Monday, October 31, 2005

Cold as a witch's ...

I know this is St. Martha of Nutley's favourite holiday, but Halloween really doesn't do much for me anymore. Like most "celebrations" it is overblown and overcommercialized in my view.

Still, I was amused by this display in Vermont, which depicted a witch nursing a child. The artist chose gourds as her medium. I think it's clever.

Not all observers are amused.

Kym Goodnow, a mother of four living in West Brattleboro, wrote that she was not ready to explain nursing to her 4-year-old grandson, who spotted the display while they were driving home.

``I figured eventually we would cross that bridge, but to have to do it now because someone felt they had to shove it in our faces, it's just rude,'' Goodnow told the Herald yesterday. ``Halloween is supposed to be for kids, it's not for you to impose your beliefs on everyone else.''

Well, if you want to get nitpicky about it, most contemporary Halloween customs are remnants of the religious rituals and beliefs of the Druids and early Christians.


Why the concern about exposing a child to a lactating gourd? Halloween has become a billion-dollar holiday, with decor so excessively gruesome that a woman who hung herself was mistaken for a holiday decoration.


Check out the boobees

What were you expecting? Happy Halloween! Posted by Picasa

Going crazy with the digital camera

A little more colour for your viewing pleasure. Posted by Picasa

Oh Canada!

Lots of maple trees = lots of crunch! Posted by Picasa

Nature's present to eight year old boys

What autumn's all about! Posted by Picasa

Dude, you're like, famous or something!

My big brother, the absent-minded professor himself, is getting some great press! Well done, Jimmy!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Greetings and salutations

Most of my traffic comes from people who know me in real life, and from Newzjunky's NNY Blogs listing. From time to time, I see hits from .mil domains. They usually come from a web search for a casualty of OIF that I have mentioned on my blog.
I was quite surprised to see the search parameters that brought someone from an server to my humble abode. Miniature pythons? Huh? I didn't know that such a thing existed.


I was even more surprised to note that I was #1 on the Yahoo! search results.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Some free advice for a pseudo-celebrity couple

Several months ago, I had the opportunity to attend a PTO-related luncheon at The Bonnie Castle Resort in Alexandria Bay. (Food? Cooked by someone else? Adult conversation? I'm there!) One of the other PTO moms, from a different school district, told me of her efforts to reach out to the military spouses in the satellite army housing area in her town. (801 housing, for those of you who speak the lingo.) She was frustrated by the lack of response. While I applaud and appreciate her gesture, I can understand the reticence of said army wives to join the little kaffeklatsch. Our world is completely different. We really don't want to listen to women complaining about their husbands' dirty socks left on the floor, or, like, how hard things are when hubby goes deer hunting for two days and leaves them to cope with the children. The urge to slap them silly and scream "get a grip!!" is just too strong sometimes.

Which brings me to today's rant. It seems that a Rochester radio personality and her husband are having some problems in their marriage. Apparently, said problems have been discussed ad nauseum on her morning show for the past year. Shockingly, this tactic has not solved their problems, so they've taken their struggle to the next level: National Television. They agreed to have cameras installed in their home to record their bickering, and the results were shown on ABC's Prime Time. Evidently, they now see how ridiculous their behaviour has been - behaviour witnessed by their 7 year old daughter, I might add - and are in counselling. Good for them. I sincerely hope that they can work things out and alleviate their daughter's suffering. However, I think I can save them a whole lot of time and money with the following advice, and I think I speak for every military spouse who would give anything to see hubby's socks on the floor tonight:

Kimberley and Jason, pull your heads out of your f@#king a@#es and be grateful for what you have.

Are you sure they didn't dis-apparate it?

Mr. Weasley's enchanted car is missing!

Howlers will be sent. Beware.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


``The 2,000 service members killed in Iraq supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom is not a milestone. It is an artificial mark on the wall set by individuals or groups with specific agendas and ulterior motives.'' - LTC Steve Boylan

With all due respect, sir, there is nothing artificial about my daily fear that an Official Government car will pull into my driveway to deliver unbearably grim news. I assure you that my constant worrying is geniune. The weariness that I detect in my husband's voice, on the rare occasions that he is able to call me, is absolutely real.

But you're right - I do have an ulterior motive in noting the 2,000th death. The daily casualty announcements have gone largely unnoticed in the last couple of years. This grim milestone has actually made the news. For once, the bloody sacrifices made by our military and their families are considered slightly more important than Britney Spears having a hangnail. Thanks for noticing.

As it happens, this attention-garnering "mark on the wall" happened on the same day that LTC Leon James was laid to rest. There is a picture of his three daughters on the cover of today's Washington Post. It is a heartbreaking yet beautiful photograph. Little Katherine is reaching up to comfort her older sister, as soldiers salute Leon one last time.

There is nothing artificial about the pain conveyed by this photograph. Trust me, it's real.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Companion animals and their footwear preferences

Who wears the boots in this family? Gandalf, that's who! This photo was not staged. Gandalf really does have a boot fetish:

Gandalf is a huge cat with strange tufts on his ears. He literally appeared on our doorstep one day, about 2 years ago. He was just a tiny, helpless, normal-looking kitten then, so we thought, what the hell? What's one more cat? Now, we're not quite sure what he is. Maine Coon? Part bobcat? Alien? Who knows? He is loveable on his own terms, keeps the mice population well under control (as evidenced by the regular appearance of the viscera of rodents on the doorstep) and keeps us amused with his quirks. I don't think he would enjoy wearing pink stilettos, though.

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Quote of the day

The Pennsylvania Game Commission asks anyone who has seen a deer with a pumpkin head to call 1-814-643-1831.

From the Sentinel Online of Cumberland County, PA.


In this morning's New York Times, Dr. Abigail Zuger points out that our health-related fears seldom translate into the application of common sense when it comes to our behaviours.

We lived in Europe when the spectre of Mad Cow disease first appeared. My neighbour informed me that the commisary had issued a recall for all beef products as some of it may have originated in the UK. Phil said, "I'm taking all our beef back in. I don't want to get sick!"

Then he took a good, long draw off his ever-present cigarette.

Sunday, October 23, 2005


Accuweather is warning of a superstorm this week as Hurricane Wilma, Tropical Storm Alpha, and the Jetstream converge on Tuesday along the Atlantic Seaboard of the US.

Friday, October 21, 2005

For you, Valerie!

We opted against the tinfoil pumps. Chocolate is more of a hot pink, stiletto heel kind of girl. I've often wondered what she does when I'm not here. Now her secret is out. Posted by Picasa

A touch of autumn colour, for my friends who are living in a dry and dusty place right now. Wish you were here. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Now that I think about it ..

I think that this is the more appropriate digital gesture to express my feelings about the aforementioned vehicles. Dad, this one's for you! Posted by Picasa

I dare say I will try to contribute to this project

Although not with my son in the car!!

Offered without further comment.

Fleeting color

Full Hunter's Moon (almost), 20 October 2005. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

It wasn't me, I swear!

Although this canine looks exactly like mine, and although this might be something that I would do, I swear that I was not involved in this project.

I'm just sorry I didn't think of it first.

Because every other problem in Pennsylvania has already been solved ..

From The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette comes this breaking news from Pennsylvania's state legislature.

Rep. Tom Stevenson has introduced a bill which would mandate that dogs and other pets to be secured with pet seat belts or in crates while in automobiles. This would mean no more ear-flapping joy rides for Rover.

As I have previously mentioned, our dog rides in the crate when she travels with us. It makes life easier and safer for everyone. I wouldn't have a problem with Mr. Stevenson's proposal as such.

I do have a problem with legislative time and resources being tied up on such a frivolous endeavour. This ranks up there with efforts in New Jersey to ban smoking in private automobiles as a shining example of skewed political priorities.

Rick Mercer in Afghanistan

My travelogues are awfully boring in comparison to Rick Mercer's account of his recent trip to Afghanistan.

For my American friends who aren't in the loop, Rick Mercer is a Canadian satirist, probably best known for his saucy CBC specials, "Talking to Americans." You either love him or you hate him (Hi, Mom!) but he's difficult to ignore. He's an ardent supporter of Canadian troops, and sings the praises of their work in Kabul.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Sunset, Oct 17th. A touch of brightness through the gloom. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Joy Ride

I don't know why, exactly, but the sight of a dog with its head poked out the car window always lifts my spirits. This big sheepdog (?) was checking out the sights, sounds, and smells of Picton last weekend.
Disclaimer: Chocolate the supermutt rarely enjoys this canine rite of passage. Car rides are a more pleasant experience for everyone involved when she rides in her crate in the back of the car. If she did ride up front with her head sticking out, she would do so while wearing Doggles.
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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

In Memoriam

LTC Leon James II died yesterday as the result of injuries sustained in an IED attack in Baghdad on September 26, 2005.

What the sterile DOD announcement does not say, is that he was the loving husband of Sylvia, the devoted father of three beautiful girls, an officer who earned the respect of his soldiers, and a good, kind, and gentle man. Fare thee well, Leon.  Posted by Picasa

Ozark Maple Leaf Quilt. Made for my parents in honour of their 40th anniversary. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Pythons and gators, oh my!

Here is an expanded version of the story I blogged about this morning. And there's a picture, too. Lovely, just lovely.

I'm sure there's a metaphor in here somewhere

I haven't had enough coffee yet to make any witty remarks about this bizarre situation, so I"ll cut and paste a few quotes out of this story.

A four-metre Burmese python recently burst after it apparently tried to swallow a live, two-metre alligator whole ... The snake was found with the gator's hindquarters protruding from its midsection ... (T)he alligator may have clawed at the python's stomach as the snake tried to digest it.

This is the fourth documented case of a gator-python encounter in the Everglades in the last 3 years. Burmese pythons are not native to the area. They have been dumped in the region by people who have reconsidered the wisdom of keeping constrictors as pets.


Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Happy Birthday, Mom!!!! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

We've been treated to some beautiful sunrises lately. I had to grab the camera and capture this shot a few hours ago. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A quilt I didn't want to make

Quilt of valour for LJ. This one didn't take very long to make. The first QOV I made took a long time, because as I made the quilt, my thoughts would drift to the young amputees I saw at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in April, and from there, to the men and women I know who are currently in Iraq. When I found myself imagining my friends being the recipients of QOV's, I had to stop quilting for a while. Gentle reader, you know where I'm going with this. I don't have to type the logical extension of that train of thought.
One week ago, an IED took the lives of two soldiers from 2-78 TSB. SFC Casey Howe and MSG Tulsa Tuliau died instantly.
LJ was critically injured in the same attack. LJ is my husband's former Commanding Officer. I know his wife very well.
LJ is now in serious condition at Walter Reed. A quilt seems like such a small and insignificant gesture in the face of this tragedy - but that's all I can do.
 Posted by Picasa

Jump, fishies, jump!! We went to check out the running of the salmon at the Altmar Hatchery.  Posted by Picasa