Friday, July 31, 2009
Inchworm haulin' ass on the edge of my basket,
You seem determined to get where you're going.
You bend, then extend, in movements gymnastic,
But what can I infer from your showing?
The wind blows you off course; your recovery - fantastic!
Still, there's nothing to your knowing.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
When we got home, we went to a safe place (the deserted high school parking lot) to test the robustness of my four year-old car's clutch. What fun!
*While there are lots of restrictions on learner's permits, there was nothing I could find which tied the license to school attendance (2nd comment).
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
For the applause.
In the “my sounds” section of her phone, she found a rousing cheer. So now whenever and wherever she goes she has her own set of adoring fans. Her gracious bowing in acknowledgment of their thunderous, albeit electronic, applause upon entering a room still surprises and delights me.
After all, it was drama camp.
LB's Lullabye Leaguer, left.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Is your closet full of clothes for the life you think you might, but don't actually live?
Are you looking for another online time suck?
If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions, have I got the site for you!
It's called Polyvore, and it's an online staging thingy I read about in the New York Times yesterday. You can put together clothes, backgrounds, accessories and post them on your blog, facebook, or anywhere you feel like it - I imagine. You can find out where, and how much it will set you back, to buy most of the items. Best of all, you can share them with your loved ones so they can pull a Stacy and Clinton on you before you buy, thus saving you time and money!
Yeah. That's it! Saving you time and money.
I certainly haven't tested its powers, but for me, it's all about the shoes.
All About the Shoes by LB featuring Christian Louboutin Estoteri shoes
That Christian Louboutin - I swear, he's going to be the death of my children's savings accounts, or at least the cause of one badly sprained ankle, because someday I will wear those shoes, or another remarkably fantastic pair with his signature red leather sole.
Monday, July 27, 2009
As the runner for this family (for members under the age of 17), I spent a good chunk of two days between the garage and the Registry of Motor Vehicles. My husband’s car failed to pass the onerous Massachusetts Vehicle Check not because of safety or emissions, but because the license plate wasn’t reflective enough. So instead of a nice sticker with a big “6” on it indicating the month of my next
It hurt because I knew that the big red “R” sentenced me to a trip to the nearest big city, a struggle with old bolts to remove the offending plate, a wait in line, dealing with government workers, and a return trip to the garage, which included another wait. But wait, there’s more! I showed up at the RMV not the 10 early minutes I had planned, but an hour and ten minutes before it opened! Apparently, they had changed their schedule to reflect the poverty of the state and let us all figure it out ourselves.
So I waited outside with 50 other uninformed people for it to open. I haven’t heard so many expletives used since my own car failed inspection for the same sham of a safety regulation last year and I couldn’t budge the rusted bolts on the license plate in the RMV parking lot – but those were all from me! When the out-of-town cop showed up with donuts for state employees hiding in the building, I swear, I thought I was going to be witness to an honest-to-goodness revolt! As soon as the doors opened the talk of overthrowing the state government ceased and we all filed in like sheep.
The replacement of the plate was “free”, but as the second person in the finally unlocked door, the first to be taken at the counter, I was still twenty minutes inside the building. Overall, the event took an hour on the first day, and three hours on the second. For you English majors, that’s four hours for the privilege of having my perfectly good, adequately insured, 35 mpg gasoline-fueled car legally on the road for another year. Oh yes, that’s only if you’ve paid the state registration fee, any and all parking tickets or moving violations, or as I discovered from the would-be revolutionaries near me in line, even child-support(!) which is now linked to one’s license to drive in this state.
Happily, my papers were in order.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
Anyway, even though we’ve been friends for a long, long time, I always leave our get-togethers a little wiser. Here are just a few of the night’s pearls of wisdom that made me laugh (and that I can share here).
On children: “What can you do? Pour yourself a drink and lock yourself in your room.”
On sex: “I had to get off the phone - we had only 48 minutes.” “So what’d you do with the leftover 40 minutes?”
On beauty: “Promise me you’ll do my nails and eyebrows if my husband puts me in a home.”
On infidelity: “I’m convinced – the difference between slut and non-slut is opportunity.”
No matter how these bites may sound taken out of context, each was spoken as a small part of my friend’s sense of life: that life is good and made even better when you can share it with good friends. In one brief summer evening we laughed at each other’s foibles, reveled in each other’s triumphs, commiserated with each other’s heartaches, and enjoyed the values we each hold that helped make us friends all those years ago.
“Friendships of this kind are likely to be rare; for such people are few. They require time and familiarity too; for, as the adage puts it, it is impossible for people to know one another until they have consumed the proverbial salt together; nor can people admit one another to friendship, or be friends at all, until each has been proved lovable and trustworthy to the other.”
Aristotle, The Nichomachean Ethics [Book VIII, ch. 4]
We’ve consumed the proverbial salt together for over 30 years now. I appreciate what each of them adds to my life and the rarity of our friendships.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Two summers ago we had the wide pine planks on our first floor refinished. This rendered the entire floor off-limits for about a week. Being the ingenious folks we are – we put a ladder up to a second floor bedroom window to enter the house proper for showering. Also being the conscientious folks that we are, we notified the neighbors.
“Hey! If you see anyone crawling into the back of our house over the next few days – it’s more than likely just us.”
Except for the youngest, we used the ladder at least once a day for the few days. Sometimes even at night. It was a bit of adventure and the floors came out great (note to future self: wide pine floors may look pretty, but they’re soft as hell and require more maintenance than hardwoods).
Of course, we could have kept our odd behavior to ourselves (as is normally the case) and run the risk that someone would call the police. Then we would have had to come down the ladder, explain the situation, and, a little red-faced, apologize for wasting their time because we didn’t have the foresight to understand how our actions could easily have been misinterpreted.
Or, upon their arrival, we could have been belligerent and litigious, providing proof by verbosity well before and after the requested proof of ID. We could have blamed the neighbors for their stupidity in trying to protect our property, and made a federal case out of police harassment.
Oh wait. We couldn’t have made it a federal case, but he can with a little help from the POTUS.
Deep dark waters never still.
A lake is human scale.
Puddled safely on a sill.
A pool is made of concrete.
Shaped only by man’s will.
Love can be like an ocean,
Demanding more than I can give.
It can be like a lake,
Providing all I need to live.
But it’s best when like a pool,
Designed and built by him;
It is inviting,
An earned requiting,
Wherein I choose to swim.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Do you like driving your car to your chosen destinations, or would you rather have free transportation bringing you near enough to where you want to go?
Have you enjoyed controlling the environment within your own home or would you rather your standards of comfort be dictated by others who know better than you?
To me, the answers to these questions seem obvious – I want what I want, when it is available and I can pay for it. The more choices that are available to me, the more I can live my life according to my own values. I want to have the ability to spend my money on salted pistachios, gasoline, or oil and electricity when it suits my needs or desires. I want to buy alcohol, go for joy rides, or freeze my ass off when I’m sleeping in the summertime. I want to choose my own doctor, decide whether or not I can afford certain procedures, and live my life according to the facts of reality, not the paternal beneficence of an all-knowing and all-powerful Wizard of Oz.
I want to direct my own life. And I want you to be able to direct your own – but not mine.
Is it simply a matter of thinking that others know better; that good is good enough? How far are we willing to let our standards of liberty fall? What will it take for us for to wake up to the fact that our government does not grant us rights by permission, but that the government was painstakingly constructed by our founding fathers to protect our rights as “natural” and “unalienable”? How far backwards do we have to bend to think that each piece of new legislation preserves our rights, rather than curtails our ability to direct our own lives? How much longer will we clamor for more control over our choices? And what will life be like when the government, appealing to the destructive ideology of self-sacrifice, successfully hoodwinks the voters into believing that this cancer of regulations is in our own best interests? How deep does this falsehood go?
We’re now seeing the results of generations of believing that lie, and it promises to get worse, fast – if we let it.
Each man has a right to exist for his own sake. This is the morality which must be upheld by our government “instituted among men, deriving their powers from the consent of the governed”.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
Last night, she made this claim for the hundredth time, adding as she always does, that she is only pretending to sleep when my husband kisses her goodbye before leaving for work at some ungodly hour (when it’s still dark outside, yet supposedly morning). So my husband finally said, “Prove it.”
This morning, as he does each weekday morning, he went into her room to check on her. When his eyes adjusted to the darkness he saw that she was just lying there, eyes wide open, looking at him with satisfaction. She waved and said, “See, I told you.”
Her sleep requirements may be those of her father, but that sassy chip is all me.
Oh, and elf is eleven in German as I just found out this morning. She is a perfect eleven.
Monday, July 20, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
“But the business of laws is not to provide for the truth of opinions, but for the safety and security of the commonwealth, and of every particular man’s good and person. And so it ought to be. For the truth certainly would do well enough if she were once left to shift for herself. She seldom has received, and I fear never will receive, much assistance from the power of great men, to whom she is but rarely known, and more rarely welcome. She is not taught by laws, nor has she any need of force to procure her entrance into the minds of men. Errors indeed prevail by the assistance of foreign and borrowed succours. But if truth makes not her way into the understanding by her own light, she will be but the weaker for any borrowed force violence can add to her.”From John Locke’s 1689 "A Letter Concerning Toleration". A copy of the full text can be found here, and an audio version of it, here.
The glut of justification for religious authority in its own right notwithstanding, this brief treatise does a great job explaining the reasons why church and state must be kept separate. In reading it, I’ve been impressed by the constant reminders of his influence on the ideas of Thomas Jefferson and the other Founding Fathers as well as his rich use of language. I love that he refers to Truth as She.
Something that’s been gnawing at me since I began reading the letter is his descriptions of the problems with an overreaching church. These bear a dangerously close correlation to the current practices of our overreaching paternalistic government! More on that later.
For now, at the risk of summoning bad memories of the Greg Kihn Band, they just don’t write ‘em like that anymore. If that’s too much of a blast from the past, I’ll leave you with a bit lyrical poetry: Elvis Costello’s She.
Friday, July 17, 2009
As expected, I was loving life and living young until the year my son was born - then, I hit a wall. I have no idea what "Roll With It" by Steve Winwood sounds like. Luckily I regained my youth (and vitality, if you can call it that given the song) the following year with "Right Here Waiting" by Richard Marx.
Oddly, the years surrounding my second child's birth leave me staring blankly at the list. Huh? But the year between those two, the year she was born, in fact the very moments in which she was born, her deliverer (aka: my surgeon) and I were discussing how his wife loved UB40 (Pay attention in there, Doc! I may need that gigantic purple organ in the future!).
Then sadly, in 2001, I officially turned old at age 36.
Oh well. It wasn't a bad run. On the bright side, now I can sing all the words to all the songs on the oldies station impressing my daughters no end since I can't remember what they told me yesterday morning.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Why? Because I get a lot of blog hits for "zebra print 3 ring binder" and the thought of those hundreds (okay, tens) of people coming to my blog most likely in an attempt to buy that very thing and having to leave bitterly disappointed is just too much for my soft, animal-print-loving heart to bear.
And I am nothing if not giving.
So without further ado, I give to you:
How to Make Your Own Zebra Print 3 Ring Binder
1. Clear View Binder (Staples has various sizes and prices depending on your specifications.)
2. Zebra print paper (I recommend thick wrapping paper on a roll, or tissue paper – Hallmark: < $2.)
3. Sheets of thick white paper (This is particularly important if you are using tissue paper as I did.)
4. Iron (Skip this at your own peril and possible sanity.)
5. Ruler (Or eyeballs if you’re particularly good at eyeballing measurements or aren’t afraid you’re going to run out of tissue paper due to over-confidence in your eyeballing abilities. In fact, I recommend using your eyeballs at all times even if you have a ruler. It’s just plain safer.)
6. Paper Cutter (Or not, if you’re good with scissors, which I am not.)
Iron the paper on the lowest setting of your iron. Do not leave the iron on the paper, but move it quickly over the surface until the paper is smooth. Touch it. It should be smooth and warm. This step is not important in the manufacturing of your binder, but it feels nice, so go ahead. No one is looking.
Measure, or eyeball the size of the zebra print paper to match the dimensions of the space available in the binder’s clear front cover (repeat with back cover and spine). Cut zebra and thick paper to the correct dimensions, making the zebra paper slightly (about 1/4˝) longer.
Center the zebra paper over the thick paper, wrapping the slight edges over and tape to the thick paper.
Slide the inserts into the spaces on the binder. The spine is tricky. I recommend gently rocking the paper side to side while applying a slight downward motion. Do NOT allow the paper to bend – you may have to start over. There’s nothing worse than a flaccid spine insert. Keep it crisp and you too can have your very own Zebra Print 3 Ring Binder.
Thanks for stopping by!
* I needed to change the title if I really wanted it to be a public service. Again, all about the giving.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
This one, in particular, bears re-watching every so often.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
A faded green volume falls open in his hand,
Cradling the book with the tips of his fingers,
He intones, Herein lies the beginnings of Man:
Of Thought, of Reason! And here, he lingers.
Reciting the essence of poets long past,
His eyes smiling with a knowing regard;
Time, onto which the passages cast
Light, once dismissed as dark and hard.
Effortlessly finding the work of his desire;
Feathery pages belie their own true weight.
His oration delivered with glee and with fire –
Virtue! The Archaic Greeks did contemplate!
But some subtler poetry lies in his reverent look,
And tenderness for his slender, well-loved book.
Monday, July 13, 2009
What is the Federal Register you ask?
From the Government Printing Office:
Published by the Office of the Federal Register, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), the Federal Register is the official daily publication for rules, proposed rules, and notices of Federal agencies and organizations, as well as executive orders and other presidential documents. It is updated daily by 6 a.m. and is published Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. GPO Access contains Federal Register volumes from 59 (1994) to the present. [emphasis mine]As referenced in the Times article, from the FTC Endorsement Guides:
I. OVERVIEW OF THE CURRENT GUIDESThat’s right. Although the guides are advisory in nature, since they are developed from the regulations, they can be enforced by the FTC. At least it’s comforting to know that the burden of proof is still on the prosecutor as opposed to a blanket indictment of endorsers as guilty until they prove themselves innocent. Right?
The Guides, 16 C.F.R. Part 255, are designed to assist businesses and others in conforming their endorsement and testimonial advertising practices to the requirements of Section 5 of the FTC Act. Although the Guides interpret laws administered by the Commission, and thus are advisory in nature, proceedings to enforce the requirements of law as explained in the Guides can be brought under the FTC Act. In any such proceeding, the Commission would have the burden of proving that a particular use of an endorsement or testimonial was deceptive. [emphasis mine]
Changes to the Endorsement Guides were posted in the Federal Register on January 18, 2007, garnered 22 comments, and the new advisory rules are expected to be made by the fall. It’s interesting to note that this four page notification was fitted snuggly among the 250+ pages of the Federal Register that day.
You may wonder, who on earth reads the Federal Register? As one who was once employed to regularly wade through the goo, I can tell you that people seeking to get a piece of the government pie (aka “our tax dollars”) read it religiously.
Finally, what about the deceptive practices of the Government?
How is that we withstand these hidden attacks on our freedom, the proliferation of non-objective law, and the direct violation of the Government in securing the blessings of Liberty for us?
It would seem that we the people are supposed to check out today’s Federal Register, consider ourselves notified, and be satisfied with that.
This morning, the article in the Times (online) was titled "When a Blogger Voices Approval, a Sponsor May be Lurking". Now it bears the innocuous title, "Approval by Blogger May Please a Sponsor". Hmmm.
Sunday, July 12, 2009
Through the classes, general sessions, and referenced symposiums (in the ancient Greek sense), I left with a calmer sense of purpose, renewed motivation, and a smoldering desire to make the world a better place. By firmly placing the moral foundation under the tremendous achievements of the Founding Fathers first in my own mind, I then hope to help do so in the minds of others who have chosen the fundamental alternative to live, turning that smolder into a bonfire.
One of the most immediately motivating things I learned at OCON this week regards the light that lyric poetry of Archaic Greece shines on that important period in the advancement of thought. Dr. John Lewis’ presentation of this period was enlightening and inspiring. I will be exploring this period through poetry further, but for now, offer a link to a later bit of interpreted poetry describing the key differences in the archaic poets Homer and Hesiod.
After these verses had been spoken, all the Hellenes called for Homer to be crowned. But King Paneides bade each of them recite the finest passage from his own poems. Hesiod, therefore, began as follows:
'When the Pleiads, the daughters of Atlas, begin to rise begin the harvest, and begin ploughing ere they set. For forty nights and days they are hidden, but appear again as the year wears round, when first the sickle is sharpened. This is the law of the plains and for those who dwell near the sea or live in the rich-soiled valleys, far from the wave-tossed deep: strip to sow, and strip to plough, and strip to reap when all things are in season.' 3703
'The ranks stood firm about the two Aiantes, such that not even Ares would have scorned them had he met them, nor yet Athena who saves armies. For there the chosen best awaited the charge of the Trojans and noble Hector, making a fence of spears and serried shields. Shield closed with shield, and helm with helm, and each man with his fellow, and the peaks of their head-pieces with crests of horse-hair touched as they bent their heads: so close they stood together. The murderous battle bristled with the long, flesh-rending spears they held, and the flash of bronze from polished helms and new-burnished breast-plates and gleaming shields blinded the eyes. Very hard of heart would he have been, who could then have seen that strife with joy and felt no pang.' 3704
Here, again, the Hellenes applauded Homer admiringly, so far did the verses exceed the ordinary level; and demanded that he should be adjudged the winner. But the king gave the crown to Hesiod, declaring that it was right that he who called upon men to follow peace and husbandry should have the prize rather than one who dwelt on war and slaughter. In this way, then, we are told, Hesiod gained the victory and received a brazen tripod which he dedicated to the Muses with this inscription:'Hesiod dedicated this tripod to the Muses of Helicon after he had conquered divine Homer at Chalcis in a contest of song.'
Hesiod and the Muse, by Gustave Moreau (wikipedia)
Friday, July 10, 2009
Dean: Oooo. Prince Charming, huh?
Rory: It was a long time ago. And not the Cinderella one - the Sleeping Beauty one.
Dean: 'Cause he could dance.
Gilmore Girls is a great show.
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
In Massachusetts, in accordance with the Charles decision, we must supply the following information:
- Teacher Qualifications
- Proposed Curriculum
- Evaluation of Student Progress
- Requests to Participate in Extra-Curricular Activities at the Public School
The first she has on file and the second I provided. Regarding method of evaluation to be submitted, I usually like to invite the superintendent to my daughter's performances; however, I find this thought less hilarious as my daughter's musical abilities improve. The one and only time I asked about the fourth, I was denied.
I think everything will be okay so long as she doesn't read my last post. Then there could be some controversy regarding qualifications.
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Was this a hole in my education? Was I home sick from school that day? Did I learn the truth and then supplant it over time with the more deeply rooted biblical stories from my youth? Why hasn't this come up since then? These are just some of the questions that have been racking my brain since last night.
The number of ribs was noted by the Flemish anatomist Vesalius in his key work of anatomy De humani corporis fabrica in 1543, setting off a wave of controversy, as it was traditionally assumed from the Biblical story of Adam and Eve that men's ribs would number one fewer than women's. A small portion of people have one extra pair of ribs, or one fewer, but this is unrelated to gender. (Wikipedia)
Seriously, I was ready to argue the point when my better sense prevailed. How on earth could I believe this to be true? And then the realization this morning: did I even really believe this to be true? I certainly didn't teach it to my daughters when we went over the human skeleton.
The best I can figure, it just bubbled up from a deep, dark place in my brain that still holds unquestioned remnants of a marginally religious upbringing. I just don't know why it sprang to life last night, or more importantly, why it hadn't been rooted out long ago.
These questions are answered when you use an adverb.