Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Never mind all the Young Pioneers references, how about the Ten Commandments?
"I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery. You shall have no other gods besides me." Exodus 2:2-3
If someone starts singing hymns of praise to John McCain, please let me know and I'll post the same thing here. Just saying ... I don't think it's gonna happen.
"I consider evolution to be more than a scientific theory. I think it's a call to God. God created a free universe. He could have created any kind of universe he wanted. But a universe without freedom would have been static and meaningless -- the taxpayer-funded-art-in-public-places universe.
Life forms could exercise freedom to an idiotic extent, growing uncontrolled, thoughtless and greedy to the point that they killed the source of their own fool existence. But, with the help of death, matter began to learn right from wrong -- how to save itself and its ilk, how to nurture, how to love (or, anyway, how to build a Facebook page) and how to know God and his rules.
Death is so important that God visited death upon his own son, thereby helping us learn right from wrong well enough that we may escape death forever and live eternally in God's grace. (Although this option is not usually open to reporters.)"
Praying for you, PJ.
The Alien's Thanksgiving
"Thank you, brother Christ, that you showed no restraint when we were the aliens, that you were not reasonable when we were far off, that suffering did not deter you when we had no hope and were without God in the world. Thank you that we live in such a place of prosperity and peace that we can actually believe that preserving this blink in the eye of history takes precedence over your calling. And please forgive us when we confuse gifts with entitlements, means with ends, and come to view our comfortable lives as your purpose."
Beautifully said, as usual.
Monday, September 29, 2008
Quote of the week: "It's extraordinary to me that the United States can find $700 billion to save Wall Street and the entire G8 can't find $25 billion dollars to saved 25,000 children who die every day from preventable diseases." - Bono, rock star and anti-poverty activist. (Source: The American Prospect blog)
"The Bush administration believes this should be a “time of Jubilee” for Wall Street speculators, a time of debt forgiveness. But the current proposal would only place additional debt shackles on the next generation. There is no confession of error or spirit of repentance here. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s three-page bailout proposal to Congress could have been written on a cocktail napkin: 'Hand over $700 billion and don’t tie my hands.' " - Chuck Collins
"The goal of developed countries spending 0.7 percent of their GNP on aid has not been met by most countries. The New York Times noted this week that 'The aggregate aid budget of the most developed nations amounts to 0.28 percent of their gross national income ... The United States, shamefully, is at the bottom of the list, spending 0.16 percent of its income on development assistance.'"
The thought that the US spends .16% of its income on helping the developing world but has $700 billion to spare to back up Wall Street is truly disturbing. On the one hand you have matters of life and death; on the other, a matter of money. And yes, I am not naive: I do know that a collapse of the world banking system would not do developing countries any good. On the other hand, the disparity of the two numbers is still shocking. What would you say to an individual who said "I don't give to charity. I just spend a lot at Wal-mart, because I know the stuff sold there is mostly made overseas. That way I get what I want and lots of poor people get jobs. It's good for everyone." Tell me you wouldn't want to sock this person, right in the kisser?
"No one can serve two masters. If you try, you will wind up loving the first master and hating the second, or vice versa. People try to serve both God and money - but you can't. You must choose one or the other. Here is the bottom line: do not worry about your life. Don't worry about what you will eat or what you will drink. Don't worry about how you clothe your body. Living is about more than merely eating, and the body is about more than dressing up... So do not worry about tomorrow. Let tomorrow worry about itself. Living faithfully is a large enough task for today." Matthew 6:24-25, 34 (The Voice translation).
"This morning at breakfast, one of the boys started to pour himself cereal. Instead of going into the bowl, most of the cereal wound up all over the kitchen floor. Without me saying a word, the boy walked over to the sink and pulled out the hand broom and dustpan. I stood in disbelief as he began to clean up his mess all on his own. I inhaled deeply, excited and amazed at the self-motivation of this boy. I was practically giddy at the sight of his desire for cleanliness in our home. Just as I was about to praise my son for his good work, he stood up and proceeded to dump the entire contents of the dustpan into his cereal bowl. "When you become president," he then said to his brother, "will you change the five-second rule to the five-minute rule?""
From Rachel Balducci. If my boys knew where we keep the broom, I'm sure they would do this too.
How is it they make it to adulthood, again? Over 8 years and it's still all a mystery to me.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I love this lunch kit because, if you fill it with the proper food groups, it reminds your child how to put together a balanced meal. My standby is PBJ, baby carrots, yogurt, and fruit, but I do get creative and throw other foods in there from time to time. It even comes with a small dip container, which is great for Two: he doesn't believe fruit should be eaten without peanut butter on it.
It's also helped me with portion control. Each container only holds so much, and even though the food I pack is healthy, it keeps my urge to stuff them under control. One eats whatever you give him, so if I could overpack his lunch he could overeat. Two has the opposite problem: he gets overwhelmed by too much and shuts down entirely. This box lets him see clearly that there are 3 carrot sticks, 5 apple slices, etc, right from the start of the meal. He's more prepared that way and it calms his nervousness about too many different tastes and textures all at one time.
They're easy to clean, and after a year of use aren't showing any signs of wear. We did lose the silverware but I replaced it with a cute plastic-handled set from Target. The school loves it too because it cuts down on trash - they hate plastic baggies and strongly encourage parents to eschew them.
One way or the other, whatever container you use, consider packing lunch every day instead of letting young children buy at school. It's cheap, it's 100 times healthier, and you know what they're eating. There's not a better recommendation than that.
- Pulp Fiction
- Grosse Pointe Blank
- 10 Things I Hate About You
- A Hard Day's Night
- Swingers (this is a criminal omission - my bad)
- Boogie Nights
- Blues Brothers
- Next Stop Wonderland
- My Fair Lady
- Buena Vista Social Club
- High Fidelity
- Romeo & Juliet (1996)
- Mighty Quinn
- Monsoon Wedding
- Bend it Like Beckham
Friday, September 26, 2008
"I’m of two minds on the bailout – reasonable people object, but on the other hand, let’s not just wreck everything today because we want to stand on principles, okay? I don’t mind people standing on principles except when they’re also standing on my throat, and if it’s a choice between Liquidity with Troubling Implications and A Firm Stance On Sound Ideas that Incidentally Throws Everyone Into Super-Harsh Bankruptcy A-Go-Go, well, I cave. I’d also like to see the Congress manage to pass something without yoking a hundred dead-eyed hobby-horses to the bill, too; when I learned that Sen. Reid wanted to attach an amendment that extended the ban on shale oil exploration and drilling, almost 16% of my brain liquefied and shot out my ears."
Who? Lileks, of course.
I love programs like this; the closer you get to your food - where it comes from, how it's prepared - the better you'll eat. This is true for adults and certainly true for children, many of whom have absolutely no idea how food ends up on their plates. If you let kids get their hands dirty, do things for themselves, they not only have a greater appreciation of the effort it takes to turn a seedling into a salad, they'll be more interested in eating the salad as well. After all, it's theirs, and we all know how kids feel about "mine!"
I'm not writing much on the Wall Street/banking crisis, mostly because I have a hard time balancing my checkbook. Finance is one of those areas where I throw up my hands and play the silly little wife; Husband understands these things far, far better than I do. But the one issue in this whole mess that has caught my attention is the idea that the CEOs/presidents of these ruined companies should walk away from this with the shirts on their backs and nothing more. Their greed - for money and for power - created this mess, and they should at least be punished for that by losing what is nearest and dearest to their hearts: cold, hard cash.
When Bernie Sanders and Newt Gingrich agree on an issue, I think it's safe for me to chime in. That's me: a bold, out-on-the-edge kind of blogger.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
UPDATED: If you are interested in/able to do more than pray, please email tiffany (at)
Blessings and thanks.
UPDATED: Also check out the Ecclesia Hurricane Relief Fund.
Bon Ami for showers/tubs, toilets, and kitchen sinks and counters. If you don't like the (lack of) smell, add a little scented liquid castile soap (I like lavender Dr. Bronner's) as you clean.
Clorox Greenworks bathroom cleaner for bathroom sinks and counters
Clorox Greenworks floor cleaner
Method furniture polish
Ecover limescale remover
Vinegar and newspaper for the windows (I also want to try Method's glass cleaner - haven't done that yet)
Baking soda sprinkled on the carpets for an hour or so before vacuuming to help with odors
Murphy's oil soap and water for the wood floors. I don't mop them too often, but I keep a sprayer bottle with the right amount of Murphy's diluted in water for small messes. The Swiffer wet mop works great - just skip using the Swiffer cleanser and spray the Murphy's mixture on the floor instead. You can even wash the dogs in Murphy's - it's that gentle.
For laundry, I use Biokleen Citrus powdered laundry soap, 1/2 cup white vinegar in the wash and another 1/2 cup in the rinse. The vinegar replaces fabric softeners and cuts soap residue, eliminating the need for a 2nd rinse cycle. I use Oxyclean for stains - a girl with 2 small boys can't live without it - except for food stains and grease: regular old dish soap works best on these.
For quick cleanups I like Method lavender wipes. They're compostable, too.
The 2 best things about this switch-over: first of all, the boys can help me clean! We did a full-blown cleaning on Friday last week - the first day we had power. They cleaned all the sinks, mopped 1/2 the wood floors and cleaned their playroom all by themselves - it was a huge help. I can also let Two clean up after himself with the Method wipes - he has a little aiming problem in the bathroom and always makes a mess. The second best thing: I don't have a headache or sore throat and I'm not dizzy when I finish cleaning. None of these items, in other words, make me sick.
That's what works for me.
In fact, it makes me want to scream: what kind of children do you love, really? Do you only love the scrubbed up, white kind of kids? Is this what you want to tell the world about Christians? Do all Christians only love these kind of kids?
Obviously, all of that is not (entirely) true about this church. I'm sure they support missions, and send lots money for others to love on the non-scrubbed, non-white children of this world. But what bothers me about it boils down to this:
They've been given a voice in the community. They have money, they have power - they can buy these incredibly expensive billboards up and advertise on them. If you are a Christian and you've been given those gifts, should you use them to advertise your white, well-scrubbed self, or should you use them for something greater? Why not use them to raise awareness about all the children in this world that God loves and that we love to ignore. Children like this:
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
I dislike the thought that tax money is used to do such things; if private citizens want to take up the idea, that's their affair. On the other hand, having a nice beach community an hour away is nifty, and certainly brings revenue into the area. Does that revenue pay for the cost of keeping the community in place?
What do you think?
Monday, September 22, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating. (okay, I can't do this, but I've made notes)
Here's my list, with some editorializing as we go along:
1. Venison: I grew up in the Adirondacks - what do you think?
2. Nettle tea.
3. Huevos rancheros: yum.
4. Steak tartare: no, but I love carpaccio.
5. Crocodile: nope, but I've had fried alligator.
6. Black pudding: I doubt this will ever make my list.
7. Cheese fondue: for dinner many, many times. I even have a recipe.
8. Carp: dunno, maybe.
9. Borscht: beets? No.
10. Baba ghanoush: eh. I prefer hummous.
11. Calamari: love it - especially sauteed at Pico's.
12. Pho: I wish this had been the chicken soup I grew up on.
13. PB&J sandwich: right now I never want to eat one, ever again (thanks, Ike) but in general one of my favorites.
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses: that's a big never, little buddy.
17. Black truffle: pate de fois gras studded with black truffle - Heaven.
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes. Boone's Farm?
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries: yes, especially blueberries picked on hikes as a kid.
23. Foie gras: one of my very favorite things.
24. Rice and beans: with sausage and cheese from Treebeard's. Wowza. I ate it 3-4 days a week when I was pregnant with One.
25. Brawn, or head cheese: not in this lifetime.
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper: no, no, and no again.
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters: oh, goodness, yes.
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl: only if it's really good.
33. Salted lassi
35. Root beer float: I always liked orange floats better as a kid, though.
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O: oh please don't remind me.
41. Curried goat: they alway had this at my favorite Indian dive and all the guys would eat it. No thanks.
42. Whole insects: not if this was the only thing left on Earth to eat.
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu (pufferfish): never.
47. Chicken tikka masala: my all-time favorite Indian dish.
48. Eel: as sushi. Meh.
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin: never.
51. Prickly pear
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle: I've even made it. And almost had to move, I made such a wreck of the kitchen. German friends tell me this is normal.
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV: I grew up 2 hours from Montreal - of course.
60. Carob chips: no, but I feed them to the dogs.
61. S'mores: yes, but I'm really a roasted marshmallow purist at heart.
62. Sweetbreads: never.
63. Kaolin: never ever.
65. Durian - Michele says "I hereby make #65 Cheese Whiz." I agree.
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake: deep fried dough with powdered sugar? Just hose the sugar off me and put me in bed when I'm finished; I'll be in a happy food coma.
68. Haggis: [shudder]
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill: I made have grown up in the backwoods, but I've never been this much of a redneck.
77. Hostess Fruit Pie: my head hangs down with shame.
79. Lapsang souchong
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant: someday ...
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare: eating rabbit creeps me out, even when it's cut up and smothered in mustard sauce.
88. Flowers: At Sooke Harbor House on our honeymoon.
89. Horse: how could you?
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam: more shame. I blame my mother; she thought this stuff was food.
92. Soft shell crab: it's good fried in a sushi roll ...
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish: in Texas? How can you avoid them?
95. Mole poblano: Husband's big thing. I can take it or leave it.
96. Bagel and lox: don't forget the tomato.
97. Lobster Thermidor: too rich.
98. Polenta: makes me think of cream of wheat.
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee: I don't drink coffee. Sue me.
100. Snake: I had nightmares about snakes for my entire childhood; I don't think so.
On his own this summer One read The Narnia Chronicles, The Hobbit (3 times), The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, How to Speak Dragonese (by Cressida Cowell), Marcus and Junia (by Michael Giesler) and several Hardy Boys. He is in the middle of The Trumpeter of Krakow right now; only he knows what comes next.
He's still an absolute sponge for books. Thank God.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
All politics aside, would it really be as disgraceful and humiliating as sleeping with and then marrying one's own daughter, hmmmm?
Anyway, here's my comments to her post, most of which you already know:
"Wow, you really know how to make things sound worse than they were, Melissa! Congratulations on whining your way through the hurricane! I’m embarrassed we share the same hometown; Houston deserves better.
We live in the Med. Center and were out of power until Thursday night. Yes, it was hot. Yes, my 8 and 5 year old sons were initially bored. But overall, Ike (for us) was proof of how strong our family and community are. Starting Saturday in the rain, we spent hours outside, working with neighbors clearing debris and cutting trees. One neighbor, who I’d always thought was a bit of a jerk, turned out to be the best guy on the block: he’d brought his farm truck into town the week before and ran all over the place helping others haul tree limbs and stumps into neat piles. People with generators gave shelf space in their fridge to neighbors, we gossiped and relaxed on front lawns when the weather cooled off, shared precious newspapers, and, well, half the men on the street ran off to The Gingerman every evening to “help” drink beer that was otherwise going to waste. Such generous guys!
Things inside the house were just as good. My kids soon got used to no TV; instead, biking up and down the street with friends was much more fun. We ate PB&J by candlelight (it tastes much better that way), cracked open long-shut windows and slept with the cool breeze blowing on us. When our offices re-opened, my husband and I took turns taking the boys to work, where they relished watching movies and being fed too much candy by secretaries.
We were blessed. We always had water. Some people had phone service (not us - we have VoIP). Restaurants nearby re-opened before FEMA had PODs in place. But we were blessed the most by our attitudes: we didn’t give in to despair and took nothing for granted. We relished how much the storm hadn’t taken from us, and when we did so we knew how rich we truly were.
I am so proud of the way we weathered the storm. I’ve learned more about my neighbors, my family and myself this past week. Everything I learned I’m proud to know."
I am proud of this family, this neighborhood, this town. I didn't love Ike, but I know I can do this again if I have to. I'm glad to have that knowledge. Ike made us stronger, not weaker, richer, not poorer. We learned that what we should value most is really what we do value most. And I feel just fine about that.
When I was pregnant with One, I had a regular OB. At least at first. Then I started reading a lot on childbirth history, natural childbirth, birth plans, you name it. I decided I wanted to try to have One naturally, and I approached my doctor with this idea. I had all kinds of things written down - neatly typed, in fact - and I gave him a copy of my little plan. He put it on the corner of his desk farthest from him, told me he didn't have time to read it and asked me to summarize. I explained that we (Husband was with me for this big talk) wanted to try to have One with as few medical interventions as possible, and asked him what he could do to help us achieve that goal. At that very second, he turned his head from me and from that moment on only talked to my Husband. Women needed to be in bed during labor, he explained. Your wife could hurt herself if she's not lying down - you need to help her understand these things. And on and on and on. I was non-existent; he was a car salesman and he was explaining to my husband why he needed to convince me to go with the automatic transmission, because women just can't drive stick. I stood up in the middle of his speech, 30 weeks pregnant, and announced we were leaving and never coming back.
Through a series of conversations and emails I wound up with a practice of CNM's - certified nurse midwives. This group of 4 women practice with 7 OBs, deliver in hospitals, and have a very high rate of natural childbirth. They were amazing. First of all, they took me in - in my 3rd trimester no less. Second, they spent so much time in each appointment talking to us about what we wanted, sharing as much information as possible. They assumed we wanted to try to have One naturally but at the same time made it clear that failing to do so after trying was never, ever to be considered "failure". When I passed my due date, they checked on One but otherwise shrugged their shoulders; babies don't wear watches in the womb - he'll be here when he gets here. When almost 2 weeks passed, they scheduled me for induction but gave in when I begged for one last weekend. Miraculously I went into labor the next day.
I wish I could say that One's labor and delivery was everything I'd planned. In fact, it was almost everything I'd wanted to avoid. Every medical intervention except a C-section was involved before the little bugger took his first breath. All those books I read were right: one intervention leads to another just as sure as one potato chip leads to the whole bag, greasy fingers and a tummy ache. I was disappointed, but not as much as I'd expected. He was here, I was a mother, and, well, there'd always be a next time.
Two's delivery was the reversal of One's. 12 weeks of bedrest for pre-term labor and then high blood pressure meant that, at 41 weeks, even I wanted to be induced. I still didn't want pain medication, but thought to myself I'd never make it without some - the pitocin scared me half to death. Nevertheless, we went to the hospital on Valentine's Day and I was hooked up to "the drip". Shockingly, I did it. The whole thing - even 45 minutes of pushing - with no pain meds. When I realized what had happened I felt like I'd climbed Mt. Everest wearing a prom dress and with no oxygen mask. I knew I could do anything now. It was exhilarating, to say the least.
Unmedicated childbirth may not be for everyone but I sincerely wish more women would consider it. Our bodies were not necessarily "made" to run marathons, and yet many people experience great satisfaction at pushing themselves to complete one. Conversely, women's bodies are made to give birth. Natural childbirth gives you a perfect chance to experience what an amazing being God created you to be.
Friday, September 19, 2008
Two is every mother's nightmare at the table. He has a natural dislike for a lot of foods, and he further complicates things by using that dislike to manipulate us. I can't tell you how many times I've cleaned throw up off the table because he was crying so hard he upchucked his mac and cheese. Or how often he's been left alone at the table because he wouldn't eat one single bite of his dinner, despite the fact he'd eaten the exact same thing the week before. Errrrrr.
One thing I've noticed that has helped improve his diet is eating meals as a family. We've never been very good at this; Husband's schedule used to make it impossible, and in response I scheduled many activities in the evening for the boys, since there wasn't much reason for us to be at home. Now that he has his new job (and I've cancelled the boys' evening activities) we're all home at the same time every night and we actually eat together. When we all sit down together and everyone's plate looks the same Two tends to eat a lot more - both in quantity and variety. He also lays off some of the drama; even though he has a wider audience, he sees all of us behaving well and copies us almost without thinking about it. What a relief!
"Barack Obama’s response ad on the Born-Alive issue says “Obama has always supported medical care to protect infants.” But in the debate about the born-alive bill which he voted against (see page 87 of this transcript), Obama said:
'[I]f we're placing a burden on the doctor that says you have to keep alive a previable child as long as possible and give them as much medical attention as — as is necessary to try to keep that child alive, then we're probably crossing the line in terms of unconstitutionality.'
So a child who has been born and is living and breathing outside the womb can’t get medical care because by some legal definition he or she is “pre-viable”? That doesn’t sound like always supporting medical care to protect infants."
Here's the Born Alive ad Obama is responding to:
Thursday, September 18, 2008
The boys and I were next door with the neighbors and didn't realize at first what had happened. When we went home and saw the lights we danced around and yelled. It was better than Christmas morning when you're a child.
This has in truth been a wonderful experience. We're closer together as a family than we were before and we appreciate what we have a little more as well. God works in amazing and wonderous ways - we're thankful for everything right now.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Jeremy, I thought of you so many times the past few days as I watched neighbors help each other after the hurricane here in Texas. I saw you in so many of their actions and I grieve for the family and community that has lost you. Tari
Here are more nighttime pictures:
Husband put out the tiki torches by the front porch to keep the bugs away.
While we sit on the porch with our torches, the boys read in the living room.
1. Do all the laundry the day before.
2. Buy more than one box of Pop Tarts.
3. If you don’t have screens on your windows, pick up some mosquito netting to tape in place for the inevitable power outage.
4. Stock up on allergy medicine for all the mold, leaves, and outside air you’re about to be exposed to.
5. Buy baby wipes to keep children clean, because bathing them in cold water isn’t very much fun.
6. Owning a chainsaw will make you a very popular neighbor – bask in the warm glow of everyone liking you as long as possible.
7. Bring mattresses downstairs if it’s too hot to sleep upstairs – you’re too old to sleep on the floor, believe me.
8. Extra D batteries and some books on tape can keep kids quiet for hours.
9. Buy extra garbage bags – you’re going to lose food, need to bag leaves, you name it.
10. Your neighbors will be your best friends before this is over. That’s a good thing!
Disclaimer: This list is intended to be tongue-in-cheek. I’m not trying to make light of what some people are going through post-Ike; I just know that large numbers of Houstonians don’t have it so bad, and the best way to deal with “not too bad” is to laugh.
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
This is the front yard when we woke up Saturday:
Monday, September 15, 2008
No pictures for you - I am at work and my company has 2 words for someone who comes in the building with a camera: industrial spy. So although I've been taking pictures I can't post them until power is back on at the house. And yes, my company powered back up yesterday afternoon. I am eating a hot breakfast sandwich and drinking and icy Diet Coke from the company caf as I write this. The AC is below 60 as usual, and I'm pretty pleased to be here. God bless [insert name of large multi-national corporation here].
Back home all that left to deal with is the backyard, which looks like a swamp; the cool weather should dry things out today quite a bit. We did a lot of pick up Saturday, even during the morning rain. Everyone on the street was out by 10, working and comparing notes. No one's house was severly damaged - we live in big old brick houses for the most part, and they've survived Carla, Alicia and who knows what else. We had 2 huge trees down on our block - one blocked the street and another trapped neighbors in their house. Husband and our next-door neighbor took charge of the first one; between an attorney and an anesthesiologist it was the most expensive tree removal in the history of man. The second one was a huge effort, and our next-door neighbor was again in the thick of it with his farm truck, hauling huge pieces of tree around and generally enjoying himself much more than any man should. Our block has pulled together these past few days, and when we're not working we're in each other's front yards, kids and dogs playing around us as we gossip. At night Husband and I put the boys to bed in the living room and take the radio out on the porch for some air. We listen a little, but spend more time turning it off to talk to one another. Hey, life without TV and computers wasn't half bad.
As for the storm itself: wow. We spend Friday getting things ready, and I've never had a longer day. We had a normal dinner to calm everyone's nerves, and then watched hurricane coverage until 11pm or so to wire ourselves back up. I cleared out the hall closet under the stairs for the boys, and they fell asleep in there around 10. Husband and I curled up with blankets in front of the open closet door, and then the hurricane that most closely resembled a long car trip began. Lambchop was scared and wanted to sleep on us. One stuck his feet in my ear 30 or 40 times. The boys woke up several times and started fighting about who was on who's side of the closet. My ear was buffeted a little more by One's gunboat feet. The power flickered on and off until 2:30 when it finally died, and every time it went off one of the boys would announce "I need to use the potty!" Oscar cried because Lamb was on top of us and he wasn't and that made him jealous. And on and on and on. We were in the studiest part of the house, but the wind still sounded like a train on top of the house. Our attic has an old-fashioned attic fan so it's very open to the outside. The big, heavy attic door kept jumping and banging every minute or so as everything re-pressurized. About 3am or so, when the worst was going on outside, I was pretty scared. I curled up in a ball next to Husband and prayed about that attic door until I fell asleep. The next thing I knew it was 6am and we could walk around the house again. It was still storming but nothing like what went on in the night.
Last night we went for a drive to see what was open, and were surprised to see how much was going on. Our favorite BBQ place, Goode Company, was open and the line was around the building. Someone even brought their Great Dane. Before FEMA could get MREs, ice and water out to their "points of distribution" the Goode family had fired up the smokers and were feeding all comers. Wine bars, Italian restaurants, you name it - in central Houston if you had power last night you were open, taking care of customers and making all of us even prouder of this great community we call home. I've loved this city since I first visited it in 1991. I've grown to love it more over the years; friendly people, good food and stay-out-of-your-way city government seems to sit well with me. But the last few days I've had all the more reason to love this town. People here get up and get it done. They don't wait for Governor Perry, FEMA, or anyone else to do it for them. They clear the streets, fire up the smokers and ovens, and get us all pizza, BBQ and cold beer when we need them. These are great people. This is a great town.
Two more points: Judge Ed Emmett and Mayor Bill White are spectacular leaders. They've been sane and reasonable at every press conference. They don't make promises they can't keep, but they seem to get things done faster than you'd expect. As an old colleague taught me once: undercommit and overdeliver. Yesterday afternoon one reporter was whining about food and ice in the Houston area and Emmett cut her off: let's think a minute, he said. On the one hand we have people whose homes were blown out of existence. On the other we have some people clamoring for ice. Who do you think we're going to help first? Strong leaders - exactly what you expect in this town. I'm not surprised.
Finally, I don't know the worst of what's gone on down in Galveston. I haven't seen a TV since Friday night/early Saturday AM. I know it's unimaginally bad and my heart breaks. Everything I could think of saying sounds trite. Please just pray for the people there. Don't pray for us; we have food and a home and not much to worry about. But the people in Galveston and all along the coast need your prayers. They don't need your pity, because they're tough Texas folk and don't like that sort of thing. They'll get things done for themselves just like we did; they just have a much bigger project ahead than we could ever dream of. Prayers will help.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Please pray for Galveston - a wonderful place under a whole lot of water right now.
Here's where we are so far:
5:30pm Friday. It's cloudy with little wind gusts, but nothing else has happened weather-wise all day.
McCain: 27.3% - 28.6%
Obama: 5.8% - 6.1%
Biden: 0.06% - 0.31%
No stats for Palin
HT: Ann Althouse
Matthew 25:40 says ... 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'
Thursday, September 11, 2008
UPDATE: Here's a much more detailed story from the Press Republican:
Please pray for Sheryl Quinn and her young girls as well as for Jeremy's extended family and many friends.
Go with God, Jeremy.
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead.
Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
--- John McCrae, 1915
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
1. There is no right or wrong person to vote for in this election.
2. You need to make your own decision: I'm not going to stand up here and tell you who to vote for.
3. If you rely on the political process to meet your expectations you'll always come up short. Hope and change don't come from politics. They come from the Holy Spirit changing hearts and lives. Remember, Christ didn't show up to start a political movement.
4. Despite #3, we have a Biblical obligation (from Paul in Romans) as citizens in a democracy to stay involved in issues that reflect Christian values (for example, the value of all human life).
5. We have an obligation to be humble and patient, to listen and not attack. We should stand out in the crowd of vitrolic mudslingers who populate politics today.
In light of Chris's sermon, I resolved to make a switch from candidates to issues and to try to do so with humility, civility and patience. My post last night was a stellar example of how frequently I fall flat on my face soon after making a commitment to do something I believe God is leading me to do. Happens all the time - to all of us, yes?
So now I'm picking myself back up and starting over again. Issues first. More to come soon.
Monday, September 8, 2008
Unfortunately, we lost touch as we grew up; I moved to Texas and Jeremy stayed put, near his mom and 7 siblings. Last week he disappeared. From what they've found so far, he's gone into thin air. I can't imagine what his family feels right now, what his small community is going through. Because I wasn't the only one Jeremy was there for - not by a long shot. He was around for everyone - someone you could count on, someone who would always help you out.
All I can do from 2,000 miles away is pray. A long long time ago Jeremy helped rescue me from fear and loneliness. I pray to God someone will help rescue him now from something a lot worse.
God be with you, my dear, dear friend.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
"As I interviewed residents it began sounding as if living in Alaska controlled by the state Republican Party is like living in the old Soviet Union: See nothing that’s happening, say nothing offensive, and the political commissars leave you alone. But speak out and you get disappeared into a gulag north of the Arctic Circle for who-knows-how-long."
I swear it's like discussing politics with Lambchop.
HT Ann Althouse
Actually, one of the funniest things about this article - although funny in a macabre way - is that it comes from a "progressive" publication. These are the kinds of people who for years viewed the Soviet Union with fuzzy warm affection (and many still do). For them to be using the USSR as an analogy for repression and fear now, when it suits their purposes to do so, is stomach-turning to say the least.
Friday, September 5, 2008
What is the difference between having expectations of your child and demanding things of him that become a weight around his neck and don’t help him truly grow up? This has been rolling around in my head for a while for a number of reasons. Beyond demanding that he do his best in following a basic set of rules – the way we do things in this family, the rules that keep anarchy at bay and maybe sketch out what our family values most – what can I demand of my child? And what demands will make him less dependent on me, not more so?
Let me give you a concrete example so you know what questions I’m asking:
I have a co-worker with a 20 year old; she lives at home, doesn’t drive, and attends community college. Her parents run her life on the premise that “it’s my house and they’re my rules.” These rules include who she can hang out with after school, who she can have in the house, and her parents’ duties include taking her to and from college every day. In other words, they have constricted her life to the point that she has no sense of personal responsibility. She makes mistakes and breaks the rules all the time, but the rules never change and presumably she never learns from her mistakes.
How do I start treating/teaching my boys now so this situation is avoided in the future? My goal as a parent is to raise adults, not dependent children. I don’t want them tied to my rules as they get older; I want them to make good decisions on their own. How do I teach that skill rather than mindless adherence to the rules?
Additionally, I want them to grow up to be who they are supposed to be. That’s something they need to work out on their own (with God’s help). I don’t want to dictate who they will or should be (especially not professionally). I want to provide them with many different and good examples of how to go about the business of adulthood, give them the skills to discern the best way to get there, and then step back. Again, how do I teach independence, good observation skills, and good decision-making? I’m not satisfied to teach just “how to get good grades, get into a good college and grad school without once thinking for yourself.” That lesson doesn’t make for happy adults – maybe happy sheep, but not happy adults.
What do you think? How do I get from fairly obedient, intelligent, creative and funny elementary students to independent, joyful adults who are doing a job and living a life they love?
"Any full-time working wife and mother knows that the family takes the short end of the stick. Marriages and the welfare of children suffer when a stressed-out mother doesn’t have time to be a woman, a wife, and a hands-on Mommy."
Would that be why you worked while raising your son, Laura?
HT Barbara Curtis
I don't want y'all to think I have no sympathy for parents digging around for the cause of their child's autism. Or sensory processing disorder, PDD, speech delay ADHD/ADD, you name it. Husband and I have been through some comparatively mild "issues" with Two and it is beyond a doubt very frustrating. We all want answers to our questions, and we want them times 10 when it comes to our children, because we generally take our "job" of parenting very seriously and want to get it right.
But there are 2 things I want to point out. First. we can't "get it right" as parents. Not all the time, not in spite of of our best efforts. We need to do the best we can and move on - and sometimes that involves living without all the right answers. Second, I learned fairly early as a parent (oh, day 3 or so) that as much as doctors want to tell us they have all the answers, they don't. They're guessing at their job just as much as you are guessing at yours. We all make decisions at work every day where we rely on the best facts on hand to give advice and move forward with projects - but we really don't know 100% if it's going to work. "Will this clause hold up in court?" I think so - I can't find case law that says it won't. "Will this marketing initiative really increase sales by 30%?" It's new, it tested well, I think it will help the business. But if we all waited for "for sure" our worlds would grind to a halt.
For me, vaccines are the best guess out there as to what's right for my boys. They have a long track record of success, both on an individual level and on a public health level. They have literally saved the lives of millions of children. That's the best evidence out there right now, and I'm relying on it.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
God, please help me to not get a bladder infection before the 1st Tuesday in November. Amen.
We were cooking dinner one night for some friends and there was little left in the pot. My roommate kept chasing people down before they left the kitchen, trying to give them what was left. Everyone refused and one guy said "if someone wants some they can come back for seconds." And Lorena just came out with this whopper - "oooh, seconds are soooo middle class!" Said with the requisite Long Island lockjaw, of course. I'm surprised I was accepted into Colgate without this particular verbal tic. Oh, wait, I was on scholarship, and they lower their standards ever so slightly to help "the poor."
Boy, I really loved the women I went to undergrad with! Isn't it remarkable I haven't spoken to a single one of them in 15 years?
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
"The most qualified? No! I think they went for this -- excuse me-- political bullshit about narratives... Every time the Republicans do that, because that's not where they live and it's not what they're good at, they blow it."
Niiiiice. And not at all surprising. Really, what does a blond NY elitist like Peggy Noonan have in common with an down-home girl like Sarah Palin? Sarah Palin doesn't know all the good places for a salad in The Hamptons and she doesn't look like she diets to the point of death - obviously not a blue-blood East Coast girl. Thank God.
And my 2 cents on her speech tonight? Loved it. The difference between hockey moms and pitbulls is lipstick?! Yes - she's strong!
Last night Lambchop, possibly the dumbest dog in all Creation, got in her usual dinnertime fight-through-the-fence with Bit, the neighbor dog. These 2 have been exchanging nips, barks and growls for ages, so I generally ignore the ruckus unless it's really loud. Last night it was loud. After I hauled Lambie in I noticed a nasty puncture wound in her neck; Bit has obviously lived up to his name.
The question is: do I need to take her to the vet over this? Husband and I cleaned the wound out with peroxide and it's not bleeding openly. It's just deep. I thought I'd keep cleaning it every day and that would be enough, but is it? How on Earth will I tell if the dog has an internal infection? Don't even tell me I have to take her temperature ...
Any advice is greatly appreciated. I'd love to avoid a trip to the vet but I'll go if I absolutely have to.
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Listen: women who work can be great moms. Period. Stay-at-home moms don't have a monopoly on virtue. Never mind the fact that, if she is the VP, the Palin children will have their mom around as usual and they will have their dad 24/7. Because last time I checked, there weren't oil rigs, snowmobile races or commercial fishing in Washington, DC.
Just so you know, I'm not linking to the women who have put out this ridiculous argument. Does that sound dishonest to you? Frankly, I'd rather not give them the traffic.
"... the left is fully unprepared to win this debate. ... The Left does not understand the fundamental nature of the socially conservative mind. That, and what is likely to be their over-exuberance in attacking what they perceive as hypocrisy, will be their downfall.
Bristol Palin has single-handedly dealt the Republican Party its winning hand. With an economy in decline and an unpopular war started by Republicans, Bristol Palin’s unborn baby has now made the Culture War the focal point of this election. This is one ground and, in fact, the only ground on which Republicans can win this election."
The author goes on to explain that socially conservative people see no hypocrisy in what is happening to the Palin family; Bristol's parents raised her well, they prayed over her, but ultimately, she made a mistake - as all of us have done. There's no hypocrisy in wanting the best for your children, wanting everything to be perfect, and yet running up against the brick wall that is this world: we all sin, we all fall down.
Whether these facts have any effect on the election or not only time will tell. What the situation does do is firmly contrast each Party's opinions on the sanctity of life. Obama wants to keep abortion legal in order to help his daughter avoid being "punished" by an early baby. Sarah Palin has raised a daughter who makes mistakes but doesn't view them as the end of the world; she is keeping her child and will marry soon. Which ending to the story do the voters prefer?
Link via Instapundit.