What to say?

It's a historic night. Approximately 12 million other people have blogged that, nothing new to see here. I feel like I ought to be nervous, but instead it feels like I am just waiting for the inevitable good thing that is coming. I don't even really feel like celebrating, more just like letting my breath out that I've been holding since Bush was appointed...

To everyone who has worked so very, very hard to make this happen, to those who have given until they couldn't give any more, to those who have sweated and dreamed and given up money, time, sleep, energy for everything else... Thank You.

I cannot wait to live in a country where the color of one's skin is less important than it was yesterday. :D Where every leader has not been a white man. Where hope, hard work, perseverance and belief in ourselves finally beat out fear.


Concerned Educators Speak Out Regarding McCain/Palin Campaign Stoking "The Fires of Racism"

Very much worth the read: Concerned Educators Speak Out Regarding McCain/Palin Campaign Stoking "The Fires of Racism"


This statement is signed by research faculty of communication programs from across the nation. We speak as concerned educators and scholars of communication but do not claim to speak for our home institutions.

We wish to express our great concern over unethical communication behavior that threatens to dominate the closing days of the 2008 Presidential campaign.
It would be misleading, however, to imply that since “both sides do it” there is no qualitative difference worth noting. In recent weeks, the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin has engaged in such incendiary mendacity that we must speak out. The purposeful dissemination of messages that a communicator knows to be false and inflammatory is unethical. It is that simple.

Making decisions in a democracy requires an informed electorate. The health of our democracy and our ability to make a good decision about who should lead our nation require the very best in communication practices, not the worst.
We see an effort to color code the election as between an urban, African-American Obama falsely linked to terms like “terrorist,” “unpatriotic,” and “welfare” versus small town, white, “patriotic” Americans like the mythical Joe the Plumber. “Intended” or not, the message is getting through, as reports have emerged of ugly scenes at some Republican rallies and racists hanging Obama in effigy in Oregon and Ohio. In an echo of McCarthyism, Representative Michelle Bachmann has called for investigations into un-American members of Congress, pointing to Senator Obama as the prime suspect. Speaking to warm up the crowd before a McCain rally, Representative Robin Hayes continued the theme: “Folks, there’s a real America, and liberals hate real Americans that work, and accomplish, and achieve, and believe in God.” The official website of the Sacramento County Republican Party compared Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama to terrorist leader Osama bin Laden and urged people to “Waterboard Barack Obama.” The October newsletter of the Chaffey Community Republican Women in California depicts Obama on a food stamp surrounded by a watermelon, ribs, and a bucket of fried chicken. The McCain/Palin campaign has not repudiated such actions taken on its behalf, nor has it done enough to respond to reprehensible behavior at rallies.4

The McCain/Palin campaign and its surrogates, of course, will deny explicit racism. But their purposeful repetition of inflammatory false statements is unethical and stokes the fires of racism.

The fact that even now, in 2008, we still have people living in this country who believe that the color of one's skin ought to be a determining factor in evaluating a person's intelligence, integrity, character and ability to hold public office makes me IRATE. I am intolerant of their intolerance!


To Do List.

Clean the bathroom
Organize Anja's room and get rid of a lot of junk
Organize filing system in our bedroom
Replace light fixture in laundry room
Clean basement, ugh
Take out garbage and recycling and compost
Pay bills
Drop clothes off at Berk's
Enter rest of quotes into quote database
Go pants shopping
Get Anja more socks
Buy stuff to make patio
Buy drinks for people who are making patio
Figure out about transferring money from Euro bank account
Get/make Anja's Halloween costume
Order heating oil
Order balance bars and contact lenses and contact solution
Order fair-trade coffee pods

Reading List
1 issue National Geographic
3 issues Rolling Stone
2 books on combat-related PTSD
anxiety workbook
The Evolution of Language
Little Brother
Lapham's Quarterly

I need more hours in the day... failing that, more days in the week. Failing that... I guess I just keep slipping further behind. /sigh


Sarah Palin makes me angry.

I know, it's been weeks again since I've written anything. I'm-a-gonna work on it, promise. :)

Anyway, I just came across this article. It's a couple weeks old, but it sums up so much of what's wrong with Palin as a serious political candidate, and how insulting her selection is, to women in this country. Intelligent women, who know they could do a better job than she is doing.

From the article:

At least three times last night, Sarah Palin, the adorable, preposterous vice-presidential candidate, winked at the audience. Had a male candidate with a similar reputation for attractive vapidity made such a brazen attempt to flirt his way into the good graces of the voting public, it would have universally noted, discussed and mocked. Palin, however, has single-handedly so lowered the standards both for female candidates and American political discourse that, with her newfound ability to speak in more-or-less full sentences, she is now deemed to have performed acceptably last night.


In pronouncing upon a debate, they don't try and determine whether a candidate's responses correspond to existing reality, or whether he or she is capable of talking about subjects such as the deregulation of the financial markets or the devolution of the war in Afghanistan. The criteria are far more vaporous. In this case, it was whether Palin could avoid utterly humiliating herself for 90 minutes, and whether urbane commentators would believe that she had connected to a public that they see as ignorant and sentimental. For the Alaska governor, mission accomplished.


It's worth reading the transcript of the encounter, where it becomes clearer how bizarre much of what she said was. Here, for example, is how she responded to Biden's comments about how the middle class has been short-changed during the Bush administration, and how McCain will continue Bush's policies:
Say it ain't so, Joe, there you go again pointing backwards again. You preferenced [sic] your whole comment with the Bush administration. Now doggone it, let's look ahead and tell Americans what we have to plan to do for them in the future. You mentioned education, and I'm glad you did. I know education you are passionate about with your wife being a teacher for 30 years, and god bless her. Her reward is in heaven, right? ... My brother, who I think is the best schoolteacher in the year, and here's a shout-out to all those third graders at Gladys Wood Elementary School, you get extra credit for watching the debate.

I mean, seriously. What the fuck. She makes no sense, she tries to rely on charm, and she manages to make an awful lot of people feel both angry and insulted, all at the same time. Ugh.


McCain and Obama on the economy

3 minutes - the difference is striking. Who's working on a plan, and who's just campaigning?

McCain thinks *Obama* needs to admit to his part in these problems?? McCain, who's been in cahoots with the BFEE and the Keating Five, etc., etc., ad nauseum!? *bangs head on wall*

Homeland Security testing *pre*-crime detector?

Link to story on Slashdot

This is so ridiculous. The false positive rate is going to be crazy, there are so many issues with it, in concept... I mean, is it worth screening people for suspicious activity? Sure, they have people do that at airports in more violence-prone parts of the world, and it works. But to have a machine that's supposed to be able to, and isn't somehow going to pick up all the people who are nervous about flying, worried about their kids/spouse/dogs/etc., who are having an affair on their business trip, who have GAD, etc., etc., etc. And as someone stated in the /. comments, if you have a 99.9% false positive rate, you're just going to start waving people through, and basically profiling within the positives. Which can be gotten around, as is also talked about.

In a word... Lame.


700 Billion *MORE* dollars?! Are you kidding?

Three Times is Enemy Action

This week, the Bush administration announced the beginnings of a plan to salvage what remains of the financial markets. At first glance, it appears that the plan will consist mainly of creating a kind of "garbage pit," a fund or group of funds -- cousins of the Resolution Trust that was created during the S&L crisis -- into which those people who have dabbled in bad debts can toss their problems. Only this time the cost to the taxpayers is at least $700 billion... and a big bite out of representative democracy.

Longish, but worth the read, to get a better feel of how we got to where we are... /sigh


EarlG News: Media Announces Bailout Of McCain Campaign

EarlG strikes again!

WASHINGTON, DC -- Acting to avert a possible crisis in the U.S. presidential election, the media today announced a bailout of Sen John McCain's (R-AZ) campaign. Cable news commentators scrambled to prop up the Senator's sagging poll numbers Friday as the fast-disappearing dream of a nail-biting horse-race threatened to bring down America's entire punditry system.

A senior CNN political analyst speaking on condition of anonymity said that the collapse of McCain's campaign could prove disastrous to the pundit industry. "A horse-race is vital to our bottom line," he said. "Without neck-and-neck poll numbers we can't maintain an air of suspense right up to election day, and our ratings will suffer. I could be out of a job by this time next week."

"These are desperate times, and we're going to take unprecedented action to bring the polls back into line with our preferred projections," said another anonymous insider. "We'll be ignoring all of McCain's gaffes on foreign policy matters and covering up his tremendous flip-flops on the economy. Then we'll focus tightly on polls which show the closest possible race between the two candidates."

If the first part of the media's emergency bailout fails to turn things around industry insiders say they could resort to more drastic measures, such as taking more of Michelle Obama's comments out of context to gin up another false controversy about her patriotism, or creating additional rumors about Barack Obama's religion. An anonymous source at Fox News revealed, "At this point nothing is off the table."

Reaction to the announcement was mixed, with many members of the public remaining skeptical. "Isn't the media supposed to tell us what's actually happening in the world, as opposed to cherry-picking stories in order to create a narrative that boosts their ratings and advertising revenue?" asked Bob Jenkins, 52, a mechanic from Harrisburg, Penn.

Despite the media's best efforts, John McCain's campaign has teetered on the brink of collapse ever since he selected a clueless moosehunter as his running mate.

It kills me that the best reporting, at this point, is the satire!! So true...


The hardest part? Your favorite part?

So, I recently started doing a thing with Anja, right before she goes to sleep at night. I ask her what the hardest part of her day was, and what her favorite part was. It's both a neat way to get insights into the way that she sees her life (that is, she surprises me sometimes with her answers!), and a good way to get her in the habit of looking at both the negative and positive things that are going on... she's recently started doing the same thing to me, which is awesome. Sometimes, my 'real' answers aren't 5-year-old appropriate, so I modify them or come up with alternatives, but it does get *me* thinking, too... And apparently, this idea is a little bit contagious, so I'm going to put it on here and make it even more viral, hehe. :)

Yesterday's hardest thing: getting very emotional after leaving John's AS assessment, and the negative repercussions of that for the next 20 minutes

Yesterday's favorite thing: toss-up between lunch with John at this kick-ass bar in Middletown, where you could just kind of forget the world, and the time we spent together after Anja went to bed :)

Here's the link to the bar we went to... the site describes it as:

"Saving the Ales" since 1994, Eli Cannon's Tap Room is committed to diversity. Thirty-Six (36) REAL ALES on tap rotating constantly to ensure freshness and revolutionary selection.

The atmosphere is easy: Irish / English Pub / American Trailer Park Fusion
Barber chairs, theater seats, leather couches and chairs are just a few of the vehicles to chill on.

This is probably the best bar I've been to in the U.S., in terms of feeling instantly comfortable there and enjoying the food and drink and atmosphere. Willi Brew pub may have better food, that'll have to wait to see. It does make me wish that Middletown weren't quite so far away... it's a bit harder to stumble home from there, hehe :D


Focus on the positive.

A good friend had suggested to me recently that I make an attempt to focus on the positive and fun things that are still going on, and post about them here... so I thought I'd have a try at that.

Saturday John and Rob went to play paintball, and Anja and I met my dad for lunch at Beach Pond, at the border of CT/RI on 165. We were sitting next to the pond and a couple guys came down to launch a canoe for some fishing... Anja, of course, is chatting them up, asking questions, offering to help push them into the water in the canoe (man, was that cute to watch her try!). One guy was really nice and friendly, and ended up offering her (and us!) some buffalo jerkey from... Montana, I think? It was pretty tasty, although I wish we could have tried the peppered one he said he had. Had a nice lunch with dad and then took a very tired Anja home... we both napped for about 2 hours. :)

Yesterday was good, too... John went to Home Despot and got the stuff to build a woodshed so that we can stockpile our cord of wood for ongoing fires during the winter. I'm really impressed with how well it came out... I helped a bit and so did Rob, and it's done! Now to stack all the wood into it tomorrow night. :) We ended up having bbq dinner with Rob and Toni and Mike and Amy, and it was excellent. Thanks for sharing, guys! Bacon-wrapped chicken with honey-soy marinade, and grilled garlic. YUM. We all hung out around the fire until way, way too late... Toni and I probably went to bed around 1:30. I'm very glad to have you guys living upstairs! :D

"Uncertainty is the fertile ground of pure creativity and freedom."

"In the midst of movement and chaos, keep stillness inside of you.”

"Our thinking and our behaviour are always in anticipation of a response. It is therefore fear-based.”

"The less you open your heart to others, the more your heart suffers."

-Deepak Chopra

I think I need to read more of his stuff, these days...


Going Vagabondish...

No, not me, John.

The big thing that's going on right now is that John quit his job (he's been wanting and needing to do that for awhile) and he's taking off for a couple months, going to travel around, figure out what he wants out of life/relationships/etc... this is kind of a very exciting and terribly scary thing, all wrapped up in one long trip.

We are trying to go into it with as few expectations as possible, and as much flexibility as can be given. It looks like it will be feasible for it to be at least two months, maybe more if possible and he wants to...

Where he will end up in terms of life and our relationship, and where I will wind up in terms of the same, is up in the air right now. He needs to figure out what he wants to do with his life, what drives him, what would make him feel happy and satisfied, and where/how/if I fit into that picture.

So, if you're out there reading and you've been wondering what's up with me, that's a huge part of what's going on. I'm about to leap into single parenting, and running the household entirely by myself for awhile. Not to mention figuring out my own emotional state, needs, desires, etc. There's so much too this, but it's too much to commit all to writing right now. Suffice it to say that I'm sick of talking about it, but I can't think about anything else, lately...


"Sometimes I think that I'm breaking down...

And sometimes I think that I'm fine."

Can't remember who the quote's from and I'm too lazy to look it up in my green book. Pretty soon I'm going to have an online DB for all my quotes though, great courtesy of John B. Thanks, man :D

I'm in a funk tonight, and I don't know why. I hate feeling like this... life is good, better even than it's maybe ever been in many ways. There's positive change going on in so many ways, and I'm too tired to even write about it. I think maybe that's really the root of it tonight, needing more sleep... wish I'd been able to get a nap in today. Have a much harder time laughing at myself, and laughing at the dumb shit that guys think and do sometimes, when I'm this tired. Ah well, I'll sleep when I'm dead, right? :)

I think maybe I shouldn't post this, but ah well. There's a cat trying to lick my face while I'm typing, that's awfully helpful, lol.

I think perhaps I'll go for a walk...



So.... um. Yeah.

It's been a long-ass time since I've written anything. Life has been crazy and busy and emotional, and I haven't much felt like writing. I have half a post about Thoreau that's been sitting in my drafts for about 6 weeks now. I want to finish it, I really do! But it seems there is, lately, always something more urgent.

What needs to get written about? We're not moving, that's probably the biggest concrete piece. (The rest is harder-to-define emotional stuff, etc.) We decided that there were too many good people and too much cool stuff here to be involved in, and that we were counting down how many times we had left here to do things, instead of counting down toward being able to do things in Germany. And while there are absolutely things that I mourn about not going, things that I was really looking forward to, I have to say that my overall feeling has really been relief to make that decision.

So, on to plan B, which is to send John back to UConn to get his master's, starting in the spring... he's so unhappy at work, and they treat him like a monkey. He needs either a job or a research position or something that lets him use his intelligence creatively, solving problems. So we're headed up to UConn today to talk to one of my former profs, get a better feel for what the grad program looks like, what TA'ing is like, etc., etc. I got a 1/2 comp day for work, whee!!

That's the really short version, but I'm not too motivated... perhaps there will be more, and pictures, to follow soon. :)



Fire and water.




And water.


It's been a very interesting and intense last week for me, for John, for us. We've each learned things about ourselves, things at a very fundamental and personal level. Neither of us is who we were a week ago, in a very positive way.

It's strange to think that maybe we're really going through what story-tellers are wont to call a "turning point" or some such. A sea change. A transformation. A revelation. Whatever name it takes, it is a very intense, emotional, confusing, and fantastic thing to go through. The amount of joy and love, fear, and awe that I have felt in the last week is almost unfathomable to me.




And water.


Hope balances fear. Chase and retreat. Longing for something makes it the best gift. Some changes are only wrought through waiting, and something that feels too right to be called chance.




And water.


To John, thank you for being the best friend a woman could want, my confidant, the one who I can take down all the masks for, and for coming with me on this ride. I love you.

To the two other people who have been the catalysts, and supported this change.... thank you. I love you guys, too.

Laugh at yourself and love people. It makes everything else worth it.



The Pale Blue Dot - everyone you know, everything you've experienced

So life has been crazy and busy and excellent, and I apologize for the (usual) lack of posting... there has been lots of music playing, and music listening. There has been good food, fire, and excellent company. There has been climbing! There has been laughing until 4 in the morning, and perching by a stream to watch Anja enjoy the carefree time of throwing stuff in the water, just like any kid does. And next weekend? The beach. :D Dare I say how good this all is, for risk of jinxing it? Yes, I think I do!

Anyway, John and I watched a really fascinating video together based on Carl Sagan's Pale Blue Dot.

The Pale Blue Dot
On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "supreme leader", every "superstar," every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there-on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.

What a reminder of how small and insignificant we truly are. That each of us worries and struggles and stresses, loves and hates and fears, and yet we are all so tiny when we look at ourselves in the mirror of the universe. For me, it's a strong reminder to let more things, and more worry, go by. To live in the moment, to do more of the things I want to do, to not overestimate the importance of myself, of politics, heck, even of saving the planet. The planet will survive, it's our own species and our own creature comforts that we truly fear losing. We fear our own suffering, and rightly so, but in the grand scheme of the universe? We are so, so small.

Peace to you.


Great article on German-American interaction and language

I came across a great article on the BackReaction site (linked at right) about the interactions between Germans and Americans specifically (and other cultures, more generally), and about how our expectations and our language get in the way of truly understanding each other's intentions. Now I want to read the book that the article is taken from! (Not to mention, spend a while catching up on this blog, it's fascinating!)

Banjo pickin' girl...

A friend asked me the other day about banjo playing, and I wrote up a bunch of stuff, so thought I'd post it here, too...

I've got about 4 songs I feel reasonably comfortable playing, and 6 more or so that I'm working on.

I played violin from the time I was 5-13 officially, then got to high school and we didn't have an orchestra, so I stopped playing. :( I wish I'd kept it up, and I wish I'd learned cello, too! We had a piano growing up, so I learned to play chords on there and would play chords and melody to sing along with (musicals, Simon and Garfunkle, 60s and 70s pop music...). I sang in middle school and really took it up more seriously in high school, auditioning for some regional groups and having a blast... then I got to college and didn't have time for choir. :( So performance music pretty much stopped for me at that point, sadly, except for one semester in Germany.

If you remember the dance class I was taking, the same woman I took that with is who I'm taking banjo with. It's going well, the violin background really helps, as does the ability to read music and to tune a stringed musical instrument (even easier with frets!). She said I'm starting out about 6 months ahead of the curve, which is good to hear. :) Playing is getting to be somewhat more fun but still challenging. I've been doing one 1-hour lesson/month of banjo and about a 1/2-hour of dance, but that might change (more on that below).

I took John and Anja to the Rhode Island folk festival two weekends ago, and John got to play some bass, and I got to try out a mountain dulcimer. He was so excited to be playing again, that he went on Craig's list and found a used acoustic bass and now we're having kitchen music jams, I love it! I'm also going to borrow a dulcimer from Aubrey since I really enjoyed playing it so much at the folk festival (so easy, and instant gratification!) and I'll probably do dulcimer lessons in place of dance lessons, for a while. (And I did do this, got the dulcimer from her yesterday and some music to work on!)

I'd love to go more often but it's an hour away, and she's wicked busy, and lessons are expensive. So for now, I'll keep up with that, plus a bunch of us from class (dancers and musicians) are meeting up in a barn every other Tuesday for a dance party and music jam. Anja runs around and chases the chickens and we dance and play music and sing folk stuff and sea shanties. Man, why is all this good stuff happening right as we're getting ready to move?!

Also, you know the secret I'm learning? If you have one or two good players, and 5-6 other people who can play 4 chords (D, C, F, G) or notes, you can play folk music in a group! LOL - Um, also if you can hit a drum in time with the rhythm. Hee.

Seriously, dulcimer is a great string to start on... you can pick it up and be making music in 5 minutes. Instant gratification! And it seems like most folk musicians are very willing to put up with newbies and help you learn/find instruments/etc.

Anyway, some videos (not of me) if you're interested...

Am working on this: Banjo vid and another banjo vid

Aubrey dancing: Flatfooting and more flatfooting

Some dulcimer: mountain dulcimer and more dulcimer

It's like a lovely rollercoaster...

I won't need a car!
But I won't have a car in the February sleet.

I'll get to recycle almost everything!
But I'll probably get in trouble if I screw it up.

I'll get to learn a lot of German at work and via Anja at school!
But it'll be much harder to express my thoughts.

Back and forth and back and forth, on so many thoughts, lately. I'm psyched but scared... I suppose that's how it has to be, though, right? I think a lot of it is worry about embarassing myself at work, or in front of other parents. It's one thing to be a student, and another thing to function as an adult with these kind of responsibilities! Plus we're just getting involved in all of this really fantastic music stuff lately, which I know I'm going to miss... oy.


Just like college, man.

Sometimes I really enjoy my job, and other times...

Abused my brain last night? Check.
Got less than 5 hours' sleep? Check.
Called in to rescue someone else's work? Check.
Brewed third pot of coffee today? Check.
Snacks? Check.

Staying up waaaaay too fucking late trying to keep my brain functional and pay attention to details all the while wishing I could just. go. to. sleep?




Borrowed thoughts on fear and anxiety.

Nothing in the affairs of men is worthy of great anxiety.
-- Plato

Anxiety is a thin stream of fear trickling through the mind. If encouraged, it cuts a channel into which all other thoughts are drained.
-- Arthur Somers Roche

Anything I've ever done that ultimately was worthwhile... initially scared me to death.
-- Betty Bender

It is a fearful thing to love what death can touch.
-- Unknown

It has been said that our anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow, but only empties today of its strength.
-- Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Follow the path of the unsafe, independent thinker. Expose your ideas to the dangers of controversy. Speak your mind and fear less the label of "crackpot" than the stigma of conformity. And on issues that seem important to you, stand up and be counted at any cost.
-- Thomas J. Watson

Try a thing you haven't done three times. Once, to get over the fear of doing it. Twice, to learn how to do it. And a third time to figure out whether you like it or not.
-- Virgil Thomson

Don't fear failure so much that you refuse to try new things. The saddest summary of a life contains three descriptions: could have, might have, and should have.
-- Louis E. Boone

Anne Frank:
The best remedy for those who are afraid, lonely or unhappy is to go outside, somewhere where they can be quiet, alone with the heavens, nature and God. Because only then does one feel that all is as it should be and that God wishes to see people happy, amidst the simple beauty of nature.

Gay Hendricks:
One of the first things a relationship therapist learns is that couples argue to burn up energy that could be used for something else. In fact, arguments often serve the purpose of using up energy, so that the couple do not have to take the courageous, creative leap into an unknown they fear. Arguing serves the function of being a zone of familiarity into which you can retreat when you are afraid of making a creative breakthrough.

Marianne Williamson:
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.
-Henry David Thoreau

We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.
-John F. Kennedy

Swedish Proverb
Fear less, hope more; eat less, chew more; whine less, breathe more; talk less, say more; hate less, love more; and all good things are yours.

"How do you know so much about everything?" was asked of a very wise and intelligent man; and the answer was "By never being afraid or ashamed to ask questions as to anything of which I was ignorant." Lord Billingsley

"To make the right choices in life, you have to get in touch with your soul. To do this, you need to experience solitude, which most people are afraid of, because in the silence you hear the truth and know the solutions." Deepak K. Chopra

"The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity. The fears are paper tigers. You can do anything you decide to do. You can act to change and control your life; and the procedure , the process is its own reward." Robyn Davidson


Woo-hoo! I won something!!

I almost never win raffles... I know that that's statistically normal, but you know how some people seem to always win? I won a raffle for the first time this past December at my holiday work party. Anyway, that's not the fun part.

On Saturday, we went to the Rhode Island folk festival... music, dancing, and more music. It was wicked fun! Anyway, I bought 6 raffle tickets, and put them all in the bucket to win 25 or 30 folk CDs. Figured hey, what the heck, 30 CDs for $5 seems like a good deal to me.

Got a voice mail today that I did win them! WOO-HOO!!! I'm learning banjo and about to start up with mountain dulcimer, so not only will these be great to listen to, but there's a lot in there to learn from, too!


Things on my mind.

I need to type this all out or I might go more nutty than I already am...

I'm hoping we can get Anja into a Montessori school. Really, really hoping. It'd be one less thing for her to acclimate to, and I feel like it's really important in terms of influencing who she is and how she develops. I know that for a lot of schools the registration was much earlier in the year, so I'm hoping our relocation agent can help us negotiate placement, if any schools are flexible enough to do that, in June/July. Getting this settled will make me feel SO much better about the whole move. Hugely.
We're looking at 2-2.5 bedroom places, but there so many factors to consider. Cost is obviously one. Proximity to our work locations and to school for Anja. Proximity to a park and public transporation (that's mandatory, since we won't have a vehicle, to be near something. Ideally U-Bahn or S-Bahn, or maybe even tram. If all else was perfect except this, bus.) Desire to live in a place that doesn't just feel like a group of white boxes tacked together, and has some character. We'd love to have some lawn, and a balcony. The need to find a place that has a kitchen already built in (EBK) and doesn't cost an arm and a leg to keep... oh, and that accepts pets. Are we nuts to think we'll find this? I hope our relo agent is FANTASTIC.
John finding a job
Anybody reading this know anybody in Munich who's looking to hire an excellent Entwicklungsingenieur? (R&D engineer)? Once my salary is figured out and John has a job and salary figured out, we'll have a much easier time of narrowing down apartments, partially based on cost, but also locations. This piece, along with school for Anja, are the two that are on my mind the most.

There are just a million things on my mind, lately, though. Those are the big ones. Other ones include:

  • finding a good endocrinologist
  • making sure to have enough diabetes supplies for a month or two in the beginning
  • buying other meds/vitamins/etc. ahead of time in bulk to ship over with our stuff
  • how to handle the selling/rental of our house, and corresponding lack of place to live during that time
  • how to handle the selling/shipping of our household goods, and corresponding lack of stuff after everything ships/sells/etc
  • how to handle the selling of our cars, and renting cars after that, to minimize cost and stress
  • who's going to watch our cats for the month or two until we're ready to have them shipped over?
  • finding trustworthy babysitters that don't cost an arm and a leg, babysitting co-ops via school?
  • when to hold our tag sale, what to do with everything that doesn't sell
  • managing our household food needs after the move - my need for wheat-free, Anja's sensitivity to cow's milk, finding a place to buy good, local organic produce and goods, getting into the pattern of how to grocery shop in small batches
  • getting involved with some music communities, me for banjo and dance, Anja for singing, John for bass
  • figuring out how to transport all this great free or cheap furniture that we won't have a truck for?
  • finding time this summer to make it to the beach as much as possible, and balancing that with all the stress mentioned above

Edited to add, I missed a few...

  • Granting my dad power-of-attorney so that someone here has that
  • writing official wills, just in case
  • figuring out automatic bill pay for student loans via our EuroBank setup
  • to keep or get rid of our local bank acct?
  • letting all relevant financial institutions know our new address, once we have one, and figuring out billpay for CC, etc.

I'm sure there are still more, of course. Wheeee!


Monetary Freakout

Or, $7,350?! Are you freaking kidding me??

So, that was the approximate estimate we got... we had someone come out a couple weeks ago to do a cost assessment for the transportation of our stuff to Munich. Bear in mind that we have a 900 sq. ft. house, and a lot of stuff *isn't* going. I told the guy who came to do the assessment that I'd like to do two appraisals, one including the cost of our furniture and one not, as we're more than willing to replace, second-hand, virtually everything in the house. He assured me that it was more cost-effective to ship stuff. I don't believe it.

They came back today with the estimate of 3,000 lbs of stuff, a 20' box, and a cost of $7350!! There is no WAY that we could not replace all of our furniture, used, for waaaay less than that cost! I wrote back to ask for either a re-estimate, excluding large furniture, or an itemized estimate so that we can determine what's "worth it" to take, and what's overhead.

We are already planning to leave a lot of books with my mom... we'd sell our furniture and buy used stuff over there, since we're not that attached to anything, and we're planning on staying there for at least two years. Poor John, he got the brunt of my outrage at this... but then, he knows I need to freak out about things for a couple hours and then I'll calm down and we'll figure out how to handle it. And this is just one company, we will of course be getting more estimates.

I know that we will find a way to make it work. Honestly, I'd be willing to move with pretty much what fits on our backs and a couple extra suitcases that we paid the airline fees on. I've done it before. :) We could put more of our stuff into Rubbermaid totes to store with my mom, things like books and mementos and things that if we moved back, we wouldn't have missed for the two years, but aren't ready to part with, you know?

But I think we're going to end up storing more stuff than we'd originally intended, either with my mom or in a storage unit. Furniture we're not taking, we'll sell, as we're not really attached to it. I *like* our bed, but it's from Ikea, and we could easily replace it with the same or similar, or I'd learn to like something else. Really, the stuff I care about taking: clothes for each season (favorites, give the rest to goodwill), shoes that I really like, some favorite books, my pottery for the kitchen, artwork that we own, some amount of pictures, some movies, a bunch of music, and a bunch of Anja's toys and stuff so that she can feel more comfortable with the move... the rest of it, I'm willing to part with for a couple years, or for good, really. The things I missed, living there last time, were really not material things that can be packed, more like foods and places and such. I need to remind myself of that. I also need to get more comfortable with just giving stuff away to get *rid* of it, instead of trying to wring money out of everything, as I'll make myself crazy that way!

A couple friends also suggested splitting the cost of a container with someone else, if we cannot get a smaller container, so that's something else to keep in mind... whee!

In happy news, banjo playing is going well, and I have every-other-Tuesday dance party tonight!!


Goodie Balls - from the LLL Whole Foods for the Whole Family

So, I go looking for this recipe online once in a while and never find it... so I'm going to post it here so I can't lose it any more! It's from the La Leche League cookbook, my mom's edition (1981), and I grew up eating these... talk about comfort food! Instant flashbacks, in the good way. :) Berk's mom used to make them for us all the time, too.

Goodie Balls (unbaked)

3 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 T. peanut butter
2 T. honey
2 T. dry milk powder
1/4 C. sunflower seeds
2 T. chopped nuts (I like cashews the best)
1/2 C. unsweetened, shredded coconut

optional: wheat germ or coconut for topping

Mix all ingredients together. Shape into small balls. (about 3/4" in diameter). May be rolled in wheat germ or coconut (I use wheat germ). Refrigerate. Vary the amounts and ingredients according to taste!



Gin, Televison and Social Survival - neat article

So, you know, I'm not really a fan of TV. With the exception of the geek package (Comedy Central, the Learning Channel, Science Channel, Discovery, etc., etc.), I don't miss TV.

But I was sent a really interesting article about TV tonight: Looking for the mouse.

Fascinating. And I tend to agree, if humans can keep the internet and social networking and intellectual sharing around, in its current (or improved) forms for a few decades, then I think it *is* looking at a fundamental shift.

Still doesn't make me want to flip on the soaps, but that's ok. :)


Things I'll miss; the view from the road(s)

We had a nice weekend, spending a lot of it with various groups of friends, and making some new acquaintances...

Friday afternoon I took off from work a couple hours early and went up to Mansfield Hollow to play my banjo under a tree in the sunshine. Does it get any better? Met a guy up there who also plays clawhammer, and have a couple new songs to learn, now. That was a nice surprise!

Friday night we helped Em's parents pack up the truck for their move up to New Hampshire. Most of the guys who were there, helping, were people I've known for... 11 years, at this point? Guys I had crushes on when I was in high school, you know the drill. Pizza and beer and salad and packing up the moving truck. Good times... Anja had her first ride on a quad, and loved it. You should've heard her maniacal laughter. She came home exhausted, grubby, covered in dirt and sweat and gatorade and chocolate, and thrilled to her eyebrows. Had to wake her up just enough to wash her hands, face and feet before I dropped her into bed, lol.

Saturday was such a fantastically beautiful day, high 70, sunny, breezy... took Anja out to ride her bike for a while. It's so nice to see how much she's improved since last summer, without any practice, just from having better control and confidence. She's excited about biking to the beach this summer, and I'm excited for her :) I went for a run, we walked to the park. Then off to Jay and Berk's for a barbeque... drank entirely too much wine and enjoyed the beautiful evening, the fire, visiting with like-minded and comfortable friends.

Sunday... slept in a bit, caught up on housework and paperwork and bills and such. Dropped Anja off at my mom's and headed up to Storrs to see Slavic Soul Party in a barn, and hang out with a couple of friends. Good times! Ran into Anja's teacher there. We ended up dancing (how could you not, to that music?!) and chatting with a couple members of the band and students of the bandleader. John might get to play his tuba with another group they have (blame that one on me), and I'd love to do some more dancing with those guys, soooo fun.

Bittersweet, these days. I love driving around up in Storrs and Chaplin, all the beautiful old trees and houses and stone walls. I love being in a place that has history to it. I love old barns (and heck, new barns, too). I love the *age* and feel of this part of New England, and I think often about living in a city that's constantly being remodeled. Munich has gobs of old, but does it have old in a way that's accessible to me in the same way? I don't know. It certainly doesn't have people that I've known for 10 or 15 (or 27) years to hang out with, to drop in on, to just enjoy the shared knowledge of each other's lives. That's a hard thing for me. And I know that if we stay there, we will gradually build that anew, and it's where Anja would feel how I feel now about Connecticut... but it's hard to look at it from this vantagepoint and know what the right decision will be, how much time and soul to invest... would I ever feel as comfortable there as I do here? Especially as we continue to build up our social network, to meet people who already know people that we know, to invest ourselves in groups that we will soon be leaving, the decision is hard. Sunday night, I might really have been willing to scrap the whole venture.

I didn't bring my camera at all this weekend, anywhere. I think I really need to start doing that more, so that at least I can have the pictures to help hold onto the memories and feelings...


Nice NYTimes article about Munich life....

Nice NYTimes article about Munich

So, so many things to look forward to. So much to do, and to see. I cannot wait for the art museums, the beauty of the design in the city, the beautiful parks. Check out Munich Daily Photo for some great inspiration.

The only thing I'm not looking forward to is the costs, but somehow, we will make that work.

Speaking of work, it's been nuts lately. One of our project timelines got jacked internally, and we needed to make up a bunch of time in order to still meet client timelines. Whee! I think I've earned myself a freebie day or half day at some point, which is lovely to have a boss who acknowledges that and allows it. Time off without using PTO, in trade for a week or two of working my ass off... is not a terrible deal. I don't love it, but I'll take it.

Not much else new... John was in Switzerland for 10 days and got home last Thursday. So nice to have him home! :) I'm gearing up for another banjo lesson and flatfoot dance party in Foster, RI next Tuesday, and am psyched about that!


Interesting article I read tonight - about unicorns

Heh. Now that I have your curiosity piqued, check out this article about "how to talk to atheists." Good reading.

In other news, tomorrow will be the second day in a row that I need to leave for work at 5 a.m. If you've ever, ever met me in the morning, you will know how absolutely absurd that idea is.

2 days of single parenting down, 8 to go...


Music I'm still missing

It's 2003. Somebody breaks into my car and steals 90% of my music collection that I've been working on for about 10 years, at this point.

Yes, my fault for leaving it there. Yes, my fault for not having it all backed up, yet.

Nice of the thief to re-lock my car doors when they were done. They took my eclectic CDs (good luck with resale on the Ancient Mariner's Chanteymen and Atwater and Donelly especially, guys) and they took my *faceplate.* Just the faceplate, not the actual stereo. We're going to put them in the not-so-brilliant category. If you're going to steal shit, at least steal shit worth stealing. Duh.

Anyway, I had left most of the jewel covers for all the CDs at my mom's house, still, at this point. Luckily. I called and she was kind enough to tell me what they all were, so that insurance could *accurately* underpay my replacement costs. At that time, we needed the money for things besides CDs a lot more, though, anyway.

Fast-forward to now. I still haven't replaced most of this music, and I've been keeping tabs on this hand-written list for 5 years now. So I'm going to type up what I'm still missing (and still care about replacing), in order that I can finally throw away the list and keep it somewhere I can't lose. And refer people to it for my birthdays and Christmas and such (and any anonymous benefactors who happen to read random blogs, haha).

Altan - Island Angel
Live - Secret Samadhi
Best of Billy Joel - two CDs
Indigo Girls - Indigo Girls
Offspring - Self-title?
Monty Python's Instant Record Collection
Simon + Garfunkle - Collected Works (The green-box 3-cd set)
Chris Issac - Forever Blue
Violent Femmes - Add it Up
Arturo Sandoval - Hot House (saw him at UConn, fantastic!)
The Kind's Singers - 2-cd set - Cappella
Led Zeppelin - BlackDog/Sticks
Leahy - Marada
Beatles - One
BNL - Stunt, and Born on a Pirate Ship
Best of Kansas (Shut. Up. I like them.)
Chieftans - Boil the Breakfast Early
Momma's and the Papa's - Greatest Hits
Billy Joel - River of Dreams
Kitaro - Ki
Eric Clapton - From the Cradle
Moody Blues - Days of Future Passed
Echoes of Nature - Thunderstorms
Copland - Appalachian Spring Suite - NY Philharmonic
The Magic Violin
Mendelssohn - Bartholdy - Bedrick Smetada - Vienna Masters Series

The rest of it, either I've replaced, John also had, or I don't miss...

Eddie Izzard - Noah and the Ark

LMAO at this one... I love Eddie Izzard. I don't know why it's taken me this long to discover him, but I've only started watching his stuff in the last year or so...

I'm so glad for YouTube... apparently Germany doesn't "do" stand-up comedy the way we do, and even if they did, my language isn't good enough yet. That's one big measure of your language skill in a language you're trying to learn- are the jokes funny, yet?

And now, without further ado...


Help with Spam and Phishing

I saw this article about anti-Spam techniques tonight, and thought it worth reposting.

Bottom line: Do not buy ANYTHING from spammers, and do not open or reply to their messages. If the profit from selling (both products and email addresses) dries up, they will stop. Otherwise, why would they bother?



I had nothing to say all month.


Actually, it's more just like, I'm feeling helpless about the state of the world, sad about Edwards dropping out of the presidential race, sick of winter, fed up with stupid people, and too lazy or tired or depressed to bother writing about it all.

John noticed yesterday that we've gotten to the point where we can sing along with all the "old" music playing in the grocery store. Love that.

I want to move, like, yesterday already. I want to be done clearing old stuff out of our house, organizing it, selling it, looking at it. I want to be Spartan, but am so bad at actively making that happen. *makes note to self* - get rid of three things today that I haven't used in the last year.

Work is alternately boring and frustrating the last couple weeks. Should get a bit better tomorrow sometime when I get some specs to work on again.

Ang posted about TED live streaming tomorrow night, so that's something to look forward to.

Recent atheist cartoon finds...

Some recent stuff I've found, mostly using StumbleUpon. I'm hoping I don't alienate too many family and friends by "coming out of the religion closet" here. I've been doing a lot of reading (on and offline, and discussing with friends) lately. I just finished reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins. That was an excellent and very affirming book. I have several others on my reading list now, referenced from that.

Science v. Faith


Zombie Jesus

XKCD on belief

Athiest Eve - Logic of disrespect

Santa and Jesus

Athiest Eve - questioning

I gave links to sources where possible...

If you have any you want to share, feel free to post them as replies!


99 Problems our country is facing - with links

Man, sometimes I don't know why I read this stuff, and some days it gets me amped up to keep working for change and progress on the issues that we are facing. Take a look... Orwell would be really proud of some of these. "Very low food security." Uh-huh.

Seriously, though, I think this list gives a great overview of why there is no such thing as "just politics" - politics affects every aspect of our lives - where we live, what it costs to live there, how our food is grown, how our water supply is handled, our environment, educating our children, health care, our interactions with the rest of the world...


The stigma of thinking faster, feeling deeper

I found this to be a very interesting set of articles, much of which I find that I identify with. And then I wonder if I'm just being conceited (which is something they mention in the article, lol). If you have thoughts on this, I'd love to hear them.

Things from the articles that I identify with:
-learns new things rapidly
-grasps mathematical/scientific concepts readily, advanced comprehension, insightful
-avid reader
-runs mind on multiple tracks at the same time, fast thinker
-highly sensitive
-passionate, intense feelings
-aware of things that others are not, perceive world differently
-can see many sides, considers problems from a number of viewpoints
-perfectionistic, sets high standards for self and others
-very curious, desire to know
-outrage at injustice or moral breaches, good sense of justice
-strong moral convictions, integrity, honesty
-loves ideas and ardent discussion
-cannot stop thinking
-questions rules or authority, asks embarrassing questions, non-conforming
-feels different, out of step with others, sense of alienation and loneliness
-very compassionate
-empathy: feels along with others, helps them understand themselves
-My nervous system is easily aroused, and I am able to discern the slightest changes in my environment (aromas, shifts in light, etc.) or detect irritants (e.g. scratchy sweater label).
-I am deeply disturbed by inequity, exploitation, corruption, and needless human suffering.
-I can and do work myself to exhaustion.
-Some people think I'm too serious.
-I have always been interested in social reform.
-I value and will defend diversity.
-I have a strong need to "make a difference."
-I can and do ignore my own needs for the sake of others.

In the classroom, a gifted child's perceived inability to stay on task is likely to be related to boredom, curriculum, mismatched learning style, or other environmental factors. Gifted children may spend from one-fourth to one-half of their regular classroom time waiting for others to catch up (YES!!) -- even more if they are in a heterogeneously grouped class.

As a highly gifted 12 year old described it: “A real friend is a place you go when you need to take off the masks. You can say what you want to your friend because you know that your friend will really listen and even if he doesn’t like what you say, he will still like you. You can take off your camouflage with a real friend and still feel safe.” (This is why John is not only my husband, but my best friend.)

Characteristics: Highly curious. Many interests.
Possible problems: Starts many projects - perhaps does not finish them when the concepts have been drained and the work becomes tedious. May not work well in a group.

Characteristics: A high degree of Norm-referencing. That is the act of comparison of oneself to others. (Um, only all the time.)
Possible problems: May become arrogant or élitist if not giventhe opportunity to mix with intellectual peers. Over inflated self esteem. May be intolerant of others and call them stupid. Alternatively, may down-grade performance in order to fit in or simply hide abilities. (YES)

Characteristics: Generates original thought.
Possible problems: May be argumentative, oppositional to other's set ways of thinking. Resents conformity. (Gets in "trouble" at work for this, lol)

There is indirect evidence for atypical brain organization and innate talent in gifted children: Many gifted children and savants have enhanced right-hemisphere development, language-related difficulties, and autoimmune disorders. (Really?)

It is NORMAL for Gifted People to:
Have complex and deep thoughts. Feel intense emotions.
Ask lots of questions. Be highly sensitive.
Set high standards for themselves. Have strong moral convictions.
Feel different & out-of-sync. Be curious. Have a vivid imagination. Question rules or authority. Thrive on challenge.
Feel passion and compassion. Have a great deal of energy.
Have an unusual sense of humour. Feel outrage at injustice.
Look for meaning in life. Feel sad about the state of the world.
Feel a spiritual connection to life.
© The Gifted Resource Center and Lesley Sword, Ph.D

Hrm. Maybe I'm totally normal for a group I didn't know had been "normed." Interesting. So much of that, I can relate to SO much. The first time I remember being bored in school was 1st grade, when my teacher assigned me the task of helping my table-mate work on his reading. Fourth grade, when I got in trouble for reading under my desk while we were learning long division - I already knew how to do it. Fifth grade, when I got told to go sit back down and read the chapter again, because the teacher was not yet done reading it, so there was no way that I could be. The list goes on, those are the earliest concrete memories I have of it.

Work wants to use me as the standard for the timelines they're developing for the new type of project we're doing. I just did the first one. I already told my boss, and my previous boss already told my boss, that that's not a good idea. I feel so conceited having to bring that up, but I know I'm not a good standard.

Fun is. :)

Watch this video...

This brought me to tears:

"Here's a radical idea - how about a President of the United States who actually believes in the Constitution?"

John Edwards - of the people, for the people, and if it's gonna happen, BY THE PEOPLE.


What if

What If by Shel Silverstein

Last night as I lay thinking here,
Some Whatifs crawled inside my ear.
And pranced and partied all night long.
And sang their same old Whatif song:
Whatif I'm dumb in school?
Whatif they've closed the swimming pool?
Whatif I get beat up?
Whatif there's poison in my cup?
Whatif I start to cry?
Whatif I get sick and die?
Whatif I flunk that test?
Whatif green hair grows on my chest?
Whatif nobody likes me?
Whatif a bolt of lightning strikes me?
Whatif I don't grow tall?
Whatif my head starts getting smaller?
Whatif the fish won't bite?
Whatif the wind tears up my kite?
Whatif they start a war?
Whatif my parents get divorced?
Whatif the bus is late?
Whatif my teeth don't grow in straight?
Whatif I tear my pants?
Whatif I never learn to dance?
Everything seems swell, and then . . .
The nighttime Whatifs strike again!

Tonight, the whatifs are gnawing at my brain.

What if all the signs pointing towards fascism are right?
What if we don't get out of the country in time?
What if work won't let me transfer?
What if we don't have enough money saved?
What if once we leave, we can't come back?
What if we don't make friends?
What if we have to watch our loved ones suffer through the downfall of America?
What if global climate change causes us to revert to much more primitive means, and I can't hack it?

Basically, what if I am faced with the kind of suffering that so many people on this planet are already faced with? Intellectually and emotionally, I don't feel ready. I'm sure no one feels ready, you just do what you have to do each day to keep surviving. Just, some days, the not-knowing really gets to me...


A PSA from John to any geek guys out there...

You may think you want a geek wife, or a geek girlfriend.


When you end up spending an hour explaining computer intricacies to her, starting out with basic drive structure and file systems for both Linux and Windows, and winding up at D-Flip Flops, with a lot (um, a LOT) of detours on the way...

You just might wish her love were for the pink, sparkly kind of flip-flops. :P

Um, I'm just sayin', an all.


Things I meant to write.

So, um. Many things, that I've been meaning to write about, the last two weeks. Obviously, none of that writing happened. So, to play if-I-remember-it catch-up, in no particular order:

1.) How shitty the media coverage of Edwards has been. How the fact that the day after the Iowa caucuses, when he'd come in a surprise second place after being outspent 6 to 1, he was mentioned LESS in the news. Because, you know, Hillary vs. Obama. The End.

It's bullshit.

2.) How there's a video up on YouTube showing how Fox News used the same (presumably paid?) actor in two different "focus groups" 4 months apart, in two different states. That's bullshit, too. How many times do we have to show Fox News making shit up before people will start to believe that it's NOT REALLY NEWS, PEOPLE. Damn.

3.) Warning, graphic. Things that you don't want your 5-year-old to accidentally see. Especially when said 5-year old is very empathetic and you're not fond of lying to her. So we got to talk about how yes, that really was a real boy, and his blood was coming out because he got hit by a bullet, which is a thing that comes out of a gun when you pull the trigger. And they are hard and go very fast and can hurt and kill you. And what a war is, and why there are people dying. And what a government is. Oy.

4.) There are a million pics I want to post that I haven't resized or uploaded yet. Mainly, this is owing to the fact that I haven't had a day off from work since the 2nd, and I've put 97 hours into this 88-hour payperiod, three days before the payperiod ends. Eek. I've pretty much been working, doing dishes, eating or sleeping. Oh, and I went to clogging class with Aubrey Atwater, which is fun, but ow. My shins and knees do not thank me. Still, it had the effect of preventing me from thinking or stressing about work for 90 minutes, so that is excellent.

5.) Lately, I both love and hate Anja's imagination. It's so fascinating to me to see what's going on in her head, but sometimes the lack of discernment between reality and what's going on in her head is... a little frustrating. Still, it is what it is. In the last week, we've had 4 imaginary sisters, one imaginary brother, and Puff the Magic Dragon. Who showed up when we played his song, and now has an imaginary bed with imaginary blanket in the corner of our kitchen. Today I served snack to Anja and the Prince, and tonight I laid with Anja while she went to sleep, and told me all about Puff's dream where he blew fire on the bad guy who was trying to kill her, and the bad guy died. Wow.

6.) It's fascinating to see all the things she's learning at school and the ways she applies her brain. Two nights ago in the bath, she was showing me her bruise on her knee and telling me about all the "many many little guys who live in there and then are hurt and dead and that makes the bruise." Cellular biology? And then later, how she and Dylan were in the car and then one her-and-Dylan went one way, and one her-and-Dylan went the other way. Quantum physics? And later about how they used to make coats out of saber-tooth cats... history. And at one point she was in the car and wanted to compare the song they were listening to (classical) to the Pines of Rome (the whale song from the newer Fantasia) but she couldn't remember the word for melody. So she told him about it, but described them as being similar the way that the ABC song is like Twinkle Star. So they got to talk about the concept of melody. So fascinating.

7.) Last but not least, Ventriloquism can still be funny, if you don't mind a little crass humor. :)


The Great Couch Demolition.

First, apologies that all the pics in this post are not behind a cut. I was working on how to do that in Blogger - apparently, it's nowhere near as easy as it is on LJ or similar. I need to modify the template for the page, putting one of two blocks of HTML into a place I can't identify (no "style" tags in the template I'm using - any help out there?) and then add something to the posting template, and remember to remove it if I don't want a "read more" link, etc., etc. Too much work for tonight. Ah well, maybe I'll work on it tomorrow. For today, you get stuck with a giant, slow-loading page. Sorry :(

On the upside, I made myself a new PhotoBucket account just for blog pics, so everything won't just be gone the minute we no longer use Charter... so yay.

Anyway, the couch demolition adventure, with before, during, and after pics. And of course, commentary. Wa-hoo!!

Before pictures

View from the front entryway

Another view from our room

From the kitchen


John has a stab at it. Crowbar, handsaw and box cutter, while good tools, are not the right tools for the job...

Sawzall works better (man, my hair looks like crap... I was wearing a hat until about 30 seconds before John started taking these pics, lol)

Man, we're gonna need to vaccuum...

After pics

Couple pics from our Winter Party... not great, but you get a feel for it a little...

General pics from a few days before Christmas...

This frog looks awfully lonely up there by himself, now. Not sure what to do about that...

All in all, I'm really happy with it. I still need to make the cushion covers, a nice brown fabric with a paisley texture, and we have a bunch of junk in there right now from Christmas and my mom's house, which means it's not as cleaned-up and nice, but that will change. I love not having to walk around that chair every time I leave or enter our bedroom. Never realized that, but it's really nice. It's going to be so spacious once our tree isn't up anymore... (though it's a Frasier Fir, so that could easily be February... LOL)