Saturday, June 30, 2007

What Men Wish Their Wives...

by Beth Moore! Beth Moore posted a survey for husbands a few months ago. I couldn't get mine to send in answers (:-() but apparently many husbands did. Here is a collection of some of the answers she received. I enjoyed it and I hope you will as well!

Friday, June 29, 2007

One Lucky Day

Today will go down as a lucky one. I didn't win a lottery, a new car or even a piece of candy. I won nothing but was very, very lucky. We're still down here in Savannah and we had planned a day downtown visiting the Juliette Gordon Low birthplace. She was the founder of Girl Scouts and I wanted to wait to visit it after both girls were in Daisies/Brownies. So, today was the day!

We finally got the crew together - me, my mom, Kt, Em and little Sky - and were heading out the door when Gaia escaped. Now, this was a tragedy because Gaia is my sister's dog. She is of unknown mix, but appears to be a bit of rottweiler or doberman and german sherpherd. Gaia was a stray - and not a particularly trusting one. When she hears the call of the wild, she responds. We've heard stories of her eating exotic birds, chasing down other dogs while on her leash, "finding" the stray cats under my sister's front porch... the list goes on. Today, she saw her chance to escape and she took it. Bolted, she did, right out the door!

My sister had mentioned these past few days that she is not an easy dog to catch. My sister even has to sneak up behind her while she's taking care of business - she won't come for a treat, for a car ride or even for her loving owners. Today, lucky for me, was quite different. It may have been the hot, hot day outside or just the fact that Gaia is finally a senior citizen. She took off down the road and my mom followed her in the van, stopping to ask neighbors if they had seen a (killer) dog in the neighborhood. No one had seen her. While I waited at the house with the kids, who were upstairs making "Missing Dog" posters, I saw a tail outside the front window. She found her own way home and we finally prodded her in the side gate. We were lucky! It was a record 10 minute recovery, so...

We headed off for Downtown. We knew about where we were going, but parking is at a minimum down there. Lots of it, but rarely empty where you need them. We passed the Low house, found our first spot - 30 minute limit. Found a second spot - 1 hour limit. Found our third space, and it was just right at 2 hours. Of course, after roaming around looking for a spot, we had little clue as to where we were in reference to where we were heading. It just so happened that we parked by the old courthouse on Bull Street, on a beautiful square that was one block from the house - bingo!

The tour of the house was quite short but very informative. It was a great length for kids and they have many, many artifacts, anecdotes to share and beautiful furniture. Of course, we had to purchase the JGL birthplace Girl Scout pin, the Friendship Pin and patches that you can ONLY get at the house. I think the girls enjoyed it, even though Em told me she was bored. And our three year old was a champ! Other than wanting to sit on everything, she was wonderful. On the way home, we stopped at "Old" McDonald's for a milkshake - it was her first! LOL

In our crazy pre-downtown excitement, we forgot to bring a camera. Fortunately, CVS was right by our parking space, so we picked up a disposable one. In other words, pictures will be a long time in coming!! We did have fun and I did take a few cute pics tonight on my cameraphone to put up here for your enjoyment. My luck did eventually run out while making mac 'n cheese for dinner and discovered we had no milk. I'll take that over Gaia never returning or parking miles away from that house with a three year old whose stroller we forgot!!

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Low Country

I'm down here in "low country" with my sister. Oh, and my mom, my girls, my brother-in-law and the two most adorable kids!! We have some great pictures, but they are on my sister's and my mom's cameras, so nothing to show yet! I'll try to do the cameraphone one tomorrow so I can post it.

We took the long route down, via the outlets and Super 8! After "camping" Friday night, I was exhausted! But we made the trip anyway. It only took us 3 hours to get around the beltway and down to Potomac Mills - big motorcycle accident or something. That was on a Sunday! Never a dull moment in Northern Virginia!!!

I'm not sure how long we'll be here. We have a couple things on our agenda - Juliette Gordon Low's birthplace (big Girl Scout thing), the beach (already went tonight, but I had to call the girls out of the water because I couldn't see them anymore, even by the light of the moon!), painting my sister's kitchen (we just finished stripping the most hideous wallpaper I've ever seen) and just relaxing! I would love to live down here - it's just the right pace of life as far as I'm concerned.

Tonight, Kt and I got our hair cut. No kidding, it was $10 for each of us. I paid the woman $30, which is much less than the base price at home. Living down here would be easier on the pocket book! Of course, finding a job... well, that would present a problem. I guess not really easier on that pocket book if it's empty!

I'm thinking next year, house on Tybee Island, bikes, lots of beach apparatus, marshmallow roasting skewers, plenty of graham crackers and chocolate bars, sunscreen (I'm a realist) and an iPod. Rented is fine, for at least a week with plenty of relatives and friends stopping in to make the week fun and exciting. We'll squeeze in a whale watch ride, shopping, a trip to "the downtown", as my niece calls it, and plenty of games. Am I missing anything? Oh, right, we'll be sure to bring T along next time!

Friday, June 22, 2007

Suburban Campers

Plenty of suburbanites camp, are outdoor enthusiasts, own tents and various camping paraphernalia. We just aren't those people. We are packing, among other things!!, for this weekend. A little campout, not even at a real campground. The girls are quite excited. I told them to pack a couple snacks for tonight - Em brought me microwave popcorn. Like I said, we just aren't those....

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Speed Enforcement

That's what they call it around here when police officers band together, park along dangerous roadways in "inconspicuous" areas, jump out in front of speeding vehicles and direct them over to the side of the road. It's quite dangerous for everyone involved, and if you ask me, I think it's just plain stupid. They often set up these speed traps at the entrance to our neighborhood, so I'm all too familiar with them. The road just outside our neighborhood already has a speed limit of 55, so it's no small road. Add to that the huge hill just before our left turn off that road, and you have a favorite speed trap location.

Often, on Sundays and any nice weather day, I will approach that hill with extreme caution. My first hint is the onslaught of brake lights in front of me as we approach the apex of the hill. Many residents know to watch for this, but many others who travel along the thoroughfare on occasion would not even take notice. In fact, many of them quickly move to the left lane to pass all those cautious drivers in a lane that will disappear into the trunks of radar equipment belonging to the county sheriff.

My second hint is exactly that, black vehicles, trunks open and little ant-sized men in black with reflective vests running all over the side of the road AND across it! I am always thinking to myself that they must be completely out of their minds, running out in front of hundreds of cars barreling down a hill at top speed. It's just totally crazy!

Of course, the fact that I have to be in the left lane to pull over and turn left to go home doesn't help this situation, especially when these officers and their prey find it of no concern to anyone except me to use the lane that I need to pull into! Why they think that left turn lane is appropriate for ticket writing is beyond me, but it only adds to my boiling blood pressure!

Tomorrow there will be a funeral at our church for one of these speed enforcement officers who met his demise while stepping out in front of an unsuspecting speeding SUV. Sometimes, catching people off guard isn't the best way to enforce a law, especially when it puts the lives of others in harms way. I wonder if it's really worth it for these officers to do this? Is there a better, safer way of enforcing speed limits?? I have to admit, I've had these officers run out in front of my car when I was NOT the one speeding!! I have no idea why they did it, but it nearly caused an accident when I had to swerve to miss him and caused another car to swerve next to me. It's just a horrifyingly frightening thing! I, for one, would feel better if they would just not set these crazy traps up!

So, tomorrow, the only place large enough in the county for all who want to come and pay respects to a man who stepped out in front of a speeding car can do that at our church, where we will be arriving around 5 to set up our tents to camp out and clean up before the wedding the next day. (Just a note - we booked our little campout before anyone else!)

I Applaud George

I, for one, am an American who agrees with George W. Bush on the stem cell research issue. I applaud his firm stance on the moral obligation of not leading this nation into a practice that is believed by many to be immoral. I also feel that as a tax-payer, I prefer not to send my tax money in to support causes I believe to be immoral, inhumane and at best, with an unknown outcome. In the case of stem cell research, opening the door of federal funding will most likely open the door to many other acts deemed questionable (i.e., cloning, selective abortion - which is already!, abortion - again, already) and the outcome unknown, unconfirmed and with a snowball effect may become unstoppable.

That being said, all the hoopla surrounding this issue, making Bush and all his cronies out to be villains, is giving the impression that Bush has somehow outlawed the research in the area of stem cells. Nothing could be further from the truth!! Private research is being done, whether we all agree with it or not, just not using our federal tax dollars. Also, alternative and at times more promising research is being done in other areas of stem cell research not involving embryonic stem cells.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I'm not at all convinced that embryonic stem cells are the best promise of hope for those with debilitating illnesses. This certainly was not the case for my father's lymphoma, in which mature stem cells were necessary for his treatment. How many people out there are able and willing to donate their own stem cells, a sometimes lengthy, painful procedure? They wouldn't have to sacrifice their life to do this, just some time, comfort and possibly some cash. I guess for some, it's just easier to take a life that hasn't even had the chance to speak for itself, and therein lies the real issue at the heart of stem cell research. At what point is a "life" considered viable, purposeful, valuable to society. It's, well, an issue that hinges in great part upon one's moral beliefs and practices.

So, today, I applaud George W. Bush for resolving to not use my tax money to pay for something I feel is morally wrong. I don't expect everyone to agree with me, I just want everyone to understand that nothing has been outlawed, it's just not paid for by me. If you really want to send money to your cause, go right ahead, research it yourself and pay for it. Also, be informed about stem cell research before deciding if you truly believe this is "promising" and "necessary" for those with debilitating, often fatal, diseases. To be swayed by the media or political propaganda on issues involving life is just plain ignorant - especially with a big election coming up. We're all smarter than that, right?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Surf's Up

We went to see this movie today with our friends. It was really fun, a great hot day activity and the girls really enjoyed it. I thought it was really clever, a great story and very entertaining. The music was great - a bit retro, surfy (of course) and made me want to go to Hawaii! Throughout the movie, they did black and white flashbacks that were hysterical and very ingenious! About the only thing that I didn't like about it was the use of the word "suck", not because I don't like that word (I don't, but I don't mind it used in movies appropriately) but because the rest of the movie did not even come close to having that same tone. I heard a lot of grimaces in the beginning of the movie during that one scene - just very bizarre choice of words. Other than that, we loved it!


Today, when the girls got home from school, I was quietly folding laundry in the family room, Kt ran upstairs to ??, and Em started playing "school", not intending to include me at all. Out of nowhere, she makes a beeping sound and announces, "Lockdown, lockdown!" She then proceeds to "tell her children" to hide.

I couldn't resist, I had to find out, is this something they actually do in school? She peered out from behind the armchair and said, "Yes, well, we do have lockdown drill in school. It's really fun. We get to hide!" I asked her what she was hiding from and where. She replied, "Well, we have to hide from the bombs, and we all just have to go in the middle and be really quiet, so that the bombs can't find us!"

My kids have been in school all year and I have never once heard either of them talk about Lockdown until today - is that even possible? Kt said it's fun, they get to hide in the coat closet or under the teacher's desk! What kind of world do we live in that our 6 and 9 year olds have to practice being attacked? It's not like we live in a war zone.... or do we?

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Happy Father's Day!

There is nothing more fun than celebrating a dad who really loves being one! That's what T is, and anyone who knows him knows what I'm talking about. I can't even begin to list the things that our daddy loves about being a dad, but I'll name a few! He loves telling everyone he meets that he has two daughters so they stop wondering if he's a teenager - haha. He enjoys introducing his girls to all the creepy, crawly and squishy things in life - like killing bugs (Em even wrote that in her school assignment), feeding stingrays and petting dolphins. He really loves that his girls choose him over me when they have middle of the night issues - OK, I'm the one who loves that!;-) But mostly, he just enjoys that God has blessed us with two beautiful children and entrusted us with their care.

Em was up last night, waiting by her door with three cards she made for dad. She was also up at the crack of dawn and has checked on him, cards in hand, every 10 minutes or so. We're about to make him some breakfast and then I'll finally let her wake him up! On father's day, we are going to let him sleep in, because that's what he loves most of all. Then we're picking up ribs on the way home, another of his favorites! I guess later, we might just have to let him read all day, because he really loves that, too. Finally, we'll have to let him post on his blog because, if you're reading this, than you probably know his blog is his third child!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Today's Car Question

Now, mind you, Kt was operating on very little sleep.... I love that she asked T today! I got the day off!

"Dad.... why do some people have mailboxes like mom, up on their house, and some people have them at the end of their driveway. And then ours is that big one where everyone's mail is. Who makes that decision where someone's mailbox is????"

followed a few minutes later, while dad is rambling on about who knows what....

"How do you know which lane to drive in, and why do they put lanes in roads? How do they know where to put lanes in roads?"

My answer? "Kt, why don't you take a little nap on the way to dinner!"

School Stress

This week has been a little taxing on an obsessive/compulsive mother like myself! Our principal at the girls' elementary school upset everyone last year by shuffling around a large number of teachers at the school. When all was said and done, she had made changes in every single grade, and in most cases had left only one teacher in place per grade. It was quite unsettling.

Not only that, she proceeded to move certain unpopular teachers up to the next grade, so that they had to endure yet another year of the exact same parents complaining. Really, just not fair to the teachers, parents or students. And no one was able to give a good accounting of why these changes were necessary. I had suspected the teachers were unhappy, but the mood at the school has always been one of superficial smiles.

About a week ago, the buzz began again about changes for next year. I was quite distraught because Em is heading to first grade, which is the strongest team in the school. First grade is super important, so I was looking forward to making through that year with those particular teachers. I learned very quickly, even though all the changes were supposedly "confidential", that only one teacher would remain in first grade and a new teacher from this year. I found out yesterday that the other teachers moving there are a new teacher from 5th grade (moving a brand new teacher from fifth to first grade in her second year? crazy!) and the least popular kindergarten teacher, who has done little to prepare her students for first grade and is not a team player by any stretch of the imagination.

Now, if that isn't bad enough, again at least 50% of the teachers are being shuffled around with no explanation, for the second year in a row and now.... the principal is being transferred!! Can you believe it? This huge mess is created, and our new principal is exactly that - new! He's been an assistant principal up until July 1, when he will walk into a school of very unhappy teachers, parents and sad students. That poor man!

Of course, none of this is encouraging me to want to return to the field of education - just a stress I can't add to my life at this point in time!

Kt's Car Question of the Day

These continuous, "thought-provoking" questions have continued all week. I thought I ought to record the ones that I remember.... others are just too obscure to recall. Yesterday's:

"Mommy, if people go barefoot, do their feet dry out faster?"

I should have just answered, "Yes." to be done with it!

Friday, June 15, 2007

When the Teacher's Away....

the students will play!! Em knew yesterday that her teacher would be out today, so I'm wondering now, after listening to her stories about today, whether she spent all night plotting her takeover or if it just happened, naturally, once she saw that substitute teacher!

Em's first story was about her "staying in" for recess, something reserved for children who don't finish their work or who need a little extra coaxing in the area of compliance. ;-) So, I asked Em, for what reason did she have to stay in? She claims for no reason, just that she and her friends wanted to. Hmmm.... During this time, she wrote her sister a letter, and a very lengthy one at that. On occasion this evening, she has called out for her sister who is currently at a Girl Scout sleepover. Must be one important letter!

The second story was very animated, meaning it must have been a defining moment for her today. She began her lively story by telling me that Kyle poked a hole in the purple pail at the sand table. Yesterday, she had to ask Miss C for a piece of tape to cover that hole. Today, SOMEONE REMOVED that piece of tape. (Can you believe that?? Neither could I!) Em had to get another piece of tape, and then had to "make a announcement" about the pail to the "entire" class. She displayed the said bucket for all to see, told them NOT to remove the tape!

Apparently, one student was unable to see her demonstration and decided that SHE should get in trouble for the situation - whatever that was! She is distraught over this suggestion.... even though she didn't get in trouble. I guess it was my job to agree with her that this student didn't know WHAT he was talking about. She is the solution! In fact, I wonder why they even bother to hire subs for that class. Just let Em take care of it!


I was accosted today while shopping for veggies and dip for my daughter's campout. While browsing in the dip section, a man walked up and was muttering under his breath, "Avacado, avacado, avacado...." He picked up the Guacamole and said, "Guacamole?" like it was some kind of strange rodent, then put it back down. He then turned to me and said, "Do you see any avacado dip?" I said, "Sure, that's guacamole, see the picture of the avacados right on the package? In fact, I just made some last night, and I know it's made from avacados." He replied, "Ah, ok, I guess this is what I'm looking for, then."

I found what I wanted and wandered to the other end of the produce section when I hear this same guy yelling to me, "See, see, this is what I'm talking about!! These people in this country need to speak English. Why do I have to learn things like guacamole. It's time to get these nationalities right" etc, etc, etc. At this point, I'm sort of half listening, half looking for a way of escape. I just nodded to this man and said, "Hmmm, I see...." wondering what the hispanic woman standing next to us is wondering about this old man, rambling on to me about guacamole.

I understand, this immigration issue is big here, but I honestly can't help but think that the world is big enough for all of us. If anything, the issue being raised is bringing out the worst in everyone, the ethnocentric "American" who wants the world to leave us alone so we can live in peace and harmony by ourselves. The fact is, if we want to be recognized as a peaceful and harmonious nation, we can't continue to shut everyone out because they speak a different language, wear different clothes or prefer food that they are accustomed to. We need to remember that this country, America, was founded to be a safe haven, a new world and to welcome those who are oppressed or downtrodden, looking for freedom not offered in other countries of the world.

Do I agree with the immigration bill? I wouldn't go that far, but I will say that I'm not completely against it all, either. I think we have a problem with our borders, I think we have a problem with people working here illegally and I believe we need to find a workable solution. I guess I'm an oddball who appreciates that our country is a diverse place, where we can teach our children about other cultures and have examples of them at our fingertips.

So, I wonder what that man would have thought if he had know my husband were Chinese? Or that T's parents were immigrants from China? Would he have chased me down, a little, blonde white woman had he known my little secret?? I wonder... does he enjoy Chinese food? or Thai food? Does he vacation in the Caribbean? or maybe Europe? Or does he just stay around here, eating hot dogs and hamburgers in Ocean City? Who knows, but he probably belongs to this group of "conservative bloggers" who got him all riled up about this issue. Anyway, I hope he enjoys his guacamole! and tortilla chips!!

Just When I Think I Can Breathe...

I was thinking after my doctor's appointment today I could finally breathe, and it's true. Most of the school hoopla is over. Just a crazy afternoon... and then three half days next week. But then it all begins again with a whole weekend/campout/training that T and I are in charge of. We've added a "talent show" to the mix. Lots of food to plan, scheduling, collecting $$ and permission slips, then there's the actual camping.

We are camping (I can't remember if I'm allowed to say this or not) somewhere where there's going to be a wedding Saturday morning - Ooops! Fortunately, it was approved by the right people, so there's nothing anyone can do now! Wouldn't you freak as a bride if you arrived for your wedding and saw nothing but a sea full of tents with cranky teenagers throwing cream-cheese topped bagels at each other?? It's going to be an adventure - that's for sure!

So, my dr appointment, not so good. Some big changes coming up for me. But it's all good and somewhat out of my hands so to speak. When your family history includes nearly every ailment under the sun, what can you expect? I did treat myself to a new BP machine on my way home. It's just not performing any better than the last one! In other words, my BP is pretty good at home.... just send me to the doctor and you get a whole other story!! Me and doctors - we just don't get along!

OK - breather over - I'm now off to the grocery store (again!) for veggies and dip, apple slices and then home to pack for Kt, then off to her author's tea and again take Em to swim team, Kt to her campout.... how do people manage more than two children, I wonder?? I'll never know!;-)

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mr. Brooks

T and I went on a little date Saturday night to see Mr. Brooks. It was surprisingly quite good, a bit gory, very intriguing. In short, the movie is about addiction. They happen to choose an addiction that is not your "run of the mill" issue - murder - and really developed that theme to an extreme. You could substitute almost any addiction in it's place, of course many addictions are not quite as gruesome, but still as destructive to the very fabric of family, friends, and life.

A couple interesting ideas were presented in the movie. First, the person closest to Mr. Brooks never even suspected he had an addiction. That was a little scary. Second, that the addiction was totally hereditary, although nothing was ever mentioned about Mr. Brooks' parents. That might have added an even stronger element, but was not necessary. Finally, the idea that addiction is cyclical in nature, experimental initially but leading to perfection in deception. The pattern of wanting to stop, being provoked to begin and actually acting upon an addiction was well developed as well.

So, what am I addicted to? I don't really want to admit all my addictions (I mean, most of you believe I am somewhat normal, right? Wouldn't want to upset anyone! LOL), but email is pretty high up there. I don't really hide it that well and it's doubtful I've perfected it, but it interrupts my life and I've looked for ways to curb it and my online time. While I'm glad I don't struggle with an addiction like murder, I can somewhat understand the pull towards things we know are detrimental to our well-being. (Have I mentioned chocolate yet?)

If I had to rate this movie, I'd give it a four and a half out of five stars. It had all the essential elements it needed, good acting, good movement - just a little too gruesome for some of us, but I guess that comes with the territory. I wanted to know a little more about his daughter, but again, that was probably not necessary. I just wanted to know!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Blue-eyed Cicadas

There's an article on Foxnews today about a boy finding a "one-in-a-million" blue-eyed cicada. A few years ago, Maryland had an onslaught of several different kinds of cicadas and my children, who are ordinarily freaked out by an ordinary housefly, collected literally HUNDREDS of them. They were in every bughouse we own, in buckets, wagons, pails - you name it, they used it to collect them. We even found a dead one weeks later in the little compartment under the seat of Em's Barbie trike! We found that one while in Connecticut, so my mom was able to take it into school to show her students. Kt even has a shirt that they sold claiming that she survived the Cicadas.

At the time, there was a rumor circulating that a university had offered $5000 for a blue-eyed cicada. I can't remember why, other than it was rare and they wanted to research it. Kt had heard this rumor at school and was bound and determined to find herself one. I didn't listen to much of what she was saying (as I was so totally grossed out by the rather troublesome collection of large insects my children were accumulating!), until she actually found one, right here in our own backyard! After a small amount of research, I learned this blue-eyed cicada was not only not valuable, but they weren't as rare as everyone was claiming. Kt was very disappointed, but she did take that poor thing into school to prove to everyone that she found it! It must have been a long afternoon for that poor cicada, because he died that evening.
I guess it wasn't news enough for Foxnews, but at least we have picture!;-)

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Within the Context of....

Last week I was driving along, listening to the Christian radio station WGTS, when one of my favorite worship songs came on, In the Secret.... and it brought me back to summer vacation.

It's typically a hot, muggy evening bustling with excitement among the dozens of little children, decked out in their southern best for an evening of fun with Harbour Town's own Gregg Russell. We've experienced this phenomena enough to know that #1 - we missed something when we were kids, and #2 - this kid's show is as much (or more) for adults as it is for children.

The kids come decked out in T-shirts and posters claiming that their parents were once sitting where they are, claiming that they've driven X amount of hours from Ridgefield, New Jersey JUST to see him, claiming to know each and every one of his songs.... all for the chance to come up front and sing a little diddy in front of everyone. It's kind of cute, and truth be told, our girls really get into this as well, even though they can hardly claim any of that! Well, OK, we drive 10 hours from MD!

This one particular night, Gregg chose two little boys to come up front and sing. Now, the show is not particularly religious in nature, but down south, any reference to God is generally accepted. Church songs are fine, so preparing children to sing a favorite Bible song for this evening ritual is completely acceptable.... unless, of course, you choose a song that does not expressly communicate that it is, uh, Godly?

So, these two little boys begin, in their best, well-practiced church voices possible....

"Do, do, do.... do, do, do... do, do, do... dahhhhh...
In a secret, in a quiet place...
In the stillness You are there.....
In the secret, in the quiet hour I wait, only for you,
'Cause I want to know you more......"

It's at this point Mr. Russell gives the audience the "hmmm" look, raises his eyebrows, but is clearly not ready to pull the plug...

The two little boys continue....

"I want to KNOW you
I want to HEAR your voice
I want to KNOW you more...

I want to TOUCH you
I want to SEE your face
I want to KNOW you MORE!!"

At this point, he's getting a bit squirmy. I started to get this little ache in the pit of stomach, wondering what parents would prepare their children to sing this song in front of a large group of people of unknown origin/religion/beliefs??? I'm thinking, do all these people think this is a song about, I don't know, child abuse???

Just as I'm thinking Gregg is going to bring this song to an abrupt end, it starts again, and even he can't stop it!

"Do, do, do.... do, do, do.... do, do, do.... duh.......
Do, do, do.... do, do, do.... do, do, do.... duhhhhhh!"

Gregg is nearly laughing, everyone is kind of laughing, maybe out of utter embarrassment or just plain discomfort. But it continues...

"I am reaching for the highest goal
That I might receive the prize
Pressing onward pushing every hindrance aside out of my way
'Cause I want to know you more...

(Loudest voices yet)
I want to KNOW you
I want to HEAR your voice
I want to KNOW you more

I want to TOUCH you
I want to SEE your face
I want to KNOW you MORE!!"

Well, that was - interesting - to say the least. I used to love that song, and now, when I hear it, it kind of makes me wince from that memory. A great worship song, little reference to anything Godly when performed in front of such a mixed crowd. They were the sweetest little boys, very well prepared, sang more than ABC's but it surely left me wondering.

If we are ever to return to Mr. Russell's little show, what would I prepare my girls to sing in the off chance they were chosen to go before such a large group? How many of my little Christian songs do I sing to myself or outloud that make little sense to those around me?? I do believe that our worship is a conversation with God, so I'm not saying this song is bad in any way whatsoever, but it definitely taught me a lesson about presumption. Who will ever explain that song to those people and will they ever know it was even a "church" song?? And what about Gregg Russell - I would have loved to have been a fly on his wall that night!! "Well, Mrs. Russell, you would not believe what these two little boys sang tonight - and I think it might have been a real song!"

It's a funny world we live in - and it just keeps getting stranger every day!
(song - Andy Park, Mercy/Vineyard Publishing)

Friday, June 08, 2007

Heat Wave!

The heat index today is going to be over 100 degrees. Of course, it's Kt's third grade picnic this afternoon from 1-1:30. I'm so not looking forward to this!!! I don't mind heat, just not in large groups. I guess I'll wear my bathing suit and hop in the pool after those poor kids go back to class. Hehe!

Thursday, June 07, 2007


On the way home from swim team practice (yes, we are suffering through this new experience!), with a headache, having not eaten all day (but have McDonald's steaming next to me), the prospect of having a friend sleep over on a school night.... Kt finishes the ride off with about her 30th question of the day. Her questions are never straight forward, always require more than half a brain, are completely and utterly random and seemingly nonsensical. Tonight's last question was this, as we are driving through our neighborhood:

If we had a fence, would it be the kind like that one over there - just short and two things so that you could easily jump over it? or would it be like that one, high and so no one can see your yard? or would we just have a white fence? or would it be a really short one that has wire around the inside of it? or... oh, just forget it.

By the end, I was only half listening anyway. This one came after she had asked me how old our neighbor was and when I told her 3, she said, "Oh, I thought she was 4. We just went to her fourth birthday party." I won't tell you what my reply to that question was, but she might have remembered when she got to the "oh, just forget it" part of her last question of the evening. So, about that headache!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Generation Noncommital

I see a trend among high school/college students that is quite frightening. The source is something I'm not quite sure about now: broken promises of politicians, high divorce rates, lowering of moral standards, apathy about life in general.... I have seen kids just walk away from commitments at an alarming rate with absolutely no feeling of guilt, regret, or even a sense of failure for having let a team or group down. Maybe it's just a mass marketing scheme - they Just Do it, Have it Their Way because They Deserve a Break Today!

Not only is this trend tragic, it's having a ripple effect of what people are willing and able to do. If we can't depend on this generation to step up to the plate and follow through on a commitment, will anyone ask them to change our world? Will anyone trust them with the things that nobody wants to do but that have to be done?

If Jesus decided to Just Do It, Have it His Way and Just Took a Break - handed that cup back to God, where would that have left us? We are asked all the time to do things that we don't want to do for a commitment we've already made. I can't think of a single time when I've walked away from something and not felt an overwhelming sense of guilt, remorse, and just plain agony over having let people down.

Instead, what I see today is kids waiting until that last possible moment to "let everyone know" they just aren't "into it." Every sinkable excuse you can imagine - if they only knew how empty those sound - to explain their total apathy towards fulfilling a commitment. No matter if money has been put out, plans have been made with their name on it, people are counting on them. They just turn around, walk away and party it up with their friends. Because really, that's what life is all about, right? Just one big party!


The Washington Post online is highlighting a headline, "Scores Up Since No Child Signed". This is a problem for me. It's a problem because test scores only tell a fraction of the picture. All year, all we've heard is that the kids must be ready for the test. And if we are thinking that this is a problem only since No Child was Left Behind, think again!

Test scores have been used incorrectly for years to judge schools, teachers, students and our education system. If we are going to base the success or failure of something, would it really only take one test?? When we test to see if a car is crash-worthy, we now have a front impact, side-impact, partial front impact... Only after passing all those tests and then some is a car given a safety rating. And even at that, if a car is built to pass a test but nothing else is added, is that car marketable?

There are many good things that have come out of No Child Left Behind, as well as many negative. In my own opinion, one of the worst is teaching to the test - it won't benefit anyone that my children were taught just enough to get a good test score. I hope I live to see a day when schools are rated on more than just two days of student performance and hours of practice testing!

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The Original Game of Telephone

This post is dedicated to my cousin, Steve.;-)

Today I went to do my talk on China, because I'm Chinese and all! LOL Because food items are absolutely forbidden in Em's class, I decided to take in Chopsticks for each of the students. Having recalled a conversation between my aunt, my mother and my husband, I gave my aunt and uncle a call concerning what I remembered to be an overabundance of chopsticks at their house. Here is how the calls went.

First Call to my Uncle:

Me: Hi there. Nanny mentioned that you all had some leftover chopsticks from a JOY or Red Hat dinner, and I was wondering if I might have some for my talk on China.

Uncle: Uh, I don't know about that.

Me: You don't have a bunch of chopsticks?

Uncle: Not that I know of, but I'll have to ask nanny about that. I'll tell her and have her call you about them, OK?

Me: OK

INTERMISSION: I wonder to myself, did I really hear what I thought I heard at that dinner? Didn't my aunt mention that she had plenty of chopsticks for T any time he needed them?? Or was that just my imagination???

Second phone call - even stranger than the first:

My aunt: Hi!

Me: OK, am I totally crazy? Didn't you tell my mom and T that you had about 60 leftover chopsticks from a JOY dinner?

My aunt: Well, I don't remember that, but I did search around the house and I've found 8. I DO have a box of lotions that Diane gave me. You could come look through those.

Me (thinking to myself - are they made in China or something?): Oh, well, that's interesting. I don't think I can take those in for the kids. I wonder if I'm remembering a conversation between T and my mother? Maybe she's the one with all the chopsticks?

My aunt: Maybe. I don't remember saying I had that many. And some of the ones I've found have already been used.

Me:(EWWW) Well, I can't give THOSE to the kids!! I guess I just figured that if you had enough for everyone, I could give each kid a set of chopsticks from China.

My aunt: OH, well I DO have a whole bag of CHOPSTICKS! I probably have about a hundred of those. I would be so glad to get rid of those!!!

Me: (totally confused at this point) What is it that you have 8 of?

My aunt: Chapsticks.

I hope you are laughing, Steve, and that you didn't stop at "Today I went to...." Someday, I'm sure I'll be writing these kinds of stories about conversations with you! LOL

Monday, June 04, 2007


I'm sorry, but does this really come as any big surprise to the parents of Heely wearing kids?? My guess is that they are not only injuring themselves, but taking down many others as they speed along through pedestrian areas. If you buy your kids shoes they can skate on, potential injury should be a given. I mean my kids get injured in regular shoes! And do us all a favor: teach your heely kids to skate in appropriate areas!

Something's Wrong With this Picture!

About a month ago, Kt's class was studying the continent of Africa. She offered up her father as a "cultural expert" to go in and do a little presentation for the class. T went on in and delivered, and it was fun, I'm just not sure about him being an expert.

Now Em's class is studying different cultures from around the world. She has been waiting for her turn for her father to come to her class, so T went ahead and volunteered to come in and talk about... Africa. Now, clearly, he is not African. So I wrote to Em's teacher and said that typically T's dad and I have come in and done a presentation on China. When talking about culture, it's usually good to have someone from that culture! Unfortunately, T's dad has just completed his last of 8 rounds of chemo and is no shape to join her class, or any class for that matter!

So the schedule looks like this: tomorrow I am going in to talk to Em's class about China, Thursday T's going in to talk about Africa and then next week, he's talking about Africa again to the other half of third grade. I'm beginning to think we are culturally confused!

Saturday, June 02, 2007


What Your Favorite Color Green Says About You:

Balanced --- Relaxed --- Flexible
Compassionate --- Philosophical --- Humble
Loyal --- Inventive --- Unique

You Are Teal Green

You are a one of a kind, original person. There's no one even close to being like you.
Expressive and creative, you have a knack for making the impossible possible.
While you are a bit offbeat, you don't scare people away with your quirks.
Your warm personality nicely counteracts and strange habits you may have.

Parking Lot Manners, Deceptive Democrats and GS Politics

BEWARE: This post contains complaints. None of them are in the heat of the moment. Instead, I remained silent all week so that I could write in this post my thoughts out of the framework of something resembling rage, but not quite there yet. It's just better for my blood pressure this way!

It bothers me when people suggest that every tiny ding, dent and scrape on my car is due to the fact that I'm a suburban, stay-at-home mom. Then I enter a parking lot, midday, mid-week and realize that there's a reason for this! Case in point: I made a "quick" mall stop this week to exchange a pair of flip flops. As I drove down an aisle in the parking lot, I stopped where a woman was getting into her car clearly to leave. There was no one I could see around me, until I stopped! As I waited for what seemed like an unnecessarily long amount of time for this spot, someone decided to wail on their horn at me. 60 seconds was just way beyond their patience limit and actually going around me was not an option! I didn't budge - because I didn't really need to!

My even exchange was the easy part of my errand. Upon returning to my car, once again the coast was clear. I carefully maneuvered my car out of it's spot. As I was about half way out of my spot, a car began careening towards me, slowed down as it near in what was appearing to be a bid (against no one!) to claim my spot. The odd thing was that this car refused to stop to let me out! She just kept rolling towards me to the point where in order for me to complete my exit from the spot, I had to swing tight just barely slithering by her, all while she was wailing on her horn at me. Now, correct me if I'm wrong, but the common courtesy of stopping and waiting might have saved this woman a bit of stress, as she must know that both our cars will not fit in that space together and in order for me to make room for her, I must actually leave! She then took her time easing her own car into that spot.

In the recent present, I've heard more car horns in parking lots of suburbia than I hear when I go downtown to Baltimore or DC. What is with these people?? We supposedly move to suburban areas to get away from the stress and pace of city life, but from where I'm standing (or driving!), I'm completely stressed out by these uptight, impatient suburbanites. Yikes!

Now, onto my next rant. Martin O'Malley. Maryland's new governor, who only months ago ran on a platform that claimed that Bob Ehrlich was doing nothing whatsoever to keep energy prices down. Ehrlich, who fought tooth and nail against a democratic run legislature, did everything in his power to try to stop our energy bills from bursting through this roof. And what has Martin O'Malley done to keep HIS promise to do better than Ehrlich? Absolutely nothing. A Democrat who could not even work with his own legislative body to do anything about it. Now he'll go and raise our taxes so that we will not only be paying 50% more on our own energy bills, but we'll be paying for all those people who can't afford to pay their own energy bills, all while they just keep going up, and up, and up.... Thanks for nothing, O'Malley!

Finally, Girl Scouts. I'm finally done with this organization. I won't go into all the craziness that I just went through where GS is concerned, but will just say this: too much red tape really detracts from the essence of what is supposed to be a fun, character building experience for young girls. When we lose sight of the purpose or mission of something because political or personal agendas block our view, I'd say that's a sign that we need to return to the basics.

So, stop honking your horn in the parking lot and turn off your lights! And remember: our actions really do affect our children, in the here and now and well into the future. When I think of all these things in terms of my children, my perspective changes. I'm glad I have children!