Saturday, August 30, 2008

Unabashed political humor

Here is an email I received from a buddy of mine. :-D

For those that don't know about history...... here is a condensed version.

Humans originally existed as members of small bands of nomadic hunters/gatherers. They lived on deer in the mountains during the summer and would go to the coast and live on fish and lobster in the winter.

The two most important events in all of history were:

1. The invention of beer, and

2. The invention of the wheel. The wheel was invented to get man to the beer.

These were the foundation of modern civilization and together were the catalyst for the splitting of humanity into two distinct subgroups:

1. Liberals

2. Conservatives.

Once beer was discovered, it required grain and that was the beginning of agriculture. Neither the glass bottle nor aluminum can were invented yet, so while our early humans were sitting around waiting for them to be invented, they just stayed close to the brewery. That's how villages were formed.

Some men spent their days tracking and killing animals to B-B-Q at night while they were drinking beer. This was the beginning of what is known as the Conservative movement.

Other men who were weaker and less skilled at hunting learned to live off the conservatives by showing up for the nightly B-B-Q's and doing the sewing, fetching, and hair dressing. This was the beginning of the Liberal movement. Some of these liberal men eventually evolved into women. The rest became known as girlie-men.

Some noteworthy liberal achievements include the domestication of cats, the invention of group therapy, group hugs, and the concept of Democratic voting to decide how to divide the meat and beer that conservatives provided.

Over the years Conservatives came to be symbolized by the largest, most powerful land animal on earth, the elephant. Liberals are symbolized by the jackass.

Modern liberals like imported beer (with lime added), but most prefer white wine or imported bottled water. They eat raw fish but like their beef well done. Sushi, tofu, and French food are standard liberal fare. Another interesting evolutionary side note: most of their women have higher testosterone levels than their men. Most social workers, personal injury attorneys, journalists, dreamers in Hollywood and group therapists are liberals. Liberals invented the designated hitter rule because it wasn't fair to make the pitcher also bat.

Conservatives drink domestic beer. They eat red meat and still provide for their women. Conservatives are big-game hunters, rodeo cowboys, lumberjacks, construction workers, firemen, medical doctors, police officers, corporate executives, athletes, Marines, and generally anyone who works productively. Conservatives who own companies hire other conservatives who want to work for a living.

Liberals produce little or nothing. They like to govern the producers and decide what to do with the production. Liberals believe Europeans are more enlightened than Americans. That is why most of the liberals remained in Europe when conservatives were coming to America . They crept in after the Wild West was tamed and created a business of trying to get more for nothing.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

backing up my computers

Sounds dry, doesn't it. Yep. It is dry. Boring. But a necessary fact of life. Especially if your family photos and memories are stored on the computer. Can you believe I have been using computers this past decade and *today* is the first day I have ever created a backup of my computer? I'm not proud of that. But I *am* proud of myself now, because this process has taken some effort.

First the shopping. No, scratch that. First the discussions with DH. Starting months ago. No, please don't buy a portable hard drive, I have a leftover one at the office. Weeks later, one appeared on the desk. Months go by. Strange hardware and cables sitting on the desk. Guilt. Finally I tried it and the computer did not recognize the hard drive at all. Went to the website and it seems that they stopped making software updates for it in 2004, and it won't talk to XP at all. So as far as my computer is concerned, it doesn't exist. And it never will. Oh, and the sticker on the hard drive states it was manufactured in the year 2000.

Now for the shopping. I had a feeling DH would argue about the price. So I decided to find the best deal I could find, then keep the receipt and return it if he found one for less. Good plan. I got a WD Essentials brand portable hard drive with 320MB for $117 plus tax at Fry's. Then I left it sitting on the desk for another few weeks to give him a chance to shop around. He later said it was a fine deal and go ahead with it. Then I nosed around the internet reading comments people posted about the hard drive and saw that they mostly liked the product, but not the company's software. Hmmm. Sounds scary to someone like me who has never done this before.

Now in the accessories program area there was a backup wizard as part of Windows. I went through this and the got things going, only to have the process halt after about 45 minutes. I got an error message saying that the portable hard drive was formatted with FAT32, and won't accept files over 4MB. Problem is, I want to back up the entire contents of my computer, to the tune of 150MB. I referred to the WD website for information. There they told me how to reformat the hard drive through Windows. Then it got really scary. In big letters it warned, MAKE SURE YOU ARE INDICATING THE PORTABLE HARD DRIVE WHEN YOU REFORMAT, OR YOU COULD WIPE OUT THE CONTENTS OF YOUR ENTIRE COMPUTER. Eeeeek! I followed the steps, doing all sorts of scary things like right-clicking on the my computer icon and doing things I never wanted to know about. Luckily, it all worked and I reformatted the hard drive into two halves, and they now have different names. One is the G:\ and one is the H:\ drive. Now ain't that nifty?

And now I see why folks tend to do this overnight. My backup is due to be over at 3am. After a total of 9 hours.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Doc says, "eat more ice cream"

My doc called today with the results of my recent physical. Everything checked out great. And my blood work was wonderful. Cholesterol 148, triglycerides 85, HDL 54, and LDL 77. Everything was within normal limits. He says I should keep doing what I am doing diet-wise. And if I wanted to eat a few more treats, that would be OK.

WARNING: Stop here if you have a weak stomach.

When I was younger, I used to eat a lot more red meat, butter and whole milk. Then in the 1980s I decided to cut back on that, and gear more towards chicken and fish and vegetables. In the mid 1990s I attended chiropractic college, where I took Anatomy. This consisted of lots of study, and a cadaver dissection that lasted 8 months. It was this lab portion that affected me even more strongly and changed my eating habits forever. Seeing the difference between healthy bodies and fatty bodies was shocking. I remember one female cadaver in particular who was overweight. It was very difficult to perform the dissection because the fat was everywhere. Infiltrating everything, even the internal organs and around the heart. And when all was said and done, she really was a tiny woman. Small ribcage, small bones. Just choked with fat. And there was another female cadaver. This one was a healthy weight. Not wasting away, just average. Her organs were perfect, just like the anatomy textbook. We called her Mrs. Netter (Netter was the writer of the textbook). I remembered Mrs. Netter again a few years back during my colonoscopy. I got to watch during the procedure on the video monitor. I was amazed that my internal anatomy was just like I had seen in the textbook, just like Mrs. Netter.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Family tradition

Some traditions are too precious to let go of. Our family activity yesterday consisted of baking Criss-Cross Peanut Butter Cookies. The 3 little boys "helped". And they loved it. I remember baking this same exact recipe with my grandmother in Chicago when I was their age. And as I think about it, she rarely just presented us with homemade cookies. She did the baking with us. I think she used it as an activity to entertain my brothers and I as well as a way to make homemade treats for us.

And the effort was not lost on my boys, especially the 9-y-o. He has thanked me repeatedly since yesterday for taking the time and effort to bake those cookies. He loves them and loves doing family projects.

DS had his last day of horse camp today. All week he has spent 4 hours a day grooming, riding and learning about horses. He continues to enjoy the Jujitsu classes. And his Hawaiian vacation with his father went well. I can see that the spark has come back into his eyes. The spark that was lost during the last grueling school year. All work and no play was bad for him. I am going to insist that he remain in Jujitsu class during the school year. I am not going to allow him to be subjected to 4 and 5-hour homework nights, night after night. I will allot a certain reasonable amount of time for homework, and what doesn't get done will be sent back to the teacher with a note. Enough is enough. Somebody has to stand up for this boy. And besides, students with special needs have as much right as any student to take part in sports. I hope I can be an effective advocate for all of his needs this year.

Next week's project will be re potting the house plants. I have a bunch of cuttings sitting in water. So I need to get a bunch of pots and soil ready. DS loves that. One more week before school starts for us. One last lazy week of summer.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Safely Arrived!

My daughter has safely arrived in Italy. She called me on Skype this morning from her new room. She is staying in a woman's home whose two daughters grew up and moved out. Now this lady has my daughter and another gal from UCLA, my daughter's friend, staying in separate rooms with her. The one thing we forgot to get for my daughter was a plug adapter, so she will try to find one today over there. Or I will have to get one at Radio Shack and mail it to her. In the meantime, they have full internet access and by borrowing her friend's adapter, she was able to call me on Skype with the full webcam/audio. The boys and I sang Happy Birthday to her, as today is her 20th birthday. Happy Birthday, Sweat Pea! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Saying goodbye

Busy here. DD is visiting. I will say goodbye to her after lunch today. She flies out tomorrow morning. She said goodbye to the boys this morning when they left for school/camp. I got a cute cell phone pic of the 4 of them hugging. But I have so much to do to get Baby A ready and get ourselves over to pick up her brother so we can all go out to lunch. Sorry so hurried. I'll post more later.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

My bloggy girl

There is a new blog link on the left down there. The one titled "my daughter" will take you to my daughter's new travel blog. It will be fun to read about her overseas adventures. Hopefully being able to read her blog and chat with her on Skype will keep me from going though too much pain from missing her.

I know that when I was a foreign exchange student to Sweden, one of the most painful parts was that I was almost completely cut off from my family. There were one or 2 phone calls to/from my mother the whole time I was there. Cut off from my family and my culture. I was about 16 years old. I remember watching {edit: on television} the wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana over there.

And watching {on TV} John McEnroe beat Bjorn Borg in tennis.

The family was awesome. They taught me how to windsurf. It turns out that the COLD water of Sweden makes a great incentive to stay up on the board ;-) Here is a picture (not mine) that shows Lake Malaren just as I remember it.

But I digress. My daughter is older and way better prepared for this. She is going with a gal from UCLA, and will be attending classes through some type of UCLA extension arrangement. I hope she finds her blog a nice way to keep a picture-journal of her travels for the delight of her friends and relatives, as well as herself.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Our Faces, Our Bodies

I am against aesthetic plastic surgery. I don't like it.

What got me going this morning was an ad I saw in a community coupon magazine. The ad showed a young lady in a white string bikini. She looks young and attractive, with small breasts, like a brunette swimsuit model. I assumed the ad was for laser hair removal, but there are coupons to the right of the picture for Breast Augmentation $3,299, Liposuction $899 each area, Tummy Tuck $1,000 off, Refer A Friend get $250 off any procedure, and Brazilian Buttock Lift $2,000 off. Eeeeew! Is there a law against false advertising? Shouldn't these companies be forced to use women in the pictures who have actually HAD these procedures??? Show the impossibly large breasts, fish lips and other mutilation that they are actually proposing to do?

As a mother of a daughter who has to live in our society, I take pride in the fact that she does not plan to alter her body any time soon with surgery. And she is an unapologetic brunette. It took many years of heart-to-heart talking to convince her that brunettes are pretty too. I was SO happy when Disney came out with Beauty and the Beast. My daughter was young and had complained about her brown hair prior to this. I showed her the movie and made sure to point out to her how the character Belle was beautiful with brown hair and hazel eyes. I worried that if she did not learn to see her unique beauty, she might fall prey to the stereotypes in our society that say you have to have a small, pert nose, and large breasts in order to be considered beautiful and sexy. It is simply not true. But young ladies still buy into that, getting breast augmentation and platinum blond hair, trying desperately to look like a Barbie doll.

Even so-called minor procedures such as "lipo" is not minor. I personally knew a woman 10 years ago who warned me never to do it. She said that she had it done around her middle. It turned out she scarred up inside the fat layer where the procedure was done. The scars tightened up, and she was left with a sensation of tightness around her midsection, as if she is always wearing a tight belt. She said it was unpleasant, and since it is not a pain sensation, painkillers couldn't even relieve her of it. She is stuck with it for the rest of her life.

There is a celebrity named Tara Reid who had some procedures done and has regretted it. See picture above. Here is what TMZ said about her in 2006.
Nearly two years after a red carpet wardrobe malfunction earned her the nickname "Franken-nipple," Tara Reid stopped by the "Today" show to discuss the pain and agony of her plastic surgery nightmare. "It looked like I got completely butchered up," the actress told Natalie Morales. "The areolas ... they looked like goose-shaped eggs."
Reid also described the excruciating pain caused by her liposuction. "I got these bumps ... like little golf balls all over my stomach, and it hurt."
Tara went on to explain how she had a hard time finding work over the last two years, citing fears of revealing her tarnished body in a bikini. Now, after undergoing corrective surgery, Reid says she's both working and happy with her figure.

I was frustrated recently by a conversation among the recent 40-something mothers on a website I chat on. A bunch of ladies were complaining about the sagging/deflation that occurs after childbirth. They planned on getting a breast lift. I was horrified. I mean, do they understand what that procedure really entails? That the chest is peeled like an orange and the nipples are relocated and everything is sewn back together? That most of the milk ducts are severed, so that the woman will never again be able to breastfeed a child? I told them that while my body is a little care-worn, I expect my husband to be grateful for the children and to forgive the affects of aging/childbirth. I mean, aren't we all aging every day? Why is that something to be ashamed of?

Saturday, August 9, 2008

My daughter

And here is my lovely daughter. We had fun getting ready for the picture day. I took her to get her hair cut and professional makeup at the mall. It was a great mother-daughter day, complete with Mongolian Barbecue for lunch. Mmmmmm!
For those who don't know about her already, she is a UCLA student and she leaves next week for 4 months in Rome on the semester abroad program. Her boyfriend is a Marine and he re-deploys to Iraq for the 3rd time this Autumn.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

My oldest boy

I felt that this picture deserves its own post. I am in awe. What happened to my little boy? How did he grow up like this? His expression in this picture is very representative of his personality. Open, friendly, kind, generous. And did I tell you he just aced his SAT test? He beat everybody in the family. I mean everybody. And we are no slouches. He hopes to study physics in college. He fills out his college applications this fall. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Meet George Jetson

I expected to have a video phone someday. I just didn't know it was going to be today. I mean really today. My daughter came over and took me out to buy webcams, and she signed us up for Skype. She wants to video/phone with me when she is in Rome. I was skeptical, but we have been using it and it is WONDERFUL. And FREE. That is the shocking part. FREE. If both parties are calling on their computers, the phone call is free to anywhere in the world, and it is on video. The only time you pay is if you call to a land line.

Welcome to the Future.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

I went to a car show

I think I was a good sport. DH asked if I wanted to go to a car show. My first reaction was, of course, No. But I stopped myself. Didn't I have more fun at the air show a couple of months back than I thought I would? Am I not a mother of many young boys who really like these sorts of things? Would it perhaps be a nice experience for the family? I went. But I tried to impress DH with the thought of how open-minded I was being. I told him that I was happy to be going to the car show. And the next time the craft show was in town, I expected him to go with me with no complaints. He let out a big guffaw! The funny part is that I don't ever go to craft shows. I just wanted him to understand it from my point of view. ;-)

I have always thought there was something sexy about the De Lorean.

This one makes for a nice, colorful picture.

At ease, boys.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Randy Pausch's Last Lecture

This has been an internet sensation and the corresponding book has been a bestseller. If you have not seen it yet, I assure you it is well worth the 1 hour and 16 minutes you will devote to watching it. :*)
Last Lecture

Randy Pausch died on July 25, 2008 at the age of 47. I particularly liked his lecture. I spent many years in academia and he reminds me of the best teachers/professors I had. He wanted to take a big, delicious bite out of life and teach the art of living to his students and his children.

The New York Times wrote,
Last September, Dr. Pausch unexpectedly stepped on an international stage when he addressed a crowd of about 400 faculty and students at Carnegie Mellon as part of the school’s “Last Lecture” series. In the talks, professors typically talk about issues that matter most to them. Dr. Pausch opened his talk with the news that he had terminal cancer and proceeded to deliver an uplifting, funny talk about his own childhood dreams and how to help his children and others achieve their own goals in life. He learned he had pancreatic cancer in September, 2006.

Sitting in the audience was Carnegie Mellon alumnus Jeff Zaslow, a columnist with The Wall Street Journal, who wrote about the speech. Media outlets and bloggers linked to the story, and more than 10 million people have since watched an Internet video of the talk. The lecture was translated into seven languages, and Hyperion published a book version that became a New York Times bestseller.