Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloweenie

Whelp, another 142 trick-or-treaters come and gone. Lots of pirates. Still quite a few spidermen. And, lots of kids in winter jackets. It was downright cold out there!

Fortunately, the cold cut down on the parents hauling out the newborns in order to get candy.

All in all, I think the politeness level was up this year. I had lots of thank yous. Lots of "Have a Happy Halloween!" as an angel or princess flounced off. Many kids even used the sidewalk. It gave me a little bit of hope for the next generation. Keep it up, kiddos!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Crazy Day

Here is a summary of my weekend.......Josh was in New York for a saxophone conference (geek!), it poured rain Saturday, the sump pump couldn't keep up and we ended up with 11 inches of water in the basement. Thankfully our friend Rich came over and kept it from getting worse and told me when it was time to call the fire department. They came out with two fire trucks to create quite a scene for the neighbors. Anyway everything is fine now that the furnace repair guy was here to fix the furnace since it got water in it. BLEHHHHHH! I think I am going to go sit on the couch and veg out to recover! hope your weekends were fun and uneventful.

Let me introduce...

Do y'all think we should have a link introducing the game, Classy, Tacky or Stupid?

Vote now!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

New paint!

And...we have paint! Hmmm...did we trade the flower-power 60s wallpaper for a lovely 70s orange??

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I drive a lot. I have accumulated 26,000 miles on the brand new car that I purchased in February, 2005. In less than a year and a half, I will have around 50,000 miles on my car. Yes, I am "appreciating" the fact that gas prices are lower. Yes, my right leg, despite physical therapy, is still hurting. I feel physically, mentally, and pychologically trapped in a cycle of ruining the environment as well as my own body. As I approach my car each day, I quietly apologize to the planet for making this gas-guzzling, dirty machine pollutefully run for 1 hour in each direction for work. My apologies have become like confessions of my sins to the earth. THIS is why it is SO important for me to LOVE my job. If I do not love what I do, then I am simply ruining the environment in order to collect a pay check. If I am truly "in my element" at the work place, then hopefully this ravaged planet can forgive me. In past postings, it may have seemed like I was looking for reasons to keep doing what I'm doing. In this one, I guess I'm looking for reasons WHY I would keep ruining this precious resource. If we aren't careful, it doesn't sound like we'll even have a planet on which to drive at all. As my dentist always said, "Be true to your teeth, or they'll be false to you." Or maybe I was thinking of, "Save the cheerleader, save the world?!"

Anyway, I thought of this as I stumbled upon some articles about the environment. The first link is for an article about humans currently using more resources than this planet can provide. The second is a link for a website that only publishes happy news (this site helps for when you can't get away from all the negativity, although it may seem a be a bit naive). Please note that while the happy news article listings for the environment are plentiful, they also consist of things like "Ohio Girl Helps Free Bubba the Lobster!" and "McDonald's Succombs to Hedgehogs' Needs!"

1.) http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/environment_wwf_planet_dc

2.) http://www.happynews.com/category/environment.htm

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Stop Devos website

Here's a website (I know the creator, but was asked not to share) that has one specific beef with Devos: he used to run Amway. Check out the on-line commercials!


Monday, October 23, 2006

All Clear!

Hi all - just had my yearly checkup this morning. My CT scan was all clear! AND I don't have to have another CT scan next year - just a chest x-ray.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Get Fresh!

Kat and I went to the City Market yesterday. We really don't go all that often, but I always feel a great deal of satisfaction after our visits. We usually buy a few veggies, maybe some eggs or fresh meat from a cool vendor who always tries to up-sell us. This guy knows something about his product so he actually can tell you about the farmer (his buddy/business partner) who raises the animals and his farming practices. How often do you get this sort of attention anymore as a consumer?

My grandparents were farmers...both sets. I remember going to "the market" with my grandfather, aunts, and cousins and "perfecting" my customer service at a young age. "Would you like any tomatoes with your cucumbers, ma'am?" I learned a lot of people skills during those days at the market and I remember answering a lot of questions about who raised the produce.

I know I am preaching to the choir, but isn't it satisfying to know where your food is coming from? Earlier this year, at the height of peach season, my mom dropped off a peck of fresh peaches. After seeing the peaches, one of my 21-year old co-workers, mentioned that she has never had a fresh peach. She has eaten only peaches out of a can. I immediately gave her a fresh one. Upon examining the peach, she was surprised that it had "fur" on it. Later, she was pissed off to know that she had just tasted the most magnificent taste ever, but that peach season was just ending. She would have to resume eating artificially tasty, mushy peaches out of a can, but can't wait for peach season next year.

So go visit your local farmer's market...and take someone with you!

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Happy News

Last Friday our nephew Clayton Kenneth was born. That makes us an aunt and uncle for the 5th time!

My mom and dad celebrated their 35 year anniversary yesterday! That seems like so long! Then again, I think you have to make it 75 years before Willard Scott will announce it on the Today show.

I guess these two things tie into Tess's posting. What really are the most important things in your life.......

Neddin' some advice...

Here's the deal. I love what I do- most of the time. I hear that it's fairly normal for people to dislike certain aspects of their job, so I assume I am "playing the game" just fine. It is currently that time of year when Scott and I receive job advertisements from around the country. We have discussed this "plan" to move wherever the first tenure track job is, whoever gets it first. Every time I see that a job is open for which I can apply, my heart sinks and I begin to get very nervous. In my head, I go through the list of everything I'll need (cover letter, current CV, at least 3 letters of recommendation- better contact those people who said they'd write one for me and hope they don't get annoyed by how many jobs I apply for this year, make copies of recent performances, make copies of programs, think of new and amazing ways to talk myself and my paltry professional experiences up, etc.). I feel anxiety every time I sit down at the computer, knowing that I SHOULD be working on those applications- but I'd much rather______.

Eventually I'll get my application butt in gear and send things off. Then we wait. Sometimes I try to pretend that I win a job just to see how that makes me feel. I often end up feeling sad. No more Monday Night Dinners, no more trips to Connecticut, no more family gatherings on a wim, no more drafty old house in a beautiful neighborhood, no more familiarity. And who gets the job? If I get it, what does Scott do? If it's Scott's to win, what do I do? I know, I know...I shouldn't even play the "what if" game unless we are even presented with a job offer. But there are other what ifs that are more nagging- what if we never get a job? Now I've wasted all this time and energy on stupid applications when I could have been __________. What if we get a job and wish we'd stayed where we were? What if I/we either never get a job or decide not to apply anymore and later in life, I/we wish that I/we had pushed myself/ourselves a little more? (Sheesh! It's hard talking about me and Scott at the same time!) What if I could be doing more than I currently am (a stack of papers needing to be graded are certainly telling me that there is more I could be doing right now, but that's not really what I mean...)?

I really don't know what to do about this job dilemma anymore. I hate my drive, but I like what I do, and at least I have a job/jobs in my field. I like my students for the most part, but find myself complaining more and more about the quality of students that end up in higher education (but that's an entirely different blog!). I don't have tenure bullshit to deal with, which means I am free to do however much or little in the way of professional development as I want! I guess the succinct point in my quest for advice from y'all is: I feel stuck, professionally. Now what?! Am I expecting too much and should just shut my trap and get on with life? Should I listen to my gut and not apply for the handful of jobs in this country for which I am qualified?! (As I wait for responses, I will get back to grading...I promise.)

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Crown moulding!

Just thought y'all might like to see the progress in the formerly-flowered spare bedroom...

And, if you don't waste ENOUGH time keeping up with CT or S, go to my Cranial Flatulence blog and link over to Stephanie Krehbiel's blog: Sweet Water Journal. She's a great writer, and shares many of our values. Good readin'.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

How stupid are we?

After listening to 1/2 of the debate between our beloved Gov. and her opponent, I discussed with my partner how "people in the know" do studies on how well these sound bites work. Example - Do people really believe that the Gov. lost jobs and the loss isn't a direct result of Michigan's dependence on the auto industry and a changing economy? Can't the general public put this together?

So I brought the question to people at work who are much smarter than me (not really, but they are older, more experienced and not necessarily Democrats, so I like to pick their brains). I got a simple answer: People are dumb.

You see it every day in the way people drive, how people handle their finances...the list could be endless. Many examples can be explained by how some people can't look outside of themselves, a complex thought process.

So is it a case of people being "dumb" or is it just apathy? I wonder what the political focus groups would say.

Create your own Jackson Pollock!


Very cool. IMHO (that one's for you, Scott), it's on par with the virtual bubble wrap for stress release value.

View from my desk


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

"Scary" Ad

Here is a link to Ned Lamonts' commercials. Click on commercial #18 Horror. It is priceless! (#2 and #7 are pretty good too)

Keep in mind that at the end of all his commercials after saying, "I approve this message" everyone else in the commercial shouts "And so do we!!" That is what the spooky voices at the end are saying. Whether you agree with his politics or not, you can not doubt that between the 3 candidates Lamont has the superior commercial writing staff. Not surprising since the business he started 20 years ago is a telecommunications services company!

Enjoy... http://www.nedlamont.com/page/content/resources/

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Rescue song?

I had this conversation with some co-workers yesterday...do you have a particular song that you think of when you're trying to get a different song out of your head?

For instance, if I get "This Is The Song That Never Ends" stuck in my head, I simply turn to "Yellow Submarine" to relieve my suffering.

My co-workers listed: Brandy, Hang On Sloopie, or "anything on my iPod".

Everyone's choice of rescue song was subject to much ridicule. But I figure, if it works, it works.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Another lost soul

I would like to write about a lost soul that happened upon my attention as I was driving home on Wednesday. As you all know, I have a fondness for NPR. I heard a man (lost soul) named Paul Weyrich interviewed during All Things Considered. Mr. Weyrich, a political activist for the conservative right, is a member of the Free Congress Foundation (http://www.freecongress.org/about/index.asp). Apparently, this is a conservative group that strives to continue the "War on Culture." I am not sure who, besides Mr. Weyrich, is fighting this "War" or whose culture they are fighting. Is it ALL culture? Popular culture? Horti-culture?! But, I digress...

Obviously, there was something in this interview that got my goat, and due to the magic of the Internet, I shall now supply you with the exact excerpt from said interview:

Weyrich: It has been known for many years that Congressman Foley was a homosexual. Homosexuals tend to be preoccupied with sex - the idea that he should be continued, or should have been continued as chairman on the Committee for Missing and Exploited Children, given their knowledge of that is just outrageous (Interview at 1:08).

Norris: Now, before we go on, I think I can say, Mr. Weyrich, that there quite a few people who would take exception to the statement that homosexuals are preoccupied with sex.

Weyrich: Well, I don't care whether they take exception to it - it happens to be true.

Norris: That is your opinion.

Weyrich: Well, it's not my opinion, it's the opinion of many psychologists and psychiatrists who have to deal with them (Interview at 1:40).

Ok, it's me again. I am not sure what in that segment is the most offensive; where does one start?! Clearly, I needed to know a bit more about this guy. Again, with some cyber magic, I stumbled (or was whacked in the face) upon a Wikipedia entry all about Mr. Weyrich. You can view it for yourselves at:

It mentions in this entry that Mr. Weyrich had a spinal injury. According to Wikipedia:
"In 1996, Weyrich was diagnosed with a spinal injury. Since 2001, the injury has left him in a wheelchair and in constant pain. Complications from a fall in September 2004 required the amputation of his legs in July 2005."

The National Spinal Injuries Center (http://www.spinal.org.uk/services-clinical.html) helped me understand something about a spinal injury. Apparently, a person can go through great emotional turmoil after having such an injury:

"Spinal cord injury is a traumatic event which can create a great deal of stress. Most people experience a variety of emotions, which are entirely normal but may be difficult to cope with alone."
"The clinical psychologist service also supports people with managing problems with chronic pain, concerns about relationships and sexuality, problems with memory, and a variety of other issues. Most people see a clinical psychologist at some point during their rehabilitation. The service is available to partners and family members too, as they may also be experiencing a lot of stress."

Apparently, Psychologists, after they "deal with all of the homosexuals", have to deal with spinally injured, cranky folks like Mr. Weyrich. Mr. Weyrich doesn't have legs, and he must be under a lot of stress and pain, because that is the ONLY reason why someone would blatantly demonstrate such irrationality during an interview. Due to Mr. Weyrich's preoccupation on his pain and stress, I think he should resign from his post and seek professional help.

Finally, I would like to comment on Mr. Weyrich's assertion that it is "the opinion of many psychologists and psychiatrists" that homosexuals are preoccupied with sex. I turned to the Internet gods once more and discovered a site that states the "Facts About Homosexuality and Mental Health." (See: http://psychology.ucdavis.edu/rainbow/html/facts_mental_health.html)

After going through the history of public views on homosexuality, it takes the reader through all of the changes/developments in testing the mental health of homosexuals. As was expected, the view on homosexuality in the past was that it was an "illness," a "disorder," etc. But this site also informs us of the current view on homosexuality by the psychological field:

"Some psychologists and psychiatrists still hold negative personal attitudes toward homosexuality. However, empirical evidence and professional norms do not support the idea that homosexuality is a form of mental illness or is inherently linked to psychopathology."

Huh. So, any logical psychologist is going to meet with Foley and say, "dude, you are a pedaphile, end of story."

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Tall fences on the Border

The U.S. House and Senate last week approved legislation that provides money for the construction of a 700-mile barrier along the U.S. border with Mexico. The legislation now awaits the signature of President Bush.

Can anyone tell me why people believe this is going to make us "more secure" or keep people from coming into this country founded by immigrants?

The border's total length is 1951 miles, so how is 700 miles of fence going to solve the problem? As if a fence could solve a problem as complex as this one... (Oh and BTW, that's only ONE border.)

Does anyone remember the Berlin Wall?
Does Halliburton have a subidary that specializes in fence building?

Couldn't resist

I thought I would get by without saying anything about the Foley scandal, but the quote from this story caught my attention:

"Mark Foley's lawyer insisted the former congressman was making "no excuses" for his sexual pursuit of teenage House pages, but just wanted the world to know he was a closeted, gay alcoholic who was molested in his youth by a clergyman."

It just has that cynical tone that seems to invade my thoughts about the matter.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


Does this strengthen an argument to NOT educate people?


Kids smoking during pregnancy deliberately to acheive a smaller birth-weight. *blink*

It's amazing how people filter information down to what they want to hear and/or get right to the "what's in it for me" point.



I had the eye colors backwards in the Oprah story (see my comment to Tess's post).

I would say it was a Freudian slip, but I don't have blue eyes.

Manic Media

I just finished reading the second New Yorker article in less than a year that dealt with the subject of tall people making more money and being smarter than short people. Apparently these 2 very tall women economists conducted a study and attempted to explain why this tends to happen. Their theory goes like this:

The human body is programmed to be a certain height. If a person does not reach that programmed height, they will not be as smart, but if they do reach that height, then they will be smart and make lots of money.

Because I have not read the actual document, I cannot conduct a heated debate on the content of this study. However, I CAN comment on what happened after the article was published. Those who read it applauded the ladies. Those who did not, read the synopsis in some newspaper that used the headline: "Tall People Are Smarter." Don't you think that this journalist's interpretation was begging for conflict? Several shorter people (mostly men) e=mailed the economists with complaints about their attack on short people. After finding out that the economists were not only women, but TALL women, this was all the` fire needed.

My questions/concerns are: When are people going to stop being affected by words? When are people going to rely on what they believe to be true about themselves? When are we going to stop listening to a media that desparately wants a fight?

My impression of "the media" (all except NPR, of course) is that it consists of all the people who stood around watching the fights that broke out in high school hallways. They are the people that HAVE to slow down to 2 miles an hour passing a horrible accident on the expressway, causing the rest of us to have to see the horrendous mess that we wish we didn't have to see. They are the siblings of a family who did not receive enough attention as children, and therefore have to gain that attention by any means possible. All I know is that when my sister was egging me on, my mother instructed me to ignore her and she would stop. In theory, this should work. In practice, I got punched.

Perhaps social psychologists could come to the rescue with a study on personality types who enter the Journalism field. Let's find out what these media-types are made of. And let's see how tall THEY are!

Monday, October 02, 2006


This is more directed to the NFL football wachers....what is Pink doing singing the opening song for Sunday night football? It freaks me out!

PS - Josh was just reading this over my shoulder and said, "I really need to sign up" Then he can complain about music theory to Scott!