Monday, November 30, 2009

Emergency Preparedness by Kids

Before reading a story about survival, the students were assigned to write a list of things they would want to have in a survival situation. They were limited to items that are legal and reasonably available, and they could not "bring" any more than would fit inside a standard student backpack. After much discussion (no you cannot have a gun) and consideration (can you comfortably carry fifty gallons of water?) they came up with their lists and turned them in to me. Many students, like this girl, went the highly sensible route:

-Swiss Army knife with many attachments

-flashlight and extra batteries

-water purifier

-6 cans of food

-can opener


-emergency blanket

-waterproof matches

-cell phone

-first aide kit

-1 extra set of clothes

-Ramen packs with any extra space

Many other students, unfortunately, were not quite so pragmatic. Here's a brief sampling of some of the more, ahem, interesting items the students selected.

- Jello

-50 cheeseburgers

-Color pencils

-Hand lotion

-50 gallons of water

-A puppy

-5 shurikens

-A Nintendo DS/PSP/Other video game system

Friday, November 27, 2009

Dogmatism Quote

"The greater the ignorance the greater the dogmatism."

Sir William Osler

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful List 09

This is a list of one hundred things for which I am truly thankful, both big and small, in no particular order:

A Great Book
Autumn Leaves
Spring Flowers
Blue Jeans
My Husband
Thai Food
The Right To Vote
A Great Movie
My Parents
Fresh Summer Tomatoes
Flannel PJ’s
The Symphony
Fancy Dress
Great Friends
My Aunties
My Nieces
A Good Joke
Candy Corn
Fresh-Cut Grass
My Brothers
My Garden
A Fire in the Fireplace
Word Games
Backyard BBQ
Sweet Tea
Mt. Rainier
Good Health
Snow Days
My Music
Clean Water
Sitting After a Long Day
My Computer
American Democracy
American Liberties
Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate
Soft Slippers
Friday Night
Ripe Peaches
A warm and comfortable home
Dinner with Friends
Sunshine, Sunshine, Sunshine
Grilled Cheese
Friendly Email
Sunday Brunch
Ice Skating
A Nice Hot Bath
Baseball Games
The Dishwasher
The Washer and Dryer
Basketball in the Park
The Pacific NW
Farmers’ Markets
Cozy Sweaters
Indian Food
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy
The Beach
Travel to Other Lands
Friendly Dogs

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

New Moon Review

Ahh the Twilight franchise. Yes, it's overwrought, overly sentimental, and oh so overexposed. Nevertheless, I find myself still a fan. The books have a certain quality to them that makes them very, very hard to put down. Perhaps the best word for it is voice. That uncanny ability, by the author, to make you feel that her story is fresh and authentic even when the themes should be old and tired. Whatever the real reason, the success of these books cannot be denied.

Fortunately, the movies have retained most, if not quite all, of the charm. The first installment was too brief and involved some silly scenes, but it more or less told the story of Bella and Edward. Approaching the second movie, I was not sure what I might find. The second book is, more than anything, an exploration of depression. It relies heavily on subtlety, and I wondered if this would be lost when it was translated to the screen.

This new movie also had some profoundly silly scenes, but over all, it was a decent effort. I was colossally annoyed by the dissolving ghost of Edward appearing all over the place (NOT in the book), and I thought they edited out some of the best dialogue. For example, in the book Bella is much more straightforward with Jacob, and she does not give such a strong impression that she is leading him on only to leave him.

Even so, I had a great time watching this movie. After all, I am a part of the target demographic (i.e. women). Not only that, but I try to avoid the cardinal mistake when watching or reading something from the YA shelf: over thinking. This is a story simply to be enjoyed. Relax, let yourself go, and try to stop worrying about purple prose, implied themes, or the poor quality of Taylor Lautner's wig.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Tofurkey Attacks Begin 09

I feel like a broken record, but it seems like I can't avoid the topic once again. As we near the holiday season, the cracks about Tofurkey, and about vegetarianism in general, begin in earnest. I will not give credence to these people by repeating the various diatribes in this forum. Suffice it to say that this is the time of year when people feel the most entitled to comment on all manor of things that don't really involve them. Since this is a topic we've covered before, and the issues remain largely the same, I'm dusting off last year's post. I think it may become my annual pre-Thanksgiving message:

I Like Tofurkey

I actually do. I have no idea if it resembles turkey or not, and I really do not care in the slightest either way. I enjoy Tofurkey because it is warm and fragrant and it tastes nice on my tongue. My consumption of Tofurkey is is no way meant to:

-make a political, religious, or environmental statement

-make a judgement about what you are eating

-create a talking point about why I'm a vegetarian

-cause you to change the way you eat

-attack the meaning or historical significance of the day

In short, it's just shouldn't be that big a deal. Think of it as me choosing the peas instead of the green beans or the apple pie instead of the pumpkin. Or better yet, just don't think about it at all. It really isn't any of your business anyway. If you would like to ask a few polite questions, that's fine. However, don't view that as an opportunity to then explain "your side" about how awful, disgusting, or unnatural you think it is. You wouldn't come to my house and tell me I had terrible taste in furniture/pets/dishes/fashion/cars/husbands, so why would you think it was okay to malign my choice of food? Do us all a favor this holiday season and SAVE IT. Thank You.


The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Vegetarians (SPCV)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Baby Update

For those who care about Baby Watch 09/10, an update. We visited the doctor quite recently, and got the results from our last round of tests. It seems that the numbers from our Down's Syndrome tests were, in the words of our doctor, awesome. Now we are on to testing for Spina Bifida and a few other disorders.

Older mothers tell me that none of this testing was available when they were pregnant, and I'm really not sure if the innovation is a good thing or a bad thing. In some ways, I think the testing makes you worry more. However, it is very reassuring every time we hear more good news. Sadly, we did not get to see more pictures of the baby at this appointment, but we did get to hear the heart racing along at 160 beats per minute. It seems that this is quite normal for a baby of this gestation. That fast little humming-bird thrum is music to my ears.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Things I Used to Enjoy

Morning tea with honey and milk


Soft creamy brie


Tangy crumbly blue cheese

Lifting heavy things

Having room for all my own organs

The occasional drink

Staying up past 10:00pm

Not worrying

Normal boring every day pants

Nevertheless, I wouldn't change the current situation for anything in the world!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Swine Flu Vaccine --- Done!

Ahhh. That was a collective sigh of relief just released from many of the pregnant mommies of the greater Seattle area. Due to some serious organizing, and some very long days on the part of many wonderful nurses, hundreds of pregnant women in my area were recently able to attend an H1N1 clinic at our local hospital. I was delighted to receive my jab because, along with my seasonal shot, I am now much less likely to get seriously sick this winter.

I was touched, but also a bit shocked, to discover that we were getting our shots before the medical people. H1N1 is a phenomenon that has so many people in crisis mode, and it seems like many decisions are not being made in a clear and logical fashion. Nevertheless, I was very grateful to receive coverage. Now if we can just work out how to get the vaccine to other at-risk groups before we go giving away doses to regular healthy people or even major financial firms.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More from the Eeyores

Dear Eeyores,

When I tell you about my brother, who is graduating soon, it would be nice if you could just hang on to your negativity, and let me be proud of him for one slender minute! There is really no need to tell me how bad the job market is, or how unlikely it would be for him to find something nearby. Perhaps you think you are helping me to recognize the realities of life? But I'm perfectly capable of seeing them for myself. Also, has it ever occurred to you that perhaps your cousin who had so much trouble finding a job might, just maybe, be in a different set of circumstances? I simply prefer to remain optimistic since there is no point in doing otherwise. Your forbearance is much appreciated.



Friday, November 13, 2009

My Dear Husband

There are many reasons to love my husband, but every once in a while he really bowls me over. The other night he took me out for a lovely dinner. We had a great time, and stayed out a bit late (it was a school night!) chatting with our friends. Driving home, I was really looking forward to slipping on those pajamas and getting into bed.

Then, as I went to get out of the car, I realized I didn't have my purse. Yes, pregnant brain strikes again, and I'd left it at the restaurant. Cursing my stupid self, I started making plans to pick it up the next day, but MDH said "no." Instead, he sent me inside and drove back to the restaurant (20 minutes? 30?) to fetch the missing item. I barely remember him coming in later because I was already mostly asleep. Nevertheless, when I went downstairs the next morning to go to work, there was my purse hanging on its usual hook. I've been calling him my handbag hero ever since.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Ultra-Sound is Fun

That very first appointment with the OBGYN was SO exciting. Even though a home test and a doctor's test confirmed the pregnancy, it still didn't seem quite real until that appointment. As the NP was doing her exam, I remember her saying, in an uber-bright voice, "oh yes, we're all kinds of pregnant!" and suddenly it began to seem real. This feeling was compounded when they wheeled in the portable ultra-sound machine. We got to see our little "pollywog" at last.

Later I discovered that the portable machine really doesn't give all that great a picture. At our next appointment, we had a chance to meet up with the Big Kahuna of ultra-sound technology. Okay, no, it was not one of those impressive 4-D models, but really I didn't mind. On the screen this time was a recognizable baby with a face, hand, feet, and other details too. We could see the baby moving all over the place, and we could make out arms, legs, and even face. One of the best bits was when she began bouncing off the wall (me!) in a sort of gymnastic flip. I kept forgetting to stay flat on the table because I wanted to turn and get a better look.

Then, of course, there's the part where you get to see the beating of that teeny tiny little heart. I mean to gush, but that particular picture is awesome. And I truly mean awesome. Not the way teenagers use it to mean "pretty good" but the real meaning of the world where you are struck dumb by the amazement of the thing. I absolutely cannot wait for our next appointment with the big machine.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

No Show Court Date

Several weeks ago, M and I both received subpoenas in the mail. It's quite a shock to get something like that when you've never had so much as a parking ticket in the past. These papers stated that we required to give evidence in the trial of our former neighbor. We were a bit taken aback by this news since the events in question happened more than two years ago. However, knowing there was not much we could do to get out of it; we made plans with our employers to take time off of work.

Yesterday was supposed to be the first day of those "proceedings," so I had the whole day off, and M was planning to leave work and then head back. At virtually the last minute, an officer of the court called to say "oh never mind" it seems that the hearing was "stricken" and we were no longer required to attend. Yay hooray, we didn't have to go, but it would have been nice to know this a little earlier. Meanwhile, the trial is still on for next month.

All this time, all this money, and for what? It seems like there should be an easier way to deal with small-scale issues. I know we want our justice system to be just, but still this seems a bit excessive. Here's hoping that this gets resolved before M and I have to spend four whole days (unlikely but not impossible) sitting in that courtroom all because a dog got loose and tangled with a cat.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Who Wants to Read About Palin?

I am absolutely floored to see that the new book about Sarah Palin is a best-seller on many new book lists. Why in the world do people want to read this book? There can't be that many hard-core Palin fans out there right? Is it more that urge to stop and stare at the traffic accident? This woman was an absolute embarrassment to women, regardless of political affiliation, everywhere when she was on the campaign trail. I simply cannot believe that anyone will give her the time of day let alone $28.99.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Halloween 09

Halloween '09 was a very good one indeed. I got to spend the whole weekend with a zombie soccer player and a carton of milk. The soccer player costume came about because Dad, being Dad, brought the wrong soccer jerzy home from Europe. Instead of Elder Niece's favorite German team, he purchased one from an opposing Spanish team! Horrors! Luckily, it was realized that turning this player into a zombie for the sake of a costume was really a slam. Whew! Day saved!

The milk carton came about because Younger Niece planned to go trick or treating with a friend, and they wanted their costumes to compliment. Thus they decided on milk and cookies. Unfortunately, at the last minute, the cookies had to cancel, but the carton of milk still went. Her costume was another Grandma original, and it was quite fabulous. Younger Niece herself had the brainwave to put an expiration date of 1492 on the carton, so that she could be sour milk. The response to her costume was HUGE. People were leaning out of car windows to congratulate her.

Next year: baby costumes!

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Finding Out

It's a very little story, but I wanted to get it down before I forget the details.

It all started for us when we were heading home from a weekend away. I was driving, it was the middle of the afternoon, and we had only been on the road for an hour at most. In spite of getting a full night's sleep the night before, I found that I could hardly keep my eyes open. Eventually, I had to pull over and ask M to drive because I was so tired I thought I might get us into trouble. All I thought about this was "hope I'm not getting sick."

Later in the week, I made our weekend night dinner in the usual way, and I happened to boil some eggs to put on the salad. They were beautiful farmers' market eggs, and they were perfectly cooked if I do say so myself. Nevertheless, when it came time to actually eat the salad, I found that I could not stand the thought of eating those eggs. I realized that they smelled terrible to me. M seemed to be enjoying his, so I gave one a try. Nope, they tasted even worse than they smelled. How could it be that I'd never noticed how vile and disgusting eggs really are? Then, finally, the idea hit me. Maybe it wasn't the eggs. The next day, I trotted off to the grocery store to buy my self a test. Sure enough, it was me, and not the eggs all along.