Tuesday, May 31, 2011

NBA Finals and Mary

The first game of the NBA finals were tonight, I told Mary that the Heat won. She remembered that there was talk about a group of guys going to the team. Then I told her the other team was the Mavericks, and her response:

"With that short guy .... Spud?"

June 1, 2011: Edited to say the Heat won.

Memorial Day

We did a bunch of yard work over the weekend, and the weather cooperated beautifully.

But it wasn't all work, Simone got to hold a new bunny (who fell asleep in her lap):

Simone's Birthday

It was a very busy day.

We started off with some Swedish pancakes filled with blueberry compote, and candles of course.

Then it was time to dress in white for preschool.

At preschool we had a little puppet play showing how Simone came to be with us, we said some of the things we remembered about Simone each of her first five years. As a part of the celebration, Simone got to wear the birthday crown and the birthday fairy wings.

The grandparents all came for the show as well.

Then it was back to the house for a yummy lunch and presents.

Mary made a doll (named Lilla by Simone) which has become a new bedtime partner.

Here's a closeup of Lila, and she has the felted doll of Simone that Christine Waters made for Simone.

At bedtime, Simone snuggled up with Lilla and Daisy, and we read stories and began learning a new nighttime saying.

All in all, a fantastic day.

Monday, May 30, 2011


I made Simone a tent for her birthday, here's the one photo I took of it:

All in all, it looks pretty good. Mary gave me the link that showed me how to do it.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Time To Mow

It's been a while...

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Last Day @ 4

Simone turns 5 tomorrow (5am if I recall).

One thing we've done for most of her 5th year (yah, her 5th year) was running hugs.

She'll tell me to stand in just the right spot. I crouch down with my arms open wide. I have to have my mouth open, in a big gape. If I don't, she reminds me.

She goes to the other side of the room, puts her arms out wide, opens her mouth open wide, and runs full speed at me, slowing to swerve around any objects in the way.

At full-tilt, she collides with me and we both fall down giggling.

It looks like a slow-motion fight scene where the two guys are screaming at each other. Only it's Simone and me and it's nothing but love.

I hope they continue when she's 5.

Saturday, May 21, 2011


"Lemonade is one of the colors of the sunset!"

We squeezed two oranges into a can of frozen lemonade, mixed it up, and drank our fill using straws.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Bedtime and Books

I just went into Simone's room b/c she was calling out for a little attention - it'd been an hour since I finished reading/singing and saying goodnight.

Her room is pretty dark, the sun has been down for a little while, but she has around 8 books on her bed. I start picking them up, telling her, "I'll put them right here beside your bed."

"But I want to read them in the morning."

"Yeah, they'll be right next to your bed in the morning."

I then look at her and notice she still has her eye mask on. So I ask, "How can you read with your eye mask on?"

Giggling, she responds, "I don't know. "

Silly girl.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gee... thanks Senate

If you read the headlines, "Senators Grill Phone Execs On Mobile Privacy", you might think they care about the privacy of the citizens.

Yet my first thought is, where were the investigations into AT&T's illegal behavior of handing over personal data to the NSA? (phone calls, emails, web browsing, etc.) Oh, right, all the companies involved in tapping our phones were granted immunity.

Way to look out for the citizenry.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

OBL is dead...

So we killed Osama Bin Laden over two weeks ago, and I thought I'd write down some thoughts. I recall exactly my position about invading Iraq (against), but don't remember where I stood with Afghanistan (would like to think I was against, but that could just be wishful thinking).

I saw the news that OBL was dead when I came out of Simone's bedroom. The images were on the TV and the closed caption said he'd been killed. My first feeling was a little stronger than "meh", but not a lot - it was probably a combination of "meh" and relief.

I did see that President Obama said that "justice has been done". That struck me as odd. I would have expected that "justice" would have meant bringing him back to the U.S. and trying him for crimes, or heck, trying him for crimes in any of a dozen countries where he was wanted on terrorism. Instead, our form of justice was to just out-and-out kill him, old west style.

I'm not sorry he's dead, I'll certainly lose no sleep over it. My problem with what Obama said was that it continues the "us versus them" and the "you're with us or you're against us" mentality that the U.S. has in its foreign policy.

Since 9/11/2001 we have invaded 2 Muslim countries and bombed another 3 (Pakistan, Libya, Yemen), and that just seems wrong.

We continue to pursue an aggressive military "solution" to the "war on terror" when both DARPA and the former head of the CIA's task force to find Osama Bin Laden (Michael Scheuer) agree that:

1. "The threat to the U.S. arises from Muslims plausible perception that the things they most love andvalue - God, Islam, their brethren, and Muslim lands - are beign attacked by America." (Michael Scheuer)

2. "policing and intelligence, rather than military force, should form the backbone of U.S. efforts against al Qa'ida. And U.S. policymakers should end the use of the phrase 'war on terrorism' since there is no battlefield solution to defeating al Qa'ida." How Terrorist Groups End

So, the Department of Defence and the CIA both recognize that our current approach is the wrong one, yet we continue ahead full-steam.

I'm frustrated at the Obama administration for not closing Gitmo (where only 40 of the original 700+ people have enough evidence against them to even go to court), I'm frustrated at our abandonment of the Nuremberg Principles (starting with W), Obama doing a 180 on signing statements/declaring war, militarizing the CIA, attacking government whistle blowers more fervently than W, and attempting to assassinate a U.S. citizen! I'm frustrated.

The latest "battles" between Democrats and Republicans have all gone to the Republicans. Take the latest budget battle, which had Republicans starting with "$35 Billion" in cuts, Dems with "$10 Billion" in cuts, and the final budget being $38 Billion. eh? Ok, that's off topic. OBL...

But it's related, because what used to be GOP talking points have been completely adopted by the Democrats.


And the "liberal media" just continues to repeat, without any hesitation, the talking points of the GOP and the government. I mean, we send in Seal Team 6 to get Osama, they kill him. Why did the White House have to lie? They changed their story 4 times in 4 days, OBL was using his wife as a human shield, there was a firefight, he was fighting back, he drew his weapon. Lies, all of them. Very few in the U.S. would raise much of a stink if we killed him in "cold blood", yet the government put forward this story of how he resisted. The Seals would have taken Osama alive had that been their task, they're the best in the world - and especially if OBL wasn't armed, it would have been a piece of cake. Now the government is leaking photos of OBL watching himself on TV, of his stash of porn. And the media is continuing to just regurgitate it. I don't know if it was true. I don't much care.

One post I read basically points out the the U.S. isn't ready to face the truth. With the lies and the retractions, we, as a people, can console ourselves over questioning what the facts are and completely avoid what the facts show about us as a country. I think they show that our government is continuing to pursue an aggressive, military occupation of most of the world, we care naught for human rights if they're not in our "best interests", the government represents and defends corporate interests over personal interests, and our population (for the most part) is happy to sit back, watch Glee, and remain ignorant about what our government does.

One piece, Obama's "bad negotiating" is actually shrewd negotiating, did shine a light on Obama's positions that changed my perception of his stance. The main point is that Obama hasn't "failed" at pushing the "liberal" agenda, he's been very calculated and chosen to side with GOP ideals because it's all about getting re-elected. It's worth a read.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sheepy and Books

This morning I called home from work to see how Mary and Simone were doing. Mary reported that the morning, while a bit early, was a lovely one, and that Simone was in the process of making Sheepy a superhero costume.

I'll have to dig up the pictures of her costumes for animals she's done in the past. Needless to say, Sheepy gets a number of them. Sheepy is a soft, finger puppet with the standard two legs and a head. The previous costume was a hat and a coat - made of paper. Tonight I checked out the costume and can see that Sheepy's cape is bright red with a grey collar, and Sheepy has sleeves (gauntlets?) that are grey. Very fun.

And tonight I read stories with Simone at bedtime. We read three books in the big bed, then transitioned to her bedroom for the standard nighttime ritual. Unfortunately, we're in a little bit of a rut, and are having trouble falling asleep - due to the late daylight hours and never quite getting back on track from daylight savings. I'd been out of the room for a few minutes when Simone started loudly complaining that she was having trouble going to sleep. I went in and we talked for a minute - I suggested she tell a story to Clifford and Daisy (the cat), or sing songs to them. I leave and check back on her about 15 minutes later to find her sitting cross-legged on her bed, with Clifford and Daisy sitting next to her. She was reading them stories.

Friday, May 13, 2011

TV Critic at Large

So... I was working out at the gym the other day. I wasn't very inspired, so I avoided my weight lifting and decided to alternate jogging and walking, work up a good sweat.

There are three TVs at the gym, two were set to their customary shows at 8am, SportsCenter and Charmed. My brother-in-law turned me onto Charmed years ago and I watch it at the gym. The third channel was showing something called GMA, which took me 5 minutes to figure out it was "Good Morning America."

First things first, I like Charmed. Magic, demons, beautiful people, fairy tales, etc. - it's my kind of escapism. My gripe about the show is that everyone has such incredibly slow reflexes. It's not hard to figure out that when someone evil looking apparates in front of you, chances are they're gonna try to kill you with some magic, or steal something, or mess up your day. This happens every show, several times a show. The Charmed 3 just don't seem to get it, they stand, dumb-founded, and then get whooped, then later in the show they do the same to the bad people (winning in the end). Tightening up the action just a little bit would really help.

SportsCenter - the Dallas Mavericks happened to sweep the LA Lakers the night before, and the first 4 "stories" on SC were all about that - from the point of view of LA. "LA Swept" "What Will Happen To Phil Knight" etc. All the stories were about the losers, the Lakers. It was pathetic, the bias was disgusting. Fine, do a story on Phil Knight leaving, that makes sense, but give the Mavericks their due and show them *winning*, not LA losing.

Lastly, GMA. I have no idea why people watch this show. My comment on it is that they had a 10-15 minute segment on how good or bad frozen food tasted, having different groups of people doing a "blind" taste test of each. Some were regular Jills and some were foodies. The frozen food lines were things like Weight Watchers and Jenny Craig. It was a blatant commercial for these foods, and if GMA had any desire to help educate people about how they might lose weight, perhaps they should show how to cook real food. It was disgusting.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Mother's Day Hike

We took a hike on Mother's Day. Simone wanted to take Clifford, so he came along.

We stopped for a snack at the rock quarry.

We took the road all the way out, and the path back. Last photo on the road, it was still sunny.

Patiently posing for a photo on the bridge...

The moss on the tree is sooooo soft, time for a snack and a nap after the rain and hail storm that lasted 3 minutes.

White Car Is White, the photo

The roof was nearly red from rust. I'll get to the sides/front/back later this year.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

White Car Is White

Yah, the Mazda got a paint job.

I sanded and sanded and sanded and sanded the roof of the car to get rid of the rust. Then I taped up the windows with some help from Simone. And then came the cans of spray paint - two coats of primer and three coats of white with a few minutes between each coat.

Now it's white. ish

Simone was very proud of how the car was going to look. She said that everyone at work would be surprised how shiny it was, which is true.