of a doubt that he was getting into the Chips Ahoy.
© Natala Orobello

Monday, July 18, 2016





Stuffed Flounder (The economical way) For two
Four flounder fillets
½ bag imitation lobster
½ bag imitation crab
6 garlic cloves (chopped)
½ onion (chopped)
1 lemon
Fresh oregano
Fresh thyme
Fresh sage
Fresh parsley
2 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
Flounder fillets :
In mini blender, blend: 3 garlic cloves, thyme, oregano, parsley, sage, 1 tsp. olive oil, ½ juice of lemon, and blend together. Smother fillets with this blend. Set aside.
Stuffing: place 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. butter in frying pan, add remaining garlic cloves (chopped) and chopped onion. Add imitation lobster and crab until everything is warm. Add parsley and ½ lemon juice with grated rind. Next place in food processor until pieces are very small. Add grated (large hole side) Parmigiano Regiano to stuffing. Set aside.
Back to Fillets:
Place one fillet on bottom, cut the second fillet in half and place on sides of bottom fillet, and stuff middle. Place  into the oven for  fifteen minutes until fish is cooked through and flaky.
Serve with Hollandaise Sauce
2 tbsp. sour cream
2 egg yolks
Juice of ½ lemon
Paprika
Cayenne pepper

Blend all ingredients and then place above a double oven until creamy and hot. Whip the entire time!!!





© Natala Orobello

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Summer Time


It's Summer Time and I am once again reevaluating and reexamining who I am, what I do that is right, what I do that is wrong, and how I can improve as a wife, mother, grandmother, and teacher. Of course it goes without saying that I am reevaluating how to be a better Christian, for none of the other categories would be possible if I didn't attain this one first.

Every Summer for the past decade or more, I look toward summer not as a time to vacation ( what is that anyway?) but as a time to gain wisdom about myself and my surroundings. Have I learned a lot? Maybe, but everytime I think I am learing something, there's some other lesson I have not learned, like understanding my neighbors  and why they do the things they do. I end the summer thinking I am guilty of assuming (I do that often) that they have better things to do than call me or invite me over or come over, when suddenly the end of August approaches and wouldn't you know it several of them call to invite me to lunch!! What the heck? I thought I had it all solved!

Sometimes I evaluate my personality and realize I am guilty (notice the word guilty comes up quite often) of not only assumptions but also of arrogance. I think I know it all. Surprise!! I don't. I learn that my assumptions are wrong; I've miscalculated someone's intentions, someone's motives, and someone's kindness. Then I think of Mother Theresa's prayer and apply it to myself.

           People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  Forgive them anyway.
            If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  Be kind anyway.
            If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine 
           enemies.  Succeed anyway.
           If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.  Be honest and sincere anyway.
            What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.  Create anyway.
            If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous.  Be happy anyway.
            The good you do today, will often be forgotten.  Do good anyway.
            Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.  Give your best anyway.
            In the final analysis, it is between you and God.  It was never between you and them anyway.

More often than not, I come to Summer's end realizing once again that I am not perfect, not by a long shot, but dammit I try!! 

© Natala Orobello

Friday, January 8, 2016

Christmas Eve


This Christmas was wonderful. My son and his family visited for five days and my daughter and son in law have a new member to their family, Rachel. She's our angel from China. They stayed for seven days!
Mike and I prepared the cabin, so it was not only comfortable but also festive. We were adamant that this Christmas was going to be special, and it was.


When my daughter and her family arrived, I could hear Rachel's shouts of joy at finally having arrived to our mountain cabin in Georgia. She had been prepared by both her momma and babba. She easily found her bed and took her time looking at every nook and cranny of our home. Her smile never left her face, but I will say it was not as special as the night she met Santa. At first she was hesitant but she warmed up soon and then sat on his lap. The next morning, she marveled at all the gifts she received and immediately joined her cousins at play, but even Rachel's joy was a bit overshadowed by my son's love letter.


Frank writes with such passion that I often marvel at his poetic talent. This particular piece of poetry/prose expressed his love, respect, and admiration for every member of the family. It rained on Christmas Eve and there were flood watches and floods where roads had been damaged, so we didn't venture out to evening service. We held our own service around the kitchen table and then Frank read his poem. We laughed and we cried, and we acknowledged once again how fortunate we are to be a family who truly loves, respects, and admires each other. Frank said what we felt with such grace and compassion, with the glow of genuine love.


So, Christmas this year was more splendid than years past. My daughter and son in law found the courage and love to adopt a beautiful little girl, and my son reminded us how very blessed we are.
 © Natala Orobello