Thursday, January 31, 2008

Go John McCain!

I should probably hope that John McCain will not win the Republican nomination.

1. He will be much harder to beat than the snivelling and sneering Mitt Romney in the general election.

2. If he's the nominee, my vote for Hillary or Obama in the general election will be cancelled out by my husband's vote for John McCain, thus making election day much less enjoyable. If Hillary or Obama are opposed by Mitt Romney, my husband will joyfully vote Democrat.

3. He's the candidate most likely to prolong and expand the war in the middle east, which I think is both wicked and foolish.


A McCain nomination will drive Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity absolutely mad with irritation, and it's worth it. Worth it! Yes, such is the extent of my sickness. Such is the extent of my ire. I would rather have the democrats fight harder to win, my husband betray the cause, and my country potentially spend the next hundred years embroiled in war than have those wingnut bozos spend one show crowing and jeering because McCain was brought low again.

The truth is that apart from the war, I wouldn't have a problem with McCain as president. I'm sure there are things about him that I could find to dislike, but he's so much better than Bush, I think it would be silly to quibble. If McCain is the nominee, and we lose, it won't be such an eye-stabbing-out level tragedy. Maybe it's hedging my bets. Maybe it's logical. Or, maybe it's just me wanting to stick it to those arrogant blowbags on right wing radio. WHY DO I LISTEN TO THOSE PEOPLE? It only leads to more madness.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


Sadie has been on a major dinosaur-drawing tear. We have a book that shows the kids how to draw different things step-by-step. I'm sure it came from a Wisconsin-based relative, several Christmases or birthdays ago, and it's now in full use. Benny and Sadie have both been drawing things from it, and Sadie is particularly attached to drawing a particular dinosaur. She draws it, she narrates a big long thing about it, and then she cuts it out, leaving scraps of paper all over the floor. Here is one of her dinosaurs. This one's narrative involved stamping around in the mud a lot:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Caterpillars to Chrysalides

Grammy gave Benny a butterfly house for Christmas, and we sent away for the caterpillars to inhabit it. They arrived very tiny, and then grew very large, all without leaving their little food-filled jar. I'm not going to say it wasn't kind of gross to see them eating, pooping, and growing, all in a very small space. But it was also kind of amazing because at times we felt like we could almost see them getting bigger if we watched for 5 minutes straight. Now they are all chrysalides, and we will move them into their new mesh house, and wait for them to turn into monkeys.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Other People's Candidates are like Other People's Boyfriends

Edited to add the following context: I originally wrote this as a diary on the community blog for democrats called DailyKos. On that site, there is an epidemic of candidate-bashing, so violent that lately if you say anything pro-Hillary, you get a railroad spike in the eye. This blog/diary was in response to that problem. So, it's only meant to address and enlighten fellow treehugging librulls, not friends who are republicans or independents! If you are a republican or independent, you are welcome and encouraged to bash Hillary to me all day! :) :) Because you don't have to vote for her if she ends up the nominee, obviously. You can vote for your guy. As long as it's not Mitt Romney.

Who hasn't been in this situation? Your friend is dating a guy you find repulsive. You think he's politically backward, or he has a career you don't respect, or maybe you even caught him ogling a waitress while your friend was in the bathroom. Or... your friend supports a candidate you despise. You think he's a weak golfer, or she's a closet cannibal, or he's soft on redwoods, or she's got cankles. What do you do?

I'll tell you what you don't do, if you're smart. You don't march up to your friend and tell her, "Your boyfriend is a lying cheating ugly racist whoremongering bastard and marrying him will ruin your life."

Why? Three reasons:

1. That friend's boyfriend may become that friend's husband. Now you become the enemy. You're now the jerk that talked mean about her man, and it's them against the world, and you were (obviously) so wrong about him and how can she ever trust your opinion on anything again? True, they may be doomed. He may truly be a jerk. He may ruin her life and she may ditch him in six months. But saying "I told you so" isn't going to go far to heal your relationship with her.

That friend's candidate might become your party's nominee. What then? You either have to now eat everything you said and vote for this guy/gal, or you have to stick nobly to your opinion, and write in your mother. Whatever you do about the voting, consider where you now stand with your friend. Is she gloating? Are you bitter? Is this helping?

2. You cannot change your friend's mind by getting nasty. If you feel you must state the facts, to protect her from certain disaster, then quietly state the facts. But remember: she is in love. Love is blind. Candidate-love can be like this too. Lashing out against the candidate will most likely only make her love him/her more.

People might be convinced to switch teams by facts, by records, by ideas, by well-reasoned arguments. No one sane is going to switch teams because of name-calling and crabbiness.

3. You respect your friend. Your friend loves him, and you don't. But you love your friend! And you think she's pretty smart! You haven't known your friend to eat shards of glass, or sleep on railroad tracks, or watch "Making the Band" or anything else self-destructive and idiotic, so... maybe there's something there that you don't see. You could be wrong. If you truly respect your friend, or your fellow dem, you have to accept that their support for candidate X might not be motivated out of malice or lunacy, but out of reasonable belief in that person's ability to govern.

It's hard to have cocktails and sushi with someone whose boyfriend you've described as the devil incarnate. And when it comes to this election, the party has yet to begin. I want to be able to sit at any table, without worrying about who heard me talking smack in the bathroom.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Sadie the Rabbit Farmer

We got this dress at a thrift store for three dollars. Sadie wore it for three straight days. Here she is wearing it to go shopping for collard and turnip greens for the illustrious rabbit, Giselle.

We have located a couple of prime thrift stores, fed by prime neighborhoods, where fancy dresses and bags of Polly Pocket stuff can be found regularly. When you buy a fancy dress at a thrift store for three dollars, you don't care if she wears it to dig in the mud, paint pictures, roll around with the dog, eat spaghetti. Thrift store fancy dresses are awesome.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

More Bloggable Dan

To understand the depth of my oppression, you should know that for the first 25 years of my life I read myself to sleep almost every night. It was just what I did. I grew up doing it, and I did it in college, in grad school, etc. You might say it was habitual. Almost necessary. Then I married Dan and between this, that, and the other, I can't do it anymore.

There are several reasons but perhaps the most significant reason is that there is no light by my side of the bed. Wait. There is a light. But it is a pretend light that is plugged into nothing. I believe that years ago it used to be plugged into something like, you know, an outlet with electricity running through it. In fact, I remember turning it on in order to change a diaper in the middle of the night when Sadie was still co-sleeping. However, once that necessity was removed, the light somehow magically got unplugged and all the outlet spaces in the area got magically used up with other things. Plus, the only outlet on that wall is behind the 40 ton bed and only Dan can bed-wrangle effectively enough to plug something into it.

Dan is disturbed by night-time reading. It keeps him awake. He doesn't like me doing it. This has been a minor point of contention between us for years.

So last night I was feeling restless and irritable and I'm in the middle of a book I'm interested in, and I whined, "See, I really wish I could read myself to sleep right now. Just six pages of Tom Wolfe and I know I would be able to sleep peacefully!"

And Dan responded, "Awww, honey, don't give up. If you keep working on your phonics with the kids, I'm sure you'll be able to read someday!"

And I said, "I'm telling the internet you said that mean hateful thing."

And he said, "Oh good. That'll play well on CNN."

So my question: Given his unabashed lack of sensitivity to my wishes on this point, do I need to

1. Climb under the bed and plug in my lamp. (I may never get back out.)
2. Get over it. Life with Dan has other compensations. (He is very good at video games.)
3. Read in the bathroom, crying softly, until he relents. (Could take forever.)

Everyone on TV has separate bed lamps! Therefore, it must be true!

Bloggable Dan

Benny has a fever and I'm not feeling so great either. Bully for me. Bully for you. My spine is feeling like a sad little goat with a very sharp axe is methodically, dutifully slicing away at it. And I feel myself getting whatever cold or flu Benny has invented, I can taste my tonsils and my throat feels gritty. So, GREAT.

I got up to make coffee, and creaked across the floor, all stiff and irritable. Dan asked me if I was okay, and I said something along the lines of, "Oh, I'm fine, I just have the back goat slicing away, and am miserable, but THAT IS FINE, because nobody knows, and NOBODY CARES, and do you know why nobody knows, and nobody cares? BECAUSE I SUFFER IN SILENCE. I go along, trudging, secretly groaning, rotting, dying, and nobody RECOGNIZES THIS and I get no sympathy, no love, from the dark bland wasteland of this miserable world, because I do not complain, and I do not holler about it, and I still get up to make the coffee, and I DO NOT DISCUSS IT."

You know, something like that. It might have been exactly that. It might have been something even more obnoxious. I might have sloshed blame around with a thick, broad paintbrush. Of course, Dan is accustomed to blame. He wears it like a protective mantle. The dark, blamey mantle of marriage. That protects him from joy.

Anyway, so much later I was doing something (noble and self-sacrificing, no doubt) and I said something to the effect of, "My throat hurts. AND YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW THAT." And Dan said, "You're right, I don't know. You must be suffering silently again." And then I said, "Do you know what you are?" meaning to say something like that he was cruel and unusual, and he said, wincing, "Bloggable?"

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The Ice Age

Benny is learning about the East, West, and South Paleolithic time period. He blogged about it on his blog today, and drew this picture:

Have you seen Benny's blog?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Awesomeness of Benny

Benny and Sadie have been watching Ratatouille. This was a movie that didn't particularly delight them in the theater. I remember thinking that the beautiful imagery of it was lost on them, and that it was another movie with kind of sophisticated adult themes -- about having confidence to step outside your comfort zone, or about believing in someone in spite of their unlikely exterior, or about giving credit where credit is due, or something.

Turns out, now that they have the DVD, they just like the funny rats. Yay!

Benny has been trying to make a chef's hat, or "Toque" as he says, for Sadie. He yearns for her to wear a chef's hat of his creation, and toodle around her little toy kitchen with the Folkmanis rat puppet inside her hat. This dream of the Folkmanis puppet inside Sadie's hat playing "little chef" has resulted in several mishaps, including one of his ears being burned half off in the toaster oven (the puppet's ear, not Benny's) and one chase scene involving Sadie, Benny, and a paper toque with Benny saying "I just want to tape it on her head!"

I scanned in his drawings for the most recent version of the toque. The outside has the lines on it, and the little door. The inside is furnished.

The rat has hung a picture of himself (labelled "Me") and his buddy (labelled "Sadie") although he seems to have taped the labels to the wall. He also has a pretty nice tufted leather sofa! Oh, I do love Benny so much.

Sunday, January 20, 2008


We went to church today. Not very many people did, at least not to our church. It was cold here in Virginia. We had the youth, the middle grades, and the preschool class all in one room and there were still fewer than 20 kids.

People in Virginia go nuts when the temperature dips below 32. Nuts.

Tonight Veronica is coming over and we're going to watch the Return of the King extended version, which we've been meaning to watch forever. No time like the present -- she's leaving T O M O R R O W for her new locale. I made gluten-free dinner in her honor.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Suggestion for Barack Obama

Some gruesomely low person called a bunch of people in Nevada referring to Barack Hussein Obama, obviously trying to draw a firm line in black crayon between Barack and Saddam.
I think he should retaliate by embracing this trend. Dig out everybody's middle name and paste it onto their shirt fronts. Draw attention to the absurdity of this tactic. Please, please, let one of the republicans have a middle name like Dicky or Frances!

One of Obama's strongest assets is his sense of humor and his easy way of joking around with the press. I suggest that in some high profile speech this week, he should mention all the other candidates only by their full names: beginning, middle, last. He could refer to "John Sidney McCain" and "Willard Mitt Romney." Not everyone could do this without seeming snitty and small, but I know Obama could turn it into a winking joke, so that any time anyone had the audacity to say "Barack Hussein Obama" they would be met with only a snicker.

Better yet... he could jokingly, winkingly give everyone the middle name "Hussein."
Hillary Hussein Clinton. John Hussein Edwards. Fred Hussein Thompson.

Hey, who could take umbrage? Hussein is a very common name in some cultures. If we're all so beautifully tolerant and it doesn't matter what name you have, then it doesn't matter, right? If it's not a hindrance, it's not a hindrance right? We are all Marshall. We are all Barack Hussein Obama.

I'm ashamed for whoever made those calls. I can't imagine they were very effective. Do you really think someone would get off the phone, having planned to vote for Obama, and switch to another candidate because the word Hussein had just vibrated their inner ears in just the right way? I don't know. I respect Obama and Clinton both, for weathering all of this redneck bullshit that washes over them because of their race or gender.

Maybe it should just be ignored. I don't know that either. He might get the nomination. If his critics are right and the republicans are going to drag out this kind of inane tactic in the GE, then I have absolute faith he could play it off in a way that would make whoever did this seem ridiculous and wormlike, and himself seem buoyant and transcendent.

Homeschooling on Saturday

Cruel, ain't we?

Benny is making a shortbread pizza that he found in his cookbook from Rowena's Tea Room. The shortbread pizza is easy to make. Form your shortbread dough into a pizza shape, then spread jam around on it and litter it with fruit while still warm. I tried to convince him that bananas would make good pepperoni, but he decided to make some pears be green peppers. Whatevs!

Sadie and I rehabilitated a Barbie we found at a thrift store yesterday. Her dress was torn and her face was dirty, but I had a feeling she was a collectible and she is:

She's missing her shawl thingy, but Sadie likes her anyway. We sewed her dress back together and cleaned her face and body. Now she's all purdy again.

Benny did a spelling test at Denny's this morning. Dan also took it. Here's Benny taking a break from a little post-pancake DS gaming in order to grade Dan's test. Grading it was easy -- all answers took some form of the word "bucket." Sadie did her letter practice at the table at Denny's too -- working on N and M and telling the difference.

Finally, we got our caterpillars today for our butterfly garden thingamajigger that Grammy gave Benny for Christmas.

I hope they're not cold and dead. It's pretty cold here. Time will tell, right? Benny is pretty excited. He's throwing them a shortbread pizza party:

Benny set the table. I guess I'm having wine -- awesome. That'll help me cope with the fact that it's SNOWING. Gah.

Romney Wins Nevada!

Get ready America!!! (picture via)

The big story, in my opinion, is that earlier, Ron Paul was in *second place* above McCain and Huckabee -- what glorious, sparkling, multicolored excement will hit the fan in Republicandia if he beats either of their little darling poppets.

In other news, we have a new wager on the Democrats' caucus. If my horse Hillary wins, Dan has to cook dinner, without using the telephone. If Dan's horse Obama wins, I have abandon my current course of suicidal stoicism, and to go to the doctor for what seems to have developed into a kidney infection.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Deciphering Benny's Version of Sequencing

The language arts workbook pages we've been doing have now come around to "sequencing," which came right after "context clues" and before "main idea." Or something. I'm not paying an entirely huge amount of attention to this particular workbook except that I get him to do some of it most days and it seems to be teaching him things.

Anyway, here's his sequencing workbook for today. There's a series of five groups of three. Each group describes a sequence of events. In each group, one event in the sequence is missing. The directions were to write a sentence that makes sense in the sequence. So, the question is this: can you determine which is Benny's sentence? I mean, ideally, you wouldn't, right? Because it would all just make so much glittering, flawless SENSE. But see if you can:

1. The clouds grew very dark, and we could hear thunder.
2. All of a sudden, the wind started to blow very hard.
3. The thunder outside blew up our house.

1. The volleyball game was very boring at first.
2. Then a player threw the ball so high.
3. The home crowd cheered so loudly that I had to cover my ears.

1. Jim, Harry, and Timmy had work to do.
2. The boys gathered all the garden tools and put them in the wheelbarrow.
3. "Well, it was hard work, but we got it done, boys!" said Jim.

1. The teacher gave us our homework assignment early in the day.
2. Since the school assembly had to be cancelled, we had an extra study hall.
3. They call it, "Study Hall II."

1. Our cat has been acting very strange lately.
2. We heard unusual noises coming from the hall closet.
3. We looked but it was... an owl.

Hehehe. I didn't correct any of his little tangential meanderings. I never do, unless they're in direct defiance of the instructions. I mean, it could have been an owl, right? I'm trying, trying, trying never to say the words, "This is how they want you to answer." Plenty of time to prep for the SAT later. For now, let it be an owl.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

A Grand Finale: Phi Bensa Zoe Academy

Well, the Porterfield family seems intent on moving away to the DC area. They're packed and planning to leave this weekend. Today we had our final meeting of the Phi Bensa Zoe Academy. It was good and sad.

Sadie and Phillip made bubble prints. You put dishwasher soap and tempera paint in a cup of water, slop it into a pie plate, and blow in it with straws. The pile of bubbles you can make is awesome in and of itself, but then you can also slap a piece of paper on top, and create strange prints that look like the surface of the moon. After we made the prints and they dried, we decorated them. Sadie is doing so well with her letters that she wanted to do words instead of a lunar colony. She did this:

I had to spell the words "Love" and "Together" for her, but she decided the words she was going to write, she correctly spelled "Mom" and "Dad" and she wrote all the letters.

Benny and Zoe finished their Latin book (Minimus) and took a big final quiz on all the material therein, which they both aced. Veronica had trophies for them. Benny's said "Bennimus Optimus Est" -- which is Latin for "Benny ROCKS!" Here he is with his trophy:

It's very, very sad that the Porterfields are leaving. Until summer, they are coming back down here one week out of each month so Veronica can do her consulting work and Phillip can have his group violin class. After that, they're moving back! At least, that's what I'm telling myself.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sadie and the Heckler on CNN

UPDATE: Here's the link to the entire CNN video clip: Happy Hecklers

My mind is officially blown.

One of our home videos, "Sadie and the Heckler," which was posted on YouTube, was used in a CNN bit called Cheering and Jeering. This was an installment of a regular segment called Moost Unusual, reported by Jeanne Moos, during the CNN show called The Situation Room. Above is a picture of her posing next to a still on the TV. Below is the video itself.

The piece was about how the candidates handle heckling during their campaign stops, and reporter Jeanie Moost suggested they take an example from Sadie, who stands up for her "hooman rights." It was very cute -- they captioned the kids talking on big letters behind Sadie on the chalk board, slanted to look like it was written there, but since I don't have video of the CNN clip, I'll caption it here:

Phillip: She's a baby
Sadie: I'm not a baby, but-- I'm not a baby, I'm human.
Phillip: No.
Sadie: I am.
Phillip: You're not.
Sadie: I am, I am a human.
Phillip: No! You're a girl.

This is a very strange sensation -- seeing our little homeschool book club on CNN. I guess when you live on the internet, the moments of your life become resources and illustrations in this enormous common library. It was very exciting for the kids to see, and for us -- very surreal. The last thing the reporter said, kiddingly, was "Sadie for President!" So awesome.

UPDATE: The CNN video is up on their web site, and you can view it by clicking here.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Sadie is Four

She became four yesterday at 12:30PM. How could she be four?

Here she is in the van after we picked up her birthday balloons:

She had a beautiful birthday, from picking out a cake to choosing balloons to a princess party with our closest family and friends, and the presents: princess, Barbie, pink, sparkle, lip gloss, ruffles, rosebuds, tulle, fashion, and stuff like that.

I love her so much. Yesterday I looked back at some of the pictures of her, from her old blog which covered my pregnancy and her first year. When I look at her from the side, from very close to her face, I can still see that little baby child with the round eye and the round perfet plastic cheeks. But her bone structure is changing, or becoming more obvious, and her legs are growing up like little stalks. She's saying "Cinderella" with four proper syllables, instead of saying, "Shinnawa." It's all changing, and the baby things are going away. Good things are coming, though. See?

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Bloggable Dan


Dan: "Leroy, you have such terrible breath. It smells like you pooped a fish and then ate it."


Dan: "Wait, does a vertical line have a slope?"
Me: (with certainty) "Yes, a vertical line has a slope of one. A horizontal line has a slope of zero. A vertical line has a slope of one."
Dan: "Are you SURE?"
Me: "Yes! A vertical line has a---"
Dan: "--slope that's undefined. It's undefined."
Me: "You're totally right. You're right and I am insane. And I am in charge of homeschooling your children."
Dan: "Yeah, thank goodness they make books."

RIGHT DAN. Thank goodness for THEM and those BOOKS they make.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Kerry's Endorsement: Kiss of Death

John Kerry, that undead mastadon, most famous for losing a no-brainer election against the actual devil as he stood there in horns and red cape, promising to engulf the world in flames , endorsed Barack Obama this week. I knew it would be the kiss of death for his campaign. I did not know, however, that they were going to literally try and make out.

I have to report something, but first I have to confess something. So, the confession: Instead of allowing the children's minds to be enriched by listening to their Suzuki CDs, I've been listening to conservative talk radio lately. Call it election fever. I hope it goes away, but it's not like Barack Obama hope, it's like maybe-this-Ding-Dong-is-a-magic-one-with-no-calories hope. Now the report: Sean Hannity said something today that was so powerfully ironic, my ears almost bled:

Hannity was bemoaning the fact that the that irritating media (OF WHICH HE IS PART, RIGHT?!) has decided that the fight for the Republican nomination is between McCain and Huckabee, discounting Giuliani and Thompson's hopes for a comeback.

Hannity: I gotta tell ya. I am so tired of all the pundits and the talking heads telling us who to vote for! That is for us to decide!!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

My Husband is Awesome

New Hampshire results are in, and Hillary is victorious. All over the blogosphere, pro-Hillary blogs are using up their yearly allotment of exclamation points and squees: "Go girl!!!!!! SQUEEE!!!!!"

Here's Dan wearing his penalty shirt:

I said, "Now, I need a nice cheerful over-the-shoulder thumbs-up."

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A Friendly Wager on the New Hampshire Primary

Dan asked if I wanted to place a bet on tonight's primary in New Hampshire. That is to say, he was ready to bet against Hillary -- was I ready to bet for her? So here is the bet:

Dan has a t-shirt that he has never worn. In 2006, Dan participated in the Tour of Hope ride, Lance Armstrong's cycling fundraiser for cancer research. Well, he tried to participate -- the event got cancelled due to hideous rain, but he did get the jersey, the shorts, and more importantly the t-shirt. The jersey and shorts are a nice victorious yellow, and he wears them a lot, but the t-shirt he has never worn. Mostly because it is a bright, hot, optimistic blue. It is also adorned with a giant yellow sunflower. Despite his firm support of Lance Armstrong and everything he represents, Dan would never want to wear that t-shirt. Neither would I, if it comes to that. I don't wear shirts with things on them.

So the wager is this: If Obama wins, I have to wear the shirt. If Hillary wins, Dan has to wear it.

This isn't a picture of the actual shirt, in fact this is one from 2005 and the West Coast version and it has been made into a quilt but this is the general idea:

Tune in tomorrow to see who had to spend the day in this lovely garment.

I Support Hillary Clinton

I support Hillary Clinton for President. I think she would be great at the job. I have quietly supported Hillary since I knew she was running, but didn't say much about it because I suspected that the only reason I wanted to cast a vote for her was because she was female. Now I think I know why I want her to win.

Hillary Clinton wants to be president not because she's a woman, or because she's entitled, or because she's power-hungry, but because she knows she can do it better than anyone else. You can see it in her face, in her frustration over the last week. She can't seem to understand why people don't believe her, don't trust her, don't want her. I understand though.

Barack Obama is slick and smooth, and Hillary is abrasive and tough. He is talking about hope and change and light and liberty. She is talking about experience, competence, knowledge, and work. Of course, he gets a lot of applause. People want to yell for hope and change, even if there is no substance behind the words, no specifics to support the glossy rhetoric.

No one is jumping out of their seat for competence. No one is waving a flag for hard work. But I want her in that office because she will be competent and work hard. That is what I need her to do. I do not need her to orate or inspire me. I need her to fix the country, and I think she will.

If she would have, from the beginning, talked like I've seen her talk this week, with tears in her eyes, about how she will be a good president, instead of saying "change" 53 times a minute and relying on Bill Clinton to shape her message, I think she'd be ahead right now. She is very compelling, when she breaks down and just speaks from the heart. I got this feeling, this week, that she feels responsible for the country, and that we should let her do what she needs to do.

Hillary Clinton may not win. She may be a rung on which future women step, to get to the top of that political ladder. Maybe it will be her daughter Chelsea someday, who makes it to the top. Maybe it will be my daughter. I am thankful, as a female and as an American, to this person who is enduring merciless criticism, hateful personal attacks, and all the jibes and jokes of a cruelly dismissive opposition. I don't think she'll look back on this time in her life as a fun romp through the USA, spreading smiles and listening to applause, like Obama probably will. She may look back on it as a screaming nightmare from start to finish. But I support her. I will vote for her in my stupid, irrelevant Virginia primary, whether she's still in the race or not. And I thank her for standing up under all of this, and smiling through her tears.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Lucy's Cookies: No Wheat, No Dairy, No Problem

Dr. Lucy Gibney is a friend of mine. I met her at church. Sadie and her son are in the same Sunday school class, and for months now she's been bringing in special cookies for their snack, to accommodate his food allergies. Now, I don't know about you, but when I hear "Wheat free cookies! Dairy free cookies!" I am not breaking my ankles to run over and get a sample. However, these cookies are really very great. I could never tell the difference between these and any other delicious homemade cookies. Go check out these gluten free cookies if you're in the mood for a snack and your allergies prevent you from patronizing the Keebler elves.

Lucy's Foods: Gluten Free and Dairy Free Cookies

These are available now in Norfolk at the Organic Food Depot and other stores, and will soon be in all Farm Fresh locations. Go Lucy!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Raising Quality Nerds Since 1998

Sadie: Clifford Learning Activities
Benny: Zoo Tycoon

Please note that the diet Coke next to Sadie is not hers. At least, I don't think it started off as hers.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Santa is Still Totally Real

We took Benny's bowling ball in to Dick's Sporting Goods to get holes drilled in it. It's a good thing that Santa shops at Dick's Sporting Goods, because they only drill holes in balls that were purchased there. It's a good thing!

Here's Benny's letter to Santa this year. Some of this will be easier to understand if you know that Benny found a quarter and a nickel on the floor a few minutes before he wrote the letter. That's called fortuitous!


Dear Santa,
Thank you for all these gifts. I'm going to pay you "30c" for this joy! Please help yourself to the cokies on the "Christmas platle. Mery Christmas! Sighned: Benny & Sadie. Wisconsin Marshfield N. Peach St.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Iowa Caucus is Live on CSPAN and I am Liveblogging Here

If you aren't watching the CSPAN coverage of the Iowa caucus, you are really missing some entertainment. Shouting, voting by a show of hands, voting by hollering, fiddling with microphones, whispering, milling about, shouting, "HILLARY OVER HERE!", grumbling "We're moving!" and more hilarity. TURN IT ON! I will be adding to this post as the evening goes on. There's a channel for democrats and a channel for republicans.

8:19 A Richardson lady in a purple sweater is trying to woo away one of the Dodd people. She says, "I should have brought treats!"

8:21 Now the purple sweater is saying, "Your issue is capital punishment? Mine too. Mine too."

8:23 An Obama supporter is telling a redhead that Obama has as much experience as Abraham Lincoln had when he was elected. What he has is intelligence and the ability to build consensus. He doesn't pander. He always takes questions. The redhead is nodding and saying, "Okay." Reportedly, there is a great group of people in the Obama corner.

8:25 The Biden preference group is looking owly. He is not going to be viable. Someone supports a resolution that everyone gets to stay with their first choice. He wants to do away with the viability. He looks kind of like Steve Martin. I'm going to check with the republicans now.

8:28 The republicans in Carroll Iowa are milling around in the hallway.

8:29 A democrat is standing on a chair repeating the number 45. Cameras are pointing every which way. The new precinct chairperson reads a partial statement on affirmative action. Someone says, "45." Bill Richardson runs to the bathroom. The Biden people are holding their coats and growling at each other. They're down from 26 to 10.

8:31 A reasonable man with glasses explains about the benefits of resorting yourself to your second choice before or after the first vote. The Richardson folks are talking fast to everyone who's not in a viable group -- apparently they are close to viability and just need to hornswaggle a few more votes. (Hornswaggle is Iowan for persuade).

I wonder if some of these people knew they were going to be on CSPAN. Like, did they choose their clothes for it? Or?

That purple lady is still working hard for Bill R. Her argument now is that America doesn't elect Senators, so Edwards and Obama and Clinton are out. She kind of looks like Bill Richardson.

I am shallow.

8:36 Dodd, Kucinich, Biden, and Richardson people are told to realign. They need 57 per group to be a viable group. They are given 15 more minutes.

Benny and Sadie are in the tub. They have astronauts and Barbies and little action figures from The Nightmare Before Christmas. They're having a wonderful time.

8:38 The Richardson people now have 47! VIVA LA REVOLUTION! They are neglecting to count the evangelists that are out among the room, bringing in more victims.

8:39 Steve Martin asks us to consider the face we will present to the world, after our debacle in Iraq. To him, it is Barack. A blonde lady says, "But Edwards hasn't taken any public funding!" Steve Martin asks what Edwards' position is on public health. The campaign has never got back to him on that. Someone reasonable suggests that what's left of the Dodds and what's left of the Bidens go over and join the Richardsons. That makes sense. Do it, reasonable man. We are counting on you.

Benny just launched a rocket into the Barbie pool and caused all kinds of anguish. I am liveblogging from my bedroom.
8:45 Someone get audio on that guy in the bow tie!!! I need to know what he's saying!!!
Voting by a show of hands, counting people by raised hands, counting people by standing on a chair, voting by saying "aye!" -- all of these are very inexact sciences. But awesome. I mean, this is crazy. Now they are going to try sending everyone into the hall and count the on the way back in.
8:45 Edwards has over 100. He needs 56 to be viable in this precinct.
8:49 Applause. Richardson must have squatted, strained, and birthed a few voters in the corner.
But what are the republicans doing??? Someone in a sweater vest is saying that the surge worked. He sounds nervous and angry. It is better in the democrat room at the moment, but I am looking forward to Ron Paul-related antics. Oh, how I wish I lived in Iowa! Just for tonight.
8:51 All of the preference groups are trying to count themselves. None of them can figure out a really good way. A boom mike is hovering eagerly over the Obama group. There are a lot of wild Iowans supporting Obama tonight. So far, I am not kidding, NO ONE has showed the Hillary camp. I don't even know if she's viable in this precinct.
8:57 At a folding table, democrats are doing math.
186 Obama
116 Edwards
74 Clinton
That's it.
8:58 In the Republican room, there's a Mitt Romney sign hanging over a sign that says, "No smoking. No food. No drink." A white-haired man is walking around waving a yellow envelope. Wait, there's another one. There's a lot of joviality. Are they done? Someone has given the white-haired man another envelope to wave. Everyone is being sent back out into the hallway, or they are being drawn there by their instinct. Are they leaving? Did Ron Paul win? They're outside. They're walking through the snow. A lady in dangly earrings is pillaging a Fred08 sign. The caucus is over. The envelopes have left the building.
9:02 There are official vote-counter pens! I totally like want one! I have Iowenvy bad. Okay, so, it was just the voters who left, and now the envelopes have been delivered into a special room where they will now be counted according to a special republican system. Woo! Wee! Little pieces of white paper are flying around like swarms of moths! Iowans are hunching over them, making tongue-munching sounds.
9:04 It looks like the republicans voted by writing down the name of their candidates on little pieces of white paper that might have been provided by a drug company. They look like those promotional paper pads that you get if you go to a trade show or if you work as a dentist or something.
9:05 Papers are falling off the table, okay?
9:06 They're separating them into ones, twos, threes, and fours. Is that code for Ron Paul? Doesn't it seem weird that someone with a RUDY sticker on her shirt is counting votes? They write the totals on notebook paper! This is so weird!!! Forget technology -- these people don't even utilize electricity. I love CSPAN. People who wear sweaters without t-shirts underneath are in charge of this election, and they're counting on their fingers.
I am shallow! I reported that already!
I have to get the children out of the tub and put them to bed. The networks are reporting that Huckabee will win the republican caucus, and they have Obama, Edwards, and Clinton in a statistical dead heat on the democrat side. I love elections.

Lookit the Pink! It's the Pinkiest!

I made this outfit for my friend's daughter Maisy for her birthday last year. Thus the cakes on the skirt. The jacket is not made from real poodle -- don't worry! No dogs were hurt in the construction of this outfit, except for my dog whenever he approached the project with his inevitable feet. Today I got these sweet pictures of Maisy modelling her pink outfit. Very gratifying. Very awesome!

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Eight is Great

Benny is eight. This happened on December 27, 2007. He's now been eight for less than a week, and still, changes are in the works.

Example: Yesterday morning he asked me for yogurt and a banana for breakfast. When I questioned his abandonment of his favorite waffles, he told me, "I am really only interested in healthy food, now that I'm eight."


Another example: Yesterday he learned about analogies and was toodling away at his workbook page, answering Paris is to France as London is to _____ and other questions of that nature, and he looked over at me kindly and said, "I'm a much more cheerful student, since I turned eight."

Glad to hear it.

Final example: I have been trying to get Benny to relax his hand when he vibratos on his violin, so that he doesn't just clamp and quake, which produces a lot of tension and no vibrato. On Monday when we got the violin out, Benny told me he had had a dream which told him how to play the violin better. I asked to hear about the dream, but he said, "I can't tell you. It's just too beautiful." So he started to play and MY GOODNESS. Suddenly he can do vibrato. And played the first movement of the Vivaldi nearly perfectly, with every note in tune, and used about 50% more bow on every note, and in general just sounded fantastic. Yesterday was the same.

I wish I would have that dream!

A new year is here. I don't have an organized list of resolutions like I did last year. But I have a plan in mind. Oh yes I do.