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22 February 2009

Fabulous Pro-life Speech from a 12 Year Old

In addition to the obvious courage it takes to give a speech like that in public school, Lia stood up to more challenges: she was initially disqualified from the contest because of her topic. AND the school tried to get her to remove her comment about a loving Creator, speech which is protected by the First Amendment. Read more about it here.

How Well Do You Know Your Husband?

1. He's sitting in front of the TV, what is on the screen? Stargate. or sometimes Eureka. But it's not really the TV: it's his computer & he's riding the exercise bike. The only thing that he regularly watches on the actual TV (between Stargate seasons) is General Conference.
Andy says: accurate.

2. You're out to eat; what kind of dressing does he get on his salad? Thousand Island. But I don't think I've ever seen him order a salad when we're out.
Andy says: Correct. Re ordering salad: Not if I don't have to!

3. What's one food he doesn't like? Broccoli.
Andy says: Who likes broccoli??

4. You go out to eat and have a drink. What does he order? "Clear and carbonated. Sprite, Sierra Mist, whatever you have."
Andy says: yeah. That's right.

5. Where did he go to high school? He'd rather not think about that.
Andy says: Do you know where I went to high school?
Me: Errrr... no.

6. What size shoe does he wear? Errrr....
Andy says: I get my own shoes, thanks.

7. If he was to collect anything, what would it be? Weapons.
Andy says: Rolls on floor, laughing to hard to say anything.

8. What is his favorite type of sandwich? My cooking: Grilled pepper sandwiches. Food out: Turkey Super Stacker from IHOP. Or possibly the french dip at Perkins.
Andy says: My cooking=accurate. Food out=you get the buzzer!! Have you forgotten about the mushroom swiss burger??

9. What would he eat every day if he could? Potato salad.
Andy says: yeah. **ponders wistfully.** yeah.

10. What is his favorite cereal? Reese's Puffs.
Andy says: There is no other cereal.

11. What would he never wear? A tux.
Andy says: inaccurate! You've seen me in a tux, therefore, inaccurate!

12. What is his favorite sports team? None. He doesn't like sports.
Andy says: Wanna-be warriors think too much of themselves.

13. Who did he vote for? Chuck Baldwin, Constitution Party.
Andy says: uh-huh.

14. Who is his best friend? Me :)
Andy says: sure, sounds good.

15. What is something you do that he wishes you wouldn't do? Interrupt.
Andy says: one among several.

16. What is his heritage? English, ugh. I should know this. I do genealogy!
Andy says: You need some help with that, love. I'm a quarter pure-blood German.

17. You bake him a cake for his birthday; what kind of cake? If I could ever find a recipe, I'd make the cream cheese torte that you used to be able to buy at Walmart, but so far I haven't found anything that works for duplicating it and they don't carry it anymore.
Andy says: yeah.

18. Did he play sports in high school? No.
Andy says: We have little Monkey ears present.

19. What kind of music does he like? Mostly rock, with a bit of heavy metal thrown in for good measure.
Andy says: That was accurate 4-5 years ago. I usually don't listen to much music anymore; if I do it's usually Celtic instrumental or the lighter side of rock. I'm done tearing up my ears.

10 February 2009

Nature Study

It finally warmed up a bit. In addition to that, Monkey seems to be dong much better now that we're treating him for allergies rather than colds. The result is that we were finally able to go over to Memorial Park like I've been wanting to do. It's a lovely big park with wooded sections, marshy spots, grassy areas, hills, and a pond with a stream. Plenty of things for us to look at and watch change with the seasons!

These puddles are the first things we found. Never even made it to the pond, we had water right there the moment we got out of the car. Monkey is old enough to enjoy the puddles this year!

After he'd splashed for a while I started encouraging him to splash this way, and we moved towards the woods. There's still a bit of snow on the ground, even after 2 days of temperatures in the 50's(!) and a rainstorm, but it wasn't too bad. So we made our way over to one of the wooded areas to check out the trees.

Monkey noticed this hollow tree. He told me, "It's broken!" and wanted to check it out, so we did.

Tomorrow it's back to winter: we're supposed to have rain-turning-to-snow slushy icky muck all day long. But today has been just wonderful!

09 February 2009

Fixing the Basket for Mom

Simple Woman's Daybook

FOR TODAY 9 February 2009:

Outside my window: There are still huge snowbanks that I can barely see over at the end of the driveway. HOWEVER! After 3 days of above freezing temps I can see little bits of grass peeking out around the edge of the drifts. Our driveway is considerably wider. And there is no ice on our sidewalks.

I am thinking: How blessed I am to have my husband!

I am thankful for: Time to learn. There is so much to learn, and I have time to learn at least a little bit of it.

From the learning rooms: I found a munchkin piano book that I think may work for Monkey! He's been asking me to listen to him when he plays his music on the piano. It's his turn for a "lesson." Now we have something to do when we do the lessons!

From the kitchen: Not much right now. I should can another batch of potatoes.

I am wearing: Jeans, green & yellow stripy socks, a yellow shirt from Antelope Island (in the middle of the Great Salt Lake), and a ratty old gray sweater that should have been retired a long time ago.

I am creating: A border for my brown sweater that shrank in the wash. It's coming out great! I have a picture of a small swatch. But it's better on the sweater. It's going quickly, so I'll have pictures of the finished product soon.

I am going: to Barnes & Nobel very soon: Andy gave me a big 'ole gift card for my birthday!

I am reading: A whole lot of books. And there's more that I can't get to.

I am hoping: To play Killer Bunnies again soon.

I am hearing: The Wheels on the Bus go round and round, round and round, round and round...

Around the house: I am collecting yarn. I've discovered knitting and rediscovered crochet.

One of my favorite things: Sitting in the sun in my rocker, playing with string, with a purring kitty sleeping on my lap. This happened this morning for a while and it was great.

A few plans for the rest of the week: A library trip and a visit to the park to see what sort of nature we can find around the pond. Piano lessons. Nap times. Regular life. Should be good.

Here is picture thought I am sharing:

More Daybooks

Playing With Toys

I have entered the wonderful world of Photoshop! I'm still just fooling around, but I think it's an improvement. Here is what the picture looked like to start with:

Oh, and Kate, if you want the adjusted shoe picture, let me know.

05 February 2009

Nature Study

When we went outside this afternoon we stopped by the feeder to look at the way that the woodpeckers leave holes in the suet we put out.

Then he grabbed his shovel and moved snow for a while.

We took a look at the ice left behind as the sun has been starting to melt the snowbanks a little. I had never noticed how pretty they were before! I showed them to Monkey and he looked, but then he shoveled it.

Looking at the waves that the wind has blown into the snow had a similar effect. He looked and it was nice, but he wanted to shovel!

Americans Don't Know Their Civics

I ran across this tonight:

Americans Fail a Basic Test on Their History and Institutions is the third major study conducted by ISI on the kind of knowledge required for informed citizenship. In 2006 and 2007, ISI published the first ever scientific surveys of civic learning among college students. Each year, approximately 14,000 freshmen and seniors at 50 schools nationwide were given a 60-question, multiple-choice exam on basic knowledge of America’s heritage. Both years, the students failed. The average freshman scored 51.7% the first year and 51.4% the next. The average senior scored 53.2%, then 54.2%. After all the time, effort, and money spent on college, students emerge no better off in understanding the fundamental features of American self-government.

Read more... (But do the quiz first.)

They've got some pretty ominous findings:

Finding 1:
Americans Fail the Test of Civic Literacy

Finding 2:
Americans Agree:
Colleges Should Teach America’s Heritage (OK, that's not ominous. It's even encouraging.)

Finding 3:
College Adds Little to Civic Knowledge

Finding 4:
Television—Including TV News—Dumbs America Down (No surprises here.)

Finding 5:
What College Graduates Don’t Know About America (They've got a whole list of stuff the grads don't know.)

Additional Finding
Elected Officials Score Lower than the General Public

YIKE!! OK, but I'm not really surprised. I called my senator's office this last week and his staffer didn't know what to do with a request for the Constitutional Authority for a bill they've passed. She didn't even understand the question. I had to ask it 3 times then explain to her, "The Founders gave Congress specific and limited powers. I want to know which Section of the Constitution they take the authority for this bill from." She said they'd get back to me. So did the other senator. So did the representative. None of them has yet, not even the representative, who is usually very good and has impressed me before with his respect for the Constitution. Even if he is a Democrat.

They've got a test where you can find out how much you know about our history & institutions. Can you pick out the 3 branches of the federal government on a multiple guess test? Less than half of the folks surveyed could do it. Take it before you read the summary, or else it's cheating. The summary has answers in it.

Little Worker

Monkey made a mess the other day. He was using the hole punch and very happily punching many many holes. After a while, he discovered that the lid on the hold catching part comes off. Then there were many many holes on the floor. So he grabbed the broom and dustpan and tried to sweep them up. That was the part where he learned that brooms don't work very well on carpet. I'd told him before that brooms are for hard floors and vacuums for carpet, but I don't think he got it. He gets it much better now! When I noticed what he was doing with the broom I smiled & let him do it. A little bit later I asked him if he wanted some help cleaning things up a little better. He thought that idea was pretty exciting, so we went and got the vacuum. He did nearly all the vacuuming all by himself. Except that I had to aim it for him, and help him with a few little touch-ups near the end. He did almost all of it; he didn't want any more of my help than absolutely necessary. What a good kid!

04 February 2009

It's Finished

My shawl is finished. Not only is it finished, it's photographed.

I'm even happy with the picture.

Music Giveaway

Anne Bradshaw, of Not Entirely British is having a music giveaway. This is the cover for the music. Apparently it's a new LDS musician who likes best to do sacred music. Sounds like some good stuff.

Interesting Constitutional Commentary

Interesting commentary on the office of the President of the United States from the National Center for Constitutional Studies:

It is interesting that when the oath of office was administered there was some confusion and it had to be administered again. The thought, apparently, was that if one is committing to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution” it had better be done as perfectly as man could do it, lest there be any one say the Constitution was not being meticulously followed.

But if we are making every attempt to be true to the Constitution, why stop with the oath? ...

In Washington's day there were 350 civilian employees serving a population of 3 million. Today there are around 300 million or one hundred times more people, so if Washington were President today he would have to have at least 35,000 (350x100) civilian employees to provide the same level of service today that he maintained in the 1790s. But let's assume that our modern society is ten times more complicated, necessitating ten times the number of federal employees. That would be 350,000 employees today.

Since we have around 3.5 million federal employees, that makes the ratio of government workers over one hundred times greater in our day than in Washington's era. The question needs to be asked: Are we still just trying to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution as the oath requires? ...

The concentrating of all this power in the executive department may have been done with the best of intentions and with glowing promises. However, experience is demonstrating that this theory of "problem solving at the center" has turned out to be as counter-productive as the Founders warned it would be. Not only has it failed to fulfill its promises in the United States, but similar experiments have failed all over the world.


03 February 2009

Dodged the Bullet

We visited the allergist this morning, and ended up having some tests done to see if allergies are contributing to Monkey's chronic sinus ick. Yep, it is. Turns out he's probably allergic to cats(!) and borderline for dust mites. Fortunately, the doctor said that there is a very high margin of error in the scratch tests (50%), and where Monkey's not breaking out into sneezing fits when he plays with the cat (Only Anya will play. Rena doesn't do that sort of thing.) the doctor said it would probably be premature to say that we should get rid of our cats at this point. Though we should discourage them from sleeping in his bed. The dust mites should be pretty straight forward to deal with: weekly hot water washes for the bedding and cool dust mite covers for the mattresses and pillows.

It's nice to have some new ideas about what to do for the never ending nose icks. Really nice. But my strongest feeling right now is relief at not loosing our cats!

02 February 2009

It's Very Strange...

... to have a cat wash your hair for you. But my Anya just did it. Not sure what that's all about. Would someone please let her know that keyboards are not kooshy kitty seats?


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