Sunday, November 30, 2008


There are days, normal days, where I feel like I'm going in circles. Yesterday was a Circle Day, but it felt far from normal. I guess it's just being jittery. Ian called at dinner time and talked to all the girls. He's frustrated and I'm frustrated for him. I hope today is a better day for him. If he's having a good day, then we will too.

In the meantime I've turned the turkey carcass into stock (stacked in the freezer, ready for use), I'm doing a lot of dishes (the housekeeper has been out since Wednesday because of the cyclone, which is finally done), cleaning up (one word: kids), putting together gifts (blasted Snapfish *grumble*), rahrahing the offspring into using their chore charts (it's so much fun to hear them complain about no money when they've had chore charts for weeks... and haven't done them), on-line window shopping (nothing will make it for the holidays anymore), etc etc etc. The gas ran out on the stove when I was making some turkey soup and I don't feel like changing the tank, so it'll be nuked. I really should be whipping up some additional cookie doughs for Thursday and Friday, and continuing my crochet projects. Make a "Free Cats" sign for the kitten and Tikka. And my bedroom needs some serious attending to. Instead, I'm sitting here feeling like I'm going in circles.
Isn't it funny how the computer sucks away time? I'm going to write a list for this afternoon and stop sitting here checking
So what did I do with my afternoon? I didn't clean my bedroom like I wanted, that's a bummer and I may still take a swing at it before taking a shower and getting some sleep. Maybe. I did bring the kids to the pool as it was remarkably clean after the cyclone, and picked up the kitchen a bit. Not all the dishes, that's practically a living creation now with the stacks of dirty dishes in the sinks. I threw out the trash because the turkey carcass wasn't being kind to my nose. A couple more loads of laundry done, school lunches for tomorrow made, played a round of Harry Potter Scene It with the boys, litter boxes cleaned, chore charts printed, a round of Holy Cow with Jonathon, the Free Cats poster page just needs photos of Tikka and Raita, a few pages of Animal, Vegetable, Miracle read, a double batch of ginger cookie dough is in the freezer, and that's about it. We had the neighbors over for Sunday night pizza and the Christmas lights were all aglow. Katherine did her Mitosis project which turned out pretty cool (have I mentioned how I really miss taking science classes?) and I learned that the ugly little bump on Nicholas's thumb is actually a wart.
Ew, a wart. I read up a bit on wart treatments and seems a simple thing called Duct Tape Occlusion Therapy works as well and often better than freezing/cutting/other doctor invasive methods. The idea is to cut pieces of duct tape just the size of the wart and adhere it to the spot for 6 days, then scrape off the dead cells with a pumice stone and repeat the process until the wart is gone. It doesn't hurt, isn't dangerous, and takes less time that more painful methods to clear it out. And that's when I discovered I have no duct tape. Scotch? check. Packing? check. Electrical? check. Duct? nope. One more thing to put on the shopping list.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Smoke and Fire Tenders

Around 60 hours into the siege in Mumbai and the Taj Mahal Hotel is on fire again. Gunfire is heard steadily on the Headline News channel. A body was just pushed through a 1st floor window. Reports refer to carnage inside.

Ian won't be in that danger zone, but he's off to Mumbai this morning for the After Time. The time when the hotel is secure, and the dead need to be identified, families notified, Americans need to get home, passports replaced. There is a Consulate in Mumbai already, but no single Consulate is staffed to single-handedly manage this sort of emergency, so we do what we can to help.

What a weird day.

I told the housekeeper not to come in today. Never mind that the entire entry is layered in mud. With the rains comes the flooding in from the street. With the flooding comes plenty of debris, trash and mud. Our driveway is slick with mud and plastic. The mud comes into the house on the feet of mostly small people. The small people were out for several hours (rain or not) in their swimsuits, creating additional lakes, rivers, waterfalls, islands, etc. The biggest of the little people decided to bring in a dead frog that was supposed to be some crow's lunch but was dropped in our driveway. She then put it in the sink and dissected it. The kid can't stand bugs, but give her a half-mangled frog and she's happy as a clam. OK.

So the day has been rather fruitful. They played outside, always a good thing especially as the temperature is so nice. I keep opening windows to listen to the rain, they keep shutting them. I gave in and made some breakfast, French Breakfast Puffs. I doubt they're French at all, but hey what do I know. They were OK, more muffiny than I think they were supposed to be, but that's probably a result of my being unable to cream the crisco/sugar since our beater died, making them slightly heavy.
Our beater died a while ago. It wasn't a huge surprise. For a multispeed mixer it was stuck on 1 for several years, and it wasn't a slow 1. Everything required hand beating before using the mixer so it didn't fly all over the kitchen. But that's what plugging things into transformers does. It kills them. It's even worse for items with heating elements which brings me to our toaster. It died this week. Waaah! My parents sent it to us as a gift when we lived in Manila, it was a great 4 slice toaster, wide enough for most bagels even. It was a suddent death. It started acting wonky on Monday and by Wednesday it had passed on to toaster heaven. We use our toaster a lot, so we'll purchase a 220v to use the rest of our time here and store it when we return next year. In the meantime, raw bread.
Our slow cooker won't be coming home with us. It's from a decade ago, has a single Off/Low/High knob, and I want a new one with a delay button. The last time we made stewed apples it cooked too long and we ended with applesauce. Good applesauce, but not what we aimed for. I've come to really like the crockpot. It's so convenient, I think I'll look around for a crockpot cookbook beyond the one the cooker came with.
Our food processor won't come with us either. It's from before we got married, has 3 options, On/Off/Pulse and 2 shredder disks. Again I just want a new one. Is that so wrong? It's had a long, good life.
OK, enough with the kitchen talk. Well, one more thing, Katherine made lunch today. I didn't ask, she just did. Of course I didn't offer to feed the crew either and it was already 2 p.m., but hey, I was busy. Busy putting up Christmas! The tree is up, the lights are on it, the stockings are up, the Advent calendar is ready.
This coming week is the toy drive at the school, and we have quite the pile being donated. I've gone through the toy room and the gift box and pulled out everything the kids have outgrown or items that have become outdated. Mr. Potato Head is great, but not the favorite nor often played with. To be honest, Darth Tater was never the favorite, no matter how cute he is. The Magnetix are going also, along with old puzzles, games, and books. Time to clean house and give to others. Two birds, one shot. Just another reason I like the Season.
So now it's time to dig up some food again. Tomorrow I'll make a turkey pot pie with most of the leftover bits from Thanksgiving, but honestly I'm not hungry now so it'll be a foraging night for the kids. We're running a little late on everything but it doesn't matter too much as Ian is still at work for a DVC. As of right now, he's heading to Mumbai tomorrow as back-up. I'm not thrilled, but that's part of the job. I'm actually more not thrilled because he'll also be gone from the 15th-23rd in Hyderabad, and I don't know how long he'll be in Mumbai seeing as the situation there is not over, 2 days after it started. The kids are understandably worried for his safety, I know he'll be safe but I don't like him going anyway. Maybe they'll change their minds between now and tomorrow. Cross your fingers for us and keep praying for those currently in Mumbai. All ~17 million of them.

Fun stuff

It's another day off from school. Work isn't shut down, but I'm staying home with the kids. The rain comes in bursts, flooding is periodic in our road/driveway/yard, but many homes in the city have been completely flooded out. We have rain in our forecast for the next week, but it will be tapering off as the cyclone blows itself out. So, another day at home in the sogginess. Now I have plenty of time to de-meat the turkey.

**International Children's Digital Library

**Peanut Butter Pumpkin Pie: Not bad. Not bad at all. For those of you who don't like to suffer through straight pumpkin pie, and really like peanut butter, this is for you. I'm more a cream cheese pumpkin pie person, or straight up with whipped cream, but like I said, this is a tasty alternative.

Pastry for single crust pie (I did a graham cracker crust)
3 eggs
1 (16 oz.) can pumpkin
1/2 c. light brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. light cream or half & half

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Press pastry into 10 inch pie dish or 9 inch deep dish pie plate; set aside. In large bowl, beat eggs. Add pumpkin, both sugars, peanut butter, spice, and salt; beat well. Gradually add light cream, beating until blended. Pour into prepared crust and bake 65 to 70 minutes or until pie tests done. Let cool. Makes about 8 servings.

Note: If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, substitute 1/2 teaspoon each ground cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and allspice.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Mumbai: We are Fine. Cyclone: We are Fine.

Mumbai is across the country from us, so we are not in immediate danger (think 1300km, roughly NY to Kansas?). That's not to say the horrors in Mumbai aren't affecting us. Our people are heading to Mumbai to help out, and of course we do have a Consulate there with ~40 of our colleagues.
Read CNN or BBC.
A cyclone hit us yesterday. Cyclone=Hurricane, just in the Indian Ocean intead of the Atlantic (Typhoon is reserved for the Pacific Ocean, but it's the same thing). It hasn't been devistating as far as wind damage, though some large branches have fallen and I haven't seen the roads since I woke up 30 minutes ago, but the rains have flooded everything. Our driveway, carport, yard is a river. The rains are coming in powerful bursts. School is canceled for today. It's the second time since we've been here that school has been out for weather.
So, what has been skipped over lately?
Katherine had her Week Without Walls. The 7th grade trained out to Mysore in the state of Karnataka, and spent 4 full days abusing the King's Park Sanctuary resort, hiking through Nagarhole National Park, rapelling and rock climbing, dipping in a waterfall, tracking animals on safari, and team-building before visiting a Tibetan monastery and Mysore Palace. They took the night train back and didn't seem too worse for wear, but for the mussed hair and slightly stinky clothing. More importantly, Katherine made new friends, had a good friend as one of her roommates, was full of inside jokes and had plenty of stories to share. She saw her first shooting star. She had fun. She came back happy. I can't tell you how nervous I was sending her out there, even equipped with seabands. And yes, she had some moments on the trip. Katherine needs time alone, she needs time to regroup, she needs time to read and just be apart. Not a lot, not even every day, but some. And as we all know about school trips, times of being alone are non-existent. From the bus to the train to the hotel to the activities and meals, everyone is in a group, or at the very very least, has a buddy, and no one sleeps enough or drinks enough or eats enough (even when, ahem, mom packs a week's worth of supplimental nutrition in the suitcase). By Wednesday evening Katherine was crying at nothing and running a fever. She went to bed early and had regrouped enough by morning to get through the busy day. But she did it, and while my fears weren't completely unfounded, she was fine and was happy.
Speaking of being happy, Katherine is so much happier this school year. The big differences being she has friends, and she doesn't pick sides. It was funny to hear her on the phone (she called several times on her trip) about how the girls were all divided and doing the bit "Well, you just go tell HER that I'm blah blah blah" and Katherine would tell her to go say it herself. Katherine is making a big effort to stay out of the confrontations, to realize they are dumb and ever-changing, and to become comfortable with herself and the way she wants to be.
I know many parents will disagree with this next statement, but I'll say it anyway. It's OK for us that our previously straight-A student is now pulling Bs and a couple Cs. Duh, we're not thrilled with the Cs. But she's emotionally healthier now as she seems to have spent 1st quarter developing her friendships and her own self-esteem, and emotional health means more to us than the difference between an A and a B. We're working on the grades, she knows they are her responsibility, and I do think that 2nd quarter will see an improvement. Every one of her teachers at conference time (and I mean - every - single - one) said that Katherine is not just smart but really really smart, and her grades reflect not her brains, but her organization, participation and responsibility. Her participation has improved since then, as we've heard from several of her teachers in the past weeks. We encouraged her math/science teacher to continue to let her help other students in class once her own work is done. She needs to feel useful, and as she finishes her work so far ahead of everyone esle, helping out prevents boredom. We also peeked a glance at the class grades for both Math and Science... not a single A was given. So her Bs in both those classes were actually the highest grades handed out. Her language arts/social studies teacher seems to understand her quite well and says she delivers great oral presentations. Her French teacher says she a sponge and now that she's sitting in the front row she's much more involved.
Band is a funny thing. She's slouchy. She doesn't like to practice (who does?). But she actually plays flute quite well. She can sightread pretty well too. Last night after our weekly Heroes, she came home and played the piano for about 45 minutes. She hasn't played piano since starting the flute last year, but she picked her way through several songs she hadn't played before, with both hands together. It would be nice if it continued. We'll see.
So what about the other kids' conferences? Jonathon has issues with self-control. They aren't getting better. We did discuss his handwriting and I told her about the writing mat and the yoropencil he uses at home. She was intrigued by the idea that lefties develop their letters differently. I also asked her to allow Jonathon to keep an eraser at his seat. She has the kids cross out and continue to avoid massive erasing and torn paper, but for Jonathon he needs an eraser to correct his backwards numbers and letters. Often, he'll notice it's backwards as soon as he's written it, so she agreed.
Rebecca is doing well in school, As and Bs. The big goal for Rebecca will be her reading speed and her spelling. She's made a huge improvement in both over the past few weeks, really making an effort to finish her books by reading every night, even just a chapter. She's my "responsible one" (don't you just hate it when parents label their kids? yeah, me too). When something needs to go to school, I send it with her. When something happens at school, I know she'll call. I can rely on her to think 2 steps ahead and figure things out. She has to really work for her grades, but work she does.
Nicholas' teacher had nothing but positive things to say about him, and she had him totally pegged. He sits back and observes before jumping into any situation, be it school, class, a project, a game, anything. He doesn't like being reprimanded, and withdraws when he is. She commented on how at the beginning of the year he had a stomacheache and headache every day. Now, they're gone. We always say that Nicholas is our homebody. He likes to stay home, and he likes everyone else to stay home too. There's been steady improvement since the beginning of the year, and last week was the final step. He stayed home with what I supposed was pink eye, and I went to work. He was so bored, he kept calling me to ask when he could come to the Consulate (to see the doc). He was so bored, he was relieved it wasn't pink eye and he could return to school the next day. Since then, he says he wants to see his friends, he wants to go to class, and his teacher has noticed the change too. He didn't even withdraw when she reprimanded him this week, and instead completed his work and showed her straight off. It's only taken 8 years, but Nicholas is finally coming into his own.
That's it for now. I really really have to get my turkey in the oven and the sides acookin'. Thank goodness I did the pies last night. Have a wonderful Turkey Day, and we give thanks for all our blessings, espcially on this day of uncertainty.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I promise to come back with a real post soon. Promise.

One very cool thing and one very frightening thing.

Cool: Thin Film Solar Panels It would be great to have affordable solar power, wouldn't it?

Frightening: The Dynamic Tower Eighty. Rotating. Floors. *shudder*

Obama stuff behind the cut tag.

A cool Obama thing:

A primer on Obama
, great for kids too. In .pdf form, printable into a little booklet.
Obama Poised to ReBrand America: " "The arrival of Obama, as an African-American president, gives people a reason -- an excuse even -- to start loving America again," Oakley said.
But with expectations so high, experts say Obama will have to work to capitalize on the opportunity before him.
"Obama needs to show that he is prepared to listen to America's allies, to consult with them genuinely on issues like Afghanistan and climate change, to open up to new thinking about Iran and Cuba, to re-shape the world's economic institutions," Oakley said."
++What I found most interesting about this article, is that I read it right after reading the Diplomacy Book Club choice for November, an essay by Samuel P. Huntington entitled "The Lonely Superpower." The essay was written in 1999, and includes this passage: "First, it would behoove Americans to stop acting and talking as if this were a unipolar world. It is not. To deal with any major global issue, the United States needs the cooperation of at least some major powers. Unilateral sanctions and interventions are recipes for foreign policy disasters. Second, American leaders should abandon the benign-hegemon illusion that a natural congruity exists between their interests and values and those of the rest of the world. It does not. At times, American actions may promote public goods and serve more widely accepted ends. But often they will not, in part because of the unique moralistic component in American policy but also simply because America is the only superpower, and hence its interests necessarily differ from those of other countries. This makes America unique but not benign in the eyes of those countries."

Monday, November 10, 2008

Palin 2012? Say it ain't so.

Turn up the sound and click away... it's interactive! (Watch for the dinosaur out the windows too...)

Top 10 Foreign Issues for Obama to Contend With

Iraq and Afghanistan, sure... but plenty of others too.

November 4: President-Elect Obama's Speech

"If there is anyone out there who still doubts that America is a place where all things are possible; who still wonders if the dream of our founders is alive in our time; who still questions the power of our democracy, tonight is your answer...

It's the answer told by lines that stretched around schools and churches in numbers this nation has never seen; by people who waited three hours and four hours, many for the very first time in their lives, because they believed that this time must be different; that their voice could be that difference.
It's the answer spoken by young and old, rich and poor, Democrat and Republican, black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American, gay, straight, disabled and not disabled -- Americans who sent a message to the world that we have never been a collection of Red States and Blue States: we are, and always will be, the United States of America.
It's the answer that led those who have been told for so long by so many to be cynical, and fearful, and doubtful of what we can achieve to put their hands on the arc of history and bend it once more toward the hope of a better day.
It's been a long time coming, but tonight, because of what we did on this day, in this election, at this defining moment, change has come to America.
I just received a very gracious call from Senator McCain. He fought long and hard in this campaign, and he's fought even longer and harder for the country he loves. He has endured sacrifices for America that most of us cannot begin to imagine, and we are better off for the service rendered by this brave and selfless leader. I congratulate him and Governor Palin for all they have achieved, and I look forward to working with them to renew this nation's promise in the months ahead.
I want to thank my partner in this journey, a man who campaigned from his heart and spoke for the men and women he grew up with on the streets of Scranton and rode with on that train home to Delaware, the Vice President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden.
I would not be standing here tonight without the unyielding support of my best friend for the last sixteen years, the rock of our family and the love of my life, our nation's next First Lady, Michelle Obama. Sasha and Malia, I love you both so much, and you have earned the new puppy that's coming with us to the White House. And while she's no longer with us, I know my grandmother is watching, along with the family that made me who I am. I miss them tonight, and know that my debt to them is beyond measure.
To my campaign manager David Plouffe, my chief strategist David Axelrod, and the best campaign team ever assembled in the history of politics -- you made this happen, and I am forever grateful for what you've sacrificed to get it done.
But above all, I will never forget who this victory truly belongs to -- it belongs to you.
I was never the likeliest candidate for this office. We didn't start with much money or many endorsements. Our campaign was not hatched in the halls of Washington -- it began in the backyards of Des Moines and the living rooms of Concord and the front porches of Charleston.
It was built by working men and women who dug into what little savings they had to give five dollars and ten dollars and twenty dollars to this cause. It grew strength from the young people who rejected the myth of their generation's apathy; who left their homes and their families for jobs that offered little pay and less sleep; from the not-so-young people who braved the bitter cold and scorching heat to knock on the doors of perfect strangers; from the millions of Americans who volunteered, and organized, and proved that more than two centuries later, a government of the people, by the people and for the people has not perished from this Earth. This is your victory.
I know you didn't do this just to win an election and I know you didn't do it for me. You did it because you understand the enormity of the task that lies ahead. For even as we celebrate tonight, we know the challenges that tomorrow will bring are the greatest of our lifetime -- two wars, a planet in peril, the worst financial crisis in a century. Even as we stand here tonight, we know there are brave Americans waking up in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan to risk their lives for us. There are mothers and fathers who will lie awake after their children fall asleep and wonder how they'll make the mortgage, or pay their doctor's bills, or save enough for college. There is new energy to harness and new jobs to be created; new schools to build and threats to meet and alliances to repair.
The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep. We may not get there in one year or even one term, but America -- I have never been more hopeful than I am tonight that we will get there. I promise you -- we as a people will get there.
There will be setbacks and false starts. There are many who won't agree with every decision or policy I make as President, and we know that government can't solve every problem. But I will always be honest with you about the challenges we face. I will listen to you, especially when we disagree. And above all, I will ask you join in the work of remaking this nation the only way it's been done in America for two-hundred and twenty-one years -- block by block, brick by brick, calloused hand by calloused hand.
What began twenty-one months ago in the depths of winter must not end on this autumn night. This victory alone is not the change we seek -- it is only the chance for us to make that change. And that cannot happen if we go back to the way things were. It cannot happen without you.
So let us summon a new spirit of patriotism; of service and responsibility where each of us resolves to pitch in and work harder and look after not only ourselves, but each other. Let us remember that if this financial crisis taught us anything, it's that we cannot have a thriving Wall Street while Main Street suffers -- in this country, we rise or fall as one nation; as one people.
Let us resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long. Let us remember that it was a man from this state who first carried the banner of the Republican Party to the White House -- a party founded on the values of self-reliance, individual liberty, and national unity. Those are values we all share, and while the Democratic Party has won a great victory tonight, we do so with a measure of humility and determination to heal the divides that have held back our progress. As Lincoln said to a nation far more divided than ours, "We are not enemies, but friendsÂ…though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." And to those Americans whose support I have yet to earn -- I may not have won your vote, but I hear your voices, I need your help, and I will be your President too.
And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of our world -- our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand. To those who would tear this world down -- we will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security -- we support you. And to all those who have wondered if America's beacon still burns as bright --tonight we proved once more that the true strength of our nation comes not from our the might of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the enduring power of our ideals: democracy, liberty, opportunity, and unyielding hope.
For that is the true genius of America -- that America can change. Our union can be perfected. And what we have already achieved gives us hope for what we can and must achieve tomorrow.
This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But one that's on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Atlanta. She's a lot like the millions of others who stood in line to make their voice heard in this election except for one thing -- Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old.
She was born just a generation past slavery; a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky; when someone like her couldn't vote for two reasons -- because she was a woman and because of the color of her skin.
And tonight, I think about all that she's seen throughout her century in America -- the heartache and the hope; the struggle and the progress; the times we were told that we can't, and the people who pressed on with that American creed: Yes we can.
At a time when women's voices were silenced and their hopes dismissed, she lived to see them stand up and speak out and reach for the ballot. Yes we can.
When there was despair in the dust bowl and depression across the land, she saw a nation conquer fear itself with a New Deal, new jobs and a new sense of common purpose. Yes we can.
When the bombs fell on our harbor and tyranny threatened the world, she was there to witness a generation rise to greatness and a democracy was saved. Yes we can.
She was there for the buses in Montgomery, the hoses in Birmingham, a bridge in Selma, and a preacher from Atlanta who told a people that "We Shall Overcome." Yes we can.
A man touched down on the moon, a wall came down in Berlin, a world was connected by our own science and imagination. And this year, in this election, she touched her finger to a screen, and cast her vote, because after 106 years in America, through the best of times and the darkest of hours, she knows how America can change. Yes we can.
America, we have come so far. We have seen so much. But there is so much more to do. So tonight, let us ask ourselves -- if our children should live to see the next century; if my daughters should be so lucky to live as long as Ann Nixon Cooper, what change will they see? What progress will we have made?
This is our chance to answer that call. This is our moment. This is our time -- to put our people back to work and open doors of opportunity for our kids; to restore prosperity and promote the cause of peace; to reclaim the American Dream and reaffirm that fundamental truth -- that out of many, we are one; that while we breathe, we hope, and where we are met with cynicism, and doubt, and those who tell us that we can't, we will respond with that timeless creed that sums up the spirit of a people:
Yes We Can. Thank you, God bless you, and may God Bless the United States of America."

Yes We Can

Even more meaningful now.

Obama's Speech from New Hampshire... in January 2008

"A few weeks ago, no one imagined that we'd have accomplished what we
did here tonight. For most of this campaign, we were far behind, and
we always knew our climb would be steep.
But in record numbers, you came out and spoke up for change. And with
your voices and your votes, you made it clear that at this moment - in
this election - there is something happening in America.
There is something happening when men and women in Des Moines and
Davenport; in Lebanon and Concord come out in the snows of January to
wait in lines that stretch block after block because they believe in
what this country can be.
There is something happening when Americans who are young in age and
in spirit - who have never before participated in politics - turn out
in numbers we've never seen because they know in their hearts that
this time must be different.
There is something happening when people vote not just for the party
they belong to but the hopes they hold in common - that whether we are
rich or poor; black or white; Latino or Asian; whether we hail from
Iowa or New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina, we are ready to take
this country in a fundamentally new direction. That is what's
happening in America right now. Change is what's happening in
You can be the new majority who can lead this nation out of a long
political darkness - Democrats, Independents and Republicans who are
tired of the division and distraction that has clouded Washington; who
know that we can disagree without being disagreeable; who understand
that if we mobilize our voices to challenge the money and influence
that's stood in our way and challenge ourselves to reach for something
better, there's no problem we can't solve - no destiny we cannot
Our new American majority can end the outrage of unaffordable,
unavailable health care in our time. We can bring doctors and
patients; workers and businesses, Democrats and Republicans together;
and we can tell the drug and insurance industry that while they'll get
a seat at the table, they don't get to buy every chair. Not this
time. Not now.
Our new majority can end the tax breaks for corporations that ship our
jobs overseas and put a middle-class tax cut into the pockets of the
working Americans who deserve it.
We can stop sending our children to schools with corridors of shame
and start putting them on a pathway to success. We can stop talking
about how great teachers are and start rewarding them for their
greatness. We can do this with our new majority.
We can harness the ingenuity of farmers and scientists; citizens and
entrepreneurs to free this nation from the tyranny of oil and save our
planet from a point of no return.
And when I am President, we will end this war in Iraq and bring our
troops home; we will finish the job against al Qaeda in Afghanistan;
we will care for our veterans; we will restore our moral standing in
the world; and we will never use 9/11 as a way to scare up votes,
because it is not a tactic to win an election, it is a challenge that
should unite America and the world against the common threats of the
twenty-first century: terrorism and nuclear weapons; climate change
and poverty; genocide and disease.
All of the candidates in this race share these goals. All have good
ideas. And all are patriots who serve this country honorably.
But the reason our campaign has always been different is because it's
not just about what I will do as President, it's also about what you,
the people who love this country, can do to change it.
That's why tonight belongs to you. It belongs to the organizers and
the volunteers and the staff who believed in our improbable journey
and rallied so many others to join.
We know the battle ahead will be long, but always remember that no
matter what obstacles stand in our way, nothing can withstand the
power of millions of voices calling for change
We have been told we cannot do this by a chorus of cynics who will
only grow louder and more dissonant in the weeks to come. We've been
asked to pause for a reality check. We've been warned against
offering the people of this nation false hope.
But in the unlikely story that is America, there has never been
anything false about hope
. For when we have faced down impossible
odds; when we've been told that we're not ready, or that we shouldn't
try, or that we can't, generations of Americans have responded with a
simple creed that sums up the spirit of a people.
Yes we can.
It was a creed written into the founding documents that declared the
destiny of a nation.

Yes we can.
It was whispered by slaves and abolitionists as they blazed a trail
toward freedom through the darkest of nights.

Yes we can.
It was sung by immigrants as they struck out from distant shores and
pioneers who pushed westward against an unforgiving wilderness.

Yes we can.
It was the call of workers who organized; women who reached for the
ballot; a President who chose the moon as our new frontier; and a King who took us to the mountaintop and pointed the way to the Promised Land.
Yes we can to justice and equality. Yes we can to opportunity and
prosperity. Yes we can heal this nation. Yes we can repair this
world. Yes we can.

And so tomorrow, as we take this campaign South and West; as we learn
that the struggles of the textile worker in Spartanburg are not so
different than the plight of the dishwasher in Las Vegas; that the
hopes of the little girl who goes to a crumbling school in Dillon are
the same as the dreams of the boy who learns on the streets of LA; we
will remember that there is something happening in America; that we
are not as divided as our politics suggests; that we are one people;
we are one nation; and together, we will begin the next great chapter
in America's story with three words that will ring from coast to
coast; from sea to shining sea - Yes. We. Can."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

This is Cool.

Another reason to like


I didn't know this.

I'm in the process of reading Stephenie Meyer's Breaking Dawn. The stories are quite "addictive" in that they read quickly and have a fun plotline. Hardly fabulous literature, but enjoyable. The author was writing a 5th book, basically starting from the beginning of the story but from the POV of the other main character. What I didn't know was that it had been leaked.

How frustrating is that, to put in month after month of work only to have a half-finished project released? That would take the air totally out of my sails. Well, the author wrote about it on her blog back in August, and included a downloadable "official" unfinished/unedited version. She figures that since it's out anway folks should see her latest efforts. Hopefully this won't frustrate her so much that she never finishes it.

I won't read the download, but I appreciated her efforts to contain the mess.

New photos are up...

Just a few from Halloween at our flickr site.

Election Eve (for us)

If you have kids, I hope they're keeping up with this election too! We've decided to keep the kids home from school tomorrow (we're playing hooky too). They'll watch the returns, color in their maps, and play on websites that explain our political system. Here are some great sites...
Historical elections and how the electoral votes broke down:
A blank map to color in for electoral votes:
When the polls will close nationwide:

Saturday, November 1, 2008

What a week.

Last you heard, I was sick. That's not changed.

I stayed home from work Tuesday while our neighbor took our kids and his to the Planetarium down the road. Apparently it's like stepping through a time portal, straight back to circa 1963. Few of the exhibits worked, as is typical.
The vet came in the afternoon. I'd locked the cats in the playroom which was a mistake. Our cats freak at the sight of the vet. They just know. And with all the toys around, the cats tore through the room knocking everything down and out of their way. They got their shots anyway, and we had the vet check out Hiro, our foster kitten.
Wednesday I coughed my way through work then helped the kids carve their pumpkins. I have pictures.
Thursday I coughed my way through work again. Afterwards we brought Katherine to Salon 2000 over at the Park Sheraton to get her hair cut. She chose a really great style and it looks wonderful on her. In the evening we all trucked over to Sparky's for a Halloween party/buffet. I have pictures.
Friday, again with the coughing at work. Then Katherine went back to Salon 2000 and got her hair highlighted with copper highlights. It was a compromise. She wanted purply-black highlights, or crayon red highlights, she accepted gentle copper highlights. At the very least she now knows the process for getting color, and didn't thoroughly enjoy it, but may go a bit brighter next time. She got back just in time to don her costume again (vampire 70s prom girl) to go to the Consulate Halloween party. I have pictures.
Once home, we'd been asked to walk next door to the CGs to watch a skit by the Little Theater kids coming by. They arrived all in costume with Trick-or-Treat bags, and no skit. Quickly, we arranged for them to stop by the Simmons house and our house for T-o-Ting. The kids and I scooted back home to split out the give away candy from the loot they had just gotten at the Consulate, we lit up the jack-o-lanters, and did our bit.
We caught the latest episode of Heroes before I finally crashed hard at 10:30, and hardly stirred until 9:30 (except for that cat... oh Tandoori, if you make it out of India alive I'll owe it all to my self-restraint. See, the previous 2 nights, the cats have gotten into the bedroom. Tandoori would curl up for a while, but then he'd start this maddening ritual of sitting on me. Not sleeping, just sitting. He's easily 12 pounds, so over and over again he would sit on my stomach and stare at me. I'd wake up enough to throw him off the bed. He'd meow a few times, go to the rug to sharpen his claws for a bit, then hop back up on the bed, walk on me, sit down on my stomach, stare... repeat. For 2 nights he did this. So last night I put all the cats in the hallway, closed and bolted the door (they can open our doors otherwise by reaching up and pulling down the handle). He couldn't get in, so he spent hours reaching the handle and pulling it down, then meowing when it wouldn't open. *Thwap* goes the handle. *Meow* *meow* *thwap*... *thwap*...*meow*... *thwap* *thwap*... *meow* *meow* *meow*... *thwap*... He is seriously irritating).
Rebecca is back from her sleepover last night, where I heard she was up until 3 a.m. Sounds like an early bedtime for everyone today. But first, we need to feed Hiro and check to see if the deworming meds worked. You know how that goes. Nicholas fed the guinea pig, and I'm hoping for rain one of these days so we can release the frogs. It hasn't rained since last weekend, and now should be the start of the monsoon season, not the end. Monday the guinea pig goes back to school, yay! I don't think the kids will ever ask to have one of their own, so it was successful experience.
On to my day... feed the kitten, get dressed, eat something, and I'm off to go glasses shopping with friends. Down to one pair and I don't especially like these anyway. So it's time for something fresh and new. Here's hoping.