Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Ok Go

Was checking through some of my favorite blogs this morning and came across this on Holly's. Made my morning...
OK GO - Here I Go Again

Sunday, January 28, 2007

cheeseburger in paradise

I sit here at home tonight with a fire in the fireplace and near-freezing rain falling outside, and I wonder:
"How is it possible that yesterday, this was my life?"

It's these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes,
Nothing remains quite the same.
With all of our running and all of our cunning,
If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane

Cortadito, fried plantains, Vaca Frita, Sangria - nothing like having a Cuban friend to help guide the cuisine when you're in Miami. Absolutamente deliciosa!!

And I can't forget the backyard-fresh papaya and bananas we had for breakfast. Yum.

I have a nice picture of DH basking in the sun under the palms with topless sunbathers in the sand behind him. Yes, Q did notice.
Q: "Mommy, those ladies are half naked!"
Me: "yup. They're tanning"
Q: "OK."

Oh, and here's a funny story for mom. E's favorite animals at the zoo were the zebras, because they were "playing piggyback." Mom - you know your embarrassment at your young daughter yelling out about how the monkeys were jumping on each others backs? (or was it embarrassment? Was it more amusement?) Well whatever it was all those years ago, it has been fully atoned. I stood there with my daughter shrieking to everyone within hearing distance about how the zebras were playing piggy back. I debated with myself whether or not I should explain what was going on. I opted for "not" because I just wasn't in the mood for further questions. It's the circle of life, you know, mom. Deja vu, deja vu. What goes around, comes around. E will get hers one day, too, I am confident.

Here are a couple photos more from Key Biscane:

A wonderful time was had by all. Our friends have a 9 month old baby who adored Q and E but who couldn't quite decide if it was DH or me who was the antichrist. She looks just like her daddy, for those of you who know JC.

We played disc golf (here we are searching for a disc. And you thought that was only golf balls...)

And we went to the zoo:

E's comment for EVERY animal was "It is SO BEAUTIFUL!" Well, every animal except the orangatang. She was not enamored with that one. She told JC it needed a makeover. She also felt it was encumbant upon her to keep everyone in the zoo honest. She made sure that the young mom who exclaimed to her baby son "Look at the turtle!!" was informed (by her highness herself) that she was in fact looking at a tortoise and not a turtle. Yeow. My daughter is not shy.

E also fell totally in love with our friend JC. She is a complete flirt (aye). I watch, I nod. I am amused, I am terrified for the future. But mostly, I'm having a blast. Great weekend. Great friends, Great food, Great children, Great environment. Changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes...

Oh, and Q asked that I take this picture. He says "The tribe has spoken."

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

smoking gun

I hope no one got the impression from my last post that I'm waffling on global warming. Speaking as an anonymous blogger-person, I am confident global warming is happening and that humans are causing it. I am confident that we're seeing effects from it now and that things will get pretty ugly in my lifetime. Definitely in my children's lifetimes.

I now post a link to this CNN article:
Smoking Gun report to say global warming here
The data, the facts, they are rolling in. Whether it is spoken in science-speak or guy-on-the-street-speak, we have embarked on an unprecedented experiment.

Monday, January 22, 2007

what language to speak today?

Thanks to mom and dad for pointing out this article to me.

I thought it was extremely interesting, because it is more of a comment on discomfort of scientists with the way they have had to change their communication style with the media/public than a comment on global warming science itself. It's a real issue, and is one that I don't have a clue as to what needs to be done to fix it.

Scientists are trained to look for holes, to look into every nook and cranny for instances that might make their theory crumble. They are trained to not speak in absolutes. I think I've written about this before, but I realized I was a scientist to my core when I was a new mother taking my just-born son for his pediatrician's appointment. The ped had a series of questions to ask me.
Him: "Has he been exposed to lead?"
Me: "Not that I'm aware of."
Him: "Has he been exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke?"
Me: "Not that I've seen."
I was unable to respond in the absolute. I could not say "no." Of course the answer was no, but I didn't feel honest speaking in absolutes.

I remember a Gordon Conference on Atmospheric Chemistry more than 10 years ago that I attended in Newport, Rhode Island. One big issue we discussed even back then was how to make the pubic aware of global warming. We had a special session on just that topic. We talked about making ourselves more visible in internet chat-rooms. We talked about how to discuss topics with the media. We talked about how to discuss concerns about global warming with the general public in our everyday conversations. We were very concerned. We were concerned because scientists have a BIG problem with conversing with non-scientists. We are used to talking to each other with caveats. We are used to peppering every conclusion with "unless" statements and we use words like "possible" a lot.

The U.S. is a fast-food, fast-answer kind of country. The public wants "yes" or "no." They want the answer - they do not want the debate. They do not want me to go into detail about the assumptions used in models, or about statistics or probabilities. They want science (scientists) to tell them that we know what the future will bring.
But scientists are not capable or (even more) willing to do that.

Global warming is happening (that's not so debatable anymore - we do have the data to show that). Personally, I think it is quite alarming and requires that governments take action to address it. Starting now. With my scientist hat on, however, I can tell you what the data shows us, and I can tell you what models *suggest*. But I can't tell you that "X" is going to happen unless we do "Y". I cringe when I hear another scientist get up in a public forum and say that. Because that is not the usual language of science.

So I totally understand both sides that are represented in that article. I understand the point of view of those scientists that understand how serious this global warming experiment on our atmosphere really is and that we have GOT to convince the public that this is not an exercise in theroretical supposition.

And as a scientist, I understand the guy in the article that cringes because I do too when I hear a scientist get up in a public forum and proclaim that Katrina was a direct result of global warming. That's an awfully bold and specific claim.

The correct balance, I'm afraid, is impossible to find. I don't know the right language to use to let the public know of the seriousness of global warming without compromising my scientific integrity. I guess that's the ultimate conflict.

"Studies show that one possible effect of global warming is an increase in the extremes of weather. While it is not possible to claim that any particular weather even (such as Katrina) is a direct result of global climate change, it is possible that increases in the instensity of these storms could be expected in the future as a result of climate change."

"Katrina was caused by global warming."

Which quote would make the news? Which would get the attention of the public and bring awareness to the real issue of global climate change (which is a good thing to do!)? Which is more accurate? Which is uber annoying to read? Do you see the problem?

Saturday, January 20, 2007

great white north

DH is back from his trip to Sioux Falls, SD...

On the way in:

And from a closer perspective, here are the "falls" of Sioux Falls:
(Yes, these are supposedly waterfalls. DH said it had been something like -30 F a little before he got up there)

...all of which makes me think that my response to the possibility of him being transferred up there for his job was spot on. (my response was identical to the one I gave to the possibility of Mississippi: "OK. We'll miss you.")

No offense meant. I love cold, I love winter. But that'd be a little too much for this Texan, I think.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

for a song

Aye. I'm going through itunes issues again.
I've been clicking and buying tons of songs tonight. In particular, I'm on a big 38 Special roll. (Hey Mare, guess who I saw in concert!!)

When is the last time you've closed all the blinds in your house, turned up a good song until it was blasting, and just danced all on your own?

It did myself good to do that today. I screwed up something important at work and am trying to convince myself I'm not the architect of the end of the universe. You know what? The earth is going to continue to orbit the sun despite my screw-up. Go figure. I guess I'm not as all-important as I seem to think I am sometimes... Huh.

So - what do you think the magic of music is? Sometimes when I am drunk on wine and sitting with my feet up, drifting into the nether regions approaching sleep, and I imagine myself as a particle in this magical and mysterious universe, the one connection that I imagine I can feel with the rest of the cosmos out there is music. Wonder why it's so unifying - so universal? It kind of crosses the logical and the emotional realm at the same time. It follows the rule of rhythm and repetition, but touches something deeper, too.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

of all the audacity

Am I weird to actually get chills over watching and listening to this man? Or am I just someone else with the audacity to hope?

Monday, January 15, 2007

dinner party

If you could have dinner with any four people, dead or alive, who would they be?

I've been asked this question more than a few times...especially with the advent of the internet and chain email "questionaires." It's an interesting but maddening question. I haven't finished up my guest list despite plenty of time to think about it. Thank goodness a lot of these people are dead so they shouldn't mind the delay.

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

I figure diversity is the key - but the right mix of diversity and differing opinions would be crucial. I'm trying to build good conversation.

The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently. -Frederich Nietzsche

Yet I certainly wouldn't seek so much diversity so as to invite, say, Pat Robertson or Dubya to my table. It's dinner, after all, and I'd like to keep my appetite. I'd need an artist there - a sculptor or a painter, I think, because there is so much in the arts that I do not know. I would love someone to spoonfeed me stories laced with art. (Da Vinci?)

Art raises its head where creeds relax. -Friedrich Nietzsche

And then I'd like someone like Martin Luther King or Ghandi or maybe Robert Kennedy. After my experience in attempting to communicate with the Indian post-doc in my office this last year, I'm striking Ghandi. (Sorry Ghandi). I'll have to go with Martin Luther King, I think, since it's his day today. Besides, I'm going to also have to invite Frederich Nietzsche, my alter-ego, and conversation could get a little spicy with the two of them there together.

Whether in conversation we generally agree or disagree with others is largely a matter of habit: the one tendency makes as much sense as the other. -Frederich Nietzsche

It's this last spot that's giving me trouble. We've got Einstein, Carl Sagan, Thomas Jefferson... I'd say Jesus but I'd be afraid he'd end up being a raving lunatic and that would depress me. Plus, I'll need another woman at the table. Oooh - Abigail Adams would be fun!

“The person lives most beautifully who does not reflect upon existence” -Friedrich Nietzsche

So that's today's attempt to answer the question. Leonardo Da Vinci, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Frederich Nietzsche and Abigail Adams.
Now what to serve?

Sunday, January 14, 2007

random images

This is a myspace pose just for Mare:

This is for my seester:

And this is for my other seester:

Saturday, January 13, 2007


My local grocery store has the most awesome wine selection of any place within a 50 mile radius of my house, surprisingly enough. There is the equivalent of 3 full aisles full of wine - much more than specialty wine stores around here, with plenty of selections from my southern hemispheric favorite wineries in Australia, South Africa and Chile. I don't know why they have invested so much of their resources in wine selection, but I am holding my breath that a shift in the winds doesn't change their minds. This is a GOOD thing.

They also have an employee who, apparently, is the dedicated wine steward. He is a gray-haired elderly gentleman with a slow smile who enjoys talking, especially to the ladies. He is, in fact, a shameless flirt. He has thus far convinced me to buy Sherry (which I NEVER drink) and a bottle of Californian Chardonney, when I am a staunch *red* wine fan. He told me today he was watching me look over the frozen peas and thought I was quite attractive and had been hoping I'd come by his little wine tasting display. The fact that this didn't offend me or gross me out is a testiment to his style. What a smooth operator he is. Just the right touch of flirtatious compliments coupled with a respectful distance. Thus the Sherry and the Chardonney sitting unused in my wine rack.
Flirtation - it goes a long way, baby. :-)

Monday, January 08, 2007

tom and jerry

Us: 3. maybe.
Them: about 6 and counting

I have frequent bouts of insomnia. It's been getting worse as I get older. I have, however, finally learned not to lie there in bed and work myself up into a state of panic over how much sleep I am not getting. I have made a tentative peace with Insomnia now, like a slightly irritating but mostly harmless friend.

So several weeks ago I was down in the office around the 3 am hour, killing time by researching how long to expect a stone bruise on the arch of your foot to last (Look, the point is to Bore myself, isn't it?!) when I heard that dreaded skittering above my head. Dammit. I attempted to pretend it wasn't there for a night or two but the damn thing was persistent. So I finally fessed up and told DH that we had something(s) living in our attic.

To make a long boring story short, we have run the gamot of various styles of live-catch traps. We did finally catch, quite possibly, the same mouse three times. I mean, how much can little field mice look alike? Do they all have the little ears laid back on their heads and the long tails? Really? I wasn't springing it free all that far from the house. The more I thought about it, the more I was convinced I was recapturing the same Mystery Rodent. And now the little rodent(s) has figured out it can chew through plastic, rendering our nifty live-catch mouse trap useless. Thankless little beast. Does it WANT to be tortured unmercilessly by being stuck to glue traps or snapped up into bits? We're trying to do the humane thing here and release the little guy out into its natural habitat where it can be chomped down for dinner by a black snake like it should be.

Before that, though, if it were to only remain outside, it would have the amazing opportunity to discover and dine upon a delicious pork roast, compete with golden potatoes and carrots and mushroom and onion soup, all red and raw and nestled in our garbage.

Guess who forgot to plug in the crock pot this morning?

So there's my afternoon for you. I'm sparing you the details of the tears and the wails and the gnashing of teeth and the torture that my dear darling daughter went through at the mere suggestion that our live-catch attempts were not working and maybe we'd have to try other methods on our Mysterious Rodent guest. Oh my. You see, she LOVES ANIMALS! She has a BOND with them! She cannot, MUST NOT see them hurt! EVER!

So I guess Mysterious Rodent has a repreive for a few days until we find a non-chewable live-catch trap. And if I accidentally let Sammy the cat up into the attic? Well. I wouldn't do that on purpose of course.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

holes and lists with a mix of new age

I've started digging this hole and it's getting deeper and deeper. I'm playing with the idea of running for PTA president next year. I can't decide if I'm delusional or just stupidly naive. I am not a stay-at-home soccer mom politics-playing sort of gal, you know? I never in a million years thought I would utter the words "PTA president" and "thinking about running for..." in the same breath. But I'm not seeing a lot of other options. Part of me wants the challenge, while the other part is wondering how far I'll kick myself if I do end up as president. I'll keep you posted. That hole is looking very deep.

I spent the morning with the YRUUs starting our new curriculum "Words to Live By: Creating a Personal Credo." It's a program to explore your personal goals and values and spirituality so that you are able to articulate it through a "credo". I asked the kids if they were ready to contemplate their belly-buttons. I got confused and embarrassed stares because none of them had ever heard that expression before. ????? Yowza. Don't know how I'll like the curriculum. I actually played new age music this morning while I led them on a guided meditation. I tried not to laugh - I really did. We'll make adjustments and it'll be good. They are all so busy they don't get a lot of time to "think." (Who does?) So I think they'll enjoy it, as long as I don't do too many of those guided meditations or take the new age-ness feeling too seriously.

Speaking of which, I'm tired of thinking deep thoughts tonight but still feel like writing, so I'll create a list. Woo Hoo! I love lists. I really do. Comes from that need to be in control. When things are listed, you control them. Isn't that obvious?

So here are some things that I love that have happened to me recently (in no meaningful order):

1. When I get home from work and open the front door to the smell of a crock pot roast that has been simmering all day long. It's especially nice when I've forgotten I ever put it in the crock pot to begin with.

2. Lounging on the couch with my son. Every time, I wonder if it's the last time he'll let me cuddle him. He's getting bigger every day but is still such a little boy right now.

3. The feel of freshly washed flannel sheets and the smell of spice candles. Mmmm bedtime.

4. Unexpected (impromptu) dinner invitations.

5. The little half-meow my cat makes when he's too sleepy to meow properly but still loves me enough to want to tell me hello when I go plop down on the bed beside him.

6. A particular place along a hiking trail in the park where you are up on a ridge and can see the Taskinas creek meandering through the marsh well off into the distance. You can see the York River way off on the horizon through the very large tree trunks. It's all so much better too, when two lovely children are hiking with you.

7. Singing silly songs to my friends over the phone. This is especially fun when you've all had a glass or two of wine and a nice dinner.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

my offspring the poet

Q's teacher told them they would get some extra auction points if they bring in something on Friday to represent the earth's core, mantle, and crust, and tell why they picked them.
Q is going to bring in a piece of music. The staff is the core because it holds everything. The harmony is the mantle because it moves along under the music. The melody is the crust because it is "on top of" of mantle and is the thing people most remember from a piece of music. But it needs the harmony to really move.

He makes my heart all swell up!!!

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

on your mark, get set, go

Day two into the new year and I haven't really thought about resolutions yet. Weird. That's usually one of the first things I do on New Year's. I love resolutions, new starts, clean slate, etc. I'll be thinking on it. "Complain less" will be on the list.

I have the day off work today to mourn ex-President Ford. I haven't worn black and I haven't thought about him much, so I suppose I should at some point to assuage my conscience. I've always liked Gerald Ford, actually, more on a gut feeling rather than feeling strongly about anything he ever did. He just seemed honest and humble and a nice guy. There aren't many modern presidents that you can feel that way about.

We had a nice holiday trip to Texas to visit my family. It was too short. We need to plan to do less traveling around when we're out there or lengthen the trips. We walked into our house last night after 11 pm, so this national day of mourning came at a nice time for me. I've been slowly recreating my refuge (bedroom), doing laundry, cleaning out christmas leftovers (and Thanksgiving - bleah! Do not judge me.) from the fridge, and I did a huge grocery shopping trip. Haven't had time for just sitting and knitting or reading yet, but I'll make time tonight. (That's another resolution - More quiet time for me).

Happy New Year to anyone reading this!! Most of you I know personally, and I can confidently say that you ROCK, and some of you I know read this because one of the wonderful people who ROCK and who I know sent you this link, and I can honestly say that if you're a friend of one of my ROCKing friends or relatives then you do too.
Follow that?

I will also resolve to write more interesting blog entries and fewer "daily diary" type entries (like this one). That is, when I actually think about resolutions, I will resolve to do that.

Peace out!