Saturday, November 29, 2008

Mo sno

Naughty B busted in the act of dropping a huge snowball on a neighbor girl's head:

The snow bunny:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Look what I found!

A neighbor had it sitting out by the curb for the garbage men. It's not in the best shape -- that magazine holder appears to be a separate piece that someone added on by nailing it with 3" wood nails, but I think a few screws and some wood glue can tidy that up quite easily. Some of the veneer on the top is slightly damaged too, but I think I can make that look nicer, and if I can't, maybe I'll get a piece of glass to put over the top or something. Someone went to all the trouble of stripping it before they put it out by the curb though!

I'm thinking of painting it a bright hot pink/fuschia sort of color (but I'm open to suggestions -- anyone??) and using it for Z's bedside table when she gets out of her crib and into a big-girl bed.

Our taste tends to run to the clean, simple and modern, but I think this will work for two reasons: (1) it's for a little girl's room, and I think little girl rooms can bear a certain amount of frou-frou in them, even in an otherwise modern decor, and (2) I kind of like an eclectic look anyway. I'd rather fill our house up with individual pieces that we love, rather than having a theme, and letting our taste be the thing that ties it all together. Besides, painting it a funky color that you wouldn't expect to see that sort of piece in will give it an edge, I think.

I'll post an "after" picture when it's all done. Don't hold your breath though -- I have quite an array of painting projects tucked away in this house. Probably the worst is painting all the trim on the house so it matches the new gutters (least exciting $1300 we've ever spent), but that's one that might have to wait until spring.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Camera comments

M & I are thinking about buying a Canon Rebel. We have a little point & shoot digital Olympus that we bought right after B was born. It was the best we could buy when we had almost no money. It's ailing these days (thanks to a drop on the hardwood floor), and now that we have ever-so-slightly more than "no" money, we're thinking of shelling out for something nicer. M already has a film Canon, so the lenses we already own would be compatible.

My question is this: Does anyone recommend AGAINST the Canon Rebel? I've heard a ton of raves about it, but never really heard anything negative. Anyone out there have one and hate it?

I can't believe I've managed to get pictures of B two days in a row! These are fresh from the craptacular Olympus, taken just about an hour ago.

Goofy kids

Z will always pose for a picture, but this is the first time in a few weeks I've gotten B to sit still and let me snap a photo. I'll take it, goofy smile and all.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Dodged a bullet

Perhaps you've heard about how babies in China have been getting sick because of melamine in their formula? If not, here's a brief recap: Shortly after the Olympics ended last summer, it came out that several babies had died and thousands were seriously ill because their formula had been tainted by melamine. Melamine is an industrial chemical that, when added to a food, can make its protein content appear to be higher than it really is, thus boosting the value of the product. It happened a year or so ago with pet foods from China too.

Well, evidently this had been going on for quite awhile in China, and was kept out of the media until after the Olympics in order to avoid tarnishing the image China wanted to project to the world while all eyes were watching. It is quite clear that it has been going on since late 2007, and there is evidence that it was happening possibly as far back as 2004. It can cause kidney stones and even kidney failure.

As you can imagine, we were rather concerned, seeing as how we just adopted Z this February. We were not sure which brand of formula her orphanage used, or even if they consistently used a particular brand, and in any case, the list of brands contaminated by melamine seems to be growing rapidly.

I talked to Z's pediatrician about it at her two-year check-up a few weeks ago. Luckily, she happens to be married to the guy who heads up our children's hospital's international adoption clinic, so she was able to get the latest information and suggested course of action. On her advice, we had three tests run on poor miss Z:
1) blood pressure test
2) blood test for kidney function (this was NOT fun for anyone involved, Z especially)
3) urinalysis for signs of kidney stones

We got a call from the pediatrician yesterday -- all three tests came back perfectly normal. Whew.

Monday, November 17, 2008

9 months


And nine months ago today:
February 17, 2008

We now return to regular programming

Cute pictures of my kids, of course! Actually, B wouldn't let me take his picture this weekend, so I don't have any of him, but I do have a funny little story to tell. He's been very interested in the idea of babies in mommies' tummies lately, and has been asking a lot of questions. This morning, he asked me, "Mommy, when I was in your belly, did I crawl up to your mouth and look out?" When I said "Nooooo (through smothered laughter)," he asked "Then how did I see anything?"

Here's Z enjoying her latest hobby, cramming herself into small spaces. Empty cardboard boxes, laundry hampers, her doll stroller, and the dog's toy basket are all common targets. In this case, it was a barf pan (sans barf) in my grandfather's room at the rehab place where he's currently recovering from a double knee replacement.

We finally had our first snow, nearly a month late. It was last Friday. Last year, I believe our first snow fell on October 21. It's so nice to have a blog to look back for that sort of thing!

It snowed really hard, but it didn't last long. Less than two hours after I took this picture, the sun was shining in a perfect blue sky and almost all the snow was gone. Welcome to Colorado. If you don't like the weather, wait five minutes.

I got this from my sister today. It's my mom holding me & my brother. I think it must have been taken in about mid-1971, before my sister even came along. It's one of my favorite old family photos.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


I feel terrible that you keep leaving all these nice comments on my blog, but I have no way of replying back to you. Your blog is password-protected, and like me, you don't have your email on your profile. We seem to have a lot in common & I'd like to say hi. Please leave me a comment on this message with your email address. I promise I won't post the comment; I'll just send you an email!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Toxic Bloggers

There are a few bloggers out there who are just plain crazy, and I can't seem to stay away. It's like a traffic accident -- you can't help but look, even though you know you're not going to see anything good. These are people who post crazy articles from right-wing and second-tier news sources or videos from YouTube, and draw half-baked conclusions about how they prove that Obama and/or liberals in general are bad news. Many of them profess to be Christians, but have decidedly uncharitable and highly judgmental attitudes toward anyone who disagrees with them.

And it's not just that I can't stop looking; I can't stop arguing with them either. I feel obligated. I feel obligated to defend not only myself and my views, but to defend Obama, who I truly believe is an honorable man and will be a great president. I can't stand to see lies and half-truths broadcast as fact, and it's a knee-jerk response for me to do the research to prove why it's wrong. So I leave comments. Which drags it all on. I heard from one today who called me "bitter." She pointed to my post-election entry, and said it was bitter. I find that perplexing, because I was full of joy and hope when I wrote it, and when I go back and read it now, I recall those feelings. How could a "bitter" post make me feel that way? Do you read that post as bitter?

So here's my new vow: I'm going to ignore them. They can stew in their own bitterness and go even crazier. We won and they lost, and they just can't take it. The realization that they are actually a minority, that they had an artificial sensation of being a majority for the past eight years, is sinking in, and they don't like it. Time will tell who's right. In the meantime, I wash my hands of the toxic bloggers.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A trip to DC

I had to go to Washington DC last week for work. I got to have dinner with my little sister & her husband while I was there. She moved to the DC area seven or eight years ago, and I don't get to see her that often anymore. Here we are at dinner last Friday:

I left the redeye unchanged to give a little thrill to the whack-jobs out there. Oh, you know who you are. You people who say you feel sorry for my kids because they're being raised by a liberal (and you call ME fanatical?). I can just hear them now, as they look at these pictures: "[GASP!] You can tell they're liberals (said with scorn and a touch of fear) -- the evil shows through! Just look at how their eyes glow! [shiver]"

Not really. My copy of photoshop is ancient & doesn't have an automatic redeye reducer, and I just didn't have time to fix it. But the first explanation is funnier, so I'm going to stick with that.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Do you like it?

I redecorated my "living room." Actually, Danielle did it for me. I think she did a bang-up job. I love the colors. I'm a very color-y sort of person, and the plain blogger template was starting to bore me. So welcome to my new home!

New blog, new president, new hope. What a great day!

Attention Radical Right

Please step back and resume your rightful place as a minority fringe in American politics. Karl Rove, you can step even further and go straight to hell as far as I'm concerned.

America has spoken: we reject your policies and your campaign tactics, and we rejected your candidate. For too long, you have dominated American politics. You are frightfully good at motivating your followers to get out and vote. In fact, we Progressives should study your tactics. But you are not a majority, you do not represent the majority, and you never have.

Tonight, I am laughing and crying at the same time. I have literally gotten up and done a little dance of joy. I can't wait to see my kids in the morning and tell them the news: I have real hope for your future today.

Finally, America has a president who makes me proud. President Obama will help America regain its image in the world. Once again, we will be seen as a leader, a defender of peace, democracy, freedom and tolerance. There is once again a chance that we can improve what used to be the world's best free public education system so that our children can compete in the world economy. Perhaps we will figure out a way to develop a sane health care system that looks out for children, the elderly, and the mentally and physically disabled, and makes fair demands that those who can afford to pay their share do so without forcing the rest of us to pay outrageous fees and premiums. Our soldiers who have fought so honorably to defend us can come home from Iraq, and Iraq can start paying for their own defense out of their ridiculously flush bank accounts, while we try to pay off our debts and balance the budget. We can re-focus our military policy to address the real threat to our safety: Al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Families like mine will see a tax cut, while those who can afford to pay more in taxes will. Our tax policy might be restructured so that it favors corporations who provide jobs for Americans, instead of giving breaks to companies that move off-shore. Energy independence will now get more than lip-service, and we can start providing the incentives producers and entrepreneurs need in order to boost wind, solar, and other clean sources of energy.

Thank you America, and thank you Barack Obama. Now I can't wait until January when he can get started.

Buh-bye Bushies, don't let the door to the Oval Office hit you on the arse as you head back to Texas.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Pretty, like the bowling alley

B was left somewhat to his own devices for an hour and a half on Sunday afternoon. Z and I were out & about, and his dad was working on our new raised vegetable bed. After B had been quiet for a few minutes, M started to get suspicious. When he went looking for B, this is what he found:

B had very carefully and precisely painted one stone in the back patio a bright green. M says his knee-jerk reaction was to get mad, but when he saw how proud B was of his work and heard his explanation for why he did it, he couldn't be mad.

Why did he do it? He wanted to make it pretty, like the bowling alley. We occasionally take him bowling at a place where they turn out the overhead lights & turn on colored lights and disco balls and that sort of thing for about 15 minutes out of every hour. B loves it and calls it "the bowling alley that lights up." Apparently he thought our back patio was in need of a little bowling-alley-style beautification.

Sadly for B, his improvement was only temporary. He and M hosed it off (thankfully it was Crayola washable kids' paint, so it was no biggie), and we asked B to please restrict his future painting projects to paper, or at least to ask us before he tries to paint something else.

You do have to admire the kid's creativity and initiative! I wonder what it would have looked like if he'd had a little more time before he was discovered?

Monday, November 3, 2008

Who is bock-o-mama?

According to Z, he's the guy who's going to be the next president.

Stay tuned...I have some great photos of B's most recent creative efforts that I'm too tired/lazy to download tonight, so I'm putting it off until tomorrow morning.


Saturday, November 1, 2008


Last night, we got a robocall that I wasn't able to pick up because I was putting Z to bed. They left a message on my answering machine. It said that Barack Obama:

"pledged to relegalize tax-funded partial birth abortion, which pierces the skulls of pain-sensitive late-term babies during childbirth."

It went on to spout some nonsense about parental notification for abortions for minors (yeah, the teenaged girl who's raped by her father should have to get his permission before she aborts his baby; it's only fair, right?)

HOW DARE THEY? Does B need to hear that? Should I have to explain what abortion is to a four year-old? I.AM.OUTRAGED. They have no right to leave such a graphic message on my answering machine. No right.

The call came from the National Pro-Life Alliance (please see sub-rant below about the term "pro-life"). I think I'm going to call a local news station about this, because it is so totally inappropriate to be leaving these sorts of messages on family answering machines. I'm also going to write the Alliance, and call them too. Join me if you'd like --

Martin E. Fox
National Pro-Life Alliance
4521 Windsor Arms Court
Annandale, VA 22003

Now let's talk about the content of this ridiculous and infuriating phone call.

1. "Partial-birth abortion" -- the medical term is actually intact dilation and extraction (D&X). It was renamed "partial birth abortion" by abortion opponents because that sounds scarier. I prefer the less judgment-laden term "late-term abortion." Let's just call it LTA for short, OK? So why would a woman have an LTA, and why would a doctor perform one? The procedure is rarely used -- it accounts for less than half a percent of all abortions performed. It is also most often performed "postviability" -- in other words, when it is too late to save the baby anyway. Something has gone so terribly wrong that the baby would not survive. In other cases, the mother's life is so severely at risk that she would not survive the pregnancy. Sometimes both are true. Bottom line: it's rarely performed, and it's a desperate life-saving measure. NOBODY wants a late-term abortion. Nobody does it just because they don't want to be pregnant. Nobody. Prohibiting it would cost some women their lives, and would force others to carry a baby they know to be dying for weeks or months. What an awful thing to do to women.

2. Barack Obama on LTA -- He thinks that LTA should be available, but properly restricted. Obama is not pro-abortion. His stance is much like my own: abortion is a sad but often necessary choice, and instead of prohibiting abortion, our society should do a better job of making sure it's less needed than it is today by reducing the number of unplanned pregnancies. The bottom line: He thinks women should be trusted to make the appropriate choice for themselves in conjunction with their doctors, their families and their clergy.

3. On the term "pro-life" -- It's a load of bullshit. How many of those people do you think are opposed to the death penalty? Not many, I'll bet. How can you be pro-life, yet support the death penalty? And why do so many "pro-life" politicians and citizens oppose government-funded health care for poor children? Or food stamps? School lunch? Head start? They're "pro-life" for fetuses, but think kids need to get it together and earn their own way, pull themselves up by their bootstraps, or maybe go shopping for better parents.

I'm pro-life. I love life. I love being alive. I'm also anti-abortion. I cannot imagine many circumstances in my own life when I would choose an abortion. If I had to, it would be devastating. I'd mourn it for the rest of my life. But I'm also pro-choice. I don't believe anyone should tell me I can't choose a particular medical procedure for my own body, and I certainly don't want to force any other women to live by my moral values instead of their own.

Can you tell I'm done being bipartisan? I can't do it anymore. The stakes are too high, and it's gotten too ugly. The other side is spouting lies about Obama and leaving hateful messages on my answering machine. The McCain website is making me sick -- it's all anti-Obama crap, empty Republican talking points, and minimal useful content. Sarah Palin is a mean, vindictive woman who was ill-prepared to take the role she's been given. She has succeeded in setting women back at least a decade in our hopes to someday occupy the White House.

I simply do not understand the other side in this election. Usually I'm pretty good at seeing both sides, but this year, I just don't. There is only one choice. Obama.