Friday, July 30, 2004
Martha has beautiful descriptions of the sights and smells of a garden -- along with other interesting topics such as discussions of Christian music -- at her site The Good Earth. I wish she lived close enough to me so we could trade plants.
And finally, I've added another mom-blogger, Rachel, who just posts a variety of good and interesting things.
I find a lot of new blogs that interest me from comments and sitemeter links, so if there is anyone lurking out there that wants to be found -- please comment and leave your blog link.
First, of all, I think hiring one person with a hard bias towards either side is not getting balanced coverage and that USAToday is acting like a high school newspaper to do it that way. But second, even Ann Coulter, who is very right wing has never seemed to me to be as far out there in, what should be the fringes, as Michael Moore is. And Jonah Goldberg, though not a moderate, is not to be compared in any way. Not to mention that two out of the three seem to generally base thier statements in fact and write with humor, while the other does neither.
Thursday, July 29, 2004
- Name three good things about Democrats (if possible consider this from a Republican's perspective).
- Name three bad things about Democrats (if possible consider this from a Democrat's perspective).
- If you are a Republican/Conservative, what would it take to make you vote for a Democrat? If you are a Democrat/Liberal, what would it take to make you vote for a Republican?
My answers? Oh right, I have to answer these things. Maybe I'll go back to my first list of Holy Grail questions...Oh all right...
1. (a) Democrats tend to be idealists. While I may think that idealism is often naive, foolish and leads to bad policies, idealism is not a bad thing in itself. We love our children for their faith in the beauty and goodness of the world around them and there is something wonderful about idealism.
(b) Democrats often don't live down to their ideals. The majority of Democrats that I know get married, stay married, and don't abort inconvenient babies. They raise their children to respect authority and become useful parts of society. They participate in the free market and start businesses. Many of them also follow an organized religion and raise their families in some sort of faith.
(c) Many liberals are healthily skeptical of mass consumerism and will push through new trends and new ideas -- not to mention new products and stores -- that benefit us all. The return towards breastfeeding and attachment parenting didn't come from conservatives, although they should not be politically defining. The drive to move back into cities and renovate older homes is also not political, but probably most "urban pioneers," at least judging by my neighborhood, were not conservatives. Etc.
2. (a) Democrats are far too wedded to the education system we have. There seem to be increasingly obvious signs that the current system isn't working and we need changes -- not just vouchers, but reforms like elevating good teachers and getting rid of the bad ones are necessary, but seem unlikely to ever be embraced by Dems.
(b) Racially divisive politics. I don't believe it does anyone any good to divide us into little categories. To separate people and encourage them to think in their group and not for the benefit of the greater good.
(c) Embracing, not distancing themselves from the radical left. Michael Moore is an extremist. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are extremists. They should not be part of the mainstream -- invited to speak at conventions or invited to sit in Presidential boxes.
3. When would I vote for a Democrat? At this point, the only Democratic candidates I would consider voting for would be in local elections. I admit to being very partisan, but honestly there is no single issue that would drive me to vote for a Democrat. In a race with a pro-choice Republican and a pro-life Democrat, I would probably still vote for the Republican. While I would regret their stand on that issue, I would probably find that that candidate was still far more likely to support other things I support than the Democrat. So there you have it.
Wednesday, July 28, 2004
LittleA is writing about bumper stickers. A spin-off from Big Arm Woman complaining about them a while back. Have you ever noticed that while a Republican or conservative might have a sticker on their bumper proclaiming support for a candidate, you rarely see a car covered in bumper stickers that isn't over on the far left. We don't really do bumper stickers, though I would do non-stick window clings. If I were going to put some catchy slogans on the back of my car, I'd probably buy them here.
This is a few days old, but Amy from Amy Loves Books got a key to her very own classroom. Everyone should go congratulate her on finishing her graduate degree and moving on to getting paid for warping impressionable young minds. Or maybe that's just what I would do if they let me in a classroom.
Nathan is looking at a CDC report on condoms and pointing out the weasel-words they use. What does "essentially impermeable barrier" really mean?
Susanna has written a letter to her students on why she isn't responsible for their self-esteem. I would like to add that she and other professors are also not responsible for students not getting or not keeping scholarships, if the students do not work to the level required. During my time as a TA in grad school, I had one student trying to get a scholarship who was about average, but not working really hard in class -- and yet when I gave him an A- or a B+ for my part of his class grade, he went over my head and tried to get me fired for unfair treatment, because with that grade he wouldn't get the scholarship.
If you meet the qualifications for any of the Sixteen Things That Deserve a Good Slap that Tony Woodlief listed yesterday, please keep it under wraps. I find I like some people more the less I know about them. And be sure to check out the picture of Caleb, Tony's son, suited up in armor and ready to do battle.
As Alan from Theosebes says, "Mmmmm, okra!" I might need to try it steamed. We have two okra plants in our garden, and have found that even for us three would be better to have enough fresh at any one time. We usually fry it, since that mitigates the snot-like slime factor. How do you like your okra?
More food? How about flat peaches and square watermelons? Yum.
Some people must actually clean house. I like clean houses. I envy clean houses. I just don't like to do what it takes to have one that is particularly clean. Carrie from Redhaired Girl asks, "What areas of housework are you willing to let slide? What's "negotiable," as far as you are concerned? How long are you usually willing (and able) to let it go?" And the answer is just about everything is negotiable as far as I'm concerned and I can let it slide until it grosses me out or gets in my way.
If I keep going I might as well have written my own stuff, so that's all for now.
Tuesday, July 27, 2004
After checking out doors at Home Depot and Lowes over the weekend, the kids and I went to a couple of door and window shops today. Unfortunately, we happen to want about the most expensive style patio door out there and in this case, I'm not sure I want to compromise too much. The big stores are much cheaper, but still not cheap, and I have to say that I was much more impressed with the salesmen at the stores that do only that work. They seem to know what they are doing, while the guys at Lowes and Home Depot while semi-helpful, did not seem to be very well-versed in the whole thing.
You may ask why we want to replace the whole door when only a pane of glass is broken, which does not seem like an illogical question, until you also know that the door is all wood, scratched to pieces by a previous owner's dog, aided in the scratching by our dog, starting to rot at the bottom, and single-paned so that it leaks air like crazy. We had already planned to replace it soon. Just not quite this soon.
Life gets expensive at times.
Monday, July 26, 2004
The laws of physics fall apart as one is pulled into a black hole, so, whatever you do, don't take a physics test while descending into a black hole or you'll totally fail.The whole list is hilarious. I had to send this one to my dad. He's a physics professor, so I'm hoping he will warn his students of the above. Link via Nathan.
The production line thus far.
Swords in action.
We could have tried another round with the repairman, but instead we decided to go on to Plan B (which in this case stands for "Buy a new one"). We went to the Sears Scratch and Dent Center near our house and found something that was fairly comparable to what we have for a tad over $300 (marked down a bit more than $100 off their retail price) with only a small scuff mark on the side. That seemed like a decent deal, so we bought it. It should be delivered sometime today.
You know you are getting old when the thought of a new range -- even a none-to-fancy, cheapo one is the highlight of your day.
From the Cheese and Quiz Mistress
Actually, while I might enjoy art and decor, I'm not a snob about it -- my husband is a better decorator than I am, and people only clean their houses before I come over to make me feel bad about the pit of filth in which I live.
Friday, July 23, 2004
I don't let her have much real caffinated tea or coffee, although I sometimes let her have the foam off my coffee drink. We normally make her her own "waffee" out of Pero, a non-coffee based coffee substitute that my parents used to make for me when I was little.
This morning The Girl was adamant that she wanted coffee though and tea wouldn't cut it. She heard my kettle whistling and looked at me and said, "Waffees, please!"
"No," I told her, "I'm making tea."
"No, tea. Waffees!" And she ran over to get her plastic tea cup for me to fill.
Later, I had made my tea and thought the subject might have been dropped when she again handed me the cup and asked for coffee. I put in some tea. She looked at me in disgust, poured the tea back into my cup and said, "No tea. Make waffees, please!"
She had said please, so I made her some "coffee" and she guzzled it down. If she's like this at 22 months, what am I in for later? Or do I not want to know?
Neither of my kids actually like fresh tomatoes, which doesn't really bother me, since it was only as an adult that I came to enjoy one now and then. I do wish I had more ideas for making stuff with them, because I don't can and after a while giving them away seems hard too. And notice all those spaces between the tomatoes? Those aren't there anymore. I went and picked this morning's harvest.
And no, I don't play chess nor am I an America-hating whack-job.
AND THE ANSWER IS: Pretty close to LittleA's guess. We both lived in Pasadena, but not only that -- for the same reason -- he was a member of The Worldwide Church of God, a rather loopy, weird religion in which I was raised.
Thursday, July 22, 2004
1) Who was your first sweetheart?
My first love was Benny. We knew each other practically from birth, played together all the time and were best friends. It was with Benny that I experienced my first and only femme fatale, love triangle moment, when he pushed my other friend Teddy into a pond after church (there are two ponds visible in front of the building and I think Teddy went for a dive into the one on the right) one day for playing with me. I kissed Benny during story time in Kindergarten and the school we went to went out of their way to put us in separate first grades, because they thought Benny needed more male friends and I needed to hang out with the girls more. In the middle of first grade, my family moved away to Phoenix anyway, and so our romance dwindled away. Our moms are still in touch though, and I hear he got married a few years ago. Sniff.
2) Of the person you love the very most, which of their character traits of do you find most appealing?
As so many people have said, only one? I guess the very best thing of all about my husband is his ability to live with me. He knows when to take care of me and when to tell me to cut out the crap. He understands me very well and makes me a better person through association with him. I just hope I do half as for him.
3) Of all the inanimate objects in your possession, are there any for which you have--if not love--then at least a powerful affection?
I admit to having several inanimate objects that mean a lot to me.
I have a few books from my childhood Who's Got the Apple and Miss Suzy that are especially beloved. The first is one my dad brought home for me during a period when we were still loving in California, but he had already begun his PhD in Arizona. He read it to me and I read it and that particular copy is very well worn. I have another copy to read to the kids. Miss Suzy was originally at my grandparents' house, but we nabbed it at some point. It is the only book I've ever seen with actual bookworm holes gnawed into it.
Besides those two books, I have two bears, Murphy, who was given to me by a family friend and an old Winnie the Pooh that my parents bought for me when I was about three at Disneyland.
There are a few other things I have that mean a lot because they have a long family history, but I think the things above are the inanimate objects I am most attached to in my own right.
If that weren't enough, I started having cramping and Braxton-Hicks contractions yesterday. I've never felt a single one throughout my pregnancies before, and they were coming fairly often, so that was a bit worrisome. Justin came home and lunchtime and took care of the kidlets so I could lie down and even arranged for someone else to watch them today for me.
Things are looking up though. The branch was removed this morning and the roofer stopped by when he said he would (a first!), said we had no damage at all, didn't charge us for the visit. I also went to the doctor this morning just to make sure all was well and everything looks to be fine. No indications that this kid is trying to make an early arrival and my doctor also added that after two full-term pregnancies, the likelihood of an extremely early delivery is greatly diminished. Thank goodness. He told me to take it easy, not do anything stupid and to rest more.
The kids are out of the house until 4 o'clock, which means, I think I may just go take a nap.
Wednesday, July 21, 2004
As you can see, we have a lot of books and stuff. Our computer desk is a converted gentleman's chest and works okay, but would be a whole lot better if we had a chair that sat several inches lower than normal. And there you have it.
Tuesday, July 20, 2004
Since the oven hasn't been much up to speed, baking isn't as option -- so while five days out of seven I can do just fine cooking chilis or stir-fries or things that don't need the oven, when it stops working the only things I can think of to make are casseroles.
I offered, over the weekend, to take dinner Monday night to a friend from church who had a baby a few weeks ago -- I figured I'd wait until the big rush to bring food was over, but the need was still there. So, I asked what they liked to eat and was told, "Almost anything, but we're not big vegetable eaters -- more meat and potato types." I can and do cook lots of such meals, but immediately I started running through vegetarian chili recipes and things like that in my head. Why? Perversity, I guess.
I ended up making the chicken enchiladas, Mexican rice and guacamole. I hope it wasn't too spicy -- my kids will eat it all, but I never know what other people like. I love to cook, but I sort of hate cooking for other people, because I want them to like what I fix and I can never tell if my tastes are too weird or not.
He thinks it is the sensor which costs $230 for the part and labor to replace it. We thought about just getting a new range, which we could do for not that much more -- Sears has a scratch and dent store nearby, where I think we could get something similar for about $340, but we decided to try fixing this one for now. I hate being under pressure to decide and besides, we'd love to do some more major stuff to our kitchen in a few years and I don't want to lock us into a new stove when maybe we could get a nicer one down the road.
The part wasn't in, so the range should be fixed this afternoon and then tomorrow the tree guys are supposed to be coming to get the big branch off our roof.
Friday, July 16, 2004
This past week, the kids and I went a little overboard and checked out about 60 books. Since we are allowed 25 per card, I had to use three cards just to check them all out. Some of my friends just about keeled over at our book haul, but although that was more than usual, we do usually bring home about 40 books. Children's books are fast reads and we like some variety. We may own more books than we will ever read, but that never stops us from checking more out. The Boy probably gets between 15 and 20 beginning reader type of books, although he's starting to move on to a few longer chapter books like the Cam Jansen mysteries, and I get an equal number of picture books and fairy tales to read to the kids at bedtime. We usually read three or four of those each night. We've read some longer books at bedtime, but The Boy really seems to enjoy those more when we listen to them in the car, perhaps because books without pictures are more interesting when one is awake enough to imagine what is going on.
And once in a while, I even check out something for Justin or for me to read.We like our books, and I guess even if we are a little on the extreme side of book checking out, we'll probably keep on going the same way as always.
Thursday, July 15, 2004
1) What is the fastest you have ever traveled on land? On water? In the air?
I think the fastest I've gone on land was when I was riding in a heavy Mercedes sedan on the Autobahn and I saw the guy punch it up to about 210 kph, which, according to a handy dandy internet converter, I can tell you is about 130 mph.
I've never moved very quickly in the water -- I'm not only a slow swimmer, but I've never ridden in any vessels other than canoes, rafts and ferries.
The fastest I've gone in the air would be in your standard jet, I suppose, though I can't remember which directions move you faster than which others and I've never flown on the Concorde or anything for super-fast speed. The slowest I've gone in the air, by the way, was in a hot air balloon.
Given how little I care about car racing, I guess I'd want to hang out with Sandra. She seems like she's be fun to be friends with.
Aquatic animals hold no interest for me. My brothers and dad are allergic to cats and I have no interest in owning one that requires mere regular litterbox maintenance, so I don't want the kitten. I guess I'll have to go with Speedy Gonzales, who was indeed a favorite cartoon mouse of mine, although looking back on it, he was an annoying little rodent.
And so there you haven't it. I don't go for fast cars and I'm not a fast woman. :)
Wednesday, July 14, 2004
Yellow "No Spray" signs are popping up all over my neighborhood (which leads to the side question of why do all the liberals live in my neighborhood?) and I just don't get it. Aside from West Nile and malaria, mosquitoes just aren't fun to be around. I don't particularly like getting a dozen bites between my front door and the car. I wish they'd spray routinely before they found evidence of West Nile. Besides, "a leader of the No Spray Coalition spoke yesterday to the health board about a concern for children..." and whenever you start saying you are doing something "for the children" my BS-detector starts going off.
Spray! Spray, I say! Kill as many as you can!
Why what do you know? A bow echo thunderstorm was headed our way -- and as we know now, the rain and all in proceeded by a front of light rain and big nasty winds. Finally though it was all over and we put the kids back in bed and fell asleep ourselves.
This morning we discovered the cause of the great crashing, scraping sound. A big limb from our neighbor's tree had fallen on our roof. We can't tell yet what damage, if any was done to the roof, but eventually when the tree people get done with everyone else's tree problems we'll find out.
In the meantime, just driving around the neighborhood was exciting. We saw five or six trees or chunks of trees down within our small section of town and of course, most of them had fallen across the road. And so clean-up begins. The good thing, at least, is that I haven't heard any major injuries.
I'm going to find out soon enough what it is like having three, but for now I can only blather on about what it was like to go from none to one and from one to two, and I still haven't made up my mind which was more difficult.
I think in some ways going from zero to one was more difficult -- the baby stage seemed to take longer and The Boy was not a good sleeper at night and nursed all the time. But having only one kid was easier when it came to going places. We just took him along and he slept wherever and it was easy enough to carry him, because he was the only kid I had to worry about. With The Girl the baby stage flew past in a blink and she slept through the night at 4 months or so, so I wasn't as exhausted -- except that by then The Boy wasn't napping any more and so I often couldn't either. I found though that I couldn't carry her as much as I carried her brother. I had to use a stroller more, because I couldn't carry her, even in a sling, and chase her brother or hold his hand or whatever I needed to do as easily.
At first it was easier to get right back into things and out of the house with two, I don't think I left home alone with just The Boy for over a month, but because I needed to do things with The Boy, like going to story time I was out with both kids by myself within two weeks -- but it was more complicated -- two carseats to buckle -- more variables to worry about.
But when The Girl needed to nurse, I couldn't pay as much attention to The Boy. I could read him a book, but that was about it and very soon his sister started grabbing or kicking the books away so that I couldn't easily even do that. By that time though, I was used to some of the other complications, so things were always changing. And amidst all the greater complications of two there were some things that were easier -- I knew how to feed a kid and remembered how to nurse a newborn quickly. I knew things were going to change, so I could see the light at the end of certain tunnels.
But I think if I had to choose which has been harder two has probably been more difficult than one due simply to personality. The Boy was -- except for sleeping through the night -- a much easier going kid. He took a pacifier for a few months. He was willing to go wherever we went and travelled well. He never thought about climbing the walls/furniture/etc. until he was much older, he didn't color on himself or books, and he never tried to eat pet food.
The Girl was fussier and more determined and opinionated from the day she was born. She wouldn't take a pacifier. She liked things just so and she would and will let you know when it doesn't meet her standards. And now she is not only a chatterbox like her brother, but a monkey in motion all the time. Basically she thinks she's a 4-year old in a 1.5 year old body. And all that requires a lot more readjustment. We can't take her to restaurants easily like we did her brother, she won't sit in the high chair and hasn't for a year. Neither will she wear a bib, so her clothes are generally food stained. She already goes around with her shoes on the wrong feet and clothes that look funny, because she had to put them on herself or pick them out. The house has to be cleaner, because anything left on tables, countertops, or anywhere out in the open is subject to inspection, use or being thrown on the floor and broken.
So maybe adding a second child was not totally more difficult for me because of the number, but more because of the specific child, but either way it has been a challenge and I wonder what this next one will be like.
Tuesday, July 13, 2004
However, a spider must not have gotten the memo about staying outside and minding its own business, because a few days before we left for our trip I woke up with a sore/itchy spot on the back of my neck that over that day became quite painful. The next morning it was even more so and rather purplish, but of course I wasn't smart enough to call the doctor and besides my husband didn't think it looked so bad. By the third day it hurt to move my head much and my shoulder on one side was even a bit sore and stiff, but Tylenol helped a lot and by this time we were far away from my doctors and so I wasn't exactly wanting to go any where to find one. Finally, by the time we were headed home it started to feel somewhat better and was pretty much normal, if a bit itchy again after about a week. It looks like there might be a bit of a scar left over, but at least I seem fine otherwise. I'm not sure what a doctor could have done, but I do recommend that all spiders stay away from me. I'm more actively squishing at the moment.
This weekend, Justin and I actually tackled the attic and hauled down a ton of stuff that had been piling up from who knows where. I think it was breeding up there, because I sure don't know how else the entire room got filled to the brim. We took big loads of things to Goodwill and Habitat for Humanity's Homestore and finished up with a big reorganization that left us with floor space and room to get to things. Now we just need to remember to never put anything else in there. Yeah, right...
That went so well that we moved on to the kitchen, where we happen to have completely open upper cabinets and so disorganization really shows. We've been pretty good about keeping things neat, but there are a few areas that never got straightened up and above the cabinets things have just been sitting without rhyme or reason. My decorator (aka Justin) rearranged, straightened and disposed of, until our kitchen actually looks like humans and not wild hyenas live there. At least in parts.
This is going so well and feels so nice that we might just move on to closets and see what lies buried in their depths. What a lovely feeling to hand over bag after bag to the Goodwill lady and know I need never think about it again.
I suppose I'm the phone enough though that both my kids have gone through a pahse as toddlers where they want one constantly attached to their ears. When a toy phone or real phone isn't around, they make do with remote controls, any other toy or their hands when necessary. I love to hear their conversations too. The girl walks around saying, "Hello. Ummm. No thanks. Love you! Bye-bye." I suppose that actually sounds like what I say, because she sure does good impression of my inflections. The boy has outgrown that stage now. Now when presented with the phone for conversations with grandparents or his dad, he either monopolizes the phone conversation with monologs about his life and every thought that pops into his head, or he grabs the phone and yells, "I love you! Bye!" and throws the telephone back at me. At least it is less disconcerting than hearing my telephone self copied.
Visiting my family is fun and seeing the little town I went to junior high and high school in is always somehow comforting, even though time certainly hasn't stood still there, but going home also isn't always the easiest thing either. You can't, of course, go home again and find it the way you left it. When you, the kid, leave home and make your own way, you develop quirks and ways of doing things that your parents didn't do and of course, they do things that they didn't do when they had kids around. In my parents' case, this means that my old family home has slowly been filled with all the antiques and great bargains that one in the family who loves to shop for such things can't resist. I'm often the recipient of this largesse and wouldn't have a furnished house without it, so I can't complain exactly, but my parents' large 5 bedroom house is so full and completely unchild-friendly (though the kids did great and didn't break anything) that we had to stay at a friend's house down the street where there was a bit more order and less chaos.
On the other hand, it was fun to spend time in the garden where my mom has made quite an oasis and it was fun to do some of the simple things that had become almost a tradition before I grew up -- like making trips to the grocery store with my dad and cooking up meals with him. I wished that I'd seen or recognized some of the people I knew growing up, other than my parents' friends, but I guess like me, they've all grown up and moved away too.
All in all, though, it was a fun visit with a great pops concert on the town square and then the requisite fireworks on the Fourth of July and a chance to revisit places I hadn't been to in quite a while.
We came home to a garden run wild, but nothing had died while we were gone, which is always good. We now are overwhelmed with cherry tomatoes -- yum -- and the melons are ripening quickly. Some places are putting their summer flowers on sale now, so I bought some more perennials to add to my beds and fill in some bare spots where the creeping phlox hasn't crept to my satisfaction. I got the coolest dark purple daisy that I just love, among other things.
And other than the usual running around and such, I think that about all that's been going on since I disappeared. No doubt, more will be forthcoming later.