Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Fitness

Picture source: GamingUnion.net

My roommate got the Wii FitPlus for us for Christmas, and this is one of my favorite fitness games to do on it. It's the Obstacle Course.

My Mii isn't blonde like this lady's is. Mine has short, dark brown hair and wears a purple dress. My roommate's Mii wears blue and has glasses. When we're not actually working out, the Wii FitPlus tracks our weight and BMI. So far, our trends are downward.

The boxing game needs you to hold the controler with the nunchuck plugged into it, but for some reason, it doesn't record my left jabs very well, so I've given up playing that game/workout for now.

The hula hoop game, in the aerobics section, gives a good workout for the midsection, and I like to do it twice: once circling to the left and once to the right (which feels wrong, but I make myself do it anyway). When I was a kid, I was the best hula hooper in the family, but after puberty struck and changed the geometry of my body, I couldn't keep a hula hoop spinning to save my life. Now, using the Wii, I'm back in business and kicking virtual butt with it.

The ski jumping game is fun, but it's not much of a workout, because it's designed to help you improve your balance. You crouch down and lean forward as your Mii slides down the ski run, and then at just the right time, you straighten your knees and try to keep from falling over while you soar through the air and then come down for a landing. Of course, if you miscalculate and lose your balance, your Mii takes a tumble, becoming a rolling snowball and you don't get a score for that jump. I benefited from beginner's luck the first couple days, but now I can't seem to get the long jumps anymore.

They warn you, before the ski jumping game and the tightrope walking game and the obstacle course (and probably some others) that you are NOT, under ANY circumstance, to jump up off the board. You must keep your feet down and just straighten your legs in a simulation of a jump, and the game will have your Mii do the jumping for you. That's good in theory, and I can manage it pretty well on most of the games. But the obstacle course has proven to be a challenge.

You run in place on the board, and your Mii runs down the course. Pause when you get to the swinging demolition balls, or they'll knock you into the ocean and you'll have to start at the beginning of that level again. On level 3 of the beginner course, they not only have gaps to jump over (or risk falling into the ocean) like on level 2, but there are rolling logs that have to be jumped as well. Those logs have become my nemesis.

I can handle the logs that roll toward Mii just fine (most of the time, but sometimes I get flattened). It's the ones that roll from the left or right that have caused me to lose control. I wait for the current log to roll by, then pitty-pat my way as fast as I can before the next log drops and starts rolling. The adrenaline starts to flow, and then the next thing I know, the game stops, a warning message pops up telling me that I am definitely NOT to jump on the board, and it makes me start over AT THE BEGINNING OF THE LOWEST LEVEL OF THE COURSE. Stupid logs!

But tonight, after getting sent back to the beginning in shame one time, I managed to clear all the logs with my feet firmly on the board, and I made it to the end of the course with about 5 seconds to spare. Score!

For the first time in eons, I actually WANT to come home and do my workout. The Wii FitPlus is the best game I (n)ever bought.

Year End

I've been thinking about how I ought to start thinking about maybe doing a year end recap. But at this rate, it looks like the year is just going to end before I'm even ready.

The nerve!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas

I found this video at Hugh Hewitt's blog. It's a different rendition of one of my favorite Christmas songs.



May the Lord God made flesh be your Light and your Salvation now and forever.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Obama Approval

It's time for a thousand words. Or, rather for two thousand.

Rasmussen Reports has today's Obama Approval Index, now at an all-time low of -21. That's the percent of likely voters who strongly approve minus the percent who strongly disapprove.

Why is this man smiling?


President Obama's overall approval ratings are falling farther than the temperatures in Washington DC.


Maybe if he stopped trying to take over health care (and GM and the banks and the climate...), his approval might start improving.

Maybe.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Surprises

I went to Costco tonight after work, because I needed to pick up just one item that I always buy there. After I walked in, I thought, "What are you doing??? It's not going to be worth waiting in Costco-at-Christmas lines just to buy some cheese!" But this thought came at exactly the time when I could see past all the entryway promotional stuff over to the cash registers. The lines were SHORT, so I stayed.

I said hi to the high school friend of my daughter's who works at Costco and who I haven't seen there in months, but I didn't linger for fear that all the other shoppers would beat me to the registers. Instead, I made a bee-line for that room in the back where they keep the fruit and lettuce, the room that's about a hundred thousand degrees below zero and even a parka isn't enough to keep you warm while you look at the grapes.

Before I got there, though, when I was near the high-density food sample area, I saw a familiar face. It was HIM, the guy who broke my heart a couple years after my divorce. But before he did that, he helped me remember what romance feels like. All that stuff I said in my Romance post about what you miss if you take things too fast, that's what I went through when I dated this guy. It was wonderful.

And then it hurt like hell, even though I didn't love him. But I got over him a long time ago, and I haven't seen him at all for a couple years.

Tonight at Costco when I saw him, there were no stomach flips or any sudden pounding of my heart. I simply recognized him and realized that, yeah, he's still around. He's still as tall and good-looking as ever, but I glanced at his hand and saw that he's married now. After all the other women with broken hearts after mine, he finally picked someone and settled down. Naturally, I kept my eyes open to see who she was.

I didn't know her, assuming his wife is the woman whose back he touched. She's unattractive and looks older than he does, with mousey brown hair pulled back into a pony tail, and frumpy clothes that Stacy and Clinton would definitely not approve of.

He could have had a beauty, with his looks, and his third broken heart (counting mine) belonged to an adorable woman with an incredible personality and joie de vivre. But he didn't want her either. Instead, he seems to have settled, and that's a little sad.

There was one night when we were dating when he took me to a dance at somebody's house, and I could tell he was head-over-heels about me (I was the same way about him), but the next time we went out, he started backing off. I always had the impression after that that he was afraid to let himself feel too much about a woman, for fear that she'd leave him devastated the way his first wife had. And he seemed to repeat that closeness followed by break-up over and over. Now it looks like he found someone who he doesn't have to worry that she'll be stolen away from him.

Life is too short to make all your decisions based on fear. That's not living, that's just existing, and if that's the case for him, it's his loss.

I walked tall and pushed my cart toward the ice-box room without saying anything to him, and he didn't say anything to me either.

The grapes looked lousy, so I went over and got my cheese and headed for the checkout stands, where there was NO LINE AT ALL!

Some days give you a big surprise. Today gave me two.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Changing Back Again

There are times in life that you don't realize things have changed, until they change back again.

One of those times for me was when I found a glucosamine product that tasted good. Officially, I have arthritis, but it wasn't until a couple years ago that it started bothering me any. After I started taking this glucosamine, I didn't really notice a difference in the ache of my hip - until I ran out of it and the product was back-ordered for two weeks. That's when I realized that my left hip joint was hurting again. I had been taking the glucosamine out of habit and because I liked the flavor. Now I make sure to always keep enough on hand in case of any more back-orders.

A similar changed happened recently, only it wasn't about a product.

I've had my job at the health clinic for almost 3 months now. I like my boss, I enjoy my work, and I'm getting the notion that they just might keep me after my probation is up next month.

What changed is that I've started singing to myself again. Nothing loudly enough for other people at work to have said anything to me about it. I do most of my singing in the car, or I'll catch myself doing it softly while I carry my tea back to my desk from the breakroom.

I don't know when I stopped singing. I used to do it at my last job, before the trip with my mom, and I continued through the trip and after I got home. I think it must have stopped when I started getting seriously low on money and had my house for sale and nothing was happening with the house sale or the job hunt. The stress must have crowded out the music.

Now that I'm working and my house has sold and there's money in the bank, I'm finally able to breathe again. And breathing allows for singing.

I first caught myself singing the chorus of Toby Mac's City on Our Knees, my latest favorite song on the Christian radio station. But with all the Spanish speaking going on at work, I'm back to ¿Con Que Pagaremos?, which I mentioned before, and even with the last remains of the cold I've had, I can hit the notes, and it sounds pretty darn good even if God and I are the only ones who hear it in my car.

And after church today, after singing Christmas carols, I'm thinking it's time for me to refresh my memory again for the traditional carols in French. I wouldn't want all that effort back in junior high school to go to waste at this point in my life.

I know I've said it before, but I'll say it yet again: Life is good. It's even better with a song.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Toothpaste

I was getting ready for work this morning, and as I always do, I brushed my teeth. And then I remembered that I should take some cough syrup before I left, except it was already time to leave.

There are certain things that really should not be consumed when the taste of toothpaste is still in your mouth. Cough syrup is near the top of the list.

Did I do it? Yes. I have a cold, and I need to do what I can to prevent bronchitis from settling in (I'm also keeping up with my 12-hour Sudafed to protect the sinuses). But of course, the distaste of the toothpaste/cough syrup combination got me to thinking about lists, namely the What Goes Bad With Toothpaste list. Unfortunately, my list is pitifully short right now:

What Goes Bad With Toothpaste

Cough syrup.

Milk.

Orange juice.

Grapes.

Umm... That's all I can think of. Did you notice how I spaced them out so the list looks bigger?

So, help me out. PLEASE! What do I need to add?

December Calendar Photos

At long last we come to the end of the calendar photo year.

The family photos for December are from Yellowstone National Park (here and here), during my trip with my mom. The blue one is a thermal spring near the Fountain Paint Pots. The bison are near Yellowstone Lake, and the third one is one of the many mineral springs at Mammoth Hot Springs.


My patterns calendar has a picture I took at a shop in Amish Country in Lancaster, Pennsylvania while we were on our trip. I love taking pictures of stuff for sale.


And that wraps up the SkyePuppy Calendar Year.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Dr. Senator Coburn Discusses Health Care Bill

I found this video over at Hugh Hewitt's blog, where his producer, "Generalissimo" Duane Patterson posted it today. At almost 19 minutes long, it's a sobering look at what's coming if the Democrats can get their monstrosity of a health care bill passed.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pumpkin News


I learned something this morning when I was shopping for pumpkin pie stuff to take to my daughter's apartment. The guy at Albertson's told me I was really lucky to have found a can of pumpkin at all. He said that Libby's informed them that their pumpkin crop this year was ruined. The farms where they get their pumpkins got too much rain, and all the pumpkins sat too long in too much water and turned moldy. The canned pumpkin on the shelf is all there's going to be, so if you can find some and you want pie for Christmas, buy your cans now.

That's why I picked up an extra can of pumpkin for me. Just in case.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Comments on Sarah Palin

I went to Costco today to get some creamer, and as always I stopped at the movie and book tables just to see what they had. This is the end of the book table where the most popular books go.


Michael Chrichton's posthumous book release and Sarah Palin's Going Rogue. Only, they're completely out of Palin's book.


I have never seen an empty spot on Costco's book table. Ever. And I go there for creamer a lot. Needless to say, I didn't buy her book today.

But I did see a thought-provoking column tonight in American Thinker by Robin of Berkeley, who describes her journey into long-time feminism and then back out again just a couple years ago.

What finally woke me up were the utterances of "b[*]tch," "witch," and "monster" toward Hillary Clinton and her supporters early last year. I was shocked into reality: the trash-talk wasn't coming from conservatives, but from male and female liberals.

I finally beheld what my eyes had refused to see: that leftists are Mr. and Ms. Misogyny. Neither the males nor the females care a whit about women.

Then along came Sarah, and the attacks became particularly heinous. And I realized something even more chilling about the Left. Leftists not only sacrifice and disrespect women, but it's far worse: many are perpetuators.

The Left's behavior towards Palin is not politics as usual. By their laser-focus on her body and her sexuality, leftists are defiling her.

They are wilding her. And they do this with the full knowledge and complicity of the White House.

The Left has declared war on Palin because she threatens their existence. Liberals need women dependent and scared so that women, like blacks, will vote Democrat.

A strong, self-sufficient woman, Palin eschews liberal protection. Drop her off in the Alaskan bush and she'll survive just fine, thank you very much. Palin doesn't need or want anything from liberals -- not hate crimes legislation that coddles her, and not abortion, which she abhors.

Palin is a woman of deep and abiding faith. She takes no marching orders from messiah-like wannabes like Obama.

In the wilding of Sarah Palin, the Left shows its true colors. Rather than sheild the vulnerable, leftists will mow down any man, woman, or child who gets in their way. Instead of a movement of hope and change, it is a cauldron of hate.


That "cauldron" is not for your run-of-the-mill Democrats who think they're still voting for FDR or JFK. It's for the true believers, the Hard Left, the ones who marinate themselves in their special poisonous brew of venom they reserve for Sarah Palin.

Good thing Palin keeps a steady supply of optimism as her antivenom against them. It's just too bad that Costco ran out of their supply before I got there.

Bible Verse for President Obama

I got this from my friend (and roommate) the cardiac nurse.

Psalm 109:8 "May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership."

May this be the description of Obama's presidency. I'm starting to believe that even Slow Joe Biden would be an improvement.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bilingualism

I work at a health clinic that serves a lot of Spanish-speaking patients, so naturally we have a lot of Spanish-speaking workers on the clinic side of the place. Over on the administrative side, we have quite a few as well. It's a good thing to be bilingual, and I might become that if I ever spend much time in France, but unless I learn some Spanish grammar it's not going to happen for me in that language.

As a non-Spanish speaker (beyond the basics of Tourist-Spanish: Una cerveza mas, por favor), I get a kick out of my visits to the breakroom. The conversations--not just the people--are bilingual:

"Spanish, spanish, spanish... text messaging. Spanish, spanish... 'Who is this?' I mean, spanish, spanish, spanish..."

It makes it tough to follow the conversation, but that's OK, because it's not my conversation. And when I say, "Hi," and, "Goodbye," in Russian to the lady Russian doctor, the Spanish speakers don't understand me.

The real aftermath to these bilingual experiences is that I start thinking in French a bit. I've discovered that my brain has two language centers, one for English and another one for all the other languages together. When I move into the foreign language part of my brain to try to decipher some of the other people's conversations, I tend to stay there. Not on purpose, really. It's more like going out of town and then you find someplace in that town to eat a meal, and when you eventually get back home, you return to your normal meal routine. Well, French takes up the majority of the space in the foreign section of my brain, so that's what shows up in my thoughts while I'm there.

Except for one time back when I was taking Spanish for Medical Professionals. I wanted to say, "I don't know," but I didn't know how to say it in Spanish. What came to mind wasn't French, though. I thought, "Nie wiem." That's Polish for "I don't know." Not very helpful for the class, but they taught me to say, "No se."

OK, then. No se what to say next, so I'll just say, "Do svidaniya," or, "Do widzenia," or, "Adios," or, "Au revoir..."

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Fat People's and Old People's Brains

Fat people have small brains. So says a study, published back in August, that I just stumbled across this weekend.

A new study finds obese people have 8 percent less brain tissue than normal-weight individuals. Their brains look 16 years older than the brains of lean individuals, researchers said today.

Those classified as overweight have 4 percent less brain tissue and their brains appear to have aged prematurely by 8 years.

The results, based on brain scans of 94 people in their 70s, represent "severe brain degeneration," said Paul Thompson, senior author of the study and a UCLA professor of neurology.

Obese people had lost brain tissue in the frontal and temporal lobes, areas of the brain critical for planning and memory, and in the anterior cingulate gyrus (attention and executive functions), hippocampus (long-term memory) and basal ganglia (movement), the researchers said in a statement today. Overweight people showed brain loss in the basal ganglia, the corona radiata, white matter comprised of axons, and the parietal lobe (sensory lobe).


Be smart. Don't get fat.

On the elderly front, LiveScience reported Friday on two studies that show benefits to older people surfing the internet.

[A] recent study by the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies, a non-profit think-tank in Washington, DC, indicates that spending time online cuts the incidence of depression among senior citizens by at least 20 percent. The results were based on surveys of 7,000 people age 55 and older who were retired and not working, but not living in nursing homes.

"Increased Internet access and use by senior citizens enables them to connect with sources of social support when face-to-face interaction becomes more difficult," said study co-author Sherry G. Ford, a professor at the University of Montevallo in Montevallo, Alabama. Hence, they are less susceptible to depression.

Another recent study found that first-time use of the Internet by older adults enhanced brain function and cognition.

There is more to seniors' resistance to surfing the web than sheer crotchetiness, other research shows.

Aging often involves decreased memory, attention, cognitive speed, visual acuity, and fine motor control — the same capacities needed to use a computer. So it's no surprise that senior citizens typically take twice as long to learn digital skills, and are more prone to errors when they do get online, says Neil Charness of Florida State University.

[Researchers] suggest more computer-based brain fitness games for the elderly, since they can slow or even reverse age-related declines in perception and cognition, research shows. However, there is as yet little evidence these games can boost the user's overall quality of life.


The brain is an amazing thing. A big and sharp one is best.

Friday, November 13, 2009

"Cold Cash" Jefferson Gets 13 Years

Yes, Virginia, there is some justice in America.

Michelle Malkin has the story today.

Justice is served. The race hustlers will bray and moan, but disgraced Democrat Rep. William “Cold Cash” Jefferson had it coming. Thirteen years in prison for what the judge in the case called “the most extensive and pervasive pattern of corruption in the history of Congress.”

It's been a long time coming. May he rot in prison every last day of those thirteen years.

Khalid Sheik Mohammed to be Tried in NYC (Updated)


The outrages from the Obama Administration just keep on coming.

Michelle Malkin has the story this morning.

It’s Friday. The president is flying off to Asia. Congress is not in session. Perfect time to drop a bombshell on the American people:

The Obama administration is bringing 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed to New York City for a civilian trial.

No, it’s not a joke.


Malkin includes an e-mail sent out to the 9/11 victims, as well as this response that one of them sent back:

We have an announcement as well: we will fight with every remaining breath in our bodies both their bringing KSM and the rest of the 9/11 conspirators to federal courtrooms within walking distance of where they slaughtered our loved ones. And whomever finds Manhattan’s federal courthouse near Ground Zero a “sentimental favorite” for the 9/11 trials is a damn fool and they ALL ought to be fired. Pass that message on, far, wide, and up and down the chain-of-command.

You can petition President Obama here.

Here's how Michelle Malkin concludes:

If this White House thought Tea Party activists were an “angry mob,” wait until they see the backlash from 9/11 family members and their supporters nationwide. We’re not going to sit down and shut up about the reckless, security-undermining Obama 9/10 agenda and conflict-of-interest-ridden AG Eric Holder.

Call them out.

And check out that last link to our Attorney General's conflict of interest. Strong words are called for, so I'd better go and say my swear words in private...

Update:

David Horowitz at FrontPage Magazine today called this "the worst decision by a U.S. President in history.

The administration is justifying its decisions on the grounds that because the 9/11 attackers targeted civilians they should be tried as civilians. This makes no sense unless you are a Democrat who believes that the “holy war” that Islamic jihadists have formally declared on us is no different from the acts of isolated individuals who have decided to break the law. This is the approach to the war on terror that John Kerry championed in 2004. Now that Americans have had the poor judgment — the suicidally poor judgment — to make a leftist their president, this is the strategy our nation is set to pursue.

The decision to try the jihadists in a civilian court is also a decision which will divulge America’s security secrets to the enemy since civilian courts afford defendants the right of discovery. It is also a propaganda gift to Islamic murderers who will turn the courtroom into a media circus to promote their hatred against the Great Satan — a hatred shared by their apologists at the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the pro-Castro Center for Constitutional Rights who have pioneered the campaign against Guantanamo and whose influence in the Obama Administration is pervasive.


This is insane. Or else it's treason. Obama is selling our national security down the river for the sake of pleasing his far-left base. It's starting to sound like impeachment might be in order...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Seeing Green

Sometimes at work when I'm sitting at my desk, I turn my head to look at the computer, and I get a glimpse of green on the keyboard or on the monitor. It's strange. It's intermittent. And I've had trouble discovering the cause.

I started wondering if maybe there was something wrong with my vision. Maybe some retinal affliction that starts small and at the periphery of the field of view and then progresses into a visual condition too horrible to name. Because that's what my mind does to me: It runs off to Worst Case Scenario Land, and the worst can be pretty bad.

Today, though, I found the culprit. On one of the papers I have on the paper-holder stand that secretaries (excuse me, "Admins") use, sticking out to the left, is a hot pink Post-It flag. When I set papers on the stand to type from, I don't even notice the flag, but it notices me and lets me know with its tiny, bright-green ghost that colors my keyboard as I work.

My vision is fine, thank goodness. Except for that presbyopia condition that makes me need my reading glasses, but that's another story altogether.

Christina on Parenting

Beautifully, wonderfully said.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

November Calendar Photos

My how time slips away! It's November already, and yesterday at Target they were putting out the Christmas stuff. Something is getting lost in the shuffle.

But not here. Here at SkyePuppy we have calendar photos. For November. Not for Christmas.

The family's calendar has one of my favorite pictures from the Golden Spike National Monument, which you may have seen when my mom and I visited there on our trip. If you find yourself in Northern Utah, it's well worth the detour to see it.


And this month's picture in my patterns calender isn't really a pattern, but I needed something to make sure I had enough photos for a whole calendar.


And so, there we are. Only one more month left in the calendar.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Another Reason Socialized Medicine is a Bad Idea

Power Line's John Hinderaker has this post Friday on the UK's medical system (emphasis mine):

In the United Kingdom, Parliament will take up a proposal to give National Health Service patients the right to seek private health care if they have been kept waiting for an appointment with a specialist for more than four months. Cancer patients, in particular, have evidently been removing themselves from the queue the hard way.

But the problem isn't only with specialized forms of treatment. The London Times quotes Jennifer Dixon of the Nuffield Trust:

"It would not only give patients enforceable health care entitlements but it would also prevent managers and clinicians from controlling waiting times as a way of limiting demand and saving money," she said. "In the past requirements to make financial savings often resulted in hospitals stopping routine surgery for a couple of months before the end of the financial year."

What a system! It beggars belief that Barack Obama and Democratic leaders in Congress want to reproduce the fiasco of socialized medicine here in the U.S.

Yes, John, it beggars belief. But Barack Obama and Demcratic leaders in Congress really do want to reproduce this fiasco. More power and control for them. Less for the rest of us.

But what are the chances that hospitals will stop offering routine surgery for the nation's elites? Will Nancy Pelosi be told to wait until the new fiscal year before she can get the hip replacement she might need after her bill takes effect? Will John Kerry have to wait for another Botox shot? Or will that only apply to us riff-raff? Just asking...

I heard from someone who has started reading Pelosi's 1,990-page medical-takeover bill that it includes such pressing health care issues as requiring nutrition labeling on the front of all vending machines. After that, no doubt they'll start telling vending machine owners what they can and cannot sell. And then they'll start telling you what you can and cannot eat. It's all for your health, of course.

Fervent Prayer Needed

Baby Christopher, who is eight months old, is the son of my church's previous youth minister, who left this past spring to start a new church. Christopher was having breathing trouble a month or so ago, and the doctors diagnosed him with pneumonia, prescribing the proper treatment.

The pneumonia got worse, so his parents took him to the hospital, where they discovered he has stomach cancer. It's stage 4 and has metastasized to his liver and lungs. The doctors say it's inoperable and he's going to need chemo or radiation therapy. But they have to wait until he recovers from the flu before they can start treatment.

Please pray for a miracle. And for God's grace for his parents and two big sisters.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Word of Warning

Be careful what applications you have installed on your cell phone or your computer, and what they're set to do automatically. I've heard that some people's cell phones will automatically upload any photos they take on their phones straight to Facebook. You don't want this.

I heard about a friend of a friend of a friend--a married, church-going woman--who took a very risque picture of herself (one would hope for her husband), only to have her altogetherness appear, unbeknownst to her, on her Facebook page. The friend who spotted it told her about it, but it was on display for the half-hour it took for the woman to get to her computer and delete it.

Not that I expect any of my blogger-buddies to strip for their cell phone cameras, but DON'T LET THIS HAPPEN TO YOU!!!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Busy

This whole idea of having a job sure cuts into a person's free time!

Of course, the paychecks help keep that person off the streets, but still...

In the mornings over breakfast, I have a little time to poke around my favorite blogs or check the news sites to see what's happening, and then I have to leave for work. There's usually something that comes up, though, that reveals my lack of allowing enough time.

A couple days ago, I had all my stuff and was setting the alarm on my way out the door, when I realized I was still wearing my slippers. As cute as my slippers are, I had to put everything down and go get some real shoes, then start over with my out-the-door routine.

Another day I hadn't allowed enough time to brush my teeth, but as I told my children repeatedly when they were little (and as my now-adult daughter has told her friends), there's always time to brush your teeth. So I did, then grabbed my stuff, set the alarm, locked the doors, and when I was halfway to my car, I remembered that I needed earrings. Well, there is not always time when you're already late to go back for earrings.

At work, the internet filter blocks some websites. If you try to go to a shopping site, a warning pops up telling you that you have only one hour of online shopping time (one time an in-house newsletter had a link to a site where we could shop for gifts that acted as a fund-raiser for a group helping our underpriviledged clientele, and I got the pop-up). I don't know if that hour is over a day, a week, a month, or forever while you work there.

Another thing is that the filter/firewall refuses to acknowledge the potential work benefits of employees visiting any blogspot sites. Even at lunchtime! So my blog reading and updating times are limited to breakfast and after work.

And after work, I've still got some settling in to do. Plus other things, like fighting my parking ticket, which I finally did last night after I got back home from visiting Santa and the Missus. Yes, I'll be doggie-sitting again, starting Saturday, when Mr & Mrs Claus leave for a weeklong cruise, and that will cut down on my internet access even more.

In the meantime, I've got my shed up, two shelving units installed (once I went over to Home Depot and bought a rubber mallet) with much banging on metal. Good thing the next-door neighbor is hard of hearing! One more shelf to do, but I had Bible study and an AAPC meeting and other get-togethers to attend. Grocery shopping usually has to wait until things are desperate.

Oops! I'm out of time. Better go brush my teeth and hit the road...

Monday, October 19, 2009

Fighting the Taliban

Over the weekend Pakistan sent 30,000 troops against the Taliban in that country.

A successful operation is vital to Pakistan's stability. Over the past two weeks militants have launched a series of audacious attacks across the country, including the suicide bombing of a United Nations office in Islamabad, three simultaneous attacks on police sites in Lahore and, most brazenly, a 22-hour siege of the army headquarters in Rawalpindi last weekend. Authorities said that most incidents were orchestrated by Waziristan-based commanders.

But President Obama is happy to have the Taliban as part of Afghanistan's government. His beef is only with al Qaeda.

The sharpened focus by Obama's team on fighting al-Qaida above all other goals, while downgrading the emphasis on the Taliban, comes in the midst of an intensely debated administration review of the increasingly unpopular war.

Obama's developing strategy on the Taliban will "not tolerate their return to power," the senior official said in an interview with The Associated Press. But the U.S. would fight only to keep the Taliban from retaking control of Afghanistan's central government – something it is now far from being capable of – and from giving renewed sanctuary in Afghanistan to al-Qaida, the official said.


At least somebody in power understands the threat of the Taliban. Too bad that "somebody" isn't in Washington.

What Obama plans on doing, exactly, in its efforts to "not tolerate" the likely event that the Taliban would try to take power is beyond me. And probably beyond Obama too.

What a wussy!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

I Have a Shed

The young skinny guy who helped me break into my new house a few weeks ago came over and helped me put my shed together.

It was a two-man job. I put the shed next to the fence by the next-door neighbor's yard. At a couple points in the assembly process, I had to use her ladder in her back yard, so I could hold the parts at the back of the shed that needed holding. Our neighbor was really sweet, and she even left her garage door open for us, telling me to close the garage door when we were done.

I had no idea how long it took, just that it would have taken way too much longer if my helper hadn't brought his drill with the screwdriver bit. When I came in after straightening up, I was surprised that it was almost 11:30 pm. It didn't seem that late.

I'll have more updates, maybe even pictures, another time. I need to go to bed now.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bread Baking and Sweeping

I'm one of the people who take turns writing The Bread. It's a Christian devotional distributed by email that was started back in 1994 by a guy I used to work with. The Bakers, as we're called, write for a work week, and this week is my turn, though my deadline for finishing them all was the middle of last week.

I have a link over on the side to the archives for the Bread (in the Herding Group), but that hasn't been updated since early 2007, because I'm the one who was updating it, and I misplaced the new password from when Blogger made us switch to Google accounts. I came across the password again a couple weeks ago, when I was packing, and I set it aside, but it got put in a box somewhere, so it'll probably be a while before I find it again.

Normally, I don't use this blog for writing about Christian topics. The Bread is my outlet for that side of my life. But since I've been blogging about my move, and today's Bread has something to do with that, I'm posting it here. I hope it gives you a little different perspective on things.

***

Philippians 2:5 - 7 “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being.”

Isaiah 64:6 “We are all infected and impure with sin. When we display our righteous deeds, they are nothing but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall, and our sins sweep us away like the wind.”

I moved recently, and one of my tasks in getting the house ready for the new owners was cleaning out the shed. Once I got all my stuff out, it was time to sweep the cement floor.

After six years of living there, the shed had accumulated dirt and bugs and spider webs and empty spider egg sacs and snail poop. I took the big push broom inside, with the sun shining through the open shed door and started to sweep. But the broom only stirred up the filth as a foul dust that hung in the air, lit up by the sun. I couldn’t bear to breathe it, so I’d take a deep breath outside and hold it, step inside, sweep a little, then go back outside to breathe again while the dust settled.

And as I watched the dust, knowing I needed to go back inside, I realized just what our Lord had done. The Father sent His Son to dwell among us in a world more foul to Him than my shed was to me. And when I came to faith in Jesus, He sent the Holy Spirit to dwell in the filthy shed of my heart, working a little at a time to clear away the disgusting habits and rotten thoughts.

The difference is, though, that the Holy Spirit doesn’t leave when my heart is like filthy rags (or dirt). He stays. He works on improving me and making me more and more like Christ. And one day, when my time on earth is over He will set the broom aside and I will be gloriously clean because of the work that He has done in me.

When was the last time you thought about the totality of the sacrifice Jesus made when He came to dwell on earth to save you? May thanksgiving and praise to Him flow from our hearts and our lips because of what He has done for us!

Monday, October 05, 2009

October Calendar Photos

How could I have forgotten that it's a new month?

The family's calendar photo for October is from Glacier National Park, my favorite place on the face of the earth.


My patterns calendar has another of those pictures of stuff for sale that I love to take, this time season-appropriate pumpkins and gourds.

SNL on Obama's Accomplishments

It's finally OK to mock Obama. Saturday Night Live did it, so now you can too.

Here's the SNL skit that started it all:

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Calling Out the Marines

Since last weekend, when I moved and left all my furniture out on the patio, I've been trying to figure out how to get my furniture into my storage unit. The logical thing would be to rent another U-Haul and have the same helper as last week, but my kids each had something to do this weekend so they wouldn't be available to help.

I stopped at the Assisted Living place yesterday to see if my buddy there and his dad could help me with the furniture, but they weren't around when I was there.

Today at church, I asked the tall Marine who had helped me move my bed into my room at my friend's house. He has a big pickup truck. He was busy, though, getting his house ready to put on the market. But he suggested another Marine with a truck who I haven't met yet but who is good friends with the not-as-tall Marine in my Wednesday night Bible study. The three of them discussed who could help and what time I'd need them and how much furniture it was and whether it would all fit in two trucks for one trip to storage.

After church I stopped at the storage place to be sure my access code worked. It did. Then I measured the inside of my storage unit and decided where I needed each piece of furniture to go.

At 7:00 pm, all three of the Marines arrived in two trucks. I had cleared access space for them, to make the moving of furniture go more smoothly.

They were amazing. They picked up my six-foot-wide dressers (I have two) without even taking out the drawers, with just two of them carrying each one out to the trucks. It wasn't easy for them, but I was impressed that it was even possible without some sort of wheels.

We got everything loaded on the trucks and got to the storage place without many hitches. Just a stop at the first traffic light to tighten down the straps on one of the trucks.

My storage unit is upstairs, and they have an elevator, but it wasn't big enough to hold my dressers unless it stood on end. So these Marines pushed and lifted and got each dresser on the elevator and back off at the second floor.

They carried everything, taking turns with the tough lifting, while I directed the placement. We got it all done in a little over an hour, and there's plenty of room to maneuver when I bring boxes later to stack on top of the furniture. It felt good to finally have the furniture protected from the elements (we're expecting rain this week).

The guy in my Bible study asked me, as we were walking back to the empty trucks, when I expected to get my stuff out of storage. I told him I had leased the unit for a year, and he said, "Good. I'll be in Afghanistan then."

Friday, October 02, 2009

A Moving Experience

The last couple weeks I've spent almost every non-working waking hour trying to get completely moved out of my house before escrow closed. The hard part was figuring out what to do with all my stuff. What would I keep and what would I get rid of? Of the stuff I kept, what would go into storage and what would come to my new place? Of the stuff I didn't want to keep, what would I try to sell on Craigslist and... you get the picture.

One of the missions my church supports, Niños de Baja, needed washing machines (plural), so I offered them mine about a month ago, but we had trouble connecting. So I talked to one of the elders at church, who is also on the Board of Directors of Niños and is a friend, and he said it would be OK for me to leave it in the garage at church until they come later this month for a board meeting. But I hadn't taken the washer there yet.

I put the non-keep furniture on Craigslist and waited. Lots of people were interested in the computer desk, for which I was grateful, because it was too big for me to take to Goodwill if it didn't sell.


One lady said she wanted it, but she had to check with her boss (it was for a non-profit organization) about the price. She called me back the next day, and I agreed to what her boss was willing to pay. But I never heard back from her, even after I left messages.

By then, apparently, whatever was in the air shifted with the wind, and nobody was interested in the desk after that. When I posted the dryer (I had forgotten about it on the first round of posting things on Craigslist), I checked and saw that someone in my area was asking $50 for a similar dryer, so I priced mine at $45. Everybody and his dog wanted that dryer! I sold it to a guy who didn't even haggle. He just handed over the cash and we carried the dryer to his truck. Then I emailed all the other dryer responses to tell them that the dryer was no longer available.

One really cool Samoan lady came for my oak bookcases.


She couldn't fit the larger one in her minivan, so we loaded the small one in there, she paid me for both of them, and she asked what else I was selling. She and her husband had just returned to the States after spending 7 years on the mission field in Papua New Guinea, and they needed furniture for their house. I told her about the desk, but she didn't want it. I showed her the fake tree, and she said she'd take it too, but it would have to wait until she came back for the other bookcase.

She came back with her husband and teenage son the next night, and they had a U-Haul truck. They got the bookcase loaded, and she asked again what else I had. I told her about the couch (that's the fake tree in the far corner).


It was custom-built for a realtor-colleague of my then-husband's in the very late 1970s, and they had just built a new home where the couch didn't fit, so they sold it to us, and we'd had it ever since. I let my ex have it in the divorce, but a couple years later, when he was going to get rid of it, my son prevailed upon him to let my son have it, and I kept it for my son (he's as sentimental in some ways as his mom). Besides, it's a really great couch, if you can overlook the threadbareness of the fabric.

So she bought the couch and the tree, but she only had checks. No cash. Against my better judgement, I accepted the check. And then I let them take the two upholstered chairs that we'd had since 1982, just to get the things out of my house. No charge for the chairs. She really helped me get a lot of my big things cleared out.

Moving day was last Saturday. One of the guys from the Assisted Living place I worked at for about a month said he'd help me move if he could. But since it was the last weekend of the month, the only time I could reserve a truck for was a 3:00pm Saturday pick up time, and the guy had to work that evening. But his dad was visiting for the weekend from Tijuana, and he was available for hire, and I was desperate, so I agreed. The dad even had his own furniture dolly and appliance dolly, which worked out great. When I asked him what he charged, he said $10, and I told him that wasn't enough. I'd give him $20.

I had a plan: The furniture (and boxes) that would go to my new place should go on the truck first, then the stuff for the storage unit would go on next, with the washing machine for Niños last. I picked up the U-Haul truck (it had a picture of a horrid green spider on the sides - Eeeeewwww!), picked up the dad, drove to my house, and we got started.

By around 7:30 (after much toil and tribulation), the truck was loaded, and I called the elder so he could go to the church to open the front gates and the garage. We got the washer unloaded and into the garage, then I drove to the storage place.

At the security code punch thingy, I entered my secret code, and it said "Access Denied." Well, that couldn't be right. Maybe I entered it wrong, so I tried again, and again I was denied. After the third time I gave up. But I had a truck full of furniture and it was after office hours, and they wouldn't be back until Monday.

But my friend and new landlady had told me before she left for her cruise that I could put as many sheds out on the patio in the back yard as I wanted, because she never uses the patio. So I decided to take all the furniture to my new place and unload it onto the patio.

We carried everything through the house, and I covered up the furniture and cardboard boxes with sheets and comforters and blankets to protect it all from the dew that had begun to fall (where are the Santa Anas when you need them?). Then I paid my helper-dad more than I said I would, took him back to the Assisted Living place, dropped off the truck at the U-Haul place, and went to Denny's with my son.

Sunday afternoon I cleaned out the shed at the old house. It was creepy. That's where black widows live, and a couple years ago there seemed to be a nest of earwigs under the edge of the wall on the side where the shelves were. I never went in there unless I was desperate. But this time I had to get everything out and make it nice for the new owners. I would have preferred to be caned by the authorities in Singapore, but I didn't have a choice. And I had to do it in the afternoon when the sun shone through the open doors, so I could see what I was dealing with and stomp on any bugs that crawled out.

Some of my stuff was ruined, from sitting for 6 years on the cement where the water could get to it when it rained. Some of my other stuff, especially camping gear, I just didn't want anymore, and when a couple neighbors came by and asked if I was moving, I offered them that stuff (not the ruined stuff, which was in the trash). They took quite a bit off my hands. And I found several tarps from camping and painting, so I took them to my new place to be better covers for my furniture.

The worst part of clearing out the shed was when I had to sweep the floor. Six years of dirt and dead bugs and old spider egg-sac casings and snail poop (with several empty snail shells thrown in for good measure) all mixed together and swirled up in the air. I'd start by taking a deep breath outside the shed, go in with the broom, sweep a little, and then leave the shed and breathe. It made things go slowly, but I couldn't bear to have any of that foul dust in my lungs. And when I got it all done, I stood for a bit and admired the result. The new owners would be pleased.

But there was still a lot of stuff left to clear out, including the big computer desk, and then I had to clean.

Monday I told my new boss that I needed to take Tuesday off, without pay of course, since I'm too new at the job to have any paid time off yet. And I started calling the donation centers to see who wanted to pick up my desk and some other bigger stuff. Am-Vets said they couldn't come until late October. Not good for a September 30th closing date! Goodwill didn't want the desk, but they told me to try the Salvation Army. And when I talked to the Salvation Army, they said they could come Tuesday. I said, "There is a God in heaven, and He is good to me!" They told me to have all the stuff on the driveway, clearly marked for the Salvation Army. I asked if it would be OK to leave the desk in 3 pieces, or did we need to put it back together? She said to put it back together, because the drivers might think it's broken and leave it behind.

I called my daughter that night, and she came over to help me with the desk. We took off the hutch, which was easy enough. And then we fought with separating the return from the main desk part, because the pegs that held it together were at the wrong angle from each other to do it nicely in two pieces. After we fought with it for a while, we got it figured out, carried it to the driveway, and my daughter put it back together while my son (who had arrived) and I loaded things into the back of his SUV.

Tuesday morning I went to the escrow company to sign papers (they had mailed them to me to sign, but I had too many questions and couldn't do it all by myself), which turned out to be a good idea, since there were mistakes that needed fixing, so we got that done in time to not cause a problem for closing the sale.

Shortly after I got back to the house, the Salvation Army truck came, and they couldn't understand why the people on the phone would tell us to put the desk back together. We had to take it apart again. So I grabbed a sandwich bag for the hardware and started disassembling it. The guys took the hutch away, and then when they tried telling me to just unscrew here and there, I was able to explain from the previous frustration exactly what did and didn't need to be taken apart for it to work right. It came apart much MUCH faster than the first time, and they drove away with everything I wanted them to take.

Then I cleaned. Vacuumed, removed cobwebs from ceiling corners, scrubbed walls, hit the non-master slow-draining bathtub with Drano (it didn't help), and all the rest of the cleaning. My realtor (and friend) came to help me finish (she's an amazing packer), and my kids did too. We got it all done by 10:00 at night. I left a note with all the keys on it, including the keys that came with the house but that didn't fit any locks that I could ever find, and then went to my new place and unloaded the cars.

Escrow closed Wednesday. After Bible study at my friend and realtor's house, she had me sign one more piece of paper, from the buyer's walkthrough. It said, "The house is in great condition." I was happy to sign it.

I now have my money from the house sale. I also have a room full of boxes and a patio full of furniture and more boxes. Tomorrow in Sunday School I'll ask if anyone is dying to help move furniture in their truck to a storage unit. If I don't get any takers, I'll probably have to rent another U-Haul (smaller, without the spider picture on it) and get it done that way.

So that's the really long way of saying, I'm mostly back now.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Prof. Paul Rahe on Obama's Gestures

Power Line's Scott Johnson has this post today, quoting Professor Paul Rahe's assessment of President Obama, his gestures, and what those gestures say about him. Johnson's post is too powerful for me to be able to use excerpts and have it translate well. This is the whole thing:

Hillsdale College Professor Paul Rahe writes to comment on the Obama administration's announced abandoment last week of the so-called Third Site of missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic. Claremont Institute President Brian Kennedy addressed the subject in the Wall Street Journal Asia column "Obama's strategic confusion." Kennedy writes: "The cancellation of the Third Site demonstrates the Obama administration's complete confusion over strategic defense." Professor Rahe argues that it also suggests Obama's peculiar animus against friends of the United States, if not the United States itself:

In the Week in Review section of this past Sunday's New York Times, Robert Gates argues that the plan announced last Thursday by President Obama for shifting American policy regarding the defense of Europe against nuclear missile attacks will leave Europe in general and Eastern Europe in particular safer. I do not doubt that he believes what he says.

I do not, however, find this consoling. Back in June, in two separate posts on Power Line -- here and here -- I drew attention to our current president's propensity for communicating different messages to different audiences by means of gestures of one kind or another. Here is what I then wrote:
Barack Obama has a history of belittling his adversaries in just such a fashion. In April, 2008, he was caught on tape during a debate with Hillary Clinton, rubbing his hand across the right side of his face and extending his middle finger in an obscene gesture that many in the audience could see it but she could not, and when this provoked laughter on the part of his supporters he responded with a knowing smile. Later, after accepting his party's nomination, he did precisely the same thing during a debate with John McCain; and, after Sarah Palin remarked at the Republican National Convention that the only difference between a pit bull and a soccer mom was lipstick, he observed at a rally that a pig with lipstick is still a pig. Again, many in the audience caught the dig and they, too, were rewarded with a knowing smile.

Obama is, in fact, a master of the insulting gesture. There is no other construction that one can put on his conduct towards Gordon Brown when the British prime minister paid him a visit shortly after his inauguration. First, in an ostentatious manner, he returned to the British embassy a bust of Winston Churchill that had been loaned to his predecessor. Then, when Brown presented him with a pen made from timber used in a British ship once involved in putting down the slave trade, he gave him in return a stack of movies on DVD which could not be played on machines sold in Europe.

Were Obama a yokel, one might be able to explain this away. But a yokel he is not, and there are State Department protocol officers who are highly sensitive to the proprieties. It is no accident that, at about the same time, the White House press secretary intimated in the presence of members of the British press that there was no special relationship between the United States and Great Britain. Obama's gesture was a calculated insult -- meant to be understood only by those to whom it was directed.

If we are to comprehend what is going on, we must pay close attention not only to what Obama says but to what he conveys in other ways. His tone is nearly always moderate but what he hints at and what he intimates by way of body language often convey the opposite Witness his warm embrace of Hugo Chavez. Behind the thin veneer of politeness, there is, I suspect, something ugly lurking. In the first of the autobiographies that he claims to have written, Barack Obama frequently speaks of himself as being in the grips of rage. We would do well to take him at his word. If we are to stop him from doing great damage to this country and to our friends and allies, we must take every opportunity that comes our way to unmask the man.
We now know -- thanks to events in the Honduras -- the meaning of Obama's gesture with respect to the Venezuelan dictator, and I would suggest that we must regard in a similar light the timing of Obama's announcement of his administration's shift in policy regarding missile-defense in Europe. For it can hardly be an accident that he chose the seventieth anniversary of the Soviet Union's invasion of Poland as the occasion.

We must keep in mind the fact that Obama is not a yokel and that the State Department is there to prevent an ill-informed president from unnecessarily stepping on toes. What happened last Thursday was a deliberate gesture. It was aimed at our allies in eastern Europe and at Russia , and it was recognized as such in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Russia. Vladimir Putin spoke of Obama's decision as a courageous act. Our friends in eastern Europe would not have used that adjective. A signal has been given, and they know the meaning.

We are living in a dangerous time. It seems highly unlikely that Barack Obama will get his way in domestic affairs. The Democrats may control Congress, but they now fear a rout in 2010, and they are likely to tread with caution from now on. In foreign affairs, however, presidents have a relatively free hand, and this president has ample time to do damage to a country that, there is reason to suspect, he deeply hates.
Paul A. Rahe holds the Charles O. Lee and Louise K. Lee Chair in the Western Heritage at Hillsdale College. He is the author, most recently, of Montesquieu and the Logic of Liberty: War, Religion, Commerce, Climate, Terrain, Technology, Uneasiness of Mind, the Spirit of Political Vigilance, and the Foundations of the Modern Republic, published today, and of Soft Despotism, Democracy's Drift: Montesquieu, Rousseau, Tocqueville, and the Modern Prospect.


Unfortunately, I have to agree with Prof. Rahe's conclusions about our President. Let's hope Obama's policies can be thwarted well enough that he doesn't cause any lasting harm to our country.

Honduran President on Strengthening their Democracy

The press hasn't been covering Honduras very well, so I salute the Washington Post for publishing Honduran President Roberto Micheletti's column today about his country. It's excellent and, if you're a supporter of liberty, well worth reading, so I'm providing it to you in its entirety. Here goes:

My country is in an unusual position this week. Former president Manuel Zelaya has surreptitiously returned to Honduras, still claiming to be the country's legitimate leader, despite the fact that a constitutional succession took place on June 28. Amid all of the claims that are likely to be made in coming days, the former president will not mention that the people of Honduras have moved on since the events of that day or that our citizens are looking forward to free, fair and transparent elections on Nov. 29.

The international community has wrongfully condemned the events of June 28 and mistakenly labeled our country as undemocratic. I must respectfully disagree. As the true story slowly emerges, there is a growing sense that what happened in Honduras that day was not without merit. On June 28, the Honduran Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant for Zelaya for his blatant violations of our constitution, which marked the end of his presidency. To this day, an overwhelming majority of Hondurans support the actions that ensured the respect of the rule of law in our country.

Underlying all the rhetoric about a military overthrow are facts. Simply put, coups do not leave civilians in control over the armed forces, as is the case in Honduras today. Neither do they allow the independent functioning of democratic institutions -- the courts, the attorney general's office, the electoral tribunal. Nor do they maintain a respect for the separation of powers. In Honduras, the judicial, legislative and executive branches are all fully functioning and led by civilian authorities.

Coups do not allow freedom of assembly, either. They do not guarantee freedom of the press, much less a respect for human rights. In Honduras, these freedoms remain intact and vibrant. And on Nov. 29 our country plans to hold the ultimate civic exercise of any democracy: a free and open presidential election.

Although much of the international community disagrees with our past actions, we can all agree on the necessity of ensuring Honduras's full commitment to the electoral process. Our citizens believe that the upcoming presidential election is the best way to guarantee peace and democracy. While the election will take place in little more than 60 days, the electoral process has been underway for some time. The election is being convened by an autonomous body, the Supreme Electoral Tribunal, whose magistrates were selected by Congress in early 2009 and ratified by then-President Zelaya. The autonomous body began the electoral process with presidential primary elections -- which were supervised by the Organization of American States -- in 2008 also during Zelaya's tenure. The upcoming election will include Honduras's first independent presidential candidate -- a rarity in all of Latin America.

The winner of the November election will take office as president of Honduras in January 2010. At that moment my transitional administration will cease, and the newly sworn-in president will hold all the authority vested to him by our country's constitution.

Our whole country -- whether members of political parties, youths, students or members of civil society, government, parental organizations or private businesses -- is committed to guaranteeing transparent elections. Voter turnout will be a constitutional expression of self-determination and a demonstration of national sovereignty. The Supreme Electoral Tribunal has invited independent observers from around the globe to observe our voting process. Our country is open to the world. All organizations -- churches, universities, think tanks, nongovernmental organizations -- that wish to witness firsthand this great exercise of self-determination and democracy are welcome.

We are, of course, disappointed with the position of the United States and the European Union, both longtime friends. We look forward to continuing dialogue with the United States, the European Union and the rest of the international community to prove our commitment to democracy and the Honduran people's love of freedom. Coercive action directed at our nation will only harm less fortunate Hondurans, whose hospitals, schools, roads and other institutions rely greatly on our friends' generous assistance, for which all of our citizens are immensely grateful.

I have said from the moment I was sworn in as president of Honduras that I do not intend to remain in office one second more than what our constitution mandates. On Jan. 27 I will hand over leadership responsibilities to the ninth president of our 27-year-old democracy. Such actions are in keeping with the desire of the majority of our people: the strengthening of our democracy.


Only 27 years old. Long may they enjoy their freedom!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Quote of the Day

“I remember seeing a bumper sticker when I was in college in the ’60s that said, ‘The majority is not silent – the government is deaf.’ Well, that could not be more true today.”

-- Unnamed Democratic strategist, from Pittsburgh Trib-Review article today (via RealClearPolitics).

Friday, September 18, 2009

Are You A Racist?

Are you a racist? How can you really be sure? You think you're not, but then Jimmy Carter or Nancy Pelosi or some other racist-detecting Democrats say they just know the truth about you, and you start to doubt yourself. Maybe they know something you don't know...

Well, now you can check to be sure. Just follow this easy flowchart to learn the truth (click to enlarge).


Developed by Missourah.com (HT: Power Line).

Priceless!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Obama Screws Poland on 70th Anniversary


Today is the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Poland by the Nazi and Soviet armies. And this is the day President Obama chose to announce the cancellation of the missile defense shield that was due to be placed in Poland.

The Obama administration will scrap the controversial missile defense shield program in Eastern Europe, a senior administration official confirmed to CNN Thursday.

Vice President Joe Biden earlier refused to confirm to CNN that the George W. Bush-era plan was being shelved.

But he did explain the logic of doing so, saying Iran -- a key concern for the United States -- was not a threat.

"I think we are fully capable and secure dealing with any present or future potential Iranian threat," he told CNN's Chris Lawrence in Baghdad, where he is on a brief trip.

"The whole purpose of this exercise we are undertaking is to diminish the prospect of the Iranians destabilizing that region in the world. I am less concerned -- much less concerned -- about the Iranian potential. They have no potential at this moment, they have no capacity to launch a missile at the United States of America," he said.

Biden said he is "deeply" involved in the review of the missile defense program.


Oh, that's comforting! Joe Biden vouches for Iran's intentions and capabilities. And he's never been wrong before.

More from CNN:

The Bush administration had cited the perceived nuclear threat from Iran as one of the key reasons it wanted to install the missile shield in eastern Europe.

The U.S. reversal is likely to please Russia, which had fiercely opposed the plans.


Yes, I bet it will! Dictator-for-life-in-the-making Vladimir Putin now has an open door to recreating the glory days of the Soviet Union and its Iron Curtain satellite states.

A U.S. delegation held high-level meetings Thursday in both Poland and the Czech Republic to discuss the missile defense system. While the outcome of the meetings wasn't clear, officials in both countries confirmed the system would be scrapped.

Czech Prime minister Jan Fischer said in a statement that U.S. President Barack Obama told him in a Wednesday phone call that the United States was shelving its plans. Fischer did not say what reason Obama gave him for reconsidering.

A spokeswoman at the Polish Ministry of Defense also said the program had been suspended.

"This is catastrophic for Poland," said the spokeswoman, who declined to be named in line with ministry policy.


So the tone-deaf, stone-hearted Barack Obama announced a catastrophe for Poland, one of our few loyal allies in the battle against evil in the world, on the 70th anniversary of its own catastrophic Day of Infamy. Who knows when or where the next slap in the face of liberty will take place? But rest assured, there will be more to come.

The only possible consolation to this is (as one Michelle Malkin commenter suggested) that it could cause Europe to finally have to start paying for its own defense, instead of relying on us. Heaven knows (and hopefully Europe is figuring it out too) Obama has made America completely unreliable for anything except support for terrorists and dictators.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Obama Revokes Honduran President's Visa (Updated)

Reuters reported today that the Obama administration has revoked the visa of Honduran President Micheletti.

Honduran de facto ruler Roberto Micheletti said on Saturday the United States has revoked his visa to pressure him to step down and reinstate exiled President Manuel Zelaya, who was ousted in a June military coup.

Micheletti, however, was defiant of the latest move by Washington, which said earlier this month it was cutting more than $30 million in aid to the poor Central American country.

"We will not back down. Dignity does not have a price in our country," Micheletti told Honduran radio.


You may not have been following the events in Honduras, because heaven knows plenty of other things have been happening a lot closer to home. But Obama's response to Honduras is the cherry on top of the whipped cream on top of the icing on the cake of his unending preference for socialist dictators over the rule of constitutional law.

As for what Reuters (not to mention the Obama administration) calls "a June military coup," this couldn't be further from the truth. Dennis Prager's summary at the time is priceless:

Even if you know little or nothing about the crisis in Honduras, nearly all you need to know in order to ascertain which side is morally right is this: Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega, Cuba's Castro brothers, the United Nations, and the Organization of American States are all lined up against Honduras.

And what troubles these good people? They claim that there was a military coup in Honduras that renders the present government illegal.

Here's how, back in July, Honduran-born Miguel Estrada described the complete legality of those events:

Something clearly has gone awry with the rule of law in Honduras -- but it is not necessarily what you think. Begin with Zelaya's arrest. The Supreme Court of Honduras, as it turns out, had ordered the military to arrest Zelaya two days earlier. A second order (issued on the same day) authorized the military to enter Zelaya's home to execute the arrest. These orders were issued at the urgent request of the country's attorney general. All the relevant legal documents can be accessed (in Spanish) on the Supreme Court's website. They make for interesting reading.

What you'll learn is that the Honduran Constitution may be amended in any way except three. No amendment can ever change (1) the country's borders, (2) the rules that limit a president to a single four-year term and (3) the requirement that presidential administrations must "succeed one another" in a "republican form of government."

In addition, Article 239 specifically states that any president who so much as proposes the permissibility of reelection "shall cease forthwith" in his duties, and Article 4 provides that any "infraction" of the succession rules constitutes treason. The rules are so tight because these are terribly serious issues for Honduras, which lived under decades of military rule.

As noted, Article 239 states clearly that one who behaves as Zelaya did in attempting to change presidential succession ceases immediately to be president. If there were any doubt on that score, the Congress removed it by convening immediately after Zelaya's arrest, condemning his illegal conduct and overwhelmingly voting (122 to 6) to remove him from office. The Congress is led by Zelaya's own Liberal Party (although it is true that Zelaya and his party have grown apart as he has moved left). Because Zelaya's vice president had earlier quit to run in the November elections, the next person in the line of succession was Micheletti, the Liberal leader of Congress. He was named to complete the remaining months of Zelaya's term.


So, the Honduran Supreme Court and military and Congress followed their constitution, ousted an illegal president whose very actions nullified his presidency, installed the next in line as president, and Obama can't see the legality of it all.

Indeed, Obama is pressuring Honduras to restore Zelaya to the presidency, and he's gone so far as to impose sanctions, as reported by the Voice of America on August 27, 2009:

The United States says it is cutting a broad range of economic aid to Honduras, over the June 28 ouster of President Manuel Zelaya. The State Department's announcement on Thursday came as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with the deposed Honduran leader in Washington.

The decision came a day after President Manuel Zelaya urged U.S. leaders to take tougher actions in condemning his removal from power more than two months ago.

Thursday, the State Department made permanent a suspension of some $30 million in aid imposed after Mr. Zelaya was deposed. In a statement, the State Department said the decision was made in recognition of the de facto regime's failure to restore democratic, constitutional rule to Honduras.


President Obama is either willfully stupid (which I don't believe), or he's a fascist-lover hoping the lack of MSM coverage will allow him to install one more socialist dictator-for-life in South America. Either way, Obama has no respect for the constitution, not the Honduran constitution and not ours.

Don't back down, President Micheletti!

Update (09/13/2009):

I left out a point, one that is probably the worst. From the Voice of America article:

Officials say the U.S. will not recognize the outcome of presidential elections scheduled for November, under current conditions.

Let's pretend, if you will, that it's June of 2008 here in America. A case claiming Bush stole the 2000 election gets to the Supreme Court, which declares that, indeed the election was stolen and both Bush and Cheney must be removed from office. Congress then passes a law requiring the military to ensure the removal of the President and VP from office and the installation of Nancy Pelosi (as next in line) as our new President. All according to the Constitution (assuming a couple details are found in the "penumbra" of the Constitution).

Meanwhile, in Pretend Land, the November elections are proceeding, with McCain and Hillary and Obama in heavy campaign mode. But because the UN and the UK and China are calling it a "military coup," they say they won't recognize our November election unless Pelosi is removed and Bush and Cheney are reinstalled as President and VP. As though who is living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave has any bearing on the coming presidential election.

That's what Obama is doing by refusing to recognize the election in Honduras this November. All the candidates were busy campaigning (and the Honduran VP had already resigned in order to run for President) well before Zelaya's removal. The two events are NOT related. But the US will be the last ones, standing alone, against the lawful workings of a constitutional republic.

Read here about our standing alone against Honduras.

President Obama can't seem to get anything right.

Dizzy Dame

Today I go back to the health clinic where I'll be starting my new job in just over a week. I had my pre-employment health check-up and drug test Thursday, and today they'll need to read my TB test to make sure I'm not a pandemic-in-the-making.

I had to get a health check-up and TB test for my assisted-living job too, but the health screening was much more cursory there than at the clinic. At the assisted-living place, the nurse checked my blood pressure, pulse, and breathing, and she asked me if my back was OK to lift heavy things. She seemed not to believe me about the lifting, but I passed my physical and got the job.

At the health clinic, they checked the same vital signs, plus my hearing, which was excellent (they must not have tested for that frequency that my high-pitched tinnitus rings at), and also my vision, which was excellent, too, because they didn't make me read anything up close.

Now, my most-of-the-time normal blood pressure is around 110/70. Perfect for making the doctors smile in approval. The last couple times I've been to the doctor on official medical business, as opposed to employment business, my BP has been dreadfully ordinary at 120/80. I found that annoying.

The employment screenings, though, have been low. At the assisted-living place, I was at 100/60 for the first time I can remember. And then Thursday, my systolic reading dropped down into double digits (99/64), which left me alarmed rather than annoyed. It certainly explained the last few days when I've gotten dizzy from standing up after leaning over, but my goodness! Ninety-nine? There's something wrong with that.

I'd heard from one of my doctors (plural, because the medical group I've gone to seems to be the stepping stone doctors use before they move on to another more luctrative practice elsewhere) many years ago that there could be some health effects from having sustained low blood pressure. So last night I went online and looked up "low blood pressure" to see if my 99 was a cause for concern.

Low BP is often associated with bradycardia (Hmm... Better check my pulse: 60. Not good, considering I don't exercise, so the low heart rate isn't from being in shape, but it's one beat above the official definition of bradycardia, so that's sort of a relief. Too bad my friend the cardiac nurse is off on a cruise, where I can't grill her for answers and reassurance). Most of the ill effects of low BP are to the brain, heart, kidneys and other essentials, caused by not enough oxygen getting there. I'd have noticed angina, poor kidney function, and exhaustion if this were happening.

Another cause is a systemic infection, but I don't have that either. Or heart murmurs or electrocardial issues.

So that leaves me with one of three possible reasons: low thyroid (possible, but I'm usually at the low end of normal and not abnormally low), stress (uh, big yes to that one), or I'm just one of those people whose BP is low without causing any health problems (there was one lady who commented on the low BP website whose normal BP is around 55/45! She makes me feel downright powerful).

I guess I don't need to be alarmed, then. But I did look for their advice on how to increase my blood pressure. I could eat more salt, except even the suggestion sounded like medical blasphemy. Or I could consume more caffeine.

I like that last one, and it makes sense since our latest heat wave has made me drink less tea and more water. So I'll be having more tea again and checking to see if this dizzy dame can cast aside her woozy ways in the process.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Breaking In

Adventures are never much fun when you're going through them.

After work at the assisted living place, I went home and gathered up many of my belongings. I cleaned out my dresser, stuffing each drawer into a plastic grocery bag or two and discarding the excess T-shirts into the Donation pile. Then I put my boxed food items into paper grocery bags and put the essential refrigerator foods into a cooler. I loaded it all into my car and topped everything with some more closet clothes.

At my friend's house (my new home), I started unloading the car. First stop was to shut off the alarm. I put my purse in my room and started bringing things into the house, leaving the front door open and my car doors open too.

But when I had the cooler and my computer speakers in my hands, I reached for the security screen door, and it was locked. Tight!

My keys and my cell phone were in the house, so I couldn't call anyone, and I couldn't drive anywhere (though I don't know where I would have gone, except by that time I was thinking about how I was going to get to work in the morning without my keys).

My friend's house is a duplex in a senior community, so I knocked on her roofmate's door, but nobody responded. Across the street a light was on in someone's garage. I rang the doorbell, and a really wasted-looking woman came to the door. She led me to the garage, where she and her friends were hanging out. They smelled more strongly of beer than of the cigarettes they were smoking.

Beggars can't be choosers, so I asked for their help. They lent me their cell phone and a phone book, and I looked up the couple I thought was most likely to have my friend's spare key. They didn't. But they had my friend's cell phone number, so I called her, hoping she could tell me who I should call for a spare key. Her phone went right to voicemail.

I looked for her son in the phone book under multiple possible spellings and couldn't find it, so I called back the other friends again to see if they had the son's phone number, but they didn't.

I had no more leads. It left me with only one option: We had to break in. Rather, the guys would have to break in.

There was an older (in his 50s) big guy and a younger (in his 20s) skinny guy, and they scouted the house for weaknesses. The gate had a lock on it, and the big guy hesitated about climbing over, for fear of disturbing the neighbor whose yard he'd have to bother. But the wasted lady said the neighbor had recently passed away, so nobody was there.

The big guy jumped the fence and then reported back about the same time the skinny guy saw a neighbor lady in her driveway and went to her to see if she had a key. She didn't, but the big guy said that if he had a wire coat-hanger, he could break in through the slider door. The neighbor lady said she had one in her car, so she got it and donated it to the cause.

The skinny guy got the door to the back of the garage open and tried the door from the garage to the kitchen, but it was bolted. So all our hopes were on the coat-hanger and the big guy (with some help from the skinny guy).

The skinny guy held a crowbar between the two doors to allow room for the coat-hanger to get in, and the big guy twisted and pulled on the coat-hanger in an effort to get it below the fat dowel that was wedged against the slider door. It took several minutes, but he finally hooked the dowel and gave it a good yank, knocking it onto the floor.

Next was the shorter dowel that lay on the slider track. The big guy straightened out the hook and worked at the end of the dowel until he moved the end away from the door. Then the slider slid open, and we were good to go!

I thanked the two guys and went inside. Then I grabbed my keys from my purse and put them in my pocket and proceeded to bring the rest of my stuff into the house without further mishap.

Once I had finished, I set the alarm for the night, because now I know how easy it is to break into a house.

Saturday, September 05, 2009

UN Honors Castro

The Latin American Herald Tribune reported today (HT: Michelle Malkin) that the UN General Assembly honored three "Heroes."

The president of the United Nations General Assembly, Rev. Miguel D’Escoto Brockmann, on Saturday declared Bolivian President Evo Morales as “World Hero of Mother Earth” in a ceremony at the presidential palace in this capital.

With a medal and a parchment scroll, the General Assembly of the United Nations Organization named Morales “the maximum exponent and paradigm of love for Mother Earth” in the resolution for his decoration that was read during the ceremony.

The document added that the decision was taken “after extensive consultation” among representatives of the General Assembly’s member countries.

Besides Morales, the former Cuban head of state Fidel Castro has been named “World Hero of Solidarity” and the late ex-president of Tanzania, Julius Nyerere, will be honored as “World Hero of Social Justice.”

“What we want to do is present these three people to the world and say that they embody virtues and values worth emulation by all of us,” said D’Escoto, who like the socialist Morales is a staunch critic of U.S. foreign policy in Latin America.

Your tax dollars at work funding the UN so it can honor dictator-for-life Fidel Castro as a World Hero.

Kick the UN out of the US and let World Hero Castro host that useless waste of space and hot air in Havana instead. The dictator-loving UN ambassadors deserve nothing less.

Oh wait. President Obama loves dictators too. Never mind, then. I guess the UN can stay here in America, where World Hero In His Own Mind Obama welomes dictators with open arms, deep bows, and a kiss.

Sigh!