Sunday, August 31, 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Initial thoughts on Sarah Palin

I’m still processing this decision by John McCain in picking Sarah Palin as his running mate. Contrary to what some think, I am trying to read about her qualifications from sources on the left, right and hopefully some that have no political leanings. While my initial impression is that this is not a good decision and does nothing for the Republicans hopes of winning, my opinion could change as I learn more. Only time will tell if she has the right stuff.

I have begun to think about it from our shared perspectives as mothers of about the same age (she’s one year older than I am). I must say that I don’t understand her or the decision she has made to accept this nomination. She is a mother of five children who range in age from 19 years to 5 months old. The youngest one has Downs Syndrome. While her kids have their father as a full time caregiver, I can’t imagine that they see much of their mom. I heard that she didn’t even take any maternity leave with the birth of her last child.

I think it’s great to work and be productive and have a successful career but there is a trade-off. From this point forward, her working life is going to totally eclipse her family. She has no foreign policy experience and has said, “As for that VP talk all the time, I'll tell you, I still can't answer that question until somebody answers for me what is it exactly that the VP does every day?” With this kind of background, she’s got a lot of preparing to do between now and the debates. Plus she’s going to be on the road campaigning full time. That’s a lot to have on your plate!

I know, I know, you could make the same argument for Barack Obama. His kids probably don’t see him a lot either. You know what? I think he’s made the same trade off that Sarah Palin has decided to make. Anyone, man or woman, who chooses to devote more to his or her career than to his or her home life makes the trade off. The more hours you put into your career, the less effective you are in assuming your parental responsibilities. You can’t have both and you shouldn’t pretend to think you do.

Is it bad to forgo your parental responsibilities and pass them off to someone else to advance a career? People have to make that decision for themselves. I think there are cases when the answer is yes and other cases when the answer is no. I also think that many times the question is never asked.

If Sarah Palin is doing this because she feels a call to serve her country, then she should do it. The same goes for Obama and I honestly think this is why he’s doing it. If, on the other hand, Mrs. Palin is doing it because of the fame, or the power, or the prestige, or the money, I think she’ll have regrets in the end. Only she know the answer.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Punk Rock Gift Exchange

My friend Julie convinced me to do this gift exchange for punk rock knitters. I thought it sounded like just the kind of group for me so I recently joined. I'm a bit overwhelmed by the whole blogging/gift exchange process and being a beginning knitter (how many years am I allowed to use this excuse), I'm kinda clueless in this area as well. Julie promised to point me in the right direction so, here goes!

My first duty is to post my answers to the survey below. I didn't even realize I was supposed to do this until today as I have not been checking regularly but I'll try to keep up better going forward.

1. Why did you join PRGE?
I joined after hearing Julie's rave reviews.
1.a. Have you done other swaps? Are you doing other swaps right now?
This is my very first swap. I am a swap virgin!
2. What are your five favorite things? (these don't have to be knit related)
Buckeye football, traveling, my family, wine, reading
2.a. Do these things allow any hints into your personality for your punk pal?
I think so....
3. What are your three favorite things that you have made with knitting/crochet?
a fancy washcloth, a furry scarf, a hat (actually, I think those are ALL that I've made!)
3.a. What do you tend to make with knit/crochet?
So far, just the above and I am working on a receiving blanket now
3.b. What do you hope to make (or complete that you have started) someday?
socks, sweaters, cell phone thingy, mittens, baby clothes...starting to get overwhelmed.....
4. What five things would you love to see in a swap box someday? Why?
I think I'm too inexperienced to answer this.
4.a. What do you hope to never see in a swap box again (or ever)?
Nothing that's alive??? Wait! Plant's might work....
5. What are your three favorite yarns? What are your three least favorite yarns?
I'm still discovering what's out there so I don't have favorites.
Least favorites? Maybe avoid yarn in the discount bin in Walmart....
5.a. Do you like solid, self-striping, or multi-colored yarns?
Um, yes????
5.b. What are your favorite colors? What are your favorite colors to knit with?
It depends on what I'm knitting. Lucy Neatby's stuff is bright and funky and appeals to me!
6. What are your five favorite delicacies?
Smoked salmon, truffles (chocolate not mushrooms), good cheese, pepper jelly, cheesecake
6.a. What yarn do you hope to one day try and why?
7. What are your three favorite guilty pleasures?
wine, fritos & bean dip, Facebook
7.a. What are your favorite tv or movie characters?
Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, any Johnny Depp character
8. What are the five things you look forward to every week?
the weekend, sleeping, Buckeye football, seeing my husband & kids at the end of the day, wasting time on the computer
8.a. What do you do during your week (ie - work, take care of three kids, race walk)?
Work part-time, take care of kids, volunteer at the high school, PTA, blog, laundry, zzzzzzzz
9. What do you collect?
9.a. What collects you?
10. When is your birthday?
February 17, 1965
10.a. What is your favorite holiday and why?
Halloween - I love dressing up and have added Mexican traditions from La Dia de los Muertos and all the decorations!
11. Do you have any wishlists?
I have a book list going on Amazon but I have so many I haven't read on my shelves that I shouldn't even acknowledge the list until I get caught up!
11.a. Do you have a "favorites" collection anywhere that your pal should know about?
I think I might have one on Etsy but it's been a long time since it was updated....

12. Do you have any allergies or health related conditions that your pal should know about?
12.a. What drives you nuts?
My neurotic dog (adopted last January), bad drivers, racists, religious fanatics, spam
13. What do you do for work and what do you do for fun?
Work: I administer an on-line computer fluency course for college business students
Fun: BUNKO, book club, hang with friends, read, crafts, travel
13.a. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
Have my own talk show!
14. What would you like your pal to know that is not covered here?
I think this is more than enough!
14.a. Are you excited for the contests or will you just pretend that they do not exist?
I'm too overwhelmed to be excited but will give them a try....
Phew!!!! Finished!!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

No time.......

Just a quick post as I am scrambling to put together a Obama house party for this evening and have been spending way too much time watching speeches and arguing with my family!

In the meantime, check out one of my favorite bloggers, Heather B. who is AT THE CONVENTION and has posted some cool pics on her blog, No Pasa Nada (love that name)!

Can't wait to see and Stevie Wonder perform tonight!!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Emails from my favorite person!

I just receive a message from myself from last year. It's so cool! I've been doing it for two years on It's simple. You just type yourself a message, decide at which point in the future you should receive it (I've been doing exactly one year), and then forget about it!

Highlights from my first message that I sent in August 2006 and received August 2007 were:
  • I weighed 133 lbs! What I wouldn't give for that to be my weight today!
  • I thought we'd still be at war in Iraq.
  • I hoped Hillary wouldn't win the nomination. (It came true! YAY!)
The message the 2007 me sent to the me today set some goals. Let's see how I did:
  • I planned on making homemade Christmas gifts for everyone in my family. (Ummmm, not unless my entire family wants to share one knitted washcloth.)
  • I would finish the 2006 scrapbook and start on 2007. (No progress here.)
  • I wanted to travel to some fun new places. (I'm getting depressed.)
  • I planned on going to my 25 year reunion to see my high school friends. (They all bailed so it's not my fault this didn't happen.)
  • I wanted to grow spiritually. (Hard to measure but I actually think I did.)
So........ the goals were a bust for the most part. Future me will not be receiving any more of these, I don't think. I won't tell you what I did write because I want to forget so I can be surprised when I get my next message. ; )

Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Olympics

The Olympics are winding down and I've watched a total of maybe ten minutes. That's not to say it hasn't been on for major portions of the prime time viewing hours. My husband was late coming to bed more than a few times in the past two weeks. I personally am not affected by the spectacle, though, for some reason. Here are my observations from the hype I hear from everyone else:
  • Michael Phelps is a good swimmer but he's not all that cute and his swimsuit always looks like it's about to fall off (Is it deliberate?).
  • China cheats in gymnastics and all the other countries (including the United States) are too wussy to confront them.
  • There are a disproportionate amount of homosexual men competing in men's diving. ...not that there's anything wrong with that...
  • The U.S. women's beach volleyball team rocks!
  • The following Olympic events are silly - Badminton, Rhythmic Gymnastics and Trampoline
  • I feel bad for that little girl who sang the motherland song in the opening ceremony and think she is WAY cute!
So now that it's over, let's bring on the DNC!!!!!!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Natalie Dee is Funny!

Next time I'm in Columbus, I want to hang with this girl! Go check her out here and buy something!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Even better in person!

I scored two tickets to see Barack Obama at a town hall meeting in Lynchburg, VA yesterday. I tried to keep myself from squealing when the field organizer called and asked me if I wanted to go. I asked him if I could have two tickets, one for me and one for my daughter and he fixed me up.

It took an hour driving over a mountain on a treacherous windy road to get there. We got there around 4pm and the doors were opening at 4:30. The traffic people wanted me to drive a few blocks away and take a shuttle over because the school were the town meeting was being held also had freshman orientation night. I drove slowly through the parking lot looking for an exit and decided to screw it and park right there because I was afraid we wouldn't get in and the line was already looking HUGE!

It was fun hanging with fellow Obama supporters of all shapes and sizes. It didn't even dawn on me that there weren't any kids in the line. Over an hour later, when we got close to the door, one woman asked me how I got a ticket for my daughter because she had been told that only voting aged people could enter. That sent my daughter and me into a complete panic. I told my daughter that, if they told her she could go in and she was sad, she should cry her eyes out! Fortunately, we both got in without a hitch and made it through security camera and all!

Once we were in, we had to wait another hour plus, jam packed into bleachers. We entertained ourselves by calling people and telling them where we were and playing twenty questions.

After about five speaches by politicians and local party activists who I didn't even know, the big moment came and HE WAS RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF US!

He gave a great speech and took some questions from the floor. It was very cool! Some of his more notable points were:

  • His story of Michele Obama's dad. His point being, you don't have to be rich or well educated to be a good dad. You do have to be there, though!
  • His reply to John McCain's sound bite, "I will chase Osama Bin Laden to the gates of hell." Obama retorted, "You don't have to go to hell to get him! He's in Afghanistan!"
  • His call to his supporters to help those who have justifiably grown cynical about politicians to see that he is different and will change the way Washington works and who it answers to (it's not corporations and lobbyists).
  • His promise to stay on the high road despite attacks that hit below the belt. As long as we keep bringing the focus back on the issues, he thinks the American people will chose him over McCain. I think he's right!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Baby bunnies

Are these not the cutest baby bunnies?! My daughter rescued them from her vicious cat this morning. We had them in a box and were trying to dropper feed them milk. We've since found out that the best thing to do is put them back in their nest so they are now back and waiting for mama. Hopefully the cat will leave them alone and mama will come back....

Monday, August 18, 2008

I like Obama, but not as much as these guys....

I just scored a few tickets to see Barack Obama at a town meeting. As Dieter would say, "I am as happy as a little school girl." My husband accused me of being a sycophantic groupie as was portrayed in a recent McCain campaign ad. I vehemently denied this and know the difference between being a groupie and a political supporter. To demonstrate the difference, I am posting videos of those whose fame and devastating good looks have reduced me to that which I have been accused of:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I hate cancer

I just found out today the Leroy Sievers died on Friday. I have been following his blog, My Cancer, ever since I found out my friend Ann had it which was back in the fall of 2006. I wanted to hear from someone who was going through it, what those around them could do to help. Leroy wrote about his illness, his frustrations, his triumphs, and everyday life with such honesty and humor that I couldn't stop reading. Even after Ann lost her battle last November, I have continued to check in and cheer Leroy on. Now he's gone and I had no idea that it was that close! I remember thinking the same thing when Ann died.

I also recently bought The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch who passed away recently. I'm halfway through reading it. I remember after buying his book, going to his webpage and thinking, "This guy is going to beat it." Then, a few weeks later, I found out he's gone too. Everyone should watch the lecture that inspired the book.

My friend Sonia died awhile ago leaving her husband and six year old son. That was my first experience with cancer taking someone I knew. After she died, I thought a lot about how I want to live the rest of my life and not take so much for granted. Sonia gave me that perspective but I'd trade it any day for having her back.

So far no one in my family has been diagnosed with it (I'm knocking on wood now) and I pray that no one ever will. I am so sad about losing friends and people I don't even know - what would I ever do if it happened to someone in my family? I would lose my mind, I think.

To all those who have lost someone to cancer, I am thinking of you today and sending warm thoughts. Rest in peace, Leroy, you made the world a better place and will be missed by many.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Disney has ruined me!

Last year, at the tender age of 42, I experienced Disney for the first time in my life. My family and I spent a week at Disney World in Orlando, Florida and we spared no expense!

I was kind of skeptical about the whole Disney thing when my husband suggested it. He spent about six months researching and booking reservations for character lunches (lunch with Winnie the Pooh at the Crystal Palace) and learning the best strategies for visiting the parks (arrive when the park opens, go back to the hotel for lunch and a swim, head back in the evening when things have cooled off a little). I made fun of him the entire time but, once we got there, I was kissing his feet. His planning made our trip that much more perfect!

We stayed at the Wilderness Lodge which was a beautiful hotel! Just walking into the lobby made all our jaws drop to the floor! It had two beautiful swimming pools, two fabulous restaurants, a very cool gift shop, bunk beds made out of logs in our room and an erupting geyser outside!

I have to believe there is some kind of evil underbelly of systematic brainwashing to explain how perfect and sparkly everything was there. I've bought a few books to find out how it's done. I've grown too cynical to believe that things can be this good without some kind of horrible price being paid by someone. Isn't that sad?! Anyone with stories from the inside that prove my theory, please comment!

Here's a few more special memories from our Disney experience:

A signature from a REAL Power Ranger

Watching live rays during our wait to see Crush the turtle at Epcot

Giant fruit bats in Animal Kingdom

Zapping Zurg at the Magic Kingdom

Before this experience, I would go to local amusement parks (Kings Island, Cedar Point, and Kings Dominion) and think they were awesome. Things have changed since that Disney trip last summer.

Yesterday, we took the kids to Kings Dominion for the day and I saw the park in a completely different light. The food was terrible, the park looked dingy (especially the bathrooms), the characters were 2-dimensional, and the employees all looked crabby and tired.

Our kids are apparently too cool to pose with characters anymore so my husband and I did it instead. Below is Scott with Cosmo.

The only difference between my perception this summer and last is our trip to Disney. It has raised the bar and there's no going back now. Thankfully it doesn't seem to have had the same impact on the kids. They were just as happy riding the rides yesterday as they were last summer. The only thing they complained about was the fact that I stuck to my guns and did not buy them a single souvenir. They couldn't believe that I didn't crack!

The kids rode this one twice and it was actually a very pretty ride!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Let the testing begin....

I broke the news to my daughter today that she's not allowed to bring her money on an outing downtown today because she's not allowed to buy anything else until it's time to Christmas shop. She came back with, "Well you go shopping all the time and buy whatever you want!" I calmly told her that the shopping moratorium will apply to me as well and that I will refrain from buying anything but the basic necessities from now until the holidays. I also told her that we're going to Kings Dominion tomorrow but that we will not be buying a SINGLE souvenir. This pretty much floored her and she disappeared for awhile. Later, she asked me to go to my bedroom where she left something for me (pictured above). It says, "Sorry for calling you a person that shoppes to much!" and it has a pile of money on top (she has some tens and twenties in her money stache so she isn't that sorry, is she?). I don't mean to say that any amount of money can erase the damage of saying something hurtful. She thinks this will weaken my resolve. I will not crack, though. In fact, I foolishly threatened during dinner that, if I hear even one request for a stuffed animal during our outing, she will be banished to the car for the remainder of the day. Yeah right! That was not a threat that was well thought out, was it? On the car drive there, I think I'll alter it to - you will not ride any more rides for the rest of the day.

I see more tests in the future.....

Monday, August 11, 2008

My materialistic kids

My kids are always in need of some new toy or diversion. It is so out of control and it's usually at this time of year that I end up shutting it down for awhile. Honestly, how many Webkinz or tubes of lip gloss or Transformers or Lego sets are enough?

I think what happens is that during all the traveling in the summer, I get kind of lax about saying no and let them buy their cheezy souvenirs. Then they begin to feel entitled and expect these luxuries to continue freely flowing at every shopping opportunity. While in Ohio last week, I gave my kids a twenty to each purchase a beverage at Starbucks. Then, I indulged them a little more by letting them keep the change. When stopping on the drive back at a Bob Evans, I thought, I'll let them use their money any way they want and see if they make good decisions about what to do with it. They came back from the gift shop with their five hundredth stuffed animal and a three hundredth race car. Well, they failed that test!

My nephew recently told my children that all I teach them how to do is shop. Ouch! If that's what I'm teaching, then I'm not even doing that very well.

What I want to know is how to I turn things around. We have the disposable income to indulge them but that does not mean we should. I want my kids to realize how good they have it. The "starving kids in Africa" speech doesn't seem to hit home with them. Someone needs to start a "living frugal" camp where privileged kids can go to get a taste of doing without. They could serve them stew every night (maybe even skip a few meals as my kids have never truly experienced hunger), have one toy for every five kids, no T.V. or video games, and assign them work to help sustain everyone at the camp (like gather firewood, pick berries, fish, etc.).

We are going cold turkey from now until Christmas. I'm not buying them anything and I am making them put all their money in their college accounts. I will not break down - not even a piece of gum from a gum ball machine. I mean it!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The real Iraq

What have we done?! This video is positively heartbreaking and the ending message is haunting. Not only have we failed to bring Osama Bin Laden to justice, we have bred a generation to replace him.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Twenty four hours in paradise

I just got back from a twenty-four hour getaway at a place called Skylark. Me and eleven girlfriends spent the night up on the Blue Ridge Parkway eating yummy food, playing BUNKO and drinking "libations." We talked about nothing and everything and it was perfect! The sunset was even more spectacular than these pictures made it out to be! We've all decided that this will be event that happens at least annually.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Forget TV! Watch this!!!!!

My friend just forwarded this link to me. This show is good on so many levels! First of all the story is tragically perfect, secondly the characters are engaging and unrealistically believable, and thirdly the music is beautifully embedded into the story line, with witty lyricism and memorable refrains. It was a joy to watch from start to finish. Watch the three episodes separately (about 10 minutes each) or the entire thing in a little over forty minutes. It's called Dr. Horrible's Sing A Long Blog and stars Neil Patrick Harris (a.k.a Doogie Howser). What an actor!