Monday, January 31, 2005

Oh. My. Gawd.

Surely, this is a sign of the Apocalyspe. I am in agreement with something that George W. Bush has said.

"As a free-speech advocate, I often told parents who were complaining about content, you're the first line of responsibility; they put an off button [on] the TV for a reason. Turn it off," he said in an interview with C-SPAN host Brian Lamb.

Better yet, throw the damned thing away. Trust me, you'll feel better.

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Friday, January 28, 2005

Ingenuity that would make Bob and Doug proud

I think the headline from this Ananova news story says it all: Man peed way out of avalanche

I know where my towel is

Asteroid 2001-DA42 has been renamed,
Asteroid douglasadams.

Pan-Galactic Gargle Blaster, anyone?

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Mood elevator, part 2

Karhu Pavo Skis are the bomb!!

I just spent about 45 minutes breaking trails on our back-forty. Mens corpora e mens sano! I'm feeling invigorated.

I used to be a real snob about wax-able versus waxless skis. In my racing days, the correct combination of kick and glide wax made the difference between first place and "thanks for coming." The narrower the ski, the faster one could go. Wide, waxless skis were for wimps. Of course, my last race was in 1986, and I've only skied for the sheer pleasure of skiing these past twenty (GASP!) years, but I'm an Aries. Good luck changing my mind about anything.

A few years ago, my sweet hubby bought Karhu Pavo Skis for both of us. Waxless, heavy, wide skis??? That's f@#king blasphemy!!!

I am now eating my words, in full view of the entire blogosphere - or at least the 3 people who read my blog. My wide, waxless skis are perfect. The day is perfect for skiing. Life is good.

Monday, January 24, 2005

Steep learning curve

My sweet hubby bought this fine coffee maker for our 9th anniversary last year.

Side note to snotty cashier at PX: Shut up. This is indeed an approprate gift. I like appliances, and this is more than just an appliance.

Last night, I finally figured out how to program this fine machine. Damned translated instruction books. But I digress.

This morning, I was delighted to see that my efforts would be rewarded. I poured myself a nice hot cup of .. water.

Note to self .. the morning cuppa usually tastes better if actual coffee grounds are put in the basket.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Mood Elevator

Even on this cold, cold, January day .. housebound for the last week with a child who is making up for lost time in the incessant question department .. one cannot help but be uplifted when the trek to the mailbox reveals the arrival of the February 2005 issue of Martha Stewart Living.

Chocolate and pasta and quilting and marbling and Swedish Meatballs and making your own coffeehouse drinks!! I am embued with optimism that spring will come again. Martha will walk out of Alderson six weeks from now, and spring flowers will burst into bloom in her wake. (Cue Vivaldi here.) Viva La Martha!!

Tongue-in-cheek and painfully true

The Toronto Star's Linwood Barclay imagines the table talk at Ontario's Ministry of Health.

Once again, Ontario is abuzz with talk of laying off nurses. Quel surprise.

When I entered nursing school in 1988, it was generally assumed that one could write one's own ticket upon successful completion of a Baccalaureate degree in Nursing. By 1992, the bottom had fallen out of the nursing workforce. I was one of only a handful of graduates who landed a full-time job within 6 months of leaving Queen's. Most of my classmates ended up in the United States, at least for a while. I followed them a couple of years later.

How many SARS-type crises will it take to make the powers that be wake up to the fact that RN's are, umm, kind of important to the health care system?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Fashion statement

Why, yes, I am dressed in black from head to toe today.

And, as chance would have it, I won't be spending one damn dime today, either. Although that's more a function of being home with a child who had a 104F fever last night.

Don't let the facts weigh you down, Dr. Dobson

First, they slandered Tinky Winky. I said nothing because, well, Jerry Falwell is just so ridiculous to start with, and when my son watched Teletubbies, he could not yet identify any colours or shapes, let alone understand that a purple triangle had any political significance.

Now, Dr. James C. Dobson is impugning Spongebob's character. Spongebob, and many other imaginary characters will appear in a new music video entitled, We Are Family. Dr. Dobson has denounced this collaboration as a "pro-homosexual video."

The video will be released to schools on March 11th, in celebration and anticipation of the proposed National Family Day. The video makes no mention of homosexuality, although it does have a tie-in to the Tolerance Pledge, which goes like this:

"Tolerance is a personal decision that comes from a belief that every person is a treasure. I believe that America's diversity is its strength. I also recognize that ignorance, insensitivity and bigotry can turn that diversity into a source of prejudice and discrimination.

To help keep diversity a wellspring of strength and make America a better place for all, I pledge to have respect for people whose abilities, beliefs, culture, race, sexual identity or other characteristics are different from my own."

Shiver me timbers!!!! The pledge sounds remarkably like the take-home message that I got from reading about the life and times of a man named Jesus Christ.

Nile Rodgers, who co-wrote "We Are Family" (you're dancing in your seat now, aren't you?) and founded the We Are Family Foundation, says that "cooperation and unity are the most important values we can teach children. We believe that this is the essential first step to loving thy neighbor." Again, this is ringing a bell for me.

True to form, the foundation is showing tolerance and giving the benefit of the doubt to Dr. Dobson. Mr. Rodgers suggested that, perhaps, they have his foundation mixed up with a website called "We are family" which supports gay youth.

Hellfire and damnation no, says Dr. Dobson's assistant, Paul Batura. "We see the video as an insidious means by which the organization is manipulating and potentially brainwashing kids. It is a classic bait and switch." sayeth he.

Dr. Dobson, keep your focus off of my family. If I want to "brainwash" my child into loving his neighbour, I'll do so.

And leave Spongebob out of this.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The movie I watched tonight

was the same one I watched last night.

My heart is still racing.

The Village is M. Night Shyamalan's best work to date.

And that's all I have to say about that.

Monday, January 17, 2005

This pretty much sums it up

While there is much hand-wringing over Brad and Jen's breakup, little attention is paid to the news that the search for WMD's officially ended, without fanfare, last month.

Michael Harris of the Ottawa Sun noticed, and has summed things up here.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Feeling a little like Rip Van Winkle

Thanks to Flylady, I no longer equate housework with drudgery. I've always enjoyed doing laundry, and I find that the hands-and-knees, bucket-and-scrub-brush method of floor cleaning is not only the most effective technique, but is also a highly therapeutic activity as well.

I did not realize that I was a part of a larger sociological phenomenon. Wow. The onerous chores of scrubbing, sweeping and dusting are suddenly chic, with cleaning turning into a psychological salve for folks frustrated with the chaotic state of society.

Being TV-less, I was also unaware that there is a show about cleaning house:

Lifetime's How Clean Is Your House?, which began airing in September, is a graphic depiction of some of the foulest residences in the United States.

Squalid homes that make county fair Johnny On the Spots look appealing are whipped into shape with the help of a pair of hostesses - one British, one Scottish, both sassy - who aren't above berating homeowners.

Ewwww .. is there no shame any more? Are people so desperate for their 15 minutes of fame that they will go on national television to be told that their children are sleeping in "cat poo?"

I need a shower.

And some of those pink latex gloves.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Some Now Question Cost of Inauguration

An AP article this morning details some of the ways that the $40 million earmarked for the inauguration could be better spent.
That forty million dollar figure is only what the high rollers hope to solicit from other high rollers. It doesn't include the money that DC is being forced to spend on podiums, security and the like.
The phrase, "fiddling while Rome burns" comes to mind ...

Sunday, January 09, 2005

What do we tell the children?

Author Barbara Curtis has some sage advice and practical suggestions to help children make sense out of the tsunami.

This morning, William and I looked at some of the images from the tsunami's aftermath on the CBC website.

William looked at the pictures, and said, "Maybe some of the kids from Thailand could come and stay at our house."

And now I must excuse myself, before my tears short out the keyboard.

It will be a great day when the schools have all the money they need ..

and Bush's friends have to hold a bake sale to pay for the inauguration.

I realize that the forty to fifty million dollars that will be spent on the coronation inauguration will come from private donor$. I suppose I should find it gratifying that the predominant theme of the parties will be "honoring the military." I just find the whole idea to be obscene, and I'm not the only one.

I have a radical idea. If Bush et al really want to honor the military and support the troops and their families, they could abstain from spending $50 million on a few evenings of confetti and caviar. They could throw about one tenth of that amount .. a mere $5 million .. at our school district which, incidentally, will lose $5 million of Federal Impact Aid next year.

This means that the students - the vast majority of whom have at least one parent serving on Active Duty at Fort Drum - will face increased class sizes and as yet unspecified program cuts.

This means that highly talented and dedicated teachers, like William's second grade teacher - are facing layoffs.

This is occuring at a time when our military community is facing yet another massive deployment to Iraq.

Oh, and coincidentally, Fort Drum is expanding right now, so more students will be have to be served with less funding.


Vietato fumare nella ristoranti? Que pazzo!!

Despite my being a nicotine nazi, I was shocked - SHOCKED! - to learn that Italy has banned smoking in bars and restaurants.

Aaaaah, the memories .. driving on Sunday was especially dangerous. On many occasions, I was driven to distraction by the insanely perfect musculature of Italian men's legs as they assembled, en masse, for a Sunday bike ride. I was always shocked when I saw these men dismount at the bar for the obligatory grappa and cigarette, for those rock-hard, chiselled calves belonged to senior citizens.

I think we'll have pasta tonight.

Friday, January 07, 2005

If I had ten million dollars ..

I'd buy up a big chunk of Lunenburg's waterfront.

Lunenburg is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's vibrant and peaceful, a perfect place to inspire artists. How I would love to open a quilting school there!

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Justice delayed .. but not necessarily denied

Today, a Texas appeals court overturned the murder conviction of Andrea Yates. This was based on incorrect testimony, which told the jury that Andrea had viewed an episode of Law and Order, in which a woman was found not guilty by reason of insanity after she drowned her children.

Except that the episode did not exist.

The jury didn't know that.

Suzanne O'Malley offered an excellent account of this tragic episode in her book, Are you there alone? After reading this book, it is abundantly clear that the entire Yates family was brutally betrayed by an incompetent mental health system.

I hope that, as a result of today's ruling, Andrea Yates will finally receive the mental health care that she requires.

May Noah, John, Paul, Luke, and Mary Yates rest in peace.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Tell me something good

Before William started school, I did per-diem work for a Canadian community-based health care organization called Comcare. Most of my work involved giving flu shots for employee health programs in Ottawa. I always tried to get the clinics at CBC Television and Radio, because they were (a) long enough to justify driving 2 hours each way, not including the wait at the border, (b) at the Chateau Laurier, and (c) a chance for me to be a fawning sycophant in the 15 minutes that innoculees were required to wait in my presence to ensure that no anaphylactic reaction took place.
One very memorable conversation was with a seasoned CBC reporter and producer. I asked him how he maintained his mental and emotional strength when preparing stories about the worst events in human history, and the worst aspects of human nature. He said, he always looked for something positive, like a friendship between two fathers - one Catholic, one Protestant - who both experienced the loss of a child in the ongoing conflict in Northern Ireland.

In the aftermath of the tsunami, there are many such stories. The worst that Mother Nature can offer can bring out the very best aspects of human nature. A private donor has pledged $500,000 to Care Canada's tsunami relief campaign.

In Oakville, Ontario, the twentieth annual Polar Bear Dip at Coronation Park raised $50,000 for tsunami relief through World Vision.

From all corners of the world, individuals have responded to the needs of other human beings, ignoring the differences of language, religion, skin color, and geography. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that "World leaders have fallen into step with the remarkable outpouring of generosity from ordinary people as a huge increase in US Government relief pushed the global government fund for tsunami aid to $2.6billion.

And that gives me hope for we, the people, of this beautiful nation called Earth.

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The Accidental Hausfrau

Over on The New Homemaker, webmistress Lynn Siprelle has started a discussion thread about a book that she proposes to write. I started to reply in the thread, and realized that I had a lot to say. So I'm posting it on my blog instead, and I think I'll have a lot more to say about these rambling subjects over the next few days.

Over the past few years, I have come to understand that homemaking is more than just tending to the physical space of the home. The art, the calling of homemaking is creating the emotional sanctuary for the family. It's more than getting dinner into tummies - it's nourishing minds and hearts and souls.

In our culture, in these times, it seems that the needs and desires of the individual trump those of the collective.

I'm 35. I came of age in a time when feminist orthodoxy told me, "you can be anything you want, you can have it all." But "you can" mutated into "you must." Doors were being broken down for my generation, and to NOT barrel through those doors would be spitting in the face of my older "sisters in the movement" now wouldn't it? Run, run, run, as fast as you can, away from the pink collar ghetto! I charged into the "Man's world" - I was accepted to Royal Roads Military College to become an officer in the Canadian Armed Forces and study engineering. At Basic Officer Training, I quickly realized that it wasn't where my heart wanted me to be. I also quickly realized that 18 year old girls women who are 4'11" and 98 pounds cannot keep up on field exercises when the pace is set by young men who are at least a foot taller and 100 lbs heavier. In that situation, brawn beats brains every time.

Flash forward - I left the military, and ran to the pink collar "ghetto". I earned a Bachelor of Nursing Science from
Queen's University and embarked upon a satisfying career. Like many Canadian nurses, I ended up in the United States after a while .. met a soldier - a paratrooper no less! - got married, and started following his career around the world.

I call myself an "Accidental Hausfrau." I really didn't intend to walk away from my nursing career for so long. When we lived in Italy, there were no RN jobs. (Yea, boo hoo hoo, I know you pity me because I was unemployed while living in Italy). Then we had a baby .. and Steve was is deployed all the time .. and our child has special learning needs. So I'm still at home. It works for our family, period.

Well, it doesn't always work out. I struggle with issues of self-identity and self-esteem. I feel the fallout of the Mommy Wars. (I wish there was a different term for that .. "war" is a pretty touchy word for me.) I perceive resentment and hostility from some working moms whose path I have crossed over the years. I am fearful that I will lose myself and become the transparent "Mrs. T" .. if that hasn't happened already. What if there is no more Rose - only SFC T's wife, only William's mother?

To be continued ..

Using technology for the good of all

English scientists have developed a robot which generates energy by catching and eating houseflies.

If it eats clusterflies and sweeps the floor, then these scientists are worthy of ALL Nobel Prizes.

Happy New Year!!!!

Alternatively entitled, The Stuff They'll Discuss at my Commitment Hearing.

Yesterday, my son and I spent the afternoon with our friends, Christi and Elon. Christi is from Germany. She lights a sparkler and pops the cork on her champagne at 6 pm, because that's when the New Year arrives in Germany.

She also does all of her laundry on Dec 31st because Germans consider it bad luck to carry the dirt from one year into the next.

WELL ... you know what will happen when THAT kind of idea gets put into Rose's head ...

When William and I got home at 7:30 pm, I changed into my jammies, gathered up all the laundry, and started washing. Then I decided, the kitchen and dining room floors should be swept too .. and the rugs shook out ... and the floors mopped ... and all garbage taken out of the house ... and the compost ... and since there weren't enough dishes to run the dishwasher, let's wash them by hand ... and since there's this sink full of soapy water, let's really clean those counters .. and the microwave ... and hey, that oven is self-cleaning, ya know!

Naturally, I hung up all the clothes to dry .. none of this bad laundry karma for me ..

And for the next couple of hours, I was a crazed hausfrau .. ok, crazed is not the right word .. I was ENERGIZED! and MOTIVATED!! You got a problem with that?

And after I took all of the garbage out to the garage, I stood out in the yard and embraced the winds. All of the snow melted yesterday, and the winds felt like the Chinook. I opened my arms, and let the winds of change carry all of the dirt of the old year right off of me.

It's a fresh year .. a clean start .. may there be peace on earth, and may it start in everyone's own heart.