Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Holiday movies.

Today's blog challenge at Two Peas:

Blog about your favorite holiday movie.

I have two faves, one classic and one more modern. But they both take place at roughly the same time: the 1940s.

The Bishop's Wife with Cary Grant and Loretta Young is not really well-known, but it's a super-Christmassy movie--way more Christmassy than the better-known Christmas in Connecticut, whose story could really have taken place any time of the year.

The Bishop's Wife was remade as The Preacher's Wife with Whitney Houston in the 1990's, but let's try to forget that ever happened, shall we?

The reason to watch The Bishop's Wife is to see Cary Grant play an angel, which in my mind, isn't too much of a stretch. And he's perfect at it, the kind of angel you secretly hope Heaven is full of. He's come down to teach David Niven a lesson about the important things in life, like his wife and daughter whom he's neglecting in favor of earthly glory.

The movie is so full of the kind of Christmas scenes we picture when we think of how Christmas Used to Be: stopping by the greengrocer's to order your Christmas tree, ice-skating at the pond while the band plays, buying a holiday hat in a hat shop, children singing hymns, tinsel and snow and angels. I highly recommend it.

My other favorite Christmas movie is one that was released when I was a kid, but that I didn't discover till college: A Christmas Story. Most people I knew hadn't heard of it when I first started spreading the news about it, but in the past ten years or so, it's become a holiday staple, and yippee for that!

So many of the scenes in this movie are reminiscent for me and for Todd of scenes from our childhood, although we grew up 30 years later than when this story takes place. The big old house looks like the house Todd grew up dad wrestled with the furnace just like Ralphie's dad did...the school looks just like the old elementary and high schools that were recently torn down in our hometown...and who doesn't remember being ensconced in a snowsuit, or catching a snowball full in the face?

I love the humor of this movie, and the holiday big-band music in many of the scenes, playing on the huge radio. Every actor is note-perfect. And it's so quotable! If you haven't seen it, don't wait for the 24-hour marathon on TBS--rent it now!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Well, things are in motion today. I went and picked up supplies for my Friday class, and realized that if I'm having class and Todd is having a poker game this weekend, it might be nice for the house to be decorated.

So I moved the living room around, and ultimately left the big bookshelf exactly where it was, which means that all that moving of books and breakables, which led to the books-and-breakables avalanche, was completely not necessary. Which is the big old cherry on top of THAT crap sundae!

My darling husband got out the super glue tonight and set about restoring my stuff. The broken-bottom big teapot and the broken yellow bowl are virtually good as new. Or old, since they're both ancient.

The tiny teapot from Taiwan is definitely the worse for wear, with chips and holes, but set to the correct side and viewed from a distance, looks fine. The big yellow teapot has part of its big chip restored, and can be set with that side on the rear so it doesn't show.

The yard sale creamer may or may not be worth's pretty hole-y. And the lid to the Carnival canister is a total loss. Still, Todd salvaged more than I thought was possible. He's a darling!

I put up our new pre-lit tree ($25 at Lowe's on Black Friday) with no's weird to have a tree with white lights instead of colored lights, which we've always had. When I get it decorated I'll post some pictures.

Heck, if I get the house decorated, I might as well go ahead and have a Christmas party since the hard part will be done. Well...maybe not.

In other news, I am totally struggling with playing chords on my guitar. I don't see how it's possible for the human hand to contort that way!

And Todd came home from work last night, picked up my guitar, and after I explained the notes and fingering I knew--he sat down and played his way through everything I know so far. Now he's trying to move on to the next string. Chuh. What a tool. A darling, yes, but a tool, too.

I am pooped. Beck tomorrow with a completed Friday project, I hope.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Bah, humbug.

How was everybody's Thanksgiving?

Mine was sort of blah and depressing. I cooked a big dinner, but it was depressing doing it all by myself. I grew up in a big family, and it doesn't seem like a holiday without a million people around. I went to bed at 5:30. Hey, it was dark, so why not?

Friday was blah, too. Todd had some big Black Friday purchases planned, but since he got to the store at 5:15 AM instead of camping there all night, he missed out. (Who in their right mind would camp outside a store to buy a TV or computer? Madness, I tell you.)

Saturday we went to my brother's house three hours away and had dinner with their family and my sister-in-law's parents, and that was fun...I got to get in a tiny bit of quality time with the nieces, which is always great. Marissa is saying so many words now, and is just such a busy little person, and Natalie amazes me with her sharp little mind and sense of humor.

Sunday we went out Christmas shopping all afternoon, and that went quite well--the stores were not busy at all, and I got about 75% of my shopping done.

I went back and forth all weekend about whether to do any holiday decorating and what the extent of it should be--I do this every year. I feel guilty because I hate to decorate, but I feel like I should, especially since this is our first year in our new place. One of the many reasons I hate Christmas.

Yes, this year I am going to be open and honest about it...I hate Christmas. Not the Jesus part--I love Jesus, and the nativity story. I don't even mind buying and wrapping presents. But the rest of it, I hate. I was going to try for a good attitude about it this year, but today's events decided me: Christmas sucks.

In my dithering about whether to decorate or not, I decided to at least start moving the living room around this morning. For the tree to go up, the furniture has to be moved, and even if I decide against putting up the tree, I though it would be good to try a new arrangement.

I started with my big bookshelf, taking off all the breakables first, and stacking them carefully on the dining room table. Then I started making piles of the books.

As I placed the last stack of books on the end of the dining room table, I had a fleeting thought that it was probably too heavy on that end. No sooner did the thought go through my mind than the table tipped and an avalanche of books, pictures, and very breakable breakables went crashing to the floor.

I chipped one teapot, broke the bottom off my very, very favorite teapot, smashed the lid of a heavy Carnival canister, smashed to bits an adorable creamer that I bought this summer, broke a chunk out of a heavy yellow pottery bowl...and the worst thing, I pulverized a tiny teapot that Todd brought me from Taiwan ten years ago, which was one of my most cherished possessions. The two teacups that went with it are mostly okay--one is chipped. But I don't think the teapot is salvageable at all.

I had to suppress the instinct to go sit in the corner and rock myself until the shaking stopped. And you know whose fault it is?

It's Christmas's fault. Yep, it is. Maybe I'll go to my corner and not come out till January 2.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I woke up early this morning, and it's still raining! What a turn the weather took this week--cold and rainy and gray--perfect November, finally. Now if we can all keep from floating away!

"Morning by morning new mercies I see, " as my favorite hymn says...we have so many blessings to be grateful for this Thanksgiving. Two wonderful and loving families, eight beautiful and smart nieces and nephews, a warm safe home, plenty of food in the pantry, our own health and the health of our loved ones, this peaceful country to live in, good friends, and so many other things. "Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!"

I'm going to try to stay off the computer the rest of the holiday weekend...I've strained my right arm, and mousing is definitely one of the motions that exacerbates the problem. Today we're hanging out here and having a turkey dinner in the late afternoon...tomorrow Todd is attacking a few Black Friday sales and I haven't decided whether to join him or not. Saturday we'll be spending the day with my brother's family and having another turkey dinner (yay!) and Sunday...I dunno. More hanging out, probably.

I am roasting a ten-pound turkey today, and I think it may be my very first turkey in 15 married Thanksgivings. I've done Cornish game hens and turkey breasts on our few Thanksgivings alone, but I don't remember doing a whole turkey before. Should be fun. The rest of the menu is very traditional: mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, green beans, pumpkin pie. We both love all the traditional Thanksgiving components and look forward to them all year, well, at least I do. And there is nothing better than Thanksgiving leftovers.

Hope everybody has a blessed day with lots of food and good memories!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Race you to the bottom of the slide.

I'm loving this long slow slide into middle age, and how the angle keeps getting steeper, oh, every week or so.

I started stitching a Christmas ornament for one of my nieces tonight, and had to prop my glasses ON TOP OF MY HEAD the entire time so I could see what the heck I was doing. You know the glasses on top of the head maneuver--the one your parents and grandparents and great-aunties all do? Yeah, that's me now. Dear Lord.

Here are the patterns at the Wee Wonderfuls site...if you scroll down you can see the fall set, and I'm doing the little girl with beret and backpack for Kylie, who started school this year. And the summer set above it just came back out today and I ordered some--I was too late to snag them when they were out earlier this year. These are great--you just iron them onto whatever fabric you like and backstitch or chainstitch or do whatever you like with them. So cute!

I can't wait for the winter set but I guess those won't be out till after Christmas. In the meantime, you'll find me stitching on the couch with my glasses on top of my head. You know, the head with all the gray hair.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Monday stuff.

Today's blogging challenge at Two Peas:

1- your worst habit? Procrastination.
2- your best feature? I guess my toes are kind of cute.
3- what you like most about your significant other/spouse? To keep it G-rated, I'll say...his big brown eyes with long lashes.
4- if you could travel anywhere, where would it be? Switzerland/Germany/Alps.
5- what do you admire most in a dear friend you have? I'm going to pick two friends--I admire my friend Bev for her twisted sense of humor, and I admire my friend Cheryl for her outgoingness (is that a word?).

Now, a holiday PSA:

I picked up Wintersong at Target today, which is Sarah McLachlan's new holiday album. It's lovely. LOVELY.

When you were a kid, did you ever lie under the Christmas tree at night and stare up through the branches at all the lights and squint your eyes to make them all flow together? This album would be the perfect thing to have playing softly if you were to relive that memory this year. Very soft, very quiet, a little melancholy as all of Sarah's stuff is, but melancholy in a nice way. And oh, that voice. I recommend it!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Flying high.

What a gorgeous fall day we're having here today. This afternoon Todd blew and I raked leaves and twigs down the yard to the edge of the retaining wall, and down into our improvised yard waste pile in the trees. The remaining leaves on the trees are glowing orange against the blue sky--just lovely. Now Todd's watching the Steelers/Browns game, and I'm up here in my study trying to map out my week ahead. The primary tasks this week are to grocery shop and get the house cleaned for Thanksgiving, and to get started on holiday gifts.

Yesterday morning we went over to the Yorktown battlefield and Todd flew the giant plane he built here in the last couple of months. He's flown it before, but this time it really flew correctly and landed perfectly, with no crashes. He could tell you all the technical stuff behind it--actually, here's a link to his "Big Red" RC airplane page on his website. And here's the pictures:

After a couple of runs, Todd attached his little camera to the bottom and got some aerial video, too. If we can figure it out, I'll post it here, or at least a link.

In the late afternoon, we drove to Richmond, ostensibly to do some Christmas shopping, but we ended up stopping at the VA Aviation Museum by the airport, and then having a very nice Mexican dinner, and then walking through a shopping center that I really like...but it was so crowded and crazy, I couldn't really get in the shopping mood. I'm leaning toward letting Amazon help me this crowds that way!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Learning to think.

This is a rough piece I wrote a few weeks was sort of a late-night insomnia session. It's not polished, but I wanted to get it out there before I forgot all about it.

Learning to Think

The strangest memories come into your mind at night when you’re heading toward sleep. Tonight I found myself thinking about some of the people in my early life who taught me how to think.

In eighth grade, I attended a fundamentalist Christian school, and we got a new and different teacher. For one thing, he was male. For another thing, he was from outside the church’s little community. I think he was a Christian, and I know he was at least a religious person, but he wasn’t part of the fundamentalist evangelical group of teachers I’d always had. Mr. French was my homeroom and history teacher that year.

I was lucky to have many good teachers in my school years, but Mr. French looms large. He talked to all of us like we were adults, which was a heady and novel feeling for a bunch of thirteen-year-olds. (I vividly remember sitting in the cafeteria talking with him about the 1984 presidential primaries, and this fabulous feeling of being listened to and respected for what I had to say—which couldn’t have been all that profound.) He had a tremendous sense of humor, which was also a new thing in a teacher. More importantly for me, he was the very first teacher I had who showed me the glimmering of a new idea: that I could listen and assess everything that was told and taught to me, and that I could question it.

I was a very serious and…I don’t want to say gullible...child, but I definitely took the voice of authority as truth. And elementary education, and religious elementary education in particular, is all about learning to follow rules, to trust in authority, to believe what you’re told. Mr. French was the first person I remember in my entire life who punctured that bubble for me, and encouraged the questioning and skepticism I was already starting to feel.

A year or two after that, our church hired a support minister for the first time. This was a unique hire, because David Byer was a backsliding sinner from way back. Brought up in the Mennonite Church, he married and put his family through a lot of miserable years of wild living. His kids were roughly my age, and around the time we all entered adolescence, he came back into the fold, pulled his life together, and entered the ministry at our church. I believe he had some formal education, but I think he was also working on more seminary education while he worked at the church.

David became our youth group Sunday School teacher. This was around 1985-86…I was in tenth grade. One of the prevailing issues in the Mennonite Church at that time was the Reagan administration’s military build-up, the arms race, our attitudes toward the Soviet Union, and how a peace church should respond to all that. David had a unique perspective because he’d grown up in Canada and saw the United States more critically than many of us were raised to.

As I was still attending the fundamentalist school, I was hearing a lot of hyper-patriotic, hyper-conservative stuff in Bible class and chapel. The religious right was flexing its muscle for the first time, and there was a quasi-religious belief in Reagan and the U.S. and our military that seems familiar now but I think was a new thing then. New to me at 15 and 16 years old, anyway.

Sitting on uncomfortable folding chairs in the church library, David challenged all of us to look at the things we were hearing in school and on the news, and again, to question the things that so many people around us took as Truth—the ultimate rightness of the U.S., no matter what our actions, the glory of our military power, and the supreme evil of our enemy. What were the reasons for this attitude? What could be the benefit of making everyone believe in it? And what would be the result if people chose not to believe it?

It wasn’t very long before David backslid once again…his job and marriage dissolved, and a lot of people were hurt by his betrayal. But I always appreciated the perspective he gave me at a time when I really needed it. Like Mr. French, he saw the world I lived in from the point of view of an outsider. As an outsider, he was perfectly positioned to help me see my world in a new light. I’ve always felt like an outsider in my own life. Both of these men helped me see the value in that, and helped me to think critically about what passed for truth all around me.

A couple more years passed, and I ended up at a small liberal-arts college…an insulated community with its own set of truths and rules. As a freshman history major, I landed on day one in European History 115 with Dr. Bill Hartel. I will never forget those afternoons hunched over a desk with the fall light pouring through the window, and this feeling of absolute giddiness as I learned things I hadn’t known before, and looked at the things I already knew in a whole new way. I remember it so clearly because it was the first time I’d ever felt that way in a classroom.

Dr. Hartel was all about making connections, cause and effect. He taught European history backwards…we started in the present-day, which was the beginnings of the collapse of the Soviet Union at that point in time, and worked our way backwards through that semester and the next. I learned to read critically, and even though many of our texts were biased toward his own left-leaning point of view, he was able to help us see through the bias in everything we read. He was one of the professors who taught me, at age 18, how to read. Really read.

Again, Dr. Hartel was an outsider…an elderly holdover from the radical sixties, right down to his sandals and his bicycle. Sporting a tank-top and shorts most of the year, he was a complete anomaly on our buttoned-down preppy campus. And his classes were scary—but I remember the feeling of exhilaration after closing my blue-book and walking out of a final exam, and knowing I had not only given him what he wanted but woven a lot of my own thoughts and conclusions into the exam essays, and done it well. Which was probably what he wanted even more.

I had Dr. Hartel for several more classes, including American Foreign Relations, which was a semester full of knocking down accepted truths, and although we didn’t part well, I have always remembered him with tremendous respect, as I think just about every history major from that time does. He passed away a few years after I left college, and now has a program in his name that provides mini-grants for students who want to pursue activist causes.

It's interesting that it was primarily male teachers who taught me how to think. I had so many wonderful female teachers, and learned so much from them, but these three men are the ones who taught me to question, and thus, to think.

Friday, November 17, 2006

My Friday.

I have just about had it with this perpetual headache. I don't know if it's an artifact from my cold of two weeks ago, or if it's just some new delight my body cooked up for me, but I am so OVER it! It's cramping my style, not that my style was all that hot to begin with.

I had my first guitar lesson yesterday, and now I can play E, F, and G on the first string. I am quite proud of myself.

Took seven bags of groceries to the food bank drive that one of our local radio stations is running this weekend. I'm still Grocery Gaming after 14 weeks, and my stockpile of cheap groceries is so large I can donate all that and not even miss it. Kind of nice.

The Office was great last night--I wish every episode was "super-sized." They can get in so much more funny stuff that way. I love seeing Pam get her comeuppance from Jim...she blew him off so much last season, it's time for her to be the one wearing her heart on her sleeve. And oh, how sweet for Jim to be promoted over Dwight and Andy...too, too perfect.

That's about it. It's too hot here and I am feeling totally paralyzed thinking about Christmas and what needs to be done. Ho hum!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


A couple more backyard pics...the red leaves of our little dogwood tree, and the view from our dining room. The picture doesn't half do it justice, but anyway.

I am a window-looker-outer. We had a second-floor apartment when we lived in Idaho that had huge almost-floor to ceiling windows in the living room and dining room. They looked out over the street and the whole neighborhood, and I could sit on the couch or at the table, and watch the cars and the dog walkers and the kids coming home from school and the clouds and the was fabulous.

I think this house may have the best window views of anywhere we've lived, though. Out the back, it's trees and more trees. Out the front, it's a view of the corner on one side, and a long sweeping view down the street on the other. All the houses lined up like those little squat milk cartons we used to get in grade school. I love walking past a window, looking out idly, and seeing something that pleases my eye.

We went to see Stranger Than Fiction tonight, and we both really enjoyed it. Some semi-deep thoughts about death and its inevitability, and about looking around you and making the most of the time that you have. Will Ferrell was quietly vulnerable and adorable.

One of the things Will's character does to try to enrich his life is go to the guitar store and pick up a vintage Fender Stratocaster and learn to play it. I was tickled by this, because this afternoon I went and bought an Alvarez acoustic guitar and am going to start lessons later this week. I guess I'm trying to enrich my life, too.

I got my December/January Paper Crafts today and my book journal is on page 73. It's super simple, but I really love it. Maybe the bold graphic look is where I should head next....

And finally, I read a quote last night that made me snicker: "My rock 'n' roll fantasy is that occasionally, every now and then, a song I like comes on the radio. It's a simple dream, I know, and every so often, once or twice a year, it actually comes true." (Sarah Vowell)

We have the lousiest radio stations down here, and they have the lousiest playlists! I spend my time in the car punching from station to station and then giving up in disgust and either shutting it off or going to NPR.

Tonight I actually heard, from opening note to closing note, "Our Lips Are Sealed," by the Go-Gos, so I'm not due for another good song for at least another month.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


I just pulled a batch of pumpkin scones out of the oven...the recipe's over on my much-neglected food blog. Check it out!

Holiday reading recommendation.

I was perusing my bookshelves looking for something to read yesterday, and I spotted a book whose time has almost come--a book of holiday short stories. The book is called Miracle and Other Christmas Stories, and the author is Connie Willis, who writes sci-fi books, many with time travel themes. The stories in this book aren't sci-fi, but many do have very whimsical, fantasy themes. Some are spiritual, some are secular...all of them are really wonderful. I bought the book five years ago, and I pull it out every year and enjoy it all over again. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up!

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Mr. Clean.

There's nothing like getting up early on a Saturday morning and opening all the windows and seeing the chaos and dirt that fill your house. That's when you cue up Elvis on your CD player and go at it.

Cleaning music needs to be cheerful and peppy, and although I've tried other CDs in the past, like the Beach Boys and Abba, I've come to the conclusion that Elvis is The Man for housework.

I have a two-disc album called The Top Ten Hits, which is, amazingly, out of print, but still available used. This is the best compilation I've has almost everything you'd want, including my favorite Elvis song, "His Latest Flame."

The trick is to turn it off at the end of disc two, when you get to "Don't Cry, Daddy" and "In the Ghetto." Talk about a buzzkill. Of course, by the end of disc two, you should have all your cleaning done and be ready to move on to a new CD. Unless your house is as dirty as mine, in which case...push "play" on Elvis again.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Thursday night musings.

We're in the glory days of fall down here, and I'm loving the gorgeous trees. Our backyard keeps getting prettier everyday...I need to take a bunch of pictures and figure out how to stitch them together to give the scope of it. Here's a glimpse, though.

Soon the leaves will all fall and the houses across the ravine will magically be revealed again. And soon we'll have been here for one whole year. Amazing.

I get so impatient to overhaul this house and get things exactly how I want's easy for me to forget that we've already done a lot and that it will just take more time to get to the rest.

I was poking around on Ali Edwards' blog last night and she had a list of books she was reading. I checked out one of the books on the list and found a link for another book that sounded like just what I need. So I went to Borders and picked it up today.

The book is The Creative License by Danny Gregory. It appears to be a book where you draw your way toward a more general creative renewal. Tons of drawings and hand-lettered text. I brought it home and read on the back deck in the last few moments of daylight tonight, and I'm already inspired.

I used to draw. Not a lot, but I took a couple classes, and I had a knack for it. Then when I was doing paper-piecing patterns for a company, and teaching my own classes, I had to do simple drawing for that, too. But it's been years and years since I just sat down and drew something.

There's one book that taught me how to draw, and one book that taught me how to write. The drawing book is Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards. Right brain/left brain is a more familiar concept now than it was 15 years ago when I first read the book, but her descriptions of the right-brain shift still inspire me. It's bliss, sheer bliss, when you're cruising along comfortably in right-brain mode. It's Nirvana. It feels like ages since I've been there!

The book that taught me how to write was the classic Writing Down the Bones, which is actually a book that can teach you how to live if you let it. I encountered both those books at about the same time, when I was newly-married, newly dropped from college, and trying to pull myself out of a depression. They helped.

Anyway, this new book is one of those books where you read a little, do an exercise, read a little more, do another exercise. I'm terrible about just reading the whole book and not bothering to get around to the exercises. (The Artist's Way is one of my guilty books...such good stuff but such a feeling of failure for not trying the system!) I am really going to try not to do that this time!

I've mentioned here a few times that scrapbooking and paper crafting has lost its pleasure for me, and that trying to forcibly re-capture it is not enjoyable. If it were only that one thing, I think I could just move on, but the fact is that I seem to have lost much of my creative impulse. I used to decorate for holidays, decorate my home, switch knick-knacks and pictures around, write for myself, make cards, make gifts...that impulse just feels dead inside me now. When I think about doing anything, I get very anxious and just go turn on the TV or come to the computer and lose myself in reading about other people's creativity. If I do finally accomplish something, it's after weeks and weeks of putting it off, studying it, doing a little bit, putting it off some more...I used to just plunge into stuff! I don't know what's wrong with me.

Some of it is laziness, for sure. Some of it is that I don't want to make any kind of mess that I'll have to clean up...I feel like I'm teetering on the edge of chaos a lot of days, and I fear that a mess will push me and the whole household over. Some of it is money--I am terrified to spend it and feel guilty when I do. That definitely saps the pleasure. Not that spending money is always essential, but a lot of ideas require at least some outlay.

And I think some of it is that wayward part of ourselves--a part that seems especially well-developed in me--that resists doing what we know would make us feel better. Why are humans so contrary?

Gregory puts a brutal quote in the beginning of his book:

"Every day we slaughter our finest impulses."--Henry Miller.

Why do we do that? Why do I do that?

So I'm going to draw. I'll let you know how it goes.

Dibs on a terrorist clone.

From Stephen Colbert's show Tuesday night (Stephen is a fake conservative pundit, for those who don't know):

"You’re the ones who made this bed. Now you’re the ones who are going to have to move over so a gay couple can sleep in it. Tomorrow you’re all going to wake up in a brave new world.

"A world where the constitution gets trampled by an army of terrorist clones created in a stem-cell research lab run by homosexual doctors who sterilize their instruments over burning flags.

"Where tax & spend Democrats take all your hard-earned money and use it to buy electric cars for National Public Radio and teach evolution to illegal immigrants.

"Oh – and everybody’s high!"

Love it.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Well, it's a good week to be a Democrat. (For once.) Got the House back, might squeak through and get the Senate too, and the cherry on the sundae--Rumsfeld gone!

A lot of Republicans are full of doom and gloom today...well, if anybody knows how that feels, it's us Democrats. We thought the world would end in 2000 and 2004, but it didn't. And it won't end now that the balance has shifted a little.

I think I might, however, do something I've never done before and send e-mails to my congressman, to my senator (if it does indeed turn out to be Webb, fingers crossed) and to Ms. Pelosi. I've been feeling fearful that the Democrats do not and will not take Iraq and the larger problem of radical Islam seriously enough. I'm really hoping they don't push through some even more foolish decisions in the name of political capital. Specifically, withdrawing most or all of our troops from Iraq too soon.

Although I don't agree with some Republicans that we're a breath away from being overrun by wild-eyed Muslims...I do think we're in a war of civilizations. And one side has a lot more stomach and will for winning at any cost than the other side does. That disturbs me. A lot. Foolish as I think the decision to invade Iraq was, it would be just as foolish to withdraw and leave it in chaos. Maybe it's not in our power to save Iraq...but we're obligated to do our best. Maybe with a power shift and a Secretary of Defense switch, we can start to do our best. A girl can dream, anyway.

It was exciting last night to hear on CNN that Newport News votes were still being counted very, very late in the evening, right around the time Webb's numbers finally crept up and passed Allen's. Made me feel like my vote really did matter this time around!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Day.

Didja vote???

I did!

I love to vote. It's literally one of the most exciting days of the year to me...some years more exciting than others, of course.

I was surprised to find an old-fashioned paper ballot awaiting me...well, not surprised exactly, because this corner of the country seems to be backwards in all sorts of ways...but, disappointed, I guess. I was looking forward to a touch screen, not remembering that it's been paper ballots every year I've voted in Virginia, and a new municipality wouldn't necessarily mean a new technology.

It was a short ballot: our tightly-contested Senate race, three state constitutional amendments, and the congressional race (we're in a new district now) in which the incumbent is running unopposed. Pretty short and sweet.

Tonight I plan to switch back and forth between CNN and a John Ford documentary on TCM...and then do the obligatory Stewart/Colbert hour at eleven. Fun times! Esp. if my party does well...which frankly, would astonish me! But hope springs eternal...if it didn't, would we even have a Democratic party?

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Halloween was great...we had about 75 trick-or-treaters, and the glow sticks were a big hit with everyone, from the tiniest toddler to the tallest teen! Todd had to miss most of it, working late...he's having a rough final week at work, so any prayers or good thoughts y'all could spare, he could use.

I felt it coming on last night, and sure enough, the fall cold is here. Not the cold outside, although that came on last night, too, but the cold in my throat and head! It's like clockwork, every spring and every fall, I get this sore throat that slowly moves up into my nose and sinuses, hangs out there for a while, goes back down into my throat and then finally leaves, usually about a week later. So this will be fun!

I did another double-page spread the other night, here it is. These are pics from May of last year, when my brother's family came for a visit. This was about six weeks before their second daughter joined the family.

Left page:

Right page:

And here's the one I did the other day...these are pictures of my niece Evelyn when her family was here in June. She is such a treasure.

I don't know if the journaling is legible on reads, "Evelyn (title)" and then the blocks say, almost four. a terrific big sister.
...adores Barbie.
...loves to color and draw.
...asks lots of questions.
...wants to be a ballerina
and a doctor
and a princess
and a "car-fixer"
and a soccer player
when she grows up.

The quote about what she wants to be is verbatim...we were playing on the lawn one night and she told me all that, and I wrote it down as soon as I could. Love that kid!