Thursday, November 30, 2006

Little Democrats

I just found this link ... now my problem is, do I order a copy to see if it's for real?!?

Ty's Jokes, part II

Welcome to session two of Ty's jokes.

Today's joke is:
What is the difference between a rabbit and a gorilla?

Give up?
A rabbit looks nothing like a gorilla!

Ha, ha.
That's all for today!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Inspiration for the Day

"You must be the change you want to see in the world." -- Mahatma Gandhi

Can't even remember where I found this quote today .. a senior moment as I just found it about a half-hour ago.

Anyway, I like it. It meshes with my personal feelings of taking responsibility for leading by example, as opposed to talking more than doing.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Music Recommendations

Hey, Friends -- I am seeking music recommendations. Really, this is for you, Calandria, as the type of music I like often involves Spanish-speakers :-) There is something about listening to music and not understanding the words that I really enjoy. Plus the Latin style of music usually brings pleasure - whether it's a lively tune I cannot NOT tap my feet to, or a mellow melody which relaxes me into a hypnotic trance.

Now, I am still a low-tech kind of gal, so I need CDs that I can actually buy, not download on to an iPod. Maybe someday I'll go that route but for now I buy CDs and play them in my car ...

Any recommendations?


Today is November 28. It's raining. This is just wrong.




Saturday, November 25, 2006

Two Day Affair

(So many things to write about this morning!)

I heard something on the news last night that I am determined to turn in to a Peterson Family Tradition starting next year.

Make Thanksgiving a two-day affair.

Day one (Thursday) is for THANKS.
Day two (Friday) is for GIVING.

Celebrate Thursday the traditional way, with family and friends, reflecting on all we have been given in this life.

Then, Friday, do something concrete which gives to others. Shop for an "adopted family" for the holidays. If weather permits, shovel snow for someone who can't. Take a walk in a park and collect trash. Visit as many Salvation Army bell-ringers as you can find and give money to each. Visit a nursing home to spend time with someone who has no family to celebrate the holidays with. The possiblities are endless.

I love it!

'Nuff said.

Another Hero (of sorts!)

You may remember a long-ago post I wrote on Heroes. This morning, reading the newspaper, I found someone else to add. I vaguely remember hearing about this some months ago when it was introduced to the world at large. Stephon Marbury, a professional basketball player (former Timberwolf), introduced his personal brand of sneakers. Following the likes of Michael Jordan, with one very significant difference. A pair of Jordan sneakers costs $179. A pair of Marbury's costs you just $14.98.

He grew up very poor, and can remember, he says, what it was like to not be able to afford good shoes for playing ball. He claims (and all the articles I can find agree) that his new show is basically the same as other "pro shoes" - in fact, he wears them himself when playing games. The standard seems to be that a decent pair of sneakers costs about $12 to make.

So the difference in profit, and the difference that Marbury makes vs what Jordan makes, is quite clear.

When the shoe was announced, many said no one would want the shoes since they were so cheap - that kids would be embarrassed to wear it to school for fear of being teased. That was August. I couldn't find any statistics as to the truth of that, but the article I read this morning was about how difficult it is to find the shoes, and how fast they are selling any time a store gets a shipment. So maybe there are some kids that are embarrassed, but it sure seems that there are plenty who aren't.

Apparently Marbury is not exactly the world's best role model as a professional sports figure, and apparently he isn't even that good of a basketball player. But this effort of his places him, at least for now, on my hero list.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Happy Birthday Ben!

Today my first-born turned 12. Almost a teenager. Almost as tall as me. Almost able to wear my shoes with no slipping at all. Where has the time gone?

Here he is, a few months old, in one of my all-time favorite pictures.

And here he is tonight, snuggling in his new down comforter. I realized he really is getting older when I noted that none of his gifts from Steve and I were toys. He was thrilled to get a queen-size down comforter (even though he sleeps in a twin-size bed!)

He (as usual) chose a birthday pie as opposed to a traditional cake, and blew very gently so as not to get germs from his cold on the pie!

He got a set of hand weights from Colby... what do you suppose the dog had in mind?

Ty rescued him from an entirely Lego-free birthday (phew!) with this gift, the Exo-Force Sonic Phantom.

He spent the day playing computer games (about 8 hours' worth!) and never even saw the sun. It is his birthday, afterall.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving. ~W.T. Purkiser

This morning I have been thinking about Thanksgiving, and what I am thankful for. I wanted a quote - seems there are always people who manage to say what is in my heart much better than I do - and I found this one.

I like it because truly, saying "thank you for my health" is one-dimensional. Using that good health to be active and do good in the world is using the gift to its fullest, and showing respect for, and appreciation of, the fortune of having it.

"Thank you for my children." By raising them in to productive, generous, caring adults who can give more to the world than they take from it, I can turn my gratefulness into a donation to others.

"For the home I live in, the car I drive, the belongings I own, I am thankful." I try to open my home to guests, use my car as a means to do good things, and remember that material goods are simply things which can be shared, given away, and used as tools for my ability to be productive and generous.

"I appreciate my family and friends." I would not be who I am without family and friends. I hope that I convey my appreciation for all the love and support they give me by giving back to each of them whenever possible. Having family and friends around the world provides me with opportunities to put my feelings of appreciation into concrete actions. I know I don't do it often enough, and hope that I can show improvement before next Thanksgiving.

I am truly grateful for my intelligence, my talents, and my skills. So much in my life comes easily to me because of the unique combination of traits I have been blessed with. Again I realize that simply having them, but not using them to make the world a better place would be wasteful and, really, a shame.

One of my favorite verses is from the book of Luke. To whom much is given, much is expected. I take that literally and very seriously. On this day of Thanksgiving I am thankful for all that I have been given, and pledge to use each of those gifts to the best of my ability.

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Squirrel has an Accomplice

Well, seems our squirrels are not working alone! It's nearly 1:00 and I heard a noise ... Look who's here! Guess we will need to come up with a new birdfood storage system.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Tom and Katie part deux

So on the radio today they were all talking about the TomKat wedding ... talking specifically about a photo where magically Tom was taller than Katie. So I had to Google.

Tom and Katie Wedding is what I typed.

I got the expected photo (what is that backdrop?),

They definitely did something with the photo because in real life she is taller. The guess on the radio that was most popular is that she is actually stooping, but you can't see her bent knees under her long dress.

But my search also discovered this photo, so I thought I would include THIS Tom and Katie, too. They were married in Camden, Maine, in 2004.

Congratulations, all around.

Squirrel Wars!

I heard a bump as I was sitting at the computer. Went to investigate and there was a squirrel.

On top of the garbage can in which we store bird food.

Looking down at the log he had just pushed off.
Yes, he had pushed off two of the three logs we placed on top - since he & his buddies apparently know how to move the chain holding the lid on. He noticed me looking at him and stared me down, as if to say "What's it to YOU?"So we let Colby out, the squirrels ran away, and I put FOUR logs on top.

Birthday Cake!

Each year for the boys' birthdays I make a Checkerboard Cake. Even though I have done it many times, I still get a kick out of how it works! You need two complete cake mixes (or recipes if you go the completely homemade route) and then you make three layers, using a slick plastic insert to keep the flavors from spreading into one another.You remove the plastic insert and pop the layers in to the oven ...When they come out the rings are still there! That's the magic part for me! Put 'em all together with frosting, and when you cut in to the cake each piece is a checkerboad pattern.
Awe-inspiring (and delicious!) every time, if I do say so myself.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Today we went to see Happy Feet. Each boy got to invite two friends (we had to all be able to fit in the van, so they were limited!)
I have to admit it wasn't as good as I had expected it to be. And I realized as I was sitting there in the dark that a big part of why I didn't like it as much as I wanted to was becuase of the music! It was almost all music that was just, well, umm, too young for me! I didn't recognize nor find myself tapping my feet to many of the songs those cute little critters were singing. I felt quite ancient.
The thing I did find interesting, though, is that the story line of this movie is the penguins figure out (well, Mumble figures out) if they can get the aliens (aka humans) to realize they are there, the humans will care more about them and not hurt them by taking all their fish. In the movie, the penguins were shown doing what it is they do and people all over the world watched, entranced.
Kinda like "March of the Penguins." In fact, it was as if "March of the Penguins" inspired this film, to show the "background" of that documentary, from "the penguin's point of view."
Cynical me, of course, during the movie when Mumble is off trying to find the humans so he can dance for them, sat there thinking "in reality if it was discovered that Emporer Penguins danced like that, they would be whisked away from their homeland and placed in every zoo in the world, without regard to what was best for them."
But this is movie-land, so all ended happily! But it won't be on our "must buy" list when it comes out on DVD.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

The Big Wedding

Well, on Saturday Tom & Katie are finally getting married. I have to admit I truly didn't think it was ever going to happen. I didn't believe she was pregnant, I didn't believe the baby was Tom's, I didn't believe her family would be unable to talk her out of running as far away from him as fast as she could.

Guess I will never get a job as a Hollywood prophet.

I feel bad for Katie's mom. How would you like to have to keep a smile on your face as your daughter marries a certified nut? Would you? Or would you do everything you could to stop it? We'll never know ... and really, honestly, although I am writing about it here, I certainly don't lose any sleep over this, nor do I really care.

The one piece of info, though, that set off this post, is that Brooke Shields is attending their wedding. Why in the WORLD would she choose to do that? I certainly understand why Tom would want her there, but why oh why would she accept the invitation? I have to think there is some money (or other compensation) involved here. Yes, I am cynical. There is just no other plausible explanation.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Self Portrait

My friend Calandria recently posted some self-portraits (note, I was going to continue by writing "that she took of herself." Duh.) And I admire her for it. But I have tried it before and just have never felt comfortable doing it. Then another friend mentioned to her that she, too, admires her, and doesn't think she could do it - and Calandria replied that she does it partially because it's just fun to take pictures of yourself, but also because now, as an adult, she realizes how few pictures there are of her own mother and grandmother from their "mothering years." I thought how true that is - we have pictures of me before I was married or became a mom, and no doubt there will be pictures of me with my grandchildren, but how many photos exist of me - just me - at the age I am now?

So this one is for Ben & Ty, when they are grown up, seeking photos of their mom as they remember her from their childhood. And I will try to take more, too.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Birthday Party Boys!

Last night we had our Family Birthday Party for both Ben & Ty. All the grandparents, aunt, uncles and cousins came, except Katie who couldn't leave college for the night.

Instead of Birthday Cake, Ty had a Birthday Oreo Pie, and Ben chose a Birthday Banana Cream Pie, plus we had a Birthday Pumpkin Pie for those who wanted a taste of fall. I had every intention of taking pictures of the food, like Calandria does, but as usual I forgot until everything was half-eaten. Oh well, trust me, everything was good!

Here's Ben opening a card from the missing Cousin Katie, and then, lower, is Ty reading his new Pirateology book which he received from Uncle Dave. A good time was had by all.

Courtesy of my Nephew, Conor ...

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Something to think about, or "What's your coffee cup look like?"

Thanks to my friend Shawn for this story .....

A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said, "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups were taken up first, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases it even hides what we drink.

What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups. Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of Life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Enjoy your coffee...and remember the happiest people don't have the best of everything they just make the best of everything."

PS - I assume this works for tea or hot chocolate, too!

Just Say Thanks

I just found out about a cool website, Just Say Thanks, which is sponsored by Xerox and allows any- and everyone to send a postcard to a member of the US military somewhere in the world.

Go send a thank you card - it's quick, easy, free, and what a great sentiment. And tell your friends!

I don't actually allow myself to think a lot about the people serving in our military because I get too emotional. Perhaps that is something I ought not to be admitting here. I can't help but imagine it being my son or my brother or my husband, and I can't even imagine how those left at home can cope. EMail, of course, helps, as compared to years past where soldiers and families had to wait for the regular mail, and IMing and video cams give those serving now a way to stay as close as possible.

But still. Any day, any time, anywhere. You know it. How can you just go on living a normal life? My most fervent prayer is that I never have to find out for myself. And I hope that whenever given the opportunity I do what I can to support those who are living it.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

We're (minor) Celebrities!

Here is the link to the Star Tribune article we were interviewed and photographed for earlier this week. The article should appear on the front page Friday, November 10 - I guess we'll see in a few hours when the paper shows up on our doorstep!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Clean School!

Yesterday and today we had the pleasure of being interviewed and photographed for an article in the Star Tribune on MNVA. We were selected to be interviewed on Monday - and the reporter came on Tuesday, so I had less than 24 hours to get the school area whipped into shape! Tonight I thought I better take a picture of it, as it may never look this good again.

I sit on the purple-cushioned bench, Ben & Ty trade off on the tan office chair and the two IKEA stools. You can even see the screensaver photo of Colby on my computer!

The arrangement is working really well for us this year. We each have room to work individually, yet are close enough together we can help one another as needed. Occasionally Ty will go over and work on the computer on Steve's desk if we all need to be online simultaneously.

The newspaper article comes out on Friday. I can't wait to see what ends up being written, and shown, of our time with the reporter. I'll post the link here when it appears.

Elections '06

Well, elections are over for the year. I know the boys will join me in saying one of the things we are most appreciative of is now we don't have to listen/watch political ads on TV anymore! I think this year they were worse than ever before - even counting presidential election years. My friend Calandria and I are scheming to start "Citizens for Civility" to challenge people to remember their manners when talking politics. Hopefully the time for this idea has come, and a groundswell of citizens tired of attack ads and hatred will make an impact on campaign leaders in upcoming elections.

I have mixed reactions to the results of the voting. On the one hand I am so pleased that both the House and the Senate now have Democrat majorities. On the other hand I cannot believe my beloved blue state of Minnesota elected Michelle Bachman. I guess I can understand now how conservative Minnesotans felt when Paul Wellstone was elected. Could there exist a person who is LESS like me and all I believe in than Michelle Bachman?!?

Then there is Amy Klobuchar. I believe she is going to make a difference for this country. I feel so good about sending her to Washington.

I am sorely disappointed that eight states chose to add constitutional amendments about gay marriage. My belief is that a legal option needs to exist for two adults to commit to a permanent relationship, and that churches can each individually make their own choices about whether to perform religious marriage ceremonies or not for any group of people. But legally, two adults who understand and accept the implications of committing to one another and building their lives together should have the right to do so.

So. Things to be happy about and things to be unhappy about. Last night was quite emotional for me, as I sat here at the computer hitting "refresh" every few minutes to see what the latest news was. Surprisingly the Hatch-Pawlenty race is not that important to me. Hatch wasn't a great Democratic candidate, in my opinion, and Pawlenty wasn't a terrible Republican. So I can live with another term of Pawlenty in office, no problem.

Oh - one more race, I really don't know a whole lot about it, but I am excited that Tim Walz beat Gil Gutknecht. Not so much because it's a Democrat replacing a Republican, but because Walz is a veteran of the Iraq war, and I really want people who KNOW what that's all about to be in positions of leadership. We'll see if my hopes are met.

Monday, November 06, 2006

May the Farce be With You

OK, Star Wars fans, you have to check out this You Tube film clip ... Weird Al Yankovich doing American Pie with words re-written to tell the Star Wars Saga.

My, my, this here Anakin guy
May be Vader someday later, now he's just a small fry
But he left his home, kissed his mommy goodbye,
Singing soon I'm gonna be a Jedi,
Soon I'm gonna be a Jedi

Do I even need to say that we have already watched it 4 times this morning?!?

Thursday, November 02, 2006

I'm in shock

I can't believe it, I have been able to upload even more.

This year the boys really wanted to make a graveyard along our walkway - so we got the materials and made 10 tombstones. Here are our three favorites. Ben made the M.T. Graves one - he is especially proud of the small cut-outs! (as well he should be)
(note - in "real life" you couldn't see all the electrical cords holding Ima's bones together! The flash on my camera highlighted it too much!)

Halloween Costumes

Well, this must be my lucky moment ... the pics aren't great but I have been trying for 2 days to get them to upload ... so here you are, B & T in costume.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Finally, Blogger has let me upload at least a few pictures. Now if it eats this post before making it public I will scream ....

Here we are carving pumpkins. If I am so allowed, I will post more from the 31st soon!

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