Friday, August 31, 2007

Tryin' the swing on for size.

It's too big.

First time in a swing.

No, she didn't swing an inch.

Yes, she seemed to like the swing.

More pictures at flickr.
Preoccupied with the office visit, driving home down 539, I glimpsed an odd-looking roadside sign at a garden center and did a double take.

What made the marquee appear unusual to me?

I'm ashamed to say that I puzzled over it for a bit 'til I suddenly burst out loud laughing.

Laughing at the error and at my slowness. And at the prospect of - if I could keep a straight face - waltzin' into that garden shop and askin' to be shown the ...

Routine fertilizing would be optional, I'm sure.

I thought of Carolyn's crape myrtles1 along her driveway ... how I usually only saw them in the winter, when they are just hacked back trucks.

Last spring I saw them; they just might be worth the trouble.

1 This past Monday, I noticed the sign was corrected. Management dug up another 'E'. Plastic letter sets usually come with plenty of those.
They must have had the same beginners French materials as we growing up, because these lyrics served as a blague privée to us!
Ou est le piscine?

Pardon moi?

Ou'est le piscine?

Watching, Jeff and I are like,

"On va à la plage?"

"Oui, on va à la plage."

"Non, on va à le piscine!"

Had to be there. Come to think of it, we will va à la plage, today!
Sad news in this week's letter, another teen dies behind the wheel ...

"Teen dies after crash in Bergen" - Democrat & Chronicle, 8/31/07:
A Genesee County teenager has died after a one-car crash Wednesday morning in Bergen. Amanda Mabon, 17, of Oakfield, died Thursday afternoon at Strong Memorial Hospital, sheriff's deputies said.

Deputies said Mabon was driving south on West Bergen Road about 11:30 a.m. when her car crossed the center line and struck a tree.
Earlier reports give the street address of the accident as "7311 West Bergen Road". The high school is at 6917 West Bergen Road.

The teen was a member of Oakfield's soccer team. Her team had a game the next evening at Bergen, and the teen was driving near B-B's school.

UPDATE: visiting boyfriend's house, less than three miles away.

"Teen dies after car accident", WHEC-TV (Rochester).

You might mistake them for the Bills' farm team ...

"Rice Leads Rutgers Past Buffalo, 38-3", Forbes, 8/30/07
against a Buffalo team that won two games last season and is picked to finish around the bottom of the Mid-American Conference again this year.
Better than previous face-offs with results like 50-0. UB has gone entire seasons without winning a game.

This level of competition just seems, uh, so out of their league.

"Bills Fall to Rutgers In Opener", UB Athletics.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The only task on my pouch pagefinder to-do list was "order new Franklin Planner."

My custom calendar runs out this month, uh, tomorrow, but I've been surviving on the month-at-a-glance view since April. And, I have news for you: the month-at-a-glance view doesn't provide enough note-taking space.

I'm not really sure where the box holding my daily pages for each month is ... and the good news is that, now I don't need to find it! Who said there's no upside to carelessness?

Did I rush delivery, at extra cost, to have the pages next week? Funny thing about the shipping options. Between the weekend and the holiday, "UPS 2-day" is still five days out.

But I have an inkling that September will be busy.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Matt's posting on the Church's long-standing rejection of Masonic ideology reminded me of my brush with Freemasonry in college.

A teammate's father had been a high-positioned member of a local lodge that, as a tribute to his memory, supported his family with sufficient subsidies towards her undergraduate tuition. She never said more about it than to credit "my dad's lodge" with this or that benefit she enjoyed. We all knew her father had died during her high school years. Consequently, her racing was rumored to be "off" her first season or so of intercollegiate competition. When she did at last break out of her mourning-induced running slump, I was speechless at her speed!

Sure, we were teammates but, more accurately, we were "friends-of-a-friend". Our mutual friend was a year ahead, another Buffalo-area athlete who wasn't familiar with my high school accomplishments as she was with Gail's. Track and cross country in Section V, Class C didn't tend to register with the big dogs of Section VI. Still, we were both distance runners - 'though she more than I - and we bonded over our long Sunday runs in ways sprinters can't. We had faith in common as well.

I don't remember the exact year her father died but the three of us were like widows at the funeral.

Gail drove me to Ss. Peter and Paul Church on 5 in Williamsville. As the service started, she shared with me her mother's instruction not to approach for communion. She seemed more concerned about obeying her mother and not causing offense than in expressing any personal aversion. Respectful of her intention, I likewise made up my mind not to approach either, in solidarity with her. After all, she confided in me in such a way as to give me the impression that she was unaware of my affiliation. Maybe that should have disturbed me, having a friend and teammate who's unaware I'm Catholic. But I could see her empathy for the bereaved, that she was reliving her father's death, both of us were, as we watched Lisa in tears enter the sanctuary. We just had to be strong for each other. I daresay, she wasn't aware that my father had died the spring before. Nobody at school knew. It's probably easier to mourn when no one knows. There aren't uncomfortable "looks".

I remember her reciting the Our Father without difficulty when the time came. And I sat there with her during communion, as I always do whenever I attend Mass with a non-Catholic - my husband excluded, necessarily.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The assistant principle asked whether I would talk to a prospective parent.

I told her that I would be delighted.

Within a day, the parent called but I barely got a word in. She really just wanted to talk about her children's most recent school, in the City.

I don't think that she dropped the name but even if she had, I'm too ignorant of City schools to be impressed.

Don't they all run about the same - $30,000 / year - starting in Kindergarten1?

Does she think she'll find something comparable in New Jersey for a third of the cost?

I almost steered her towards Princeton or Tinton Falls, for her own sake.

I almost said, "Sincerely, we'd love to have you. But if you are looking at your kids' school as some kind of a status symbol for yourself, uh, you're looking in the wrong place."

There's just no contest between a central Jersey elementary and middle school and an East Side school.

This late in the summer, her mind is already made up for the fall. Yet, she is mourning the loss of that prestigious East Side school. Speaking well of the school with others eases her grief.

1 "Tuition Hits $26,000, and in Private School New York, That's Just for Kindergarten" - NYT, 3/10/04.
My, uh, my nephew has gotten himself engaged. He's the eldest of his generation and the first to do so.

They, eh, they met online. How do I know this? It's posted online, how they met ... is posted online. At

Their engagement announcement included the URL to their "Wedding Website" because their gift registry information is there, along with a link to RSVP, sign a guest book, book hotel reservations, learn who's who in the wedding party, and read how they met ... from her and his point of view.

Basically, he got no hits at eHarmony and started scouting profile pix on Myspace. A few minutes of IMing her and got his first date.

Googling her name turns up a second-generation, family accounting practice, and the bride is a newly-minted CPA!

That explains their honeymoon in Hawaii.

I "broke in" my updated Macy's card on their wedding gift, one of those KitchenAid Artisan Mixers; it was on-sale, $100 off.

"Why?" Jeff asked.

"Because I love mine so much," I answered.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Cool! My former employer gave me a full year of Equifax Credit Watch GoldTM for free!

Because a "laptop computer containing legacy corporate benefits plan information" was stolen. Some of my personal information was contained therein.

Oh, well, whatever.

After the beach on Friday, I persuaded Jeff to drive the kids home while I browsed bookstores in Eatontown.

I had in mind a book but didn't find it.

I bought another one of Wills's books; it has some "how-to," if anyone needs that.

Like his other books, I appreciate his translation of the Scriptures. He might convince me to adopt those Mysteries of Light I've been shunning. I was relieved to learn from him that some freedom I take with the mediation is allowed, even encouraged.
"Devotion to Mary does not divert us from the path to Christ. In fact, her very title in the Hail Mary, Mother of God (Theotokos), was hammered out in the debates on the nature of Christ at the Council of Ephesus. Arians there wanted to deny her that title as a way of denying the divinity of her son. They would call her only Mother of Christ (Christotokos)." The Rosary, xvi.

"It should be remembered that all this activity [the history of the Rosary - tks] took place before the Reformation, so that the rosary is part of the history of Protestants as well as Catholics." ibid., 6.
I appreciate what Wills says on the Our Father:
"Scholars are now agreed that this is an apocalyptic prayer. ... In an apocalyptic context, where the messianic meal at the end of time comes first to mind, this suggests the feast God will have with his saved ones.

"We are asking to anticipate our homecoming, to sample even now the final blissful meal.

"The Lord's Prayer refers, then, to our participation in the Eucharist as a prefiguration of the feast at the end-time." 17-18.
I remember reading a more thorough explanation of the Our Father along those apocalyptic lines in an article by Raymond Brown, published in his New Testament Essays which I have, a used copy from Amazon, around here somewhere.

Brown's article is the seminal piece on an apocalyptic interpretation, and no doubt Wills draws from Brown anonymously1, as he does by name in the Introduction, "The Finding in the Temple" from Luke (xv).

1 In fact, Fr. Brown's article appears in the Background Reading listing on page 187.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

I've said before: On Saturday, the XBox comes out to play.

I like the Avatar: the Last Airbender1 game because it's quiet ... very, very quiet. :-) The boys can play that game all day as far as I'm concerned.

But the Cars game is cute and there's no fighting. You know, even Avatar has some one-on-one duels. But Cars has music and the boys "play it loud". One of the songs is Free Ride.

We were driving to Garden State Tile on Thursday to pick up some 12 X 12 - that's a whole 'nother story! - and the CD changer went "deep" switching all the way to Disk 5. Neither Chris nor Tim like me listening to the radio or my CDs; they yell at me until I turn it off. But Kenny was raised right: from a young age I had him groovin' to rock-n-roll ("Splish Splash," "Wake Up, Little Suzy," "Hot Rod Lincoln," "Poison Ivy," "Bye Bye Love" - I prefer S&G's version!)

Chris recognized "Free Ride" in just a few chords and was so excited. He asked me to repeat-play it a few times and I obliged. I don't know what I did wrong with Timmy and Chris - they aren't particularly into music. But Kenny especially likes Rush songs ... from the opening bars, he's like, "YES! I LOVE this song!" On Disk 5, most are taken from Grace Under Pressure - I don't know why. Maybe I like that album the best (not a favorite with the critics) because that was the first tour I saw; IOW, it was released just as I started listening to them, my first full exposure.

But, I have to get the other two into popular music somehow. I hope it isn't too late.

1 Not to be confused with James Cameron's forthcoming film, simply called Avatar.
It looks more finished, the stairs, now that the handrail, newel posts and balusters have been installed.

It must still be inspected, but I have reason to believe that it will pass. Staining and painting are needed too.

Instead of only two balusters per tread, the installers placed three because the treads were deeper than expected. At least that's how it was explained to me yesterday, but it's a mystery how the installers could be surprised by our setup.

Opening the front door to them, they thought they had the wrong house, seeing our completed front staircase.

I told them, "Just come 'round to the back through the garage ..."
Trying to recapture an earlier snapshot, no doubt ...

Have to see what Photoshop can do with it.

More at flickr.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Watching the late news last night ...
"'Who is John Galt?'"1

"Hmm, a British politician, a prime minister?!"

"'Who is John Galt?' ... Atlas Shrugged" ...

"Ah, I didn't read that one."

"Of course you didn't, you're still religious."

1 It seems someone beat me to the punch ... "A Literary Footnote to Deutsche Bank Fire" - NYT, 8/23/07

Yeah, it's my fault that it's rained for the past six days, blame me: I planted grass seed where the driveway used to be and prayed it would grow.

Planting grass seed in late August?

"That's preposterous!" Jeff said.

I'm far from gloating: warm September and October might kill it yet. But I hope that a little something is better than nothing at all.

Now if I can just keep the kids out of it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

I suppose what bothers me about this is the suggestion that today's Protestants check their attitude towards 1st century Judaism but not their take on medieval Catholicism.

"What Did Paul Really Mean?", Christianity Today, 8/10/07:
In the old perspective, works of the law are human acts of righteousness performed in order to gain credit before God. In the new perspective, works of the law are elements of Jewish law that accentuate Jewish privilege and mark out Israel from other nations.

... actually more a new perspective on Judaism than on Paul.

... reacts against the traditional idea that Jews in Paul's day believed they could accumulate merit before God by their deeds. In place of seeing Paul's contemporaries as legalistic, the new perspective says the concern in early Judaism was to maintain the identity of the Jewish nation
The author goes on to say that strands of 1st century Judaism had legalistic tendencies but these were in the minority.

Hmm, Judaism was no more monolithic then than today. Remarkable ...

But something else:

Why is it, whenever the Book of Galatians is mentioned, the confrontation between Paul and Peter is brought out? Are we still fighting the Reformation through the biblical personalities, still projecting our own antagonism upon the apostles?

The author warns against this:
But we must not read Paul merely with our favorite debate from church history in mind.

There can be no place in the church for cheap caricatures of ...

Too often I hear Christians disparage the law, so I am encouraged that the author says this:
But we must not criticize the law itself, as if it were a body of petty rules and regulations. To do so would be to criticize God himself. His law is "holy, righteous, and good" (Rom. 7:12).
Say anything flattering about God's Law among Christians and they brand you a legalist. Studying the Talmud has likely given me a subtle appreciation.

Jeff told me this story ... it's just so unbelievably sad:

"Lightning kills 1 at rehearsal dinner" - Courier Post Online, 8/20/07
A Howell woman who was to serve as the matron of honor at her best friend's wedding last weekend was struck by lightning and killed during the rehearsal dinner on the eve of the ceremony.

Cindy Osler, 45, had gone outside with the best man just after 8 p.m. Friday to check their car windows because the weather became cloudy. She was soon hit by a swift stroke of lightning from the threatening sky.

"Everybody was so happy, and then it became a nightmare," Dave Tarnowski, the best man, said in published reports.
The picture above was taken that night, around 6:45, as we were at the Colts Neck Fair when the storm rolled in.
Eh, something just seems fishy about this:

"More affordable housing, sans sprawl" - Examiner, 8/16/07
Millstone Township wants to subdivide its property on Burnt Tavern Road for the creation of more affordable housing.

Coppola praised the township's COAH subcommittee, which came up with the idea to subdivide the Millstone House tract so that another group home can be put there.

Coppola called what Millstone has done to fulfill its COAH obligation "remarkable." He said the COAH subcommittee has been very proactive in getting affordable housing unit credits for Millstone that do not require major development and do not disrupt the township's quality of life.

New COAH rules are rumored to come out at the end of the year, Coppola said. He said the new rules could cause Millstone's 69-unit obligation to grow to 100 or more units.

Coppola said every town without public water and sewer has had a difficult time figuring out environmentally sound plans for creating more affordable housing units within their borders.
Sure, it's better than paying Asbury Park to cover us but there's almost a "segregation" dimension to it, placing the housing in "that part of town".

I guess I just get suspicious when public servants begin "praising" each other as "remarkable" and "proactive".

tags technorati :
Now, tell me, just why does anyone buy one of these things?!

I think if we didn't already have the mantel, we wouldn't bother.

Supposedly a "name brand". The plumber and electrician prepped the site with a gas line and starter switch.

Three weeks ago, the "installers" did nothing more than move the unit from their truck to the house.

"We don't get involved in hookin' it up. Nope, been zapped too many times." Well, shoot, I don't want them installing it then; they don't sound qualified!

But, seriously, and I'm not keeping track of the expense because it's "all-inclusive" in the renovation contract, but figure - to have the site prepped and then have the tradesmen return after delivery to hook it up - that's gotta be a pretty penny.

The electrician took the installation manual home with him because he couldn't understand it even though he seems to be something of a whiz. He called the company for instructions as well.

Sure, who needs a fireplace in August, you ask. It's the principle of the thing.

It's turned into one of the most complicated, involved aspect of the remodel project. And don't get me started on how come our contractor seems caught completely off-guard by this chain of events.
Good things come in threes ...

The day's Responsorial Psalm is, of course, the alternative opening to the liturgy of the hours - lauds, vespers, compline - however you know it:
O God, come to my aid.
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Entre nous, I would have figured he was a tad younger ... *gasp*

Readings for the 20th Sunday in Ordinary Time.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Sure, the video is good but, ugh, what they did to the song ...

At the pediatric dentist's office, I was taken aback by the flat panel TVs, tuned to the Cartoon Network, mounted on the wall and on the ceiling in the room where they cleaned my sons' teeth.

My kids aren't familiar with CN so Kenny asked for The Science Channel.

Their system doesn't carry it, so they switched to The Discovery Channel. Both he and Tim watched a program on catching and tagging sharks, yes, completely engrossed but at least it was "real life science" - biology or something.

I just don't get why adults - professionals, even those who work with children - have this mentality that kids must be mesmerized by TV to make them easier to deal with.

I actually find it harder to interact with children when a TV is in view. I can't compete!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

This is for me, trying to sort out my thoughts ...

You could say that I have always accepted the "critical text," uh, rather uncritically. The English New Testaments I reference are based on it, what's the problem?

First off, the prefaces of some recent English translations have made clear that NA27 wasn't slavishly followed. Is there any consensus even as regards the critical text?

Secondly, four years ago, I read White's The King James Only Controversy at the suggestion of a friend.

For convenience, rather than read White with the NA27, I used The GNT According to the Majority Text because it footnoted the NA27 and TR variants. Not that I couldn't take White's word for it, but it's more meaningful to see the passages for oneself in context.

And, after reading White's book, I found myself questioning the reliability of the critical text like never before. I was completely unprepared for this result. How could I study through a work that was intended to convince me of a thing I already accepted and end up more open to the other side of the argument?

One simple realization: the critical text is a patch-work that never existed in real life.

I posed the question to Dr. Bridges at the time, why we accept the critical text when it's a patch-work that never existed in real life. If he answered ... and he rarely answers me anymore ... I can't remember what he said.

Don't get me wrong: I'm still committed to the critical text but my commitment stems more from habit (inertia), reinforced with a conscious act of the will, in spite of sound argument. IOW, things are desperate. When I think about it, it's scary. I try not to think about it.

But the concern was thrust upon me again when I came across a discussion about this very point on a good, evangelical NTTC blog that I hardly ever have time to read and ... to my dismay, I found myself agreeing with the Majority Text advocate!

For instance, a very helpful distinction from Dr. Maurice A. Robinson:
... there is a very major difference between an "eclectic text" created on the basis of a consensus of texttype-specific MSS -- whether Alexandrian, Western, Caesarean, or Byzantine is immaterial -- and an "eclectic text" created on the basis of individual readings that have been selected on various grounds from MSS representing widely differing textual traditions or origins.

Not only do the latter variety of texts fail to reflect any given texttype, but they present as putatively "original" a resultant text which is so composite in nature that it is far less likely to represent any presumed "original" than would any texttype-specific consensus-based text.
Hear, hear!

And again ...
Either (1) the original text -- whatever its form -- preceded and was substantially different from all existing texttypes currently known to us; or (2) the original text more likely reflected one of the currently existing texttypes, and the remaining textual streams reflect deviations therefrom; or (3) the possible rejection of all textual groupings and classification; or (4) no "original text" and no claim to be able to recover anything resembling such.

Most current critical text advocates apparently assume the first option as their presuppositional model.
James Snapp, Jr. clarifies the scope of the complaint:
the objection that the eclectic text of NA-27 "never existed in the manuscript tradition" is not itself a strong objection at all, if it is applied to very large segments of text.

On the other hand, when we consider small series of textual variants, the objection seems to have some weight.
I was thinking in small terms, not vast blocks of text. And I'm not sure this isn't a knee-jerk reaction on my part.

Andrew Wilson brings in this dimension which is never too far off:
The thing that really intrigues me about the argument is whether it contains an element of 'providential preservation' thinking within it.


The argument almost seems to take the form: The original text MUST have been preserved in one of the main branches of the manuscript tradition.

My question is, why? Why can't some of the original words have been ALTOGETHER lost and not be extant in any mss?

I think the argument about uber-eclecticism is much more powerful when it is applied AGAINST Alexandrian mss generally.
All of Wilson's comment and Robinson's reply are worth reading.

I'm not really sure where this leaves me ... except I have some more reading to do!

Friday, August 17, 2007

Colts Neck Fair

Far and away, the best carnival of the summer. We prefer to go opening night for the fireworks
but our friends had a conflict so we agreed to go tonight. Funny, Thursday's weather seemed unstable but nothing happened, and Jeff said he say fireworks from their direction on his way home from work.

Around 3:30 dark clouds rolled in here but there was only a 30% chance of rain and the thunderstorm warning did not include our county. We arrived at the fair around 6. I got their wristbands for the inflatables located near the front of the fairgrounds and kept an eye out for our friends and Jeff coming from work.

Within 45 minutes, dark clouds came our way again. The rides shut down and we were directed to the food tent. Jeff called us that he was prevented from entering the parking area until the storm blew over. Within fifteen minutes, all was clear again. We were entertained by a roving magician as we waited for the inflatables to blow up.

Another 45 minutes and more dark clouds, this time for keeps. They shut down the fair at 8pm.

We got some delicious shish kebabs from a barbecue vendor and, of course, I got my fried ravioli. In time, the vendors were ordered not to make any more sales so that we patrons would go home.

All told, we left an hour earlier than usual because of the weather. We'll try to do our Saturday chores in time so that we might return to the fair tomorrow and get our full kicks. After all, the kids still have birthday money to spend!

Last day of summer camp.

Kenny held back the tears.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The dropped header in our kitchen was lurking inside a soffit. Now it's exposed and needs disguising.

I've always been fond of the classic leaves and grapes, a la Bacchus/Dionysus.

It's a common kitchen motif but Jeff said I'd never find it in a frieze.

Well, he's right - I didn't. The designer did.

I called down to Arkansas and got the name of a dealer right down the street, at Millhurst Mills.

When I picked up the Benjamin Moore paint samples at Millhurst Mills weeks ago, I saw their wide selection of moldings. I knew in my heart of hearts that I would find a frieze there ... rather than at Home Depot.

And that's what happened, in a roundabout way. It's the color of maple sugar candy ... I almost hate to paint it!

Now the decisions are just beginning ...

tags technorati :

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

For years now on this day, I've mourned the death of someone I never met, the good matriarch of a Christian, South Korean family.

That isn't as creepy as it sounds, remembering a complete stranger, what with Presidents Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Christmas ... (those are birthdays! Yeah, I know) ...

I recall back to the time: some sought to comfort the bereaved by noting that the beloved passed on an important day in the Christian calendar.

While appreciating their good intentions and admitting her mother's own custom of also honoring that day, she was clear that she didn't inherit the same practice (Romans 14:5).

Now, after all this time, I wonder whether she's learned to honor the day, as her mother had.

Photo Credit: Rosary Altar, The Assumption, The Great Upper Church, Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Monday, August 13, 2007

The boys' camp bus driver said to me this morning at pick-up, "You certainly have a lot going on."

She has no idea.

The FedEx driver seemed relieved to hand me his delivery directly at the curb rather than negotiate his way to our front porch ... as they moved our driveway this morning.

Ella weighed in 3 1/2 oz. over Thursday's weight.

I picked up cash for the camp counselors' tips at the bank.

I called the painter with our color selections.

I reminded the contractors to hook up my old w/d.

I got the tile place to deliver our 2,000 lbs. of bathroom stuff tomorrow morning instead of Thursday to accommodate the tile guy's schedule ... and save our contractor making three round trips over there in his pickup.

I made an appointment for Ella with another specialist at CHOP, a hematologist, in October ... "No rush," they told me. Her white blood cell count has been chronically low across her numerous blood tests, so they suspect neutropenia. Just convinces me all the more that nursing her is the better option.

Got on Home Depot's case about the problems with our kitchen cabinets.

Berated my interior decorator for passing off a catalog of architectural mouldings from a company that hasn't supplied residential products in more than three years. Their sales rep. told me over the phone, "Oh, sweetheart, please throw that catalog away!" At what point do I dump my decorator for malpractice?

Tried to find out from Terry at H&H Appliance when our stove will be delivered.

Didn't hear from the countertop guy at Home Depot about making our template.

Took care of an unpaid claim from Kenny's ER visit in June with the insurance company.

And still had time to sit outside in the cool of the evening for half an hour or so. Life is good.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Penney's and Sears went the same way, if I remember right: unilateral upgrade of the department store credit card to a Visa. I dumped both store-branded cards as a result.

It's Macy's turn.

I declined the upgrade over the phone but had to use my existing card to keep the account open.

Do I want to keep it open, with its $500 credit limit?

It seems to me I exceeded that limit once when I bought a couple of outfits for a funeral.

Will I use the card more often now that online account management is available? No, I visit Macy's once or twice a year for perfume, makeup and Christmas presents for my mom (perfume). That's not changing.

What to buy, then?

I've been considering a new pocketbook to replace my eight-year-old black canvas number that's fading. I selected a slightly smaller purse - my Franklin Planner1 may not fit inside - to stop me stuffing it. It was 30% off.

Check-out was complicated because my outdated store card was useless. The young cashier remarked to her older co-worker, "I've never even seen one of these cards!" But I was able to produce proper ID and provide personal information perfectly, so the purchase proceeded to completion.

If I could have found the exact same handbag as I have, if I could have replaced my existing purse, I would have. It's more of an early messenger bag from Mudd ... I was already too old for it when I bought it.

1 Oops, I need to order my pages for next year, beginning September 2007.

"Name change has hurt Macy's": Decision to drop "Lazarus" not a hit here," The Columbus Dispatch, 06/06/06

Federated Department Stores - Wiki
The thing about a laundromat is that you can't tell from the parking lot how busy it is. There were fewer cars there this morning compared with last night yet the place was twice as busy. Yeah, that's because most patrons walk in.

And I thought last night how hot the place was and I wondered what it would be like in the middle of an August day. Jeff said it would probably be the same and he was right, no hotter today than last night. Amazing. Credit the ceiling fans.

The proprietess complained to anyone who'd listen about her supposed case of strep throat and sinus infection, neither of which kept her from smoking at any opportunity. If you ask me, it was more likely bronchitis. Still, she's there because customers count on her.

She seemed to know her business, 'though. That's such a rare treat these days when just about everyone strikes me as a charlatan. Whether or not this was her place, she was helping folks operate the machines and offering tips on getting out stains.

One lady came all the way from Plainsboro, claiming that the township is closing up all the laundromats there. That's despicable but it wouldn't surprise me. Just another way of controlling what class of people lives in town.

I've never felt the impulse to put up a clothesline in my backyard but I'd like to think I could if I wanted. The Plainsboro woman and the proprietess talked about neighbors cutting down each other's clotheslines to send the message that hanging laundry outdoors is unacceptable. Sounds petty.

With any luck, my w/d will be hooked up again tomorrow and by the end of the week my new units should arrive.
The party was yesterday but his birthday is today.

The party was a joint one with his older brother. We had it at a video arcade / putt-putt golf place on Route 18 South in Old Bridge.

Something of a trek from home but it's what they really wanted.

It seems to me that everyone had some fun. Happy Birthday, Timmy!

Flickr Pix

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I can't remember the last time I attended a lecture at my alma mater ... and I'll probably miss this one too:

"Elie Wiesel scheduled to speak in Lakewood", Examiner, 8/9/07
Georgian Court University, the Strand Theater and the Jewish Federation of Ocean County will present "Against Indifference," an afternoon with Nobel Prize-winner Elie Wiesel on Nov. 4 at 1:30 p.m. at the Strand Theater.

According to a press release, Wiesel, a survivor of the Auschwitz and Buchenwald concentration camps operated by the Nazis during World War II, has worked on behalf of oppressed people for much of his adult life.

Very limited tickets went on sale Aug. 1. VIP tickets, which include center orchestra seating, admission to a pre-event guided art exhibit and a private post-event reception with Elie Wiesel at the Georgian Court Mansion, are $150 each.
... a gezunt ahf dein kop, M. Wiesel ...

Friday, August 10, 2007

"Kids have 'whale' of a time in the Great Bible Reef", Examiner, 8/9/07
Local youths dove deep into biblical teachings last week.

Campers at St. Joseph Catholic Church's annual vacation Bible school experienced "The Great Bible Reef" July 30 to Aug. 3.

Pastor Michael Lang said, "They are learning that it can be something that they love. They are using their gifts to bring God's message to life."

In its sixth year, the church's vacation Bible school grew to accommodate 127 children in grades K-6, with 71 adult and teenage volunteers.

Lang said that vacation Bible school is fantastic every year.

"It's great to see them so enthusiastic and learning something," he said.
"In its sixth year" ... that's not correct. It can't be more than three years.

My kids couldn't attend because of day camp.

I've been looking around for a VBS that fits their schedule. Every year I consider the one at Debow's United Methodist Church because it's in the evening but it is pretty late: 6:30 - 8:30 PM. My little kids really can't be out that late, night after night, for a week.
"Still Wet"

I've come to the conclusion that tradespeople have no aesthetic taste in their chosen craft.

The seller recommended grout color and saddle material to complement my Tuscania tile choice. I was told that grout turns the color of cement over time anyway, albeit unevenly, so better to start out uniformly gray and be done with it. Talk about cutting to the chase. I wonder whether he reads only the final chapter of books.

The tile itself, which I haven't walked on yet, I like.

I like the size, 18 X 18" and the color. I don't know yet whether I like the texture or the size of the grout lines. I asked for 1/8" and I got 1/4". I hope by the time they tile my master bathroom, they learn how to make smaller grout lines!

You can see that the walls will be some shade of peach. And the tile is gold but could pass for sand. Again, Jeff calls it "plywood color". Speaking of plywood, they added a second layer before tiling. So, if my figurin' is correct, there's an inch and a half subfloor ... recommended.

You can also see that this room used to be part of the garage, as the driveway is still directly in front of the window. The driveway will be widened but I don't know whether it will be moved. I don't want it moved, but Jeff wants landscaping in front of the window. We could just dig out a part of the driveway directly in front of the window and plant bushes there. We won't really know what's possible until a landscaper comes with ideas.

The room is on the south side of the house and gets lots of sunshine. The prevailing breezes also originate from the southerly direction.

I'm happy to have an excuse for not doing laundry as the floor dries. But clothes are beginning to pile up ... I may need to run to the laundromat if they don't hook up my machines again soon.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Yet Another ... My daughter, poster child for the March of Dimes ...

And lest you think every baby looks alike, JeffS is credited on the site as supplying the photo. A worthy cause, I suppose.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Do I listen to corny music for days like today? When my kids are "twistin' & shoutin'" at their day camp's variety show?

Back-to-back shows is grueling on the parents ... and younger siblings.

Tim's was in the afternoon but Kenny stayed for dinner before his evening performance.

Tim, dressed in a white T-shirt and denim shorts, sang The Pointer Sisters' "We Are Family". He shouted his lines, as if he really believed it and he wanted to convince us!

Kenny's show had more acts.

We heard performances of "Ghostbusters", that Risky Business song, "The Monkees Theme". The biggest laugh of the night was a rendition of the Mets song: "Meet the Mets" ('62 version). I can never forgot that their day camp is "Mets country" with so many LI transplants.

And my son did "Men In Black"1. Yes, he was supposed to wear black but all I could find was navy blue. I have this "thing" about not dressing my kids in black. Nah-uh.2 Come to think of it, I don't do denim either.

Will Smith was a "featured artist" of sorts, as another number was also his. The final number was Thriller, yeah like the MTV video and nearly as long!

I'm concerned that I know more parents at my boys' summer camp than I know at their grammar school. But, then, all of the familiar campers were former students!

1 This video would scare him, actually. He doesn't like aliens, even if they dance.

2 From the Urban Dictionary, so true: a phrase one would use upon hearing something either stupid as shit, or just a general comeback such as "yer mom." Nah uh-ing is common in many farming regions, where vocabulary is below normal."
Oops, here's another one:

Too bad the article that it's associated with sucks.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Exploited again ...

Another one of our Flickr photos used online:

I snapped the picture but Jeff photoshopped it beautiful.

The photo was taken when Tim was significantly under the weight chart at a year old ... hmmm, is "too thin" eye-catching?

Folks have suggested to me that I model Ella; that's just warped.

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Sunday, August 05, 2007

I picked out a tile1 for the laundry room floor.

When I set down a sample for look-see in the room, Jeff remarked that the shade is virtually indistinguishable from the subfloor.

What's this color called, 'plywood'?

I couldn't disagree; it was uncanny.

I've grown accustomed to the dirty, golden brown floor in there, having lived with plywood since early spring. It may be natural that my tastes zeroed in on a tile of comparable color.

The walls will be a soft peach, so I considered a sand or a gold hue. Anyway, it's cheap and I need a lot. I hope to have it next week.

1 You have to click on the small gold sample to update the larger view.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

People have been blogging about breastfeeding ( here and here ) so I'll add my two cents.

I am at a crossroads with nursing because Ella weighs as much as someone half her age.

We've overcome a few things, she and I. Her five days in the NICU at birth meant that she was mostly bottle-fed from the get-go.

For those first four months at home, then, her sucking technique was characteristically bottle-like: dimpled cheeks, etc. She has now lost that poor form but she must still be a weak nurser. That is, she is not able to draw out the thicker, richer hindmilk. Our nursing sessions are usually brief, often, and she switches sides (too) frequently.

The GI specialist at CHOP wants me to bottle feed her formula. That would put more weight on her if she drinks it. Her drinking formula isn't a given at this age. But it would certainly undercut nursing. If I start bottle-feeding her, she is not likely to become a better nurser. The two activities are incompatible.

Blood work from last week revealed a low white blood cell count. Weaning her increases her susceptibility to illness even without factoring in the low white blood cell count.

So, in an attempt to ward off the specialist's recommendation that she be admitted for a few days for observation, we are mixing her dry cereal with formula instead of tap water and even gave her some formula in a sippy cup.

"Calories" is the latest buzzword around here.

Frankly, I don't care what she eats so long as she doesn't take it from a bottle. Obviously, my unwillingness to offer her a bottle dramatically decreases our feeding options.

But, at seven months, offering her enriched solid food and the cup seems a step in the right direction and offering her a bottle seems like a step backwards, from a developmental standpoint.

I usually favor pragmatic and expedient solutions to problems, but my negative experience of supplementing Tim's diet with Pediasure for the past four years has deeply influenced my attitude in Ella's case. Not even my husband seems to understand that.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Speaking of school buses ...

"With summer half over, bus issue still unresolved" - Examiner, 8/2/07:
Not a single bus company bid for the Millstone Township School District's out-of-district bus runs in the initial bidding process.

Approximately 160 Millstone students who attend school at the Christian Brothers Academy in the Lincroft section of Middletown, Notre Dame High School in the Lawrenceville section of Lawrence, St. John Vianney Regional High School in Holmdel, and St. Rose of Lima High School in Freehold will be affected by the final decision on the busing issue.

Parents of out-of-district students asked Board of Education President Mary Ann Friedman how the school district would accommodate those out-of-district students who would be forced to attend district schools due to lack of transportation.
"Parents in a panic over how kids will get to school" - Examiner, 8/2/07:
More than 300 residents signed a petition urging the Millstone Township Board of Education to provide transportation for its nonpublic school students.

Boyle said that the school district currently has 36 buses of its own. Before the new middle school on Baird Road came on board this year, the district buses all originated from the former middle school site on Millstone Road.

"Now, they will have to go out and come back for a school three miles away," Boyle said.

Resident Ron Schlegel said he does not see any winners in the busing situation. He said that taxpayers would have to foot the bill for private school students to attend public school if the district has transportation problems.
And the real kicker:

"Boyle follows Setaro's lead to Freehold" - Examiner, 8/2/07:
The school district's business administrator will soon join its former superintendent in the Freehold Township School District.

Business Administrator Brian Boyle, who has worked in the Millstone Township School District since December 1997, has been hired for the same position in the Freehold Township School District.
And don't overlook this letter -

"Parent feels betrayed by action of the school board":
Some say that if you can afford to send your child to a private school, you can afford busing. However, we are not prepared to have to pay for our child to get bused to school. What do our taxes pay for?

By making the choice to send our children to private schools, we are actually saving the taxpayers of Millstone approximately $1.5 million. And, all that we are requesting is for you to provide four to five buses. It costs approximately $129,000 to bus our children, which is a lot less than $1.5 million. We are not talking about one or two children here, we are talking about 150-plus Millstone children.
déjà vu all over again.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

I've wondered what my 1,000th post would be about.

I guess it's about A-Rod.

First, last night's game:

In New York, Rodriguez didn't contribute to the Yankees tying a team record with eight home runs in a game.

Rodriguez went hitless in five at-bats to remain at 499 career home runs. He's set to become the 22nd major-league player with 500.

Hideki Matsui hit two homers as the Yankees matched the team mark set June 28, 1939, against the Philadelphia Athletics. Bobby Abreu, Robinson Cano, Melky Cabrera, Jorge Posada, Johnny Damon and Shelley Duncan each added one homer in the win.
"Bonds, Rodriguez, Glavin Fail to Reach Baseball Milestones" -, 8/1/07

A similar story in tonight's game that just finished: the other guys hit home runs and A-Rod didn't.

Ella gives him her Bronx Cheer after each at-bat. She's just at that age when her raspberry's ripe. Home

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"Kitchen cabinets are a milestone, like sheetrock. You should be happy."

"I'll be happy when they arrive and there's no damage and they are installed."

So, by next week I should be happy. Check back then.