Wednesday, June 30, 2004

This Is How It's Done

Our local news stations have been covering the story of Corporal Wassef Hassoun, the Marine who is being held hostage. (Here is the latest story.) This story is getting national coverage, but I have to say I'm extremely proud of how our local media have been covering the story. While I was in Club Med the hospital I got to watch the local coverage without having to stop and fill water bottles for kids who are supposed to be asleep, and I was very impressed. They called the Marine a Utahn, an American, and showed clips of his friends praying for him at his family's mosque, but they never once said that he was a Muslim.

Now some people might think that's not good journalism or that the local news was trying to be politically correct. But if you think about it, it's not really pertinent information, is it? He's a Marine serving his country. If the allegations of desertion are true, and if his religion turns out to have been a factor in that, then that information will be relevant. But unless that turns out to be the case, to us he should be first and foremost our American brother.

Other People's Kids...

This evening, as I was finishing up feeding Bagel, my doorbell rang repeatedly. Dingdingdingdingding!!! By the time they finished ringing it, I had put down the baby and gotten up to the door, just in time to see the kid run away. The perpetrators turned out to be two preteens. I stopped them and asked them what this was all about, and they told me they were selling subscriptions to the newspaper. I got their names, told them what they had done was extremely rude, and that if they were one of my kids they'd have been smacked for behavior like that. I asked them if they thought that ringing my doorbell and running away would make me want to buy their newspaper. Then I told them there was a three-day-old baby trying to sleep in that house, and that it hurts me to get up and answer the door in my condition. (OK, I was exaggerating a bit for effect, but a new mother might be in that much pain, and I wanted to make sure they knew how much it could have been.) And I made sure they knew that tomorrow morning there would be a formal complaint about them on the desk of somebody over at the newspaper's circulation office.

I'm both proud and scared that my four-year-old son has more sense than these twirps. Sonshine only rings once, then waits patiently.

UPDATE: The next morning we found one of the newspapers the boys had been selling, with the word "SORRY!" printed on it. Maybe they're not such bad seeds after all.

Last Weekend At The Market

I just realized I didn't get around to posting my weekly Gardeners' Market report (I was just a little busy this weekend...) We grossed $61 and Little D acquitted himself admirably. In fact I may ask Little D back for those days when M is on vacation.

This weekend is 4th of July weekend, so I'm hoping it'll be as big a success as Memorial Day. In addition to the usual holiday traffic, there is a parade coming right by our location. This weekend there is also a three-day antique-car rally, and I imagine there will be lots of people who will be bored with their spouses' drooling over other people's cars, and looking for something to do.

Tuesday, June 29, 2004

While At Club Bed...

While I was at Club Med the hospital it was great. I got to sit in bed all day and watch cable TV, something we don't have at home. I had it tuned to the History Channel most of the time, and I got to watch gory murder-mystery stuff that I don't get to watch around the kids. Unfortunately, the hospital didn't have Fox News channel, they only had CNN and MSNBC.

I had heard rumors around the blogosphere that CNN forgot to drink its V-8 and was leaning to the left, but I didn't realize just how much until I got to watch it for a while. Interviews with conservatives included "have you stopped beating your wife yet" type questions. I must say that if you get your news from CNN, you're getting more than your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin L.

Free Bagel!

Bagel moved out of his studio apartment on Sunday at 10:59 a.m.

After having been so miserable for the last several weeks, I am actually quite well now by comparison. And Bagel is doing fine. He's got a bit of jaundice now, but we're home from the hospital so we can set him out in the sun for a few minutes at a time without the Safety Police clucking at us.

Gory birth details follow, so the uninterested or the squeamish can skip to the next post.

I started having contractions about 5:30 in the morning. They were exactly as painful as the ones I'd been having for the last several days so I didn't think anything of them except "Great, MORE of these damn false labor contractions." They started hitting every 10 minutes. I was in a lot of pain but I figured if I was going to be in pain anyway, I might as well get something done, so I started a load of laundry, took out the trash, and made a few items for sale. After a few hours of this, they started getting really painful. I was banging my head against the wall. But I'd already called the hospital and they said I had to wait until they were regularly 3-5 minutes apart. They NEVER were 3-5 minutes apart. In fact they stopped being regular. They were 4 minutes, 10 minutes, 7 minutes, etc. and they hurt so bad that I thought I'd go to the hospital and see if they could give me anything to stop the contractions or alleviate the pain.

If we'd left any later, I'd have had that baby in the car.

I got to the hospital and put on my gown, and my water broke as I was giving them a urine sample. And the contractions immediately went to one-right-after-the-other, with me screaming for drugs. By the time they got around to checking me, they said I'd dilated to a 5 and even though I hadn't yet filled out my paperwork (!) they would permit me to get an epidural anyway. The anesthesiologist was called in a big hurry. They had me swing my legs over the side of the bed for the epidural, and I got one leg over, but the other one wouldn't go because I couldn't close my legs. And then I had to push, so it was too late for the epidural. The anesthesiologist went off to his previous appointment and five minutes later I had a baby, completely and entirely unmedicated. We had been at the hospital for only half an hour.

I hadn't really made any plans as to whether I would have an unmedicated birth, and if you'd asked me about it at the time I would have just screamed "GIVE ME DRUGS!!!!" at you, as I was screaming it at anybody with a hospital badge at the time. But looking back on it now it wasn't that bad. Now that I know how much pain it is, I don't know if I would recommend it to everyone; but the recovery is certainly going much faster than my previous ones. I can sit on my computer chair without my inflatable doughnut. Also Bagel's head was not at all pointy.

I had a small episiotomy, but Bagel got circumcised, so we're even now.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Second Test Post

*This message was transferred with a trial version of CommuniGate(tm) Pro*
Just testing this new post-by-mail feature.

Why Do We Keep Re-Electing This Guy?

I swear I will never understand why we Utahns keep electing Senator Orrin Hatch. It seems he's always got some cockamamie idea about how (not) to fix problems. This one is just the latest. Even if it does address a real issue or have a cool recursive acronym name, it just isn't going to work.

Friday, June 25, 2004

Everyone Should Take Calculus

This is why everyone who wants to think they are educated should take calculus at least once in their lifetimes. A decent understanding of marginals (rates of change) would go a long way.

Second Test Post

*This message was transferred with a trial version of CommuniGate(tm) Pro*
Just testing this new post-by-mail feature.

Test Post

just testing something

Hopes For The Market

Tomorrow is "Children In The Garden" day at the Gardeners' Market. Since Bagel is still in my tummy and shows no sign of coming out in the near future, I'm planning on being there. M had the opportunity to earn some big bucks this weekend, so my teenage brother Little D is helping me out. (Favorite Husband doesn't think much of Little D's people skills or money skills, so maybe this would be a good opportunity for him to develop some.)

At first, when I heard about it, this children's day at the market sounded like just another "theme" day. We had "Flower Day" a while back and it was just like any other day at the market. But I think this one will be different. There will be a petting zoo, for one thing. They are advertising it on the conservative talk radio station as well as the NPR station. Tiny Princess got a card in the mail telling her about a booth there where she can earn a Girl Scout badge. I think it's going to be VERY crowded, with many vendors. I'm going to have to pick up Little D at 6:45 a.m. to go set up for our 8:00 start, just to make sure we get a space. It's looking more and more like this weekend has the potential to be like Memorial Day weekend, when we brought in some serious revenues and M entirely ran out of recycled-yarn socks.

I'm pretty comfortable with the amount of merchandise I have, although I would have liked to have made more of those Addison Hats in a variety of fibers and colors. But I have bags and plenty of hot mitts, and by this evening I think I'll have enough dish scrubbers. I have a bunch of children's toy hot mitts, our promotional item for the special occasion (free kid's mitt with $10 purchase).

I have two experimental dish scrubber designs: a turtle in green organic cotton, and a sun in yellow cotton (the sun was T.P.'s idea). I thought I'd put them out to see how much attention they get, but I haven't decided on a price for them yet, so I guess I'd better get cracking on that. I was thinking I might charge just a bit more than the regular scrubbers. The only problem with that is that I'd been hoping to run a free-scrubber promotion in the future, and I'd like to keep it simple and not have to explain to everyone that the free scrubbers are limited to the rectangular ones. I was also thinking of running a sale for 4th of July weekend (if I'm there...) on all red, white, and blue items, but I wasn't sure if the natural organic cotton should count as white. The price of the organic yarn just went up by 20%, so I'm loath to sell those items for less. But I just found a way to order the colored yarns directly from the manufacturer, so the price of that yarn has effectively gone down. OTOH I don't sell much, if any, of the colored yarn stuff at the market; I mostly sell it to my mom.

Any input on the subject of promotions from my two blog readers would be welcome.

Oscar Meyer Weenies

I just heard an old commercial jingle on the radio and had a sudden summer brainstorm. I propose we begin calling all of those people who think that America should just behave in such a way that other countries like us, "Oscar Meyer Weenies." Because, as the jingle goes:

"Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Meyer wiener,
Then everyone would be in love with me."

Thursday, June 24, 2004


Q and O has a great series of posts about hyperbole and the Left, but I think this one is the best. And it brought to mind an incident from my childhood. (I hope you all will pardon my constantly bringing up anecdotes from my own life. Being young and somewhat ignorant, and not being very articulate about anything else, it's really the only thing I have to compare to. And besides, I have this funny feeling that the world is self-similar, that people's lives correspond on some level to such weighty topics as politics and foreign affairs.)

My parents had bought us these audio tapes of the history of our church, dramatized. One phrase I'd heard used was "You're worse than a Missouri mob!" (Mobs in Missouri had harassed and killed Mormons, and with the complicity of the government had eventually driven them out.) I thought that was a neat analogy, and I tried it on my mom the next time she punished me for something. And boy, did I reap the whirlwind. My parents were even madder at me for using that phrase than they were about the original infraction. They took me aside and explained to me exactly how the horrors that the Missouri mobs inflicted on the Mormons were incomparably greater than my mom sending me to my room.

I can't remember whether or not I got a spanking Manual Attitude Adjustment over it, but I will never forget the lesson my parents taught me that day: that not all analogies are appropriate to make, lest they diminish a terrible thing in an attempt to magnify a minor thing.

But what strikes me as the most telling point of similarity between this incident and the hyperbolic rhetoric that McQ posts about, is the reason I used the phrase. I used it because I had heard it used and did not fully understand what it meant. I was not aware of what it would be like to be a Mormon persecuted by a Missouri mob. All I knew of it was what I'd heard on those church history tapes.

In my case, I was too young to understand. I was being brought up in an environment free of persecution, free of fear. I had never come anywhere near having my entire family shot and dumped into a well while I watched through a bullet hole in the barn where they had died. The greatest thing I had to fear was that this kid at school would taunt me. I did not have the requisite experience to fully understand the analogy I was making. These things were just words to me, words that I did not realize would evoke actual, horrible images in people's minds.

I can't help but wonder, then, if the reason the Left gets away with using rhetoric like this is that they just don't understand what my parents taught me that day: that words mean things, and that free speech is free but not cheap.

Another incident that came to mind was much more recent. I got into a debate with a woman who kept insisting that using the word "sissy" as an insult to boys was violence to women. I told her I was willing to concede that an analogy could be made between the use of "sissy" and violence to women (a rather tenuous analogy in fact, but I kept that part to myself), but that was not the same thing as really hurting actual women or even encouraging people to really hurt actual women. She disagreed with me, and we explored the fundamental differences in our philosophies. In the end, it boiled down to one thing: I believe that the world is what it is and our attempts to describe and analogize it do not affect its nature, and she believed that how we think about the world affects the way the world actually is. I am in agreement that how we think about the world affects how others think about the world, but even billions of us thinking the same thought has never been able to affect reality. If we could, we could change the geometry of the planet merely by convincing enough people to believe that it is flat.

And that, I think, is the fundamental flaw in a lot of Leftist philosophy. Believing that we can change people's natures simply by providing them with health care/foreign aid/rhetoric/etc. Thinking that if we all have good intentions, that everything we do will be all right.

I would write more, but I'm losing health points by sitting in this hard chair in front of the computer.

I'm A Winner! Again!

I won another caption contest over at Captain's Quarters! Yay!! Thanks, Captain Ed!

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Bagel Check

No change with Bagel-- still 3 cm dilated, 70% effaced, and -1 station. Grrrrr....

The good news is, I have a date with the Pitocin drip. If I don't go into labor before then, I'll be induced on July 5.

Virtue And Temptation

Another good one from Steven Den Beste, this time on virtue and temptation.

The ideas he discusses in this essay are in complete agreement with my philosophy on the subject. They clash horribly, though, with the prevailing views in my community. A lot of people out here seem to think that if we don't tell our kids anything about sex, they will automatically be more chaste. I'm living testimony to the utter failure of that point of view. My parents told me nothing after my mom sat me down at the age of eight and explained the mechanics of sex to me. I found out in junior high sex ed class that sex was supposed to be pleasurable; until then I'd thought it was rather like changing the oil in your car. The next mention of sex I had from my parents was when I was approaching my 18th birthday and my dad blurted out "If you're going to do it, use protection." But by then I just rolled my eyes at him. He was a gynecologist. I knew all about "protection"; he'd brought home plenty of birth control advertisement pens. Besides, I was curious and had already borrowed a human sexuality textbook from my cousin; and Favorite Fiance and I had already been conducting some limited field research on the topic.

Long story short, I decided that my kids were going to know everything they could understand about sex. I fully intend to keep them informed of both sex and its virtuous uses from the youngest possible age. Tiny Princess has known for years how babies are made, in an age-appropriate way ("the daddy uses his private parts to knock on the mommy's secret gate at the end of her private parts, and then the sperm gets let in and makes a baby with the egg"). Both kids know the correct names for private parts, so that they don't end up having to tell the doctor that their "doober" or "woo-woo" hurts. They have been taught, since they were old enough to start controlling their behavior, the proper treatment of their private parts. If you ask them, they can recite to you the short list of occasions and ways in which it is appropriate for private parts to be touched. And as they grow older I already have a plan to inform them about other aspects of sexuality and anatomy. I hope that if I can let them know as early as possible, they will grow up thinking that correct and reverent use of their private parts is just self-evident. And it will be easier for them to make the decisions that were so agonizing for me.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Selling Yourself

A guy is selling his virginity on eBay. At least, that's what the article says. I couldn't find the auction on eBay. Reportedly this guy's virginity is going for something on the order of $11,000. I did find an auction of someone's virginity, but so far he only seems to be worth $10.50. And it's not even a reserve price auction.

What cheeses me off the most is this quote from the article:
He [David Vardy] insists that his unique method of trying to lose his virginity is not a form of prostitution... "I'm not selling myself for sex repeatedly like a prostitute," Vardy said. [emphasis mine]

Ohhhh, I get it. If you sell yourself only ONCE, it's not prostitution. WhatEVER!!!!

UPDATE: The auction in the link above has been taken off by eBay. Here's another; this guy is only worth $5, and he hasn't had any bids yet. And for all those who would be proud to advertise that they are prostitutes, there's this auction for badges that say "I sold my virginity on eBay".

FURTHER UPDATE: The auction I just linked to in the previous update has been deleted too. But the buttons are still up.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

I'd Like To See...

... a video game called "Pregnancy", wherein the player is a pregnant woman trying to navigate through life. Level 1 will have you darting from wastebasket to toilet throwing up at every opportunity. In Level 4 you have to go shopping for maternity clothes. And on Level 9 you have to dress yourself, get to the kitchen to make lunch, and tend to the needs of two small children and a husband. Every time you get up you lose health points; if you lose enough of them you fall over and break something. Sitting in hard chairs will give you back a couple of health points, maybe just enough to make it to the soft chair or the bed. If you sit in a hard chair long enough, you begin to lose health points as your pain factor increases.

Two More Weeks

The countdown to Bagel's birth becomes more intense (and even more uncertain) as we now reach the milestone of 38 weeks of pregnancy. For readers who know nothing about pregnancy, this is the point at which the baby is considered full-term and could be born any day now. 40 weeks is considered to be the length of an "average" pregnancy (hence the title of the post) but I've never yet made it past 38 weeks. And believe me, this is one instance where you really, really want to be below average. I can barely walk to the kitchen to feed the kids. I have to unload the dishwasher in four separate episodes, lying down between each one.

I've gotten extraordinarily desperate to have this baby NOW, so I've begun taking some herbs that I hope will help. So far they are at least decreasing my misery, even if they haven't yet had the desired effect. Ever since my second false-labor episode on Thursday, I'd been in constant false-labor contractions, every 20 minutes from dawn till dusk. The herbs seem to have quieted those down. On Wednesday when I go for my checkup (or maybe before, one can only hope) we'll find out if they have had other effects that have been imputed to these herbs, such as making my cervix dilate more or actually inducing labor.

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Gardeners' Market Report

We grossed $64 at the Gardeners' Market today. I had five of the sage green hot mitts, but I sold out today. I had sold out in previous weeks when I had two or three in stock, so I made five so that I could try to find out just how many would sell if I had them. I didn't think they'd ALL sell! I'm guessing the threshold of how many can sell in an average day is greater than five.

This Is Racist Crap

I don't often throw about the "R" word, but I think this is racist. It is a website advocating the use of booster car seats for children under 4'9" in height.

Tiny Princess is perfectly normal and developing appropriately for her age and race, but her expected adult height is about 4'11". I myself did not reach 4'9" until my teen years. If we took their suggestion about booster seats, my daughter would be using one on her first date. My mother-in-law is about 4'9". She is not a dwarf or a "little person". That is her full adult height. Perhaps they think this woman in her sixties ought to have a booster carseat too.

My daughter has "white" friends who will exceed 4'9" in height before they reach the age of eight. How is this campaign fair to let their parents off the hook for not giving them a carseat, but condemn me if I don't give my child one at the same age?

You can see why I think this policy is discriminatory by race. Can you imagine if there were some sort of official government policy that made it so that black people were physically unable to meet a standard of caring for their children? Why would it be different if the policy discriminated against Asians? I know this isn't official government policy, just an organization of "concerned citizens", but this sort of "concern" tends to get these things to pass as the "standard of care" for children, de facto if not de jure. And social workers who don't think you meet the "standard of care" for your children have the authority to take them away from you.

I believe in safety for children, but not every normal person meets their height standard. They aren't allowing for racial disparities in height. And what's worse is that they are inspiring safety nuts to be judgmental of others who are of shorter races. I certainly hope these nutty supporters don't ever get this codified into law so that well-meaning social workers can find excuses to take my kids away from me. God help all us short people if they ever do.

Friday, June 18, 2004

I Got A Mention!

I got my question about job statistics answered at Q and O!

Now Via Borrowed Internet

We've moved up a step in the ethical world; we are now blogging from borrowed internet access instead of stolen access. Our new modem arrived and all went well with the setup, except that someone at our ISP dropped the ball and forgot to send us our username and password. We are borrowing a username and password from a friend of hubby's. But our access is now established, we are receiving e-mails and our website is back up, and as soon as we get our own username and password we will be able to send out e-mails. They were supposed to mail it to us; maybe it will arrive today. The mail has been awfully slow lately.

Inadequate Teacher Training

This story about the inadequacies of teacher training prompted me to dust off my soapbox and get right back up on it.

I have long maintained that teachers do not receive adequate mathematical training. I teach at a university that is well-known as the main source of teachers in our state, and I have to say I'm appalled at how little math these teachers are required to know before they enter service. Elementary-school teachers take nothing above the level of college algebra. They do spend a year in a course that goes over various concepts in elementary mathematics, which is a good course and an asset to them. But they never get high enough to really understand what's going on in mathematics. One would hope that a well-educated teacher would at least have experienced calculus and understood what the purpose of all that algebra was and why it is so important to master it, before going on to teach a state core curriculum that emphasizes algebraic concepts at the earliest of ages. One could further hope that at some point in their training, future teachers would encounter the concepts of logic and proof. But alas, one would hope in vain.

While the standard in the college algebra course remains relatively high, the elementary-school math course suffers from grade inflation and extremely low standards. A friend of mine who taught that course, in a state of utter frustration, once showed me her class' quizzes. The students were routinely getting 0 or 1 out of 10 possible points; they had written no mathematics whatsoever. And these same students, she told me, were coming into her office outraged that they were not passing the course. Their opinion, evidently, was that if they came to class and warmed a chair, they were entitled to at least a C, more likely a B (simply because they needed the B for their GPA's in their competitive program).

Part of the problem with elementary- and secondary-level students starts at the college level, where their teachers are trained. It is entirely possible, even somewhat probable, to get a teaching credential and wind up teaching a geometry class having never encountered the concept of rigorous mathematical proof. I've met future math teachers (not elementary teachers or other-subject secondary teachers, but math teachers) who had made it up to calculus and never really been able to master algebra. It scares me to think that these people, good people as they are, are being given the responsibility for training our future mathematicians and engineers when they don't even know the subject themselves. They are being given an impossible task, and when they muddle through it as best they can, someone else lowers the standard to make it look like they're succeeding.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Bagel Check

Bagel is measuring a week ahead of schedule and I am dilated to 3 cm, 70% effaced, and -1 station. Translation: "I'm going to have a baby... sooner."

Watching all these "childbirth signs" is always a hoot. Not a single one of them, other than labor itself or breaking your water, can put a time frame on when you're going to have a baby. If you actually go into labor or break your water, you will have a baby within about 24 hours, because if you don't deliver by then, they'll give you a C-section. Everything else-- the bloody show, the mucus plug, the dilation, the effacement, the station, just means you're going to have a baby soon. Any progress just means you're going to have a baby, sooner. But given that you're already nine months pregnant, you kinda already knew that...

I'd predicted Bagel would come today in our family prediction pool, but Favorite Husband, who chose tomorrow, may be the winner. The doc is going out of town tomorrow, a sure sign that a baby will be born.

Updates Coming Soon

Once our internet connection is up and running again, and Favorite Husband is done messing with the server (he's never actually done, but it comes in spurts), I'll be updating the look of the blog and adding some neat stuff. More links on the sidebar, and hopefully pictures of the World's Cutest Kids. If I end up doing it after Bagel is born there will be pics of Bagel too.

Under Pressure

Bagel just feels like he's lower every day, causing new levels of pressure and pain. OK, so I know the levels aren't new; I don't remember the pain from previous pregnancies, but I do remember telling people that I thought Sonshine was going to fall right off my front like a ripe fruit off a tree.

I hope that when I go to the doctor today, he'll discover that I'm quite dilated and send me over to the hospital to be induced. But more likely he'll discover that I'm only dilated to about a 2 and virtually nothing has changed since last week. I can still hold out hope, though, for a delivery today, because today is the only square on the calendar that is actually full of writing. Since the appointments are all for today, and Tiny Princess' flower drawing class is non-refundable, this is the high point in the Inconvenience Index for the week. Maybe he'll be born today because of that.


I've finally had the long-awaited insight into why my Bagel is coming into this world and what he is here to do.

With each pregnancy, I've come to know the little person inside me and understand something of their character and their purpose on the earth. Also I had a feeling about when their spirit really entered their developing body to stay for good. I get the distinct impression that babies in the womb get to choose when during the pregnancy they enter their new bodies, just like if you were constructing a house you might choose to live on-site right from the start, move in when the house is partly finished, or wait until everything is perfect before moving in.

Tiny Princess is a sort of Mini-Me, only a bit less intellectual and more outgoing and feminine. She's exactly like I would have been, had I ever had an ounce of estrogen in my body. I knew she was a girl from about thirteen weeks on, she was just so feminine. All I could think about while pregnant with her were ruffly little dresses with bloomers; I normally hate ruffly little dresses with bloomers, but while pregnant with her, I could only think about how cute they would be. She came to stay very early in the pregnancy because she had never been a fetus before and was eager to find out what it was like. She is here on earth to learn and discover.

Sonshine came to stay about four months into the pregnancy. At that time he and I had a little discussion about the pregnancy. He sensed (rightly) that he had come at a very inconvenient time for me, and he offered to miscarry and come back later when I wasn't so busy. It was a tempting offer. But I had a Maturity MomentTM and I told him that working around the inconvenience was my problem, not his, and he should come anyway. So after that he stayed. Sonshine is here to fight evil. He was deeply involved in the fight against evil in the pre-existence, and wanted to take it to the next level. He was so impatient to do this that he pushed himself out of my womb and almost hit the floor. The last impression that I got from him was that he was sorely disappointed to discover that the body he'd gotten was feeble, small, and hungry, and did not come with a shiny sword. And he's been hurling himself headfirst toward the floor ever since.

Bagel, though, has been much more difficult to understand. I haven't been able to get a "read" on him at any time during the last nine months. I haven't felt his presence like I did with the other two. I finally thought to pray about it this morning (OK, so I'm a little slow). I was given the insight that he is well named after his grandfather's side of the family, because like that side of the family he doesn't trust easily and is here to learn to trust in others and not in his own ability. Sonshine, in particular, is well chosen as his brother because he trusts naturally in Favorite Husband and I even when being punished by us, and Tiny Princess is well chosen as his sister because of her caregiving and empathy. They will both be role models for him, he for his example and she for her trustworthiness.

That's a really good insight. I've long wondered why Tiny Princess and Sonshine were sent to the same family, because they are complete polar opposites and they fight like cats and dogs. Come to think of it, I've long wondered why I'm supposed to be married to Favorite Husband, who is as much like Sonshine as I am like Tiny Princess. F.H. and I don't fight like they do (we are, after all, older and more mature) but we both frustrate the crap out of each other by our natures, just like they do. Now it looks like we were all assigned to the same family for a reason. It's nice to know, after almost 11 years of marriage, that there is a method to the madness, that the Lord really does know what He's doing when He puts us all together in families, even if His purposes are not known to us.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Stolen Internet!!

Now back and temporarily blogging via a stolen internet connection.

Young college-age neighbors with an unguarded wireless network, combined with a clever husband who knows how to sneak access from unprotected networks and just happens to have some equipment. Serendipity!

We'll be getting our own internet back, probably around Thursday or Friday. We're just waiting for the modem to come via UPS. (I asked Favorite Husband when he's going to tell the neighbors that their entire network is naked to the universe, and make them a few security suggestions, but he just keeps insisting we stay online as little as possible so that they don't detect us.)

That's Why I Love Him

Favorite Husband and I were listening to the Sean Hannity show last night, wherein he and Mark Levin "debated" Michael Newdow on the issue of the Pledge of Allegiance. I thought Mr. Hannity was rather unfair to Mr. Newdow. There's something just not right about having a battle of wits with an unarmed man, especially when the guy is outnumbered 2 to 1.

Mr. Newdow came off as a self-absorbed, self-centered poor soul. Favorite Husband at first was enraged by his "arguments" but kept on listening just to hear Hannity and Levin put him in his place. And F.H., in his inimitable manner, summarized the situation thusly: "It's about 'We The People', not 'You The @$$hole'!!"

Radioactive Waste In Utah

I've been avoiding taking a position on nuclear waste storage in the state of Utah, but as the primaries for the gubernatorial election are next week, I avoid it no longer.

Three-word summary: I'm fer it. However, I have a few preliminary remarks.

First, radioactive waste is not the spawn of Satan. Nuclear power is one of the cleanest, most efficient, and most environmentally friendly sources of power out there in the world. While its disasters are monumental and catastrophic, they are also few and far between, particularly when care is taken to correctly site and maintain nuclear plants. Other nuclear technologies provide us with medical imaging and treatment. And yes, they too generate waste that needs to be disposed of. Because of water issues, desert states like Utah and Nevada are the ideal place to store this necessary waste. Utah may have lots of extra land, and it may be growing like crazy, but there are parts of the state that will never be able to be developed anyway.

On the other hand, I don't think other states ought to be encouraged by the above fact to produce nuclear waste with abandon, thinking they'll just dump it off in Utah. This is where the free market economy (with a little help from government) comes in. If the price of sending the stuff to Utah is steep, there will be a large financial incentive for them to plan to deal with their own waste. So if other states begin to see Utah as a nuclear landfill, the problem is that we aren't charging them enough to send us their waste. (On the third hand, this could backfire, making oil/coal/etc. power cheaper than nuclear power, and pushing other states toward more polluting energy solutions. But I'll leave it to the voters of those states to push their governments for less pollution.)

So I say: allow the waste, but impact-fee the living crap out of it.

Math You Can Use

Some scientists have found a mathematical formula for the perfect joke.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

I'm Jealous

Favorite Husband was traveling on business last week, and he passed near his mom's house, so he went to visit her. She diagnosed him with osteoporosis (based on how not-straight his spine was when he was leaning against the counter) and immediately forced him to take two calcium-laden horse pills. (To his credit, though, he only swallowed one of the pills; the other he slipped into his pocket when she wasn't looking.)

Now this would be hilarious if it weren't for the fact that I can't get F.H. to take medicine. I'm a doctor's daughter, so taking medicine when sick is just what people do. F.H. has a family history of his mom forcing various family members to take medicine against their will, whether they are sick or not, even going so far as to sneak it into their food. Because of this, he claims, he won't take medicine even when he's sick. And he means it, too. He will cough until he pukes rather than choke down a shot of cough syrup. I've tried everything from gentle persuasion to outright withholding of marital favors to get him to take medicine when he's sick, but he'd much rather suffer. If he had cancer and there was a one-pill 100% effective no-side-effects cure for cancer, he'd die of cancer before he'd take the pill.

So now I'm jealous. I can't get the guy to take cough syrup for sex, but his mom says "jump" and he's on his way down.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Bagel Report

I had my Bagel examined today. I'm dilated to 1.5 cm, 30% effaced, and -2 station. For those who don't speak medicalese, this translates to: "I'm going to have a baby."

Cut Kerry Some Slack

I've read people criticizing Kerry for announcing that he will suspend his campaign this week to mourn the death of President Reagan. Cut the guy some slack. Our state's Republican gubernatorial candidates are doing the same thing, but nobody seems to be arching their eyebrows at them. It's just the right thing to do.

And besides, we should note that this is the one issue on which Kerry has taken only one side. He didn't, after all, decide not to suspend his campaign, and then decide to suspend it. Cut the guy some slack on the one time he's gotten it right first crack out of the box.

No More Internet, Either

Our internet connection finally went down. So now we have no TV and no internet, unless we go over to my parents' house (from whence I post this morning). My kids are climbing the walls, but it's healthy for them to have a TV outage. And maybe now that there's no internet, I'll get some more crocheting done.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

Ronald Reagan, R.I.P.

Last night Tiny Princess asked me who "Reagan" was; she'd heard the name all day on the radio. I told her he was President when I was a girl. She wanted to know what he did while he was President. But I found myself unable to explain the evils of communism, or how Reagan stood up to fight them, to a six-year-old girl. I'd told her already that Saddam Hussein was a bad man who took all the freedom and money away from his people so that the kids could not have food or toys, and the soldiers went in and caught him and made Iraq free. But how could I explain how communism was a metastasizing cancer on the world? How Reagan ended the Cold War through arms buildups and deadly serious attitudes toward our defense? How the 1980 elections were the first that I was old enough to follow in school? How I'd tried to understand what was going on in the country and think about which candidate was best? How I spent my post-college years trying to figure out what exactly it was that Reagan really did, as opposed to what everyone said he did?

I really don't have anything to say about Reagan that hasn't already been said, except what I say to my children about him. And I find myself at a loss for words.

No More TV

Tiny Princess managed to short-circuit the television today by cleaning it with an excessive quantity of Windex while it was on. She was required to call her father and tell him what she'd done, and then in typical Tiny Princess fashion she threw herself into a state of terrible mourning, complete with tears. Fortunately it didn't last long, and in no time she was back to tattling on Sonshine when he deliberately broke her stuff.

Terrorists Don't Sign Treaties

Today I heard on the radio Senator Biden say, while questioning Attorney General Ashcroft:
"And by the way, there's a reason -- I'll conclude by saying -- there's a reason why we sign these treaties: to protect my son in the military. That's why we have these treaties. So when Americans are captured, they are not tortured. That's the reason, in case anybody forgets it. That's the reason."

And I would defy Senator Biden, or anyone for that matter, to show me where the terrorists signed on to the Geneva Convention. Show us these peaceful terrorists who abide by the rules of war, so that we can identify them and treat them nice.

I'm sure there are perfectly good arguments out there for not using torture. I'm sure there are intelligent people out there who can intelligently argue for the avoidance of its use. I just haven't heard from them yet. Everybody I've heard so far opposing the use of torture is either some kind of academic who hasn't set foot outside his ivory tower for decades, or a chair jockey so far removed from the action that he has no idea what the hell is at stake.

Monday, June 07, 2004

Four More Weeks

Bagel is now at 36 weeks and officially able to be delivered at our local hospital. It feels like he's been getting lower, if it's possible for him to get any lower without actually coming out.

Favorite Husband is out of town this week on business, so we are trying to trick Bagel into not being born during this week. We are telling him loudly that this week would be very convenient for him to be born, as the only commitment we have this week is my doctor appointment. As everyone knows, the single best predictor of when a baby will be born is the maximum point of the Inconvenience Index, which is determined by schedule and by how many relatives will be visiting at that time. Since F.H. is scheduled to be in town for the next several weeks and has non-refundable tickets for this week, this index would naturally reach its maximum this week while he is gone.

Calculating the Inconvenience Index is complicated. You have to take into account important appointments and travel plans for members of the extended family as well as the doctor. Non-refundable plane tickets add a considerable amount to the index, much more so than refundable plane tickets. Having the doctor out of town is also a major contributor. Important appointments that cannot be rescheduled, such as a school orientation, play a large role.

And lest you think this Inconvenience Index is nonsense, consider that:
* My father, an OBGYN, predicted the day and hour of my birth to within a 2 hour timeframe, using this index.
* I went into labor with Tiny Princess on the day Favorite Husband had his college orientation, shortly after some dear close relatives of ours went back to California.
* I had Sonshine on the day I was supposed to start teaching my favorite unit (fair division, the topic of my Master's paper) in my classes.
* We were able to fool my niece into being born while we were visiting by lying to her and telling her we were going back home and in 12 hours would be gone too far to turn back, when in fact we only went a few hours away. Sure enough, my sister-in-law went into labor 12 hours later.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Gardeners' Market Report

Today sucked bigtime at the Gardeners' Market. There were way too many vendors; we barely were able to find a spot, and then we had to turn our pavilion sideways just to fit in the bit of space we could scrounge. We made only $11 in sales; it was much the same for the other vendors as well. We knew this week would not be as good as last week, but we weren't expecting this.

Internet Outage

We will soon be having an internet outage. Favorite Husband was able to upgrade our internet access to a better one for less money, but it will take up to 10 days of no internet at all (except what I can scrounge at my parents'). Bloggage will probably be light, if I can blog at all, during that period. I don't know when it will start, probably Monday.

Job Creation Stats

As a busy mom, I don't have a lot of time to go look at the latest economic numbers. However, I did hear John Kerry quoted on the radio as saying (I paraphrase here) "Sure there are new jobs, but they're not good paying jobs!" I thought I'd comment on that idea, that you can create jobs without creating better paying jobs.

First of all, how does Kerry know how much these new jobs pay? I'm not asking a partisan rhetorical question, I just want to understand what makes him say that.

But putting all that aside, let's consider what's happening at my husband's workplace. In the last couple of months, they have hired at least 10 new people, all entry-level. OK, those are lower-paying jobs. But what's happening is that now that they have 10 new people to do the entry-level work, my husband's job has basically turned into a promotion. He got a raise and now has a bunch of other people relieving him of a lot of grunt work. Also, because they now have enough techs to do installations, they could afford the manpower to split the largest district into two districts, so there are now new district managers who were promoted from the previous entry-level employees. The company didn't hire new people to fill those jobs; they promoted from within. The people they promoted would probably have sought better-paying jobs had they not been promoted. So in essence the creation of 10 new entry-level jobs meant that additional management jobs came available, higher-paying jobs that as far as I know aren't counted in the job creation stats.

I'd be interested to know what others think about this. I'm not too familiar with job creation stats.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Yes Sir, Three Bags Full

M's llama-owning friend gave her some of last year's llama wool for a present, so M came over yesterday afternoon, and we began processing the wool. We got one load of it washed yesterday, and I did the rest of it today. We washed them in Dreft because I couldn't find my bottle of Woolite, and I don't have any Ivory Snow (for some reason our Wal-Mart didn't carry it, and I forgot to look for it at the grocery store, which is why I bought the Dreft instead even though I hate the smell of Dreft.) I couldn't believe how much it shrunk in volume once we got the dirt out of it.

Anyway, there are now three lingerie bags of llama wool hanging on my porch railing. They were pretty stinky when they arrived, but now they don't smell any more. My nose is admittedly a bit stuffy, but I don't even think they smell like Dreft (which is a good thing).

Now we have to find something to card the wool with. Preferably a drum carder (they're much faster and easier to operate than hand cards). For those not in the know, carding is the process of brushing the wool (like brushing your hair). After it's carded it will be spun into yarn. After that, M can make the yarn into cool things like this.

Dropping the Bagel

Little Bagel "dropped" this morning. For those not in the know, "dropping" means he's moved lower into my body, toward the birth canal. It's like an airplane being on final approach for landing.

So when you drop a bagel, does it always land cream cheese side down? ;)

Iraqi Elections

I was having a dream this morning that I was having a debate with a whiny liberal college student about elections and policy in Iraq. Since I woke up ready to argue, I thought I'd channel that into a blog post, since the only adults I'm likely to have conversations with today are my sick husband, and my friend whose husband is returning from Iraq tonight and already agrees with me politically.

So, here was the point I was about to make before Sonshine banged on the door demanding to sleep in our bed:

Some people believe that we should just have elections in Iraq and then get out. OK, let's consider that possibility. How long does it take to organize elections?

Everyone seems to be quoting this statistic that Iraq is the size of California, even though it doesn't even have half California's population. This suggests a ready-made example for us to compare Iraqi elections to: the recent recall election for governor of California. How long did the recall election take? Well, first petitions had to be signed in support of the election; that took many weeks. Then candidates had to be found; each one of them had to either put up money or get signatures to be placed on the ballot. There were hundreds of candidates. Then came the campaign, which was relatively short but IIRC it lasted a couple of months. Ballots had to be printed. Poll workers had to be found. Then the election was held, votes were tallied, etc. After that there was a transition period when outgoing governor Gray Davis tried to sign a bunch of bills that he hadn't signed before because he knew the people would practically lynch him if he did. Since he'd just been lynched, he figured he might as well.

A couple of points about California:
- California has been (small-d) democratic for over a century.
- California already had laws on the books governing elections, and ones governing recall elections for almost a century.
- California is already divided into voting precincts, each of which already owns voting equipment (even if some of it is outdated or was scheduled to be replaced), has a pool of people who can serve as poll workers, and has designated election officials to oversee the election process.
- California already has most of its voters registered. There are always people turning in new registrations, and let's not get started on who's allowed to register, but the bulk of the voters are already registered.
- Californians have a mostly reliable means of identifying registered voters when they show up at the polls.

Even with all these things going for California, it took months to carry out the recall election.

Now let's look at Iraq:
- Iraq has been democratic for less than one year and has never had an election that was real
- Iraq does not have laws governing a fair, democratic election process (previous election law was pretty much "vote for Saddam or we kill someone in your family")
- Iraq may or may not have voting precincts, any equipment it has is likely to be decrepit, and poll workers and election officials from previous "elections" went out with the "Ba'ath water".
- Iraq is overrun by foreigners whose specific intention is to disrupt the Iraqi political process, previously through terrorism but I wouldn't put it past them to try to rig an election
- Because of the above, Iraqis will probably need to re-register to vote. How long does that take? How does one tell the difference between the above foreigners and deserving Iraqi voters?

Now let's just suppose that all of the disadvantages Iraq has over California can be cancelled out by the disadvantages conferred on California by virtue of its size and the fact that Iraqis need not petition for an election. How long do you think it would take to institute democratic elections in Iraq?

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Good Bagel News

I saw my new doctor yesterday. His staff is amazing and perfectly competent. That might have something to do with the fact that they are twice as old as the little twit receptionist who told me to take a hike at my old doctor's office. Go older women!!

That in itself is good news, but the better news is that my new doctor is going out of town right after my due date, so if I haven't already delivered by then, he'll induce labor and deliver me before he leaves. So July 4 is more than just an expected date of arrival; it's now a deadline. That means I have a maximum of 4 1/2 more weeks to endure. I can better handle not being able to sit, stand, or lay for more than an hour at a stretch, if I know when it's going to end.


My dishcloths, mitts, and scrubbers are selling like hotcakes on eBay. I almost can't make them fast enough! Example: I put 4 dishcloths up for sale on Sunday. The last one sold on Wednesday. I put up another posting for 4 dishcloths and one for 2 scrubber pads. Inside of 24 hours one of the dishcloths and both scrubber pads had been sold.

This is good. Very, very good.

UPDATE: this is not so good. I just heard back from one of the buyers who was upset that she got only one dishcloth. Evidently she thought a quantity of 1 meant she would get a pair of dishcloths, because there were two in the picture. Maybe that's why they were selling so well. Eeek!

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Hey, I Won!

Yay! I won a caption contest over at Captain's Quarters!

What's my prize?

It Feels So Good!

It feels really good to be able to buy more yarn for my enterprise with the proceeds from my enterprise. (I'd previously been investing my allowance into the business.)

Not a really important point, nor an essential one for my two readers to know. But it's just so satisfying.

He Understands

Via Number 2 Pencil, a translation of an interview with Marek Edelman, a survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Read this-- he understands exactly why freedom is important, and important to fight for.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

Good Riddance

I hear they're planning to dismantle the TSA and return baggage screening to private hands. Good Riddance. That organization was poorly thought out and poorly executed, and I'm glad some sane people in Congress put in a sunset clause. The Democrats are complaining that the TSA's budget has been cut, but the TSA has been stealing from the American public long enough, between all the goods that mysteriously disappear from luggage and the goods that are confiscated without so much as a receipt. No one, not even the TSA, seems to know what happens to these goods. If they sold them at auction, I bet they could have made a pretty penny, but instead they have just vanished, probably perks for the baggage screeners. Under private command, baggage screeners would have more accountability, because their employers could be sued if the screeners steal.