Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Checking my list

I am steadily crossing things off my to-do list... But there are some things that are getting added. C'est la vie.
  1. make chocolate-covered pretzels for neighbors--DONE
  2. make cookies for church Christmas Eve reception--DONE
  3. meet/greet at church Christmas Eve pageant at 4 pm tomorrow--DONE
  4. clean house in preparation for pet/house sitter--Sorta DONE
  5. finish laundry--DONE
  6. find digital camera (?!)--DONE
  7. pack for myself and W--Sorta DONE
  8. celebrate Christmas with Mike and W tomorrow, as Mike has to work on Christmas Day--DONE
  9. attend neighbor's Christmas gathering on Thursday
  10. catch 6:36 am flight out of Newark on Friday
  11. Plan get-together with MS friends

Monday, December 22, 2008


We had a fantastic weekend. Friday was my 29th birthday. We got out of school early due to winter weather. It was snowy at the school, but as we traveled south toward home, the snow turned to slush. Thank goodness the salt trucks had been out. I can handle driving in snow okay, but the slush is really yuck. So we got home earlier than normal and W took his nap at home (which meant that I was able to have one too!). Of course Mike didn't get home until regular time (9:30), which meant we didn't really celebrate, but that was alright.
It was alright because the next night we had all our friends/neighbors and their kids over! I made a huge crock-pot of chili, and people brought other yummy treats and a cornucopia of beer and wine. It was definitely a feast that would make Bacchus proud! Folks started coming over around 5, so W got some good playing in with the other children. I don't know how he did it, but W went to sleep around 7 and managed to sleep through the rest of the evening's festivities. It wasn't an especially late night, as Mike and I had agreed to keep the toddler nursery at church for the following day...
We only had three kids in the nursery. One was a "crier" but I immediately intervened and worked some of my newly-attained Montessori "Toddler Whisperer" magic on her. She calmed down pretty quickly and joined the boys at the sand table without much ado. After church, we drove s-l-o-o-o-w-l-y home, as the roads were incredibly icy from all the slush. We ate leftover chili and took naps, which was heavenly. The afternoon included a trip to the library to get a Bob the Builder video for W. I don't know where he's picked up on BTB, but he really likes him. So we indulged that little desire. On the way home, we saw a beautiful desk chair out at the curb to be picked up by the garbage man. I said, "Stop! GO BACK!" We went back, Mike got out and checked it for major problems, and, seeing none, loaded it into the car. It actually is very similar to the one pictured above (middle chair), but it has wheels and is lighter in color. We're going to refinish it and use it at our computer desk in our den. It's quite lovely, and very comfortable.
It's been incredibly cold. It got down to 14 on Sunday night and only got up to around 22 yesterday. Today was a little warmer, getting up to around 30 and less windy. It's supposed to continue to warm between now and when we fly out for MS, so that's a good thing, as it means we are less likely to encounter delays.
I have quite a few things to cross of my to-do list between now and then...
  1. make chocolate-covered pretzels for neighbors
  2. make cookies for church Christmas Eve reception
  3. meet/greet at church Christmas Eve pageant at 4 pm tomorrow
  4. clean house in preparation for pet/house sitter
  5. finish laundry
  6. find digital camera (?!)
  7. pack for myself and W
  8. celebrate Christmas with Mike and W tomorrow, as Mike has to work on Christmas Day
  9. attend neighbor's Christmas gathering on Thursday
  10. catch 6 am flight out of Newark on Friday
And once we get back into town on January 2...
  1. write six 3-page papers for Montessori Philosophy class (due first week of January)
  2. sew placemats and napkins for toddler lunch group at school

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Jeopardy! episode live blogging

This is Jeopardy! Please welcome today's contestants... There I am. Cheesy head nod. Oh, hi Stevie! Where are the truffles you promised to mail me? Oh, hi Alex. God, I am so nervous. Alex just said my name... TV Robots, right? That's when my stomach did a backflip. THat was it for me. I knew where this was going at that point. Knew that one about Rosie on the Jetsons. Am I even there? Haven't rung in yet... Lost in Space... Yeah, that was me at this point. Holy moly. Canterbury. Yes, got one. Battle of Hastings, right? Didn't ring in in time; either that or was too fast... Of course he gets the DD at this point. Knew the answer to the DD as well. Crapola. First break. I am feeling like bleh at this point on the show, because there were several I knew but couldn't get the hang of the buzzer. Now they're touching up our makeup and doing our "Hometown Howdies". Alex is having to re-record a clue from a previous episode. Yeah, you think he has perfect pronunciation, right? Wrong. They just re-record whatever he messes up. I wish they could've done that for me!! Now the stage assistants are making sure my buzzer is working. Yeah, it's working. I just can't work it. Here comes Alex, ready for the interview section. Milt: I've lived in all four of the US states that are actually Commonwealths. BO-RING. Yeah, tantalizing. Lame. I wonder how many times he practiced this bit. Oh, it's me, now. Yes, I cooked with Julia Child. Didn't blow that, thank goodness. Oh, and Stevie the Harpist. Very cool. He was sitting in a director's chair for the game; I'm not sure what the problem was, but he couldn't stand for long periods of time. Oh, here we go again. Got one! Oops, missed one. Rare Earth? Is that even a band?? I think I made that up. Thank goodness i got the one about dalmations- I had one as a kid. Here I am again, not able to get my buzzer timing right... Of course i get one right about a hair dryer. Oh, good save, Carrie, Radio Flyer. And grill, thank goodness I got that one, since Mike likes to grill so much. Plaitnum. Oh, tricky, Alex. Hello, Carrie, where are you? Of course I am going first in Double Jeopardy... Geez. Oh, the weather report pops on during the commercial--we're due for a winter storm overnight and tomorrow. Happy Birthday to me! I asked one of the stage people if anyone had ever barfed on the set (from nerves)... She said no, but that a couple of contestants had passed out. That tidbit of information was not especially helpful or encouraging. Thanks a bunch.
Oh, another Santa category... Remember this was taped in October. Oh, didn't understand the clue on that one, but I get it now. The second I hear these clues online, the answer pops right into my head. It's just so frustrating... Sweet, I knew this DD of course, about Sylvia Plath (fellow Smithie!!) I was telling Mike last night how I don't feel like I can even enjoy the show now. Let me explain... I don't know if it's like this for you or not, but for me, I used to watch the show, thinking, gosh, those people ought to know these answers, these questions aren't that hard, right? Well, it's one thing to know the answers when you're sitting in your living room, it's another thing to be sitting there with those bright lights, the audience, trying to get the damn buzzer to work! I never realized how difficult playing the game actually is! So... Okay, I don't think I answer any more after this point (the Santa category). Geez. Symphonies?! Are you kidding me? I think I was just thankful at this point that it was almost over. I think I might have even put my "signaling button" down by now... Holy cannoli. Oh, that's cute, the bows around/over me. Nice, guys. Another commercial. Come on, Alex, just tell us what the final category is gonna be. Quotations.
So I'm there just thinking, well, they have about the same amount, so they have to bet a lot of money. So what's my bet going to be? Nothing. Zilch. Nada. Zero. The stage crew comes by to check on our wagers... Mine solicits a "perfect wager" comment, bringing me to my highest point of the entire show. Basically, the two guys just have to get the answer wrong, and I become the champion with big $1200!! Oh, here's the clue. I knew it right off the bat. Let's see how confident I look. Yup, I'm done writing, and the guys are still writing. I really felt like I might cryBut alas, it's not to be. At least I got it right, though. It would have been really embarassing to miss a question about Jefferson Davis, being from Mississippi and all. Oh, there's the phone. It's our friend Nick. And beeping in is my co-worker Marcia (former Miss Peru, for real!). So that's it from me. Over and out, TV Land!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Don't forget... tune in to Jeopardy! tomorrow, December 18, to see me! Of course our VCR doesn't record... But I've found a kind soul at work who will tape it for me (I just have to remember to take the tape to her tomorrow!). Here's the clip they taped for the Jeopardy! website and for local promos.

So yeah, be sure to watch. And try not to notice how nervous I am!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Gettin' old

I saw this piece on NPR today and it reminded me that I am getting old... And yes, Matthew Sweet is definitely showing his age a bit, but his voice is just as sweet appropriate, no?) as ever.
Matthew Sweet just makes me happy. I have no idea where my 100% Fun album is... I really need to track it down when I'm back in MS over Christmas... "Sick of Myself" is one of my all-time favorites.

I used to listen to that album, along with Juliana Hatfield's Become What You Are, constantly when I was 14... and be all ang-sty and crabby-teenager-y. Ah, sweet youth.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The proof

Here's proof of W's love for Kit-Kat's. What a happy little boy!
What do you think of the hat? Believe it or not, I made it MYSELF!He eats healthy food too, you know. His fave is bananas.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What do you listen to...? the car, that is. These days, I often have toddler-appropriate music playing in the car. When I'm on my own, however, I am able to indulge in a little NPR-listening. I heard an interesting report tonight about teens and sex. The report focused on sexual content on TV shows. Now, this isn't anything new, but it was thought-provoking. Some people interviewed asserted that shows like Gossip Girl influence teens to engage in sexual behavior. I contend (and they did not touch on this point) that teens that watch shows that are risque (and I can't really say that Gossip Girl is risque, really, since I've never watched it, but for the sake of argument...) have less supervision and are therefore more likely to have opportunities to engage in sexual activities. I mean, my parents didn't let me watch 90210 when it first started in the early 90s (I really was too young for the show then--12 or 13), they were totally involved in my life, and I would have never dreamed of having sex anywhere within a million-mile radius of them. So maybe there's a connection somehow, but not in the way the researchers think... What do you think?
Also heard on NPR, the radio cartoon of the day. Listeners go online and look at the cartoon and come up with possible captions. Here's the cartoon (which I think is just absolutely hilarious), along with the cartoonist's caption--
Here's my favorite alternative caption from an NPR listener: "So, when did Mrs. Claus' interest in "reindeer games" begin to subside?"

Finally, I ran across this little gem on the NPR website as well. It made me think of my dearest friend, Rachel. So Rachel, as a little welcome back from the paradise of Jamaica, this cover of "Such Great Heights" by Ben Folds. This little treat definitely put a smile on my face.

Pater, part II

Here's a write-up about Pater from an

Harry King White
  • BORN: August 22, 1914
  • DIED: November 30, 2008
  • LOCATION: Little Rock, AR

Harry King White, age 94, a lifelong resident of Little Rock, loving father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend passed away peacefully on Sunday, November 30th, in Conway, Arkansas. He was born August 22nd, 1914 in Little Rock. His wife of 66 years, Mildred Cockmon White, his mother: Nettie Schaer White, his father: John H. White and his brother: Jack W. White preceded him in death.
He is survived by his three daughters: Kay Quinn of North Little Rock, Lynn White Hotchkiss and her husband Robert of Long Beach, Mississippi, and Debra Ann White of Springhill, Kansas; grandchildren are Susie Brough and husband Mike of Tomball, Texas; Shawn Cervantes of Conway, Amanda Corker and husband Mike of Sherwood; Robert Lee Hotchkiss, Jr. and wife Sonjiala of San Diego, California; Jennifer Haar and husband Darren of Tokyo, Japan; and Michael Hotchkiss and wife Carrie of Lawrenceville, New Jersey; great-grandchildren are: Brandon, Joshua, and Kayla Brough, Eric and Dylan Cervantes, Christopher Corker, Evelyn and Isaac Haar, and Wilson Hotchkiss.
Mr. White was retired from the Western Electric Company, was a great lover of all kinds of music and the Arkansas Razorbacks, but his first love and focus was his family. He made friends with everyone he met and will be greatly missed.
Visitation will be from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008 at Griffin Leggett Healey and Roth, 5800 W. 12th St., Little Rock, AR 72204 ~ 501.661.9111. Funeral service will be Wednesday, 2:00 p.m., December 3rd at the funeral home officiated by Rev. Chris Allen with burial in Roselawn Memorial Park.
Memorials may be made to: Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, 200 S. Commerce St. Little Rock, Arkansas 72201; PO Box 15728, Little Rock, AR 72231 or other favorite charity.
What the obit doesn't mention was the period that Pater and Mater lived in Vegas. That is one of my favorite stories about them. They just decided that Little Rock wasn't exciting enough for them in their retirement so they packed up and went to Vegas back in the 80s and stayed there until the early-2000s. Also, Pater taught Mike how to play pool. You gotta love that in a grandpa.

Monday, December 1, 2008


Mike's 94-year-old grandfather died yesterday. Mike is flying to Little Rock tomorrow morning. The funeral will probably be on Wednesday; Mike will get home late Thursday night. Most airlines don't offer bereavement fares anymore. As far as bereavement "favors", the only thing they'll let you do is change or cancel your ticket with no penalty fee, which I suppose isn't a small thing, considering how much they generally charge for that. I wish that W and I could go with him, but with tickets over $400, it just wouldn't work out.
So it's going to be just me and W this week. Wish me luck.
I got my Christmas decorations up yesterday. The house looks festive. I can understand why some people leave Christmas lights up all year! Unfortunately, the cats think the tree is for chewing and swatting. Badness!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The aging process

George W. Bush has aged A LOT over the past eight years. I mean, going from this: this:
I mean, I know the presidency is a stressful job and that a person AGES A LOT during the 4-to-8-year term, but really... is it just me, or does he look like he's drinking again??

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thinking about India

I've been doing a lot of thinking about India over the past few days. If you watch the news, you know what's been happening in Mumbai. I can't imagine how frantic and chaotic the scene is. Even on a good day, Mumbai is chaotic! I can't even fathom how rescue crews are getting through the streets, as the one rule of the road is that there are no rules! Apparently the hotel that Dad and I stayed at, the Palm Grove, was used as a "jumping off point" for the terrorists. Renu, one of the family members with whom we traveled, is in Mumbai right now, visiting her brother and his family (the Gandhi's). All of them were present for W's baptism; they are like family. I am hoping that they all piled in the car and headed to Umbergoah, about 100 miles to the north of Mumbai, where their family roots are.
In other family-related news, Mike's grandfather, Pater, is in the hospital. He's 94 years old. He has something seriously wrong going on in his abdomen. The doctors think it's due to a blood clot that killed part of his intestines. He's been in relatively-good health up until this point, living independently in an assisted-living home for the past few years in the Little Rock area. I think the only medication that he's been prescribed is Flomax, so that's pretty awesome for someone his age. He loves the Arkansas Razorbacks, and as much as I hate that LSU lost to them today, I'm happy that Pater's team won.
W and I spent yesterday afternoon at our church. Mike had to work (he has the day BEFORE the holiday off, but has to work the actual holiday), so it was really nice that our pastor and his family hosted an "open Thanksgiving" in the church's fellowship hall. There were about 40 people there, and TONS of food. W had a great time running around with the other kids and even played a little football with them. I had fun playing dominoes and meeting some new folks.
My parents were here last week, so we did Thanksgiving dinner with them on Sunday night. Mike roasted a chicken and made his mom's cornbread dressing, and I made mashed potatoes and green beans. We bought a carrot cake and Key Lime pie at Wegman's, both of which were delish.
We all have so much to be thankful for.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gimme a break!

W has a favorite candy. He LOVES Kit-Kats. He just found a tiny piece of a wrapper somewhere that was leftover from Halloween and brought it to me and said, "Kit Kat, Kit Kat" (or something close to that).
Good lord, what have I done to this child?! Mike and I don't even really LIKE Kit-Kats!! I don't know where he gets it from....

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Toilet paper woes

Amazingly enough, our supermarket has fantastic store-brand toilet paper. I never would have thought that generic TP would be the way to go, but seriously, Wegman's TP is great. I did something dumb last week, though. We were nearing the end of our stash and were in desperate need for more. I was at Wal-Mart (ugh) and figured I'd just buy some there. I got a 24 pack of the White Cloud (WM brand) kind. I mean, toilet paper's toilet paper, right? WRONG. This is, as Mike calls it, John Wayne toilet paper-- "Rough, tough, and don't take sh*t off no one." It is only ONE PLY. And, it doesn't feel very good. So now I'm stuck with 24 rolls of crappy (I couldn't resist!) toilet paper. I have definitely learned my lesson.
Oh, and today, when we went to Wegman's, I got a big pack of their TP. So we have enough to last us the rest of 2008.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Identifying with India

Here's an article written by a woman who was in India on election day. I love all things Indian (except perhaps the food), so I couldn't resist posting this (she refers to some of the cities Dad and I visited when we were there in 2004). I highlighted the parts that really spoke to me. You may or may not agree with what she says or thinks politically, but I think this piece is really important because it helps show how people of other nations see our nation. It's an interesting perspective, to be sure.

Through Indian Eyes
Lynda Resnick Posted November 9, 2008 | 02:27 PM

My husband and I were in India during the U.S. election. Of course we cast (so to speak) our Obama votes before traveling to India during the last three weeks of the campaign -- an insightful experience. We followed CNN throughout our journey, but we were more drawn to news from the BBC and local Indian channels.

Everywhere we went, from Mumbai to Jodhpur to Delhi, people were curious and engaged in our election, and everyone knew the players. They were all rooting for Obama. We met some corporate leaders who were concerned that Obama might cave to the unions and tighten up foreign trade, and some royals who were negative about anyone darker than they are, but men and women in the streets, no matter how humble, were rooting for Obama.

It was the first time in a long time that "I felt proud to be an American," to borrow words from our soon-to-be First Lady. The last time people abroad felt that kind of affinity with an American political figure was when John Kennedy was in office. I don't believe their support for Obama was just because his skin is brown like theirs. It is a combination of gravitas and spiritual calm that attracted the limpid brown eyes of a magical country. Ganesha is the charming elephant god that most Hindus hold sacred... as I visited shops to find the perfect one to bring home, one shopkeeper after another confided that our candidate Obama also has a Ganesha in his home.

As the results came in on election night, and tears of joy and hope streamed down my face, I realized that America had finally grown up. The polls didn't lie; we were actually achieving the divine state of color blindness. The window is open and we can grab opportunity, we can make changes, we can mature and we will be able to manage the crises of our modern society. The "me generation" doesn't work anymore. The new calling is for the collective consciousness. If one doesn't care about the common good and only focuses on their own greed, they will be hard-pressed to find comfort in this new era.

How perfectly curious it was to be in India during this historical moment. The myth about traveling there is that you will shocked by the poverty, but I'd traveled to Cambodia when Pol Pot was still lurking in the jungle and saw a civilization returned to the Stone Age by endless war. What shocked me in India was how joyful the citizens are. Their lives are tough, even for the rich ones. I felt an almost equal empathy for the Maharani I visited who lived in a gargantuan place crumbling around her, as I did for street people who pedaled our rickshaw. The spirit of the place is life-changing -- it gives you hope for all mankind.

When we landed at LAX after 26 hours of flying, L.A. looked sparklingly clean (I didn't know a Santa Ana wind had just come through). I practically kissed the customs officer and couldn't get a smile off my face. I remember when I was a child and my parents would travel abroad, they would tell me, "I kissed the ground when I came home." It has been a long time since I felt like that, but I do now. Our troubles are grave, but they are nothing when you look at the emerging nations of the world; it is a mind change that we need. We still have clean water and can breathe most of the air without fear of lung problems, and while our society tends to make wrong food choices, safe food is there for the buying. Unless you have traveled to India or China you have no idea how compromised these basics of life can be.

Everyone is asking, "What can I do as a citizen?" We are ready like we were for that one moment after 9/11 -- ready to follow a bold leader. At last we have one, and I believe that our collective consciousness will push us toward the sacrifices we must make to cure our ills. A beautiful man of color will lead us. My hand is raised, "call on me."

A fine dining experience

Since the weather was so gross yesterday afternoon, we did one of our favorite rainy-day activities--went to Ikea! The nearest Ikea for us is in Elizabeth, near Newark and right across the river from NYC. You can even see the Newark airport from the Ikea restaurant. Traffic was horrible all the way there, so by the time we got there, we were all hungry. You gotta love a furniture store with a restaurant. And I'm not talkin' Miskelly's. This place has everything--Swedish meatballs, pasta, salad bar, wraps... So the three of us ate dinner for less than $10, AND got a table overlooking the airport, which W really liked. Our mission was to find a child-size dining set for W. Our kitchen table/chairs are counter-height, which means that W cannot sit there easily. The Montessorian in me wanted him to have something on his own level. So this is what we wound up getting:
Mike and I just put it together. It was surprisingly easy. Since the wood is unfinished, we can either paint it or stain it. I'm inclined to stain it the same color as our kitchen table/chairs, which is a dark, dark brown. While I'd like to paint it in fun colors, that would sort of detract from the rest of the kitchen/dining room palate of red and brown. I'm open to suggestions, though.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tiger bait!

Today is the big day: Bama at LSU. Get ready. This game is big, not only because Bama is ranked #1 by the BCS, but also because it's Nick Saban's first trip back to Baton Rouge as a coach since doing the unthinkable... Here's a piece from ESPN the Magazine.

Gimme an F... !

When Alabama rolls into Baton Rouge, LSU fans will have a hard time deciding which is more fun: showering the Tigers with love - or raining hate on Nick Saban.

by Wright Thompson

There is strange music coming from apartment 315: a mix of zydeco and swamp pop, as unquestionably Louisiana as getting a go-cup from a bar. Inside is a raucous group of LSU fans. The Big Ragoo and the Evil Twins are surrounded by their crew, which includes a nuclear chemist, two women kissing, another drinking straight from a bottle of Stoli, an ex-fighter pilot and the guy who played keyboards—and organ—for song 11 on the Dirty Dancing soundtrack. They all have at least one thing in common.

They hate Nick Saban.

Now, lots of people dislike coaches. Michigan fans loathe Jim Tressel. Buckeyes can't stand Joe Paterno. Nittany Lions detest Bobby Bowden. Those are normal, acceptable levels of hate. But LSU fans hate Saban more than store-bought jambalaya, more than FEMA, more than Yankees who confuse Creole with Cajun. The man loved 'em and left 'em. This is personal. This is cultural. This hatred is…intergalactic. "You could draw the analogy to Star Wars," says Indiana professor Ed Hirt, an expert in fan behavior and why sports turn ordinary grown-ups into psychopaths. "It is going to the dark side."

The LSU fans will tell Saban just how much they hate him in person on Nov. 8, when the Alabama coach brings his top-ranked Tide to Baton Rouge. As a rule, LSU opponents must park their buses and walk into the stadium in open air, protected, sort of, by police barricades. LSU fans chant "Tiger bait" over and over. But when Saban and his team come to town, that walk will be more than scary, presuming local authorities allow it to happen at all. LSU police say they will have extra security at the stadium and along the Bama bus route. "It's gonna take the 82nd Airborne to get him into Tiger Stadium," the Big Ragoo says.

Just five years ago, Saban was every LSU fan's hero, leading the Tigers to their first national title in 45 seasons. But on Christmas Day, 2004, he broke their hearts, bailing on Baton Rouge for Miami and NFL money. Two years later he stabbed their hearts by taking the Bama job. Since then, Ragoo and the Evil Twins have counted the days to Saban's return, passing time with another national title and many Alabama jokes. (Such as: How are Bama fans and maggots the same? Both can live off a dead bear.) Now their day of blessed redemption is upon them, and folks down here are some kind of pissed.

The roiling emotions across the Pelican State have to do with insecurity, fear, ethnic slurs, off-color jokes and grandmothers who speak Cajun French. For those who don't know what any of that means, don't worry. We'll translate.

First, there's the Big Ragoo. He's the greatest LSU fan alive. Ragoo is short and bald, sort of what you'd get if you crossed Winston Churchill with John Belushi. He acts like that too: half eloquent statesman, half wild man. He's given away untold amounts of food and drink to strangers. Show him respect, he will move heaven and earth for you. Cross him, he will feed you to the crabs. He is 59. He is a district manager for an oil company. His real name is Marvin Dugas. The 'S' is silent.

Then there are the Evil Twins. God, where to begin? They are actually twins and possibly evil. They are 46 and unmarried. Evil Twin Two, whose name is Scott DeJean, is a veterinarian. He's the older one, but he's the sidekick, and mans the stereo at the party. Evil Twin One is named Kent. He does the talking. This is his condo. His fridge holds only beer, soda, cream puffs and Slim-Fast. He has framed pictures of the 2003 and 2007 national championship games in his bedroom, the first images he sees in the morning. Evil Twin One warms up the crowd at Les Miles' weekly radio show and does skits at tailgates. In real life, he is a lawyer.

Besides being unhinged LSU fans, the Twins and Ragoo are Cajun, born and raised in southern Louisiana parishes. Their parents grew up speaking Cajun French at home but didn't teach it to them, not wanting to pass along what they saw as a stigma. Their folks were belittled, spanked for not speaking English in school. Years ago, when chef Justin Wilson brought his Louisiana recipes and swampy accent to national TV, Evil Twin One asked his grandmother if she was proud. No, she told him. They weren't laughing with Wilson and his catchphrase "I ga-ron-tee." They were laughing at him.

That brings us to Saban.

He has several problems down here. First, LSU fans can be insecure. Maybe it's because LSU sits smack on the border of Acadiana—the 22 parishes that make up Cajun country—and the locals' antennae remain out after years of ridicule. Maybe they are scarred from years of losing before Saban, and, somewhere deep inside, maybe they're afraid all this success will go away. Secondly, he went to Alabama. Tiger fans won't admit this, but they have a complex about Alabama, so a loved one leaving for Tuscaloosa subtly reinforces the fear that they are inferior.

Finally, there is the quote.

The slur for Cajuns is coonass. Some say it comes from a gamey delicacy or a ringtailed hat, others say the word is derived from the French put-down conasse, meaning cheap whore. Younger Cajuns will sometimes say it with pride, displaying stickers on cars around Louisiana that read "RCA," for registered coonass. For older people, it is incredibly offensive. OK, stage set.


Saban took the Bama job the day LSU played in the 2007 Sugar Bowl, and signs such as "Saban is a D-Bag" popped up in the French Quarter. Back in Miami, the coach was speaking to reporters off the record. He repeated a story a friend, who Saban said happened to be on LSU's board of trustees, told him—a story that ended up taped and played on the radio a few weeks later. Here it is: "He was walking down the street yesterday before the Sugar Bowl. He calls me. There was a guy working in the ditch, one of those coonass guys that talk funny. I can't talk like them, but he can. Most people in Louisiana can. He says, 'Hey, you see where Coach Saban signed up with Alabama?' You know, however they talk. And the board of trustees guy says, 'Yeah I saw that,' and he says, 'That son of a b—, I feel like he's f— my wife.'"

It didn't matter that Saban was trying to be funny, or that a lot of people use the word coonass. A segment of LSU fans heard ditch-digging coonass and saw red. "Cajun people are proud," Ragoo explains. "When they perceive that you're putting them down and making fun of them, they become focused and galvanized about kicking your ass."

The quote hurt, and Saban quickly released an apologetic statement. He is responsible for the return of LSU football glory and doesn't really deserve to be hated. But you can understand, right? Those who hate Saban do so because they cared for him so much. "I was jilted," says Alie Gremillion, Ragoo's fiancée. "Nick was like your first love." Here's a story: The first Saints game in Louisiana after Katrina was against the Dolphins at Tiger Stadium. When Saban came out, he got an unforgettable ovation. They loved him. And now this? Same conference? Alabama? Ditch-digging coonasses?

Two years later, at the party, Ragoo and the Evil Twins still aren't over it. They refer to Saban as Lil' Nicky, or Tricky Nick. "He's like Satan," Evil Twin One says. "He's gone from king of the world to Judas."

As the drinks start to flow, so does the level of anger. There are jokes, both innocuous and disturbing (like Ragoo opining about what some of his less-civilized brethren might do with a 12-gauge should they spy Saban in the Bayou). "If I were him I'd be very discreet," Ragoo cracks. "He might not make it back."

He is, of course, kidding. Around him, in apartment 315, the party continues. It is the night before LSU will lose to Georgia, 52-38. Dozens crowd into the kitchen, taking turns spinning the Wheel of Death: a carousel of scotch, vodka, tequila and rum. Wherever it stops, that's your poison. They spin it for hours. After Ragoo takes a turn on the Wheel—"Oh, no, tequila," Alie says quietly—he lies on the floor and lets the Twins spin him like a top. At the end of the party, they play "Rocky Top" to honor Tennessee, Alabama's opponent. Of course they change the chorus a bit.

Rocky Top, you'll always be,
Second in the SEC.
Good ol' Rocky Top.

Second in the SEC!
Second in the SEC!

The next day, the party continues at 6 a.m. with Budweiser, biscuits and boudin. It moves toward the stadium with chicken spaghetti at Ragoo's tent; a neighboring tailgate has a keg on a giant stand, rigged with rubber tubes. All the while they jam to music coming out of twin six-foot stacks, like The Allman Brothers have set up in the parking lot. The party survives the game and beyond the entire sad afternoon. LSU fans even congratulate passing Georgia fans on their W, which will not happen against Bama. Afterward, Ragoo heads to the Pastime Restaurant & Lounge to watch Saban's Crimson Tide. They're crushing the Vols, playing with a confidence Ragoo recognizes. When Alabama scores, he stares at the television. He is quiet. He mumbles to himself, his face twitching a little. "You want an Excedrin?" Alie asks.

He declines. But the long day, and the combination of LSU losing and Saban winning have left Ragoo worn out. Is it possible that giving up 52 points to Georgia is worse than being called a ditch-digging coonass? Not a chance. "I'm gonna sharpen my shovel," he says.

"We're ditch-digging coonasses," Alie says.

"That's me," Ragoo says.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Really sad

When people find out I'm from the South, they often ask if racism is alive and well. This question, while expected, always rattles me a bit. I say that the racism isn't necessarily blatant, and then explain that racism exists everywhere, in various forms and degrees. Here is living proof that it doesn't matter where you live--ignorance is everywhere.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The map

This is huge. This is huger than huge. No Republican presidential candidate has ever won without Ohio, and it was just called for Obama.
The northeast is solid blue. Huge shock. The south is solid red (except for MS, which they haven't called yet, but HELLO!!). Huge shock. There are some pleasant (and fortunate) quasi-surprises (PA and OH).
Overall, huge voter turnout. For both Democrats and Republicans, this is a fantastic day for America. More people than ever have stepped up to cast their ballot and show their patriotism. Hooray for representative democracy!On a night like tonight, I sure miss Tim Russert and his white-boards.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Don't even go there...

Sadly, but not unexpectedly, Barack Obama's grandma died this morning. Rotten timing, huh? Maybe I'm a cynic, but I'm just waiting for one of the McCain-ninites to say "oh, what perfect timing... they've probably had her on ice for the past few weeks and wanted to wait and spread the news the day before the election!"
Yeah, I am so sure.
Let's all say a little prayer for tomorrow... That every voter is treated with dignity and respect and that every ballot cast by a legitimate/registered voter is counted. For info about where to cast your ballot, what to bring to the polling place, etc, check out the League of Women Voters website--it has a wealth of (nonpartisan!) information.
Hey, don't think your vote doesn't count. It does-- as long as every vote is counted.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Boo to you!

W had a great Halloween. I made his costume; he was The Cat in the Hat. I used a pair of black sweatpants and black t-shirt and safety-pinned the white fur and red bow on the shirt. I pinned a long black tail made of felt and stuffed with batting on the back of the pants. I made the hat, which turned out to be more difficult than I anticipated. But in the end, it turned out pretty cute--don't you think??
The whiskers/nose didn't stay on very well...Ta-da!!Here's one side of Maggie's costume......and here's the other side! There's a glare--it says "I'm really a Chihuahua"Here are some of our pumpkins. Mike said that our front yard looked like a pumpkin patch because we had five carved pumpkins and two that weren't carved. I got a little crazy with pumpkins this year because I really like roasting the seeds...
Today we drove to the Howell Living History Farm, which is about 20 minutes north of us. It's run by the county and has lots of animals. Today included a demonstration of how bacon, sausage, and scrapple are made. We saw the initial preparation for all that, but didn't stick around for the full demo. W enjoyed seeing the animals. I think the chickens were his favorite, though I don't really know why...
He laughed and "talked" with the chickens...
He thought the sheep were okay...
Here's Jesse the Horse taking a sniff of W and his daddy... They only have male horses right now, and they are all serious work horses. They are incredibly large and powerful-looking animals--one can see where the term "horsepower" comes from! The farm also has some incredible oxen, but they weren't there this weekend--they were at a conference. No kidding.When we got to the pig pen, the pigs were all the way on the other end. I called, "Here, pig pig pig!" and they all came running over. There were four piglets. They were stinky, but pretty cute. Here they are nosing around in their slop trough. W thought they were pretty funny and wanted to reach in and touch him, but Mike and I vetoed that idea. Can you blame us??

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Where did October go?

Each time I get on the computer, I think to myself, "Self, you ought to really update your blog." But I don't ever get around to it. It's not because I don't have anything to say; it's just that I don't really have the energy these days to say it. By the time I have quiet time in the evenings, I'm exhausted and just want to cross-stitch or read. Seriously, I'm around toddlers all day. Who can blame me for wanting some SILENT adult time?
Most of what I would have written about over the past month concerns the election. If you're not absolutely outraged and disgusted about the way in which McCain has run his campaign, you have NOT been paying attention. He and his "running mate" take every opportunity to slander Obama and spread lies and half-truths about him. Oh, and notice the use of "air quotes" for "running mate"; Senator McCain LOVES the "air quotes" (see Exhibit A), and I can't think of a more appropriate use of them than when describing his choice for VP.
Other election-related topics floating around in my grey-matter as of late-----
Sarah Palin's Makeover
C'mon, Kids! Get your new Caribou Barbie! Complete with custom Jimmy Choo--oops, we mean Johnny Choo--Eskimo-inspired Mukluks! Style her hair, do her makeup! She's a great choice for VP and way more fun to make-over than Mitt or Rudy would have been! And all for the bargain price of $150K!
John McCain's (latest) Senior Moment
To date, his most obvious (and embarrassing) bout with forgetfulness came on Sunday's Meet the Press with Tom Brokaw. McCain was trying to minimize the importance of Colin Powell's endorsement of Obama by naming the five former-secretaries of state that have endorsed him. Problem was, he couldn't remember all of them. Oops. Shoulda practiced that one.
Tying Obama to Islam
Okay, can I just say that I am really really really tired of this sthick, for the following reasons:
  1. Obama is NOT Muslim...
  2. ... and even if he were Muslim, so what? Saying that all Muslims are bad because of the evil deeds of a few people who happen to be Muslim is just like saying all Germans are bad because of what the Nazis did. Hello?!
  3. I would rather have a devout Muslim who practices the five pillars of Islam in the Oval Office than a lacksidasical Christian who doesn't practice what s/he preaches. And before anyone gets all "devout Muslims support jihad against the US"--NO THEY DON'T, just ask one. For further commentary on this topic, see #2, above.
  4. And as for suggesting that Obama would appease Iran's Ahmadinejad, well, that's just silly, because Ahmadinejad isn't even the one who's in charge of Iran. The Ayatollah is the one who pulls the strings. Besides, meeting with Ahmadinejad would just give the world another opportunity to witness just how crazy the man really is. Case in point. Yes, he's a despicable person. But how can we learn how to deal with him and the nation of Iran without hearing what he has to say? Meeting with a nation's representative is not the same as condoning that nation's stance on international and domestic issues. There are plenty of nations who don't agree with everything the US does, but do they shut us out?
Colin Powell is Awesome
First of all, I have always been a closet-fan of Colin Powell. I think his service to the US is admirable and I have great respect for him. That said, I've also always been a little annoyed with him for his alliance with the Republican Party. After the Bushies threw him under the proverbial bus back during Bush II's first term, Colin Powell had every right to be angry and bitter. But he didn't show it. No, instead he gracefully stepped aside and let the Bushies continue their misplaced war. Now that I think about it, why didn't he make more of a stink back then?? Well, he's redeemed himself, in my book, and it's not just because he threw his support behind Obama. His comments a few weeks ago on MTP were so eloquent and so dead-on... Well, just see for yourself.
So there you have it. Probably a lot more than you bargained for, but I had a lot to catch up on.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Last night's performance

Mad props to Joe Biden for keeping his cool last night. He's known for his temper and tendency to say things that, while often true, can be inappropriate. It was entirely within the realm of possibility for him to tell Sarah Palin to go back to the Barbie Arctic Dream House. Each time she winked, I threw up in my mouth a little.
Here's a flow chart of Sarah Palin's debate strategy, courtesy of, via
On another note, work is going really well. I'm enjoying it a lot, and W seems to really like school. Each morning, when we pull into the parking lot, he gets all excited and claps his hands and squeals. He really seems to be adapting well to this big change. He is also really interested in the toilet. He isn't ready to be toileted (the Montessori term for "potty training"--we train dogs, not children!) but he is definitely interested in it. We got him a little potty for his birthday and he's been sitting on it each night before his bath. Well, for the past four nights, when he's sat on it, he's peed. He is so proud of himself, and we are really happy for him, too. A step in the right direction!
It's definitely becoming fall here. The trees are changing to beautiful autumn colors. That's one of the things that I definitely prefer here in New Jersey as opposed to Mississippi--SEASONS!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Filed under "D"...

... for "DUH"!!!!!I guess Clay Aiken was the last to get this news...

Thanks, Keith

Thanks to Keith Olberman for doing his part to de-rail the Not-So-Straight Talk Express.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The back-to-school bug

I got sick at the beginning of school each year when I taught high school. It started innocently enough with a bad cold, but always turned into a raging upper-respiratory infection. Amazingly enough, the past two years that I've been at home, I haven't gotten sick in the fall. Well, now that I've gone back to work, I'm sick again. I wipe snotty noses all day, and even though I wash my hands religiously (as in, after each wipe!), I have managed to come down with crud. On Tuesday afternoon, my throat suddenly started hurting, in the way it does whenever I'm coming down with something. Oh no, I thought. Sure enough, by bedtime, I felt awful. I had to take yesterday and today off from work, and will have to take tomorrow off as well. I hate using up my sick days so soon, as I know I will need them so that I can stay home with W when he's sick... But I also know that I wouldn't appreciate it very much if one of W's teachers came to school in a state similar to my own, so I'm affording that same courtesy to my own students.
I'm heading to the doctor tomorrow. If it has turned into an URI, I will have to get some serious meds to knock it out so that I will be fit for work on Monday.
Other than that, the new job is great, and W really likes school. He takes his nap in his own little bed in the nap room without the help of a pacifier. Amazing. Of course, he wouldn't dream of going sans-Nuk at his own house, but I guess it's a step in the right direction.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Oh, the hypocricy!

We don't have cable, so I miss out on catching The Daily Show on a regular basis. I do love Jon Stewart, though, and this clip is just too good not to post! Mom and Dad, this is especially for y'all.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

What's YOUR zip code?

An awesome article from Friday's NYT. Enjoy.
Are YOU planning to watch the New 9-0?

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Sarah Palin

I received this from in my email box today. Please take a second to read it:

Dear MoveOn member,

Yesterday was John McCain's 72nd birthday. If elected, he'd be the oldest president ever inaugurated. And after months of slamming Barack Obama for "inexperience," here's who John McCain has chosen to be one heartbeat away from the presidency: a right-wing religious conservative with no foreign policy experience, who until recently was mayor of a town of 9,000 people.


Who is Sarah Palin? Here's some basic background:

  • She was elected Alaska's governor a little over a year and a half ago. Her previous office was mayor of Wasilla, a small town outside Anchorage. She has no foreign policy experience.1
  • Palin is strongly anti-choice, opposing abortion even in the case of rape or incest.2
  • She supported right-wing extremist Pat Buchanan for president in 2000. 3
  • Palin thinks creationism should be taught in public schools.4
  • She's doesn't think humans are the cause of climate change.5
  • She's solidly in line with John McCain's "Big Oil first" energy policy. She's pushed hard for more oil drilling and says renewables won't be ready for years. She also sued the Bush administration for listing polar bears as an endangered species—she was worried it would interfere with more oil drilling in Alaska.6
  • How closely did John McCain vet this choice? He met Sarah Palin once at a meeting. They spoke a second time, last Sunday, when he called her about being vice-president. Then he offered her the position.7

This is information the American people need to see. Please take a moment to forward this email to your friends and family.

We also asked Alaska MoveOn members what the rest of us should know about their governor. The response was striking. Here's a sample:

She is really just a mayor from a small town outside Anchorage who has been a governor for only 1.5 years, and has ZERO national and international experience. I shudder to think that she could be the person taking that 3AM call on the White House hotline, and the one who could potentially be charged with leading the US in the volatile international scene that exists today. —Rose M., Fairbanks, AK

She is VERY, VERY conservative, and far from perfect. She's a hunter and fisherwoman, but votes against the environment again and again. She ran on ethics reform, but is currently under investigation for several charges involving hiring and firing of state officials. She has NO experience beyond Alaska. —Christine B., Denali Park, AK

As an Alaskan and a feminist, I am beyond words at this announcement. Palin is not a feminist, and she is not the reformer she claims to be. —Karen L., Anchorage, AK

Alaskans, collectively, are just as stunned as the rest of the nation. She is doing well running our State, but is totally inexperienced on the national level, and very much unequipped to run the nation, if it came to that. She is as far right as one can get, which has already been communicated on the news. In our office of thirty employees (dems, republicans, and nonpartisans), not one person feels she is ready for the V.P. position.—Sherry C., Anchorage, AK

She's vehemently anti-choice and doesn't care about protecting our natural resources, even though she has worked as a fisherman. McCain chose her to pick up the Hillary voters, but Palin is no Hillary. —Marina L., Juneau, AK

I think she's far too inexperienced to be in this position. I'm all for a woman in the White House, but not one who hasn't done anything to deserve it. There are far many other women who have worked their way up and have much more experience that would have been better choices. This is a patronizing decision on John McCain's part- and insulting to females everywhere that he would assume he'll get our vote by putting "A Woman" in that position.—Jennifer M., Anchorage, AK

So Governor Palin is a staunch anti-choice religious conservative. She's a global warming denier who shares John McCain's commitment to Big Oil. And she's dramatically inexperienced.

In picking Sarah Palin, John McCain has made the religious right very happy. And he's made a very dangerous decision for our country.

In the next few days, many Americans will be wondering what McCain's vice-presidential choice means. Please pass this information along to your friends and family.

Thanks for all you do.

–Ilyse, Noah, Justin, Karin and the rest of the team


1. "Sarah Palin," Wikipedia, Accessed August 29, 2008

2. "McCain Selects Anti-Choice Sarah Palin as Running Mate," NARAL Pro-Choice America, August 29, 2008

3. "Sarah Palin, Buchananite," The Nation, August 29, 2008

4. "'Creation science' enters the race," Anchorage Daily News, October 27, 2006

5. "Palin buys climate denial PR spin—ignores science," Huffington Post, August 29, 2008

6. "McCain VP Pick Completes Shift to Bush Energy Policy," Sierra Club, August 29, 2008

"Choice of Palin Promises Failed Energy Policies of the Past," League of Conservation Voters, August 29, 2008

"Protecting polar bears gets in way of drilling for oil, says governor," The Times of London, May 23, 2008

7 "McCain met Palin once before yesterday," MSNBC, August 29, 2008

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Working girl

I have started the new job, but won't be posting any specifics, as I want to keep my professional life separate from my private life. W. got to meet his teacher, and that went really well. He had a lot of fun doing some rocks/dumptruck work. I had fun at work getting the garden area outside my classroom, as well as outside of the other toddler classrooms, ready. Another teacher and I filled EIGHT big black trash bags with garden debris, spent plants, etc. What a sense of accomplishment!
Tonight's the big night for Obama. Don't mess up, Dude!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Amen to that

Couldn't have put it better myself... Take a look/listen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In the news

On a sad note, the saxophonist (LeRoi Moore) for DMB died yesterday of complications from an ATV accident he had earlier this summer. Very very sad.
On a lighter note, check out this video from the Today Show. Each Olympics, they do a spoof of one of the sports. For Athens, Al and Matt did synchronized swimming. I think this one is even better, especially because of the music and their outfits. Check it out.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The latest pics

Here are some not-so-recent pics that we recently uploaded. Most are from late-July, I believe.

Finished pillow--I stitched the design and made the pillow. The design is called Summer Line-Up and is by The Trilogy. I did a Spring one a few months ago and turned it into a pillow; I am now working on the Autumn one.

This pic of W has become our new desktop background on our pute.

My butterfly bush and cosmos. A little blurry; I need to try to get a better one since it has even more blooms on it right now.

Look closely and you'll see a bright green preying Mantis on the stem of a cosmo.

A very happy bumblebee--they love my flowers in the front yard--who can blame them?? We also have a large number of Monarch butterflies that enjoy the floral buffet, but I have yet to capture a picture of any of them.

My little gardening buddy. He loves deadheading the flowers--unfortunately, now he thinks ANYTHING is fair game for deadheading--not just the dead ones!

Back to normal

Things are slowly getting back to normal after a lovely visit from my sister-in-law and her two kids. They live in Tokyo, so they had been in the States for about six weeks this summer; we were their last stop. My niece will be four in October and my nephew turned one this past March. Needless to say, the house was a ZOO. We did things like story time, Terhune Orchards, the park and Princeton. I must say, my niece, while the oldest of the cousins, is the most demanding. Maybe it's because she's a girl, maybe it's because she's three. I don't know. She definitely knows what she wants when she wants it and isn't shy about it. Bless her heart, my sister-in-law is working so hard with her please-and-thank-you's. She says some really hilarious stuff; she's very intelligent and has a great vocabulary for her age. Perhaps the funniest thing happened when Mike took the three kids to the swings (brave soul!). My niece was wearing Crocs and discovered how fun it was to kick them off while swinging and have Uncle Mike retrieve them for her. The first time it happened, she said, "Go get my shoe." Mike asked her to say please, which she did; then, as he went to get the shoe, it dawned on him that she had kicked it off on purpose. He asked her if she had; she said "yes," and he told her that if she did it again that he wouldn't get it for her. Well, lo and behold, she did it again. When he refused to get it for her, she said, and I quote, "Well, I'm gonna tell my mom, and we're gonna take your swings and ruin your way of life!" It was all Mike could do to keep from laughing. "Ruin your way of life"??? Where in the world did she pick up THAT?!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A fungus among us

So I've been having mega issues with my ears for the past month or so. Last Tuesday I went to my regular doctor and she diagnosed me with an outer ear infection in my right ear. On Thursday, the left ear started acting up. I called and made an appointment with the ENT she referred me to. I went to the ENT today. He says I have a FUNGUS in BOTH ears. Gross. I probably got it from swimming (the one time this summer I actually put my head under) or maybe from the shower. So I have these lovely drops to use twice a day for ten days. Five drops in each ear. Drop, drop, drop, drop, drop... wait five minutes... stick cotton in to prevent solution from coming out and staining skin and clothing (!!!!)... repeat process with other ear. He also recommended some oh-so-stylish earplugs to wear when swimming and showering. They sized me as a "medium" for them and of course when I went to get them from the receptionist, they were out of that size. So she gave me a little can of putty-like stuff to use until they get another shipment of them in. I have to go back and see the ENT in one month. Really, a FUNGUS?! I disgust myself.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What's your theological worldview?

Thanks to Deanna for posting this nice quiz.

What's your theological worldview?
created with
You scored as Classical Liberal

You are a classical liberal. You are sceptical about much of the historicity of the Bible, and the most important thing Jesus has done is to set us a good moral example that we are to follow. Doctrines like the trinity and the incarnation are speculative and not really important, and in the face of science and philosophy the surest way we can be certain about God is by our inner awareness of him. Discipleship is expressed by good moral behaviour, but inward religious feeling is most important.



Classical Liberal


Modern Liberal


Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan


Roman Catholic


Neo orthodox


Reformed Evangelical






Friday, August 8, 2008


I had assistant teacher orientation for Montessori today. It was really eye-opening. It's a different philosophy from that of a regular classroom. Not different in a bad way, of course. It puts so much focus on the child and the environment and is all about the teacher being a facilitator, as opposed to a "leader". The onus is on the child to learn; the teacher simply provides the environment, basic instruction materials for that learning to take place.
I think it's an environment in which W will thrive. It's one that will take some getting used to for me, but I think it will be a great opportunity for growth as an educator. I'm really looking forward to this new experience.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Did you hear that?

Well, I didn't. I have a raging ear infection in my right ear. My right ear has been giving me fits for the past month or so (problems with the inner ear), but last night it was unbearable. I went to the doctor today. She diagnosed me with an outer ear infection. She couldn't even see past the eardrum to see if there inner part was still messed up. So I'm on antibiotic ear drops twice a day for seven days. That's pleasant.
Did you hear that John McCain wants his wife to participate in a "wet t-shirt/pickle-licking/other various sundry inappropriate things" contest? That's right. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The man needs to THINK before he speaks. Actually, it might be better if he just didn't speak at all...
Show of hands: How many of you out there check the air pressure in your tires? Of course you do! It can help with gas mileage, plus it's handy to know if you need to put more air in to avoid a flat tire. Well, according to John McCain, it's silly to check the air in your tires. Really, John? Oh, that must be because you have People to do that for you... He thinks this is so hilarious that he'll send you an "Obama Energy Plan" tire pressure gauge if you contribute $25 to his campaign. Not clear if it's an operational tire pressure gauge, but if it is, wouldn't that defeat the purpose of his "joke"? Ha, ha, John.
Think about it this way: Under-inflated tires make you lose about 1 mile per gallon to road friction. This translates to about 1 gallon of wasted gas per tankful. McCain may think this is funny, but for me (and probably for you, too, that's real money!). This simple, immediate, FREE action Obama and many others have suggested will save consumers about half of what McCain's gas tax "holiday" would without any other changes and without chipping away at funding for roads and bridges. So check your tire pressure. Oh, and save yourself around $23 (how much gas would that buy right now??) and head over to the auto parts store or Wal-Mart and BUY a gauge for around $2 (or even less!).
For more tips on fuel economy, check out this handy-dandy site put together by our friends in Washington! Click and Clack have some good tips, as well.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The library

It's no secret that the library is one of my favorite places to go. We have several around here that we can use that are part of our county-wide system. I go to the library at least once a week, often twice. There is a great selection of videos and DVDs to check out, which is a plus.
So yesterday W and I went to the library closest to our house; it's also the largest one in our system and the most crowded, usually. We were nearly done with gathering our materials for the week. We were in this little side room that houses the videotapes. I was getting a Sherlock Holmes video for Mike since he's obsessed with anything Sherlock Holmes. Anyway, W was getting irritated with being in his stroller and was being a little vocal about it. He had his pacifier in his mouth, but it wasn't doing anything to keep him quiet. The next thing I know, this librarian approached us and grumped on us! Here's how it went down:
Grumpy Library Man: Can I help you find anything?
Me: No, I've got everything I need. Thanks, though.
GLM: Um, is there any way you can quiet him down?
Me: (bewildered and embarrassed) Well, we're about to leave.
GLM: Because he's a little loud and disturbing other patrons.
Me: Yes, well, we just have to check these things out and we are leaving.
GLM: There's a lobby you can take him in to and calm him down.
Me: That won't be necessary. Like I said, we're leaving right now. Thanks.
And I wheeled W away. Of course at this point W had gotten quiet. As we were checking out our books and videos, I saw GLM speaking with two people near where The Incident had occurred. I think they were the ones whom we had "disturbed" because I had noticed them shooting us some "looks" while we were perusing the DVD collection. They obviously weren't TOO disturbed or engrossed in anything important, because even when we were leaving the building, they were still conversing with GLM.
The whole thing really aggravated me. It was really embarrassing and annoying. Now I'm all cranky about going back there. I know I shouldn't be, but I am.
The DVD I got to watch last night was "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. I had never seen it before; it was disturbingly good. I had always wanted to see it since it was filmed at Smith, it was cool seeing College Hall and Lyman plant house, as well as the distinct Smith lampposts. If you haven't seen this movie, take the time to watch it. But don't expect it to be a "sit there and relax" movie. It makes you think, and it is quite discomforting. Elizabeth Taylor was especially fabulous; she won the Best Actress Oscar for her role as Martha. I always think of Elizabeth Taylor as...
  • old...
  • hawking stinky perfume...
  • friend of Michael Jackson... it was really awesome to see how wonderful she is as an actress. I mean, she was dynamite.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Don't believe everything you read

Surprise! Not everything you read on the Internet or in your email is true. There are lots of forwards floating around that are against Barack Obama. They run the gamut from the ridiculously absurd to the mildly convincing. Believe whatever you want; support whomever you choose. But please take the time to find out the "truthiness" behind allegations before accepting them as your own truth. The latest email going around is about Obama's visit to Afghanistan. To be honest, when I read it, I was disgusted. Did Obama REALLY do that?
No, he didn't. Here's the truth.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The end of productivity as we know it

If you have some time to waste, check this out. You will be amused.
Not amused? Fine. Check this out instead.

Art Museum


We like to walk downtown to the bagel store on Friday mornings when the weather is nice. We load W into his stroller and put Maggie on her leash; it's about a mile each way. This morning, on the way down there, I started getting awful hives on my legs. I usually take Zyrtec to help keep them away, but I haven't taken my Zyrtec in about a week because the doctor put me on Claritin-D to help clear up my sinuses and help my ears. The Claritin-D isn't effective against hives, and I've gotten a little itchy once or twice since being off the Zyrtec, but nothing compared to how I was this morning. When I got home, I took two Benadryl and got back into bed. The Benadryl got rid of the hives, thank goodness. Mike was so sweet to look after W so that I could let the medicine do its job.
My mom left on Wednesday morning. I don't know when I'll see her next. That makes me sad.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The birthday party

Well, the party was a success. W had a couple of minor meltdowns, but I think he was just overwhelmed and a little irritated with the other kids getting into all his stuff and personal space. Overall, we all had a nice time. Here are some pictures from the Big Event.
W's last evening of being a one-year-old... Laid back!

The Birthday morning. See the big Thomas the Tank Engine floor pillow? I made that! It was my first time to do piping.

A close-up of the Thomas pillow. W loves it.

Playing T-ball with Daddy. It's a great W-sized set. Burdy and Ace gave it to him.

W with a gift from Grammy Lynn and Grandpa Bob--Dress-Up Joey. It's a Melissa and Doug toy (I love their stuff!) that has a little boy and lots of outfits that are magnetic. He can be a knight, firefighter, pirate (shown here), superhero, construction worker, etc. It's adorable. They have several different ones for little girls, too.

Cupcakes! The first batch wasn't a success. I forgot to add the butter. Mike made the second batch while Mom and I were at the NJ Shakespeare Theatre's production of "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare--Abridged" up in Morristown, about an hour from here. Sidenote: The play was fun, but they canceled Act II because one of the actors hurt his leg really badly in the final scene of the first act when he and another actor were chasing each other around.

Singing Happy Birthday to the birthday boy.

Cupcakes... yum!!!

Opening presents with friends... and Maggie.

Tired party animals!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

He's 2!

W is 2 today! He's having his birthday party tomorrow. We're having 3 or 4 toddlers over for cupcakes and fruit. W doesn't like a lot of commotion and crowds so we're keeping it low-key. I'll be sure to post pics of everything. For now, here's a pic from last year's festivities.