Thursday, September 30, 2010
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Read this absolutely clever and entertaining essay...I love it! Although, voting for Ronald Reagan???
David (my Beatles-loving brother-in-law) and Dave (our friend who plays Beatles songs on the piano with his nose), this one's for you!
This blog post has four "David"s in it! I think that's a record.
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
The Washed Ashore project takes beach trash and turns it into beautiful pieces of art. It's exhibiting in Newport until the end of January, and then moving to Coos Bay for a few months.
Here's a blog by a Californian woman who has created a 365-day project to collect beach trash: The Daily Ocean.
Those of you who are older than 40, do you remember this commercial from the 1970s, with the crying Native American man? I was trained to never litter. Who are these people who throw their garbage on the ground, or on the beach? Have they no shame?
Take a sample of the quiz and see how you do. I scored 93%--14 out of 15--and was feeling proud of myself, until I posted it on Facebook and two of my friends scored 100%! Oh well--it's a good thing I'm not competitive. :)
Monday, September 27, 2010
"The Push to Ordain Women Priests Gains Ground." The article concludes: "There are a lot of Catholic priests who are helping the women priests. You'd be surprised."
This afternoon when I checked my Yahoo e-mail, I saw "women priests" as one of the 10 "Trending Now" topics (topics most searched on Yahoo).
Could it be that a quiet revolution is beginning? Will it be effectively crushed, or will it grow?
I suspect that the topic of women priests could be similar to gay rights--overall, the younger generations are more embracing of inclusion than the older generations. However, I suspect that we will see married priests in the Catholic church before we see women priests. And over certain aging Catholics' dead bodies (such as the current pope and his cronies).
But think back 10 years. Who would have ever guessed that we would have an African-American president? I guess miracles are possible.
Saturday, September 25, 2010
I did start a new blog, but I will summarize my reviews monthly in this blog...to make it easier on those of you who like to read the book reviews here. This way, you won't have to go onto another blog if you prefer to stick with this one. Please let me know how that works out!
Please check out my new book blog...you can subscribe to it at the bottom, just as you can subscribe to this one.
I'm excited to have a place to focus solely on books!
Mom: Did you hear what the teacher said? If you don't start reading by 7th grade, you will never become a reader.According to this excellent article, "How to Raise Boys that Read (as Much as Girls Do): Not with Gross-out Books and Videogame Bribes...," boys score way below girls on reading proficiency tests. Boys do not read well because they do not read enough. Publishing houses and authors are trying to appeal more to boys by publishing books on gross and disgusting topics. Both Chris and Kieran went through the Captain Underpants phase...but moved on. Personally, I thought it was pretty harmless, but I might have minded more if he hadn't been reading higher-quality books as well.
Boy: But I hate to read!
I think in our case, family genes must have had some effect. Can you imagine being the child of two English major/writers and not liking to read? He or she would be the opposite of Matilda (in the Roald Dahl novel by that name), who adored reading but all her family wanted to do was watch TV. Since they were tiny tots, our boys have always loved stories. We indoctrinated them early.
One observation I did make when reading the article was that Chris reads less now that he has an iPod Touch. Fortunately, the iPod has kept him from watching as much wrestling (blech!), but his eyes seem to be drawn to the screen more easily than to the printed word. We've instituted a new rule in our house: no iPod Touch until he's done all of his homework (he's tried to convince us he can watch videos on his iPod while doing homework), practiced his drumming, and read for at least 30 minutes--and then he has 1 hour max per school day (he will be lucky if he has that much time left!). Yes, in a sense, we are rewarding him for reading by handing him his iPod. But he truly does like reading. In my mind, we are simply taking away a distraction.
Kieran's in that great age where we simply cannot read enough to him. His reading tastes are far beyond his abilities, though, so the area we need to improve with him is to have him read to us more often. If it were up to him, all of our reading time would be spent with us reading the Lemony Snicket series out loud (the latest craze for him)...and not reading easy readers!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I assume that if you are smart enough to read this fantastic blog (!), you would never even think of TEXTING while you drive, so I won't even address that.
And if you think you are practicing safe habits by using a hand-held device, think again. It's still dangerous.
"Drivers who use hand-held devices are four times as likely to get into crashes serious enough to injure themselves. (Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety)No phone call is as important as your life.
"Using a cell phone use while driving, whether it's hand-held or hands-free, delays a driver's reactions as much as having a blood alcohol concentration at the legal limit of .08 percent. (Source: University of Utah)"
- Food is cheaper.
- People are not getting enough exercise or activity.
- With less time to prepare foods, people eat out in restaurants more...and we all know that restaurant food is less healthy and more fattening than most food made at home.
Mike informed me that the younger kids love to go along to Chris' orthodontist's office because the waiting room has juice and soda pop. WTF??? That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard. I didn't have any cavities until I was 15--because I had braces. Are they trying to give kids cavities?
Although I am not worried about my kids being overweight, I do worry about their teeth (and about consuming high-fructose corn syrup). We never buy pop at home. I think we are rare that way.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
|Want to buy some kids? (Yard Kid Sale)|
|Stop! Police, fire, and Buzz Lightyear!|
|Speed Racer--Daniel wants to be a race car driver when he grows up |
(Dream on, Daniel! your parents, not to mention your auntie, will never let you in a race car!)
|The kids watching a video while the grown-ups have a fancy dinner in the dining room|
|Two of my closest friends, real sister Nadine and birthday sister Nancie!|
|Kieran lost another tooth Saturday night|
|Our kids all adore Nancie and Dave too|
|Late at night after too much wine and laughter!|
|Ryan and Nick playing Batman|
This week I cannot get Diana out of my mind. Cacey is the second person I've known who was killed by her husband. Diana Logan was my sister's dear friend and housemate while she did her residency at Providence Hospital in Portland. She was an incredibly bright, quirky, and playful soul. I remember that she loved to play with puzzles and toys. My sister was doing her residency when Chris was born, so Diana was a prominent part of his life in his early years. She was at his baptism, spent the day at the zoo with us on his first birthday, attended birthday parties, etc. She read at my sister's wedding and was a faithful friend.
She married a man she met at a fast food restaurant, and opposites attracted. Diana had been raised in an affluent, educated east coast family, while Kayne came from a blue collar background. I remember the day before her wedding, he got drunk and they fought. She expressed some misgivings to my sister. Our entire family attended their wedding.
After they'd been together for less than two years, things began deterioriating. Diana was a private person and she didn't talk about her marital troubles. According to this news article, Kayne had assaulted her before and had been told he had to enter a domestic violence treatment program. I wouldn't be surprised if Diana kept this information from all of her friends...she was reserved, and she evidently believed she could save her marriage. Everyone who knew her wish that they had known what was going on and that they could have done something to help, just as my coworkers and friends feel about Cacey.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. In light of the tragic events this past weekend that took Cacey's life, please get involved and spread the word. If you know of anyone who is a victim of domestic violence or if you yourself are a victim...GET HELP. Cacey and Diana were beautiful, warm, caring, gentle women who were loved by all who knew them. Their lives ended much too violently and much too soon.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I must admit that when my friend Kristin showed me her new Kindle a few months ago, I found it fascinating.
When Mike and I ducked into the San Francisco Barnes & Noble in June, an earnest salesman tried to convince us to buy a "Nook." As is typical for us, I soon wandered away to browse the stacks. My polite, patient husband listened to the sales spiel and asked questions. Finally, he explained that if he were to buy one, he should do so in Oregon where we have no sales tax. The salesman tried to convince him to buy it in California and try it out, and return it in Oregon and then buy another one! Interesting tactic, but it didn't work. For a few weeks, Mike expressed interest in acquiring an e-reader.
E-readers have their advantages. I've been reading The Secret Garden to Kieran on car journeys--through an iBook application on my iPhone. I love the fact that I can get the great classics on my iPhone. The iPhone has a much smaller screen than a Kindle, however, and it doesn't have great battery life.
But here's why I'm not ready to go the e-reader route:
- I am cheap. I get most of my books out of the library, at book sales, or via paperbackswap.com. I rarely pay more than $3-5 for a book unless it's a gift. I realize the library has some downloadable versions of books, but they don't have e-versions of all the books I want.
- I look at a screen all day long. My eyes need a break from screen time.
- Many people ask me how I read so much. First of all, my house is a mess! Second, I read every chance I get: while I'm getting ready for work in the morning, on my (very rare nowadays) forays to the gym (on the cardio equipment), while walking (yes--I know--stupid!). With my luck, I'd probably get the e-reader wet--or drop it--and ruin it!
- I love the smell of books...the feel of printed pages beneath my fingers...the satisfaction of reaching the halfway point or the end...the 50-page rule (if I am not enjoying a book by 50 pages, I ask myself whether I should continue).
- I want to support the publishing industry and independent bookstores....even though I do so in a frugal way!
- It's good modeling for my children--I want to raise a family of book lovers, not e-reader lovers.
|My little ice cream (and mama) lover|
This morning when he woke up and I gave him another snuggle, he had an enormous smile on his face and he told me he loved me. These kinds of moments are what make parenting worthwhile!
Thursday, September 16, 2010
|Best thing about preschool for Nick? Painting and art projects!|
|Another thing I like about this school--every day they have several different creative activities for the kids. Today it was making a joint class painting with kitchen gadgets!|
During snack time, a little girl at our table made the "shh" sign to Nicholas because he was talking so loudly!
|And Mr. and Mrs. Potato Heads...of which I do not have to keep track of all the parts!!!|
I feel fortunate that I got to glimpse his first day at school, and I hope I made the transition to a new school a little easier on him. I know he will have a fun year!
Now Kieran is also at that age where he loves science. He loves rocks, the ocean, the forest, exploring, and mixing things together. He loves nothing better than tromping around in the backyard, creating things from scratch. A few years ago, he was constructing brooms out of pine needles, and recently he made a bow-and-arrow for Nick out of a bent stick and string. He's curious about how things work.
I know he is going to enjoy this new magazine, Know: The Science Magazine for Cool Kids. It looks colorful and accessible, with clear, understandable language and topics that are interesting to grade school kids. The same company also produces a science magazine for middle-schoolers, Yes! Both magazines are published in Canada, and you know pro-Canadian I am. Best of all, the magazine will be able to explain how things work and happen way better than I can!
You can download a sample issue here or check out ordering details here.
*I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour campaign by Mom Central on behalf of Mad Science and received the products necessary to facilitate my review. In addition, I received a gift certificate to thank me for taking the time to participate.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
|On the way to market we passed the Oregonian building, which had this huge photo of Nick's favorite elephant (Samudra) on the wall!|
|Look at these absolutely GORGEOUS golden raspberries I bought. I'm not sure what we'll do with them--freeze them? Cook with them? Or just look at them? They attracted a lot of attention as I was carrying them around! |
|We decided to stop at one of Nick's fave lunch spots, Steamers, to get him some dumplings. He devoured them and wanted more. Next time we will go to Steamers first, before the market!|
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
And an interesting point: "if Hillary had been the nominee, there wouldn't have been Palin." Just imagine what the world would be like now, if Palin had stayed in Alaska...
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Here's my mom's classic recipe:
3 cups grated zucchini
1 cup cracker crumbs (saltines were the only savory crackers we had when I was a kid!)
salt and pepper
Fry like pancakes.
This afternoon Kieran and I headed to the store to buy a new broom. We spent all weekend cleaning and conscripted our household broom to the garage...so we needed to buy a new broom for inside the house. Mike also suggested that I pick up something for dinner.
I knew we had some grated zucchini in the fridge from making zucchini patties last weekend so I told Kieran I was thinking about making them again. He informed me that he liked them, but not as much as "crabby patties." (Thank you, SpongeBob!) So we decided that we would try to merge the zucchini patty idea with crab cakes. We bought fresh crab.
I change the classic recipe, because Mike doesn't eat wheat and I try to avoid it when I can. So this is the APPROXIMATE recipe I used. I (stupidly) neglected to look at Mom's recipe beforehand, so I probably was off on my quantities some so had to resort to eyeballing the consistency.
4 cups zucchini
6 oz. crab
3 crusts from Dave's Killer Spelt Bread, ground up in the food processor
About 3/4 cup (???) sesame rice crackers
Bob's Red Mill gluten-free pancake mix, thrown in until it looked right
How's that for vague? I didn't really measure my ingredients but was aiming for a pancakey consistency. Still, they are tricky to fry. You must use lots of nonstick spray and try not to flip them until they are brown and crisp on one side...otherwise, they will get mushy and break up. This might have been prevented if I had used more pancake mix. I suspect that the saltines soak up the batter better than the rice crackers/bread crumb mixture.
Here's the batter:
When we were at the beach I threw together a sauce of sorts from our ingredients on hand, and it was a hit...so I recreated it at Kieran's request. It's very simple...just light mayonnaise and Trader Joe's Thai Yellow Curry sauce.
Fry until golden on one side...but as I said, you must flip them at the right time or they'll be failures.
Waiting for dinner--playing outside in our lovely Indian Summer day today:
Perfectly fried! (That's homemade hummus in the background there--which I made because Nicholas was asking for hummus before dinner. However, he didn't like my homemade version...must have been the sesame oil.)
Friday, September 10, 2010
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Young professionals India and Jeremy are struggling with infertility. After several IVF and other infertility treatments, they have finally given up their hopes of having their own natural-born child. They begin to consider adoption as a viable alternative.
Enter Lainey, a shallow, selfish, and damaged 20-year-old who is the daughter of an alcoholic mom and runaway father. She gets pregnant by her dumb jock boyfriend and decides to give her baby up for adoption so she can land a fortune to fund her trip to Los Angeles (to star in a reality show).
Being a generous, magnanimous soul, India invites Lainey to move into their guest house because Lainey doesn't have a place to live. (Her boyfriend has kicked her out.) This awkward, unconventional arrangement inevitably has its hiccups, but India and Lainey form a tenuous friendship of sorts.
My favorite scene was when Jeremy's clueless, insensitive brother and his wife--who are pregnant--come for dinner. Stacey (and Jeremy's mother) represent all the completely self-obsessed pregnant women I have ever known. She not only blathers on about being pregnant, but she also constantly pokes digs at the fact that India could not possibly understand what it is to be pregnant and makes insensitive comments such as "I wish I could pay someone else to be pregnant for me." And it gave me great satisfaction when they got their comeuppance!
This scene called to mind an event I attended soon after I experienced my first miscarriage. Two of my friends--pregnant--proceeded to go on and on about their pregnancies, without any care for the fact that I was grieving. I ended up retreating into the bathroom to cry. When I finally mustered the courage to tell them how upset I had been (a few years later), I think they perceived me as being overly sensitive.
After experiencing the deep grief of the NICU, infertility, and high-risk pregnancy, I have absolutely zero tolerance for pregnant women complaining about minor aches and pains. The way I see it, a healthy pregnancy is a gift that should not be taken for granted.
It also reminded me of those clueless sorts who make comments about wishing that their babies would arrive early so they wouldn't have to be pregnant any longer...or saying to someone who's grieving that it was "meant to be." We all know clueless people like that.
One thing I have learned over the years--after experiencing infertility and infant loss myself--is to never, ever ask people if (1) they have children, or (2) if they are planning to have children. Never. It's a minefield and potentially hurtful.
Gaskell sensitively portrayed the desperation of infertility and the hopelessness of being young, single, and pregnant, combined with the special agony of giving up your child for adoption. She treats each of her characters with great respect and gives them depth and character. I enjoyed this book.
View all my reviews
Generally, the "experts" advise bloggers to choose a narrow topic for their blogs. I have done just the opposite with mine--as you know, I post about parenting, raising boys, politics, music, travel, books, movies, you name it...all the things that I find interesting.
Now I'm wondering whether I should create a new blog just for my book reviews...and link it to Every Day Is a Miracle...or keep posting the reviews onto this blog. What do you think? If I don't hear from anyone urging me to keep them all on this blog, I will begin a book blog.
Do you read my book reviews? Do you like to have them as part of this blog, or would you rather be able to go to another blog just for book reviews (or not)? I'm often asked for book recommendations, and one advantage for me would be to just send someone to a (new) book blog where they are all in one place. But what to do with the reviews I've already written here?
I haven't had a lot of luck asking questions and getting responses on my blog in the past, so I'm not sure I will this time. But I would love to hear from you!
Thursday, September 9, 2010
is working in your life
is to stop telling others
how God should be working in theirs.
|The Daily Show With Jon Stewart||Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c|
|Weekend at Burnies|
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Kieran's heard us rave about her, and he reported this afternoon that he had a great day. He couldn't even report to us what he did, because he was enjoying himself so much!
We also celebrated Nick's birthday on Saturday--here he is modeling his new firefighter raincoat from his aunt and uncle in England:
His request for a birthday dessert was vanilla and chocolate ice cream, with whipped cream and sprinkles. No cake! He's an ice cream boy all the way, like his daddy.
Nick helping me make the blackberry pie:
On the beach:
This is the famous jetty in Nedonna Beach--it juts out into the ocean, with Nehalem Bay on the other side. Our family has been either (1) walking to and from, or (2) climbing on the jetty since I was a kid. I remember being on the jetty as a college student with my younger brother in the middle of a storm--beautiful and exciting!!
It offers wonderful views, often of seals (and also of boaters, etc.), not to mention the ocean.
Of course, Kieran was climbing the jetty barefooted!
Nick enjoyed this little teepee, before his older brother deconstructed it...
Wading in the water...
inevitably turns to swimming and getting soaked...
We ran into a family friend, Bruce, who was harvesting mussels off the jetty. Bruce and his wife Sue have had a house a few blocks from my parents for years. Before my parents built their house, we would rent Bruce and Sue's house--for family weekends, church youth group retreats, etc. It's always nice to run into them in Nedonna Beach.