Saturday, November 29, 2008

I Found the Fountain of Youth

I am still reading AJ Jacob’s The Know it All (I had to take a break to get my book club reading done).

Yesterday, I came by an interesting passage in his book regarding the passage of time:

The Britiannica has an explanation for this: elderly people find time shorter because they notice long accustomed changes less frequently.”

Like me, he was boggled by this phrasing, but surmised as I did that as we get older we opt out on already known information: Sunrises come daily so we don’t tend to notice them anymore; weeks pass in and out without real notice because we are used to the pattern.

I think we also speed up time by planning it away . . . instead of focusing on today we are looking forward to an event in the future – payday, a trip, a holiday.

As time really is relative how do we give ourselves more time on earth? How do we find the Fountain of Youth that has historically sought after? Slow down, be thoughtful, notice small changes around you. As you live on this micro level, I believe you will find that time slows in your life.

Personally, I have firsthand experience with this concept. When the kids were in school and we were running, running, running life took on a warp speed that became truly frightening. Instead of seeing what was around me, I was focused on what I needed to do next to get through the day. One specific day, as I was racing to volunteer in their school, I was caught in traffic between work and the school. That day I literally felt my heart pounding through my chest. And then I stopped, I took a breath, I looked around at the cars stopped beside me on the highway. The clock slowed. My heart returned to its regular beat. I decided to change our life. The following year, we took the kids out of school and began homeschooling. This change alone made a drastic difference in our perception in time. I also made a conscious choice to begin noticing stars, leaves, clouds, the way the sun climbs in the sky and how that changes from day to day.

We don’t really need more time in our lives; we need to recognize the time that exists.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Making Christmas Cards

I am a glutton for punishment. I have always loved making my own Christmas cards and have only backed out of it a couple years when life was way too crazy. This year I started very early. I was inspired by our trip to the Eric Carle museum. Almost a month ago, DS used his techniques to create a scene which I brought to Staples for copies. As color copies can be expensive, I had the picture shrunk to a quarter page. I bought card stock, envelopes, seals. And I've been working on an assembly line ever since putting everything together.

I was smart enough last year to finally put a spreadsheet together with names and addresses of the people we send and receive cards from. Somehow this list seems to grow every year which is tough on the making side (I've learned to simplify the cards significantly), but I love the receiving side. It is great to catch up with all of our old friends. One of my favorite received Christmas card has been coming about June and comes from dear friends with four children. She says she tries to get it done on time but somehow it never happens. I don't mind because it gives me extra time to read all about the yearly escapades in her included newsletter.

Well, that having been said, I better get back to the assembly line. If I could figure out how to make my web cam, I would embed a picture . . .our digital camera has died, the scanner says that it has a paper jam . . . Oh, Santa, please be kind.


Shopdropping - have you heard of such a thing?

It is defined according to as "SHOPDROP: To covertly place merchandise on display in a store. A form of "culture jamming" s. reverse shoplift, droplift."

I first heard of it on a tv show which spoke of it in context of people buying an item at a Walmart / Target type store. After taking the item home, they create a homemade imitation of the original, swap tags, and covertly return the item to the store's shelves. Consumers instead of buying the $9.99 mass market item are buying a hand-made one of a kind item, often worth far more than what the buyer intended to buy. However shopdropping may also mean changing labels on existing merchandise or adding pamflets or other politically or religiously motivated items to merchadise already in the store.

Often, no one knows of the shopdroppers activities and the only one that takes glee in the activity is the shopdropper themselves.

When looking up information about shopdropping, I actually came by seminars about the idea. Although, I think that it is fairly comical . . .I'm thinking that some people have way too much time.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Low / No Cost Christmas Gifts

This is not an article about how to make gifts using leftover household items. Nor is it instructions on how to spend hours and hours making items. It is simply a reminder to redeem your credit card points.

For many people, this Christmas is going to be a tight one. Many of us are trying how not to let our children know just how tight it really is. Thus, shopping with these already gathered points can help. Today, I bought quite a list of items and spent not one penny. Even better, one of the cards that I redeemed from isn’t even our charges that we are redeeming, but instead since my husband is a salesman, it is the card he charges his reimbursable expenses on.

So I encourage you all, before you set your alarm for 3 am on Friday and march out into the cold to save $25.00, look at “free money” that you may already have available to you. (Plus, who knows with this credit crunch – these points may not last too long either . . . why not use them while they are still good.)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What happened to Thanksgving?

We are usually planning a huge Thanksgiving dinner at this point, but this year nada, nothing. . . we are having a Thanksgiving of four. I think part of it is because I waited so long to plan, not knowing where the house was going to be. So this year is going to be a quiet Thanksgiving which may not be all bad. Sometimes the holidays get so crazy that you are more exhausted after the holiday than before. (Please don’t feel badly for us. We have nothing on Thanksgiving, but we had two Thanksgivings this past weekend and have a big dinner next Saturday for my son’s birthday.)

Of course, I got to say that I’d rather be enjoying my holiday in Italy with my pastor.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Getting a Designer's Opinion

You now have one of the country's best designers on call. Lisa Davenport has started a blog about design and is looking for design questions to answer. Lisa's Home Gallery is here in Connecticut, but she has been published in national decorating books.

Lisa can design the most luxurious home (like the one above) or give you simple hints on how to make your dollar stretch and make the greatest impact in a space. When you check out her new blog, you will see that she not only a decorator but truly a designer with architectural ideas as well as the typical color and pattern type questions.

To her credit, Lisa has used this talent to help many non-profits, it fact during her missions trips to Kentucky, she redesigned the plan for the houses that were being build so that their were better use of materials and therefore less waste and lower costs.

Congratulations, Lisa. Keep up the great work.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Unraveling of a Woman

I orignally wrote this as an article for my local paper. People still mention it, so I thought you may enjoy it:

I thought once that this look would be good on me. I had seen others wear it well and I thought I too could pull the look off. First I donned a career, then marriage. I added motherhood on twice for good measure and then of course a bit of volunteerism. It felt a little snug as I added each layer, but I received many compliments on how well I wore it all. Then one day as I raced from work to help in the kids’ class at school, I found myself with my heart pounding and a desire to drive over all the cars that seemed to purposely block my path. I noticed the smallest thread sticking out. No one else probably even noticed it as I walked down the hall that day, but I did and it started to eat at me and so as I ran from here to there: making dinner, doing the bills, leading the troop, I started to pick at the thread. It started to get longer and longer.

Eventually the hem came out and I actually completely forgot to go to a meeting and stayed home wrapping presents instead. When I realized what I had done, I felt guilty because I knew people would think that something horrible had happened to me because I would never be so irresponsible to miss a meeting. How could I tell them that it was glorious to be home, eating at the family dinner table, putting the kids to bed on time, and wrapping presents as I listened to Christmas music? That is about when the whole seam split right open. I tried very hard to sew it up. I limited the kids to two activities each, stopped chairing committees, and tried to find some me time. But even that didn’t stop the unraveling of my wardrobe, two activities times two kids plus a husband’s schedule and mine: that left one night home, if I was lucky. It seemed as if home was not a place to hang your hat, but simply a place to go change it for the next show. I felt that each time I left the house people where pulling at the few strings I had left – Couldn’t you bake for the bake sale? We really need someone like you to run the program? You would be magnificent trainer? I thought if it all didn’t stop soon I would be standing naked in the street.

It was about then though that I noticed others with strings hanging loose, a few were still trying to tuck them in; a few were trying to hide the thread bare clothes. Others barely had anything left at all – a collar, a cuff, a waistband with strings hanging out everywhere. It seemed a lot of other moms did wear this style and I even noticed a few dads too. Everyone wore a painted on smile and if you asked them how they were, “fine” would be the response as they would tug their coat with a pocket falling off tightly around themselves.

So I have started to wonder if naked is all that bad. Did you ever notice that babies are naked? And they are happy that way! So, I have started to try to strip myself of these many layers. I have started to learn the word “no” and “I need help”. I have started to leave layers behind and learn to be comfortable in just my skin. I would appreciate it if you see me with my few threads still hanging on that you ask me how I am and I promise I won’t say just “fine” and perhaps we can just sit down and have tea, just you and I and neither of us will have to run here or there and we can just be glad to have time to be with each other and be free. (Ok, truth is I can maybe give you five minutes before I run off . . . the clothes aren’t that easy to strip off).

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

An Inspirational Note

Have you ever received a note from a friend at just the right time? Has a letter brightened your day? Or a card given you a little strength?

Well, I have. In 2001, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and after several surgeries and months of treatment, she was not the only one exhausted and disheartened. As her caretaker and the mother of two, I came home from a particularly long day. I didn’t know how to draw the strength to keep going. I sat at the table too tired to even take my coat off. I thumbed through the mail. I began opening as required, piling in garbage and to be reviewed piles. Then out of the blue a small envelope gave way to a small card: a sunflower on the front and a simple note “You are appreciated” inside of it. Suddenly life didn’t seem so overwhelming. I had a friend. Alas, I was still exhausted and my mother still died shortly thereafter, but I never forgot that note. For many months, I kept it hung on my fridge as a reminder of friendship and hope.

Since that time I have periodically passed on the blessing I once received. It is a simple and loving task.

First, keep your ears open to those who may need a boost. Is someone getting a divorce? Does someone have a sick child? A sick parent? Does someone just seem tired or worn out?

Second, keep your eye open for cute note cards or artsy paper. Collect them and save them until the purpose arrives.

Third, when the occasion come take just a minute or two to write a heartfelt thought, sign it, seal it, and put it in the mail. I actually like to sit down every few months and write 5 or 6 at a time.

Since that first sunflower note that showed me the power of human compassion, I have probably sent out 100 notes. I know I haven’t written to everyone I know that has been trouble or hurt, but I know that those that have received the ones I have sent have felt the same power that I did on that difficult day.

You sell Firetrucks?

I think that I have failed to tell you about one of the most interesting facts about our family. We sell firetrucks.

Yes, the big red ones (actually they can be yellow, black, blue, green, or any color you spec, but generally we all think of red). Actually, specifically my husband sells them, but our family has been in the industry since I was old enough to see over a counter. I used to love the reaction when people asked what you do for a living or their eyes as we would drive by and wave. Now I get to see my children enjoy the same reaction.

My husband's favorite part of the job is that he makes people's dreams come true. There is not a more passionate group of people out there than the firefighters. They love their trucks and spend countless hours taking care of them. He loves working with them to make their dreams come true and their job just a little easier.

What unique jobs do you all have?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Tips to Make the Perfect Pie

Directions on how to make the perfect pie are not going to be found here, but I can give you directions / hints to make a very good pie. First and foremost, everyone should try it. I don’t remember my mother ever making a pie and when my DH expected me to make one I quivered. Thank goodness my MIL was very patient with me. Since then I have come by a few things that make pie making 100 times easier.

First, find a easy crust recipe. Mine comes from the Good Housekeeping Cook Book, 11th printing 1962 (one of the things I got after my grandmother passed away and a great resource – I’m not sure how the newest version is, but I love mine.)

Flaky Pastry IV (this is a summary of the actual recipe i.e the way I do it)
2 ¼ cups flour
1 ½ tsp salt
1/3 c cold milk
½ c plus 1 T vegetable oil

In a bowl combine flour and salt. In a measuring cup add milk and oil (I put in milk and then add oil until just a bit over 5/6ths). Do not mix milk and oil mixture. Add all at once to flour. Stir in with fork. Do not over stir. Split in half. Makes two 9” crusts. This is not the best crust that I have ever had, but it is very good and because it is quick and easy, I don’t mind making it – which means more pies for guests to eat.

Roll out on:

This is a must have. I actually like the Tupperware one the best, but DH replaced it with another manufacturer. It is not as good because the sizing lines are actually raised, but it works ok. Another helpful MIL tip is to:

1. Touch the dough as little as possible with your hands. Even the oils in your hands can change the consistency.

2. Cover the dough with wax paper when you roll the dough out. It will prevent the crust from sticking to the rolling pin and makes it much easier to flip and get in the pan.

I usually make two crusted pies. So I often paint the crust with milk or egg whites. I also love cutting in a design and never use a professional crimper. I find it much easier to pinch it with my fingers. I think the rustic nature of it makes it even better; people know that it is not a Sarah Lee pie, but mine.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Happy Anniversary Luke and Laura

I forgot to acknowledge a very important wedding anniversary. Apparently November 16th is Luke and Laura's wedding anniversary.

Now I must admit, now I don't really have the time, energy, or interest in watching soaps, but back then I was thoroughly addicted. General Hospital being my number one addiction, but to leesser extents I was also addicted to All My Children and One Life to Live. I loved Luke and Laura, adored Blackie, and had my breath taken away by Rick Springfield.

So happy anniversary to the married, unmarried, remarried, possibly now divorced Luke and Laura. May all of us have much calmer and longer marriages than your characters.

If you used to be addicted to the Soaps, what characters did you love?

Getting Ready for the Holidays

Christmas is coming whether we are ready or not. I am working toward being ready . . . notice the emphasis on working. Yesterday, the whole crew made bracelets for the women on our list. We took Pam's inspiration and ran with it. DD and I with the help of DS and DH made 11 yesterday when I got home from work.

Today, I am working on our Christmas cards. I have always enjoyed making our Christmas cards and have been frustrated with myself when we don't have enough time to make them but instead purchase them. This year, inspired by Eric Carle, DS made a tissue drawing to which I added a scripture. Today, I ran to Staples and had the original copied on cardstock and shrunk down. I am now cutting the picture and mounting them. I have several more steps and most certainly will not be done today as I usually make about 120 cards, but at least I'll be on the right track.

Of course, it might be a good idea if I start thinking about Thanksgiving and poor DS's birthday first.

How are you getting ready for the holidays?

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My Handsome Men

DH sent over this picture of DS and him. Look how handsome.

Scouting has been a fantastic outlet for both of them. I think DH gets as much out of it as DS. Just like with Girl Scouts, we have found many friends from our participation in Cub and now Boy Scouts. DS is now a Star Scout working toward his Life. He is committed to going all the way for his Eagle Scout. I hope he keeps this level of commitment as he gets older.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday's Fave 5

I picked up this Favorite Five while reading 2nd Cup of Coffee, one of my regular reads. She had posted her Friday's Fave 5 with a link to the originator Susanne.

Here are mine for the week:

1. Scramble Ladder on Facebook. It is like sit ups for your brain. I love puzzles and games especially word games. It was made even more fun by DD, who would help me. She can find some really good words.

2. Connecting with old friends. This is my first week on facebook and I have talked to so many old friends including one of my dearest, Meg, who lives in Germany. This one line immediate form of communication is perfect for us as we seem to have difficulty with longer forms of communication. We do get to it eventually, but often there are long breaks from communiqué to communiqué i.e. years. What started as a way to figure out what DD was doing on the computer has become a great way to use technology.

3. BioBricks - need I say more since I already posted all their benefits?

4. The generosity of our congregation and the mandatory service hours of a volunteer to help me package our Operation Christmas Child boxes. One of the amazing things about our church is its generosity to all needs. As our minister said, “in the Protestant faith, church is defined as the people, not the building.” We will get everything wrapped up this weekend and say our prayers over the boxes before delivering them to the drop off site next week.

5. A neighbor, Pam, who taught DD and I how to bead a braclet. I received a beautiful gift from her last week and asked if she would be willing to teach DD and I. She was thrilled at the opportunity. Now I have to write my Christmas list and see who I can fill in using this new skill.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

How to Save Money on Your Heating Bill - BioBricks

My other big purchase yesterday that you have been waiting ever so patiently to find out about is BioBricks.

I know at first glance they don't seem very exciting but they really are. Thanks to BioBricks we have cut our ever growing heating bill. Each brick fits just right in our smaller woodstove. The use of the stove works to just keep the chill out of the air with our regular "heat" on 60 degrees. It also allows us to delay even turning on the "heat" for several weeks.

The BioBricks are made of compressed sawdust and therefore not only a reuse of "garbage" but also because of the compression they pack more energy i.e. heat that a typical piece of wood. It also produces less ash (which BTW is great for your garden) and contains no sap, glue, or other residue.

We were so excited to come by this product two years ago. It is kind of like wood pellets for people without pellet stoves.

Finding the Perfect Pocketbook

I tried not to be too picky with the handbag choice as I realized if I did not get it yesterday, I would end up going to work with a broken bag. I had about 10 minutes and a Marshalls nearby, so I popped in. DS actually helped me find a bag. It does not have the nice integrated wallet so I had to buy a wallet too, but it is pretty cute. DD was impressed with my choice and welcomed me to the 21st century (I didn’t know that I wasn’t here already).

It is a Tignanello. It kind of looks like this,

but has one center large bag with a couple pockets and is brown leather on the bottom and on the strap. I think for a quick trip, I am going to be very happy with it.
To find out about my other great purchase, check back later today . . .

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Hurrah and Boo

One, Hurrah
One, a public thank you to Chris, the Carmax guy, who commented on my new car. We received our car atlas and it came in very handy yesterday when doing homework with DS who had to plan a road trip cross country. I’m still loving the car and people can’t believe that it is a used car. It is in excellent shape! It was also very exciting to fill the tank with $30.

Two, Boos
I failed to mention that on our trip to NYC, my pocketbook broke. The strap came apart from the purse and BAM it fell right to the sidewalk. Thank goodness I noticed and picked it right up - - - I was the one carrying the theater tickets and the return train tickets, but I then had to clutch my bag for the rest of the day. So now I either have to try to repair this bag or find another one. I HATE shopping for pocketbooks. When I bought this one, only a year ago from Coldwater Creek, I was very excited to find it. I had been looking for months because I knew my old one was dying. I am very picky about purses. I don’t like them too big or too small, and I like the integral wallet as part of the bag. Also, I am NOT paying $100 plus dollars for a bag. Frankly, if I didn’t carry so much crap, I would just carry a wallet, but then where would the checkbook, sunglasses, keys, epi-pen, pads, membership cards, etc. all go? So Coldwater Creek and Amazon, here I come. Please have something reasonable and sturdy!

The second Boo goes to a church in Florida for arresting a man for stealing communion wafers. If God thinks it was wrong to take to many, he’ll take care of it. As for us, I’m pretty sure that we are called to feed the hungry and help those in need. Why didn’t you hand him the whole bowl or invite him for soup and a sandwich after the service instead of tackling him and having him arrested?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Getting Ready for Prom 1988

In an effort to keep up with technology and understand what my DD is doing online, I have set up a facebook page. She is truly frightened by the number of friends that I have found online. She didn't realize that us old-fogies used computers, but many of my old classmates are there.
While I was setting up the page, I came by this old beauty - my senior prom picture from 1988 and yes this is my DH. We have been together a very long time. Which is kind of scary because within our group of friends it is not unusual for us to marry our high school sweethearts, so that means any boy friend that DD brings home may be a future son-in-law.

Rockettes & Girl Scouts

The show was great!

We took the Metro into the NYC walked to Radio City and saw the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular. Several of had seen it three or four years ago, but their were also several that had never seen it and for that fact had really never been in the city except for a school trip to one of the museums. So this was a new door opened to them. For them, I wish that we had more time to explore the city. Alas, we only had time for the show and then back on the train to CT.

I have to tell you that I love the tap dancing numbers. There is something about dancing that is also music that I find amazing. Also, as a Christian, I was thrilled to again see the live nativity scene. One of the other mothers was shocked that they had it. Christmas has been so washed of its meaning in general society that it is surprising to see such a religious scene. She was pleasantly surprised.

One of my favorite parts of trips like this with Girl Scouts is the doors that it opens in girls' minds. As I mentioned, several of the girls had never really been to the city and had never taken a commuter train, now they have. A couple of them have never been to theater until they came to this troop. These activities which seem like just fun trips have expanded their universes and given rise to new possibilities in their lives. It is quite awe inspiring when you think of it.

We are down to only six girls in our troop: four that have been together since daisies and two that are actually cousins that joined about two years ago. One of the mothers of one of the newer girls said to me on the train, "I never expected my 14 year old to still be in Girl Scouting. This troop has been such a good thing for her and me. She really loves Girl Scouts." The mother went on to talk about how Girl Scouting had opened so many doors to both of them and provided them with activities and ideas that they would have never come by on their own - and as she put it, "not just the good stuff either" (meaning the Rockettes), but also our work on the Crop Walk or visit by the coordinator of HELO orphanage in Haiti; badge work; hikes; camping, etc.

So Girl Scouts and the Rockettes, thanks for a great weekend!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

An Inconvenient Ruth & Do you Know?

Work isn't always work.

An Inconvenient Ruth - video powered by Metacafe

But then sometimes, it is:

These are both from work today.

Let me know your thoughts.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Going into the City this Weekend

Here is a clue to what I am doing this weekend:

Do you know what it is? The greatest part of this trip is that one of moms in my troop has just been diagnosed with breast cancer and seeing the Rockettes is on her list of things to do. This will be her first time. Certainly, I hope that she will see it many, many more times, but I'm glad during this difficult time we are doing something that she wants to do. Hopefully, it will be a good day for her.

I will let you all about it on Monday!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Christmas Catalogs Clog my Mailbox

The Christmas catalog onslaught has begun. Each day that I get the mail, I am now getting four or five catalogs a day. By the beginning of December, our mail can become alarmingly large. I must admit that my shopping habits only make this onslaught worse. I abhor crowds. I try to shop throughout the year to avoid the Christmas crowds, but when we get down to the final push, I shop almost entirely online or through catalogs. I’m sure this only increases the catalogs that fill my mailbox.

Some of my favorite catalogs are Hearthsong, LL Bean, American Girl, National Geographic, and yesterday’s arrival Discovery. Some of the items that jumped out of me in the Discovery Catalog:

For weirdness: Balance Ball Chair $99.95 - The picture says it all. I'm not sure that I could add to it.

For Practicality: (the cheapest and most effective form of teenage birth control – the truth! Actually probably a better gift for new parents) a video called From Conception to Birth $14.95

Timeless Entrepreneurship:New!(I like this definition because that must mean I’m young) Ultimate Pot holder Kit $ 29.95 (Of Course, you may be able to find this at a tag sale for $1.00 or in your own attic for free)

There are plenty more really interesting gifts. I suggest that we all review or Christmas lists to see where we stand and what we have left to get. The holidays will be here before we know it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Buying a New Car

We did it today. We bought my new car. Ok, it is an old, new car. We bought a 2004 Chevy Malibu hatchback with on 8,212 miles. This car is too cool and drives like a dream. The hatchback will be perfect for our Bernese Mountain dog.

I am very hip now. I have a CD changer, sun roof, moon roof, DVD player, and tons and tons of leg room. Leg room has really been very important as we have tried out different vehicles. My kids are not tiny, but in fact almost adults themselves. I did not want them to ride with their knees in their chest. Also, the car gets great gas mileage. It will be very refreshing to fill up once every couple weeks.

I think DH was finally inspired to move on this purchase when my needs for a vehicle started to impinge on his schedule i.e. my work this weekend overrode his need to go camping.

We ended up buying this vehicle at Carmax and I have to tell you that I was very impressed with their service. We did most of the research online. We were greeted at the door by our sales associate, Walter. We gave him the number of the car we wanted to see and after testing driving the vehicle and looking it over extensively, we were out the doors a couple hours later with the vehicle detailed and a full tank of gas. Thank you, Walter, Lori, Carmax, and the guy that did such a great job detailing the car (I did not catch your name). DH said it was probably the easiest sale of their life.

Political Joke of the Day

Ask anyone today, “Who is the president of the United States?”

Undoubtedly, the will say, “Obama”

Then you can catch them. Inauguration is not until January. The President is still George W. Bush. I already got both the kids.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Naming Your Baby

I found this article on NBC about choosing a name for your baby. They basically advise that both parents should make a list of 10 names to be considered, then swap lists to review and rank the others thoughts; put the name on a business card to see if the name will hold up as not just a “baby” name but as an adult name as well; and finally they suggest not to share the list with others because they may pull the name apart and sway your decision.

Ok, I’m all for suggestion one and two. DH actually was very concerned about their monogram and would envision their initials engraved on their future briefcase (Don’t forget to look at the initials in order and also with the last name in the middle like a traditional monogram). The idea though of not figuring out how your poor child will be tortured for the next 20 years of life is ridiculous. I think that parents should be keenly aware of how their name choice may affect their child. The suggestion implies that people will not say mean things to YOUR face, but hopefully you are adult enough not to care. What do you think will happen when your poor child goes to elementary school? You can have all the anti-bullying policies you want and you can be indignant about the situation, but your poor child is still taking the wrath for your “cute” choice. I would recommend that you think of every possible way that the name you choose might me made fun of and then decide if it is still a good name. In our case, I had the best possible test of names. When we drove back from upstate New York, I reviewed possible names from a baby name book and my DH and brother-in-Law made all sorts of bizarre comments (apparently they knew about childhood teasing). You would be amazed at how helpful this was.

Also, I would recommend that you go through your own genealogy. I did not do this when I was having children. My interest in genealogy did not develop until later in life, but this resource is a virtual treasure trove of potential names. And how cool is it to be able to say that you are named after your great, great aunt or uncle.

Top Baby Names according to the web site
2007 Emily Jacob
2000 Emily Jacob
1990 Jessica Michael
1980 Jennifer Michael
1970 Jennifer Michael
1960 Mary David
1950 Linda James
1940 Mary James
1930 Mary Robert
1920 Mary John
1910 Mary John
1900 Mary John

Note: I have one child with a name that doesn’t seem to exist anywhere in the universe (it is starting to been seen phonetically, but not in spelling) and one child with a most popular name.

If you are a billionaire, you can name the child whatever you would like and people will just think it is cool.

45 Minute Wait at the Polls

DH arrived at the polls at 5:45 am and exited at 6:38. Already the lines are long. He called to say that the idea of going at 6am for a quick vote may have been faulty. I said he shouldn’t judge too early because that could be the best all day. He told me that I better bring a coffee, juice boxes for the kids, and maybe pack a lunch when we go later.

Interestingly when he was there one voter walked out of the polls with one of the pens, so they turned around after being outside of the building, came back in and put the pen back in – a big no no! The moderator immediately came over. She then told the poll worker at the door not to let anyone back through that door. DH was just going by at that point so he chuckled and told the older woman, “That means you have her permission to give a full body tackle. Aim for the knees.” Both the moderator and the poll worker laughed. I can’t imagine. If things are this crazy in our small town, I can only guess what it is like everywhere else.

Last night I was mourning that I was not working the polls today. Frankly, we could really use the extra money. DH said, “You know, it may be better that you are not. It may not be worth the money.” Often we can be there for hours after the polls close reconciling votes checked in to votes cast. With the turn out today, this may mean hours and hours. Plus, we could be the 10% that are automatically called to audit our count to verify the new optical scan machines.

Let us know what is going on at your polling places. I will be heading out later today and will update you on the status of our small town.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Be Sure to Vote Tomorrow

This does not necessarily represent where my alliances lay this Election Day, but I think we can all appreciate the sentament. Tomorrow, will be decision making day. Don't forget to vote:

A Family Friendly Media Giant Emerges

Did you see this report? This is a critically important report that all parents should see.

Many of us have already been concerned about how media is affecting the raising of our children. This report shows that we have right to be concerned.

I think that we have all know that it is up to the parents to oversee their children's viewing habits, but as a concerned parent, I think that it is time for a revolution. A time for a media giant to arrise that puts the family first again. Where I can feel safe for my entire family to watch, read, and listen to. There are plenty of these such things for our youngest children, but for pre-teen and teenagers there are far fewer. Also, if like my family, you try to limit or oversee, your teen begins to feel different from others (as we all remember this is the ultimate sin as a teenager).

As consumers, why aren't we screaming for more appropriate media. Why can't we have great shows that intertwine creating great stations. Imagine if you could create tv viewing that includes only those channels that you oked and those stations were devoted to family friendly, education viewing. The other stations did not appear on your screen at all. Imagine if the teens could buy magazines that did not have sexually provocative advertising or articles that talked about issues far beyond their ages. It is a fine line between information / dialouge about issues and repeatingly being assalted with images and storylines that make such behaviors acceptable and normal. There are some shows out there that meet this guideline, but the shows before it and after it don't. What if we had the power to change that?

We have seen some of these changes in even adult women magazines, but teenagers seem to be being ignored. I challenge the biggest and brightest in the media world to begin working on this. These are the changes that go to the core of keeping our families together. These changes are at the core of supporting the growth of our children. I think technology has caught up to this idea and there is not just a need but a desire for this. Imagine a family friendly cable company that allows you to choose your stations a la carte and block the others from ever coming in. Imagine if there was an online portal that you could log your children in where they were locked into a safe environment with constant monitoring. Imagine if magazines, for girls especially, had reasonably sized models without underlying sexiness, but were still hip and cool. Ok, stop imagining. . . If you have money and talent, do it, please!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Another Generation Adores Farrah Fawcett

DH and DS went down to his parent’s old house to finish cleaning it out. Most of the things that they brought back made sense: a wheelbarrow, a turkey smoker, a snow blower - - -but one thing snuck in that I did not expect, 2’ x 4’ poster of Farrah Fawcett circa 1986

Mind you it was on my husband’s bedroom wall when he was eighteen so you can be sure that this is not the same poster, but it will at least remind you of who she is. My DS now wants to put it on his wall. As they say “all things old are new again”.

Of course, I keep laughing that we should be cleaning up the house for a sale not adding to what we have, but who can turn down a 5500 watt generator for free?

Addendum: I edited this post because I learned later in the evening that it was not DS that wanted to hang Farrah. DH still has a little crush.