Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Proof Positive

See, if any of you doubted me, I had my people at the Star Tribune check on the Hoffman sighting. You can see my name in print (I could get used to this, being in the paper!) at CJ's column today. (and you notice that I wrote a good section of her column for her, even!) (and for the record, I spelled 'past' correctly in my email to her, the typo [pass] is all hers. Just so you know.)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

BRUSH WITH FAME!!!!!!!


I went to the Guthrie today - more on the play later, it was amazing - but when I was leaving (I stayed late for an audience discussion so when I left it was nearly empty in the lobby) - I WALKED RIGHT PAST DUSTIN HOFFMAN.


OMG

OMG

OMG


I was just gaping and grinning ALL THE WAY HOME.


I saw DUSTIN HOFFMAN today.


WOW.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

As I get older, I suppose it's inevitable that more and more people I know and care about should be diagnosed with various illnesses. Lately I have just had enough of cancer, though.

It seems to be spreading its net wider and wider in the world, and closer and closer to my life.

And I just want it to stop.

Sorry, it's just on my mind today after a phone call and some emails all relating to this disease. Too many people.

After I wrote and posted the above, I found out Paul Newman died today. Yes, from cancer. What a great man he was. I admire his acting, his philathropy, but most of all his committment to his wife and family.

He was 83, married to Joanne Woodward for 50 years, father of 6. He won awards, and gave away more than $250 million to charity.

New Hollywood wannabes should take a page from his book and be half so good.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Palin Problem

You all know where my political leanings lie. But this year I was motivated more than usual to study the issues and the candidates' points of view, primarily thanks to Calandria.

One thing she & I disagree on is the need to focus on Palin in determining who to vote for to hold the Presidential role. I think it is a valid consideration for two reasons:

1. McCain is the oldest person ever to run for president, and has had fairly serious health issues in the recent past.

2. Typically a VP candidate is someone who is fairly experienced in national and international governmental issues, someone who is not too charismatic, but someone who can sit quietly and happily in the background while still being a respectable representative of the USA when called upon to do so.

If only one of those two points were current, I would say it is not important to look at the VP candidate in making your presidential pick. But having McCain being so old, and Palin being so inexperienced -- those two together make it foolish, I believe, to not look at her qualifications and abilities.

I will admit, my very first impression of Palin was actually on the positive side - she was clearly aggressive, strong, and has made strides in her own community. However, quickly -- VERY quickly - after she was named as McCain's running mate, things started coming to light that made me start hoping something would be revealed about her, or that she herself would do something, which would make it painfully obvious to the vast majority of Americans that this woman is clearly NOT a good candidate to hold the position of President of the United States. And when it is that clear she could not hold that office, I believe it is irresponsible to elect her to the number two spot.

I also do look at the way she was chosen. I see the choice of running mate as the first true presidential decision the candidates make. It's different from decisions made in campaigning, as it is the one decision that cannot be changed after the election. You can change your mind on policy, you can take back promises made, you can forget what you vowed to stand for. But you can't put a different person in the vice president's office. I believe McCain made a huge error in this first major decision, and it makes me wary of all the other presidental decisions that would come.

Her interviews lately have just exacerbated the situation. She clearly has learned a lot of facts over the past several weeks, but throw her off her rehearsed speech even a little and she flounders painfully. She tries to repeat the phrases she has obviously been coached to recite, even if it doesn't make sense given the question, but she just can't keep up. Questions about the current financial situation show she is way out of her league in talking about either national or international economics. She met a lot of heads of state recently, and charmed many of them, but after the charm, what's left?

And then my personal favorite. When asked (yet again) why she maintains that Alaska's proximity to Russia qualifies her to claim experience in international affairs, a big part of her reason (which was a bit convoluted but she eventually got it out) is that when Putin flies from Russia to the US, he goes right over Alaska.

The liberal in me is actually happy, as this helps Obama's campaign. But part of me is also sad for this woman who has gotten herself into a messy situation, and who is starting to show the stress of campaigning on a level she apparently never saw coming. She said that very first day that she was READY. She smiled, waved, pumped her fist, even. I believe she thought she was. The problem is, she had no idea how much she had no idea about.

PS: For a 12-minute video which gives the background of every VP the US has ever had, and compares Palin to them, go here. It's serious, intellectual, and very fact-based. I recommend taking the 12 minutes to watch and listen.

PPS: And if you want to laugh (or cry) there is this, based on Matt Damon's comments from 9/10, saying the idea of Palin being elected is like a really bad Disney movie.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

When did TV become so central in my life?

This week is a bit tough for me. Dancing With the Stars has a 3-episode season premiere. THREE EPISODES. Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I missed all of Monday, since I forgot it was coming, and I only saw part of last night. I really wanted to see Cloris Leachman dance. I mean, that woman is OLD and unlike many Hollywood aging divas, she apparently is doing nothing to hide it. So I hope she is still in there when I finally do get to see an episode!

Then Thursday is the premiere of Survivor. Recent seasons of this show have not been up to the standards the producers pulled us in with at the beginning, but I am a diehard and can't abandon the show now. They are back in Africa this year - which will be interesting, as the only other time they were in Africa (Kenya, close to where I went last year) is widely seen as the worst season ever.

Also on Thursday is the season premiere of Grey's Anatomy. This is season 5, and thanks to my friend Diane, I have been able to watch the previous 4 seasons on DVD over the past couple of months.







Amazing Race starts on Sunday. This has become probably my favorite show, because I get such enjoyment out of seeing where they go. Last year they filmed two episodes in the tiny African nation of Burkina Faso, and I actually know someone who lives there right now (Peace Corps volunteer) so HOW COOL WAS THAT? I am very eager to see what route they take around the world this season.
So who has time to work, parent, clean or cook?

Wonderland for the obsessed



This is what $400 will get'cha these days at your neighborhood Lego store.

The boys & I were there last night - in my cleaning the house for book club last week, I found 2 Lego gift cards that they received last year for their birthdays (a scant 10 months ago) (yes, that's how bad the piles of clutter can be in my house) so being the kind of mom that I am, I picked them up from school and we headed straight to the Mall, where they were immediately captivated by this set (all 3803 pieces of it) but even they, sensible boys that they are, knew better than to even suggest it be purchased for their enjoyment.

But as a veteran Lego-mom, I could totally appreciate this set. It was pretty darn amazing.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Separated at Birth?

I have always thought that Melissa Gilbert and Diane Lane look like sisters and I am always amazed that you never see their photos in one of those "separated at birth" features. This is the only picture I have found of them together (given an exhaustive 48 second search) and I still think they look related. I love them both!

Dreaming, I must be dreaming

So last night I had this dream that I was on the crew of a space mission which was going to re-create the space shuttle flight that exploded. I don't exactly know why this was happening, except that they hoped to learn more about the explosion, I guess. We all knew what was happening, what was going to happen, and were OK with it - the idea of being in outer space was a thrilling enough compensation. (and yes, I know the Challenger blew up prior to getting into outer space, but in my dream it made it to near the moon.)

So off we went, lift off was fine - really quick - and suddenly we were all looking out the windows at the blackness of space, and we saw stars all around us, and we looked at one another and said "it's gonna happen soon," and we braced ourselves for the end.

But when it exploded, it wasn't violent or well, explosive, really. Suddenly the space ship was just gone, and we were floating in space. And I thought to myself should I hold my breath or should I just breath in the atmosphere to make it go more quickly? And then I realized I *was* already breathing the outer space air, and I was still thinking clearly - so I sure wasn't dead. I looked around and found another woman from the mission, and she was clearly going through the same thought process I was, so we "swam" towards one another (like you see sky divers do) and held hands, and then we gently fell to the earth.

And it was a slow, gentle descent all the way to the ground. Hey, it's a dream.

When we landed, we noticed our legs were pretty cut up (don't know when or how that happened as it didn't hurt) and we knew "people" would be looking for us to find out how we had survived the explosion and the fall. For some reason this was not a good thing, so we tried to figure out what we should do to not let the "people" find us. Somehow we ended up on a military cruise ship (yes, I am aware of the oxymoron here, but it's a dream. What can I say?), and we got separated from one another and I spent the rest of the dream trying to find my fellow astronaut.

Then I woke up ... and had to run to the store in the dark to get some milk. Now it's time to wake the boys! Happy Monday!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Republican v. Democrat: What's the Core Difference?

Calandria and I have been emailing about politics this weekend, and it's got me thinking ... the 3-hour drive home from the North Shore gave me a lot of time to reflect. When I got home, I went looking for summaries of the core difference(s) between the Republican and Democrat parties, and mostly I found a lot of vitriolic prose ... but I did find this passage, and I am curious what you all think of it:

If you are speaking about the relatively invariant difference between "right wing" and "left wing" politics, then I think looking at the political emphases in terms of traditional Father/Mother gender roles is illuminating.

In the traditional nuclear family, Father is tasked with earning money (making the economy grow), protecting the household (national defense), punishing the misbehaving children (criminal justice) and ensuring that spending is kept within budget (tax/fiscal policy).

Meanwhile, the mother is charged with taking care of the kids (social welfare), making sure they get to school (education policy), making sure they have food and clothing (infrastructure spending), seeing that none of them are treated unfairly (civil rights) and encouraging them to explore their interests (arts and cultural spending).

People who are "right wing" in their political philosophy tend to emphasize the Father role of government while left-leaning people tend to emphasize the Mother role for government.

Naturally, other factors (rise of corporate power, religious 'values' voters, dominance of incumbents, etc.) can make the Father/Mother model less clear, but I think overall the analysis is a valid model.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

New Fun on the Internet!



I just learned how to Wordle! (click on it to make it big enough to really appreciate)
I made this out of my post about Norway from a couple of days ago.

How cool is this?!?

Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!


I am so excited about a new site I just found -- MOMocrats!
It 's a collection of women bloggers who are supporting Obama in the upcoming election. I have only just begun to read ... I'll be there much of the morning, I'm sure.

Friday, September 19, 2008

September 19 is Talk Like A Pirate Day!


I know you will all want to partake in the celebration of today's official designation as "Talk Like A Pirate Day" -- so here's a little lesson to get you started in "The Five A's"
Ahoy
Avast
Aye
Aye-aye
Aaarrrrrrrrrr

Happy pirating!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Book Club Tonight

Tonight I hosted my book club ... Make that Book Club, these ladies deserve capitalization. This is a group of women I met about 4 years ago .. or is it 5 now? Yeah, I think it is. Anyway, I met them when we moved into the neighborhood where my ex still lives - he got the house, but I kept the friendships! This neighborhood is one like I remember from my own childhood. Everyone knows everyone else, all the kids play together randomly, the adults party and actually really enjoy one anothers' company, people are around and care about each other, it's really an unusual find in this day and age. At least, I have never lived in another neighborhood (as an adult) which is so friendly and holds such a feeling of community.

Anyway, after we moved in there and had lived there a couple of months, I asked the women if there was a book club, and everyone told me to organize one, so I did, and here we are several years later, still going strong. I moved away from the neighborhood after the divorce, but I am still welcomed in the group, and I still value the friendships and strength of the neighborhood.

Tonight they all came to me, and it was just such a wonderful evening. The book was Friday Night Knitting Club, which I have already reported on, and actually only 3 of us had finished the book (which is par for the course, we take the "book" part of our name pretty lightly, whereas the "club" part is taken very seriously. Wine and chocolate are required.) But just sitting around with a group of women, talking about books, kids, movies, TV, diets, school, whatever ... the importance and strength of friendships among women is not to be taken lightly.

Good for the soul, good for the mind, good for the heart.

Back-to-School Blues or what?

You may have noticed (not that I expect you all to be keeping track or anything, but just in case ...) that I have been writing an unusually large number of posts this month. In fact, this that I am typing right now is #31, and it's only September 18 - I am well on-pace to set a new record.

People keep asking me what I am doing with myself now that the boys are back in school.

Guess we know the answer to that now, eh?!?

I need to clean my house ...

So I thought this would be a good time to tell you about a city which captured my heart over 25 years ago, and still holds it fast.

A little background is in order. When I graduated from high school, I went on a year-long exchange with AFS Intercultural Programs and spent a second senior year in (what was then) Yugoslavia. More on that another time. While I was there, my parents realized a long-standing dream of their own by moving to Europe - they went to live in Brussels, Belgium, and then, two years later, got to live in London for a year. Not being stupid, I postponed college after my AFS year so that I could live and play in Europe!

While we were in London, my cousin from Norway came to visit, bringing with him a young man with deep blue eyes, soft blonde hair, an irresistible smile, and an amazing sense of humor. Can you say head. over. heels. ???

So, a year later, off I went to study in Norway. I began my stay there as a student of urban studies, as part of the HECUA program. After that, I got a job with Control Data Norway. And in the meantime, I fell completely in love with my new hometown.

This is the Oslo Harbor, with the City Hall proudly overlooking the entrance to the city.
A view from Frogner Park (or Vigeland's Park, as it is sometimes called for the sculptor Gustav Vigeland) which is a magnificent garden of sculptures honoring and celebrating the human spirit.
The Oslo Cathedral, located at one end of Karl Johan's Gate, the main shopping street in downtown Oslo. I took the train almost every day in and out of downtown, to the station located just behind the church. This became one of my most favorite landmarks.
At the other end of Karl Johan's Gate is the palace. Norwegian royalty is known for being accessible and friendly. During the gas shortage in the 70's, the King rode the streetcars with everyone else. The King (Olav IV) was also famous for making his chauffeur sit in the backseat of the limo so he could drive!
This is where I lived - if not this exact building, one just like it a block over. My apartment was on the top floor and I could see Oslo Harbor from my balcony. It was about a 20 minute train ride outside of downtown, and I loved living there.

And here's a treat, a picture of me & him, from way back then ...

I stayed about 2 1/2 years, but eventually my work permit was denied, and since I was no longer feeling sure that my personal Norwegian prince was THE one for me, I couldn't marry him (which would have allowed me to stay), so I left ... and haven't been back, since.

While there, I became fluent in Norwegian, learned to knit, learned to rosemal (Norwegian folk art painting), travelled all over the country, made life-long friends that I am still in contact with, got to know my extended family (my grandfather, who died long before I was born, was born and raised in Norway and left behind a large family to come to Minnesota when he was a teen.) I learned to understand and appreciate the Norwegian sensibilities, their politics, their social programs, their ideas of fun, their value of family and health. I cross-country skied, I hiked, I ate lutefisk (ok, only once), I reveled in being a part of the community.

Oslo, kjaere Oslo, jeg savner deg!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

After the day I have had today ...

I need this.

This week's political post

I have been staying a little bit quiet on politics lately, but I just got this list in an email and I just wanted to share:

APPARENTLY:
* If you grow up in Hawaii, raised by your grandparents, you're 'exotic, different.'
* If you grow up in Alaska eating moose burgers, you're a quintessential American story.

* If your name is Barack, you're a radical, unpatriotic Muslim.
* If you name your kids Bristol, Willow, Piper, Trig and Track, you're a maverick.

* If you graduate from Harvard law School, you are unstable.
* If you attend five different small colleges before graduating, you're well grounded.

* If you spend three years as a community organizer, become the first black President of the Harvard Law Review, create a voter registration drive that registers 150,000 new voters, spend 12 years as a Constitutional Law professor, spend 8 years as a State Senator representing a district with over 750,000 people, become chairman of the state Senate's Health and Human Services committee, spend 4 years in the United States Senate representing a state of 13 million people while sponsoring 131 bills and serving on the Foreign Affairs, Environment and Public Works and Veteran's Affairs committees, you don't have any real leadership experience.
* If your total resume is: PTA member, local weather girl, 4 years on the city council and 6 years as the mayor of a town with less than 7,000 people, 20 months as the governor of a state with only 650,000 people, then you're qualified to become the country's second highest ranking executive.

* If you have been married to the same woman for 19 years while raising 2 daughters, all within Protestant churches, you're not a real Christian.
* If you cheated on your first wife with a rich heiress, and left your wife and married the heiress the next month, you're a Christian.

* If you teach responsible, age appropriate sex education, including the proper use of birth control, you are eroding the fiber of society.
* If, while governor, you staunchly advocate abstinence only, with no other option in sex education in your state's school system, while your unwed teen daughter ends up pregnant, you're very responsible.

* If your wife is a Harvard graduate lawyer who gave up a position in a prestigious law firm to work for the betterment of her inner-city community, then gave that up to raise a family, your family's values don't represent America's.
* If your husband is nicknamed 'First Dude', with at least one DWI conviction and no college education, who didn't register to vote until age 25 and once was a member of a group that advocated the secession of Alaska from the USA, your family is extremely admirable.

OK, *much* clearer now.

Friday Night Knitting Club on Thursday

I started reading The Friday Night Knitting Club once before, and put it down after a few chapters because I just could not buy into the characters, and it's really hard for me to read a book where I don't care a whit about the people in the book.

As luck would have it, my book club is reading it this month, and I am hosting the get-together for discussion tomorrow night, so I thought I better read it through.

Unfortunately, I don't like it any better this time. And I realized this time 'round that it's not so much the characters themselves that I don't care for, it's the writing style of the author. This is her first book, and she is trying really, really hard - and that is too apparent. I want to be generous, since maybe I will have a first novel out there someday, too, but ..... oh, my, goodness, this woman just doesn't have the skill to build up realistic, deep, empassioned characters. It just all seems to fall flat.
And frankly, she is not a knitter, and it's hard to pretend to be one when you are not.
So I give this a decisive two thumbs down.

**yawn** Obey the Poodle

In my neighborhood, the newspaper delivery person comes between 3:45 and 4:15 every morning. I know this because my lovely dogs alert me to the arrival of our paper pretty much every. single. day.

Usually I can go back to sleep, but today it just didn't happen that way.

Thanks so much, guys.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

First attempt

Well, I tried to make a fall-like banner masthead but don't know how to control for pixelation.

Will try to adjust it more another day.

Because I love you and know what you want

(photo by Calandria)

New Look, New Links

Last night, when I should have been in dreamland, I instead decided I was tired of the old look and started playing around. I am not satisfied with this new look, either, as I really want to learn how to make my blog all personalized and pretty, but sometimes change for the sake of change is a good thing.

There are a number of blogs I read quite regularly that have not been listed on my blog, so I have updated that list a bit. Derfwad Manor is one that I added - I have been reading it faithfully for quite some time. Mrs. G. is a teacher who also homeschools and is the creator of the Women's Colony, the retirement community for women, which I actually showcased here a long time ago (long enough that I don't want to dig through my own archives to find it. Follow the link and read it again!) Her opinions and politics mesh nicely with mine, and she is a much, much better writer than I am - I frequently want to just copy one of her posts in its entirety and put it here, but I hear that's frowned upon.

Another one I have been following closely lately is CJane Run. I found this one through a series of haphazard jumps from blogs I read to other blogs those bloggers read, and so on. I found it the day after CJane's sister, NieNie, was in a plane crash, and since then they have gotten international attention as the worldwide blogging community has come together to offer love and support for this family. NieNie is a prolific blogger with a large audience, and now CJane is blogging (as well as caring for 3 of NieNie's 4 children) while NieNie and her husband recover from their critical injuries. One of the things being said about this blog is that it refutes the fear that time on the internet keeps people from connecting with one another. Read CJane's blog for a while and you will feel deeply connected to this family, and also deeply connected to others who read it, too.

Happy reading - and remember, you, too, can spend hours each day sitting at the computer connecting with other women around the world.

Ahem, you can be impressed in the privacy of your own home

I just have to say, quite modestly, of course, that the big thing on the news channels yesterday (when they weren't talking about economics or the weather) was that the media is perplexed and getting angry about how much the politicians are blatantly lying these days.

Just a few short hours earlier, I had typed - right here - with my own hands

I get a burning feeling behind my eyes when I watch the candidates saying things I know to be lies. How can anyone stand before an audience and repeat things that have been proven to be untrue, but are said with the same zeal they were the first time?

And now the national media is saying the same thing.

Sometimes I even impress myself.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Wiiiiiiiiiiiii

I am so impressed to have a comment left by the great Mrs. G of Derfwad Manor that I am replying to her with a new post! She wonders if I think the Wii is worth it, and honestly, a lot of women have asked me this since I got mine this summer.

I have to say it's a resounding YES ~ buying the Wii itself was a big investment ($250 give or take), and then the WiiFit package is another $90. Really, that's quite a bit more than I would normally spend on something electronic that can't create documents for me, but let's face it, I'm not getting any younger, and I have been searching for over three decades to find an exercise program that I can stick with.

You may remember tae kwon do ... that lasted about 6 months. That's actually pretty good for me. I also joined one of those 24-hour gyms where you can go work-out whenever you want ... I paid for the right to exercise for 7 months and actually went twice. Earlier in life I tried yoga classes, aerobics, the YMCA, walking, running (that lasted about 12 minutes), and probably more that I have blocked from my memory.

I have found, much to my delight, that it is much easier to ignore an exercise machine that is a few blocks away, than it is to ignore the system in my own basement. I know that many, many would-be exercisers utilize their home-based exercise equipment to hang clothes on - but the beauty of the Wii is there is nothing that would support anything more than a sock! So I do end up using it for its intended purpose.

Many have asked what's the difference between using the Wii and using an exercise video, and I tell them it's the little people that live in the Wii. They pay attention to when I come down to visit them, and they let me know if I haven't been there enough. They also count my steps, the minutes I am working, they call me on it if I take a break half-way through a program, and they are unfailingly optimistic about my chances for success ... even as they bloat up my little "Mii" and tell me that I am obese (the little Mii gets a shocked look on her face every single time. Like somehow she forgets. Oh, wait, I guess I forget, too.) And every single time I do something well, they cheer for me (and they are discretely silent when I fall off the ski jump or something similarly klutzy.)

That would be really embarassing in a class, but in the privacy of the basement ... who doesn't like to be cheered for?

So yeah, Mrs. G., it's worth it.

Life Update

Well, a few days with very little typing has relieved the pain in my wrist, so I thought it safe to post an update on all the little things about my life that you may have been wondering about.

First off, the snapping turtle babies ... I did see one baby turtle on a log in the pond near our house, hooray!, but I also saw 5 or 6 flattened baby turtles in the road and driveway near our house, boo. I knew the mama turtle had not chosen a good location for her egg-laying, but had hoped to find a live baby to assist over to the pond area. Didn't happen.

Secondly, TV Mania. As you may recall, I have been watching previous seasons of House and Grey's Anatomy while exercising with my WiiFit. This weekend the boys were with their dad, so it turned into a Grey's Anatomy marathon right here in my own living room, and alas, I regret to say that the tv viewing hours vastly outnumbered the exercise hours. The WiiFit has a little gizmo that tells you to take a rest after one hour of exercise in one day. The DVD has no such message.

Then there is school. The boys continue to do really, really well, and the mom is also finding a balance of things to do with her hours alone in the house all day Monday through Friday. I think the mom is actually fussing more about her lifestyle change than the boys are, even though clearly hers is the less-difficult transition. The mom is just more aware of the transition than the boys are. It is really weird, not knowing what they are doing pretty much every minute of the day.

I hope you are all following along on Carla's adventures in Beijing, I am so enjoying reading about their lives over there, and cannot wait to go visit. I am tentatively planning on the summer of 2010 ... then you will see pictures of ME on the Great Wall. Which I still like thinking is visible from the moon. Facts, schmacts.

And politics. I have been weaning myself off of the news programs as I get a burning feeling behind my eyes when I watch the candidates saying things I know to be lies. How can anyone stand before an audience and repeat things that have been proven to be untrue, but are said with the same zeal they were the first time? I just don't get it and so I can't watch it anymore. No doubt that will change. But for this weekend, I honestly didn't think of the names McCain or Palin more than once or twice ... no obsession right now.

The dogs are great, I wish it would dry up outside so we could go to the dog park one of these days, they need the exercise. Dogs *really* sleep a lot.

And within the next two weeks, what can I say, Survivor, Amazing Race, and Dancing With the Stars all start up again. Gotta love TV.

And PS: I know what I have to do to get people talking. Most of my posts get zero or one comment. But I post a picture of a dark, smoldering MAN, and I get 5 or 6. You people are so shallow.

In honor of Grey's Anatomy, Season 2


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Carpal Tunnel

I occasionally have bouts of carpal tunnel issues in my wrist, and my left one is hurting lately ... so I guess I can't type long posts, will just have to put up some photos.
A gal's gotta do what a gal's gotta do.

Friday, September 12, 2008

More tears of laughter

Carla, this "one" is for you.

Just go read when you have time (and space) to laugh.

WARNING: Time waster ... bring kleenex

Well, I have just successfully wasted about 40 minutes looking at the website "Cake Wrecks." And I have laughed so hard and so loud that the dogs actually moved away from me, the crazy lady with tears in her eyes.

Here are a couple of samples ... and these are all from professional cake decorators - the author verifies before posting ...
One of her favorite topics is the writing that is done on cakes. She has a "thing" about misuse of quotation marks, and also loves it when the decorator follows the directions a bit too closely, like in this instance:

And then there are the cakes that just make you go "huh???" Like this one. What occasion could possibly call for a sheet cake filled with mohawked, naked babies riding carrots?
Truly a fun way to put some laughter back into your life if current events are getting you down!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ahhhhhhh ......


Just needed something pleasant to think about for a while ....

Let's take a poll

Who out there believes that last June, when Sarah Palin talked about the Iraq war being a "task from God" for the American military, she was actually quoting (or, rather, paraphrasing) Abraham Lincoln?

Yeah, right.

I know Lincoln's quote is accurate. The part I am highly suspicious of is that she was enough of a historian to be familiar with the quote, enough so that she could casually toss it into her message to her congregation.

That and the curious lack of "Abraham Lincoln once said ...." during said speech.

She does have good speech writers.

Truly sickening

Apparently Senator McCain released a new ad about Senator Obama this week. One where he accuses Senator Obama of promoting sex education for pre-schoolers. His line was Senator Obama wanted preschoolers "learning about sex before learning to read."

The reality is Senator Obama supported a program to teach pre-schoolers about "good touch/bad touch" in efforts to protect young children from predators.

This is truly sick. McCain's campaign lately has seemed to have been based on a lot of things that aren't completely accurate, but that is to be expected, I guess, in a political campaign.

But this carries it to a new level. This is just sick.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

GET OUT AND VOTE!




Don't forget - today is Primary day!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Who else sees the irony here?

New McCain-Palin ads tout how they will go to Washington to fight the Republicans.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

S^2C

Did anyone watch the Stand Up To Cancer special last night? Hard not to if you watched broadcast TV - how cool was that, that it was on ABC, NBC and CBS all at the same time?

I only saw part of it as we were rushing around here with Friday night stuff, but what I saw had me in tears of compassion as I listened to survivors talk about their own struggles, and family members who had lost someone talk about their lives now, and the celebrities talk about how important it is to keep cancer research going.

Meryl Streep talked about how the March of Dimes began in 1938 and how, through that effort, the vaccine for polio was found. And how no one knew if their dime was the dime that made the difference, but someone's was. So today no one can know if their dollar will be the one that makes the difference in finding a cure for cancer, but someone's will be that dollar.

It was very powerful stuff.

I made a donation, and you can too. Just click here.

My paternal grandmother had breast cancer. My maternal grandfather died from colon cancer. My father has had skin cancer. My great-aunt died from lung cancer. My aunt died from brain cancer. My childhood best friend died from breast cancer. I know about a half-dozen women who are either survivors of breast cancer or who are fighting it right now. My former neighbor is fighting renal cancer right now. And these are just the people who come to mind right away as I sit here typing.

Please, if you haven't already, make a donation to help find the way(s) to stop this disease.

Friday, September 05, 2008

It's my blog and I'll continue if I want to

I found myself hesitating to write more about Sarah Palin. Would people think "enough is enough"? Am I making too much of it? Do people really want to read more about what I think?

Then I reminded myself - I actually thought the words ... Hey - this is MY blog, I can write what I want to. Each day I find myself thinking more about the Palin selection, and as more untruths come out (the plane actually was listed on eBay, it just didn't sell on eBay, but the speech was pretty carefully worded to make it sound like it did. And to what point? The important part of that story was that she sold the plane. Why mess it up by implying it was an eBay sale? Why mess it up except to try and paint an image that is turning out to be more than a little shady and untrustworthy.)

So here goes. And actually I am not "writing" - I am copying. An article, The Mirrored Ceiling, was written by NYT columnist Judith Warner (and I do believe she is a writer I have had issues with in the past, to give full disclosure ..), and what I am copying here is actually one of many, many comments written in response to that article. Hopefully the author, one 'Steve M.' won't mind my posting his words here (my emphasis added):

Thank you for this post. You are spot on about how the Palin nomination reeks of condescension, to women and to the voters she is hoped to attract. It also seems like Palin and her defenders seek to have it both ways. No one, not even the Republican talking heads, has argued that Palin was chosen because she truly was the best qualified candidate, female or male. A crafty political choice, but not one based upon absolute merit. She was chosen because of her ability to play on the needs and fears of target voters and for the possibility that these voters could relate to her. Her status as a mother and spouse are front and center to this. Yet the very qualities for which she was chosen and make her a compelling nominee are supposed to be considered off limits to discussion. She is a mother, but don’t call attention to how she plans to handle the demands of her infant son. And don’t poke around asking what it means that her daughter will join the ranks of pregnant teens this year.

Republicans expect everyone to smile and nod their heads approvingly, even when the family trotted out for photo ops includes the shotgun son-in-law to be. Palin’s life is complicated and her decision to put herself in the limelight for such transparently political reasons means that everything deserves to come under scrutiny.


I agree completely with Mr. M.

Aww, shoot

Turns out now that the plane DIDN'T sell on eBay.

And now for his side of the story

Well, I listened to Mr. McCain last night talk about all the change he will bring to Washington DC. He promises to change all those who have had all the power and who have focused on themselves and their personal issues over the needs of the nation.

Um, ok.

McCain has been in Washington as a Republican for 26 years. He *is* one of "those" people who have held the power for the past 8 years. He *has* voted with the current administration 95% of the time over the past year and a half.

So he's targeting himself as needing to be changed?

Some say that he is "going back" to his "maverick days" where he did argue against the administration. Which implies to me that, if we are to believe that his "maverick days" are the days where he was true to himself and not blindly loyal to the administration, well that means for the past year and a half he has allowed himself to be ...coerced? bought? swayed? to do what someone else (Karl Rove, perhaps?) wants him to do.

So I see two possibilities:

1. He believes change is needed and will work to change the government from the way the current administration is running things, which means for the recent past he has allowed himself to be controlled by the administration (why else would he continually vote with them?)

or

2. He cannot be controlled by others, he meant to vote the way he did in all of those decisions recently, which indicates that he really isn't going to bring much change.

If number one is true, what's to say he won't be controlled by others again, and if number two is true, the country would be in for Bush 3.0.

I love a quote in the paper today about his speech last night on bringing change to Washington. "Traditionally, it's easier to be the opposition party if you actually are the opposition party."

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Have to do it

I just have to do this.

Palin: I am an advocate for children with special needs.
Reality: she cut Alaska's education budget for children with special needs by 62%.

Palin: I have experience with executive power.
Reality: both her time as mayor and her time as governor have been plagued with investigations into her misuse of the executive power she held.

Palin: I said "no thanks, we will build our own bridge"
Reality: She is on record as supporting and working for the "bridge to nowhere" until it became a fiscal impossibility and a national joke.

Palin: I am a fiscal conservative
Reality: When she left the office of mayor, she had brought Wasilla from a having a balanced budget when she was elected, to having one with over $20 million in long-term debt.

McCain: She leads the largest state in the nation
Reality: Geographically, yes. Population-wise, Alaska is 47th out of 50. Governing wide expanses of empty land isn't exactly a prerequisite here.

What baffles me is that the GOP continues to put forth the same arguments even after investigative reporting is showing them to be untrue. Yet people are believing them, and I know that not all Republicans are idiots.

However, there is one thing I can still say about her that I like:
Palin: I sold that gubernatorial jet on eBay.
Reality: yes, she did.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

First Day of School!

Well, today was the boys' first day back at a "bricks and mortar" school after 5 years of being home. I dropped them off at 7:45, picked them up at 2:20.

SMILES!!! They both had smiles on their faces when I picked them up. PHEW.

Neither of them got lost. Both of them remembered their locker combinations and lunch codes. They made it to every class on time. They even enjoyed the lunch food (cheese pizza.)

They both enjoyed being with friends. They both have generally positive feelings about the majority of their teachers - one or two are on a "wait and see" status, no teacher was judged to be mean or cranky.

They both came home a little tired and very hungry. Neither had any homework, though there were a lot of forms for us to read together and sign. For the first time ever, they have to worry about percentages and grades! They have to guard against being tardy, or turning in late work. They have to get class assignments done in class, and homework done on time. And they have to be aware that their attitude could get them in trouble if it's not deemed acceptable!

I can't tell you how good it feels to see them so satisfied with their first day. When I dropped them off and drove away, I was a bit teary-eyed. No tears actually fell, but they were mighty close. I know the first day isn't a guarantee that it will all go well, but I am so thankful today was a good day, and that they are both game to go back again tomorrow.

What if it were Stan instead of Sarah Palin?

Calandria made a comment on my Sarah Palin post that she wonders if people would react the same if it were a man, instead of a woman, in this position.

Personally, I would, and I think a lot of others would, too. When you become a parent, you take on a level of responsibility that I think should take precedence over career moves, however history-making that career move might be.

The VP job is an all-consuming one. The Palin family has a number of issues affecting it right now. I don't find it feasible to believe that both "jobs" can be handled simultaneously. Regardless of which parent is trying to fill which role.

And if this were about being CEO of an international company, or heading up an enormously important task governmental task force, or any other BIG important job, I could certainly say "Well, if she thinks she can do it, more power to her."

But this is for a job that DIRECTLY affects me, my family, my community, my nation. So I am not quite as lenient, I guess.

The more that is coming out about her background, the less the family stuff is going to matter anyway, it sounds like.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Final Fair for the Year

Today I went back to the State Fair, for one last walk through the crowded streets filled with the aromas of everything-on-a-stick. And I tried something new.

Chocolate-covered bacon.

Famous Dave's offered it in a cone (just like Sweet Martha's Cookies) and my sister-in-law and I split one order. When I first heard about it (I have to say, it was the most talked-about new food at the fair this year) I was a bit skeptical, but every review I heard or read about it raved. So we did it.

We both agreed that the chocolate was of exceptional quality, and that the mix of sweet and salty was quite pleasant.

But we both also agreed that now, having tried it once, we don't need to ever eat it again.

Goodbye til next year, State Fair!

one of these things is not like the others

I have to admit this whole Sarah Palin thing has me bewildered. When McCain introduced her, you would naturally expect that he would list out her accomplishments and experiences which would show the nation why he selected her to be his VP candidate.

So I just don't know what to think that the list of her most shining accomplishments, those details of her life and experience which the presidential candidate (and his advisors) chose to highlight, include her high school basketball record and her time as a member of the PTA.

I mean, this is the BIG TIME. This is the time to really showcase her talents, her abilities, and what she brings to make her a good candidate for VP or, if needed, President of the United States.

I am not saying that her time as mayor of Wasilla and as governor of Alaska are not important. But her resume is so short that her official, national introduction includes her high school sports record. That has to be a first for any presidential or vice presidential candidate.

That brevity of experience is what I keep coming back to. Yes, I am very impressed by what she has accomplished in Alaska. Really, I am. I think I would like her if I met her - she has a fabulous no-nonsense approach to most things, she is willing to clean up messes regardless of who made the mess, she is gutsy and strong.

I wish more politicians were like her.

But she is shining in the minor league, and I really, really don't think she is ready to play in the big league yet.

That's my political reaction to her.

Now, my personal, mom-to-mom reaction to her ... I have difficulty wondering, frankly, why anyone would want to be president - what a job - but I am especially struggling with why anyone would choose to put herself out there with a tiny baby at home (the special needs are secondary, although I have some friends who have a 2 1/2 year old baby with Down Syndrome and they keep an incredibly detailed blog about how difficult their lives are and they didn't have other children, plus her husband is home full-time, plus she had a very long maternity leave ...), and now with a teenager who is unmarried and pregnant, plus a son in the military, not to mention two other daughters who must feel a bit left out in the mix of what is happening in everyone else's lives ... Well, I just don't think that I, personally, would feel that *now* is the best time for me to take on campaigning for VP.

So this whole thing has left me a bit bewildered. But I do believe it is all making the average person in America stand up and pay attention, and I do believe we will have record-breaking voter turnout this year. So that's something.

Gustav

I feel just sick this morning, watching CNN reporting from New Orleans and the surrounding area. I can't even imagine how it must feel to the people that have evacuated. I think of all the work that has been done over the past three years, I think of how much was still left to do, and I watch the video of what is happening there right now, and I feel sick.

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