Saturday, March 31, 2007

Favorite Books.......... Part One

When asked the mind boggling question, "What are your favorite books and why?, the only way for a bibliophile like me to answer is quickly off the top of my head without thinking too hard.

I just did this on another forum and here was my rash answer:

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, because it changed the way I think about altruism, obligation, charity and personal sacrifice, etc.

To Kill a Mockingbird, because Harper Lee's southern voice resonates with me to this day. It also helped me to be more mindful of prejudice and superficial first impressions. I identified with Scout and I think secretly I adopted Atticus Finch as a surrogate father.

Nickel Mountain by John Gardner. A brilliantly simple and quiet book that lingers emotionally. I read it over a decade ago and when I think of it, it still evokes the same feelings of quiet melancholy, of yearning to be accepted and to not feel alone and the feeling of finally being able to gracefully accept our own limitations.

Ishamael by Daniel Quinn. I had never before thought of the Homo Sapien hubris at assuming because we are the top of the food chain we are entitled to whatever we take and also the that we act in many ways as if evolution stops here.

The Hot Zone by Richard Preston, the scariest book I have ever read. Even more so that is was non-fiction.

Contact by Carl Sagan, again it changed some of my perspectives.

I imagine later I will hit myself on the head with the ones I forgot to mention. I can hear myself now - "How could I forget that one!?!" I will be berating myself I am sure for days.

Hence the "Part One" addendum to the title.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Two cool websites

If you are like me, you will waste quite a bit of time playing with this color-decorator-thingee.

Have you heard of If you want to get more organized at home - check out this article.

My Son, the World Traveler - A Few Images

Brad and a few of this friends on the Great Wall:

Brad half way up to the top of the Great Wall:

Brad at the very top!

One of Brad's Favorites - click for large version and to see Brad more clearly:

Brad in the Forbidden City. Brad said that there were street vendors all over the place selling these, shouting, "Commie Hat!Good Price! Commie Hat!"

The Three Stooges

Quote of the day:

"Inch by inch, life's a cinch. Yard by yard, life is hard."
Coach Bill Restler in Heart of the Game

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Oprah Epiphany

We usually don't have tv in the house. We watch DVD's, but don't subscribe to cable or have an antenna and for us it works. The kids are less sedentary and they play outside and read more because of the no TV standard. I think my husband misses it the most, especially during football season and so this year, he decided to get cable, just from October until the Superbowl in February.

Well, now it is March and he still hasn't called the cable company to cut the cord, pull the plug, and we have all become addicted again. I think we need an intervention. A television intervention.

On a positive note though, I have been able to have all sorts of mini-epiphanies. Between Oprah and Ellen and Rosie on the View and Martha and even Dr. Phil, I have been pushed and pulled in so many domestic and self-actualized and improve-yourself directions that I feel like a fully kneaded loaf of bread just proofing in the dough bowl.

Make that Fruitcake dough - a la Jimmy Buffett.


You know, the lyric "human beings are flawed individuals. the cosmic bakers took us out of the oven a little too early." I hope I get to cook long enough. I hope I don't end up half-baked.

Anyway, I digress again.

So, back in February, I thought this was so important that I typed it in here and saved it as a draft. I think I wanted to blog about it, but I forgot to blog about it. I still don't feel like taking it somewhere, but maybe just putting the beginning idea out here is good enough.


On Oprah just now was this idea that was one of those, well duh, but head nodding, oh yeah, need to remember this more often, kind of ideas. Sorry I don't remember any more who said it.

"You want them to never ache, but in reality you need to teach them what to do when they ache. Learning how to be self soothing in healthy ways is one of the most important things that mother's can teach their children."

To say that another way -

The nature of maternal love is to want your children to never ache. The nature of being a human being is that you are going to ache. So one of the most important jobs of a mother is to teach your children healthy ways to deal with life when it hurts.


Sometimes this is a tough one. Sometimes it is a lesson that grown ups need to re-learn as well.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Some light reading .......

Yes, that is what my granddaughter and niece were reading for pleasure - don't all 6 year olds want to read a book on how to prep for the SAT and don't all gorgeous 16 year olds stay home on the weekends to prep for AP history?


My twelve year old daughter was upstairs practicing piano without being prompted. If she had been with them, reading for pleasure, it probably would have been a book on acing the MCAT.

Can you believe they are related to me?


Saturday, March 24, 2007

The struggle between Should Do and Want To

I Want to leisurely drink my cup of coffee, surf the web to numb-butt nirvana, then get up and take a hot Lush bath and stay in the tub until I am one big white prune.

I Should wash my cup as well as the other dirty dishes, sweep the wood floor and use that hot water to do a few loads of laundry before I get the kids ready to go to the Rodeo.

Sigh ..... the struggle between Should Do and Want To is a battle I wage daily. How about you?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Politically Eclectic.

I want to start a new term. I am serious. Really. And I do have good reasons I think.

I am not politically conservative, nor politically liberal and I am definately not politically moderate. I am politically ECLECTIC. My personal views go all over the place.

I believe that sexuality has nothing to do with ANY human rights and I think that as long as your love is the same species, you should be able to make legal and medical decisions for each other --- but I don't necessarily think the term "marriage" is a necessity for equality. Call it a civil union and let's all be civil about it.

I believe in the right to choose reproductive issues. I don't think you should suffer from either choice in any public way. I think if pro-lifers really want to help pregnancies in crisis, then do more to support unwed mothers-to-be. Use your voice and finances to help support the lives once they are out of the womb, not just when they are inside one.

I think I should have more control of where my tax money is going. I believe in a very conservative fiscal policy. I believe that government funding in many instances actually creates more problems than it helps. I think that welfare causes an emotional and psychological bankruptcy far more devestating than the fiscal need. I think we need to re-haul the system and spend more on job skills and childcare.

I believe the Kyoto accord did not go anywhere near far enough and I am still stunned we didn't sign it. I believe that global warming is THE most important crisis the globe faces right now. I think if there is a sin tax on cigarettes, there should damn well be sin-against-nature taxes on everything that is wasteful of natural resources or pollutes the earth.

I am irritated by smug conservatives and even more irritated by intellectually arrogant liberals. I know a lot of both and it amazes me how they feel about each other. I secretly think we need to dramatically change our Two (really - there are two different ones? Could have fooled me.)Party system.

I think most contemporary politicians are in it for power and not to serve. I am for severe election reform. I AM in favor of my tax dollars going toward election expenses. I think that every candidate that can get a specific number of petition signatures should get the same amount of cash to run an election and THAT is your campaign finance. I think that politicians should get a better salary and that they get incentive based raises. I think they should punch a philosophical time clock. I think they should be held to a higher standard than normal folk.

I think women are not really represented in politics, that some of the female politicians are more masculine acting than some of the their male counterparts. I think we should allow the voucher system, because public schools are failing and the teaching lobby is failing to encourage real teaching.

I think America has turned into an international embarrassment, especially in the areas of science and socio-philosophies and in matters of the spirit and heart. I am aghast at our focus on trivialities and our myopia about the environment and human rights and world politics and our focus on all the superficial noise we earphone into our top ten list of priorities.

I think most if not all news reporters should hang their heads in shame at what they put on television as news. Where is the national enquiry about most news being the quality of the National Enquirer? When did almost everything become an infomercial to sell something else? Do we not see the inherent materialism we allow ourselves to be subjected to at every turn? When did an ex-stripper's drugged out life and death become more newsworthy than hundreds, no, THOUSANDS of brave volunteers losing their lives in a cause that is so controversial it has divided a nation? Where is the real world outcry about relevant issues that might possibly have the positive side effect of drowning out all the vapid celebrity obsessed twittering?

Ok ... I started ranting and got off topic.

Here is my reason for wanting a new label. I don't want to be labeled a Conservative or Moderate or Liberal. I don't want some focus group or survey to tell my politicians how they need to "spin" themselves to get my vote.

I am politically ECLECTIC. My opinions are all over the place. You can't spin me Wall Street. (Who I think really drives the American engine these days.) I want to see a dozen parties instead of just two that are not really two. I want to see so many folks embrace eclecticity that no poll is going to tell politicians what to pretend to think. I want the majority of folks to stand up as NOT in a niche that can be categorized. If you want my vote, show me what you really stand for in general and that you really want to serve to make my country what it can be, let me vote for your character in general because hopefully THAT can't be as easily lobbied away.

Saturday, March 10, 2007


Check it out:


OR gaze to the right and check out the ten random books generated from my database or you can even search my home library --- IF YOU DARE!


Check back as I have only added a part of my library at home to the database. I got a lifetime membership for the whopping price of $25 and I bought their "Copy Cat" scanner for $20 and it actually does a GREAT job!

(I also must admit, I love seeing my "copy CAT" scanner sitting next to my optical MOUSE.)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Are you still in love with your husband?

I was asked on a forum I frequent if I love my husband. I was asked to select an answer from several that ran the gamut from obsessively to hate him.

Here was my reply that I decided I wanted to keep so I am posting it here!

I selected "if I work at it".

I love him and am in love with him, and I think he would say the same thing, but it takes work and effort to stay connected to the level we want.

The best advice I ever got about a committed relationship is that someone told me that "Marriage is a verb, not a noun". That meant to me that you don't stop the courtship once the ring is on your finger. Marriage is WORK and if you take it for granted it could slip between your fingers before you even realize the relationship is gone.

There are days I want to wring my husband's neck, days I love him to the point of obsession, days I wish he would just give me some space, days I can't stop touching him, days where just a look makes me feel 16 again, days I love him more, days he loves me more than I love him. There are days when we are like horny teenagers and days when we are best friends and not much of a sexual spark (remember we have five kids and have been together 20 years.) There are days I need to lean on him and days I feel like a fierce momma lion protecting her cub.

At first it was a bit disconcerting to me because I thought that my feelings for him would be constant and grow in only one direction, but it has been more like a day at an amusement park. Some thrilling highs and some gut wrenching lows, lots of excitement, but also periods when I just want a nap.