To My Children…

This arrived in my email a few days ago… and, while it is addressed to those of us who have children, it really applies to all of the relationships which mean a lot to us.

Stop and 'smell the roses' more with your loved ones this coming year.

If you get nothing else accomplished, your life will be richer and more satisfying.

Here it is:

This is for all of parents and grandparents, that sometimes forget during our busy lives just what is the most precious thing in our lives.

To My Children…

Just for this morning, I am going to smile when I see your face and laugh when I feel like crying.

Just for this morning, I will let you choose what you want to wear, and smile and say how perfect it is.

Just for this morning, I am going to step over the laundry, and pick you up and take you to the park to play.

Just for this morning, I will leave the dishes in the sink, and let you teach me how to put that puzzle of yours together.

Just for this afternoon, I will unplug the telephone and keep the computer off, and sit with you in the backyard and blow bubbles.

Just for this afternoon, I won't worry about what you are going to be when you grow up, or second guess every decision I have made where you are concerned.

Just for this afternoon, I will let you help me bake cookies, and I won't stand over you trying to fix them.

Just for this afternoon, I will take us to McDonald's and buy us both a Happy Meal so you can have both toys.

Just for this evening, I will hold you in my arms and tell you a story about how you were born and how much I love you.

Just for this evening, I will let you splash in the tub and not get angry.

Just for this evening, I will let you stay up late while we sit on the porch and count all the stars.

Just for this evening , I will snuggle beside you for hours, and miss my favorite TV shows.

Just for this evening when I run my finger through your hair as you pray, I will simply be grateful that God has given me the greatest gift ever given.

I will think about the mothers and fathers who are searching for their missing children, the mothers and fathers who are visiting their children's graves instead of their bedrooms, and mothers and fathers who are in hospital rooms wat ching their children suffer senselessly, and screaming inside that they can't handle it anymore.

And when I kiss you goodnight I will hold you a little tighter, a little longer. It is then, that I will thank God for you, and ask him for nothing, except one more day...

And that, gentle reader, is my final post for this year. Thank you for reading my blog this year… it has been an interesting and exciting almost four months. I'm looking forward to more in the coming year.

From me and my family, to you and yours… have a safe and Happy New Year!!

'See' you next year!!

LaVeda H. Mason


A Quiet, Lazy Day…

sleeping in, eating what we want for breakfast... whether it is leftovers from last night's dinner, or doughnuts and milk, sort of like backwards day :-).

The weather here is overcast and gloomy, but it is still fairly warm for December.

I'm looking forward to spring coming back again, I have another chance to try my hand at growing more vegetables, although from my experiences last year, I'd say that I'd make an excellent herb grower.

Not *that* kind, silly! Culinary and medicinal herbs :-)! Barring that, I'd probably have an excellent second career as a weed killer... all I'd have to do is tell the weed that there was some reason to eat it, and *poof*! It would die off, faster than you can say, "pesticide", lol!!

Anywhoo... it was a beautiful, quiet day, the kind that years later, when life has picked up considerably, that you look back on and think, "I need more days like that one!"


And, So This Is Christmas…

And, So This Is Christmas…

And all is well with the world. The children enjoyed their presents, both the ones that they gave, and the ones that they received. They have eaten all the food, cake and candy that they can hold, and they did their best to stay awake long enough to work off the last of the sugar rush.

But, it didn't work.

They lay strewn about the living room, gently snoring the sleep of the overstuffed. Now, I have to wake them up long enough to get them to bed, and then I can go to sleep as well.

What's next? Planning for New Years'!!



Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Solstice, and so on...

It seems like this year has simply flown by... it seems like yesterday, it was time for back-to-school stuff, and here we are, looking at the New Year!

Anyway, from my family to yours, enjoy your holidays, and don't spend too much, eat too much, or work too hard... the New Year is coming, and you're going to need all your strength to hit the ground running, LOL!!


Locating Games...

One of my children has decided that they want to give a video game to one of their siblings. Unfortunately, it is an old, discontinued game, so I have scoured eBay, and haunted the local GameStop. I discovered a new GameStop in my area, and when I go in, lo and behold! It is there, on the shelf! So, I call said child, and ask if this is the one. I am told, yes, and I purchase it. However, they do not have a system they can test the disk on to see if the game actually runs (it is a used game)... but hey, they have a guarantee, right?

Of course, after waiting for everyone else to go to bed, I tell the 'gift-er' to check the game, and it doesn't work.


I'm just going to return it, and get my money back. Time to move to Plan B for this child... maybe a nice box of chocolates for their sibling?


The Home Stretch...

Well, this is the last week before Christmas.

I was sitting here this morning, thinking that there was plenty of time to get those last Christmas dinner groceries, and then I *looked* at the calendar.


Next Monday is Christmas Eve, and the Federal Government is closed. So it's a three-day weekend. And anyone who has the vacation time to take Friday off, will.

So that leaves today, tomorrow, Wednesday, and Thursday during the day to finish everything for Christmas… because there is absolutely NO WAY I'm going to be in the street the weekend before Christmas! I'm leaving the last-minute shoppers to their own devices... they won't have me to kick around this year!

Thankfully, it's mostly the special ingredients for Christmas dinner that I need. And [checking pantry], not too much of that.

I'm still not in true Christmas mode, mainly because lately, it has been so warm here. It feels more like the beginning of summer, than time for New Years' fireworks.

Today, it was colder, but more like a nippy fall day, than like true December weather. Maybe it will be cold on Christmas Day [fingers crossed].


Stumble Upon...

is like Crack.

Yikes! You hit that "stumble" button, and away you go... before you know it, that fifteen minute email session is over. I sometimes feel like a lab rat in an experiment… how many times will you push the lever to get your reward?

That having been said, it is a great place to 'stumble upon' interesting websites. I have found more than a few hysterically funny pages... just when I needed a laugh.

If you wish, add me to your Friends… my handle is 'LaVeda'.


And Now, A Word From Dr. Seuss…

"And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow,
stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?

It came without ribbons.

It came without tags.

It came without packages, boxes or bags.

And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.

'What if Christmas', he thought, 'doesn't come from a store.
What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?' "

And now, a few words from me...


Take a deep breath.

Christmas isn't about toys, gifts, or stuff.

Christmas is about relationships.

Keep that in mind as you shop, cook, wrap, and ship.
(Think of the alternative!)

Now, don't you feel better?


All Quiet on The Home Front...

The only thing that is slightly odd is that it is 80 degrees here!

I am absolutely heartbroken… Christmas is coming ... where is the snow?


Ok, so I'm not so upset about the snow. I am LOVING this weather! Wheeeeee!!

Overcast this morning, but the sun broke through the clouds, leaving little fluffy cotton balls strewn all about the skyline.

Sunshine that you can FEEL, not just see, on your skin.

Not too hot (no air conditioner), not too cold (no heat/sweaters) ... it's jusssst right.


And that concludes today's post about simple pleasures...

What do you enjoy, that seems too simple to even comment on?


It's Wonderful… It **Just Works**!!

Linux Users at Best Buy:

Linux Users at Best Buy

We actually stand around the antivirus displays with the Mac users just waiting for someone to ask :-)

[Click the image to go to the site for more cartoons]


A Charlie Brown Christmas

In today's excerpt--in December 1965 came A Charlie Brown Christmas, the most successful special in television history. In a simple story from Peanuts' creator Charles Schulz where Charlie Brown looks for genuine meaning in Christmas while Snoopy and Lucy revel in its glitter, the show defied convention by using real kids' voices, no laugh track, sophisticated original music and uncluttered graphics:

An Image of Peanuts' Charlie Brown

"No one was more ready than Charles Schulz to write a parable about commercialism when [his agent] Lee Mendelson telephoned one Wednesday in May 1965 to announce that he had just sold a Christmas show to Coca-Cola. ... He brought in Bill Melendez, the Disney animator who had earned Schulz's respect by not Disneyfying the Peanuts gang ... [by] changing their essential qualities, either as "flat" characters or as his cartoon characters. ...

"[Schulz left] Lee and Bill to audition some forty-five kids, ages six to nine, then train the cast of seven principles, some of them too young to read ... [to deliver] their lines with startling clarity and feeling. ...

"Schulz loathed the hyena hilarity of canned merriment and rightly judged that an audience would not have to be told when and where to laugh; Mendelson countered that all comedy shows used such tracks. 'Well, this one won't,' said [Schulz] firmly. 'Let the people at home enjoy the show at their own speed, in their own way.' Then he rose and walked out, closing the door behind him. ...

"On the subject of scoring and music, however, Schulz put aside his own tastes ... [and his producer hired] Grammy Award-winning composer Vince Guaraldi. The catchy rhythm of 'Linus and Lucy' ... became the centerpiece of A Charlie Brown Christmas, and eventually a pop music standard. But it was the slower, mixed-mood, improvisational pieces in Guaraldi's jazz suite, especially 'Christmas Time is Here,' that elicited the unarticulated emotions lying below the holiday's joyful surface. ...

"Lee and his wife had read Hans Christian Andersen's 'The Fir Tree' to their children the previous year, and when he suggested that the show somehow involve a comparable motif, [Schulz] siezed upon the idea: 'We need a Charlie-Brown-like tree.' ... [And Schulz] insisted that the season's true meaning could be found in the Gospel according to St. Luke, and they agreed that the show would somehow work in the Nativity story. ... When the script was finished in June 1965, Lee Mendelson made a stand against Linus's recitation of the Nativity story, insisting that religion and entertainment did not mix on television. '[Schulz] just smiled,' Mendelson later wrote, 'patted me on the head, and left the room.' ...

"In a screening room at network headquarters in New York, two CBS vice presidents watched the show in silence. 'Neither of them laughed once,' Mendelson recalled. When the lights came on, the executives shook their heads and shrugged. 'Well,' said one, 'you gave it a good try.' 'It seems a little flat,' said the other. 'Too slow,' said the first, 'and the script is too innocent.' 'The Bible thing scares us,' said the other. The animation was crude--couldn't it be jazzed up a bit? The voice talent was unprofessional--they should have used adults. The music didn't fit--who ever heard of a jazz score on an animated special? And where were the laughs?"

David Michaelis, Schulz and Peanuts, Harper Collins, Copyright 2007 by David Michaelis, pp. 346- 358.

Link to DelanceyPlace.com -- for more excerpts


Dog v. Cat


8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!

9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!

9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!

10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!

12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!

1:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!

3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!

5:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!

7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!

8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!

11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!


Day 983 of my captivity.

My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.
They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are
fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for
the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in
order to keep up my strength. The only thing that keeps me going is my
dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on
the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their
feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it
clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made
condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was
placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event.
However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that
my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.' I must learn what
this means, and how to use it to my advantage.

Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my
tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try
this again tomorrow -- but at the top of the stairs.

I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and
snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly
released -- and seems to be more than willing to return. He is
obviously retarded.

The bird has got to be an informant. I observe him communicate with
the Guards regularly. I am certain that he reports my every move. My
captors have arranged protective custody for him in an elevated cell,
so he is safe ... for now ...


Today, I Was Telling A Friend ...

… that coding my websites has started to become an obsession. What else can you call writing out layouts and hex#'s for different color combinations on any stray piece of paper that comes to hand? Spending weeks working on a script that you just can't get to work (so, I never said that I'm *good* at it, lol!) ... Googling until you can hit the key combinations in your sleep... Tinkering with your sites before you've had your first cup of coffee? The 'sad' truth is, that I've discovered that I'm a geek!

Now seriously, there are worse things to discover about oneself... and, personally, my tastes in men have always seemed to run to geeks and nerds. They are usually more interesting (what's going ON in there?!?) to me. But I hadn't realized until recently, that *I* was a geek as well.

Which explains a whole lot of things.

I'll get into that on my other blog at another time (haven't you noticed, that once you begin blogging, *everything* starts to look like a blog post?), but for now, I'm just enjoying the warm fuzzy feeling of belonging somewhere.

No more apologizing for: my extensive mental collection of Star Trek quotes, being able to argue which Captain was the best (depends on my mood), being able to keep up with the science behind it all, and oh, those wonderful extras on the DVDs that tell you about how it was all done!! Not having to hide being interested in astrobiology, and astronomy, and whether or not wormholes actually exist. And let's not get into my Dr. Seuss fixation. [And, I *would* read it in a box, and ...]


Let others cower in their caves of fear and ignorance... I stride boldy forth, to engage my mind and brain in the struggle for understanding the universe!!

[spying the children advancing in a triangle formation with a syringe of some powerful sedative]


It is nice to know that there are others who are interested in the same things that I am... the Internet is wonderful, because you can find people who share your interests, even if there are an ocean away. It's nice to know that you are not Crazy [Official Diagnosis™], even if the only person that shares your interest is on another continent!!

I've got to go... I hear the children talking to someone on the phone, and I'm hearing words like 'psychiatrist', 'home visit', and 'straightjacket', and those three words in the same sentence do not bode well for me, lol!!

I'll leave you with a geek joke:

The Computer Programmer And The Frog

A computer programmer was crossing a road one day when a frog called out to him and said, "If you kiss me, I'll turn into a beautiful princess." He bent over, picked up the frog and put it in his pocket.

The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will tell everyone how smart and brave you are and how you are my hero." The man took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to his pocket.

The frog spoke up again and said, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a beautiful princess, I will be your loving companion for an entire week." The man took the frog out of his pocket, smiled at it and returned it to his pocket.

The frog then cried out, "If you kiss me and turn me back into a princess, I'll stay with you for a year and do anything you want." Again the man took the frog out, smiled at it, and put it back into his pocket."

Finally, the frog asked, "What is the matter? I've told you I'm a beautiful princess, that I'll stay with you for a year and do anything you want. Why won't you kiss me?"

The man said, "Look, I'm a computer programmer. I don't have time for a girlfriend, but a talking frog is cool."


Couple: Police Killed Our Pot Plants

FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) - A couple whose medical-marijuana plants were seized are threatening to sue authorities because the plants were returned dead.

The police seized 39 live marijuana plants from Jim and Lisa Masters in August 2006 and arrested them on drug charges, said their lawyer, Brian Vicente. The couple said they were using the plants for medical purposes and providing marijuana to several patients who were licensed to get it.

The narcotics charges against the Masters were dropped in June, and the plants were returned to them Monday, but dead.

The plants might be worth more than $100,000, the couple's attorneys told the Coloradoan newspaper.

The department didn't have to care for the plants because the couple did not have documentation to show the plants were legal, police spokeswoman Rita Davis said.



Inkjet tech delivers drugs - via transdermal patch

A Singapore-developed technology used in Hewlett-Packard’s patented process for its inkjet cartridges, could soon be used in skin patches to administer drugs.

The locally-developed microneedle technology is used in Hewlett-Packard’s patented process for its inkjet cartridges, could soon be used in transdermal patches to deliver time-controlled release of drugs to patients.

HP announced that it will license its microneedle technology to Crospon, an Ireland-based medical device maker, to develop and manufacture drug-laden skin patches for the healthcare market.

In a phone interview with ZDNet Asia, Crospon CEO John O’Dea said that the skin patch is akin to “a very small infusion pump”. Still at the prototype stage, the patch will likely be 25 mm square in size and 3 mm thick. It will incorporate an array of microneedles that are between 75 and 100 microns, which will penetrate the top dry layer of the skin, also known as the stratum corneum.

“Above the microneedles is an array of wells, [and] those wells can hold one or a number of drugs,” O’Dea explained, adding that for the actuation of drugs, the device has “an active mechanism to push the drug through the needle”.

As such, the patient is not depending on a “passive” type of drug delivery, he said.

According to O’Dea, the device will be completed and ready to hit the market in three to four years’ time. By then, it will also have a CPU onboard, likely to be in the form of “a regular micro controller type system” on flash memory, and be programmable to deliver one or multiple drugs at an appropriate dosage and time.

For instance, a patient after a cardiac surgery would be on as many as up to eight different drugs, all of which could be contained in one device—the transdermal patch.

From printers to patients

Lim Eng Hann, associate director of HP’s Asia-Pacific IP Licensing Center, told ZDNet Asia in the same phone interview that the technology used for the drug delivery system is not an exact replica of HP’s inkjet technology, but a modified version.

“The programmable part [of the patch] comes from HP’s inkjet technology where we could program to fire different nozzles for ink, and we repurposed that for firing drugs,” Lim said.

Two components are involved in the technology transfer from HP to Crospon: the microneedles which dispel the drug, and the “firing” mechanism that excretes the drug.

“We believe it’s an industry first to be able to deliver multiple drugs through a single patch with microneedles,” O’Dea said.

He acknowledged that while there are also players in the market “exploiting the potentials of microneedles”, there is no skin patch incorporating microneedle technology that is on sale in the market today.

ZDNet Asia understands that companies such as Procter & Gamble, Debiotech and Exploit Technologies—the commercialization arm for Singapore’s Agency for Science, Technology, and Research (A*STAR)—have also used microneedle technology for transdermal drug delivery systems.



Anatomy of A Black Hole

No, I'm not talking about your Christmas credit card debt, lol! The real ones...

And Think Technologies has come up with an excellent visual to explain how they work (according to our scientists' best knowledge):



WaaaaaHooooo!! It's The End of November!!! Yippee!!


["Peanuts" theme music playing]
This is the last post of November, hereby marking my completion of the 2007 NaBloPoMo, and the NaNoWriMo, ... A giant 'Thank You' to my friends who have dealt with me being unavailable and distracted this month ... it's over with, at least until next year [grin]! Happy, happy, joy, joy!! Have a great weekend!!


Unlucky $1 M lottery winner may lose prize

[If you can't be a good example, then you'll serve as a horrible warning!™ - LaVeda]

Lottery winner wasn't supposed to gamble
By MARK PRATT, Associated Press Writer
Wed Nov 28, 6:49 PM ET

The winner of a $1 million lottery scratch ticket may not be so lucky after all: He's a convicted bank robber who isn't supposed to gamble. Timothy Elliott faces a Dec. 7 court hearing over whether he violated his probation when he bought the $10 ticket for the $800 Million Spectacular game at a supermarket in Hyannis.

Elliott was placed on five years' probation after pleading guilty in October 2006 to unarmed robbery for a January 2006 heist at a bank on Cape Cod. Under terms of his probation, he "may not gamble, purchase lottery tickets or visit an establishment where gaming is conducted, including restaurants where Keno may be played."

Elliott, 55, has collected the first of 20 annual $50,000 checks from the Massachusetts lottery commission.

A picture of Elliott, holding his first check, was posted on the lottery's Web site Monday, though it was removed by Wednesday. As part of his sentence, Elliott was put under the care of the state Mental Health Department and sent to a hospital for treatment, and state officials refused Wednesday to say whether he was still being treated.

A telephone number for Elliott could not immediately be located Wednesday, and it was not clear whether he had a lawyer. The lottery routinely cross references the names of winners with the state Revenue Department to see if they owe back taxes or child support, lottery spokesman Dan Rosenfeld said. In those cases, winnings go straight to the Revenue Department. But in this case, it will be up to the court to determine what will happen with Elliott's winnings.

"This is kind of new territory," he said.



Depositing A Milion Dollars Isn't As Easy As It Used To Be

Georgia man tries to deposit fake $1M bill

A bank teller in Clearwater had a million reasons not to open an account for an Augusta, Ga., man Monday, authorities said. Alexander D. Smith, 31, was charged with disorderly conduct and two counts of forgery after he walked into the bank and tried to open an account by depositing a fake $1 million bill, said Aiken County Sheriff's spokesman Lt. Michael Frank.

The employee refused to open the account and called police while the man started to curse at bank workers, Frank said.

The second forgery charge came after investigators learned Smith bought several cartons of cigarettes from a nearby grocery store with a stolen check, Frank said.

The federal government has never printed a million-dollar bill, Frank said.

Information from: Aiken Standard


For Those of You That Still 'Do Santa'...

Santa Tracker Starts Dec 1

This year when Norad tracks Santa on Christmas Eve, the official application to watch it will be Google Earth.

Starting on December 1st, there will be a special countdown to Christmas Eve.

Go visit the Santa Tracker site starting December 1 for details. Last year Google created a 3D game in Google Earth where you had to find Christmas presents somewhere on the Earth for the two weeks leading up to Christmas.

They had Santa's North Pole home and his sleigh rendered in 3D, and then the Santa tracker was linked to the Norad data.



I Has A Sweet Potato

I came across this one, and all I can say is 'Sometimes you get the bear, and sometimes, the bear gets you'...

I Has a Sweet Potato (Warning: language ... may not be SFW)

So, what kind of a day did YOU have?


Quote on Friendship

"We'll love you just the way you are if you're perfect."
-- Alanis Morissette


Following Instructions Is Important!!

Wanda's dishwasher quit working, so she called a repairman. Since she
had to go to work the next day, she told the repairman, "I'll leave the key
under the mat. Fix the dishwasher, leave the bill on the counter, and I'll
mail you a cheque."

"Oh, by the way don't worry about my bulldog Spike. He won't bother
you. But, whatever you do, do NOT, under ANY circumstances, talk to my parrot!"


When the repairman arrived at Wanda's apartment the following day, he
discovered the biggest, meanest looking bulldog he has ever seen. But,
just as she had said, the dog just lay there on the carpet watching the
repairman go about his work.

The parrot, however, drove him nuts the whole time with his incessant
yelling, cursing and name calling. Finally the repairman couldn't contain himself any longer and yelled, "Shut up, you stupid, ugly bird!"

To which the parrot replied, "Get him, Spike!"

Some people just don't listen!


Bush Issues "Thankfulness List"

Pre-Thanksgiving Radio Address

In a special pre-Thanksgiving radio address broadcast from the White House, President George W. Bush asked his fellow Americans to join him in giving thanks for the following things:

“My fellow Americans, let’s be thankful for global warming, because as these winter months approach, it makes the world such a nice, toasty place.

“Let’s be thankful for all of the food on our tables, unless some of it is from China.

“Let’s be thankful that Pakistan will have free and fair elections, and maybe someday we will, too.

“Let’s be thankful for the iPhone, except for those losers who actually paid full price for it.

“Let’s be grateful that I didn’t take out a subprime mortgage on the White House like Mr. Cheney told me to.

“Let's be thankful that nuclear weapons haven’t fallen into the hands of the wrong people, like Nancy Pelosi or Rosie O’Donnell.

“Let’s be thankful that Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert’s writers are on strike, and hopefully will stay that way for the rest of my term in office.

“Let's be thankful that even though my approval numbers are falling, they’re still higher than my grades at Yale.

“Let’s be thankful that Osama bin Laden dyed his hair in his last video, because that made him look really gay.

“Let's be thankful for Guitar Hero III, which really helps you get through those long Cabinet meetings when they're going on and on about the economy.

“Let's be thankful that our military commanders have nothing bad to say about the war in Iraq until after they’re retired.

“Let's be thankful that in nine months it will be August and then I can go on summer vacation again.

“And finally, my fellow Americans, let's be thankful that, even though Al Gore won the Nobel Peace Prize, I’m still a lock for the Nobel War Prize.”



Thanksgiving Day

The food has been prepared and eaten, the company has arrived and left. Everyone is sitting around in a post-gluttonous [is that even a word?] stupor while we watch our family's favorite Thanksgiving movie:

Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory

I've loved that movie since I was a child, and I'm happy that my children enjoy the movie as well. Especially the Oompa-Loompas, and their songs about bad children, which they are not
:::innocent looks all around::: A nice memoir of times gone by.


Proposed Bill Would Bring 4,000 Troops Back To Life

[In a perfect world...]

WASHINGTON—With more American military casualties in 2007 than any year since the war began, a bipartisan group of House representatives introduced a bill Monday that calls for nearly 4,000 U.S. soldiers who have been killed in Iraq to be brought back to life.

Cosponsors John Boehner, left, and Bruce Braley, middle, told reporters how the bill would make everything all better Tuesday.

"These brave men and women gave their lives for our country," Rep. Wayne Gilchrest (R-MD), a cosponsor of the bill, told Congress yesterday. "The least we can do is give them back."

Though most Democrats and Republicans remain deadlocked on the issue of a possible troop withdrawal, leaders on both sides have been able to agree that bringing thousands of soldiers back from the dead and returning them home to their families, alive and well, like nothing ever happened, is the "only honorable choice."

"Our proposal would completely change the course of the conflict from hundreds of people dying every day to everyone suddenly being alive again," said Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA), donning a "Support Our Troops—Bring 'Em Back From The Dead" ribbon. "This will not only improve morale at home and abroad, but will also make everything all better."

"I think we can all agree that making everything all better would vastly improve the situation in Iraq," Braley added.

The bill, H.R. 702, stipulates that immediately upon its passage into law, the 4,000 brave soldiers who lost have their lives in Iraq come marching triumphantly over the horizon, directly into the arms of their loved ones, looking the same as they did on the day they left home. Article II, Section 3 of the bill requires that each soldier be carrying one apple pie, to be consumed in full with family members as they sit around the dinner table and laugh and sing. A proviso in Article III states that everything will go back to the way it was before.

Supporters of the bill march in New York.

The bill would also prohibit troops currently stationed in Iraq from ever dying.

According to House minority leader John Boehner (R-OH), the measure, already long overdue, is the most effective way to ensure that the growing casualty rate in Iraq is instantly reversed and reduced to zero.

"How much longer are we going to let these troops stay deceased? Two years? Three years? Forever?" Boehner said. "If we allow this to happen, then the insurgents have already won."

Added Boehner: "Thousands have made the ultimate sacrifice. Let's make sure they are repaid for that sacrifice in kind."

Though the bill enjoys broad support, a number of politicians have claimed the move is shortsighted and could destabilize the region if the reanimated bodies of the U.S. military returned to the living world as undead ghouls devoid of consciousness. Braley, however, dismissed such fears.

"I assure the American people that the reborn troops will appear just as alive and vital as they did mere moments before they were killed. In no way will they be an unholy abomination of undead flesh," Braley said.

Scheduled to be put to a vote in December, the bill has endured numerous setbacks, including fierce debate over which soldier should be brought back to life first, a core of Republicans who say they will only vote yes on the condition that the reanimated troops are immediately redeployed to Iraq, and Sen. Ted Stevens' (R-AK) multiple attempts to tack a rider onto the bill that would bring back his dead wife.

Though the bill is expected to pass the House, some Senators claim suddenly bringing back thousands of deceased Americans might send the wrong message to America's enemies.

"The tide in Iraq is turning," Sen. Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT) said. "American men and women dying in droves has worked thus far—it is not time to abandon this strategy."

Congress is also expected to begin drafting legislation that would completely heal all 28,385 wounded U.S. soldiers. If passed into law, any troops who have lost limbs to amputation, infection, or car-bomb explosions can expect their arms and legs to grow back within six months. In addition, the bill would guarantee that those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder will not have post-traumatic stress disorder anymore.

Even if the measure passes both the House and Senate, however, President Bush has promised to veto the bill.



Witty Knitting

When I saw these photos, I wasn't sure whether to admire them, or think 'these people have entirely too much time on their hands' ... the former won out... enjoy!!

8 Examples of Witty Knitting


For The 'Geek' in You...

Ultra- Cool!!!

Blue LED Binary Clock

You've got the horn-rimmed glasses and the pocket protector, now get the clock for computer geeks.

• Unique binary time display is easy to look at even if it is hard to read-until you know the trick
• The perfect gift for the binary freak or computer geek in your life
• Two modes available for twice the confusion; "BCD" mode and "True Binary" mode
• Once you know the secret, you'll have to work hard not to give it away
• Dimmer switch to cool the blue even cooler-if, that is, you think it is possible to get cooler than this
• Sleek design is complemented by a sleek price - $24.95

My eldest took one look at this page, and declared that it was "lame... who wants to spend 15 minutes trying to figure out what time it is?!?" Well, as I told her, "I'm just a soul who's intentions are good... "

Click the link for the secret to reading it... [grin]


Watching Spider-Man 3

The children thought that they weren't going to like it, but I heard them laughing and clapping, and they insisted that I watch it. As a comic book fan, and a fan of Spider-Man, I was sort of like, "eh", as far as catching #3 in the trilogy.

I have to admit, it was pretty good! The special effects were fabulous, and the story was pretty good, and funny, too!

Some of our favorite stuff from movie DVDs are the director and actor commentaries - learning about how the movie was made - all the background stuff, the work that different people like the composer, the sound effects people, and the storyboard artists do, and how the movie is put together. In many ways, it adds to our enjoyment of the movie, and sometimes, is more enjoyable than the movie itself.

My third child is very much into writing and putting on plays at home - complete with costumes that she designs, and makeup. The behind-the-scenes stuff has been a big help; she's learned how creative the special effects people have to be to get the job done... everything is not done with expensive props. Even things that you find around the house can be pressed into service as things totally different than the lives that they have in the everyday world. Coffee cup lids can become a computer console, packing foam can change the shape of the walls so that you are in what looks like a cargo bay. It's interesting, and a lot of fun!

So, I suppose that we'll be stringing rigging somewhere inside the house, so that we can figure out the physics of web swinging, lol!!


Japan’s Lunar Probe: HD Moon Photos & Movies!

Author: Leonard David

Check out the world’s first high-definition movies - shot on location at the Moon.

Japan’s Kaguya lunar explorer carried out onboard high-definition television (HDTV) from about 62 miles (100 kilometers) away from the Moon. The image taking was performed twice on October 31, according to officials at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and NHK, the Japan Broadcasting Corporation that developed the camera system.

The movie consists of two sequences - one shot over the western region of Oceanus Procellarum. The other is a fly over of the Moon’s north pole region, flying over the northern part of Oceanus Procellarum to the north pole.

Kaguya is in excellent shape as it circles the Moon - just joined by China’s mooncraft that just entered its working orbit of roughly 186 miles (300 kilometers) above the lunar landscape.

Take a look at that movie by going here: Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency



Japan Shoots First High-Definition of Earth Rising

Japan's space agency said it has shot the first high-definition image of the Earth rising, showing a crystal clear blue planet emerging from the moon's horizon.

The images were taken by Japan's Kaguya probe, the most extensive investigation of the moon since the Apollo missions of the United States that began in the 1960s.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) said in a statement that the agency, working with Japan's public broadcaster NHK, "have successfully performed the world's first high-definition image of an earthrise."


The images show a brilliant blue globe with a white top at Antarctica against a backdrop of pitch black space. Australia is visible as a lightish brown island, as are the craters of the moon's surface.

The first image of the Earth was taken in 1959, when US Explorer VI took the first photo from space while passing over the Pacific Ocean.

Images of the Earth quickly became icons for the growing environmentalist movement amid concern that modern industry was destroying the planet.

The Kaguya took the image of a nearly full Earth as it travelled some 100 kilometers (62 miles) above the Moon's surface.

"We may also try to shoot images of a full Earth," JAXA spokesman Akinori Hashimoto said.

The 55-billion-yen (495-million-dollar) Kaguya probe, named after a fairytale princess, was launched from southern Japan in mid-September.

The agency plans to begin the main part of the moon study in mid-December, including a review of the lunar gravity fields, Hashimoto said.

Japan has been expanding its space operations and has set a goal of sending an astronaut to the moon by 2020.

© 2007 AFP


Blue Skies and Starry Nights

After so many nights looking up at the gorgeous night sky, and being unable to take a decent picture for my blog (or my desktop), I came across this widget:

Astronomy Widget

I've installed this widget, and it's pretty fantastic! You can customize it for your location, even which direction you want to look toward (N/S/E/W)

For you PC users (the widget is Mac-only), there's a web version:

Starry Night Online (Beta)

You personalize the view via zip code, or, for the more technically minded, with latitude and longitude. It will even label stars, planets, and constellations! Pretty cool and far out!! Enjoy!!


PSA: To Stay Healthy Over The Holidays, Do What Your Mother Told You...

Wash your hands, thoroughly and often!!

Hand washing critical to avoiding illness over holidays, expert says

A Purdue University expert says food safety this holiday season should start with soap.
"It's cold season," said Laura Palmer, a Cooperative Extension Service specialist in foods and nutrition and a registered dietitian. "There are many germs, and you will be around many people over the next few months, whether as the cook or a guest. It all comes down to proper hand washing if you want to decrease your chances of getting sick."

Palmer recommends washing hands not only after using the restroom and before and after food preparation, but also after handling raw meats and other foods that can contaminate ready-to-eat items. Hand washing also is a good idea after touching telephones, cameras and other frequently used items.

"Be sure to work soap into a lather for 20 seconds," Palmer said. "Wash around rings and under fingernails. Rinse hands thoroughly under running water and use a dry paper towel to turn the faucet off. It doesn't do any good to wash your hands if you touch the knobs everyone turned on with dirty hands."

Preventing sickness during the holidays, especially food-borne illness, requires vigilance from both cooks and partygoers, Palmer said. To stay healthy during the holidays, Palmer offers the following food tips:

* If you're cooking, start with a clean kitchen. Look beyond countertops by wiping down the refrigerator and oven door handles, drawer handles and faucets. Use separate cutting boards for meat and fresh produce or cheese. Sanitize all work surfaces and utensils following food preparation.

* Keep in mind the two-hour rule. Don't leave perishable food out at room temperature for more than two hours. Bacteria can grow, leading to illness.

* Beware of buffets. Buffets are fun ways to offer a variety of food to crowds, but take care that items are served appropriately. Deli meat and seafood items should be served over ice or otherwise kept cold. Cheeses and dips made with dairy products also should be kept chilled. If you notice that such items aren't set out properly, opt for a different snack.

* Use food thermometers to cook foods to a proper internal temperature. The U.S. Department of Agriculture offers guidelines on cooking temperatures for a variety of foods online at http://www.fsis.usda.gov/Is_It_Done_Yet/index.asp

* When reheating leftovers, be sure food is heated to 165 degrees. Simply "warming up" food does not protect against illness. Cold foods should be kept at 40 degrees or lower.

Source: Purdue University

Americans Announce They're Dropping Out Of Presidential Race

WASHINGTON—Citing exhaustion, an overcrowded field of candidates, and little hope of making a difference in 2008, roughly 300 million Americans announced Tuesday that they will be leaving the presidential race behind.

The U.S. populace, which has participated in every national election since 1789, said that while the decision to abandon next year's race was difficult, recent events, such as disappointing victories by both Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani in regional straw polls, left them with no real choice.

"We gave it our best shot, and for a while it seemed like the American people actually had a chance of coming out on top," Weare, NH resident Mark Simmons said at a press conference in front of his suburban home. "Unfortunately, as much as we'd like to remain optimistic, it's become clear that this just isn't our year."

Added Simmons: "Maybe you'll see us again in 2012."

Though initially excited about making universal health care a reality and putting an end to the Iraq war, the American people appeared visibly worn down after only three months of campaigning. According to Beltway observers, idealism among Americans began to fade after the first series of major televised debates in August, during which every citizen in every state realized they would have to compromise their core values in order to remain in the race.

Factors including intense media coverage of seemingly trivial issues, destructive partisan bickering, and the relentless exploitation of 9/11 only seemed to further discourage Americans from making it to Election Day.

"As the obvious underdogs, we knew that the chance of Americans winning in 2008 was slim to none," said Seattle native Paul Waverchuck, who claimed he was looking forward to spending more time with his family after giving up politics. "I guess there's just no room at the table for the vast majority of this country's citizens."

Some pundits predicted months ago that U.S. citizens would lose steam before the first round of primaries in January. Unable to endure the breakneck pace of morning talk-show interviews and the constant coverage and scrutiny of Hillary Clinton's laugh, Americans reportedly began to lose focus as early as mid-September.

A strong October surge in several states by Republican candidate and Mormon Mitt Romney made it clear to thousands that it was time to throw in the towel.

"Once Law & Order star Fred Thompson declared his candidacy and Barack Obama started using religion to win votes, you could tell America's heart wasn't in it anymore," Washington Post correspondent Dan Balz said. "They knew it was over for them."

While not necessarily shocked by the news, some political observers have lamented the recent departure of the nation's citizens from the 2008 elections.

"American men and women were the only real opposition to frontrunners like Clinton and Giuliani," New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd said. "They were the only ones who seemed to have the public's best interest truly in mind. Without them, it's not going to be much of a contest."

While admitting to being disappointed by the results, Americans said they would continue to pursue lasting social change, whether by working overtime shifts in order to make education more affordable for their children, or by selling some of their belongings in order to provide medical coverage for aging family members.

"Politics are all well and good, but sometimes you have to look for solutions outside of Washington if you want to get things done," said Henrietta Tanner, a single mother of three from Boise, ID. "Like standing in line at the food bank down on Cavendish Avenue, for instance."


Quote on Cause and Effect

“The next time you find yourself stuck in a long line at an ATM machine, traffic jam, or supermarket checkout counter, resist your urge to react. Do not get frustrated. Do not become impatient. Do not get angry. The line is there to test you, and to give you an opportunity not to react. But if you do react, the situation controls you. The situation becomes the cause and you the effect.”
~Yehuda Berg

This used to be me. I spent so much energy struggling against whatever situation I was in, by the time it was over, I was seriously exhausted. Now that I live here, I try to arrange my life so that I don't have to wait. Now, I find that when I do have to wait, it's okay... I'm not frustrated or angry. It is what it is, and I find that now, I can wait.

Unfortunately, it's not a thing that I can explain well to other people, especially when they are in the throes of emotion. Maybe I should print up this quote, lol!!


Baby, It's COLD in Here!

Ok, maybe not *that* cold, but you get the picture :-)!

But why was it cold? The house has no holes, etc., to bleed heat... and we aren't running the air conditioner.

So, I'm thinking ...

Rats! I'm going to have to call the HVAC repair guy to come over *again* to fix something else on this unit, and he's already been over twice this year :::::::sigh::::::::

So, I take a look at the unit thermostat, and, sure enough, the temp is set at eighty degrees, and the fan is on 'auto'... but why isn't it blowing hot air?

I lean closer to the thermostat, placing my hand on the wall and the computer monitor underneath the thermostat to steady myself, and realize...

HEY!! This monitor is HOT!

It's a beautiful, contemporary slim monitor, but apparently it kicks out just as much heat as the old fat ones, because once we turned the monitor off (#3 child was on it the entire day, working on her play costuming and makeup), the heat was back on again... hooray!!!

And I didn't have to call the repair guy, pay a fee and look stupid [whew]!

Remind me sometime to tell you about the time I tried to repair a toilet, lol!!

[Image credit : http://www.istockphoto.com]


Word of the Day: Aliterate

aliterate (ay-LIT-uhr-it) noun

One who is capable of reading but not interested in it.

[From Latin a- (not or without) + litteratus (learned), from littera

Today's word in Visual Thesaurus: http://visualthesaurus.com/?w1=aliterate

Aliterates stand somewhere between literates and illiterates. They can read but don't want to. Whether they can alliterate, we're not sure.

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

"The avowed aliterate has relinquished an activity that is uniquely human. (Apes can watch TV)."
Linton Weeks; Essay; The Washington Post; Jul 14, 1996.


*Another* Quiet Day, LOL!!

I am loving all this peace and quiet... I haven't even had to mediate many disputes since November 1 ... I think because the children know that their misadventures will become blog fodder [evil grin], so they are minding their Ps and Qs.

I think that I'm going to have to blog daily after this project is over with, just to keep the peace around here... this is *really* cool!!

Another quiet evening, coming up, and I leave you with today's Astronomy Picture of the Day:

Skyscape with Comet Holmes
(Go to the link to learn more)



I spent the early afternoon catching up with friends on the phone, and jumping because the children like to sneak up on me and put their cold hands on me. (Fall weather has finally arrived here)

"HEY!! THAT'S COLD!!" I screech, just like I had been surprised by the sudden appearance of a cold-fingered child.

[child giggles and runs away]

Two minutes later, the next member of the tag team sneaks in to 'surprise' me with, you guessed it, their cold fingers :->!

It reminds me of the time when everyone was five and under, and they used to sleep in shifts, so that one of them was *always* awake and needing my attention... Ahhh, the old days of sleep deprivation. I am proof that whatever doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, lol!

It seems like yesterday that I was dealing with diapers, strollers, slings, sore body parts that you cannot mention in public, The Big Comfy Couch, Mighty Morphin Power Rangers (all the incarnations up to 2000), Barney (shudder), Power Puff Girls (so glad they got Buttercup to take that bath... ewww!), and the Donut Man (I was beginning to feel like I had a hole in the middle of my *head*!!) and yep, sleep deprivation. Now, my contemporaries are discussing marriage plans for their children.

It is not my turn yet for that, I have maybe a year or two before that begins, but it seems like yesterday that I was seventeen, waiting for my life to start, and now it is [deleted] years later, and I'm middle aged... time is moving too fast!! I'm still trying to get ready for Y2K, for crying out loud!!

Ah, well. Getting older is better than the alternative :-).


It seems weird...

for it to be sooo quiet here, for two days in a row. Many days, I don't even think about posting, because I'm so happy that the day is over, and I'm wiped out. Now that I've committed (maybe I should *be* committed, lol!) to writing in this blog every single doggone day, I'm finding that I've hit a boring patch. [sigh]

I mean, the most interesting thing that happened today is the arrival of the Transformers movie at my house ... which I am previewing as I type this. The language is a little rough in patches, but the special effects are pretty fantastic. This movie is definitely not for the sensitive under 13 children (rated PG-13) ... those scenes where the bad transformers are chasing people are pretty scary (at least to me... I'm getting sensitive in my old age), unless you want to be dealing with nightmares :-).

Other than that, there's not much happening here. But [looking around furtively], I'm not complaining, because there'll be all kinds of things happening soon, and it will be all I can do to keep up, much less blog about it!

Hey, at least it's not still Tuesday [grin]!


It's Only Tuesday! *

WASHINGTON, DC—After running a thousand errands, working hours of overtime, and being stuck in seemingly endless gridlock traffic commuting to and from their jobs, millions of Americans were disheartened to learn that it was, in fact, only Tuesday.

"Tuesday?" San Diego resident Doris Wagner said. "How is it still Tuesday?"

Already the week is unbearable for these New Yorkers awaiting a subway train, and it's only Tuesday.

Tuesday's arrival stunned a nation still recovering from the nightmarish slog that was Monday, leaving some to wonder if the week was ever going to end, and others to ask what was taking Saturday so long.

"Ugh," said Wagner, echoing a national sense of frustration over it not even being Wednesday at the very least.

According to suddenly depressed sources, the feeling that this week may in fact last forever was further compounded by the thought of all the work left to be done tomorrow, the day after tomorrow, and, if Americans make it that far, possibly even Friday.

Fears that the week could actually be going backwards were also expressed.

"Not only do Americans have most of Tuesday morning to contend with, but all of Tuesday afternoon and then Tuesday night," National Labor Relations Board spokesman David Prynn said. "If our calculations are correct, there is a chance we are in effect closer to last weekend than the one coming up."

Added Prynn: "----."

Believe it or not, it's not even lunchtime yet for these commuters in Southern California.

Reports that this all has to be some kind of sick joke could not be confirmed as of press time.

Isolated attempts to make the day go faster, such as glancing at watches or clocks every other minute, compulsively checking e-mail, hiding in the office bathroom, fidgeting, or reading a boring magazine while sitting in the waiting room, have also proven unsuccessful, sources report.

The National Institutes of Standards and Technology, which oversees the official time of the United States, is flatly denying that it has slowed or otherwise tampered with Tuesday's progression.

"The current Tuesday is keeping apace with past Tuesdays with no more than one ten-thousandth of a second's variation at the most," NIST spokeswoman Dr. Geraldine Schach said. "However, I sympathize with the common consensus that this week has already been a colossal pain in the neck."

Labor Secretary Elaine Chao released a statement addressing widespread speculation that it might as well be Monday for all anyone cares.

"We understand this day has been tough on many of you, what with meetings mercilessly dragging on and an entire stack of files still left to organize," Chao's statement read in part. "Yet we urge Americans to show patience. The midweek hump is just around the corner, and we have strong reason to believe that Saturday will be here before you know it."

"Go about your lives as best you can," the statement continued. "Do not, we repeat, do not take a sick day, as it'll make the rest of the week that much harder to endure."

In the meantime, citizens are doing their best to cope with the interminable week, though Tuesday is still hours away from ending.

"The more I try to speed it along, the longer it almost seems to take," said Dale Bouchard, a Chicago-based broker who has been waiting for today to be over since it first began earlier this morning. "Honestly, today could not have come at a worse time this week."

In the meantime, the latest wristwatch consultations indicate that it is somehow still Tuesday, if that makes any sense at all.

* - Expletives deleted for the family audience; view unedited version at the source:


Monnnnday, Mondayyyyy...

It's been a pretty quiet day today, no fires, no rampaging dogs, just an ordinary day on the 'farm'.

The weather is getting colder, by SC standards... those of you who are living up North, where it has begun to get *really* cold at night, probably think that we are soft and pampered... and we are [smile]! However, with the cold coming on, we are starting to see the arrival of the fall colors on the trees.

It seems as though we were waiting, just yesterday, for the cold weather to stop, so that we could plant our spring gardens, and now it is time to prepare those same gardens for winters' bite. I'm still trying to wrap my mind around the concept of a three-season (depending on the weather) garden. What luxury, to be able to eat fresh food from your garden (almost) all year long!!

No photos of the fall trees yet... check back in a few days... they should be out in full force then :-)!


Sunsets, Courtesy of Mother Nature

I was inside the other day (I need to get out more), and the children all tumbled in, talking over one another excitedly. Before I can get out a 'what in the world?', they drag me outside because "you **MUST** see this"!!

I'll admit, I thought that it was going to be bad news, like the fence was broken, etc.. But I was wrong... it was this:

This picture is not Photoshopped. And in person, it was a real showstopper. I was speechless (and, if you know me, that's not an easy thing to do)!

After I gathered my wits, we took the photo, and I told the crew, that they were right... this absolutely was a must see!

We watched the sun go down, and took some more pics:

The lights in this photo are my nearest neighbors' (about 2 acres away) power pole lights... it was about 7:30pm.


No More Fried Food For Us!!!

The other day, while I was talking to one of my children, I saw an orange light reflected on the door of the room that I was in. Being an experienced Mom, I had already started moving toward the light when I heard a voice call "MOOOOMMMM!!!" in that tone that tells you that Murphy has come to visit, and brought his younger brother, Trouble.

I dashed into the kitchen, and saw flames erupting from a pot on the stovetop, into the microwave/range hood directly over the stove. My eldest took one look, and while I got out the baking soda, ordered the children out of the house, then she got a metal bowl (both are used to combat grease fires) for the pot. My second in command (#2 child) herded everyone else outside to sit in the van (so that they'd be out of the way).

In the meantime, the flames were licking the underside of the kitchen cabinets, and the decision was made to call the Fire Department (this decision wasn't anything as calm as the way that I'm telling it now, lol!!)... while we fought the fire... the main danger that I was concerned about was that we would not be able to get the fire put out, and would lose our home (although, we'd get a new one... but who wants to go through living in a hotel room for months?!?). The children were already outside, so I wasn't concerned about any loss of life.

Between the two of us, we got the fire put out, but the microwave exhaust screen was still on fire while we were on the phone with 911, so the Fire Department came out, while we waited outside. (The microwave is part of our kitchen exhaust system; the concern was that the fire had gone into the exhaust system, and could smolder into a fire later on, if not checked out.)

The FD checked everything out, we *had* put the fire completely out, and with minimal damage. The most severe casualty was the microwave (right); the cabinets didn't get burned at all, thank heavens! And there's the smoke mark cleanup [shudder] on the walls and ceiling over and around the stove.

It was all over with in less than an hour, from first sighting of orange light, to the FD pulling out of the yard, to calling my homeowners insurance agent. Whew!

Of course, my child (#3), the amateur photographer, was upset because we didn't get a photo of the beautiful, shiny new fire truck that was parked in the yard ... sorry, Mom was a *little* bit distracted, lol!! She had to content herself with taking photos of the partially melted microwave. (Note to self: Designate child #3 to grab the camera in an emergency, lol!)

Needless to say, we ate take-out that night!! And, no more frying food (the oil caught on fire because the electric eye was up a wee bit too high... we're *still* trying to make the transition from gas to electric!) for us... if it can't be baked, we're ordering out :-)!!

Kudos to the children for moving like a well-oiled machine in the face of danger. Thanks to the fire department for arriving so swiftly to our call! Family emergency training works, and my family is (living) proof!!


On A Country Lane...

that's where I live. Actually, the country lane runs next to my property (on the right in this picture), I don't actually drive on it much, because right in front of my driveway is a perfectly good paved road that heads to the highway :-).

But, I still think that it is pretty, especially when the trees that lose their leaves begin to turn (it hasn't begun here in full force yet... give it a few more cold nights). And, it's also pretty quiet. My city friends think that it is *too* quiet, but that's because they are used to the cacophony (definition: a discordant and meaningless mixture of sounds: the cacophony produced by city traffic at midday.) that they hear all day, every day in the city. If I ever miss the noise and traffic, less than a half-hour away, there is a city, complete with traffic and crowds... almost like home [evil grin]!!


It's November Madness!!!

Well, it's November 1st, and as I posted on my other blog, there's a lot going on, so I thought this Word of the Day was a good one:

lexiphanes (lex-SIF-uh-neez) nounjavascript:void(0)

One who uses words pretentiously.

[From Greek lexiphanes (phrase monger), from lexis (word or phrase) + -phaneia
(to show).]

-Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)

"The danger is in becoming so seduced by the lexiconic that we became lexiphanes. There's no excuse for indulging in the bombastic at any time, of course."
Murray Waldren; That's Language; The Australian (Sydney); Jul 16, 2005.

Hopefully, that dread fate won't happen to me, lol!!

LaVeda (living LaVeda loca, lol!!)


So *THAT'S* What's Been Going On!!

Political Scientists Discover New Form Of Government

October 30, 2007

WASHINGTON, DC—Political scientists at the Cato Institute announced Monday that they have inadvertently synthesized a previously theoretical form of government known as megalocracy.

"We were attempting to recreate a military junta in a controlled diplomatic setting, and we applied too much external pressure," said head researcher Dr. Adam Stogsdill, a leading expert in highly reactionary ruling systems. "The resultant government has the ruthless qualities of a dictatorship combined with the class solidarity of a plutocracy—it's quite a remarkable find."

Stogsdill explained that megalocracy is extremely unstable and can only exist in idealistic conditions for a few minutes before collapsing into anarchy.



Who Is My Neighbor?

“Our neighbor is anyone who needs assistance, whether friend or stranger. We cannot expect to correct all the ills of the world but we can help the people with whom we come in contact. This is our spiritual service.”
– Elizabeth Sand Turner

This is something that I have to remember when I'm in hermit-mode...


NewSpeak for The Office... No Cursing!


Dear Employees:

It has been brought to management's attention that some individuals
throughout the company have been using foul language during the course
of normal conversation with their co-workers.

Due to complaints received from some employees who may be easily
offended, this type of language will no longer be tolerated.

We do, however, realize the critical importance of being able to
accurately express your feelings when communicating with co-workers.

Therefore, a list of 18 New and Innovative 'TRY SAYING' phrases have
been provided so that proper exchange of ideas and information can
continue in an effective manner.

Number 1
TRY SAYING: I think you could use more training.
INSTEAD OF: You don't know what the ____ you're doing.

Number 2
TRY SAYING: She's an aggressive go-getter.
INSTEAD OF: She's a ___ing b___.

Number 3
TRY SAYING: Perhaps I can work late.
INSTEAD OF: And when the ____ do you expect me to do this?

Number 4
TRY SAYING: I'm certain that isn't feasible.
INSTEAD OF: No ____ing way.

Number 5
INSTEAD OF: You've got to be ____ing me!

Number 6
TRY SAYING: Perhaps you should check with...
INSTEAD OF: Tell someone who gives a ___.

Number 7
TRY SAYING: I wasn't involved in the project.
INSTEAD OF: It's not my ____ing problem.

Number 8
TRY SAYING: That's interesting.
INSTEAD OF: What the ____?

Number 9
TRY SAYING: I'm not sure this can be implemented.
INSTEAD OF: This ___ won't work.

Number 10
TRY SAYING: I'll try to schedule that.
INSTEAD OF: Why the ____ didn't you tell me sooner?

Number 11
TRY SAYING: He's not familiar with the issues.
INSTEAD OF: He's got his head up his ___.

Number 12
TRY SAYING: Excuse me, sir?
INSTEAD OF: Eat ___ and die.

Number 13
TRY SAYING: So you weren't happy with it?
INSTEAD OF: Kiss my ___.

Number 14
TRY SAYING: I'm a bit overloaded at the moment.
INSTEAD OF: ___ it, I'm on salary.

Number 15
TRY SAYING: I don't think you understand.
INSTEAD OF: Shove it up your ___.

Number 16
TRY SAYING: I love a challenge.
INSTEAD OF: This ____ing job sucks.

Number 17
TRY SAYING: You want me to take care of that?
INSTEAD OF: Who the ____ died and made you boss?

Number 18
TRY SAYING: He's somewhat insensitive.
INSTEAD OF: He's a p__k.

Thank You,
Human Resources

See the NewSpeak for Relationships ... The Nine Most Important Words A Man Must Know


Stars in the Night Sky...

I was outside the other night, and the sky was absolutely full of stars...

big ones,
little ones,
bright ones,
and faint ones that you had to look carefully to see.

I grabbed my camera to take a picture of it for you, but my camera isn't sophisticated enough to take a good picture (although, it may be the photographer :->), so I went on the Web to look for a good picture of a star-filled, night sky. Here's one that spoke to me:

Here's the link for the caption that went with this photo:

In reading that caption, I learned a lot about why you don't see most of the stars when you live in the city.

To quote: "City dwellers have already lost most of the constellations, the planet Saturn, and a host of medium magnitude stars. They can forget about observing most meteor showers, too, or faint displays of Northern Lights.

It's a big loss. Young sky watchers grow up to be philosophers, scientists, poets, explorers, and school teachers. But kids aren't likely to watch -- or be inspired by -- a blank sky."

To learn more about this, check out: the International Dark-sky Association website: http://www.darksky.org.


Taking the Pepsi v. Coke War a Little Too Far

Guys, it's just a job! Can't we all just get along?!?

Pepsi, Coke Rivalry Becomes Physical
From Associated Press
October 12, 2007 8:46 PM EDT

INDIANA, Pa. - The long-standing rivalry between Coke and Pepsi took a physical turn Friday when a Pepsi deliveryman allegedly punched his Coke counterpart in the face at a western Pennsylvania Wal-Mart, state police said.

The two deliverymen were "apparently bickering back and forth" while unloading their wares at the Indiana County store, police said. When the Coke deliveryman left the store, his counterpart allegedly punched him in the face three times, breaking his nose and giving him a black eye, police said.

No charges have been filed, but police characterized the incident as a misdemeanor simple assault.


Information from: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, http://www.post-gazette.com


Children Sometimes See Better Than We Can

Sometimes, I am privy to discussions that my children have when they are talking with one another. Their clearsightedness floors me sometimes ... for example:

16yog: Boy, when I think about how much I liked X, I realize that I was out of my mind! What was I thinking?!?

10yog: YoYou were chasing a piece of tail (Mom: !!?!!), without looking at what it was attached to.

16yog: A dog?

10yog: Precisely! (Both start laughing)

At this point, I just about have to scrape myself off of the floor, between being in shock at the correctness of the 10yo's diagnosis, as well as the way she phrased her statement... that one's an old soul... and trying not to wet my pants laughing (they drummed me out of the Mothers' Union *ages* ago because I laugh out loud when the children do something funny)!!

I am *so* glad that I am privileged to see how their minds work. They actually talk to me without coercion (at least, that's what I hear other parents complain about ... I've not had that problem, myself); and I know that they look out for one another, even though they don't always agree. I believe that if this keeps up, they will be fine when I am gone... they will look out for one another. Which, I think, is the truest definition of 'family'.


National Freedom From Bullies Week - OCT 10-20, 2007

Freedom from Bullies Week
Monday October 14 through Sunday October 20, 2007

A Week dedicated to Courage, Support, Inspiration and Peace in the American Workplace

A project of the Workplace Bullying Institute

Check it out!! Link: http://bullyinginstitute.org/


October 15, 2007 - 1st Annual Blog Action Day

I found out when I got home, that while I was in Katroo,
the first annual Blog Action Day was underway!

Bloggers Unite - Blog Action Day

The environment is something that many of both enjoy and take for granted. And, like many things that we take for granted, we don't appreciate it until it is gone. In the interest of being proactive, what can we do in our daily lives to help protect the environment?

- Read labels... if you can't pronounce it, it doesn't belong in your stomach, on your skin, in your hair, on/in your dog, or on your lawn. If you stop buying toxic products, the companies will stop making them. Profit drives the marketplace. No profit... no product If we demand safer products, we'll (eventually) get safer products.

- Don't litter ... Duh. 'Nuff said on that one.

There are 1001 more things that you can do, but they all involve varying degrees of time, effort, and money. But the above two are easy, and *will* have an impact on both our personal health and well-being, and long-term, for the planet that we live on.


National Novel Writing Month - The NaNoWriMo

Since 1999, a group of dedicated (some may argue crazy) writers and writer wannabees have participated/endured the annual NaNoWriMo.

"What is the NaNoWriMo?" you may ask.

It is a contest where the writers commit to writing a 50,000 word novel in 30 days... beginning on November 1 and ending November 30. To do the math, that's 1,667 words per day. Every day. Can you do it? Should you do it? What will change in your life if you try and fail? What if you win?


The winners of NaNoWriMo win a downloadable certificate, a special winners badge, bragging rights, and the possession of their freshly-minted 50,000 word novel.

Sign up here, to find out more, or if you want a challenge!!


Must see comic: Pharmaceutical Vending Machines

You may view the live comic, post comments, or send it to friends by clicking here.

To view the full collection of CounterThink comics, visit the CounterThink index page.Counterthink Cartoons are NewsTarget parodies or satirical commentary on various matters we believe to be of public concern and are offered as Free Speech within the protection of the First Amendment to the US Constitution.


Wishful Thinking...

Ok, I'm posting it:


Who Let The Dogs Out?!?

I did.

This past Saturday, while doing some yard work, I walked out of my fenced-in yard, and as I slipped through, Joey, my black Lab,

and Jadzia, my chow

shot out past me into the front yard. Before I could blink, they were gone. My two eldest daughters went looking for them, only to find out from my neighbor that they had had a short scuffle with one of *their* dogs, and headed for the highway behind their house.

We got into the van, and looked for them, but did not see them.

Later that afternoon, we got a call from my neighbor. It turns out that her daschund, who was in the scuffle with my dogs, had been found under the house, with a bad bite. In fact, her intestines could be seen through the wound.

Oh. No. ....

So, we got the numbers to the nearest animal hospitals with weekend services (good luck with that on a Saturday), and the neighbors were off. Daisy Mae (the daschund) was cleaned up, and bandaged up, but needed surgery. That was done on day before yesterday (Wednesday), and if all goes well, Daisy Mae was none the worse for wear (whew!) I paid the vets bills/expenses, and my neighbors were gracious and understanding about the whole thing.

SO, all's well that ends well, you say?

No. This was the *second* time that one of them had gotten out; that time Joey had eaten three of their chickens before I discovered what was going on. It seems that I have (unknowingly) been harboring menaces. And both my neighbors and I have small children.

So, the only logical course was: the dogs had to go.

Animal Control came and got them yesterday. It was one of the most difficult things that I had to do.

But, what was even worse, is the reaction of others. It seems that it is better to have dogs that attack other animals (and potentially people), than it is to get rid of them. I don't understand this. Why is it more important to keep the dogs, rather than keep people safe?

Don't misunderstand me: I loved my dogs. But I know that after chaining them up, then building a fence (around almost one and half acres) to keep them in (lots of $$$ there), and still having them get out and cause mayhem, for the sake of my conscience (what if their baby was walking around and got caught in the dogfight?), and peace with the neighbors (we *do* live here, after all), it made sense to get new dogs (puppies, that hopefully will not have the overtly savage traits of their predecessors).

I have discovered, in the past few days, that Chows, in particular, can 'turn', and cause the problems that I have had. And, no, these dogs were raised with my children from puppies, and they were not abused, etc.

So, it's to the Internet (gotta love it) for research on family-friendly, gentle dogs that will be content with a large, fenced-in yard, and not keep trying to escape.

I miss my dogs.


How Do I Feel About Being Old?

[I wish I had written this one, but I didn't... It doesn't make it any less meaningful, though :-)]

The other day a young person asked me how I felt about being old. I was taken aback, for I do not think of myself as old. Upon seeing my reaction, she was immediately embarrassed, but I explained that it was an interesting question, and I would ponder it, and let her know.

Old Age, I decided, is a gift.

I am now, probably for the first time in my life, the person I have always wanted to be. Oh, not my body! I sometime despair over my body, the wrinkles, the baggy eyes, and the sagging butt.

And often I am taken aback by that old person that lives in my mirror (who looks like my mother!), but I don't agonize over those things for long.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become more kind to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon?

I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60&70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ... I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.

They, too, will get old.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be.

And I shall eat dessert every single day (If I feel like it)!

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