Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Scott of Scrappleface proposes this letter:

Dear Mrs. Sheehan,

You have asked me to identify the noble cause for which your son died. I have not answered you personally out of respect for the nobility of your son's sacrifice.

Being president forces me into the spotlight, but I would rather stand in the shadows of men like Casey Sheehan.

Directing national attention on my response to your protest creates a distraction from what matters. The focus of our attention, and our admiration, should rest on people like Casey Sheehan, who stand in the breach when evil threatens to break out and consume a helpless people.

The running story on the news networks should be the valiant efforts of our troops -- the merchants of mercy who export freedom and import honor. They trade their own lives for the sake of others.

As a result, we live in a nation where a woman can camp outside of the president's house and verbally attack the president for weeks on end without fear of prison, torture or death. And the number of nations where such protest is possible has multiplied thanks to the work of our military.

You ask for what noble cause your son died?

In a sense he died so that people like you, who passionately oppose government policies, can freely express that opposition. As you camp in Crawford, you should take off your shoes, for you stand on holy ground. This land was bought with the blood of men like your son.

Now, 25 million Iraqis cry out to enjoy the life you take for granted. Most of them will never use their freedom to denigrate the sacrifice of those who paid for it. But once liberty is enshrined in law, they will be free to do so. And when the Iraqis finally escape their incarceration, hope will spread throughout that enslaved region of the world, eventually making us all safer and more free.

The key is in the lock of the prison door. Bold men risk everything to turn it.

Mrs. Sheehan, everyone dies. But few experience the bittersweet glory of death with a purpose -- death that sets people free and produces ripples of liberty hundreds of years into the future.

Casey Sheehan died that freedom might triumph over bondage, hope over despair, prosperity over misery. He died restoring justice and mercy. He lived and died to help to destroy the last stubborn vestiges of the Dark Ages.

To paraphrase President Lincoln, the world will little note nor long remember what you and I say here. But it can never forget what Casey Sheehan did during his brief turn on earth. If we are wise, we will take increased devotion to that cause for which he gave the last full measure of devotion.

Our brave warriors have blazed a trail. They have entrusted the completion of the task to those of us they left behind. Let's, you and I, resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.

Let's finish the work that they have thus far so nobly advanced.

George W. Bush

A gas station in Stockbridge, Ga., posts prices for gasoline from $5.87 to $6.07 per gallon Wednesday, Aug. 31, 2005. (AP Photo/Gene Blythe)

U Are a Magnet, I Am Steel
I recently purchased the Stampin' Up demonstrator kit, which means I am licensed to sell. Mostly I did it because I really enjoy stampin' and I love Stampin' Up products. This was my first scrapbook page, made today just for my new 6x6 album.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Scare Tactics
OkieDoke has some wonderful ideas for scaring people away from fatty foods.
Per Charles of Dustbury, the top 100 songs of my senior year (1982). Bold for songs I liked, Pink for songs I loved, and Brown for songs I dint care fo.

1. Physical, Olivia Newton-John
2. Eye Of The Tiger, Survivor
3. I Love Rock N' Roll, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
4. Ebony And Ivory, Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
5. Centerfold, J. Geils Band
6. Don't You Want Me, Human League
7. Jack And Diane, John Cougar
8. Hurts So Good, John Cougar
9. Abracadabra, Steve Miller Band
10. Hard To Say I'm Sorry, Chicago
11. Tainted Love, Soft Cell
12. Chariots Of Fire, Vangelis
13. Harden My Heart, Quarterflash
14. Rosanna, Toto
15. I Can't Go For That, Daryl Hall and John Oates
16. 867-5309 (Jenny), Tommy Tutone
17. Key Largo, Bertie Higgins
18. You Should Hear How She Talks About You, Melissa Manchester
19. Waiting For A Girl Like You, Foreigner
20. Don't Talk To Strangers, Rick Springfield
21. The Sweetest Thing, Juice Newton
22. Always On My Mind, Willie Nelson
23. Shake It Up, Cars
24. Let It Whip, Dazz Band
25. We Got The Beat, Go-Go's
26. The Other Woman, Ray Parker Jr.
27. Turn Your Love Around, George Benson
28. Sweet Dreams, Air Supply
29. Only The Lonely, Motels
30. Who Can It Be Now?, Men At Work
31. Hold Me, Fleetwood Mac
32. Eye In The Sky, Alan Parsons Project
33. Let's Groove, Earth, Wind and Fire
34. Open Arms, Journey
35. Leader Of The Band, Dan Fogelberg
36. Leather And Lace, Stevie Nicks and Don Henley
37. Even The Nights Are Better, Air Supply
38. I've Never Been To Me, Charlene
39. '65 Love Affair, Paul Davis
40. Heat Of The Moment, Asia
41. Take It Easy On Me, Little River Band
42. Pac-man Fever, Buckner and Garcia
43. That Girl, Stevie Wonder
44. Private Eyes, Daryl Hall and John Oates
45. Trouble, Lindsey Buckingham
46. Making Love, Roberta Flack
47. Love's Been A Little Bit Hard On Me, Juice Newton
48. Young Turks, Rod Stewart
49. Freeze-frame, J. Geils Band
50. Keep The Fire Burnin', REO Speedwagon
51. Do You Believe In Love, Huey Lewis and The News
52. Cool Night, Paul Davis
53. Caught Up In You, 38 Special
54. Why Do Fools Fall In Love?, Diana Ross
55. Love In The First Degree, Alabama
56. Hooked On Classics, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
57. Wasted On The Way, Crosby, Stills and Nash
58. Think I'm In Love, Eddie Money
59. Love Is In Control, Donna Summer
60. Personally, Karla Bonoff
61. One Hundred Ways, Quincy Jones
62. Blue Eyes, Elton John
63. Our Lips Are Sealed, Go-Go's
64. You Could Have Been Wih Me, Sheena Easton
65. You Can Do Magic, America
66. Did It In A Minute, Daryl Hall and John Oates
67. I Ran, A Flock Of Seagulls
68. Somebody's Baby, Jackson Browne
69. Oh No, Commodores
70. Take It Away, Paul McCartney
71. It's Gonna Take A Miracle, Deneice Williams
72. Love Will Turn You Around, Kenny Rogers
73. Don't Stop Believin', Journey
74. Comin' In And Out Of Your Life, Barbra Streisand
75. Gloria, Laura Branigan
76. Empty Garden, Elton John
77. Yesterday's Songs, Neil Diamond
78. Crimson And Clover, Joan Jett and The Blackhearts
79. Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic, Police
80. Here I Am, Air Supply
81. I Keep Forgettin', Michael Mcdonald
82. Get Down On It, Kool and The Gang
83. Any Day Now, Ronnie Milsap
84. Make A Move On Me, Olivia Newton-John
85. Take My Heart, Kool and The Gang
86. Mirror Mirror, Diana Ross
87. Vacation, Go-Go's
88. (Oh) Pretty Woman, Van Halen
89. Should I Do It, Pointer Sisters
90. Hot In The City, Billy Idol
91. Kids In America, Kim Wilde
92. Man On Your Mind, Little River Band
93. What's Forever For, Michael Murphy
94. Waiting On A Friend, Rolling Stones
95. Do I Do, Stevie Wonder
96. Working For The Weekend, Loverboy
97. Goin' Down, Greg Guidry
98. Arthur's Theme, Christopher Cross
99. Through The Years, Kenny Rogers
100. Edge Of Seventeen, Stevie Nicks

Monday, August 29, 2005

The Tale of Two Wolves
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said, "My son, the battle is between two "wolves" inside us all.

One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.

The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith."

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: "Which wolf wins?"

The old Cherokee simply replied, "The one you feed."

And now a word from God (Galations 5):
So I say, live by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature. 17For the sinful nature desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the sinful nature. They are in conflict with each other, so that you do not do what you want. 18But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under law.

19The acts of the sinful nature are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; 20idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions 21and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Brian* is disturbed. He took a trip around the blogosphere recently and discovered it is full of conservatives. (Oh, the horror!!) Brian says, "I know they exist, but I hadn't really seen the other side." Well, one of the horrors he stumbled upon was The Happy Homemaker, who shows her children's drawings of butterflies and lambasts Planned Parenthood all in the same page. Can you imagine????

Truly, I have no problem with Brian. I take no offense. However, I do have a bit of trouble with the implication that people who have children who draw butterflies are not qualified to discuss the evils of Planned Parenthood. I'm not certain whom Brian would consider properly qualified, actually. Not me, though. I'm happy and I even call myself a homemaker. I love my children. I scrapbook. I cook (occassionally). I drive a mini-van. I even use rubber stamps to make cards!!!! Surely I am low on the intelligence scale.

Of course, all of us who blog suffer from some form of narcissism, but I'm not in this for self-promotion and my self-concept is rarely dented by public opinion. What Brian doesn't know is that I'm an attorney and a registered lobbyist. He doesn't know that I have scoured the Planned Parenthood website and have become an expert on their tactics. He doesn't know that behind the fun-loving nature of this blog (my hobby) I am a serious thinker.

But, that doesn't matter. Even if I'm "just" a happy homemaker who loves children, scrapbooks, cooks and stamps, I can and should educate myself on what Planned Parenthood is up to these days. The organization recieves a sizeable sum of money (pg.24) from the government year after year and uses it to educate our children. What are our children learning? Go find out.

("Brian" is the name I chose for the guy who wrote about me on his blog. I'd link to him, but I can no longer find him, though I really have tried. He was a new blogger. Maybe he quit?)
If you'll look closely at Charles' recent post, you'll notice that he has included all the letters used in "The Happy Homemaker," which I take as a subliminal hint that he is hoping I'll participate in the little meme game of listing 7 songs I'm into right now. I have, likewise, hidden the letters used to spell out the names of my favorite blogs in hopes they'll participate, too.

1. Next Thing You Know, Matthew West
2. Stand, Bebo Norman
3. Play That Funky Music, Wild Cherry
4. The Devil is Bad, The W's
5. I Can Only Imagine, Mercy Me
6. Grace Like Rain, Todd Agnew
7. Open My Heart, AVB/Keith Lancaster
Choices, Choices
Now you can practice your cafeteria choices before you head off to school each day with the new virtual cafeteria sponsored by Carollton and Farmers Branch (Texas) Independent School District. It is a brilliant concept and a great way to teach your children about nutrition. (via OkieDoke)
Okay, it was funny last night, but I hurt all over today. . .

Saturday, August 27, 2005

I have just returned home from a wedding and I'm exhausted, but I just have to tell you about it before I turn in.

The bride was my neighbor's daughter and, being the close neighborhood we are, the entire block turned out. The wedding started at 3:00 and was held in a small catholic church not far from home. The groom is Mexican and the bride speaks Spanish, so the entire wedding mass was in Spanish except for a few translations here and there. It was an intimate ceremony, not overdone in any way. Children and babies were welcome. The bride and groom were all smiles. It was lovely. As we left the church, a small group of men played festive music on the church steps. They played two saxophones, one tuba, one bass drum, one snare drum and a cymbal. All the people gathered on the steps to congratulate the bride and groom and to chat.

The reception was a buffet fajita dinner. After we ate, a wonderful Mariachi band played and the bride and groom performed two stunning dances for us. Then we had the dances with parents, the dollar dance, the snake dance, the cake, the toasts, and general dancing. I was headed for the door to relieve my mom of her babysitting duties when the younger men grabbed the groom and started throwing him up in the air. Suddenly they headed for the door and I had to move aside. I was the only guest present when they put him down in a corner and started taking his clothes off. Everyone was speaking Spanish, so I had no idea what was happening, but it seemed funny. The groom's clothes were flying through the air! One of the men yelled out, "We need an apron!" I looked around and saw a waiter with an apron and tried to get the bartender (who was close to him) to ask for the apron. The bartender didn't respond, so I tried to catch the waiter. Just then, I tripped down a step and went sailing through the air right to the waiter! Nanoseconds before my face hit the ground, I grabbed the back of the waiter's shirt and then crashed to the floor. Man, was he suprised! Out of the corner of my eye I saw the waiter bend over with laughter and quickly exit the room! (It WAS funny!) I stood up, took the waiter (a young Asian guy) by the arm and dragged him over to the marauding Mexican men. "He's got an apron!" I announced, and they all stopped and looked at me. "Apron. What does this mean?" At this point I'm wondering where was the English speaking guy who asked for an apron?

The Asian guy is wondering what the ____ is going on!

I lifted up the apron and they all said, "OH!" and took if off the poor guy. At this point, it was time for me to leave the party so the bartender could return to the room. I drove home laughing all the way.

So, it was a nice wedding.

Friday, August 26, 2005

A great name for a blog...about our fictional descendency from apes.

Spencer's first day of school ever went very well. As we pulled into the parking lot (and not the carpool line), he said, "Aren't you going to drop me at the door?" No way! Then he said, "Well, you can take my picture, and then go and take pictures of the school girls."

! ! !

Isn't that hilarious?

He told Colin to take him to his class every day, and then he put up with daddy and mommy following him into school. As soon as he hit the classroom he got right to work and we were a non-issue.

I left to run my errands and was delighted to hear the OSU classical station was playing cello concertos all morning. I LOVE cello concertos! Fantastic! I headed out to purchase some new jeans and found 5 pairs of pants that fit me - and three of them were 80% off!!!! Bonus!

Spencer and I went to lunch with his new favorite friend, another friend from class and their mommies. It was wonderful getting to know them. We are so pleased with the school and the sweetness of the families who attend there.

Soon we'll be off to collect Colin from school. Colin will not tell us what happens at school now. He takes great joy in keeping it a secret. Yesterday I stayed to watch his class for a bit, but he didn't see me there. When he wouldn't tell me anything I said, "Well, I DO know that you stood in a circle and put your foot on top of another guy's foot - a guy wearing a red shirt." He said, "No, I didn't! How did you know that?" "Well, I saw it on the news. They were talking about things first graders shouldn't do, and they showed a picture of you stepping on that guy's foot." You should have seen the look on his face. Spencer even told him it was true and he saw it on the news, too!! Ha!

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Spencer's first homework, due tomorrow, his first day of school (and redacted with mommy's terrible photoshop skills).
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Dan has an assignment, and I'm a good student, so I MUST comply. (Did I mention both of our blogs are nominated for the Okie Blog Awards????) Here's the assignment: "Give us ten of your quirky, opinionated, perhaps socially-unacceptable or politically incorrect opinions. They can be esoteric, generic, unpopular, or obvious. Just write down ten of them." Go forth and opine.

1) Children should always give up their seats for adults.
2) Older does not necessarily mean wiser.
3) Gossip is rude and wasteful.
4) Birds of a feather really do flock together.
5) ABC has restored my hope that television can be a good thing with Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. If all of television were like this show, it would change our country for the better.
6) I like flip flops. The new decorative flips and flops have inspired a whole new generation of feet that have been manicured*, and that is a good thing.
7) Front yards are not for large toys, couches or refrigerators.
8) Academia Nuts is a great name for a blog.
9) Maybe cleanliness really is next to Godliness.
10) You really should support your blogs by voting in the Okie Blog Awards.

(I guess that would be "pedicured," but it just doesn't sound right. And what about lawns? Manicured or grassicured?)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I've found a brand of shoe that is right up my alley. Here's a small collection: The Nancy Rollick.
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The Nancy Raffle.
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The Nancy Distance.
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The Nancy Dime.
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The Nancy Daria.
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The Nancy Dandelion
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La Schickele, La Schickula

Lileks mentioned one of my favorite musicians on his Bleat today and got me reminiscing. Peter Schickele is the premier comedic musician. There is none other like him. Prof. Schickele knows his music well. He has devoted his life to writing music that is funny under the pretense of having discovered music written by Bach's youngest brother, P.D.Q. Bach. The young Bach appears to have had a propensity for stealing music, writing terribly, misunderstanding the proper use of instruments and generally making a mess of things. I had the good pleasure of performing with Professor Schickele long ago when I was a concert musician (French horn) and found him beyond hysterical. Because I am a musician, I couldn't even tell you if he is funny to non-musicians, but it seems to me he must be funny to everyone on some level, but that perhaps the musicians get even more of the jokes.

I spent a summer at Interlochen and used my spending money to purchase the score to one of P.D.Q.'s operas. I spent the summer reading over it again and again, laughing out loud every time. The following is a small taste of P.D.Q.'s writing ability, which I hope you'll enjoy.

Monk’s Aria from Hansel and Gretel and Ted and Alice

Et expecto resurrecreation;
Et in unum Dominos and checkers;
Qui tollis peccata mundi morning.

Mea culpa kyrie elei-
Sonny Tufts et Allah in Pompeii;
Donna nobis pacem cum what mei;
Agnus and her sister Doris Dei;
Lord, have mercy on my solo.

Et in terra chicken pox romana;
Sic sic transit gloria mañana;
Sanctus estes Kefauviridiana
In flagrante delicto Svetlana;
Lord, have mercy on my solo.

Credo in, at most, unum deum;
Caveat nabisco mausoleum;
Coitus interruptus bonus meum;
Kimo sabe watchum what you sayum;
Lord, have mercy on my soul so low.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Found My Spot!

According to Find Your Spot, the following are the top 6 cities suited to my tastes. Somehow Topeka, Kansas was number 25 on my list, but Oklahoma City didn't make the list. I'll have to take exception to that, but the first 5 at least sound appealing to me.

1) Seattle, Washington
2) Kent, Washington
3) Cincinnati, Ohio
4) Bloomington, Indiana
5) Springfield, Illinois
6) Provo-Orem, Utah

(If you take the quiz, please know that they'll ask you for a bunch of personal stuff while they "tally your results." You don't have to tell 'em, you know.)

Well, just perhaps some things have changed for the better.
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At Ease
Spencer's new teacher invited us to come a day early so Spencer could spend some one-on-one time with her in the classroom to ease his fears. Her thoughtfulness speaks volumes about her. We went in and she let us hang out as long as we wanted. Spencer found a math center he enjoyed and she sat down and chatted casually with him. I wandered about to see what she had in store for them and was impressed by her imagination.

She had made little placemats to teach them how to set a table and serve food. Next to the table was a small tray of pretend breakfast food, and the table was set properly as an example. Over in the corner was a pair of binoculars built into a plush beaver mask. They will use that to observe nature from their window. She had also converted her grandmother's luggage into a "Bag About Me" which she will send home with a different child each day to fill with the child's favorite things to share with his class.

When we left, Spencer asked, "Can we go back, Mommy?"

I think his teacher's small gesture has just taken the stress out of the first day of school. Spencer knows where he is going, he likes his teacher and I am confident he is in good hands. I am at ease.
(excerpted from one of those emails that goes around and around)

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper. His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer one nail into the back of the fence. The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the fence.

Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn't lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. The father took his son by the hand and led him to the fence. He said, "You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. The fence will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this
one. It won't matter how many times you say I'm sorry, the wound is still there. "

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Rules of the Blog
Two teenagers from Oregon (twins) have joined the blogging scene and are quite impressive young men. They have written guidelines for blog commenters that apply to every manner of confrontational conversation. These are things we learn quickly in law school and the sort of techniques that allow lawyers to decimate each other's arguments in court and then go out to lunch together. In sum, show some respect. Go check out what they have to say.

Heart, eardrum, lungs, eyeball, brain, bones, muscles, intestines, liver, stomach, red blood cells, dna, 5 molecules . . . by Colin.
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I'd Like to Thank the Academy!
I've been nominated for Best Overall Blog and Best Family Blog in the 2005 Okie Blog Awards!!!! Wow. I'm VERY excited! Go here to vote!

(Woo Hoo!)
Summertime Memories
It seemed like a short, simple summer, but as I looked through our summer-time photos to share with you this first week of school, I realized we were quite busy! Here's a re-cap (you can click on the photos for a bigger view):

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Camp Bluebird
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45th Infantry Museum.
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Independence Day
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Texas Motor Speedway
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Picking berries.
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Okay, this was last summer, but I like the page and I made it this summer.
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Swimming (of course).
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Sunday, August 21, 2005

My friend Dawn has a butter bell similar to this. Have you ever seen one? Inside the lid is a bell in which you keep butter. You put fresh cool water in the bottom of the crock and it seals air away from the butter so that you can keep your butter at room temperature! It is a wonderful thing! I'm eyeing the yellow one.
The New Season
The boys start school Thursday and we've already started a few school activities and met the teachers. Although Spencer will only be gone three mornings a week, this is a new adventure for our family. Colin will be in school all day (1st Grade) and my baby will be gone, too. We'll all reach a new level of independence.

I cried myself to sleep last night. I got all weepy on the way to church this morning and spent class time hiding out in an empty classroom trying to get myself together. I've been on the verge of tears all day today. I'm sentimental that way. I can only imagine how it will be when I leave them both at school this week and drive away! I remember seeing a lot of mommies sitting in their cars crying on the first day of school last year. I suppose I'll just join them for The Parking Lot Bawl. Maybe I should wear my tiara??

Charles, by way of Michelle (I can't see Michelle's site because my internet protector says it contains pornography (?)), inpires this MeMe about idiosycrasies. Here we go:

1) I must brush my teeth as soon as I wake up. No talking, just straight to the toothbrush.

2) When I first move into a place, the most important room to complete first is always the bathroom.

3) I think it is wrong to depict things of nature in ways that don't occur in nature. For instance, my bedroom wallpaper border has blue tulips. It is just wrong and it annoys me. (Still, I haven't found the time to change it out.)

4) I can't think if it is loud. I also have trouble seeing if it is loud. Is that an idiosyncracy or just a medical condition? Or a mental condition?

5) I am quite sure a soft drink does not taste good unless the cup is at least half full of ice and the drink goes to the top of the cup. Anything less, and I won't drink it.

6) I stop at a light even with the cars beside me. If they stop even with me, I'll move. I do this because I've had many dreams of people pulling up next to me and shooting me dead.

How about you?

Saturday, August 20, 2005

The Quintessential Boy
Being four has brought out the very best of boyhood in Spencer and I couldn't enjoy it more. Here's a little list oabout Spencer.

1. He likes to do pushups and then have me feel his muscles.
2. When shopping for shoes, he and I had different ideas about which pair to pick, although Spencer was somewhat undecided. I asked the salesperson, "How is this pair for running and jumping?" She said, most seriously, "This pair here is the best for running and the best for jumping really high." Spencer touched his finger to his lips and furroughed his brow, then said, "Okay, I think I'll take those."
3. He is always carrying around a car or a plane. The planes fly through the air with a whooshing noise.
4. His favorite activity is going to Target to look at the cars and planes.
5. He wears rainboots most everywhere. Navy blue with yellow trim.
6. He sleeps in superhero pajamas with a cape.
7. His favorite underwear is blue with airplanes on it. They are often worn backward.
8. He loves to take a shower.
9. Occasionally, he will take off running as fast as he can just to show me how fast he is.
10. He loves to hold doors open for adults and little girls, "just like a gentleman."
11. You never know when he might tackle his brother.
12. Will drop anything to look at a bug or frog.
13. He gives air shows on the bed, using his own body as the aircraft.

Friday, August 19, 2005

The last days of summer have arrived. You have a few more weeks to wear something flirty and fabulous like these striped mules.
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Playful sophistication
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For your Valentine?
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Wouldn't these be great for a pleasant day of shopping at your favorite outdoor mall in the fall, the autumn leaves scratching about along the sidewalk?
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Vera Wang comes through with this beautiful burgundy satin heel for the evening.
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Smart brown suede pumps for the office.
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found book
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My Emotional Rollercoaster
On the one hand I'm growing increasingly saddened about the beginning of school next week. Colin will be started 1st grade and will be gone all day. Spencer will go to preschool three mornings a week. They are growing up and I'll miss them. The house will be so quiet.

On the other hand, the house will be so quiet! I bet I'll even be able to think about one subject for more than 3 minutes in a row! We will go all the way until 3:15 without anyone arguing! Fewer bits of paper on the floor from Colin's crafting!

But, will he still have time for artistic expression? Or will the evenings be spent agonizing over spelling words and simple mathematics? Will Spencer know what to do with himself when his big brother is gone all day? Can my babies really be this old?

How is it possible to dread and anticipate all in the same moment?

Thursday, August 18, 2005

My friend Bob gave me this several years ago. I was with him when he finished it and when he named it. This was his first run on a scrap paper before he made the "real" copies (it is silk screen). Bob is an attorney and a very good one, but he would rather be an artist. His favorite thing is sculpture. My favorite is this one.
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As I drifted off to sleep last night I tried to imagine my new body in heaven.

42So will it be with the resurrection of the dead. The body that is sown is perishable, it is raised imperishable; 43it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; 44it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body.
If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45So it is written: "The first man Adam became a living being"[e]; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. 46The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. 47The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven. 48As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. 49And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we[f] bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

50I declare to you, brothers, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— 52in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. 54When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: "Death has been swallowed up in victory."[g]
55"Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?"[h] 56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 15:42-57.

I tried to imagine how I would identify myself without this earthly body. Will I recognize others if I know them only by their appearance? Or will I only recognize those I know well? It is difficult to imagine oneself without a body, we are so accustomed to deciding who we are based on our appearance.

I suppose people came to think of heaven as a light and fluffy place for a reason, even if they haven't clearly considered why. Part of it comes from imagining heaven up in the sky. But have you every thought how light you will fill when completely released from the grip of sin? As Christians, we are already released, but we still feel the weight of sin. Satan still rules the earth, where we live, so we are surrounded by sin. We also suffer the consequence of our own sins, even if we are forgiven. But when we are finally free, how can we but fly home as light as we will be? No body, no baggage, just free to fly.

2At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. 3And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. 4Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. 5From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits[a] of God. 6Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal. from Revelation 4.

When I worship or pray, I imagine myself before this throne and all its splendor. It is humbling and the promise it holds puts daily struggles in perspective.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Great Rocky Talky Adventure
Colin, from the back porch:
"Spencer, talk to me. I'm speaking to the Rocky Talky."
Spencer from the hall:
"Come in, Thunderbird One. Can you hear me?."
"Spencer, I'm speaking to my Rocky Talky."
Spencer from the back door:
Colin from the back porch (starts talking then sees Spencer at the door):
"Spencer, come, Spencer, stay in there. Rocky talkies are for talking about stuff from far away. You go out there."
Colin, from the office closet:
"Spencer, can you hear me? Spencer, I'm in the living room. I'll be coming out soon."
ICE - In Case of Emergency
(from an e-mail)
A campaign encouraging people to enter an emergency contact number in their mobile phone's memory under the heading "ICE" (i.e. In Case of Emergency), has rapidly spread throughout the world as a particular
consequence of the terrorist attacks in London.

Originally established as a nation-wide campaign in the UK, ICE allows paramedics or police to be able to contact a designated relative next-of-kin in an emergency situation. The idea is the brainchild of East Anglian Ambulance Service paramedic Bob Brotchie and was launched in May this year. Bob, 41, who has been a paramedic for 13 years, said: "I was reflecting on some of the calls I've attended at the roadside where I had to look through the mobile phone contacts struggling for information on a shocked or injured person. Almost everyone carries a mobile phone now, and with ICE we'd know immediately who to contact and what number to ring. The person may even know of their medical history."

By adopting the ICE advice, your mobile will help the rescue services quickly contact a friend or relative - which could be vital in a life or death situation. It only takes a few seconds to do, and it could easily help save your life. Why not put ICE in your phone now? Simply select a new contact in your phone book, enter the word 'ICE' and the number of the person you wish to be contacted.

The idea is that you store the word "I C E" in your mobile phone address book, and against it enter the number of the person you would want to be contacted "In Case of Emergency". In an emergency situation ambulance and hospital staff will then be able to quickly find out who your next of kin are and be able to contact them.

It's so simple that everyone can do it. Please do. Please will you also email this to everybody in your address book, it won't take too many 'forwards' before everybody will know about this. It really could save your life, or put a loved one's mind at rest. For more than one contact name ICE1, ICE2, ICE3 etc."

And a note from The Happy Homemaker:
You should also complete a Medical Power of Attorney and a Living Will. Give copies to your ICE contact. You might also give your ICE a wallet-sized card listing your medical conditions, allergies, medications and important people to contact. The Red Cross also suggests you choose a meeting place where all members of your family will go (not your home) in case of a wide-spread emergency situation. Each member of your family should agree on an out-of-town person to call in such a situation since local phone lines may be tied up for emergency personnel. The out-of-town person could then relay information.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

The Secret World of the Triathlete

I just got some photos back from our vacation. Most of them are still in my camera, so you're getting off easy with only three photos today. This is the kitchen/dining area of our suite at Big Cedar.
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Miniature golf. The last hole is in the fish.
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Colin floating down the lazy river.
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From this week's page in my Mary Engelbreit calendar.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Big Time!
We've just returned from our vacation at Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri. We went with friends and shared a place. Big Cedar is a beautiful place on Table Rock lake south of Branson. The grounds are perfectly balanced with trees, flowers, rocks, water, grass and buildings. The food is incredible, the service impeccable and the accomodations, well, quite accomodating. During our weekend visit, we squeezed in canoeing, swimming, hiking, miniature golf, banana splits, catching fireflies, paddleboating, wading for fish, rootbeer floats, games, and fellowship with friends. Spencer showed off his new-found swimming skills and Colin asserted his independence for the first time (and I didn't cry....much).

Friday morning we explored Crystal Cave with the cave's owner (shown above). He is 88 years old and he and his wife still work in their cave and take tourists on 90 minute tours every morning. He knew every inch of that cave and took great care to point out the tiniest of fossils and the stalactites and stalagmites that looked like everyday objects (shoes, carrots, roosters, you name it). Several times we were required to crouch down very low to get to another room of the cave and we got quite muddy. We saw bats and waterfalls and crystals and a lot of slimy mud. The handrails had been installed in the 50s and had held up well. The place where we paid to go to the cave was in a garage of sorts that was full of junk the owner was selling. There were several things he had made himself and a whole lot of kitsch. In the corner was a large tank where he had built a model of the cave using actual crystals and rock from the cave. On top of the tank was a photograph of the original owner, a woman who was "like a grandma" to the current owner. I loved seeing a cave in such a near-natural state, guided by the owner himself. All the other caves I've been to were more spectacular, but were also more commercialized and lit up with colored lights. None of them offered the intimate view this one did. It was perfect.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

An illustration of the Earth's crust. Those little pebbly things are parts of the crust "floating" to the surface. "W" stands for worm and "R" stands for roots. What I notice is that Colin may have a future in shoe design.
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From "The ABC Book" purchased at a garage sale for 22 cents. -I mean, owned by young James when he lived in England in the 60s.
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Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Colin's Bugs. The "harmonic" (monarch) butterfly is right next to the Luna Moth (in green).


At this restaurant all the food is tilted and turned away from the guests. I can only assume they'll get their food when they properly place their napkins in their laps.
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My friend Meg is coming to visit me tomorrow. YAY! Meg and I have been friends for 31 years now! Wow. We're going to take our children downtown for a big adventure. I can hardly wait!

We're also planning our upcoming trip to Big Cedar Lodge in Missouri. We're going with friends and have big plans for canoeing (Hi Dwayne!), swimming and generally taking it easy. We've already packed one small bag with games to play in the evenings, and I made a couple jars for lightening bug lanterns that are sure to make some memories.

It is hard to believe summer is almost gone. Spencer will be going to preschool 3 mornings a week and I'll get my first tiny sip of the empty nest. I have a feeling we'll both be crying that first day (or so). Colin will be gone all day and bringing home homework. Life as we know it is about to turn inside out! It is, all at once, scary and exciting.

(The squirrels hae finally discovered the fig tree outside my window, which makes blogging all the more fun. At present there is a little squirrel out there looking right at me with big brown eyes and a swishy tail.)

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Right On Target
The boys and I made a quick trip to Target this morning for toothbrushes and snacks and such. The parking lot was full, but the store was quite and peaceful. Every third worker I saw asked if he could help me locate anything. I did ask one gentlemen if he knew where to find Claude's brisket marinade, and he said, "Hold on." Seconds later he returned from three rows over with the marinade in hand. Truly impressive!

When I heard another customer say, "It is quiet in here," I noticed they were not playing any music. There was no intercom junk going on either because they all have little hand-held walkie talkie thingamajigs, and it was, indeed, quiet. No wonder I love Target! (Did I mention the store is several years old, but the floors are still gleaming white?)

We strolled around the produce section and got free bread samples (delicious!), lingered over the sushi (not today) and peeked into the dollar aisle. I shopped in a large store with two boys and I actually enjoyed myself!

Target, I love thee.
Your Government Dollars at Work
Put up the 10 Commandments in your office at the tax commission or in your schoolroom, and you'll be sure to hear about it. If government money comes anywhere near an expression of religion, the non-religious are oppressed. To a certain extent, I can understand the argument. Of course, there is a huge difference between "freedom of religion" and "freedom from religion," but that is an argument for another day.

What I find interesting is the same people who protest the spending of government monies in close proximity to the Ten Commandments have no trouble spending actual government money for anti-religion sentiments and even illegal activity. Dawn Eden has always kept close tabs on such things as they pertain to Planned Parenthood, and she reveals a most shocking discovery this week. Honestly, I didn't think it could get any more shocking. Right there on Planned Parenthood's website you can see the crazy antics of Dianysis, the horned Goddess of baby killers who has now taken to killing Christians by decapitating and/or suffocating them with giant condoms. Isn't THAT special?

Most Americans see Planned Parenthood as a benign family planning counseling center. I suggest you do a little research and learn the truth.

Monday, August 08, 2005

I found a great website today called "The Toy Maker." You'll find printable patterns you can cut out and fold into cards, toys, baskets and boxes. I'm going to make this little box first.

Sunday, August 07, 2005


"My radishes disappeared!" Colin exclaimed when he noticed the bumps (rashes) left from his too-tight underwear were gone.

"I can tell you're cold, Spencer. Look at all those goose bunks!"


Saturday, August 06, 2005

Shoppin' Without Droppin'
I had a little fun shopping last night. I shopped for outdoor sporting equipment, gourmet food, handbags, board games, books, furniture, lotions, candles and even lumbar support. I wasn't even tired when I finished, probably because I wore my pajamas and some flip flops, which was very comfortable. Even drank some mango-strawberry Crystal Lite while I shopped!

I was looking around, which now has an incredible web of shopping available. As you shop, it starts making you your own little store personalized to your apparent tastes, so you can find things you had never even heard about. Quite fun, really. I made myself a wish list of things I might buy after I win a billion dollars and give most of it away to charity and my children's education funds. You can see mine here and then make your own if you're prone to wasting time as I am. (Thanks goes out to Muley's World).

Friday, August 05, 2005

Dragonfly Tales
Colin's science camp met at the Omniplex today. The camp leader had extra tickets, so Spencer and I got to go in, too. In many ways that was a mistake because Colin insisted on hanging with us rather than with his camp group, but it was a fun time for us, too. We ended up staying the entire day except for lunch and we still didn't see everything! The highlights were the mirror maze, the salt water fish tank, the rocket simulator, the magnetic sand and the gift store.

I really enjoyed looking over the complete pullman car they had on display. The interior was complete with beautiful wood panels, decorative lighting and upholstered seating. Strangely there was a slim-line phone and a Maytag dishwasher, but other than that is seemed authentic.

At lunch time Spencer and I ditched Colin and went to McDonald's for lunch. I was half-way through my salad when I discovered a dragonfly wing and thorax in my salad!!!!! I discreetly found a worker and pointed to it, and she took it away. She returned with a side salad (a bowl of iceberg lettuce) and said, "They said they thought it looked like lettuce, but they're not sure what it was." I said, "IT WAS A DRAGONFLY!" She didn't seem appropriately shocked or even concerned. I should have fought for a new salad with chicken and all, but I wasn't up for it, so I just said thanks and let it go. Apparently these people never read the papers or they would have known to offer me a bunch of coupons for free food to make me happy.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

Some Kinda Fame
So, I'm just checking out who has referred to my blog lately and I discover that I am one of Oklahoma City's trusted community bloggers! (blush) I didn't even KNOW I was famous!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Found today in a stack of Colin's papers.
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Today's paper provides a lot of fodder for commentary, but one page stood above the others. There are many letters to the editor about putting a casino in Bricktown. I, for one, am against it. Stella Patton, however, was offended that a club manager said he would not allow most casino patrons in his club. She says you'll find riffraff more in a nightclub than in a casino. I don't know about that, but her closing was the most interesting part of her letter: "Perhaps we should put this issue to a vote of the people. I feel sure it would pass and keep the elderly from having to drive 30 or more miles to a casino."

I have to hand it to Stella, I would not have thought of the safety of the elderly as a selling point for the casino. I mean, as it is now, they have to drive 30 or miles just to gamble their retirement away! It is a shame. A real shame. I bet some of them even have a hard time finding a ride to the casino when their eyes start going bad.

If we had the casino conveniently located in Bricktown, the grandchildren could go with granny on an outting and she could teach them how to gamble. That would be SO MUCH better, don't you think?

Oh, but wait. If you move on down to Richard Perkins' views, you'll see granny will still have some amount of trouble. Richard writes, "If downtown and Bricktown want my business, they must solve several traffic problems and provide more free parking within decent walking distance." (Richard also said his entertainment budget extends only to restaurants for which he has coupons, cheap movies and watching television, so I'm not sure Bricktown wants his business anyway). It seems to me driving 30 miles to a casino with a large parking lot up close would be easier for the elderly than a casino in Bricktown, what with the two blocks of walking and paid parking and all.

I, for one, love Bricktown and downtown. I have never had trouble parking, and if I did, I would park further and take the 25 cent trolley. In fact, I often do that just for the fun of it. I have to admit that walking and trolley-riding are not easy for the elderly who have to gamble. But, somehow I get the idea that those who are complaining the loudest have not even been downtown!
Here's a lovely little T for you. It reads: "boys are funny when they try to think."

Ha Ha. Very funny, isn't it.

Actually, it makes me boil.

Somebody actually purchased this shirt and put it on her daughter. What is she teaching the girl?
She looked over the display of sale-priced flip flops. The children in Honduras need these. She wondered which ones would hold up best and which would be best for mountain walking. The boy in the boots could really use a pair. His feet. Oh, his feet. The constant moisture and the lack of socks had left his feet in such horrible condition. He needs these flip flops if only to air his feet out from time to time.

But, the sale price is still $9.00. Surely there would be a better deal at another store. Maybe later in the summer. $9.00. Kinda steep.

Her attention was drawn to the silver sale down the aisle. All the little charms and necklaces on sale: half price.
She found a little silver cross. $9.00. Not bad. Sterling silver. It would be nice on her charm bracelet. It would show her love for God. She purchased it and took it home.

The little silver cross hangs on the bracelet. But, God would have helped the child.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Pretty Pretty Princesses
I generally don't tell little girls they are pretty. Oh, they are pretty, don't get me wrong. Beautiful, actually. But I don't tell 'em.

Girls tend to put a lot of faith in being pretty. Pretty is popular. Pretty is desired. Pretty gets attention. Pretty is fun. Pretty gets you places.

Pretty fades.

And that's the problem. Being pretty is an asset to be sure. However, if your identity is tied up in your appearance, what do you do when it is gone?

You buy creams, you buy colors, you buy clothes. You obsess. And if it all doesn't work? You see a therapist. You take antidepressants. You hide. If pretty is who you were, who are you when you're not pretty?
What do you do when the compliments cease? When the annoying whistles and cat calls are gone, where do you get your attention? You look in the mirror and see and aging woman. Who is she? It becomes a crisis of sorts.

So, when I see the pretty little girls, I try to find more enduring assets to praise. Wise decisions, intelligence, kindness, generosity. Imagine basing your self concept on these virtues! I know when I was a little girl I was often praised for my appearance. It was a motivator. The next time I would be seeing that person, I took special care to look good for them so they would praise me again. I still find myself doing the same thing - and it extends to my home and belongings. Have you ever purchased something and thought, "Oh, how they'll like this!" For me, it is a constant struggle against vanity.

Consider what you say to others and how it may motivate them in a certain direction. If you tell a child you were impressed with his generosity, he can do something with that. If you tell him you're impressed with his hairstyle, he can do something with that, too. You have more power than you think.