Sep 30, 2006

I don't think he's really running--

But I wish he would.

Here's a not-very-recent column about this joke running for president thing that Dave Barry does from time to time.

Sep 28, 2006

My new favorite presidential candidate

Dave Barry.

Here is a section of the interview he did with Reason magazine:

From an interview in Reason magazine conducted by Glenn Garvin:

Reason: Do you ever get complaints that you're making people cynical?

Dave Barry: Every now and then, when I write my annual tax column, some ex-IRS agent will complain, "There you go IRS bashing again." They're always saying that they're just doing their job. Someone I know once said, "You could get another job."

Reason: In your column I detect a certain skepticism at the notion that congressional spending creates jobs.

Dave Barry: Of all the wonderful things government says, that's always been just about my favorite. As opposed to if you get to keep the money. Because what you'll do is go out and bury it in your yard, anything to prevent that money from creating jobs. They never stop saying it. They say it with a straight face and we in the press will write that down. We will say, "This is expected to create x number of jobs." On the other hand, we never say that the money we removed from another part of the economy will kill some jobs.

Go Dave!!

Sep 27, 2006

More on Professor Jones

this article, published this last monday in the Deseret News, basically confirms my opinion of all of this--

there could be something, but speculativity (is that a word?) and rash accusations are never attractive.

My sister had that exact problem with Dr. Jones' paper-- and I trust her opinion.

That still doesn't mean that there isn't something fishy going on, though. So I'm continuing to reserve judgment.

Ethiopian Adoption 3

So today, we took care of half of number one, number two, and number three.


Ethiopian Adoption 2

So today, I looked through all the paperwork from the homestudy agency, and all of the paperwork from AFAA and made a comprehensive list of the things I need to get/do to prepare my dossier:

along with the adoption application & 2 copies of it, and the 250 fee,

1) birth certificates for everyone in the family-- a certified copy and 3 photocopies of each.

2) certified marriage liscence and 3 photocopies.

3) Divorce decree and 3 photocopies.

4) Afaa finacial form-- notorized, and including past 3 yrs federal tax returns (signed) and W-2's (original and 4 copies). A bank letter stating checking and savings account balances (original and 2 copies).

5) Afaa medical form- notarized. (original and 1 copy). This includes a complete physical for every adult member of the household, and the Dr. has to write a letter that states that we are in good health and have no infectious diseases. This has to be signed, and they need 2 photocopies.

6) Color photos of each individual in the home and photos of the main rooms of the home, and photos of the exterior of the home (2 sets).

7) Passport photos of Skywalker and I.

8) Homestudy (no more than 6 months old)- 2 notorized originals and 1 photocopy.

9) autobiographies of both parents about important life experiences- 3-4 pages long + 1 page for each marriage. Signed and dated- original and 1 copy each.

10) Employment verification letter on company letterhead, including salary and date of hire- original and 2 copies.

11) Local police clearance for those over 18. On police letterhead, with full name and address of the individual recieving clearance, dated-- original and 2 copies.

12) State or county child abuse registry clearance for those over 18- original and 2 copies.

13) three signed reference letters from non-relatives (originals and 2 copies).

14) Letter to the government of Ethiopia stating why we want to adopt from their country-- one typed page. (Original and 2 copies.)

15) Verification of medical insurance for the adopting parents and the adopted child.

16) Power of attourney form.

And the homestudy has a detailed list of what the social worker needs to include, as well.


I now know why they estimate a month to get paperwork done.

BUt it is all worth it. Definitely.

Sep 22, 2006

Shatner singing to lucas.

Shatner Singing to Lucas

found this on Jeremy's Jeremiad, one of the blogs I like to follow.

I'm only a small percent trekkie, but I appreciated this, so I figure it could appeal to any audience. ;)

Sep 20, 2006

Two things

I wanted to share two things today. The first is this:

Not my child, BTW. My mom sent this to me in an email.

The second is this. It's a summary of the findings of a study done at Weber State, on the comparative effectiveness of essential oils and antibiotics against the e coli bacteria:

The study also compared the effectiveness of two often used antibiotics,
Penicillin and Ampicillin, with 4 essential oils (two single oils and
two blends) against 2 bacteria with known high morbidity rates,
Escherichia coli (E-Coli) and Staphylococcus aureus. *The four essential
oils are Cinnamon, Oregano, Immupower and Purification.*

*The results clearly show all 4 oils superior to both Penicillin and
Ampicillin* in their ability to kill the microorganisms. In the case of
Penicillin, lysis (disintegration) of E-Coli did not occur. Apparently
this generation of bacteria strain is totally resistant to Penicillin.
Interestingly, the kill rate with essential oils went up dramatically as
more of the oil was added. This same effect, however, did not occur when
more of the antibiotics were added.

With National attention focused on E-Coli bacteria outbreaks, we want to
share a portion of another Weber State Study with you that deal with
this killer. To understand the numbers next to each oil below, it is
necessary to know something of how the study was conducted.

A small piece of paper infiltrated with essential oil was placed in a
petri dish infected with Escherichia coli. After a period of incubation,
examination revealed a dark shadow around the paper indicating Lysis
(disintegration) of the E-Coli. The diameter or size of the dark circle
is demonstrative of the kill ratio and referred to as the "Zone of
Inhibition" (Through replication, researchers know that E-Coli cannot
grow in this zone).

Measured in millimeters (mm), the Zone of Inhibition was noted for each
of 67 different oils tested. There were nine oils that's Zone of
Inhibition measured 25 mm or larger, meaning *these oils are most
effective against E-Coli*.

*They are:
*Rosewood 40 mm
Cinnamon Bark 32 mm
Peppermint 30 mm
Thyme 30 mm
Ravensara 30 mm
Oregano 30 mm
Mtn. Savory 30 mm
Lavender 25 mm

By mixing Peppermint and Rosewood with a ratio of 1 part Peppermint to 8 parts Rosewood, researchers discovered the Zone of Inhibition for E-Coli increased to 50 mm.

For the pubmed (in case you want to read the whole study, or would like the citation), here.

Sep 18, 2006

Do I Have to Call Myself a Feminist?


There have been a couple of times I have gotten frustrated with the way the term Feminist has become some kind of epithet, or even just a loaded word-- from those on both sides of the issue.

Rush Limbaugh and his coinage of the term, "Femi-Nazi" makes me laugh and hate him at the same time.

My question is this: What do I have to do to be called a feminist? Feminists often won't have me, because I actually do think that, when at all possible, a woman's place is In The Home. With her children. I actually think that kids need their own mom. This is coming from someone (me) who was a single parent and worked really really hard for a living for a while, and had to put her child in childcare-- and I think that Heavenly Father makes up the difference when you have to do this.

But why, oh why, would you do it willingly? I guess everyone is different, and there are a lot of different reasons why women need to work. Lots of them. So I don't judge any one individual-- I just take issue when people are offhanded about it, like "oh, it doesn't matter that much-- they'll learn to love their childcare givers, lots of kids have done it and it hasn't hurt them."

I think it does matter. Not just for them, but for us. Why should we miss out when we don't need to?

I think that motherhood is the ultimate act of creativity. You help someone become who they are supposed to become-- partially by molding them, and partially through sensitively helping them mold themselves.

And what is the reward at the end of the labor (which never really ends?) More possibly amazing people in the world, who also happen to be your good friends, usually.

On the other hand, there are lots of people who would call me a feminist. Lots. Which I'm OK with--- in my opinion,

feminism, the term itself should just mean an interest in the issues surrounding womanhood. A person who studies and takes an interest in women. Not a creepy interest, I guess I need to differentiate on that score. A real interest in women without an abusive agenda.

The hard thing is, I guess I do have to throw out some labels. If, for instance, someone invites me over to dinner, I do have to say, "by the way, we're vegetarian," if I don't want to offend them by not eating meat.

If someone asks me if I am a Christian, I say "yes." Because I believe in and worship Christ. But then I do have to throw out, "I am also Mormon." Because a lot of people would be misled by my saying I am a Christian, because lots of people think Mormons are not Christians. Which, by the way, is kind of silly.

If someone asks me if I'm a feminist, I have to also say "yes," because I do believe in equal rights between men and women, and I take an interest in womens' issues. I assume that's what people mean when they say feminist.

But a lot, and I mean a whole lot, of people that I know, are put off by this. Just as they are put off when I say that I'm liberal. But neither of those things is meant to infringe upon anyone else's rights at all. I simply believe what I believe, do my best to live my life that way, and I still like people who believe differently.

One long-standing friend of mine was somewhat taken-aback to hear that I was a democrat. He is a staunch republican. It's funny-- he threw the line at me about, if you're young and you're not a democrat, you don't have a heart. If you're old and you're not a republican, you don't have a brain.

Well, how about, I like you and you're my friend, so I have a heart AND a brain. Is that OK, Dr. B?


Just a slight vent. Thanks for listening.

Sep 13, 2006

My Secret Garden

I have always wanted a garden like the one described in Francis Hodgson Burnett's book. I have this amazing, intricate plan laid out in my mind and sometimes almost on paper, of my garden as it would be if I had no worries about expense or acreage.

Well, I've lived in apartments for the past 6 years or so, so the best I could do was potted plants. Which have been very nice. But we just moved into a place with two acres and a garden. It is so wonderful-- I feel like I really am coming home. None of it is our work yet, but we have big plans.

I love being outside in the yard. I thought I would post a few pics of my favorite
beauty spots.

Homeschooling and the Possible Dead Thing in My Front Yard

Loli is only 4. She'll be 5 years old this coming January. I don't feel rushed about schooling(we homeschool, by the way). But I'm starting to feel a need to do my research on HS curriculum.

There are lots of different methods of homeschooling. Some believe in a method that is more structured, some like it to be as un-schooling as possible. My personal preference is no stress. To me, that means structure right now, until I learn the ropes and can teach my younger children what I find is most important for them to learn at these young ages when structure can be so discouraging.

My current plan is to begin a real curriculum starting in March or so. Hopefully we'll have all of our homestudy and other adoption application materials completed by this time, and I won't be dealing with both stresses.

This is a little earlier than Loli would be starting (Aug/Sept. to go along with the school systems), but she'll be an older 5-year-old for that group, so I think we'll be OK starting then.

Right now, we're having fun learning just by exploring. I'm teaching loli about insects and plants right now, along with just a little bit of penmanship, reading and mathematics (she already knows her alphabet, how to sound out easy words, how to add numbers up to 10).

We have been checking out books about ants and bees from the library. She got interested in these insects after watching a Magic School Bus episode. A few of the books have been a little advanced for her, so we simplify by looking at some of the pictures and discussing what is happening in them.

We're also learning about plants, especially flowers. When I opened up a ripe rose-hip the other day and showed loli the little ovaries inside, explaining to her that they are the seeds to make new plants, she was fascinated. Every day that we have gone outside she has wanted to pick some new rose hips, open them, and then plant the seeds in the rosebed. (I'm a little doubtful that they'll actually grow, because they're still green, most of them, and I think that roses are one of those plants that are tricky to start.) But she's having a lot of fun.

So my question is this: can decaying rosehips smell like decaying flesh?

I know, that's a pretty unsettling question. But I'm a little unsettled. For the past couple of days when we've been out by the rosebushes, I smell this yucky smell kind of like my trunk smelled the time I forgot to remove 10 pounds of hamburger (this was pre-vegetarian conversion) for a few days. It was green and hooooorrrible.

Well this smell is not as bad as that, but it's getting steadily stronger. I'm hoping it's just the way that decaying rose hips smell, or maybe it's how decaying horse-manure smells (we have horses in the pasture next to our house) because I do NOT want to go looking through my bushes to see if any animal has died recently.

oooh... I should, but i just can't.

Maybe I can make that Skywalker's Saturday project. (Evil laugh.)

Sep 11, 2006


I think that probably a lot of people will be blogging about Sept 11th today, most of whom are more qualified than I am to do so.

I will say one thing, though... my friend had her baby right as the WTC collapsed. So for her, today is a celebration... sort of. How must it feel to be celebrating something while the rest of the world is in mourning, I wonder? I'd ask her but I don't know her phone number anymore.

At any rate, I feel an extra measure of heaviness today. I think it involves the sadness of so many lives lost, so many people who served their country that day suffering physical difficulty as a result of what they did, so many families left behind, etc.

They're singing the song, "all you need is love" in central park today as a memorial.

I love that song. I wish I could be there to sing it with them. I think that the very best way to memorialze someone or something important to you is to have an extra measure of love and understanding for those around you.

Sep 10, 2006


Ok, I am so sad.

I don't know Dr. Steven Jones, BYU Physics faculty member, at all.

But my sister does. She worked for him for a year. I sent her all of the stuff I had found on him and his research on the WTC bombings, and she was puzzled, and a little wierded out by it, because she said it's not like him to be off on tangents like that.

She described him as a soft-spoken, kind, scholarly man who she enjoyed working for. She was surprised at how his paper read... She told me that his use of italics and bold, as well as his turn of phrase in certain places, sounded less than professional, and that this didn't impress her... But as a student of physics, his arguments sounded valid.

I watched this interview when I was studying up on this stuff a few weeks ago. It left me with a bad taste in my mouth-- not toward the professor, but because of how he is being treated.

From how my sister has described him, I can't help but think that this man truly believes in what he is doing. He doesn't have anything against any particular person-- he hasn't pointed fingers in any of his publications.

Why is BYU letting him go? Isn't he supposed to be doing research? Isn't he supposed to get passionate about stuff? See the world in a slightly different way from the mainstream? As a scientist, isn't he supposed to be skeptical of everything?

Now, I know that a chief argument is that he has not put his research through the canonized method of publication. And his affiliation with 9/11 truth may possibly be considered to be against the honor code, if you classify this group as apostate.

But why would you? Is it apostatizing to wonder if there was something more to this significant event in our history, an event which has changed so much of how we view the world, and has incited war and the use of massive amounts of OUR (taxpayers') funds?

I understand that emotions run high on this whole topic... So much patriotism, grief, a feeling of being violated, the shock of losing so many Americans etc...

but should we let emotion lead us to exclude some of the possibilities as we look back? How are we going to prevent this from happening again if we aren't willing to examine all of the alternatives?

I'm not saying I believe Dr. Jones' theory. What I'm saying is that people should not vilify him... He is a scientist (albeit an imperfect one), and he is passionate about his subject matter. He is doing his job...
and being put on leave for it.

You can't really get an education if you've decided already what your education ought to be... A real education goes to the person who is open minded. Who is willing to examine possibilities. Who is unafraid of what he or she may find. Who continues to do what he or she believes in even if it makes him or her unpopular.

Even if it gets him or her fired.

I'm sorry, professor Jones.

Sep 9, 2006

Ethiopian political history

I just read another book about Ethiopia and learned some neat stuff about the History of Ethiopia. Here is the basic political timeline:

a) Prehistoric peoples. They found a human skeleton that was purported to be between 2.9 and 3.6 million years old in the great rift valley. The discovery was made by Donald Johanson in 1974, the woman nicknamed "Lucy" because they were listening to a certain Beatles song at the time they discovered her. Because of this discovery, Ethiopia was thought to be possibly the place where humans originated.

b) 5,000 BC: Hunters and Gatherers.

c) 1,000 BC: Semitic Immigration-- people from across the sea on the Arabian peninsula settled in parts of what is now Eritrea/Ethiopia.

d) 900 BC: The legendary meeting of Sheba and Solomon, which resulted in a Son Menelik I, who became King and the first ruler in the Askumite Kingdom. According to legend, he visited his father, King Solomon, when he became of age, and Solomon sent a son of all of the temple priests back with Menelik to Ethiopia, along with a replica of the Ark of the Covenant, which the Ethiopians claim is the real ark, because the disgruntled priests' sons exchanged them before they left.

the Jewish people of Ethiopia are called Falasha, and practiced a unique form of Judaism that only incorporate the first 5 books of the Old Testament.

e) 4,5,6th centuries: Christianity introduced into Ethiopia. It becomes the State Religion of Askum.

f) 615 AD: Islam comes to Ethiopia. They flee from the Arabian Rulers at the suggestion of Mohammed, who declares Ethiopia to be "a land of righteousness where no one is wronged." The Ethiopian Ruler refuses to give these refugees up to the Arabian leaders.

g) between 7-800 AD Yudith (Judith), an Agew Falasha princess, takes over and destroys some churches, as well as the city of Askum.

h) The Zagwe rule for about 150 years. They stay with Christianity, and king Labiela has several churches carved out of rock. These churches are one of those things that are said to be an 8th wonder of the world.

I) In 1270, the Amhara people revolt and instated a new king, Yekutmo Amlak, who claims descent from Solomon and Makeda, the Queen of Sheba.

J)16th century- Muslims come in from the east, The Oromo come in from the south. The portugese assist the Amhara to hold off the Muslim invaders and stop Agew revolts. Emperor Fasiladas builds a new capital city, Gondar.

K) There is a period where separate Ethiopian provinces are ruled and peopled by different cultures/tribes. In 1855, a series of Amhara kings, Theodore II, Yohannes, and Menelik II attempted to unite Ethiopia under one government. Menelik II succeeded. His Nephew, Haille Sellassie, ruled Ethiopia as emperor until 1934 when Mussolini lead the Italian invasion.

L) At the advent of WWII, British soldiers assisted Ethiopian soldiers in reclaiming Ethiopia, and Sellassie came back to rule in 1941. He ruled until 1974 when the Derg took over the government. As a result of some governmental policy combined with drought, Ethiopia was considered one of the poorest countries in the world at this point.

The Derg was a Marxist-Leninist group. The leader, Colonel Mengistu Hile Meriam, executed enemies of the government and instated government farms, forcing farmers to move onto these government-run facilities.

M) by 1985, more than half a million Ethiopian people starved. In 1991, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front began to attack government troops, and had much success. Four months later, President Mengistu resigned, and one week later, these troops seized the capital. They promised to set up a provisional government that included fair representation for all ethnic groups in Ethiopia.

At the same time, The Eritrean Liberation Front set up a government in Eritrea, and asked the UN to vote for Eritrean independence from Ethiopia. They eventually won this independence.

N) In 1994, a constitution was drafted. Ethiopia is now governed by a President (Chief of State) and a Prime Minister (head of government), a 108-seat Council of the Federation who represent regional interests, and a 547-seat Council of People's Representatives who are popularly elected and who are responsible for electing the president. The Prime minister is elected by the party in power.

Sep 8, 2006

I thought this was funny...

mostly because I have recently locked myself out of my car twice.


dude, I know it's idiotic entertainment, but... well, it's funny.

Ethiopian Adoption 1

I got my homestudy paperwork in the mail in the middle of last week. I'm going to start gathering materials next Monday; that's my plan. My only real concerns are these:

1) The letters of reference. Not that We don't have people that like us and thing we'd be good adoptive parents, just that I can't think of many people in that category who aren't insanely busy or, well, a tad flaky.

2) I'm scared of social workers. Just a little scared. But I'll have to get over that fast, won't I?

3) Our house. We're renting. According to the info that AFAA sent us, this will not be an impediment to our adopting. But will it be a mark against us that could add up with other marks against us and possibly make us a less-desirable adoptive family? And our house has only 3 bedrooms, and by the time the adoption is complete, we'll most likely have 5 kids (including the two we're planning to adopt). Is our house too small for 5? I don't think so. But will They think so?

4) The Moola. I found out that the first half of the fees are due before we're put on the waiting list, which we'd like to accomplish by January, or February if un-anticipated things happen. We still have to pay back BIL 4,500, so that means we need to have saved a total of around 10,000 by January (Inc. the 4,500). I think we could possibly do it, but it will be close. I personally do not want to go into debt for this, if we can help it... We're not hugely well off,and if our economy is as in trouble as it seems, I don't want to be in a vulnerable position, economically.

The Art of Sprouting Isn't Hard to Master

So, I have this piece of paper taped to my computer. It says "Rinse Sprouts."

This is because I have ruined one batch of seeds, and nearly another in the last two days because I'm trying a new thing with my sprouts. I'm putting them in the pantry as they grow so that, hopefully, they'll grow longer. Particularly the sunflower sprouts... They were only about an inch long last time. I want long sunflower sprouts!!

Sprouting is So Neat. You can sprout any seed, including but not limited to alfalfa, clover, broccoli, any green veggie pretty much,

and grains such as wheat, barley, or any other that you wish. And they're SO GOOD FOR YOU.

and they make a kick-butt addition to a salad. MMMM.
One Caution- be careful to rinse often as you sprout, and remove matter that looks as if it's no longer growing. Salmonella can grow in sprouts. Alfalfa, in particular, has been shown to have this problem.

Um, Really??

I know that a blog is typically considered to be the arena in which one reveals oneself in much the same way one reveals oneself in a journal. You're supposed to be vulnerable and if something is bugging me a lot, typically I would talk about it here. But the thing is, I have a policy where I don't really discuss the things that I'm dealing with that are also personal to other people, particularly if they're my family or may come across this blog (which is always possible). So... I will not vent today about what I wish to vent about. Instead, I will pick an extremely easy target for my venting.

I was listening to NPR the other day randomly while driving to the library (Loli needed more books to feed her interest in bees, ants, and flowers, as well as another Sesame English Video. Actually, she doesn't care all that much one way or another about the Sesame English videos, I'm the one who loves those. Yet another guilty mom secret.) Anyway, en route to the library, they were broadcasting Bush's address to congress wherein he revealed that there are, in fact, secret CIA prisons.




particularly disturbing to me are these quotes:

“It has been necessary to move these individuals to an environment where they can be held secretly, questioned by experts and, when appropriate, prosecuted for terrorist acts,” Bush said in a White House speech.


Though Bush said the United States never tortures suspects, "alternative" interrogation methods are used to glean information from them. These procedures "were tough, and they were safe and lawful and necessary," he said.

Also on Wednesday, the Pentagon issued a revised Army Field Manual that requires detainees be "treated humanely and in accordance with U.S. law, the law of war and applicable U.S. policy." (Watch how nudity, duct tape and electric shock are now banned -- 2:28)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that tribunals convened at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, were unconstitutional.

The High Court also ruled that al Qaeda operatives were protected by the Geneva Conventions, which ban "humiliating and degrading treatment." Bush called that mandate "vague."

Ok, What???? You have got to be kidding me.

The funny thing is (well, not really funny), as I was listening to Our President on the radio, the thought that kept running through my head was He Likes His Cattle Branded.

I dunno why. Why do you think I was thinking that?

Also I don't like this man, I don't like this man, I really don't like this man.

Good thing I can do something about it, right? I don't like it when people vent about our government or leaders and then say that they're not going to even vote because they feel such contempt and hopelessness at the situation. C'mon! If you want things to be better, you need to be a part of the System. Make the government an appendage of you!


Sep 2, 2006

Good News

My little sis is doing well, she is going to be with her baby, who is in an NICU in a town a couple of hours away.

Holy Cow, Soooo glad she's allright.

And on a very much even more positive note, my little sis (a different one, NOT the one who just had an emergency C) sent me a pic of her (yes, that's her doing the splits, the little firebrand) ballroom dancing at a recent competition of hers.
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Bear in mind that she's sending in her mission papers in a couple of months.

She's gonna set the mission field on fire.