December 10, 2007
They are on a Christmas tour, but were also promoting their new album, The Trumpet Child. Usually they tend towards the philosophical and spiritual in their songwriting, but they have ventured toward the slightly political in "If a Song Could Be President." It includes shout-outs to some musical legends, and actually manages to be humorous rather than just depressing -- a true musically political feat. Listen here, and enjoy!
December 4, 2007
November 29, 2007
Seriously, after seven years in office and nary a serious look at the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, did President bush actually think that one day in Annapolis can change the face of the Middle East?
In spite of [Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's] many visits to the region over the past year, her sole tangible offering has been to introduce the term "political horizon" into the lexicon of a conflict already inundated with banal phrases and euphemisms. However, she has never defined the parameters of that "horizon." Indeed, Rice explained to representatives of American Jewish organizations in February that the US would not offer any suggestions on the "political horizon" once negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians commenced, nor would it pressure Israel. Thus begging the question, what will the Bush Administration do to ensure the success of these negotiations it has initiated? As the Bush presidency nears its end and an American election year begins, the answer is, very little.Now, I want peace in the Middle East as much as the next person. And poo-pooing efforts at peacemaking is not exactly how I like to spend my time. But after nearly two weeks of negotiations between then-Palestinian President Yasser Arafat and then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak, following months of painstaking preparations between both sides' negotiating teams, the two sides were at an impasse. A few short months later, all hell broke loose. Does the Bush Administration seriously think that one day -- one day! -- in Annapolis will drain all the bad blood that has been spilled?
Abbas and Olmert have agreed to negotiate. Great. New Palestinian State by the end of 2008? I'm not holding my breath.
November 27, 2007
My sister is a fantastic baker -- especially considering her constraints: Her 5-year-old is deathly allergic to peanuts and her 2-year-old is deathly allergic to eggs, as well as lactose intolerant. A cake without any of that would seem pretty gross... but not when Marie is on the job.
Not only does she make a great nut-free vegan cake, she also makes them fun. Worried about too much red frosting, we tried to encourage her 2-year-old to want a school bus cake (or Soo Buth Cay). Nothin' doin'. This kid knows what he wants.
And, as you can see, he was pleased with the result!
Check out some of her other brilliant creations here, here and here.
November 23, 2007
November 21, 2007
Daniel, pictured here at our wedding -- where he served as one of Sean's groomsmen -- also serves in the Navy Reserves. And he has finally been called up. After this weekend -- his last with his wife and baby daughter before he leaves -- he's headed to training camp for 3 weeks then to Iraq for a six-month deployment. He'll be stationed about 60 miles south of Baghdad.
When the war hits home, it makes me all the more angry that we're even there at all. I'm not asking you to blindly "support the troops," but I am asking you to pray for him (or, if you don't pray, at least think good thoughts or send positive energy) until he returns.
November 8, 2007
September 18, 2007
September 13, 2007
This age-old question is getting a new look at the conference this weekend at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame. Co-sponsored by the Law School, the conference gives you the opportunity to hear from ethicists, military historians, peace-studies scholars, generals, political scientists, lawyers and journalists about what they think war really is -- what it means, and its implications.
With a docket including General William L. Nash (see also some of his statements on the War in Iraq), Pam Constable and our very own Professors Mary Ellen O'Connell, Peter Wallensteen and George Lopez, this promises to be a really, really interesting couple of days. You can find the agenda here, and the speaker list with biographies here. I promise, you won't be disappointed.
September 12, 2007
Wow. My sister, a baker extraordinairre (just wait for the truffles at my wedding reception!) made me a bride cake at my shower this past Saturday -- vegan, no less. Gorgeous -- and everyone said it looked just like me. (Thanks.)
My friends and family came through with some incredible gifts - some elegant stemless wine glasses from Grimsaburger (who also moonlights as Grimsabaker), a gorgeous pottery berry bowl from J-Bru, a paper shredder (confetti-maker? Who knows...), and lots of other sundries from loving people. I aced the quiz on SO'B and got some wonderful marital advice, including a quote from The Mexican. All in all, a wonderful day -- topped off by jewelry-making for my bridal party. I hope you like it!
However, there was a downside to an otherwise wonderful weekend: the next day, after a wonderful jewelry-making evening, she went for a bike ride -- and got hit by a car. A girl (17 or 18) believed she could turn right at an intersection before my sister crossed her path. Of course, my sister was almost directly next to her, and didn't even have time to hit the brakes before crashing into the car, being thrown from her bike, and landing directly on her tail bone. I ended up back up in Grand Rapids just 12 hours later, and stayed for 3 days until my replacement could come. Here's to bad drivers and good insurance, and my trooper of a sister.
August 28, 2007
Do you love music? Do you love dancing? Then this is the mission for you! In preparation for SO'B and my impending nuptuals, Grimsaburger is hosting a forum for musical suggestions. What kind of music really makes you get down? What song calls you to the dance floor so fiercely that you are powerless to resist? All suggestions will be accepted, but careful what you wish for...
August 27, 2007
Is it wrong of me to be so gleeful that the Bush Administration continues to fall apart? On Talk of the Nation, Daniel Metcalfe said that Gonzales did more damage to the Department of Justice than any other Attorney General in recent history - including during the Watergate scandal. There are also currently more vacancies in the DOJ - both in general and in the leadership positions than there were during Watergate.
Now that's bad.
August 21, 2007
August 18, 2007
This may seem like a perfectly unremarkable picture of a computer (although the MacBook is an absolutely marvelous machine). But this picture speaks a thousand words - many of them of the four-letter variety. You see, last Tuesday I spilled half of my mug of piping hot, creamed-and-sugared coffee all over the poor thing, dousing the keyboard and seeping into all parts of the computer. It shut off by itself -- never a good sign. (Cue four-letter words.)
So I managed to swab up the keyboard, remove the computer from the puddle, and take out the battery. Then I remembered Sean's (working, un-spilled on) computer upstairs, and typed into the Google box these words: coffee spill macbook. Some unlucky soul had a similar experience and found these instructions very helpful. I took apart the computer -- and I mean TOOK APART the computer, swabbed out the rough patches on the motherboard with a Q-tip, wiped clean the hard drive and memory chips, and rinsed off the keyboard under hot water (can you believe you can do that?). Done. I let it dry for a few days, and put it back together. Ta-da! The tell-tale chord announcing that a Mac is coming to life rang true, and my background picture showed up like nothing ever happened. The track-pad worked wonderfully, but all letters but the q and the tab seemed to be dead. Well, something had to give. So I ordered a new keyboard (overnight, because I'm an inherently impatient person) and, once again, took the computer apart, piece by piece, until the old keyboard came off and the new one was successfully installed.
So: here I am with my computer back, having lost nothing from my files and preferences, with a new keyboard to boot. I can hardly believe my luck.
Oh- and I found out some helpful information from State Farm after they politely but firmly told me that my renter's insurance did not cover spills (and why didn't I keep the coffee away from my new computer anyway?). They offer a policy that covers any machine -- such as, say, a computer -- from klutziness of any degree: spilling, dropping, stepping (don't laugh--I'm sure it has happened to someone somewhere). $35 per year: that's how much peace of mind costs. After this incident, I'm finding peace of mind pretty inexpensive.
Here's to Apple and its magnificent MacBook!
August 9, 2007
Some people might suggest that we've been lazy in our blogging; and they'd be right. But the laziness was by design, not neglect: we were on a luxurious, much-needed vacation in the Adirondacks of Upstate New York. The first week was spent with SO'B's maternal extended family -- cousins, aunts and all -- at Fourth Lake. The giant, pest-friendly maze-of-a-house was interesting, but the company was fantastic. One of the little ones and I became puzzle-buddies -- and she had a great time imagining being a flower girl in "princess" Zee's wedding. And I taught another of the little ones to exclaim "woohoo!" at all of the fun we had.
The weather -- oh, the weather -- was fantastic. 80 and sunny every day, no joke. Here's an example of one particularly spectacular evening:
Of course, there is a rather funny (and, in my opinion, a little scary) story coming out of this fantastic time. I saw one of these. That's right: a big, fully grown black bear crossed the road right in front of me as I was heading home from a (very fun) trail run on the first day there. Here's the pickle: it crossed into the woods adjacent to the camp where we were staying, so I had to pass it at least two more times to get home. I saw Grizzly Man, but realized I had forgotten any useful information on how to become unattractive to a bear. I hid behind a stone post on the neighbor's driveway, trying to think of what the heck to do. So I turned off my shuffle, on which I was contentedly listening to Jim Dale's rendition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, and sneaked past the woods where the bear had just entered. I turned into the camp, and kept my eyes on the woods. About 100 yards from the house, I saw it -- staring at me -- and I ran. I ran like the wind, hoping it didn't care about me and, if it did, I could outrun it. Of course, this was probably the stupidest thing I could have done, but it turns out that it didn't care about me. Whew. The next times I went running, I wore keys attached to my shoes in an effort to scare off wayward bears before any potential run-ins.
There were a few special occasions to celebrate, and celebrate we did. We threw Mariluwho a birthday party -- for the 21st anniversary of her 39th birthday -- at a local restaurant. Notice her tiara?
It was a magical place, where 14 ounce steaks turned into 24 ounces between the kitchen and the table and bears jumped out of dumpsters.
Happy birthday, future mother-in-law!
They also threw SO'B and myself a surprise wedding shower (pics to follow). Fun, fun.
After a week of good times we headed with K & M to the O'B family homestead at Lake Ozonia.
Hans the Dog showed us around the lake -- a gorgeous, spring-fed lake, the water of which was said to have miraculous healing properties.
K & M enjoyed the views -- and the incredibly beautiful day -- on Uncle T's boat.
And, when the day was done, we all enjoyed looking at old family photos and playing plenty of cards. Here we are (SO'B and me) on the only rainy day, just after a rousing game of Pitch.
What a fantastic vacation!
And what a way to return home - to "Double-J" -- who were staying at our house in our absence. Having just returned from a year with the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, they stopped by the 'Bend en route to their new jobs with World Vision in Cyprus, to work with 14 countries in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, 9 of which are currently in conflict or having just emerged from conflict. Obviously, they're up for the challenge. Can you say "honeymoon?"
July 20, 2007
I believe my friend, Grimsaburger, put it quite well when she says, "you must, Must, MUST see this movie."
It is devastating, interesting, important, and educational. It is done in Michael Moore's classic style - without the in-your-face confrontation of those he is (rightfully) attacking.
Go here to watch the trailer for a sneak peak. Then go see the movie, and let Che Guevara's daughter (a pediatrician in Cuba) ask you why her country can afford full health care for everyone, and ours - one of the riches in the world - doesn't even try. Take a tour, Moore-style, of British and French hospitals, and marvel as people stare blankly or just start laughing when he asks how much they are paying for their stay.
I want to love my country, I promise; but films like this one make it hard. Not to mention that endless war. But that's for another time.
July 15, 2007
Here's to my gramma, her unconditional love, and her beauty and strength of character. Happy Birthday!
July 12, 2007
July 10, 2007
The tomatoes are truly out of control -- in the best possible. way. I have at least 25 Roma Grapes on the vine, 2 of which are turning a beautiful and promising orange color. The Better Boys are coming along, almost catching up to their neighbors, the Mr. Stripeys. Each have about 10 on the vine, some just about ready to ripen.
On the less successful side of the garden, I transplanted our herbs (all of which are exceedingly pathetic) out of the pots and into the ground. I hope that helps. Then I watered the heck out of them in hopes they'll finally "take." Maybe I'll just have to call them lost and try again next year.
July 8, 2007
My favorite day: a lovely rafting trip down the Sturgeon River -- the fastest in lower Michigan, they say. It was great fun to work together with the kids, steering the boat and getting through the "rapids" (read: water going slightly more quickly over logs and rocks).
We stopped at a little swimming hole and the kids took the brave plunge into the VERY cold water -- and had a blast doing it! Here is "Little Anton," the quickest dive in.
Sophia was a little more shy about it, but still had a great time.
The older girls, meanwhile, got right into the fun!
While Seth went stone-searching,
Christian practiced for future rafting trips!
After hours of friendly poker games and runs around the lake, glasses of wine and wonderfully satisfying food, it was all a Family Vacation should be: FUN!
June 29, 2007
These pictures don't do her work justice, unfortunately, but I was so excited that I needed to share with you her beautiful work. Keep your eye on her web site
for updates (and better pictures) of her work!
June 28, 2007
On the other hand, our Roma Grapes are going nuts! Can't wait until they're ripe enough to eat:
Maybe by time time I get back from vacation with the fam, they'll be ready... Yum!
June 14, 2007
Addendum: The garden-saving ramp thingie didn't work, and our cilantro and curly parsley look dangerously wilty. Now I have to go pick up all those pieces of paint/roofing materials that somehow made their way into our tomato section.
June 7, 2007
*If el ranchero wants to correct my Latin, he is welcome.
**Actually, I think it would be "Son of the Sea," but that translation doesn't exactly fit with the key half of the equation.