Thursday, June 30, 2005


A few reasons to listen to NPR

I often listen to NPR in the morning and the evening while making breakfast and dinner to have some news and information that is above the level the kids and I work at most of the day and to be able to talk with people I meet at the park or pool. I sometimes wonder why I bother, Dr. Dan Gottlieb and Voices in the Family generally gets my blood in a boil and the general liberal slant to most news stories can get my right of center hackles up. I guess in part it is sort of a know how the other half thinks so you can have better conversations thing for me. But there are also often interesting science and cultural news that you don't get most other places. I especially like Studio 360 (enough that I will even get up at 7 on a Saturday most weeks and sit with my coffee and some paper work and listen to it before I start my day).

Anyway tonight on All Things Considered there were a couple of fun items that made it worth the listen with out making my maternal blood boil or my conservative hackles rise.

1) They put sleep deprivation and sacrifice for your child during the first month of life into a new perspective. It could be worse I could have been an Orca whale, instead of just feeling like one.
It seems that the Orca new born, as well as other sea mammals like dolphins, have to keep moving to keep warm and avoid predators until they gain enough size and body fat they can't stop moving in order to sleep. If they did they might either freeze or become a snack so the mom keeps moving too, for a whole month neither really sleeps.

2) I learned something about how bacteria cultures are grown and a new innovation for being able to control and study them more effectively. I found myself wondering if this is the kind of thing my friend Steve does in the new research lab he is setting up and if this is a cutting edge technology he might be able to use, and if so if I might be able to see it in action some day.

3) I found out that our friend Peter Liethart is not the only reason to go to Moscow, Idaho some day. At least if I decide to retire in an RV.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005


Rise and Shine

At 3:45 the phone rang. With all that has been going on in my family lately I should have been freaked out but it had barely registered before Paul had picked it up. While it was my dad on the phone it was not bad news. Just my dad calling to wish Paul a good trip and pray with him before he left. This is vintage my dad and I guess it means he is recovering very well thank you. So you see even scary middle of the night phone calls in the middle of the night can be good news!

Paul left this morning at about 4:30 to drive with a friend to a game convention in Ohio. Though I sometimes struggle with his gaming and the time, priority etc. that it can take I also realize it is a part of him that I like and that makes him who he is. Other men go off to fish, hunt, bowl, play poker or watch and attend lots of sports games. None of those are Paul's thing and this is. I pray that he will have a safe trip and will enjoy himself and come back refreshed by spending time doing something that he enjoys and that feeds his creative nature.

Yes, I got up and made breakfast and packed lunch and snacks for the trip. The kids didn't wake up when he kissed them goodbye so I was able to go back to bed and get some more sleep. At least until about 7 or so when Vickie and Andrew joined me. I was able to eke out an extra half hour while Vickie read to Andrew.

I think we are going to be crazy and venture downtown on the trolly to go to a Welcome America event at the Fireman's Hall Museum where you can meet firefighters and they will read stories about firefighting to kids. Then lunch at the mall and maybe pickup a book or movie to entertain us if the forecast intermittent rain and thunderstorms keep us from the pool while Paul is gone.

Sunday, June 26, 2005


You Go Girl

A friend of mine, Nancy French, from church and bible study writes occasional columns for a free weekly paper here in Philadelphia. She is unabashed in her writing about being a transplanted southerner, Christian and conservative. She has tackled lots of topics including homosexuality, liberal media bias etc. She often gets a lot of nasty response mail. This week's column is about modesty and I think it is right on, but I bet she still gets lots of heat for it.
She mostly takes on how it effects women. But, we live near the University of Pennsylvania and since coeds are some of the worst offenders, walking to and from work can be like running a modesty gauntlet for my husband who's office is on the other side of campus. He has been threatening to buy a cut off Tshirt and print "It doesn't look any better on you" and wear it home some day just to try and get women to realize that bare bellies, low jeans, and over exposed cleavage is not as positive a look as they may think. At least I was able to find one piece swimsuits for my 6 year old, don't know how long that will remain possible though.


Old hymns made new

For a few years in my life I listened to and bought some popular Christian Music, largely things like Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Stryper, Keith Green and largely because friends of mine were exposing me to it. Some of it was good and inspiring and had ok theology in the lyrics and some was probably less so though I doubt any of it was too bad. But I haven't really listened to much of it for over 10 years and have not kept up with the contemporary Christian music scene.
But in a recent issue World Magazine did an article on the group Jars of Clay and their new album, Redemption Songs, which "has reached into the past to produce a worship album that infuses the modern sound of bluegrass, blues, and soul with the poetic and theologically deep lyrics of 17th-, 18th-, and 19th-century hymns." I listened to some of the cuts on their website and like it and hope to order it soon (I didn't find it on my errands this weekend).


Buena Pelicula

Last night after having to go buy a new VCR since ours died and most of the stuff the kids watch is on Video, shopping for other stuff (shoes, groceries, Sunday pants for Andrew etc.) at 5 different stores, loosing Andrew's favorite stuffed dino snuggly, (though I am still holding out hope it will be "lost and found" at one of the stores and by some miracle he hasn't realized yet it is missing), taking the kids to the pool where Paul "showed off" his diving "skills" and played some hoops with the kids, not to mention making meals and snacks (though Paul did make and grill the Asian wings for dinner). [See I had to prove that sometimes I'm almost as busy as Trish :-)], Paul and I sat down to watch a movie we had rented earlier in the week.

The movie was Spanglish. I had heard good things about it and after having seen it I have to say I really recommend it and would like to see it again myself. With the exception of one scene of marital intimacy(in which both parties are fairly well covered and which is done in the interests of character development not just for titillation) it is a fairly clean movie and it has little to no offensive language.
Many of the main characters are somewhat disfunctional and sinners but that is part of the point and they are dealt with in a realistic way and not just played for laughs or as stereotypes. The white mom in the movie sort of makes all the evil step moms of fairytale fame look good by comparison, she is just so skanky and self serving. We frequently paused the video to laugh but it also examined and made you think about things like, marriage, infidelity, class and culture differences, mother/daughter relationships, success, love, kindness, how you handle adversity and what is really important in life.
It is hard to say what role religion/faith plays in this film, it is certainly not an overt one. There is no point of it made positive or negative and no one seems to go to church, yet a couple of characters do pray, briefly and arguably not in fully appropriate ways, but those prayers do seem to be answered in some ways.
Anyway, I would recommend it and would love to know what others who have seen it think.

Friday, June 03, 2005


Over the River and Through the Woods.....

We didn't get to see any grandmothers but we did spend our long holiday weekend literally going over the river and through the woods. To visit family and spend time together as a family.

On Memorial Day we went over the river (Schuylkill and Delaware) to visit with my husband's family. We were at the home of his Brother and Sister in law in south Jersey. His sister and brother in law came down from north Jersey so the whole gang was there. The adults were outnumbered by the kids 6 to 10. It was really a fun day of getting caught up with each other, playing games and just hanging out. The back of the property has a pond and some woods so that was our first woods outing. The kids loved seeing lots of huge frogs in the pond.

Then on Tuesday (Paul's birthday) he took the day off and we took the kids to Ridley Creek State Park, a favorite family destination for some hiking and a picnic lunch. The kids had a blast and one of the funest parts is watching Paul share a place he used to enjoy with his parents with his own kids. If I figure out how to post pictures I will share some.

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