Sunday, April 29, 2007

Big C

Little C

What begins with C?

Colby Chasing Choco!

C ... C ... C

Polite Dog

We have discovered Choco has sensitivities we didn't expect .... He is a loving and affectionate little guy, until you ... umm, how shall I put this delicately? ... pass gas.

Whenever he hears "that noise" he stares at the offending individual, as if to say "how RUDE!" and then he runs out of the room.

It's a tad embarrassing , but also rather hilarious. Especially if you are a 12 or 9 year old boy.

I asked his former owner if this was something she had ever noticed, and she said no, they don't ever do that in her family.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Kind-of blah day ...

Well, it's Friday which normally makes me happy, but today I have had a nagging headache all day long and I am just not enjoying the day very much. Which is silly as it is absolutely gorgeous outside, and I have had a few chances to be out there enjoying the warm sunshine. Perhaps I can get all the yuckiness out by writing here and then appreciate the evening.

Saw a teaser on TV tonight while watching Wheel of Fortune (I really do need to figure out how to get on that show, I would so kick butt) about a close-to-30-year-old murder that was never solved. I didn't hear all the details, but I did hear the one meaningful detail for me -- the victim was in my high school class and was killed our senior year. Apparently there is an anonymous letter - I didn't catch when it was written or received - that admits to the killing. But the story isn't until Monday.

I did not know this boy (I was in a class of over 650 students) but I knew of him, and I had known of him since 7th grade. I remember very, very clearly when it happened, and how it affected the class. Things like that just didn't happen in our suburb. To people we knew. To kids our age. I need to watch the news on Monday to see what the story is, and why it's newsworthy now. I figure it can't be that the case is solved, or they wouldn't talk about it on Friday yet not show it until Monday. Perhaps it's a "cold case" type of deal and they are hoping to find more information by talking about it again. Perhaps it's his birthday (I know it's not the anniversary of his death, that was in the fall). I hope I don't forget to watch.

It's nearly 8PM, time to get the boys to start thinking about evening routines. Hopefully my headache will be gone tomorrow. It is supposed to be beautiful again, maybe I'll make time to plant some flowers - cheery colors to cheer my disposition!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thanks, Shawn, for the laugh ...

Dear Dogs and Cats,

The dishes with the paw print are yours and contain your food. The other dishes are mine and contain my food. Please note, placing a paw print in the middle of my plate and food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack. Beating me to the bottom is not the object. Tripping me doesn't help because I fall faster than you can run.

I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed. I am very sorry about this. Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort. Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep. It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other stretched out to the fullest extent possible. I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is not a secret exit from the bathroom. If by some miracle I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge and try to pull the door open. I must exit through the same door I entered. Also, I have been using the bathroom for years -- canine or feline attendance is not required.

The proper order is kiss me first, then go smell the other dog or cat's butt. I cannot stress this enough!

To pacify you, my dear pets, I have posted the following message on our front door:

To All Non-Pet Owners Who Visit & Like to Complain About Our Pets:

1. They live here. You don't.

2. If you don't want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture. (That's why they call it "fur"niture.)

3. I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.

4. To you, it's an animal. To me, he/she is an adopted son/daughter who is short, hairy, walks on all fours and doesn't speak clearly.

Remember: In many ways, dogs and cats are better than kids because they:

1. Eat less

2. Don't ask for money all the time

3. Are easier to train

4. Normally come when called

5. Never ask to drive the car

6. Don't hang out with drug-using friends

7. Don't smoke or drink

8. Don't have to buy the latest fashions

9. Don't want to wear your clothes

10. Don't need a "gazillion" dollars for college.

And finally,

11. If they get pregnant, you can sell their children.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Mayors Against Illegal Guns

Today I was a bit of an activist.

This morning in the paper I read Doug Grow's column with great interest. He showcased a new organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, and outlined their goal: Find the flow of illegal guns and stop the providers. He compared it to drug dealing - when someone is arrested in a drug situation, police investigate backwards to find out where the drugs came from, and they work to halt the flow. Illegal gun trade should be treated the same way but unfortunately now is not, primarily because of the NRA.

A brave group of mayors is trying to turn this tide. In Minnesota, 7 mayors have signed on so far. Minneapolis, St. Paul, Duluth, Moundsview, Wayzata, Waconia, and Chaska.

Note there is no "Bloomington" on that list (or Eden Prairie, Lakeville, or Burnsville.)

I sent an email to Bloomington's mayor, encouraging him to learn about the group and then join.

I encourage you to do the same (write to your mayor, not join the group. Unless you are the mayor of something I don't know about! If so, then by all means join the group!) It's not about being anti-gun. It's not about being anti-NRA (although you probably know I am certainly that!) It's not about being anti-hunting. It's about being against illegal gun trading, and it's about the ridiculous gun-related crime statistics we have in this country as compared to every other developed nation in the world.

I think Lee Iacocca would approve.

What I'm reading today

Today I started Lee Iacocca's new book, Where Have All the Leaders Gone? It was pretty much written yesterday - or so it seems, it is so very new. It talks about the snowstorms on February 2007 and all the very current issues being debated 'round the world. (It made me realize what a powerful man Iacocca is, to have written and published a book so fast.)

I am about half-way through. This man is on fire. He is angry. He is outspoken. For most of his 82 years he was the kind of big-business person I would have disagreed with about most things, but now he is my new hero.

He is disgusted with the current administration of our nation and he is demanding change. He defines leadership and then shows how we have none with the current people in charge. He challenges every citizen to demand more, and to stop ignoring the president and his actions. He campaigned for and voted for Bush in 2000 but was a strong Kerry supporter in 2004. He admits that for 50 years in the automotive business he was "part of the problem" but he now plans to live to 100 to try and be "part of the solution."



No matter what your personal beliefs and loyalties are, you need to read this book. Honestly, even though it's all about politics, it's not political in the usual sense of the word. It's not about bashing one party or the other. It's about defining and demanding leadership from our leaders.

I will finish it tonight, I am sure. And then I will read it again. (Carla, I will bring it to you in June.) You should, too.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Send some loving your own way!

I just discovered this way cool site. "Future Me" - where you can send yourself an email in the future. Send yourself a birthday greeting, or a congratulatory message, or anything you desire. How cool to get an email from yourself.

Go do it now. Send yourself a message to be delivered on June 19, 2007 (that's the date I just sent myself one - it's the day I leave for Africa) and then we will all get some love delivered that day, and we can all share how surprised we are - as I am sure to have forgotten all about it in the excitement of getting ready for my trip!

Introducing .... Chamaco!!!

Today our family grew by one. We have adopted Chamaco, or Choco as we are calling him, a 3 year old bichon frise.

Choco was the pet of a family we have gotten to know through Tae Kwon Do. They have had Choco since puppyhood but their lives are now so busy they simply felt they were not able to provide the kind of attention this cute boy needs! We were chatting outside the tae kwon do studio on Wednesday, and met Choco that night - and today he moved in.

Ty took to him immediatly, Ben was a bit more cautious, but they both agreed we would make it work.

Today, Ben has declared complete adoration of Choco - all the reservations of Wednesday are gone, and all 3 of us are falling in love with this little cutie!

Choco seems to be totally happy to be here. We know he will, at some point, wonder where his old people are, but so far everything is an adventure for him.

Colby is still not quite sure what to think! On Wednesday I truly believe his thought was "Wow! They bought me a toy that moves all by itself!"

Today, I think he is feeling a bit confused and possibly jealous of this interloper.

They look so cool together. Big, black dog with little white dog. Choco can - and does - walk easily right between Colby's legs! And he has already learned that under the dining room table with all the chairs pushed in is one place Colby cannot reach him.

Right now the two are sitting by me, panting heavily. They have been chasing one another up and down the stairs, all over the house, in circles, fast and slow.

Choco's first mom wanted Choco to get more attention and exercise. I would love it if Colby got more exercise. If today is any indication, both our wishes are coming true!

I'll write more updates as the settling in continues!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

One of those days

Did'ja ever have one of those days where, all day long, you thought it was a different day of the week?

This morning I rushed to get the garbage cans out before the garbage truck came. I opened the garage door and stared in confusion at the empty driveway. No one had their cans out. Huh???


Today is WEDNESDAY, garbage pick up is THURSDAY.

So you'd think I would be set for the day now.

Not so.

We did make it to band, our usual Wednesday activity, but then I spent all day planning what I am going to do tomorrow -- Friday.

Then I panicked at 5:00, realizing that if tomorrow is Friday, I have 12 women coming over for Book Club in about 2 hours and I am no where NEAR ready.

Uh-huh, you guessed it, Book Club is also tomorrow. Same day as garbage pick-up. Not today.

I'm off to bed. Chances are I will wake up thinking it's Friday, and won't put out the garbage cans, since pick-up was yesterday.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Brush With Fame

Well, you may have heard today that Chicago will be the United States' entry into the competition for hosting the 2016 Olympic Games.

When it was announced today that Chicago was selected, there was a group of distinguished officials on the diaz.

I don't know who the guy on the far left is, but I'm sure you all recognize Senator Barack Obama, second from the right, and the man pointing is the mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley, and the man with the blue tie listening intently is the Illinois governor, Rod Blagojevich (and I can spell that - and pronounce it - easily, thanks to my AFS experience!). That just leaves one mystery figure, the guy who apparently doesn't have a tie, but does have his official name badge on ... and that would be my brush with fame.

That's Andy Rein, a world-champion and Olympic-medalist wrestler, who happens to be a very close and dear friend of mine!

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Sunday morning wow.


There I was, driving down Old Shakopee Road, nodding my head in agreement with a Vice President of the National Association of Evangelicals.

Will wonders never cease.

I was listening to "Speaking of Faith" on NPR. The guest was Richard Cizik, above-mentioned VP. From the NPR website: Last month, conservative Christian leaders demanded that Richard Cizik be silenced or removed from his post. They charged that his concerns about climate change and torture have shifted attention away from moral issues such as gay marriage and abortion. But for Cizik, poverty, war, and the environment are moral issues too.
What got me nodding was a comment he made during the interview. He was talking about how incredulous he is when he hears evangelical leaders denying scientific knowledge. He compared it to the early days of the civil rights movement, when many religious leaders took a "doesn't matter, I don't care" stance when presented with reasons to accept people of color as full citizens. He talked of how they just flat-out rejected reason, but later had to eat their words and apologize for their narrow stance.

He sees the current controversy over creationism vs evolution, denial of global warming, and other science vs. religion clashes as the same type of situation. Many religious leaders are too often just rejecting the science, but Cizik believes they will eventually see the error of their ways and end up eating crow - and apologizing to their followers for their refusal to even discuss, much less accept, the scientific point of view.

And for the record, while the leaders of his denomination called for his resignation or dismissal, they were not successful. He is still there, he is still talking.

I LOVE hearing things like this. Earlier in the morning I was listening the the news, talking about recent riots in Russia where, it was said, "the leaders don't even pretend to follow the rules any more." It made me think about our leaders in the US, and at least they are still pretending to follow the rules and trying to convince people they are leading the country appropriately. I guess, following the logic of the news report, that is something to be grateful for. But it left a sour taste in my mouth.

Hearing the evangelical story brought more sweetness to my morning, and I felt a renewal of stirrings of hope for our nation. It's so easy to get caught up in the negativity and to focus on all that is wrong. I need to continually remind myself that our nation is filled with people like Richard Cizik, who, on first glance, could not be more different from me, but who, when I took the time to listen to his opinions, actually possesses qualities I admire, respect, and am grateful for.


Friday, April 13, 2007

Reading Update

Well, I have been trying to read a little more lately as it seems too many days have passed since I curled up with a good book for fun.

Last night I finished The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. It's the story of a man's life - starting when his parents were married in India (an arranged marriage) before moving to the US. It tells the story of his life as a first generation American, straddling the two cultures and trying to figure out where he fits in. Very well written, it's now also a movie but I don't really have a lot of interest in seeing it. I enjoyed the book but it didn't move me to want to know more.

I am reading a couple of Suze Orman books on finance and while I can't say I have learned much about how to manage money, I am enjoying her point of view about the attitudes one should have about money and finance in general.
Also on my nightstand recently have been a Nora Roberts romance (shameless escapism!), and The Non-Designer's Design Book by Robin Williams (no, not that Robin Williams. This one is female.) And maybe it makes me sound nerdy but I am really enjoying reading it - as if it were a novel - and seeing all the cool things she has to say about simple design techniques.

Then there is Leap Days, by Katherine Lanpher. Minnesotans may recognize her name - she used to be on MPR and also has been a columnist in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, but a few years ago she left MN for NYC to co-host with Al Franken on the radio there ... this book chronicles her decision to uproot everything in her life and move from the security of the midwest to the craziness of the east coast.

(I have to go look at my library account to see what else I have checked out right now ... )

Ooh, I have some goodies lined up to be read. Forever and Ever, Amen: Becoming a Nun in the Sixties, by Karol Jackowski. 1421: The Year China Discovered America, by Gavin Menzies. The Dante Club by Matthew Pearl. Good Grief by Lolly Winston. The Tibetan Art of Living, and The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking, both by Christopher Hansard. And Edith Wharton's The Buccaneers, recommended by Calandria.

Most of these are on my shelf now because I indulged in one of my very favorite pasttimes last week -- I went to Barnes & Noble with a pen and paper, and browsed the shelves for an hour, writing down the titles of everything that appealed to me ... then returned home, went online, and reserved them all from the library. One of the things I learned when I moved was that I really own a lot of books. Really. A LOT. So the library it is for me.

I want to get some Kurt Vonnegut. I don't honestly know if I have ever read any of his work (seems hard to imagine that I haven't, but I can't recall off the top of my head) but reading about his life and work this week makes me want to try it out. Will let you know. Anyone familiar with his work have a recommendation of where to start?

Enough writing. I want to go read. Tell me what you are reading now, so I can continue my list for when these are done.

Oh - and I am kindly reminded by the Barnes & Noble website ... only 99 days 'til HP7.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Things that make me go hmmmmm .....

Through browsing, reading, and jumping around the 'net, I came across this website .... Why Won't God Heal Amputees? It was interesting enough to keep me reading for quite a while. I have pulled a small piece of it here for your reading pleasure:

The question, "Why won't God heal amputees?" probes into an extremely interesting aspect of prayer and exposes it for observation. This aspect of prayer has to do with ambiguity and coincidence.

Imagine that you pray for something -- It does not really matter what it is. Let's imagine that you have cancer, you pray to God to cure the cancer, and the cancer actually does go away. The interesting thing to recognize is that there is ambiguity in your cure. God might have miraculously cured the disease, as many people believe. But God might also be imaginary, and the chemotherapy drugs and surgery are the things that cured your cancer. Or your body might have cured the cancer itself. The human body does have a powerful immune system, and this immune system has the ability to eliminate cancer in many cases. When your tumor dissappeared, it might be a coincidence that you happened to pray. Drugs, an immune response or a combination of the two might have been the thing the cured you.

How can we determine whether it is God or coincidence that worked the cure? One way is to eliminate the ambiguity. In a non-ambiguous situation, there is no potential for coincidence. Because there is no ambiguity, we can actually know whether God is answering the prayer or not.

That is what we are doing when we look at amputees.

When we pray to God to restore an amputated limb, there is only one way for the limb to regenerate. God must exist and God must answer prayers. What we find is that whenever we create a non-ambiguous situation like this and look at the results of prayer, prayer never works. God never answers prayers if there is no possibility of coincidence.

The author has quite an extensive tome responding to the "usual" responses he gets when he poses this question to religious believers - responses ranging from we as humans cannot understand God's intent, or that God does "heal" amputees by giving scientists and doctors the ability to make artificial limbs, to pretty much every other response I could come up with.

It was quite thought-provoking. What's your initial response?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007


Just was directed to this site from another blog ... are these not the cutest things ever?

I want to have some nearby just to make me smile :-)

Walt Disney World

Many of you know I recently moved into my parent's former house - and they left a lot of things for me here. I found this portrait, done of my brother & me, in the basement closet. I always liked it so it's now hanging in our hallway!

It's from my very first trip to Walt Disney World in Florida - in fact, it's from the very year WDW opened! We went over Thanksgiving - we were living in Atlanta at the time so it wasn't a long journey - and it turns out we were there just a few weeks after it opened. It opened October 1, 1971, and we were there in November.

It was so cold - my brother & I are wearing brand new matching Disney sweatshirts because we had not come prepared for cold temperatures - and we ate hotdogs on the street for our Thanksgiving Day dinner. You can see that my goal that year was to grow out my bangs. What woman today doesn't have a memory of that frustrating attempt ...
The trip was great, and I am tickled to think we were there the very first year. Wonderful memories!

Monday, April 09, 2007

Happy Easter!

This year the boys helped make an Easter Bunny Cake. This is a design I perfected a long time ago when I was about 12 - I made this cake every year for many years at Easter. I baked and put the "base coat" of white frosting on, but the boys did all the rest.
Ben was in charge of the decorative pink icing, and Ty was the main applier of M&Ms.
Everyone oohed and aahhed over it and we all agreed it was mighty tasty!

Monday, April 02, 2007

Hints from Heloise

Most mornings when I read the newspaper I glance at the Hints from Heloise column and today it really paid off.

A reader wrote in with this suggestion, and I am really going to try to take it to heart.


Before you get dressed in the morning, check the weather so you know what to wear.


This poor woman had problems with wearing sandals on cold days because she didn't know what the weather was like outside, so now she checks.

Live and learn, friends, live and learn.