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"Pace is all. Rhythm is master. Consistency is your friend."

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Three Words

Flipping through the channels last night I stopped a couple of times on this ABC show that was showing YouTube videos and other "amateur" videos. It didn't hold my attention for very long, but I found myself clicking back to it a few times because there was nothing else on. I guess the series is called "I-Caught" and two of the segments were pretty interesting.

One featured a guy who does portraits of people - Bill Clinton, LeBron James, Will Smith - on an Etch-a-Sketch. And I'm talking artist quality portraits with shading and real-life likenesses. It's amazing really when you consider he has to do it all with one continuous line. Which also means that if he makes a mistake he has to start over again. I was impressed since the only thing I can make on an Etch-a-Sketch is a square or a rectangle.

The other segment I really liked was called "Your 3 Words." Viewers were asked to submit, in video form, three words that described their moods, their life, their week - anything. ABC then put a montage together that aired last night and I enjoyed watching that. I enjoyed seeing all the different faces and interpretations and of course seeing what three words people used.

It also reminded me of something else I had just read about over at Mama Says Om. Elaine issued a creative challenge that was inspired by Jen Lemon and the challenge was this: Take a pad of Post-It Notes and write down several inspirational phrases. Then leave those notes in random public spaces. I mean, you never know who might read them and maybe someone who really needs those words will find them. Plus, I think it's just kind of fun to do something so secret.

Why am I telling you all this? Well, I've decided to combine the two ideas today. Three words on a Post-It note for all who stop by to read:

myspace graphics

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Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I Need an Intervention

I have a problem. And they say that admitting you have a problem is the first step in recovery. But somehow I don't think a few words is going to help. This is serious. I need real help. It's this compulsion I have and even though I know I shouldn't . . . I do.

What do I do? Are you sure you want to know? It's not your run of the mill addiction. It's not alcohol or drugs or television or gambling or porn . . .

I have this thing for (gulp) college ruled notebooks.

I know. I know. It's a sickness really and I always have the hardest time during all of these back-to-school sales. I mean. They're everywhere! I go to Target and there are aisles of them! I go to CVS and they're practically calling to me from the center aisle! The bookstore! The office supply store - OK. I should know better than to go into an office supply store . . .

Yesterday it was these elusive college ruled composition books that I've been looking for. See, those black and white speckled composition books are great, but they're ALL wide ruled. I don't like wide ruled paper. I just don't. But I like composition books and I haven't been able to find any with college ruled paper. Until today.

I went into CVS after my dentist appointment and (this is hard to admit as well) I bought some M & M's. Yes, I bought candy after my dentist appointment at which I had two cavities filled. I have faults, people. Anyway, I could hear something calling to me from across the store and I couldn't help but heed its call. It didn't take very long until I found them - the elusive college ruled composition books! Thank you, Five Star!!

And since I had some CVS Extra Bucks to spend, I bought three! Not one, not two, THREE!! (This after buying a small, black journal/notebook at the bookstore just 10 minutes before.) So now I have more notebooks than I know what to do with and a son who is only in kindergarten and can only write his name anyway and I know that I have contributed to the deaths of so many trees because of my compulsion . . .

But I DON'T KNOW HOW TO STOP!!! (I have a thing for pens as well, but find I only need a fix every six weeks or so.)

So if you have any ideas on how to help me or maybe Cheryl can make a call into that cable intervention show . . . At any rate, thank you for listening. I hope none of you are disappointed in me because of my weakness. I'm not a religious person, but if you are - pray for me.

P.S. My five year old's word of the day yesterday? Apprehensive. "It's when you're kind of nervous about something. You know. It's the same as being anxious." -- I say he goes straight to first grade within the first two weeks of school.

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Sunday, August 26, 2007

More Arbitrary Chatter

So the other day my five-year-old asked me if I wanted to hear a story. Sure, I said. OK. The title of this story is "Calamity at the Castle." What? What did you say?

FYO: Do you know what calamity means?
Me: Well, yes, I do. But do you?
FYO: Yes. Calamity means when something very bad happens.
Me: Wow. That's a great word, buddy.
FYO: I know. So do you want to hear the story now?

Apparently my son has been picking up all kinds of new words while playing on the online Noggin website. Recently he has been using some pretty big words and is able to recite the definitions to the following (now remember we're talking a five-year-old): exhilarating, calamity, commotion, ferocious, labyrinth and enthusiastic.

Seriously, when he used the word exhilarating the other day he made my sister feel bad because she now thinks he has a better vocabulary than she does. I guess it just goes to show you (again) that kids' brains ARE like sponges (I wish mine was these days!) so be careful what you say!!


OK it's been disgustingly hot since yesterday - Mid-90's and VERY humid. So we went and got ice cream yesterday. My kids went with the good, old reliables chocolate and vanilla. My husband got a chocolate soft serve and I got a flavor known as cake batter. Yes, cake batter and let me tell you that it was phenomenal!!

It really tasted just like licking the cake beaters when you bake a cake. It was so good! It was a yellow cake base with some chocolate cake batter chunks mixed in. I just had to share that. If you're looking for something a little new, and really, really good - go for the cake batter ice cream.


I am reading a CRAZY book right now. (A lot of capital letters today. Don't know why.) It's called "It Can't Happen Here," and it was written by Sinclair Lewis. Published back in 1935 it's the story of fascism oozing it's way into U.S. democracy. Now it doesn't creep in like some quiet cat that sneaks up on you. Oh, no. In this tale fascism comes right down Main Street with bands playing and politicians endorsing its tenets without, of course, calling it fascism.

The greatest part of this book though is that although it was written more than 70 years ago, the world Lewis describes VERY MUCH resembles the United States of 2007. That's right. He might as well be writing about the Bush Administration and the liberties that they are taking like extending the rights of executive privilege (to the status of king) and promising people they'll have more money in their pockets if citizens vote for a particular candidate. (Remember those tax cuts a few years back?)

Like I said I'm only about 100 pages in, but the similarities are already freaking me out. I promise a full review when I'm finished. (A shout out to my husband for peaking my interest and suggesting the book. We're both reading it right now and I'm hoping to have some great discussions.)

All right. It's getting late. Have a great Monday everybody!

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Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It Truly Saddens Me to Say This

I was watching ABC World News tonight and they aired a 15 second news blurb that truly saddened me. The Associated Press-Ipsos recently conducted a survey regarding the reading habits of adults and found that 27% of those surveyed had not read a book in the last year.

That's right, 1 in 4 respondents reported they had not read a book in the previous 12 months - NOT A ONE!!!

Now I realize this also means that 73% are reading at least one book a year, but it still just blows my mind that so many adults aren't reading books. Do they know what they're missing? Because they are missing so much.

The publishing industry did report a small (less than 1 percent) jump in the number of books sold from last year totalling 3.1 billion books. That's a lot of books, but I just wish those were spread over a larger number of people.

There is some good news to report. The survey also found that Democrats and those who classified themselves as liberals reported reading "slightly more books" than Republicans and conservatives ;)

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Sunday Night Random

Another installment of "Kids Say the Funniest Things"

(While Wrestling)
Five-Year-Old: Daddy, do you know why you remind me of a termite?

Daddy: Why?

FYO: (Punching Daddy's stomach) Because your body's so soft!


I've also done my monthly post over at The Soccer Mom Vote. This time I took on the timely topic of teens and curfews at, of all places, the mall. Yes, there are malls across the country making it their policy to force teens out by a certain hour (some as early as 2 p.m.) unless accompanied by an adult. (I don't know about you, but my friends and I used to go to the mall to get away from our parents.) Nothing heavy, but something to think about.


One more thing. I'm in love with John Edwards. Not just because he's dashing and got great hair. No I love his policy ideas the most. And his wife. She's my kind of First Lady. Although I'm finding it almost comical to watch the political gaming going on so early in this run for the 2008 Presidency, I enjoy John Edwards. He's my candidate in '08.

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Friday, August 17, 2007

Shadowtails, Ferishers & Graylings - Oh My!

I finished a wonderful book today. Really. I may become a fantasy genre reader yet.

It's called, "Summerland," and it's written by Michael Chabon. (He won a Pulitzer for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which I have not read, but I did read Wonder Boys quite a few years back and enjoyed that.) Once again, I found myself in the realm of "Children's Literature," and again found myself so presently surprised to have enjoyed it as much as I did.

I mean, Harry Potter certainly has gotten me on a a series of new paths in reading. First of all, I never thought I would enjoy children's literature so much as an adult. I love the imagination of it all. The characters who are so often untouched by the grizzled old hands of "real life" and their ability to have hope against all odds because they haven't been disappointed as many times as we adults.

And then there's the science fiction/fantasy genre itself. I mean, I NEVER as a child read this kind of stuff. I never read The Chronicles of Narnia and I found myself bored to sleep, literally, by "The Hobbit," and there were a few books my dad had suggested to me (he's a big Sci-Fi guy) which I read, but have long forgotten having made no real impression on me. But this - this is GOOD stuff.

I love Chabon's use of language when he uses words we know, but gives them a twist - scampering to mean moving between worlds or quite possible my favorite two words in the book: careful abandon. I also love the names of the characters and the words he simply makes up - ferishers, graylings, skrikers, Cinquefoil, Cutbelly, Skidbladnire, Applelawn, Spider-Rose . . . I could go on for days.

Then there is the story itself. One filled with all kinds of Native American folklore, a central baseball theme (that you don't have to be a player to enjoy, but if you are or ever were it will tug at your heartstrings and you will truly be able to smell that fresh cut outfield grass once again), a story about loss, about growing up but not so much that one forgets to be a child, it's about hope and imagination, good versus evil and most of all it's about Believing.

I highly recommend this book. I got off to a slow start with it, but once I read a few chapters in I found it hard to put down night after night. It's not so much a page turner as it is an adventure that involves characters I really grew to care about. I wanted to see where each new day was taking them. I would suggest it to anyone in the "tween" to early teen set as well.

So now I get to do my second favorite thing after reading a book. I'm going to pass it on to someone else. It was passed to me after two of my friends read it and enjoyed it and now I will be passing it onto another who I'm quite sure will enjoy it as well. (He reads my blog from time to time so I didn't want to give too much away :)

Sharing a book is one of the great things we get to do in this life. It's one of those things that separates us from other animals. And while I like writing little reviews in order to spark the interest of others, there's nothing like receiving/giving a physical copy of a book as it travels among friends.

Good night, all, and happy reading.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Another Day, Another Recall

I was driving into work this morning and was informed by the radio news anchor that Mattel has issued a toy recall involving some 9 million pieces. This, of course, comes after Fisher-Price recalled 1.5 million toys and RC2 Corporation recalled another 1.5 million Thomas the Tank Engine characters because paint that was used in production was contaminated with lead.

This (as we all know) has shed an unflattering light upon the manufacturing practices in China. It hasn't just been toys that have caused alarm, but food and children's jewelery and toothpaste . . . We've all heard about it so there is no point in recapping everything. Let's just say that there is a BIG problem.

However, my reprimand isn't necessarily aimed at the government inspectors (or lack there of) because I think it's unreasonable to expect that EVERY product that comes into this country be inspected upon arrival before it reaches store shelves - at least not by some government agency. No, I feel that the onus here is on the corporations selling us the products.

You see, when I exchange my hard earned money for a product that I need or want, I in turn feel that the manufacturers of said product should be selling me a safe product. Why else would I buy it? (Especially for my children.) It's an unwritten contract of sorts - I pay you, you provide me with something that won't make me or my family ill. Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it?

Now things in China are exploding. They are experiencing an Industrial Revolution right now much like the one the U.S. experienced nearly 200 years ago. I think most of us reading this right now remember the horror stories from our history classes of child labor, industrial accidents that resulted in the loss of limbs, etc. Anyone read Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle?" I mean, the Industrial Revolution was about survival not quality control.

Which brings me to my point that since we all know what is happening in China, where are the representatives from these big corporations who choose to move overseas and manufacture their products there? Where are the company inspectors and production managers to oversee the actual making of these goods that they are selling to us? If you moved your business to a foreign country with different standards and regulations wouldn't you, as a business owner, want to know exactly what was happening on the production line? Wouldn't you want to make sure that the products being produced there were as good, if not better since you're saving money in production, as all the others carrying your company name and reputation?

I know I would. But then again big business isn't concerned with the actual product they put out, but are more focused on profit margins and seeing how little money they can spend on production to bring in more money for profit.

I think it's time for some good old-fashioned self regulation, so instead of boycotting China (which, no doubt, needs some help) why don't we start boycotting the companies themselves until they can prove to us that they're making their products safe? That in turn would help China improve its own quality and safety issues because the companies they're working for would insist upon a better, safer product.

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Monday, August 13, 2007

Oh Happy Day!

I read this little ditty this morning and I must say it was a great way to start off my week :)

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Friday, August 10, 2007

Kids Truly Are Great

While sitting eating my lunch today, I had the following conversation with my three-year-old son:

O: Mommy, can I have some of your chips?

ME: No. You already had some chips with your lunch. These are mine.

O: But I'm really hungry. Won't you share with me?

ME: No. You've had enough.

O: You should share. Trust me. It's what friends do.

Of course I gave him a couple . . . After I stopped laughing!

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Thursday, August 9, 2007

Oh, How I Love The Progressive

I make no secret of my left, liberal, progressive leanings. I am proud to be a registered independent voter and I enjoy my subscriptions to The Nation and The Progressive. And it is with great pleasure that I share a couple of highlights from my reading yesterday of the August issue of The Progressive.

First of all, I got a kick out of this small paragraph in the "No Comment" section. It contains news blurbs submitted by readers from all over the country from any number of publications. There are always interesting quotes or stories which cause me to utter, "Does he/she have any idea what he/she just said?!" or "I thought this was 2007!" This particular submission wasn't so much infuriating or ridiculous, but certainly thought provoking.

It comes from William M. Arkin of The Washington Post:

"I went to a Red Sox game on Saturday, and up above home plate I couldn't help but notice the press box: five, six, seven tiers of desks, filled with print, radio, television, and who knows what other media all reporting every move and anomaly. It dawned on me that there are more reporters covering the Sox, just one baseball team, than cover the Pentagon."

To quote the host of my favorite late night show of the 1990's: "Things that make you go hmmmm . . ."

However, that was just the beginning. Just a couple of pages later I read Barbara Ehrenreich's column, "Banish the Bloated Overclass" which takes a look at the real consequences of the rich getting richer. While I'm not starving and my children have plenty of toys and we live in a nice house that doesn't mean that I should be OK with the fact that the rich have more political clout and influence, that higher education is quickly becoming a privilege of the wealthy (unless I want my children to go tens of thousands of dollars in debt), etc. It's a really great column and I highly recommend you give it a read. And I'd love to hear your opinions on it as well.

There's also a great interview with Elizabeth Edwards which just reinforced why I respect her so much as a woman, a wife and a mother. She's a smart, down to earth lady and I respect her efforts in working to get her husband elected to the office of President. I would be honored to have her as my First Lady.

And just one more mention. (I told you this was a great issue!) Editor Matthew Rothschild wrote a powerful column on why Cheney should be impeached. I will let the column speak for itself by giving you the first two sentences:

"You don’t have to dust for long before finding Dick Cheney’s grimy fingerprints all over the Bush crime scene. It’s becoming clearer by the day that behind every one of Bush’s illegal actions lurks the shadow of the Vice President."

Now if that doesn't spark your interest, I have no idea why you read my political rantings at all ;)

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Sunday, August 5, 2007

More Random Mutterings

    From this week's Unconscious Mutterings:

  1. Voices :: Haven't heard any (lately)

  2. Have to :: do laundry

  3. Machine :: head

  4. Seventh grade :: Ms. Deutsch, Huck Finn, Cheryl, Matt, White-Out, scary Mr. Kennedy (NO White-Out), speeches, the longest stint of grounding EVER!!!

  5. Beach :: Warm, relaxing, reading, peaceful

  6. Roommate :: what we became

  7. Cyclone :: Twister

  8. Theater :: Theatre (I like the "r-e" spelling better)

  9. Pregnant :: All set with that, thanks ;)

  10. Phoebe :: Boufay

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Thursday, August 2, 2007


I happened upon the following quote quite by accident tonight, but it stopped me in my tracks. Not a lot to say about it - it says it all really - but I just wanted to share it with you.

"Never think that war, no matter how necessary, nor how justified, is not a crime." --- Ernest Hemingway


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More Gardening Glory

We have ripe tomatoes!!

Those of you following my virginal gardening season know how excited I get. (More excited than my son whose idea it was to have a veggie garden as a matter of fact.) You also have read about those pesky squirrels I've been dealing with. Well, while they've helped themselves to a few of the greener tomatoes (and my pepper which was lost a couple of weeks ago) there are PLENTY of tomatoes to go around. So as long as I'm able to keep picking, I will refrain from allowing my husband to purchase a Bebe gun.

I am happy to report, also, that while the previously mentioned squirrels destroyed my lone pepper and annihilated my eggplant even before it had a chance to sprout flowers - it looks like both plants have been given a second chance at life. I have what appear to be a couple of pepper sprouting now (on a couple of plants instead of just the one) and the eggplant is now in bloom with a couple of nice, healthy looking flowers which I hope will bear fruit, er, vegetables.

Yes, I'm a little crazy about this whole gardening thing, but it's been so much fun! I'm already making plans for next year's crops (this from a woman who doesn't eat very many vegetables) and I'm thinking about changing a few things in the yard itself as well.

I never thought I'd love playing in the dirt so much!!!

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