Saturday, June 30, 2007

takin a break

the whole point of blogging was so I wouldn't spend so much time online. While it's true that I am spending much less time online than I was when I regularly frequented online message forums, I am still spending more time on the computer than I'd like. Plus, we have a very very busy week coming up, with plans scribbled in my calendar every single day!! ACK!

Friday, June 29, 2007

for tomorrow morning

I will attempt to explain my faith and why it is that although I detest the way organized religions enable abuse against the people, I am yet a very deeply spiritual person and I do respect everyone's individual faith, even when it is a result of indoctrination rather than introspection. It's not something I talk about so the words may be slow in forming, but I do think about it constantly. Anyway, my apologies to my religious friends who may have been hurt or upset by the first part of the movie I posted earlier this morning (again with the usual disclaimer that what they are saying are not my words).



yeah, it's two hours long, and I'm still making my way through it a little at a time. But several people have recently recommended I watch this. I'm not the one who needs to see it. I already know these things, I already agree with (most) of the information being presented in this movie. But those who would benefit most from this don't get it, won't get it, refuse to get it, because they are afraid to know the truth.

I come back to the abused wife analogy time and time again. I think what hurts the most is knowing there is nothing I can do to help people who aren't willing (for whatever reason) to help themselves. People are so into playing the blame game, always looking for someone to blame for everything "bad" in their world, they lose sight of the fact that they are responsible for their own actions, no matter how controlled or manipulated they might be. Nothing I say is going to make a difference. There is no way I can force anyone to grow a backbone and start standing up for themselves, there is no magic information that I could share that would tell people how to start thinking for themselves, if I could, that would defeat the whole purpose anyway. I know that sooner or later, they will realize the extent to which their lives, and even their beliefs, are not their own. Sooner or later people will turn to introspection for their own answers. I can only pray that it's not too late.

Whoa! Those last 20 minutes are really something else...

Pete Seeger - What Did You Learn in School?

Thursday, June 28, 2007

why is my blog pink?

because I wanted my words to be purple, of course! :-)

Soil: The Secret Solution to Global Warming


"As Congress debates the Farm Bill, QuantumShift highlights another reason for them to support organics. Research by the Rodale Institute reveals that sustainably-farmed soil holds up to 30% more carbon than conventional agriculture. Converting US farmland to organic on a wide scale would reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 10%. The extra carbon in the soil also increases food nutrients, which could greatly reduce health care costs. In this QuantumShift special report, farmer Percy Schmeiser urges the President and Congress to shift existing agricultural subsidies to support sustainable farming practices."

insert disclaimer here - you know, these aren't my words nor my ideas, just presenting it to you because I found it to be thought-provoking.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

just in time for July 4

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate Judiciary Committee subpoenaed the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney's office Wednesday for documents relating to President Bush's warrant-free eavesdropping program. link

weird hawk behavior

I don't know much about hawks, really, practically nothing at all. But they seem to be acting funny, two of them at least. Laying down with wings outstretched, spread out like roadkill or something. Not a very threatening hawk-like posture. Though one of them seemed to be dancing with another for a while, and perhaps it isn't one family of hawks but rather two breeding pairs? I don't know, but they sure are interesting animals to watch (and in my own backyard no less)! I'm fairly certain they are red-shouldered hawks. They constantly vocalize to each other and seem to hunt in a pack. All four of them are guarding my garden right this very moment, two of the four laying down all stretched out in the sunshine, one on the ground under the clothesline and the other on top of the girls' swingset.

link "Red-shouldered hawks are solitary and territorial. They do not form flocks, even in the winter."

hm... well they certainly do hunt cooperatively. They call out to each other with a cheecheecheecheechee that tells the others their position. One will distract, with a loud screech, potential prey from noticing another hawk poised to swoop down on it from a different direction. I've heard at least five or six different distinct calls they make to each other that I would presume each communicates a specific idea to the other hawks. ...fascinating

in response to my earlier question, Aunt Valerie (she knows lots about birds) says they are probably sunning themselves. :)

to my sweet liberal friend...

oh, come on then, tell me what will change? We'll have the Constitution back, but are we not still slaves, dependent upon the few who control the rest of us? Willingly enslaved by promises of freedom...and liberty...and HAPPINESS! Take a good look around you, are most people happy living as slaves? Don't you think most people would rather be doing something else 90% of the time? That doesn't sound happy, doesn't even sound psychologically healthy at all. Will it matter to us, the people, if there's a Democrat puppet playing the role of President? What difference will it make in *my* life? Will I still be told what to do and most especially what not to do, constantly? Never given credit for being able to make decisions myself? Geez, the Democrats like making lots and lots of new laws, telling us what not to do!!

What about yourself? Don't you deserve the chance to decide for yourself what to do, not even once? Think about any major decision you have ever made in your life (major from your own personal perspective). What parts of that decision were influenced by law? influenced by other people's expectations, or what they might think after the fact? How many decisions have you really ever made for yourself? Decisions that were totally, entirely based upon your own personal sense of what is right and what is wrong. Oh, you don't trust your instincts. You are afraid you might be wrong. Well, see, THAT'S THE WHOLE PROBLEM!!!! I don't much care for living in a world where my life is defined by my fears. I'd much rather live in one that is defined by my needs first, and then by my wants and desires. You've read so much material on attachment parenting, surely you can understand this concept. This is how we're raising our kids. Their needs are met, then we figure out ways of meeting their wants and desires without squashing the needs, wants, and desires of others. Including myself. It's very important that my needs are not ignored while helping my children figure out how to fulfil their wishes.

You know, it's really cool how giving my children respect teaches them to respect, not only me, but everyone else. I know my kids are special, but I don't really believe, not for one minute, that they are so much different from all other people. All we need is some respect and the chance to decide for ourselves what is best for us. No, I'm not a perfect parent, but my kids are pretty tough, I'm not going to damage them every time I make a mistake or put my wishes above their needs as long as they never lose their desire to learn and are able to think for themselves, and as long as they know it's okay to question my authority when my wishes are in conflict with theirs. What I want more than anything in the whole world is for my kids to live in a world that respects them and trusts them to know the difference between right and wrong. Don't your children deserve the same?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

autonomy rules!

well, I think it's kinda funny, anyway


you want more? really?

okay then, try this article on for size...

how interesting that the author is seeing the same things happening that I see, but has such a totally different perspective! All the news right now is simply to get us ready for the "democrats" to save us from the evil "republicans" --while many people still don't recognize they are simply two sides of the same coin, with the exact same agenda. They just have different methodology. I think they waited too long. If they had thrown Bush out of office back in 2001, I'd have believed them and sang the praises of the newly-restored Constitution and would have joined in the burning of the Patriot Act. But it's too late now.

Monday, June 25, 2007

article(s) to ponder

oh never mind, I don't feel like it now....
seemed like a good idea before I'd had coffee this morning

crap! :)

you reckon hawk poo is really good for a garden? (see photo of my garden here - the hawks were just now sitting on top of the A-frame structure along which I was hoping to train gourd vines, dropping large packages right into the compost pile.) Having birds of prey in the neighborhood, eating varmints, surely can't hurt! Did I say that it's four hawks? Two adults, and two sub-adults. My husband and I sat outside and watched the two younger hawks catch, play with, and then consume some furry morsel right there beside my garden yesterday! (Hoping it was one of those dratted bunnies! They left nothing behind, not even one fluff of fur, with which to identify their meal.) Apparently it was a little too large for them to fly off with, eventually they gave up trying to get it up in a tree and ate it on the ground, while their parents watched from a distance. They knew we were watching, but as long as we didn't come too close, it didn't bother them a bit. What magnificent creatures they are! So beautiful!

Sunday, June 24, 2007


Over the last month or so, I've been increasingly unsatisfied with music. Sure, I enjoy listening to all sorts of music, especially music that spoke to me in my past, but it feels like something is missing. I want to find music that speaks to me now, to who I am now, and I'm coming up short every time. I've gone through all the cds I own that have been accumulating, listening to works I had forgotten about, and it's nice, but it's not at all what I'm looking for. I can't seem to find any music that moves me the way music used to do. I'm not feeling it. I gotta feel it. I would be most grateful to anyone who offers suggestions...

Perhaps the problem is not with the music, but with me? Still, I know somewhere out there is the music I'm searching for, probably not being played on the radio, certainly not, but it's gotta exist somewhere besides the dark recesses of my mind...

I can't get no
'cause I try
and I try.....

Right now...

Out my window, in a tree in our front yard, sits one of our hawks. But he's not happy. There are about six hummingbirds taunting him, screeching (I've never heard that sound from a hummingbird before), flying around his head, pecking at him when he looks the other way. He's getting really agitated about it, hopping from one branch to another, losing his grip and nearly falling out of the tree. This has gone on for some time already, not sure how much longer he can take it, but I'm sure the hummingbirds (who, combined, must weigh only about as much as one of the wings of a hawk) will eventually succeed in running him out of their tree.

Despite the potential for political parallels, the news here is the hummingbirds. I had only seen one hummingbird in our yard this year, when last year we had lots of them. Maybe they aren't gone, just haven't been hanging out in the usual places, or maybe it's because I don't have nearly as many flowers blooming this year...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Plato, part 4

The Republic, book IV

428b-c But there are many kinds of knowledge in the city.
Of course.
Is it because of the knowledge possessed by its carpenters, then, that the city is to be called wise and sound in judgment?
Not at all. It's called skilled in carpentry because of that.
What about the knowledge of bronze items or the like?
It isn't because of knowledge of that sort.
It is guardianship, and it is possessed by those rulers we just now called complete guardians.
428e Who do you think that there will be more of in our city, metal-workers or these true guardians?
There will be far more metal workers.
Indeed, of all those who are called by a certain name because they have some kind of knowledge, aren't the guardians the least numerous?
By far.
Then, a whole city established according to nature would be wise because of the smallest class and part in it, namely the governing or ruling one. And to this class, which seems to be by nature the smallest, belongs a share of the knowledge that alone among all the other kinds of knowledge is to be called wisdom. we read yesterday how the truth matters not in the education of the workers, because if they became well-educated they would see the truth for themselves and know what has been omitted from their education, and why those in charge chose to omit it. In other words, wisdom, which is the ability to discern truth, is much too dangerous to allow it to fall into the hands of the working class. ~stacy
429c The city is courageous, then, because of a part of itself that has the power to preserve through everything its belief about what things are to be feared, namely, that they are the things and kinds of things that the lawgiver declared to be such in the course of educating it...

Hawks in suburbia!

If you get up early enough, you can see a pair of hawks in our backyard. They apparently have a nest in the tallest pine tree in the neighbor's yard at the top of the hill. (Neighbor claims it has to be a pterodactyl that's been pooping on his truck.) I only got photos of the one, the other never sat still long enough, and always chose trees instead of power lines.
I never saw what this one caught.
Bunny, squirrel, vole, the neighbor's little rat-like dog...
Here he is as he prepared to swoop down on some juicy critter in our side yard!

in case you are wondering, these pictures were taken from inside our house, looking out the second floor window towards the backyard and neighbor's house behind us. I suppose the change in color between the two photos was from the sunrise.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Plato, part 3

The Republic, Book IV
425a But when children play the right games from the beginning and absorb lawfulness from music and poetry, it follows them in everything and fosters their growth, correcting anything in the city that may have gone wrong before-in other words, the very opposite of what happens where the games are lawless.
a lawful citizen would be one who is obedient and does not break or question the rules. Lawlessness in this sense, from my perspective, could be easily equated with autonomy ~stacy
425c At any rate, Adeimantus, it looks as though the start of someone's education determines what follows. Doesn't like always encourage like?
it does.
Parents who enforce their authority rather than encouraging their children's autonomy make it much easier for the schools to create lawful, obedient, unquestioning, people. ~s
And the final outcome of education, I suppose we'd say, is a single newly finished person, who is either good or the opposite.
"good" having been previously determined to mean that which benefits the State ~s

Plato, part 2

Plato's Republic, book III

414c How, then, could we devise one of those useful falsehoods we were talking about a while ago, (see 382a ff) one noble falsehood that would, in the best case, persuade even the rulers, but if that's not possible, then the others in the city?
What sort of falsehood?
Nothing new, but a Phoenician story which describes something that has happened in many places. At least, that's what the poets say, and they've persuaded many people to believe it too. It hasn't happened among us, and I don't even know if it could. It would certainly take a lot of persuasion to get people to believe it.

now let's skip ahead a bit...
423e These orders we give then, Adeimantus, are neither as numerous nor as important as one might think. Indeed, they are all insignificant, provided, as the saying goes, that they guard the one great thing, though I'd rather call it sufficient than great.
What's that?
Their education and upbringing, for if by being well educated they become reasonable men, they will easily see things for themselves, as well as all the other things we are omitting... (emphasis mine ~s)

424b To put it briefly, those in charge must cling to education and see that it isn't corrupted without their noticing it, guarding it against everything. Above all, they must guard as carefully as they can against any innovation in music and poetry or in physical training that is counter to the established order. And they should dread to hear anyone say:

People care most for the song
that is newest from the singer's lips.
(Odyssey 1.351-2)

Someone might praise such a saying, thinking that the poet meant not new songs but new ways of singing. Such a thing shouldn't be praised, and the poet shouldn't be taken to have meant it, for the guardians must beware of changing to a new form of music, since it threatens the whole system. As Damon says, and I am convinced, the musical modes are never changed without change in the most important of a city's laws.


Why is it so many resignations in the news? They're jumping from a burning ship, is why! Any day now, but none too soon, the Dems are going to give us BushCo's head on a silver platter, give us the illusion of freedom by restoring the Constitution, silence the dissent, and go on without really changing anything. Hide and watch.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


The Republic, Book II, 376b-c

(speaking about how dogs love what is familiar and hate what is different)
But surely the love of learning is the same thing as philosophy or the love of wisdom?
It is.
Then, we may confidently assume in the case of a human being, too, that if he is to be gentle toward his own and those he knows, he must be a lover of learning and wisdom?
We may.
see, the deal is, those in power don't want us gentle towards each other, they want our first loyalty to be for the State. ~stacy

Book II, 377b
You know, don't you, that the beginning of any process is most important, especially for anything young and tender? It's at that time that it is most malleable and takes on any pattern one wishes to impress on it.
Then shall we carelessly allow the children to hear any old stories, told by just anyone, and to take beliefs into their souls that are for the most part opposite to the ones we think they should hold when they are grown up?
We certainly won't.
Then we must first of all, it seems, supervise the storytellers. We'll select their stories whenever they are fine or beautiful and reject them when they aren't. And we'll persuade nurses and mothers to tell their children the ones we have selected, since they will shape their children's souls with stories much more than they shape their bodies by handling them. Many of the stories they tell now, however, must be thrown out.
377e When a story gives a bad image of what the gods and heroes are like...
378a ...But even if it were true, it should be passed over in silence, not told to foolish young people. And if, for some reason, it has to be told, only a very few people - pledged to secrecy and after sacrificing not just a pig but something great and scarce - should hear it, so that their number is kept as small as possible.
my kids are no fools ~s
379a You and I, Adeimantus, aren't poets, but we are founding a city. And it's appropriate for the founders to know the patterns on which poets must base their stories and from which they mustn't deviate. But we aren't actually going to compose their poems for them.
379c Therefore, since a god is good, he is not - as most people claim - the cause of everything that happens to human beings but of only a few things, for good things are fewer than bad ones in our lives. He alone is responsible for the good things, but we must find some other cause for the bad ones, not a god.
380b ...We won't allow poets to say that the punished are made wretched and that it was a god who made them so. But we will allow them to say that bad people are wretched because they are in need of punishment and that, in paying the penalty, they are benefited by the gods.
383c Whenever anyone says such things about a god, we'll be angry with him, refuse him a chorus, and not allow his poetry to be used in the education of the young, so that our guardians will be as god-fearing and godlike as human beings can be.
go back and substitute every word "god" with "government" ~s

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

regarding the idea of people as sheep

to the anonymous commenter on Emma's blog, check out my posts labeled My Favorite Posts. I'd love the opportunity to discuss this subject with you.


today my garden is happy. It rained yesterday. Not enough, but better than none.
today my finger is happy. the burn has healed remarkably fast. I'm sure the burned skin will peel sometime, but today it is good.
today I will finish some projects I started too long ago. At least two or three, anyway, rather than starting on something new.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

deep-fried finger?

ouch. Like I said, I burned my finger frying catfish Sunday night for Father's Day and Oma's birthday dinner. What happened was, as I tried to plop in a breaded fillet without sloshing hot oil all over my stove top, my finger entered said hot oil past the first knuckle! I have some aloe vera plants in my kitchen for just this sort of emergency, and did doctor it up as soon as it happened or it would be much worse than it is. So all day yesterday, I kept a bandaid on it, covering just the blister at the very tip of my finger so I could use my hand for things that need to be done. And when I pulled the bandaid off last night after washing dishes and getting it wet, the adhesive pulled some skin off with it, skin that was burnt but not blistered! So now it's even worse than it was yesterday. At least the blister isn't bothering me anymore...

propaganda... for kids!

outraged would be a bit strong of a word to use. perhaps suprised, but it didn't really suprise me either (which seems to me points to the problem being even worse than it appears on the surface). I've always known that it is much easier to indoctrinate children into believing something than it is to brainwash adults into changing their beliefs, but I still didn't expect to see it in my mailbox yesterday.


Oh, we got some junk mail trying to sell us this pretty cool "educational" material for children. Well, it would have been pretty cool, and I'm sure it would be lots of fun, except for the fact that right there in the letter it says something along the lines of "to prepare your children for the fast-approaching global society." This product is from a well-known and loved company, been around since I was a kid. It consists of spy kits where you solve a mystery in a different country each time. There's you, the secret agent, and there's a villian (described in the literature as a "comical crook") who has stolen and hidden a precious object that you (the child) have to discover using the clues provided. Sounds like fun, doesn't it? I know my kids would love it, and would never question any ulterior motive behind it at all. But I also know it would teach them certain stereotypes I don't want them to learn about until they are old enough to know they aren't true. I also question whether preparing my children for the "inevitable" one world government is a good idea. Get them so used to the idea they don't question it when it happens, is what it seems to me is the goal. blech!

Oh, but there's more. In the advertisement, there was a page of "free" stickers from different countries. For Great Britain, the sticker was a picture of a policeman. Kinda appropriate, considering what I've heard about the police state that the UK is becoming (I know the US is no different). For Spain, it was a picture of Don Quixote. Not sure if I like the connotations there, and I'm no Spaniard. But I think my biggest problem is in the good guys versus bad guys theme. We, the top secret agents, are the good guys. Them, idiot cartoonish crooks, are the bad guys. We the good guys are apparently employed by the government to travel around the world to seek out the crooks and mete out our version of justice. The deeper you look at the concept, the more and more offensive it becomes. I'm sure they'll sell a million of these spy kits to parents who see nothing wrong with indoctrinating their children into blindly accepting that what the government does (to the bad guys, of course) is a good thing and never to be questioned. No thanks!

Monday, June 18, 2007

i love connect-the-pipe games

burned my finger frying catfish last night, I'm done typing for today. This is a fun little game, if a bit too easy. link Nice way to avoid those dirty dishes, at least while the kids are still asleep (they stayed up way too late watching Galapagos on National Geographic channel last night).

Saturday, June 16, 2007

the spinniest skirt?

It remains to be seen how the recipient of said spinny skirt feels about it, or how she looks in it, but I'm quite pleased with the results.

The sun and moon fabric was originally intended to be curtains for the room originally intended to be a nursery (before I threw out the idea of my babies ever sleeping alone in there). I think the curtains hung there for all of three days before I had to do something different. The dark blue fabric was a babysling I never finished (sorry Elizabeth! I will get you one made by next week when you come visit, I promise!). My girls both helped sew some of the seams, sitting on my lap and guiding the fabric as I pressed the foot controller.
Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Sorry, Mom, you might have to make a petticoat or crenolin to go with the skirt if it doesn't hang properly...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Thomas and Friends wooden railway recall!!!

ack! link The trick will be figuring out if we have any of the pieces that have lead-containing paint... I think most, if not all, of our train set was purchased before the manufacture years in question.

edit: It does appear that I will be returning our red sodor line caboose for a replacement. It was purchased in 2005, and has no identifying marks anywhere other than the wheels say copyright 2003. Here is their email response to my questions:


You can not really look at the wheels on the trains to be safe.

If your item was purchased between January 2005 and April 2007 you can return it for a replacement. If you don’t know the date it was purchased, and it does not have a code containing “WJ” or “AZ” on the bottom of your product, you can go ahead and return it for a replacement.

Please visit our web site at To access the wooden vehicle & set components recall page, click in the “current recalls” section. You can then download the return form and guidelines. Please complete that form and include it with your returned product to this address:

RC2 Corporation – wooden vehicle recall
2021 9th Street SE
Dyersville, IA 52040

Consumer Services

and more on m-theory and monadology

for those who may be interested:
link1 m-theory
link2 Leibniz's Monadology
granted, those links take you to wikipedia, and are quite limited in depth, and seem to totally miss the whole point... But it's a start, and if you can read that without falling asleep, you might want to grab some more technical books on the subject(s) (there are several English translations of Leibniz's text available online for free). Just don't let what Wikipedia says about these ideas override your own thoughts on the matter when/if you do explore better sources of information.

edit: And just how is this important to me, to my life? I think when scientists do find that unified theory they are seeking, it will change everyone's life, permanently, in a very big way. It will totally change the way we think about ourselves and our place in the "universe." And it won't be technical mumbo-jumbo, it will be totally understandable, even for the smallest child with the most limited vocabulary. I feel as though I have a glimpse of what that theory might look like, but my perspective is much too limited to grasp it in its entirety (hm... I'm probably overcomplicating things instead). I propose that it should be called i-theory...

organic budweiser? not!


no, this is not a new story, but the fight isn't over yet!!

Thursday, June 14, 2007


(in response to an entry in Stephen Hawking's blog on myspace and a tv show I saw the other day on the Science Channel)

I don't know what Bayes Statistics are, but I am having a real hard time comprehending why a scientist would use an a-priori argument. Are not all scientists empiricists by definition? If not, does that mean the distinction between science and philosophy is as fuzzy as it always used to be until modern times? Regardless, the first leap of faith we all make is in believing that there is anything in existence beyond our own perceptions of that existence. If all science is based upon such a fundamental leap of faith, does that make what you say about the universe any less scientific? Should scientists not be working with philosophers and ideas instead of numbers and equations to find that elusive unified theory? The more I understand, the more questions I have...

If the "M" really stands for monad then m-theory starts to make a little more sense to this student of philosophy. And if that is so, it's not a new idea, it's just a different way of expressing the same ideas Leibniz had 200 years ago....???

Why is there a need to overcomplicate explanations to the point where hardly anyone can understand what you are talking about? It seems that when many modern philosophers do it (at least the ones I've spoken with personally), it serves to create within themselves some sort of feeling of superiority, else it hides the fact that they don't know what they are talking about. If their big words are utter nonsense most people would be afraid to argue against them or admit it makes no sense for fear it would make them look the fool.

In order for science to change the world for the better (which I have no doubt it could), scientists need to speak to the people instead of only to each other. The people aren't stupid, they could totally understand if you gave them half a chance, and if they only believed in their ability to understand science. But we must be speaking the same language in order to understand what the other has to say. Scientific mumbo-jumbo only serves as a language barrier between scientists and the rest of humanity. If your ideas are important enough to people, people would have no problem understanding them. Show us why we should care! There is so much we could learn from you, if the door were only open wide enough for you to learn from us as well...

Using mathematical equations in attempt to explain the mysteries of the universe engenders the same sort of mistake philosophers make when they speak of their own subjective perceptions using objective language. There are certain things that human language (even the most complex human languages of mathematical equations) cannot adequately describe or explain. It is not a flaw in reasoning or of the ideas themselves, but rather a mistake in the way we talk about those ideas. Eventually, at some point in the argument you are going to have to rely upon a subjective leap of faith instead of objective empirical evidence. Only if we can all agree upon that original basic leap of faith can we have any sort of intelligent discussion about anything.

Human Rights First

dot org
stumbled upon this website. Posting link here so I can check it out later when I get a few spare moments. Let me know what you think. I am starting to be upset and disillusioned with the ACLU for various reasons. That will have to be a post unto itself, maybe tomorrow.

edit: Oh, they've changed their name, that was a good move. I remember checking them out before and having my reservations about it all.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

a nursing dress?

I think I just figured it out! What if I made a simple dress with an overlapping slit running down the center of the front, then wore a pinafore/apron with it? I could make the skirt as wide and spinny as I want. I could make two aprons and three dresses and have six different outfits! Best of all, I don't see any reason this wouldn't work (except my lack of fabric yardage - might have to go patchwork on it). But... would it just look too strange, even for me? What if I made it of the funkiest brightly colored fabrics? :-D

edit - after a google image search for ideas, I feel a need to clarify that I am NOT talking about ruffles and little house on the prairie!!! More of a retro 60's mod look, combined with a 70's hippie style....

Monday, June 11, 2007

Finally, a shirt that fits!!

Not just a shirt that fits, but one that fits and is not made of spandex. It took me all day yesterday (okay, probably more like three hours, but when that is broken up into bits of five or ten minutes at a time, it takes longer to get anything done), and three attempts, but I figured out a pattern to make myself a top. I started out with a store-bought sundress pattern that I thought would make a good shirt (actually, I still want to make the dress, if I can figure out how to make it nursing accessible). So that was the first attempt. I moved the bust darts and shortened the shoulder straps (it's sleeveless tank-top style) and made a newspaper pattern. That was try #2. Unfortunately, I didn't move the bust darts quite far enough, and there was something not right about the armpit holes, so I had to change it again. Finally try #3 fits the way I want it to!! Still haven't figured out exactly how I am going to finish the hem and around the neckline and arm holes. Pattern calls for bias binding, which might be okay, but I'm just not sure. If they actually made patterns that fit me, I'd already have six of them sewn in the same amount of time it took me to make just the first decent one. But now I have a working pattern, and plan to use up lots of that cotton fabric that I have laying around. :-)

I finished it off with white bias tape, since that was the only color I had in the narrow width. It looks a bit too much like hospital scrubs, and there are a few more adjustments I need to make to the pattern before I sew another, but it turned out okay. Not fabulous, but not horrible, either. Definitely the best fitting shirt I've had in many, many years.
*sigh* oh to be fifteen again and able to wear clothes off the rack...

edit again:
after several test runs, I think perhaps a hand-rolled hem around the neckline and arm holes would be the best way to go. Either that, or make my own bias tape link.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

on breastfeeding

"In terms of the benefits of extended breastfeeding, there have been a number of studies comparing breastfed and bottlefed babies in terms of the frequency of various diseases, and also IQ achievement. In every case, the breastfed babies had lower risk of disease and higher IQs than the bottle-fed babies. In those studies that divided breastfed babies into categories based on length of breastfeeding, the babies breastfed the longest did better in terms of both lower disease and higher IQ."
- A Natural Age of Weaning by Katherine Dettwyler, PhD link

The last time my oldest child nursed was shortly after her fifth birthday. Originally I had planned to breastfeed for two years based upon recommendations from the World Health Organization and other expert sources. I wanted to make sure my baby's immune system would benefit as much as possible because of various auto-immune issues that run in our family. The older she got, the more obvious the emotional benefits of nursing were becoming. She wasn't nursing because she was hungry anymore, nor was she nursing just because she wanted to, she only asked to nurse when she really needed to nurse. I decided to trust her to know what she needs, and to know when she no longer needed it as well. She slowly cut back on how often and how long she would nurse. By her third birthday, she was nursing only one time each day, sometimes going as long as 36 hours in-between sessions.

But the point I'm trying to make is that all the experts, all the studies, everything you read about "extended" nursing, the emphasis is on child's IQ and health. As Mommy, I find that the emotional benefits, at least for my children, far outweigh any other benefits they might be receiving from nursing. Certainly they are healthy and very intelligent, I won't deny that for a second! But that's not what has given me the strength to allow them to decide when to wean. Rather it has been the near-spiritual experience of watching my children's emotional development, seeing them learn about the connection between their bodies and their emotions, and then to see them turn it around and teach me the same thing. They have an awareness of themselves that seems to be lacking in many people I know, both children and adults. And because of this self-awareness, they acutely perceive the effect they have on other people. They don't just know the golden rule, they instinctively understand how it works.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

it rained!

not quite enough, but it rained yesterday evening. I'll be outside in my garden today, as long as I can endure the heat. My front flower beds are in dire need of attention. Not sure but voles might be to blame for the disappearance of my lilies. Need to investigate some suspicious looking holes in the ground....

Friday, June 8, 2007

on the care and feeding of humans

great article! link

now unlimited storage

...on yahoo mail. You know why, don't you? Because the more emails you have stored on their servers, the better able they are at targeting ads to your particular interests. The better the ads are targeted, the more money they make from them. I did an experiment, deleted all messages, in all folders, from my web-based email accounts, and the ads I got were more generic rather than specific to the things I talk about. funny, huh?

I don't wanna talk about the drought...

...but I'm going to anyway. My lilies are all dead. All of them. Even the tough as nails tiger lilies! Or maybe they just never came up out of the ground, and they are waiting for some water. I don't know. My daylilies didn't bloom this spring either, maybe they are waiting for some rain as well. I watered my 50-year-old gardenia bush last night, and will mulch with a thick layer of compost this morning to help hold water in the soil. Of all my plants, I love that one the most, and it hurts me to see her suffer so. I generally do not water my ornamental plants except the first season after planting them. My veggie garden, however, is doing great, at least the plants that chose to grow are growing well. The compost/leaf mulch pile is holding much water in the soil. I need to figure out how to save my gray water that comes from the kitchen sink and laundry to water my garden with it. The bathroom drains join the sewer at a different place, so it shouldn't be too difficult to separate just the kitchen and laundry and reuse that water instead of letting it go to the sewer. In the meantime, I'll keep praying for rain.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

No Child Left Behind?

link Why is it that people are just now realizing the futility of the No Child Left Behind program? Did anyone actually expect it to help the children in any way? Really? They did? Why???? Ooooohhhh, because they "seen it on the TV." I see....

"Ironically, No Child reforms may have the exact opposite effect they were intended to have," said Bruce Fuller, an education and public policy professor at the University of California at Berkeley.

Really? I think the "reforms" have exactly the desired effect. Public schools have never been about educating students, but have always existed to create a compliant workforce that is unquestioning of authority. They even tested these ideas in Tennessee back when Alexander was Governor (he was later made Secretary of Education, I think under that other Bush). The schools were doing such a poor job of educating the students, they decided to make it a federal program!! It was never about education in the first place. When we moved here in the middle of the 4th grade, the other students my age were being "taught" things that had already been presented to me in 2nd grade in Connecticut, or 3rd grade in Virginia. The children being left behind are those who still have a desire to learn. Better hurry up and keep testing them until they lose that instinct, so they can calmly follow the rest of the herd and not be bothered by any of that pesky brain activity.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007


I really don't think so. I honestly, truly believe that people like Gandhi and King were right. Why is it so difficult for people to believe in people? I finally got my husband worked up enough to debate these issues with me last night. His entire argument was based on his inability to believe that everyone has good inside them. He really believes that the government (the laws it enforces) protects us from people who would otherwise loot and pillage without fear of consequences. My argument remains that those who wish us harm only do so because they cannot find their inner guide, because they have been told what to do for so long that they are unable to look inside themselves for the answers, because they don't believe in themselves.

So, in theory, the argument goes, what if there were no more governments and authorities telling us what to do anymore? Would people find the strength and power from introspection, or are they so brainwashed that they would continue to believe they are stupid or bad inside? When the abuse stops (and surely someday it must) would those who have been abused see it for what it is and break free of the cycle of abuse, or would they go on to abuse others? Does it have to get really bad before it gets better?

I think the answer and the responsibility lies with the Moms of the world. We must teach our children to trust themselves, first and foremost, because if they cannot believe in themselves, they are being set up to perpetuate this system of abuse. We must teach them respect for people by giving respect to people, all people, regardless of how misguided they may be. My husband conceded the point that perhaps all people have a conscience, an inner sense of right and wrong, but he maintains that there will always be certain people unable or unwilling (in my words, too afraid) to look inside themselves to find it.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

what if I'm wrong?

If I'm wrong, have I hurt anyone by believing in their right to autonomy, by believing in freedom? I'd much rather be wrong, and hurt noone, than be right and hurt us all by doing nothing about it. Someone asked me this morning if I'd forgotten to take my medication. Does he really believe that I'm crazy, or is he just afraid to think that I might be sane? I didn't ask this person to contact me, he did it on his own. He thinks RFKjr should be the next President of the US. I think that misses the whole point. Electing a new warden will not free us from this prison. As far as I know, RFKjr doesn't even want the job anyway. *sigh*

Monday, June 4, 2007

don't be afraid!!!

I want to share with you all a true story that happened to me just yesterday. (that would be the Democrat's version of the news) finally ran a story on NSPD-51. I was so shocked to see it that I had to read the whole thing, comments and all, all the way through. As I was reading, I started becoming more and more afraid and I totally freaked out on my family! I kid you not! I had to be reminded of everything I've been saying these last few weeks before I could see reason again. So, lest you missed it somehow, or have been reading certain versions of the news that I think for now we'll just call FearSpeak, here it is in a nutshell...

People are NOT as stupid as the media and government and other abusive authorities wish us to believe they are. Everyone, every single one of us, has the ability to look inside ourselves to know the difference between right and wrong. More and more people are doing just that rather than allowing the authorities to tell them what to do. Surely a revolution must happen, but it does not have to be the frightening militaristic one certain groups use to feed our fears. It does not have to be the Biblical armageddon other groups use to feed our fears, either. We have the power to create the change we want to happen. Each of us, all of us! Don't doubt it, because we really do.

FEAR is the real enemy, not other people. I don't care who they are or where they live or what god they pray to, people are not the enemy! It is our fear which binds us to those who wish the power to control us. But we can all be free. Every last one of us can really be free. The time is NOW! Not tomorrow, certainly not next fall when the election doesn't happen. We can be free of oppression. We can be free from those who seek to abuse us, who seek to control us, tell us what to do, how to act, and even what to believe. We all have it inside us, a guiding voice, an intuition, and that is all we need. We simply need to recognize that we deserve autonomy, the chance to make our own decisions for ourselves. People are not bad inside, we have been brainwashed to believe that's true, but it's not. People only choose to do harm to other people when they have never been allowed the chance to make their own decisions and are afraid to trust in themselves, to listen to their hearts to lead them.

Anarchy isn't like you'd see in some big scary post-apocalyptic movie, it's about freedom! How can we ever be free if we continue to allow them to tell us what to do, rather than looking inside our hearts for the answers? How can we not be free, once we realize that the power to change things is with us, inside us, already? The people really do have the power, it's not just a cool song or a speech by someone who was murdered long ago by those who were afraid. We can create the change we want. But we must not be afraid. We must believe we can change things. We must believe in ourselves, and in our fellow people. It's all about freedom, and it can be reality. We have it in our grasp already. Look inside your heart, the answers are already there.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

The Unitary King George

by Marjorie Cohn (posted here with the author's permission)

As the nation focused on whether Congress would exercise its constitutional duty to cut funding for the war, Bush quietly issued an unconstitutional bombshell that went virtually unnoticed by the corporate media.

The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive, signed on May 9, 2007, would place all governmental power in the hands of the President and effectively abolish the checks and balances in the Constitution.

If a "catastrophic emergency" - which could include a terrorist attack or a natural disaster - occurs, Bush's new directive says: "The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. "

What about the other two co-equal branches of government? The directive throws them a bone by speaking of a "cooperative effort" among the three branches, "coordinated by the President, as a matter of comity with respect to the legislative and judicial branches and with proper respect for the constitutional separation of powers." The Vice-President would help to implement the plans.

"Comity," however, means courtesy, and the President would decide what kind of respect for the other two branches of government would be "proper." This Presidential Directive is a blatant power grab by Bush to institutionalize "the unitary executive."

A seemingly innocuous phrase, the unitary executive theory actually represents a radical, ultra rightwing interpretation of the powers of the presidency. Championed by the conservative Federalist Society, the unitary executive doctrine gathers all power in the hands of the President and insulates him from any oversight by the congressional or judicial branches.

In a November 2000 speech to the Federalist Society, then Judge Samuel Alito said the Constitution "makes the president the head of the executive branch, but it does more than that. The president has not just some executive powers, but the executive power -- the whole thing."

These "unitarians" claim that all federal agencies, even those constitutionally created by Congress, are beholden to the Chief Executive, that is, the President. This means that Bush could disband agencies like the Federal Communications Commission, the Food and Drug Administration, the Federal Reserve Board, etc., if they weren't to his liking.

Indeed, Bush signed an executive order stating that each federal agency must have a regulatory policy office run by a political appointee. Consumer advocates were concerned that this directive was aimed at weakening the Environmental Protection Agency and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The unitary executive dogma represents audacious presidential overreaching into the constitutional province of the other two branches of government.

This doctrine took shape within the Bush administration shortly after 9/11. On September 25, 2001, former deputy assistant attorney general John Yoo used the words "unitary executive" in a memo he wrote for the White House: "The centralization of authority in the president alone is particularly crucial in matters of national defense, war, and foreign policy, where a unitary executive can evaluate threats, consider policy choices, and mobilize national resources with a speed and energy that is far superior to any other branch." Six weeks later, Bush began using that phrase in his signing statements.

As of December 22, 2006, Bush had used the words "unitary executive" 145 times in his signing statements and executive orders. Yoo, one of the chief architects of Bush's doctrine of unfettered executive power, wrote memoranda advising Bush that because he was commander in chief, he could make war any time he thought there was a threat, and he didn't have to comply with the Geneva Conventions.

In a 2005 debate with Notre Dame professor Doug Cassel, Yoo argued there is no law that could prevent the President from ordering that a young child of a suspect in custody be tortured, even by crushing the child's testicles.

The unitary executive theory has already cropped up in Supreme Court opinions. In his lone dissent in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, Justice Clarence Thomas cited "the structural advantages of a unitary Executive." He disagreed with the Court that due process demands an American citizen held in the United States as an enemy combatant be given a meaningful opportunity to contest the factual basis for that detention before a neutral decision maker. Thomas wrote, "Congress, to be sure, has a substantial and essential role in both foreign affairs and national security. But it is crucial to recognize that judicial interference in these domains destroys the purpose of vesting primary responsibility in a unitary Executive."

Justice Thomas's theory fails to recognize why our Constitution provides for three co-equal branches of government.

In 1926, Justice Louis Brandeis explained the constitutional role of the separation of powers. He wrote, "The doctrine of the separation of powers was adopted by the convention of 1787 not to promote efficiency but to preclude the exercise of arbitrary power. The purpose was not to avoid friction, but, by means of the inevitable friction incident to the distribution of the governmental powers among three departments, to save the people from autocracy."

Eighty years later, noted conservative Grover Norquist, describing the unitary executive theory, echoed Brandeis's sentiment. Norquist said, "you don't have a constitution; you have a king."

One wonders what Bush & Co. are setting up with the new Presidential Directive. What if, heaven forbid, some sort of catastrophic event were to occur just before the 2008 election? Bush could use this directive to suspend the election. This administration has gone to great lengths to remain in Iraq. It has built huge permanent military bases and pushed to privatize Iraq's oil. Bush and Cheney may be unwilling to relinquish power to a successor administration.

Marjorie Cohn is president of the National Lawyers Guild and a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, where she teaches criminal law and procedure, evidence, and international human rights law. She lectures throughout the world on human rights and US foreign policy.

new labels

I'm working on re-doing my labels. For starters, check out My Favorite Posts to get a good idea what I'm about. These are just my personal favorite posts, that's all they have in common. Maybe I had the most fun writing them, or maybe they have significant meaning to me personally. Maybe I should do like others and have several different blogs, but I don't think I'll do that. This is my blog, like it or lump it, doesn't really matter to me either way. :D If you know me well enough, you will recognize the common thread that connects all my rambling rants. If not, that's okay, too. Thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, June 2, 2007

create something!

today I must sew. I want to make another pocketbook, but am totally out of interfacing and quilt batting, so need to figure out how to do without. Perhaps using denim or another heavy fabric instead of my lovely cotton prints? Even with upholstery fabric, my most recent totes needed interfacing. Or maybe I could put to use some of those fleece receiving blankets that were too scratchy for my babies... hmmm.... that might just work! That is, IF I didn't already take them to the thrift store. *sigh*

Friday, June 1, 2007

Farm bill

Okay, we know the farm bill has to be passed, it is that sorely needed. Even Congressman Wamp agrees with me on this one (I think it's a first). What I didn't know was that they were sneaking stuff in it to which I am opposed. Whose interests are our politicians really looking out for???

"ALERT: Congress Passes Provision Removing Local Rights to Regulate Food and Farms

Since 1988 the biotech industry and industrial food corporations have unsuccessfully tried to take away local and states' rights to ban or regulate genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and other controversial foods and crops. For example, OCA and other public interest groups successfully generated a mass outcry in 2006 that blocked the passage of the National Uniformity for Food Act. This highly unpopular bill would have nullified 200 food safety and food labeling laws across the U.S.

Failing to suppress grassroots control over food safety laws and labels in the last session of Congress, industry has now called on their friends in the House Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry to slip a similar poison pill into an obscure section of the voluminous 2007-2012 Farm Bill. The provision would give the White House appointed Secretary of Agriculture the power to eliminate local or state food and farming laws, such as those in four California counties banning genetically engineered crops, and set an an ominous precedent undermining states' rights. Tell Congress to repeal this provision before it becomes law"