Thursday, December 29, 2005

The sky is falling!

I just listened to Meet the Press' podcast from Christmas day. The guests were Ted Koppel and Peter Jennings and they were talking about the only thing that we can do to prepare for the inevitable outbreak of H5N1 - or Avian Flu.

Basically they said you need to start stocking up to four weeks worth of food so when - and they stressed WHEN the flu outbreaks in your community. They basically all agreed that you have to essentially hole up for the duration in order to avoid getting the flu.

Ted Koppel hasn't done it yet, but he and his wife are going to do it. Peter Jennings and his wife *have* done it.

My dear husband always thinks I over react in times of pending doom - and he's usually right. But I just can't shake the feeling of the inevitability an upcoming outbreak. I live near a major hub airport and many of my neighbors work for the airlines. I can't help but feel that we'd be one of the first communities hit.

So, do I invest in a freezer and start stocking up now or just stock when the outbreak finally hits? I must admit that I'm feeling very vulnerable and need to find things to help me "prepare" 'cause a flu shot right now just isn't going to help.

Puppy Fever

Ever since we had to put down our dog Maxy I have had a dog-shaped hole in my life. Little things would pop up - from food falling down on the floor and having to pick it up because I didn't have a dog to eat it to remembering to bring the dog in from a freezing day.

I was looking at photo's of last year's Christmas with M and we saw a photo of Maxy. That was it. I started looking on-line for a rescue dog.

Each dog I found and called on had already been adopted.

So I ended up calling the vet's office - the ones that had put Maxy down - because we had a good experience with them. They had a male black lab mix and said that he was really sweet.

We went to look at him and I fell in love. He is such a friendly little guy. The nice thing is that he's not going to be huge, but he's not an itty bitty thing, either.

Please welcome the newest member of our family, Mel:

The vet has estimated that he's around 9 months old. He's got almost all of his adult teeth in, is potty trained, and loves to cuddle. I'm pretty happy right now. He likes to sneak things into his crate. We'll have to go and look to see what he's dragged into the crate. He's especially smitten with all of M's things. M likes him, she just gets a little intimidated sometimes when he's jumping up on her. I tell her that she's in charge and that she needs to teach Mel to not jump up on her.

Oh, and Mel's name comes from Jack's Big Music Show. It's a kids show with puppets. The puppet's names are Jack and Mary and they have a dog whose name is - you've guessed it - Mel.

Americans United

Just got a nice reply from AU.

Here's the note I sent to them:
Sent: Thu 12/22/2005 11:53 AM
To: americans united
Subject: Rob Boston Rocks!

I have been a long time non-member of AU. I get the email updates and
generally am very happy that this organization exists. But I never joined. I
don't know why, but I just never did.

But I just saw the segment on Fox News when Rob Boston took Mr. Gibson to
task for lying about the "War on Christmas". He rocks and I loved seeing Mr.
Gibson squirm.

I'm tired of being accommodating and nice to these folks. It was absolutely
wonderful seeing someone honestly fighting the good fight.

This is why I just joined.
Here's the nice note I got back from them:
Dear XXXX,

Welcome to the AU community!

Thank you so much for kind words. We have received so much negative correspondence (often hostile and with obscene language) about the so-called “War on Christmas.” It lights up my day to read encouraging e-mails from our supporters. Rob is one of our most articulate spokesmen and we were very proud of his performance on Gibson’s show. I will pass your note along to him.
We appreciate your support of Americans United and church-state separation. If I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to ask.

Lauren Smith
Okay folks, you need to write the people who are fighting the good fight! They need to hear from you! For every letter we write, they're getting tons of hate mail. Let's keep brightening their day and remind them that they do have supporters.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


We celebrate Christmas even though we're atheists. It's a cultural thing for us as we celebrated Christmas as kids ourselves. Believe it or not, you can celebrate it in as secular a way as possible. I got rid of my nativity scenes years ago. The story of baby Jesus is similar to the story of Santa - it's just a Christmas story.

I love Christmas music, the tree with lights, looking at the outdoor lights of our neighbors. I really love it.

We had a great Christmas this year. We went over to my folks house on Christmas Eve and had lunch. It was really great. M loved helping Grandma cook and everyone behaved themselves. Drinking was only done at the dinner table and it was in moderate amounts.

Christmas morning was fun. We woke up, saw the puppet show theater that she got from Santa, then headed over to our local Waffle House. It's become our Christmas morning tradition to do that. It's fun because the ladies at the WH know us from over the years. We also bring them homemade cookies and fudge. They're always very complimentary when I bring them in. It definitely is something that makes me feel good to do.

We then headed home and opened presents. M had so many presents that she got tired of opening them.

Side story: our neighbors have kids M's age and they have a pretty small Christmas. Santa brought one big present - an deluxo-electric piano. I actually like this and we'll probably try to do that next year. M gets stuff all the time during the year (uh, yeah - I spoil her) and we now have to go on a toy purge to make room for all her new stuff.

The day after Christmas we went to visit our good friends, the C's. We have a standing Friday night family night with these folks and I just love getting together with them. The girls love each other and we're very compatible from a couple standpoint. Same age, been married for a while, had kids late, nerdy.

As we were going home from the C's, M pipes up in the back, "You know who hates Santa?"

I thought she was going to say one of her school buddies. . .

"No honey, who?" we replied.

"ME!" she answered.

Well, I was a little crushed. I knew that feeling so well. I had a little trouble with the whole Santa thing and remember as a kid having trouble going to sleep on Christmas Eve thinking that this strange man would be coming into MY house. Granted, he was coming in to leave toys, but he was coming in using magic. How does he come in? We didn't have a fireplace. The questions kept on running through my head.

Well, M is having a similar experience. Last year she didn't want to come out of her room on Christmas morning because she thought Santa was waiting for her in the living room. As soon as she understood that Santa came and went, she was fine with coming out to see what goodies she got (or more importantly, what did Santa remember to bring her from her list).

This year she did NOT want to sit on Santa's lap AT ALL. We tried to see if she'd sit on his lap, but we never forced her or made her feel bad for not wanting to sit on his lap. We recently switched to Vonage for our phone service and they had a deal where you could dial *101 (I think) and listen to a message from Santa. She wasn't really keen on talking to Santa on the phone either, so I pretended to talk to Santa and gave him her list of things that she wanted this year (Barbies, a scooter, a Leapster, a baby doll, and a skate board. . . and that's all). She remembered from last year that Santa didn't give her a skate board, so that's why she put it on her list this year. Reminder: She was TWO last year.

So, since she finally said that she hated Santa, we decided that it was time to tell her that Santa was Mom and Dad.

She was relieved and I can see the happiness in her eyes when she holds up a "Santa" gift and ask who bought her this toy or that toy. Life makes sense again.

Friday, December 23, 2005


I read a lot and haven't been posting anything about my books. I just finished a quick, trashy novel: Honeymoon by James Patterson. It was a pretty formulaic book, but it was entertaining.

I also finished Dance of Death by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Childs. It was the latest Pendergast novel and I enjoyed it. They've started writing the books like a serial, which is fun because I like the cast of characters. They've definitely improved their writing since The Relic.

I'm still trying to get through The Historian. It's well written, but it's SO slow and it details EVERY STINKIN' little detail of the adventure. I have stuck with the book because it's been a fun read, but it better pay off. All the reviews of the book say that the pay-off in the end is well worth the trouble of slogging through to the end.

War on Christmas

Well, I know most of you already know about the so-called "War on Christmas" that Bill O'Reilley is pushing with his pal John Gibson (who's really just trying to shill his book - wonder if BO gets a cut).

Anyway, I just joined Americans United for the first time and it's because of one reason: Rob Boston ROCKS!

Check out this video .

I have been really disappointed with some of our Progressive leaders because they just don't seem to want to lead - they've allowed the Religious Right to run rough shod over the US. Rob Boston really goes on the attack in the above video, and rightly so. These guys are LIARS!

Go Ro-ob, go Ro-ob, go Ro-ob!

Then there's the stupid House Resolution 579 recently passed to "protect" Christmas.

Whereas Christmas is a national holiday celebrated on December 25; and (Engrossed as Agreed to or Passed by House)

H. Res. 579
In the House of Representatives, U.S.,
December 15, 2005.

Whereas Christmas is a national holiday celebrated on December 25; and

Whereas the Framers intended that the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States would prohibit the establishment of religion, not prohibit any mention of religion or reference to God in civic dialog: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, That the House of Representatives--

(1) recognizes the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas;
(2) strongly disapproves of attempts to ban references to Christmas; and
(3) expresses support for the use of these symbols and traditions, for those who celebrate Christmas.

Come on guys! We're at war where real guns are being fired. Can we worry about that war, instead?

I love this video that addresses the silliness of this "war". Congressman John Dingell is a new hero of mine!

Nip/Tuck Season Finale - Spoilers

I knew it, I knew it, I knew it. It was Quinten. The writers did a good job with bait and switch on this one, and I'm glad they didn't switch it at the last minute - you know, I got a little upset when they pulled in Liz - the evidence didn't suggest Liz at all.

But the shocker was Kit being Quinten's sister. Makes the earlier scenes with them even more creepy.

I was surprised to see Julia get back together with Shawn. That's nice.

Then the whole story line with their son - I can't believe they killed the Nazi.

Once again, Bravo! Great show!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Weight Watchers revisited

Well, I think I've officially entered into a cycle that won't break itself unless I tackle it head on.

We went on vacation a while back for a family wedding and then the next weekend we had something else going on where I wasn't able to make my WW meeting again.

Of course my weight loss has stalled (luckily, I haven't gained it back) and I keep telling myself that I'll be good this week and lose weight and then go to WW meeting.

I know this is self destructive behavior so I just need to make the next meeting and face the music and get back on the program.

Why do I have to make this so hard?

Let us pray

M has been hearing stuff about where you go when you die from her buddies at school.

"Dead things go to heaven, mama."

"Where did you hear that?" I asked, somewhat alarmed because I'm not prepared to talk about this WITH MY THREE-YEAR OLD!.

"Kelsey," who is a friend from school.

"Where is heaven?"

Long pause. . . "I don't know. I'll have to ask Kelsey. But Maxy dog is in doggy heaven."

"No, Maxy dog is dead and her body lies in a grave."

"What's a grave?"

Ugh. The conversation goes on and on. We're starting to work with her on determining what's real and what's make believe.

Then this morning just before we were getting ready to eat, M said that we had to put our hands together and say our phone number before we eat.

I did it because I was a little charmed. It's better than praying.

Friday, December 09, 2005

More TV - Warning, Spoilers!

Not really much to discuss this time as we see many series start to go on hiatus.


Last week's Monk was good. I usually see who did it a mile away, but find the particulars of the characters worth sticking around to continually watch the show. But this time, the clue was so subtle that I didn't pick up on it until towards the end of the show. I love it when that happens.


I really, really thought that Julia had killed her mother. The writers did a good job with with the ending of the show - I certainly didn't see it coming that Julia had actually killed a different woman. The episode also showed Julia that she has a talent for medicine - perhaps she'll go back and finish med school. I still think Quinten is the Carver.

Survivor: Guatemala

The big question I hear every one ask: Would you have taken the car or given a car to each of the contestants. I personally would have given the cars away. Most folks I've spoken to today would have kept it. Cindy seemed pleased as punch to have the car - she must have known she was going to be voted out. "I'll think of you as I look at the stars through my moon roof in my new car." I love it. Tell us how you really feel, Cindy! I love it when people who are voted out are visibly pissed.

The Apprentice: The Donald

I liked how the show allowed the contestants to pick their own teams. The tasks that the apprentices do for the final two were always high visibility events - why sabotage them with the nitwits and dig bats? I thought it was interesting that the contestants wanted the same people and had to negotiate for their teams. It is a good way to do it. I hope to see this to be the norm. Also, it'd be nice if there's monetary compensation to the players who are picked to come back to help the contestants out - It certainly would make folks be kinder to each other and not so cut throat.


OMG! Abbey is pregnant! I certainly didn't see that one coming at all! It'll be interesting to see if she decides to keep in given her staunch stance on no kids because she doesn't want to pass bi-polarism to her kids. It's also interesting because I think Luca is having difficulty with dealing with not having his kids around - which has been a recurring theme, and rightly so, for his character.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Officially Middle Aged

Okay, I now officially feel middle aged at 39. I just had a birthday and can't avoid the realization that it's all downhill from here.

Sometimes I do a weird mental gymnastic while glancing over the obits. I look at the age they died, split in half, and count how many times my age is over the halfway mark. Sick, I know, but it always made me feel okay. The numbers started to get smaller and smaller when I turned 35, but now that I'm 39 - I can't deny it. I'm middle aged.

But the funny thing is I wouldn't want to be any other age. I wish I had my 16 year old body, though. Mentally, however, I'm really in a great place in my life right now.

Friday, December 02, 2005


Well, I got tired of making little pot holders over and over (I'm making an afghan) and decided that I needed to step out of my comfort zone, so I made M a poncho. ("Is this my poncho, mama? It's so pretty")

I used Lion Brand Velvetspun yarn (which is REALLY, REALLY soft) and trimmed it with Fun Fur yarn. It went together fairly quickly and I'm very pleased with the finished result.

I now am trying to get brave enough to make a robot but I think I'll need some help from my neighbor since the patterns are incredibly complex.

So for the time being, I'm going to go back to making little pot holders till I'm brave enough. I have a lot of pot holders to make: 63 in all. I only have 12 of them done, so I have a lot to do. To be fair, each square is a different crochet pattern, so I'm actually learning new techniques as I make each one.

TV commentary


Okay, I saw the whole Kimber being kidnapped by the Carver coming a mile away. I still don't understand why the Carver has focused on Christian. This tends to make me want to steer away from thinking it's Quintin. I just don't know who the Carver is now.


I am anxiously awaiting seeing the spliced together film. It'll be interesting. The new information regarding how the doors are blast doors makes this even more interesting.

Where did Donovan go? Did he join the Others? I thought it was interesting about finding out what Kate did as her original crime and why she's fighting her feelings for Sawyer.

The Biggest Loser:

I had a great time watching this show. It's very inspirational for someone who has given up on the idea of having WLS. I'd love to see the show do a follow up contest a couple of years later to see if the folks have kept the weight off.


I still wish Gary Hogeboom was in the mix. He was truly fun to watch. Another show I think I'd like to see is to have the spouses/siblings/children of previous contestants to compete. I was surprised to see Judd to go last week. I can't wait till the jury questioning session - if Cindy's not one of the two, he's gonna rip folks apart (although if Rafe is one of the final two, he has a reason - Judd didn't pick his mom while it was pretty obvious that Rafe is a bigger threat than Stephanie). Go Rafe, go Rafe!

The Apprentice: The Donald

I think it's pretty clear who is going to win this one. It's been pretty clear from the start. We're going to have the first black winner of The Apprentice.


And really, he has been the best candidate for the whole show. I have been very surprised to see The Donald firing multiple people at a time. Doesn't that make the show shorter? I was also surprised to see Alla go. I thought she was a stronger candidate than the chick that's going up against Russell. She was put in a very difficult situation by the project manager and I just don't know how I would have played it, either. I thought that was a bad call on Donald's part.