Friday, October 31, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

401K Disaster?

Back when T and I first got married, the 401K plans were a fairly new, seemingly wonderful idea. We knew that it was likely that by the time we retired 1) there would be no "pension" from a lifelong job, and 2) there would be nothing left in social security for us to draw from. We opted to put a nice portion, pretaxed, into his 401K plan as our own retirement fund. Never in a million years did I expect we might someday have to rethink that decision, but it appears that the Democrats are considering abolishing 401K's as we know it. If I weren't concerned about the possibility of Obama/Reid/Pelosi running the the show, I probably wouldn't share this on here, but for those who have a 401K plan and like it, read away!! Not the kind of thing I want to see happen.

Junk Science

This isn't always my favorite commentary on FOX, but I think this particular one highlights a crazy, uninformed bias that exists. Very good points in this!

You Better Watch Out!

I know, I know... Halloween is not even here yet and I'm already hinting at.... CHRISTMAS?? I'm actually not thinking a whole lot about Christmas, other than the facts that it's freezing outside (I've mentioned that already today, haven't I?) and my sitemeter is going berserk! I am getting already close to 40-50 hits a day from the Christmas Letter Tips site that sent my blog stats soaring last Christmas season. I guess people are already thinking about what they are going to write about in their Christmas letters. I better get on that bandwagon as well, although I guess it's not probable that I'll ever be able to match that letter! ;-)

So There You Have It!

You Are a Moderate Mama

You're not overly political, and your views fall more with the American mainstream.

In fact, it may be difficult for you to decide who to vote for at times!

Your approach to politics is reasoned and well thought out.

Shock to the System

I took a little "freezer" break on my blog. It's FREEZING here, and my body was just not ready for it! Still not.... I did manage to make it work, run some errands and today is just getting ready for Halloween. This year we have Bindi the Jungle Girl and Frenchie the Pink Lady from Grease. Tonight we carve our Jack-o'-Lanterns and get all our candy ready. Halloween is a fun holiday for us. It's maybe not the most savory holiday, but you have to admit - the fun factor is quite high.

Tonight, in my hometown in New England, is Mischief Night. I haven't seen much in the way of such a night around here, but we always had plenty of fun as kids. We would soap car windows, toilet paper trees, fill socks up with flour to ward off the "evil spirits" like my dad, who would often hide in his ghouly mask and jump out of the hedges to scare us! Of course, my parents were happy to point out to us that if we were going to make mischief, it might do us some good not to sign our names in soap on the cars - dead giveaway (pun intended, of course!). Plenty of fun mischief to go around!

Nowadays, the best part about Halloween is that it's the one holiday, aside from Valentine's Day, that schools aren't afraid to celebrate anymore. Sadly, our kids will never know what potato pancakes taste like for Hanukkah or play dreidel in school. The days of kids learning what other religious holidays mean and how they are celebrated has come to an end. We can only mention and celebrate "harmless" holidays.... hmmm.... I guess they know nothing about Halloween in Salem, MA! I'm not about to tell them, either!

Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 27, 2008

And is that your final answer??

So, the weekend is coming up, the one I asked people to vote on. While I am slightly disappointed I am not hopping on a plane headed for a very warm place, I am happy to be avoiding any and all swing states. LOL First, I researched Sanibel Island, and I really, really want to go, but right now I don't have the money. For that reason, we also nixed Key West and Disney World (for reasons regular readers know!). Next, we booked an extremely expensive couple of days at a resort I've been wanting to try for a while, before my kids are too old to want to go. We were going to drive down to Williamsburg and give the Great Wolf Lodge a try. The pricetag was something like $350 a NIGHT! We weren't really sure that was going to be any cheaper than heading off to Florida, but we sucked it up and off we go.

Well, my brother and his wife FINALLY bought their house, but it's more than a fixer upper, let me tell you! All of us have been wanting to head up there, but we haven't had a good weekend to do that. Along comes Facebook friend... who mentions the new just-like-Great-Wolf indoor resort in Connecticut, Coco Key. I imagine it's not as big, and the room won't have a fireplace or the kid's cabin that we were booking (the girls never even knew about that, so no biggie!), but the pricetag for two days and one night? $209. That is a far cry from $700 AND we get to visit with our family and friends. We are totally going.... to a colder place than here.... what was I thinking?? Craziness.

So, our final answer is Connecticut. Not originally in our plans, but I think we are all happy with the compromise. An added benefit for me - it's not Virginia or Florida.... or Ohio, or New Hampshire or Pennsylvania! LOL I'll just have to wait for another beach trip.

Our last roadblock to our fabled mini-vacation? Anyone want to dogsit?


It's Monday.... and I'm tired. It's cold out. I believe the high of 60 some degrees happened around 1 am... and now it's just downright freezing outside! I have to run to the grocery store and then to the Party Store to find more Halloween props for costumes. What a week it will be!!

I'm trying to be more disciplined about my politics, but I have to tell you... I'm annoyed. I understand now what middle-class means.... basically, keep your mouth shut because NOTHING will happen to you (unless somehow you choose to become rich). We will take money from the rich, give it to the poor and you just pretend that it's not happening. The thing is, if I were rich, I'd probably try to not be so rich anymore, and when all the rich people decide it's not worth it to be rich, who will he come to for money.... yup, me. Hopefully, he won't be around long enough to get to my pitiful savings account!!

On this note, it occurred to me today after reading T's post on "serving" the homeless as an activity, that my real frustration with what I'm hearing, or not hearing, is just how do either of these presidential candidates propose we end poverty? homelessness? Just giving people money (to spend on drugs and alcohol) or health insurance (when they can't even find a place to bathe or shower) isn't enough. Creating more jobs and opportunity and training sounds wonderful... but how and where will you plug them in? and make sure they actually know that something in their world has changed. How are we going to meet, on a regular basis, daily needs - food, shelter, mental health help - for the thounsands, possibly millions who need it? Any ideas?? I just don't think I've heard a good answer for this and I can't seem to generate an idea of my own.

My question, really, is this: Who will care for the unloved? unlovable? unlovely? Who will represent those who are unable to represent themselves? who have no voice? who have no hope? Who will make them a real promise they will keep? We are looking for someone, but I think we're looking in the wrong place. We are looking for Jesus, and somehow people think he's going to come in the form of a President, but actually He comes in the form of the church. He comes in the form a believer, two believers, many believers whom He equips to answer these questions in unique and opportunistic ways.

Sure, it's nice to have the government on our side, to receive federal funds for faith-based initiatives, to see laws enacted to protect those who are unloved, unlovely and unlovable.... but we would be fools to stake our life on having that. We know with God, all things are possible. That doesn't mean all these things will happen. He's waiting for us to make the possible real.

Just a few things I'm thinking about on this cold, dark Monday. Now I'm off to the grocery store where I'm quite certain these thoughts will somehow be put into action. Whatever you do today, don't hope in a politician, hope in God.

Friday, October 24, 2008


This is probably the best explanation I've read to date about the two different "tax plans" of our two candidates. Most economic issues are beyond me, I'll admit it, so I appreciated how simple it was to understand this. If you're feeling like me - very confused! - this may help!

Mental Block

So, here I sit, at the computer, as always. I need to get away from this thing. I signed myself up for an all day "crop" tomorrow - scrapbooking. It's been a very long time since I've done this, but since Em finally asked me last weekend where HER baby album is, I'm feeling like the time is right. I know, I know.... she'll be 8 this January. I am way behind.

About 6 months after Em was born, my father was diagnosed with Lymphoma. I was already a year or so behind in Kt's scrapbooking. From that point on, it just hasn't been any fun at all. It's been 5 years since he died, 7 years since I've put any good effort into scrapbooking. Tonight I was sorting through a bunch of pictures and again.... it's just difficult to know where to start and to even look back and remember - first Thanksgiving without him, how little Em was, his first grand daughter that didn't get to meet, when she almost died. Just so many things I kind of want to forget, but know I need to remember.

So, scrapbooking. I'm kind of wishing I didn't sign up for this pain. Might it possibly be therapeutic? maybe. At least it will keep one of my daughters from wondering if I didn't love her as much!

Thursday, October 23, 2008


THIS is disturbing to me. We don't need another messiah. There can only be one.


It is almost noon here in MD, in October. It's 49 degrees outside. Where's global warming when you need it?

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I Voted

On a whim, I stopped by the Board of Elections to apply for an absentee ballot. When I walked in, there were all these voting "booths" set up. I guess the ballots are printed, so if you are "applying" for an absentee ballot, you can actually fill it out right there and turn it in - so I did! Not what I was planning to do, and I have to admit, I was slightly tempted to write in (because I could... that's harder to do when you vote on a computer touchscreen!) Condi... would have been a little irresponsible, but I've always questioned whether my vote really counts anyway. I'm not a fan of the electoral system they way it is now.

I'm hoping now that I've got that out of the way and off my chest I can relax a little more. It's not easy being an INTJ with Belief and Responsibility strengths. In fact, it's downright nerve wracking. In the past few days, with endorsements from all over the place, I have begun to feel so insulted about voting my conscience, voting the way I believe and voting what I think is best for my country. Ultimately, the person who wins will be the person that God sets in place, as a blessing or a judgment on our country. I don't know who it will, I don't know which it will be, but I do pray that God will have compassion on us! Nice of him to take that responsibility off my shoulders! =)

I almost forgot... I was totally surprised by this. I did not need ID to vote absentee in MD. I was actually shocked. When I asked, they stated I can offer ID, but they are not "allowed" to ask for it. Huh? I should expect every voter would be required to show ID. How idiotic.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


While CNN is huffing around about the Paylin's kids - what a nuisance they are! - Fox is reporting about the speech Sarah Palin gave about women, with several interesting endorsers sitting behind her. Wow, the LA chapter's president of NOW. I'm floored. Here's is something SP addressed in her speech - it's the first time I've heard any candidate mention this, and after seeing Call + Response, I've been waiting for any reference to the issue of human trafficking:

“And if I’m given the honor of serving you in the White House,
I intend to advance that creed in our own nation and beyond because
across the world, there are still places where women are subjugated and
persecuted as they were in Afghanistan, places we’re they’re bullied and
brutalized and murdered in honor killings, places where women are sold
like commodities in the nightmare world of the sex trade, and places
where baby girls are unwelcome as a matter of state policy and their
mothers are forced to have abortions. Now no one person, no one leader,
can bring an end to all of those ills, to all of the injustices
inflicting upon women, but I can promise you this, if I am elected,
these women, too, will have an advocate and a defender in the 47th vice
president of the United States.”

I just think we're missing the real SP under the smearing of the left wing MSM. They just keep pickin' and choosin' what they want to use and ignore the substance they say is not there. Shame on them!

Women who endorsed McCain/Palin at this speech:
First, Prameela Bartholomeusz a small business
owner and a member of the Democratic National Platform Committee…Linda
Klinge the former Oregon president and now Vice-President of the
National Organization of Women…Shelly Mandell President of the Los
Angeles chapter of the National Organization of Women here with us today
and Lynn Rothschild you may have seen her on television a whole lot
lately. She is a member of the Democratic Platform Committee. She is
with us here today and Elaine Lafferty a former editor in chief of Ms.
magazine they are here today to endorse the McCain-Palin campaign.

UPDATE: Here's a great piece - FINALLY - on CNN about just how unfairly Palin is treated. He leaves out many, many more examples, but you'll get the gist.

Light Initiation

Last week ended with a small smack-down for parents of a tween. Kt came home... of course, on the day T flew out to Wisconsin!... a basket case. Apparently, a rumor was started at school over a week ago. It was a not nice rumor at all, and one that involved the word "gay", which while that conjures up many connotations for adults, it means something entirely different, or less involved, than it does for a 10 year old. Somehow, Kt was named in a group of four students who either started or spread this rumor. The teacher rounded up this motley crew, along with the victim and reemed them out, threatened to take away their safety belts, (note to self: this punishment is equal to high security federal prison in the mind of a tween) and sent them home without even a call home.

Now, things just did not add up for me. Kt was inconsolable and seemed completely flabbergasted that someone would think she had done this. She could not recall having anything to do with either starting or spreading this rumor other than hearing about it. I felt like I needed a better idea of what was going on, so I emailed her teacher, got an odd reply, emailed again, got a phone call.... long story short, I was not the only parent who thought something was not right, the teacher is no longer involved, nobody lost their safety badges and we got to reiterate the seriousness and ramifications of rumors with our daughter. Wow, all that in one weekend.

I recognize this is all very lightweight. In fact, the teacher and guidance counselor have both admitted that Kt likely had nothing to do with anyone and was falsely accused. I'm not happy about that, but it's over for now. It was a reminder to us that as perfect as we may think our child is, we all have weak moments that we regret. It's going to happen again sometime, and next time it might be worse than this. In fact, I can almost guarantee it will be worse! Hopefully next time I'll be a bit more prepared!


Four out of five Secretaries of State surveyed recommend John McCain to those who will vote.

That’s right. Henry Kissenger, James Baker, Lawrence Eagleburger and Alexander Haig have all endorsed the Republican nominee. But like the one dentist out of five who recommends sugary gum, Colin Powell has endorsed Barack Obama.

I know there's been a lot of hype about Colin Powell endorsing Barack Obama... and not one mention of these others endorsing McCain. Why is that??

So was Powell really a teammate of Republicans (despite having given McCain the maximum campaign donation allowed by law)?
Something fishy here.... but I'll let you decide.


Isn't it ironic that 68% of the troops polled are voting for McCain? I don't really think it is, but I imagine some of those "bring the troops home" protesters are scratching their heads right now. Maybe they should have asked the troops they are trying to save what they thought!! I'm not really that surprised with the poll. Having family members in the military I have a pretty good idea how our troops are feeling. I think they are proud of what they've accomplished and I think they are discouraged by what they hear back home. I guess they don't want a Commander in Chief who doesn't even think they should be doing what they're doing. In all honestly, I fear most for those who serve our country in the military should Obama be elected because I know what it was like under Clinton. 8 years with no raise in pay. Not to mention dwindling of defense jobs. Interesting... I think this is likely a reaction to having lived through those years!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Goodbye Warmth, Hello Hibernation!

It is so cold outside right now!! I spent the afternoon at the park playing tennis with the girls (sort of!) and hanging out with the neighbors. We finally left at 5:30 because we were all shivering. It's just wayyyyyy too cold for me. Freeze warning tonight - I'm not even sure we've had a frost yet! Geesh! When it gets like this, I'm ready to hibernate. It makes going to the gym very challenging, that's for sure. When was the last time you saw someone in the pool with a snowsuit on?

Citizen or Not?

I've been doing some research based on some off-beat story I read, and I have to admit... I'm thinking Obama cannot prove he's a naturalized citizen of the US. Some interesting info out there for those who want to know - I'll leave it up to those who really want to know. Plenty of info!! I used google. =) Sorry Barry Dunham, show us the documents!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Sleepovers = Whiners

The girls have been non-stop whiners ever since they got home from their sleepover. It was nice having the night off, but having to listen to them all day has been annoying. I even sent them to their rooms for a nap this afternoon!! It's like they are toddlers all over again. Geesh! The only nice thing was that I was able to con them into cleaning two bathrooms and my living room. =) Maybe that's what started all that whining! ;-)


We love going to Savannah. If you've never been and plan on going, I think this little plan for short visit is great advice. There are SO many more things to do there, but this covers the basics and has some great advice. Don't skip Tybee - that's the best part! ;-)

Joe the Plumber Phenomena

I'm so intrigued by this Joe the Plumber craze of late. I'm intrigued mostly because Obama is digging himself into a hole that Democrats are going to fall into with him if he doesn't explain a lot!! First, he's approached by a working class guy, you know, the kind he proposes to know better than McCain. He's been using his whole Believe, Hope and Change theme for Joe... that's one of the millions of Americans Obama is supposedly fighting for. Joe the Plumber presents him with question that Obama flubbs by admitting his "share the wealth" philosophy, seen by many (esp. Cubans in Florida) as socialist or communist in nature.

As if this is not bad enough, the liberal media crucify Joe the Plumber and EXPOSE him, just an ordinary American, minding his own business, asking a simple question. WARNING!! If Obama comes near your house, DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT ask him ANYTHING or this can happen to you!! His privacy has been invaded, he's been exposed for his back taxes (mind you, he's paid what he can and is a little behind... like many Americans!), has been questioned about his abilities or validity as a plumber (where is the ACLU?) and been staked out as if he were a criminal. Even former terrorists who are friends with Obama don't get this kind of treatment!! All this because he asked a question. It was a great question. It was something about buying a plumbing business and how would it benefit him to make such an investment if his income would rise above the "line" Obama has drawn for who has to share their wealth and who doesn't.

The craziest thing is that now Obama has suggested that McCain is an idiot who should know better than to believe that a plumber could EVER make over a quarter of a million dollars. For real, Obama? Is there no hope for the plumber? Can you not believe that it's possible? In America, aren't there thousands of small business owners who have done just that?? and hasn't it been their hard work, determination, small business incentives and more that have made that possible? Don't you believe in the American dream Obama?? (Don't worry - if I ever get close enough to him, I will NOT be asking any questions!!) I'm completely perplexed that Obama would vilify a plumber and suggest that he'll NEVER be rich.

I guess Obama's never read the story of Cindy McCain's dad, and so many "rich" Americans who had their start in just the same way that Joe the Plumber is aspiring to do. For the McCains, Joe's story is more than that, it's a possibility. Is it such a stretch for Obama to imagine that Joe might someday be "rich" as well? What about believing? or hoping? Or are we supposed to believe and hope that the rich will just shower their hard earned cash on us and we can just sit back and reap the riches of being poor folk?? I don't get it.... his message is now completely lost on me. I have been entirely skeptical up to this point, but now it's very clear. There's no hope or belief in an Obama administration that I can see.

Friday, October 17, 2008

A House that God Builds

This is the most amazing story about Habitat for Humanity has brought together Muslim and Christian communities in a unique and amazing way! Enjoy!

Animated Ads

So, I have all my usual tabs open - gmail, yahoo mail, bloglines and facebook - and I'm going through my regular routine. Click on gmail to check the inbox, click on yahoo mail and check the inbox, click on bloglines...... freeze. Huh? Try again, still nothing. Try Facebook, nothing. What is wrong with my computer? Then, as if my computer is in some funky time warp, it all of a sudden catches up with me. What just happened? I don't know.... but it's been happening every single time I check my yahoo mail.

Or this.... I open up some news story on some online news when all of a sudden, just as I'm finishing up the first sentence, some invisible scroll covers up what I'm reading and I'm subjected to people "talking" or dancing or fish swimming across my screen. At least with those, I've learned to quickly hunt out that little "x in the box" so I can get back to what I really came here to do! Read!

I'm getting increasingly frustrated with animated ads, so much so that I won't name the latest offenders because I refuse to advertise for them! I will say this - I make it a point not to click on them or otherwise patronize them. They are just plain old obnoxious, and my old, slow computer agrees!

Education Reform

Here's an interesting article on Florida's school reform implemented years ago that seems to extremely effective. Any politicians want to learn from this? Oh, I guess not, seeing as it happened under another Bush!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Is it just me, or does anyone else think that the amount of money spent on presidential campaigns OBSCENE?? Here's some simple data.... for someone who wants to "spread the wealth", Obama sure has overspent on columns! Double what McCain has spent. I cannot even fathom that kind of spending!!


My brother and his wife FINALLY settled on their house! It's a 300 year old house with a newer barn and extended garage. I think it's this architect's dream. It needs a bit of TLC and someday I'll share the "after" pictures. I'm really excited for them, as they've waited quite a bit for this. Have fun weeding, y'all!

Vote for the Grown-ups

This made me laugh - actually, I'm still laughing! I was reading a great commentary on our economy today by Glenn Beck, who, incidentally, forecasted this exact depression scenario back in January/February, but nobody listened. I was kind of worried about posting a link because last time I did that I had some unsavory comments on here. That usually doesn't happen, but I guess there are some pretty emotional folks out there. LOL Anyway, I liked what he wrote in here and was surprised about the Connecticut info in it. We have a long way to go to fix the economy, if it's even salvageable. Best to be prepared!

Oh... and in checking the blogs that were cited, I came across this redstate blog and their slogan was above - just totally cracked me up!

Noah's Ark

A friend of mine just sent me this in an email:

Man Builds Noah's Ark (exact scale given in Bible)

Working Replica of Noah's Ark Opened In SCHAGEN, Netherlands . The massive central door in the side of Noah's Ark was opened the first crowd of curious townsfolk to behold the wonder. Of course, it's only a replica of the biblical Ark , built by Dutch Creationist Johan Huibers as a testament to his faith in the literal truth of the Bible. The ark is 150 cubits long, 30 cubits high and 20 cubits wide. That's two-thirds the length of a football field and as high as a three-story house. Life-size models of giraffes, elephants, lions, crocodiles, zebras, bison and other animals greet visitors as they arrive in the main hold. A contractor by trade, Huibers built the ark of cedar and pine. Biblical Scholars debate exactly what the wood used by Noah would have been.

Huibers did the work mostly with his own hands, using modern tools and with occasional help from his son Roy. Construction began in May 2005. On the uncovered top deck - not quite ready in time for the opening - will come a petting zoo, with baby lambs and chickens, and goats, and one camel.

Visitors on the first day were stunned. 'It's past comprehension', said Mary Louise Starosciak, who happened to be bicycling by with her husband while on vacation when they saw the ark looming over the local landscape.

'I knew the story of Noah, but I had no idea the boat would have been so big.' There is enough space near the keel for a 50-seat film theater where kids can watch a video that tells the story of Noah and his ark. Huibers, a Christian man, said he hopes the project will renew interest in Christianity in the Netherlands, where church going has fallen dramatically in the past 50 years.

57204652MP003_Noah by

57204652MP025_Noah by

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57204652MP018_Noah by

Now that I am old and
gray...give me the time to tell
this new generation
(and their children too)
about all your mighty miracles.
Psalm 71:18


I just dropped T off at the airport. He's heading off to Wisconsin for a long weekend of leadership development leader training - that's a mouthful! This is an opportunity that we thought we'd have to pass, but the Lord opened up several doors allowing him to go. Not only that, he's flying first class! (That little stinker....) For now, it's just me, the girls, their friends and the dogs until Sunday evening. You can pray for us! ;-)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Facebook Folly

It's a bit crass, but I laughed at this video - I'll just leave it up for fun. I think it highlights some of the strangeness of Facebook for us older folks.

Monday, October 13, 2008


CNN is not my favorite new outlet these days, but I did find this article amusing. Looks like Mr. Change is not in favor of changing so much!

HPV Vaccination and Health Care

I'm pretty much a skeptic about "universal" health care, but this story on a blog I follow is just way out there!! I guess this could happen under any health care system, but I've not heard of such a thing around here. After you read this story, you might want to follow the rest of the updates since he went public with this story - it's all over the news in the UK.

Call + Response

I went to see this documentary last night - different, informative, astounding, eye-opening. This movie presents some of the reality of human trafficking today. It will leave you feeling very uncomfortable, and I believe that's the point. The website for this piece is even more informative, listing 33 responses that give us some practical ways we can help abolish slavery in our day. I don't think we realize how much we, consumers in America, play a part in this horrific injustice. If you have minute, check out the Call + Response website, if you have a couple hours go see the documentary and if you are moved, do something!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Around the World in 60 Seconds

There are a lot of things on my mind during any given minute on any given day. Lately, my thoughts and prayers have spanned the globe. Just today:

:: Bangkok - our friends who live there with the State Department, their three little girls, with all the political unrest

:: India - my cousin is finishing up a 2 week vacation there, beautiful country, beautiful people, images of the caste of people whose purpose in life is to do other's laundry by hand... children and adults alike

:: Hungary - I'm amazed about the number of old friends I have who have European roots. Traveling abroad has brought many of them to my attention. Wish I'd known sooner...

:: France - constantly on my mind, as well as Brussels, Madrid, and the numerous other cities where CAI churches are thriving in a part of the world thirsty for sustenant community.

:: Universities across the US where our now college freshman attend. Miss them very much.

Those are just a few places my mind wanders in any given moment of any given day. When it returns home, I'm astounded my the millions of things that distract me from remembering what's important.


I've always wanted one of these. I'm not sure why we waited so long to get one!! We have these plans to "someday" (which frequently means "never" around here!) put a patio in our backyard. I thought I needed to wait, but decided last week I just want one - I don't care if I don't have a patio. I have a driveway!

Last night, we tried it out and had a blast with the girls. Tonight, we brought it around front to the island in our cul-de-sac and made s'mores, hot dogs and the kids told "spooky" stories. It was seriously fun! I think we need to do that more often. Next time, I'm going to buy some Jiffy Pop!

T is now camping in the backyard with the girls. We had intended on trying camping, but the campground in our area was sold out, so the girls opted for the backyard. Having our neighbors to share in a campfire made it well worth it! Not to mention it's FREEZING outside tonight, so they can always come in if they get too cold. Suburban campers! ;-)
Oh, and our new motto is: Sacrifice the Fire King!

Thursday, October 09, 2008


I just read this article in the Washington Post about a program by Office Max that provides teaching supplies to classrooms/teachers in financial need. It highlights two area teachers who were beneficiaries of this much needed program. Kudos to Office Max for recognizing the estimated $1,200 out of pocket on average that classroom teachers spend on much needed supplies. I know as parents we balk at the school supply list each year that is usually capped off with a little check to cover periodicals or science supplies. In reality, your child's teacher is spending hundreds of dollars on his/her classroom that you will never know about!! Trust me - I was one of them!! Here is a short list of the things that your child's teacher will spend money on and will never be reimbursed for:

lesson plan supplies (ranging from ordinary - like clothespins - to bizarre - like sandpaper)
snacks - for the kids who forget
mittens and hats - for those who they finally figure out will never have any
field trip money - for kids who won't go on a trip because their parents can't afford it
lunch money - yup, they will even pay for that!
party supplies - in case something doesn't show up for the party
file folders
much, much more!

And, seriously, this is how it happens for teachers: We are out having a grand old time shopping for ourselves, when out of the corner of our eye we spot it. It's the growth chart that we don't "need" but will work perfectly in our measurement unit. It will save us hours of time that we would spend making it, freeing up those hours to pull together multiple lessons on using it, correcting the work generated from valuable lessons.... well, you catch my drift. You can ask a teacher if you can help, but most of our expenditures are last minute, not really thought out ahead of time. Target cards work, Borders, and even cash (but we'll NEVER ask for that!).

I'm happy that Office Max has chosen to run this program, if anything just for the fact that it points out the sacrifice teachers often make that goes unnoticed but benefits our kids. It's an odd profession - teaching.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


Oh, look.... I just noticed you can now "Busca" on my blog. Fun!

Inside Joke

You would have to know me and the history of a community platitude that I despise to understand the irony in this. My kids came home today with half-drawn posters and instructions on a poster contest that the county office of student services is sponsoring. Students must create artwork to promote a county-wide theme "Choose Civility". The girls, even void of any reward, are VERY EXCITED about this contest. (Although Kt did ask me if she's allowed to make one - LOL) Shoot me now!!!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I'm choosing to skip the debate tonight, instead choosing to watch back to back episodes of House on USA. I think it's a wise choice for me, given that I've heard enough. I know who I'm voting for and I have my reasons. With that in mind, I wonder why nobody has called me from a poll.... also fixed.


My 35,000th visitor was..... duh, duh, duh, dum.... T again. LOL Actually, it was him loading my new blog digs. Do you like them?? I personally am not a fan of the blue, but I really like the globe. Apparently, this blogskin was created by someone who speaks a different language, as is illustrated by the new heading for my blog archives. ;-) Portuguese, maybe?? I'm not sure, because I'm the quintessential unilingual American! Enjoy!

Cookies the Way to a Bus Driver's Heart

I have a short update about the bus driver situation. Some readers might remember our first days of school, which were filled with LOVE for our new bus driver. He was everything the girls could have dreamed for a bus driver: nice, fun, sweet... Our first couple weeks of school were filled with bus stories, and we were all happy. As a show of appreciation for bus driver #1, I made him some cookies, which the girls told me the following week were still on the bus. Hmmm, didn't like cookies? or didn't trust me??

Enter: new bus driver. Older man, nice smile, but gruff and with boundries. As our first week came to a close, the verdict was not so great. The kids were saying he was the worst bus driver ever, that he was no fun, they had to sit in the front of the bus with their eyes forward at all times. After learning he was a former Navy Seal, the pieces of this story were slowly coming together! ;-) Lately, however, the kids seem to have softened to this bus driver, or at least they haven't complained. For parents, there is something to say about consistency and knowing your kids are safe, and we could not complain about either.

Enter: cookies. Last Friday I spent the day making two batches of cookies. We had cookies coming out of our ears!!! As I ran out to the bus stop in the afternoon, I put together a small bag of cookies that I delivered as the kids were stepping off the bus. I thought it would make a nice Friday afternoon treat. On Monday morning, the bus driver pulled up and called me over. He said, "I want to thank you for those cookies last week. My wife died last year and it's been a whole year since I've had anything like that! I just wanted you to know how much I appreciated them." Well, that does it. I don't think the 5 families he serves in this neighborhood will have any trouble putting together some weekend grub for this bus driver anymore!

Monday, October 06, 2008


I have tried to steer clear of blogging about politics, but I must say that I've been really surprised that so many, left and right alike, can agree that Biden made more factual errors in the Vice Presidential debate, yet somehow people still seem to think he's.... smarter? I pretty much just let it go for now, but then I read this article, and you have to laugh.

-- Finally, an amusing point as evidence that Biden is just one of the people he pointed to, inviting anyone to have a beer with him at "Katie's Restaurant" in Wilmington, Del. Unfortunately, people will have a hard time taking him up on his offer, since the restaurant hasn't had that name for probably 15 years. ~John Lott, Jr.

If you want to try to look like you're one of the regular folks, you really have to live WITH the regular folks. There's something to say for folksiness when it's at least genuine!! And while you're at it, take a class on government!!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Oh, Happy Day!

Happy Day for Mommy: Daughter #2 is thrilled that she has inherited Daughter #1's winter coat.

Happy Day for Daddy: Realizes Daughter #2 can still be duped into believing hand-me-downs are just as nice as brand new!

Happy Day for Daughter #1: Get's to ditch her old winter coat on Daughter #2, mommy and daddy are happy because it's going to save them a mint, she gets a new coat!

Happy Day for Daughter #2: Figuring out she's been duped, she convinces granny to buy her her own brand new coat!

Happy Day for the Salvation Army: They are getting a gorgeous winter coat for someone because we don't need the extra! ;-)

Everybody's happy!!

Friday, October 03, 2008

The Love of Money

This whole bailout thing makes me sick. I can't even think about it anymore let alone ready anymore news with pictures of slimy smiling politicians claiming that now, with all their little pork barrel earmarks the bill is amazingly better. In the end, I really think it will be mainstream Americans who foot the bill for greedy, selfish rich folks, like most of those politicians up there!

Really, though, there is one thing that Sarah Palin said last night that most people are just bypassing for other "important issues". She hit it on the nose when she said we need to learn to live within our means. That's the danger of living in our free, capitalistic society. I'm not condoning other forms of government, I'm just saying that we're now seeing the effects of that root of all evil. We've become a nation of wanters, wanting everything everyone else has and feeling entitled to it all, whether it's within our means or not. We need to learn a lesson from this outrageous bank bailout and ask ourselves if we're contributing to the downward financial spiral we're witnessing.

Palin also said that it would be a shame, and I agree, if we have to tell our grandchildren how wonderful life USED to be in America. I, for one, think I'm better off than my parents were and I would not want to be handing my children or grandchildren anything less than what I've had. This bailout scenario is something I fear will cause just that, because it really doesn't touch on the root of all this evil, it only seems to perpetuate it.

One More Month

I cannot wait until this election is over. How about you?

As if this bitter election isn't enough, the bailout blah on Capital Hill.

On top of all that, it's freezing outside! OK, it's only in the 50's.... but it's just making me feel like a cold, poor soul who votes for more summer.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


I'm about 98% certain I was not created to live in Maryland. It's 57 degrees and my feet are ice cubes, there isn't a beach within a half a days drive and two of the most liberal newspapers, The Baltimore Sun and The Washington Post are my local papers. On days like these, I'll admit it - I sit around and dream of warmer (in more places than one!) place to live. I think that it's no wonder ever since I moved here I've had high blood pressure. As many times as I've tried to attempt to come to terms with my fate, I've never been able to feel contented about living here. The thing about it is that what I hear is that I'm the complainer, I'm the one who needs to make the change (change the attitude, that is, because we're not going anywhere!) and just be happy. Um, OK, let's try again...

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Hold Me Back!!!

Kt came home today wearing two Obama pins on her shirt. I asked her where she got them and she replied that a classmate was passing them out. She claims that everyone loves Obama. When I asked her why, she said, "Because he's black!" As if I didn't know that. I challenged her to think about why that is a good reason to vote for someone, or whether there were some better reasons. She hadn't really thought about that.... so we'll be talking about that tonight at dinner!

What really irks me, other than the fact that I'm not particularly fond of Obama, is the double standard in public schools. I was afraid this might happen again for this presidential election and I'm annoyed it has started already. During the last presidential election, I had to endure Girl Scout meetings where Kerry bumper stickers were being handed out, Kt writing essays daily about John Kerry AND the entire first grade watching John Kerry's concession speech, as if that's appropriate in first grade at all!! Not a mention was ever made of George Bush, other than a sentence they had to write on one day that read, "George Bush beat John Kerry." That was it!

I didn't complain then, but I'm on the edge of complaining now. Kt also shared with me that Monday was "Wear blue for Obama" day at school. I have no idea if this is student inspired and would not bother complaining, except for the pins being passed out in class today. I wonder what they would do if I sent in McCain/Palin propaganda for the kids! I am seriously not interested in my children being subjected to a one-sided political discussion in school this year, especially when I don't really feel like it's appropriate for this age. I have also kept my personal political feelings to myself (until now) because I think it's unfair for children to be influenced by issues they can't really grasp right now. High school, sure, but elementary school?? No way. Keep your political views in your family and out of elementary school. Thank you!

Update: Well, a lot can happen in one day! I emailed the teacher, who says she did not notice pins being passed out. I got a call from the principal, who assured me there would be no show of support for either candidate from the teachers. I assured him I didn't expect them to pretend their was not a historical presidential election coming up - I welcomed healthy discussion of the event, but even-sided and fair.

Then today, all the media hoopla about the Virginia Education Association asking teacher to wear blue in support of Obama on Tuesday. WHAT??? Apparently, New York is under fire for the same kind of stunt. I agree that this is a breech of trust in our education system and it's a sad day for our country. Why are we so reluctant to teach children to develop their own beliefs about these issues?? but instead trying to sway them one way or another??? For parents, I'm not so judgemental, but teachers? It's an outrage. Fortunately, I feel confident so far that this will not happen in the girls' school. Although Kt did tell me yesterday that she's supposed to wear blue for Obama day! EEK!