Monday, October 30, 2006

Good Times

I realized that it is a year and a day since a good friend of ours, especially of my husband's, died. No, I didn't really have the date imprinted in my memory, since we did not hear about his death until three days after the fact, due to Eric's parents having to track his friends down, and not knowing how to open his electronic address file. If I could change the world, one of the things I would do would be to enable us to find more friends like Eric, someone we could hang with for hours and even days on end, just content to be. Are good friendships such a rarity, or is it just a blessing some receive and others do not?

Here's a picture of Eric and my husband doing one of the things they enjoyed together, playing with LEGO brand building blocks. Actually, I think they were cleaning up after a big battle. This picture is owned by Troy Ceferatti, one of the guys who also played and built stuff with my husband and Eric on occasion. I'll put in a plug for his site, Troy's Surplus LEGO. Perfect for getting the individual pieces you need to complete your latest project.


I'm glad the weather is gorgeous, because I can certainly use a mood-lifter. Lately, outside life (not physically outside, but out of my own little sphere) has just been a downer. Good thing I have a very vivid inner life. To heck with the real world! I suppose even evil geniuses need a break before they get back to their cunning plans.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

If You Could Change the World

I hate politics. I hate all the posturing and finger-pointing and scheming that takes place, especially right before an election, which is where we are now. But what my government does, and even what other governments do, affect my family and me. Thus, I have to find things out, and think about long-term results and repercussions. Of course, voting is involved. Bringing up my children to be intelligent, strong, and able to learn and reason things out on their own, is also important. But lately I've been wondering if there's more. I've never wanted to try to change the world, but I don't want it to change underneath me, either. My home and my family and my own little activities are the main responsibilities in my life, but there are things that affect that already, like all the taxes for waste and needless activities. Sometimes I'd like to try to do something different, something more (but not something illegal!) I'm impatient to see some of these things come to an end.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Horse Heaven

The girls had the opportunity yesterday to do a little horseback riding at a stable where the Die-Hard Equestrian has taken lessons. She and her mom and grandparents and siblings were also there. I think all the children had a good time, and of course I have pictures to share.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

That Does It...I'm Dropping Out

This is so true. I mean, I don't even have the friends anymore. Not that they were a big loss, either.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Out of the Past

The Chaplain wrote about his engagement anniversary yesterday; today is the anniversary of my husband's and my engagement. This picture, however, is from exactly one week before, at my sister-in-law's wedding. We held off getting "offically" engaged until after this wedding, so as not to take attention away from my sister-in-law and her husband. This, however, did not keep lots of guests at the wedding from speculating about when our own marriage would be. I was even welcomed to the family by Gino's step-aunt's ex-husband's nephew.

On Oct. 19, 1991, I went to the homecoming dance at my former college, where my husband was a senior (I robbed the cradle.) I was wearing the same green dress and shoes as in the picture above (so I re-used a bridesmaid dress!) We had a yummy dinner, and when he presented me with my corsage, there was a diamond ring on one of the flowers. And here we are fifteen years later, still happy to be together. Tonight my husband gave me a red rose, and we had a dinner very similar to the candlelit meal we had in my husband's dorm room fifteen years ago, right down to the fudge cake from Entenmann's. How sweet!

Monday, October 16, 2006

(Wo)man Plans...

God laughs. Well, okay, I don't think God is laughing that my sniffles yesterday turned into a body-aches, stuffy ears cold and I feel like death warmed over today. But the main idea behind that quote is true, that I had a big day planned and now I will be happy to get the basics of school, dishes and laundry done. Fortunately, my girls are big enough to help. The Scientist made pasta for lunch, and thawed a bag of meat sauce that my husband had made up ahead of time. She can also start the washing machine! Then it's back to gently reminding them to do their school assignments. At least for the first five times.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Some Interesting Things

We had the pleasure of going out for dinner tonight with the Presbyter and Presbytera. My husband and I were recommending this site to the Presbytera, but I will also post it here for anyone who likes yummy sweets. It is, and the brick and mortar store is located on the west side of Cleveland. The woman who runs this bakery makes to-die-for cakes, brownies, fruit torts, etc. Here's a picture of a cake we bought from there for my sister's baby shower.

Also, here is a blog post that many of you will find interesting. I'll give you the opening excerpt to whet your appetite. :)

Make Sure You Hire A Qualified Babysitter

1. CPR trained?

2. Background check?

3. Current hunting tags for intruders?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bargain of the Month

It might end up being the bargain of the year, really, but since the year's not over I will hold out hope. :) Anyway, our next door neighbors held a garage sale last week, although the chair in this picture belonged to a friend of theirs who brought some of her things over. In any event, we got this chair for only $25! It is a lot more faded in color than the picture makes it look, and unevenly faded at that. But there are no tears or rips in the upholstery, and the padding and cushion are still cushy! The girls have claimed this as their new favorite chair, which is fine, as it is why we bought it. Maybe someday we can get it recovered, but in the meantime, it works.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Pizza, Redux

Whew! I've been busy lately! I've finally got a chance to take a little bit of a breather today, but only a little one. There's school to teach, and shopping to do, and sewing to be done, and of course a house to be cleaned. (That one never seems to go away!)

Yesterday was very full, as we attended church, witnessed the baptism of the infant granddaughter of Presbytera (and the prefers-to-stay-semi-anonymous Presbyter), and had a fun time afterwards at a luncheon at church in honor of this new member of God's family! Then we went and spent some time with my sister-in-law, and her husband who had come up to visit for the weekend. This is where the pizza comes in. We went to the fancy-shmancy shopping area, Crocker Park, and had an early dinner at the Brio Tuscan Grille. A very nice place. Children receive a little plate with some raw pizza dough to play with while they are waiting for their food. When we ordered our meals, my husband jokingly requested some sauce, some mozzerella and 400 degrees. Well, the waiter came back with a little plate of pizza sauce and shredded mozzerella, and the girls made their own little mini-pizzas, then ate them after the waiter had taken them to be cooked. It was very enjoyable. The waiter definitely earned his generous tip, especially when he brought some fresh napkins and club soda after Wildchild accidentally spilled the remainder of her frozen strawberry lemonade on her dress when we were near departure.

Go Cards! :)

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Heartbreak and Political Hay

In regards to the recent rash of school shootings, I find it ironic that it is the last one, the one at the Amish school, that has garnered the most attention and discussion. I feel this way because the Amish are the least likely to do anything about such tragedies. They are pacificistic people, who shun modern conveniences and technology. Can you imagine being "buzzed in" to an Amish schoolhouse? Yeah, me neither. On the other hand, I think the Amish will continue to accept the consequences of living by their choices.

But of course the government must step in for the rest of us to "fix" the mess that it created in the first place. Now this is hearsay from the radio, but it seems a government representative from Wisconsin is already calling for school personnel to have access to guns. I was greatly hurt to hear Mark Schwab, filling in for the regular drive-time radio host on WTAM 1100, say that people who support this idea belong on "The Dukes of Hazzard." So much for reasoned discourse. At that point I got disgusted and turned off the radio, but thought better of it and turned it back on to hear what else was said. A caller was trying to explain to Schwab and sidekick Allison, who I don't think was hired for her brains, that there are some teachers who work as park rangers during the summer, and are more than capable of handling guns. After the caller convinced the bright lights at WTAM that teachers can indeed be compatible with other interests and professions, Schwab started on how he can't wrap his brain around the other logistics involved with such an idea. Such as where the gun(s) would be stored, who would have charge of and access to them, etc.

Well, I have one simple answer for some of this problem. Surely there are already some teachers in the public schools who have concealed carry permits. Let them start carrying their guns to school. Then, the gun will be stored: on their hips, and the persons in charge of the gun will be: themselves. Yes, there are big scary laws and scary signs about schools being "gun-free" zones. Well, that didn't scare any of the people who decided an unarmed school was a good place to start shooting their gun, did they? For that matter, most of the school shooting incidents I recall end with the shooter turning the gun on himself. So they really don't care anymore what the penalties are for bringing a gun into a sacred gun-free zone, do they?

Yes, there are other options that might bring the appearance of protection to a school. Already when my children attended parochial school several years ago, the school doors were locked and I had to be "buzzed in." There was also a camera at the school door so the school secretary could see I was an innocuous-looking mom, not a big scary guy with an M-60 slung over my shoulder. However, this will only give the appearance of protection.

For starters, my children's school did get a bomb threat called in. Following safety protocol, the school was evacuated and the children hiked through fields and back pathways to the local public high school to wait for their parents, while police searched the school. Now, I'm not suggesting they should have let the children stay in the building after a bomb threat was called in. However, the result was a long line of children accompanied by a smaller number of adults traipsing across an open field. That screams "target" to anyone sick enough to shoot school children anyway.

And yes, we can lock the children in the school building promptly at the beginning of the day. Will that completely stop anyone from getting in or out? Will the mailman and delivery people need to be issued a special pass to permit them to take their deliveries in? Or will there be a special bullet-proof room something along the lines of an airlock? UPS man gets permission to take the packages into the room. Once he leaves, the door locks again and the school secretary can enter to get the packages. Nifty. Be prepared for your local school fees to get hiked. Again.

In short, I'm disgusted with politicians trying to make a political "score" off of people's natural fear for their children. Stay out of it! I'm also disappointed in the knee-jerk responses of someone that I thought was a little bit smarter than that. Schwabie, I thought I knew ya.

I Want Everyone to Share Their

favorite Weird Al Yankovic song/video. What? What did you think I was going to say? :) Anyway, the Quipper put an Weird Al video on his entertainment blog, which made me go back and dig around YouTube to find my favorite Weird Al video. I see it as a parody of I Love Lucy and yet also a tribute to America's favorite zany redhead. (Lutheran Lucy, is, of course, second favorite.) So do you have a favorite Weird Al ditty? Or another favorite music parody (that's clean!)?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


The Evil Genius family, along with the Princess, the Princess' mother, and the Artist, went to an event at Tower City Mall in downtown Cleveland on Sunday. It was sponsored by American Greetings and featured cartoon characters owned by AG: Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake, and Holly Hobbie. Thus the name of the event, Toonaloo. We girls all saw the world premiere of the latest Strawberry Shortcake movie, which will not be out on DVD until February. Ooh aah! A Holly Hobbie Christmas film and a Care Bears movie were also shown, but we could only take in one film, and Strawberry Shortcake was the most popular. Then for a small fee, which was donated to charity, there were different activities to do. The girls opted to have their pictures taken with Strawberry Shortcake and various Care Bears, and to make tiaras. Here are some pics! Note the lovely pose of the Artist's hand. She probably picked up some lovely ballet poses from her mother.

The Princess' mom (aka the Quilter) and I lamented that Holly Hobbie is now a modern girl, the great-granddaughter of the "original" Holly Hobbie in bonnet and quilted dress. (Although they do offer "classic" Holly Hobbie items for those of us that live in the past :) ) I hate the way marketeers are always "updating" everything, and yet times are different now. There was a focus on the simple life, a sort of pioneer, earthy mentality, back then. Can you imagine the Sunshine Family dolls selling today? I suppose they could push the recycling aspect, making things for the dolls yourself out of items around your home. But granny dresses just aren't cool anymore. Steffie would wear jeans and a knit shirt (made out of organic cotton) and a denim jacket nowadays, and Steve would lose that nerdy turtleneck and get some Dockers. They'd still buy organic fruits and vegetables at the co-op, though, if they didn't grow them for themselves in the Watch 'Em Grow Greenhouse, with the Gardening Craft Kit, and then sell some at the Farm Produce Stand. Hmmm. Maybe they would fit in today after all! Too bad I'm a contra-crunchy. :)