Interesting Blog

I found a rather interesting blog called Futility Closet. Interesting factoids, unusual word definitions, logic-y puzzles. Pretty nifty all in all. Gonna add it to my list.



Fantastic Weekend!

This weekend we celebrated Emily's birthday in style. She wanted a space theme, and we did it up right ... from decorating the house for her birthday party Friday night, to an overnight trip to DC and the Air & Space Museum. Click the links for the photo galleries.


Amazing Photography

I know a lot of it is timing and luck, but some of it is pure, raw artistic talent (and fabulous camera equipment). When we were in DC yesterday at the Museum of Natural History, there was a special exhibit of the National Wildlife Photography Award winners. These photos are impressive in the small scale seen here, but just imagine how breathtaking they were blown up to 36x48" (or larger).



Mood Music

When you're just in the mood for some music, but you don't quite know what to pick, try this site.


ps. Finding lots of nifty new sites through the use of Stumble Upon.

Gaining Perspective

These images sort of make all our little stressors seem somehow less significant, don't they?

First Goal Reached

I met my first 10% loss when I weighed-in at my Weight Watchers meeting last night. I blew the 10% mark away with 18.2 lbs lost so far. My next goal is another 10%, then I'll be setting my final goal.

Feeling great this morning!




Taking a Big Step

We've decided to finally take the leap. Looks like we're going to add a puppy to our family.

This is a keeshond. They're in the spitz family. The national dog of the Netherlands, actually. Which is why it's pronounced not "keesh-ahnd," but "kays-hawnd" or even "kayz-hawnd." We've done a lot of online research in finding a suitable breed. And then more research trying to find a puppy. We finally are very comfortable with a breeder in upstate New York (a few miles from Cooperstown) who will have a puppy ready for us the weekend after Easter, which is our ideal timetable.

They have wonderful, child-friendly temperaments, don't require enormous amounts of space or exercise, and are just the right size. Yes, there is all that hair to deal with.

Anyway, tomorrow we're going to visit a local breeder (who won't have any puppies until next fall or winter) to meet a keeshond in person, actually several keeshonden. Then we'll make our final (expected to be "YES!") decision.

Cute puppies, too, eh? This is one of our pup's male littermates. We're getting a female. I have a couple of pics in an e-mail somewhere, but they're not as well posed as this one.

So by this time tomorrow, it looks like I'll be PayPal-ing our breeder and finalizing our PetSmart shopping list! VERY excited, and can't wait to tell the kids (not until we've met the dogs tomorrow).



Recent Pics

Matthew proudly shows up his homemade "Pinewood Herbie."

Dottie takes a snooze on the infamous Orange Chair.

Emily and I take a spin at her recent Brownies Sock Hop.

I Believe ...

...that global warming may have some natural climatic components, but that human activity has accelerated and/or exacerbated the problem.

...in a woman's right to choose whether or not to have a baby.

...in restricting the availability of pistols, rifles, shotguns and other guns to the general populous, and in a national ballistics fingerprinting database.

...that people living in the United States and expecting the privileges of such should learn to speak English.

...that the war in Iraq was a very ill-advised endeavor, but that I have no idea what the best course of action would be at this point.

...we should be paying more attention to what's going on in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and Somalia, and Rwanda.

...that No Child Left Behind not only leaves many children behind, but leads to a culture of continued academic frustration and disenfranchisement among students, educators and parents.

...in the electric car, renewable energy sources and recycling.

...the government has the obligation to provide for the least of us, whether it be the poor, elderly, ill, uneducated.

...and that expecting churches and individuals to just pick up the slack and care for one another as we all should is overly optimistic and facetiously naive.

...that creation happened roughly the way the Bible descibed it, but that the actual timetable is ambiguous. While I don't believe we evolved from single-celled organisms or monkeys, I do believe the Earth is more than several thousand years old.



Bad Mommy

Just had an emotional roller coaster blowup with Emily. She is old enough to know exactly what to say that hurts the most. And finally this time I called her on it. She looked horrified that her words were actually hurting me (in a deep down, doubting my worth as a mom kind of way; not just in a make Mommy mad so she leaves the room kind of way). We hugged and made up and managed to get the rest of the way through the piano practice session. But ... *whew*! I'm exhausted.

And I still have to manage to feed the family, burn a DVD for a friend, wrap a baby shower gift, get the kids to clean up a bit and be ready to leave for Brownies with Emily in full uniform in 32 minutes.

Ain't gonna happen. So now I have to figure out what's gonna give.


ps. Pulled it all off and made it to troop on time. Thank goodness for pasta & sauce.


Plain Jane

Guess I was actually right when I told people I have basically no accent whatsoever.

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The West

Your accent is the lowest common denominator of American speech. Unless you're a SoCal surfer, no one thinks you have an accent. And really, you may not even be from the West at all, you could easily be from Florida or one of those big Southern cities like Dallas or Atlanta.

The Midland


North Central

The Inland North


The South

The Northeast

What American accent do you have?
Quiz Created on GoToQuiz



What Goes Around Comes Around

One of my favorite quotes as long been "plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose."

Excerpting from Thomas Paine: Personal rights ... are a species of property of the most sacred kind.

And now Benjamin Franklin: Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.

Sam Adams: If you love wealth better than liberty, the t
ranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you and may posterity forget that ye were our countrymen.

Patrick Henry: Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect every one who approaches that jewel.

C.S. Lewis:
Of all tyrannies a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.

Plato: This and no other is the root from which a tyrant springs; when he first appears he is a protector.

Voltaire: Tyrants have always had some slight shade of virtue. They support the laws before destroying them.

James Madison: If tyranny and opression come to this land, it will be in guise of fighting a foreign enemy.

And now ... where'd this all come from today? Well, yesterday Joe and I watched V for Vendetta (yes, for the first time ... yes, I'm behind the curve here). I was really struck. I mean, really struck by this movie. Although the graphic novels were first published in the 80s, it was easy to move this story into the 21st century.

The idea of a government driving its populace to fear foreign attacks so deeply that that same populace would accept nearly absolute mind-control and tyranny ... doesn't seem nearly as far-fetched as it ought to. And, that same government lying about the posisbility of foreign terrorism, mass destruction in order to maintain its stranglehold on the people? Not so out there.

Here's the text of the main speech. Certainly there are bits that make little sense taken out of context, so I've paraphrased (as indicated by the ellipses and brackets). If you'd rather hear and visualize it in its original form, try YouTube.

Anyway, read and think. The Founding Fathers and others quoted above were worried about overcoming colonialism and tyranny. And yet how easily the same words apply to the situation we currently face, almost 250 years later.

V's Speech:

Good evening.... Allow me first to apologize for this interruption. I do, like many of you, appreciate the comforts of every day routine- the security of the familiar, the tranquility of repetition. I enjoy them as much as any bloke.

But in the spirit of commemoration, thereby those important events of the past usually associated with someone’s death or the end of some awful bloody struggle, a celebration of a nice holiday, I thought we could mark this November the 5th, a day that is sadly no longer remembered, by taking some time out of our daily lives to sit down and have a little chat.

There are of course those who do not want us to speak. I suspect even now, orders are being shouted into telephones, and men with guns will soon be on their way. Why? Because while the truncheon may be used in lieu of conversation, words will always retain their power. Words offer the means to meaning, and for those who will listen, the enunciation of truth.

And the truth is, there is something terribly wrong with this country, isn’t there? Cruelty and injustice, intolerance and oppression. And where once you had the freedom to object, to think and speak as you saw fit, you now have censors and systems of surveillance coercing your conformity and soliciting your submission.

How did this happen? Who’s to blame? Well certainly there are those more responsible than others, and they will be held accountable, but again truth be told, if you’re looking for the guilty, you need only look into a mirror.

I know why you did it. I know you were afraid. Who wouldn’t be? War, terror, disease. There were a myriad of problems which conspired to corrupt your reason and rob you of your common sense. Fear got the best of you, and in your panic you turned to the [government]. [It] promised you order, he promised you peace, and all he demanded in return was your silent, obedient consent....

More than four hundred years ago a great citizen wished to embed the fifth of November forever in our memory. His hope was to remind the world that fairness, justice, and freedom are more than words, they are perspectives. So if you’ve seen nothing, if the crimes of this government remain unknown to you then I would suggest you allow the fifth of November to pass unmarked. But if you see what I see, if you feel as I feel, and if you would seek as I seek, then I ask you to stand beside me....