Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Memory Lane

Add a comment on my blog, leave one memory that you and I had together. It doesn't matter if you knew me a little or a lot, anything you remember! Next, re-post these instructions on your blog and see how many people leave a memory about you. It's actually pretty funny to see the responses. If you leave a memory about me, I'll assume you're playing the game and I'll come to your blog and leave one about you. If you don't want to play on your blog, or if you don't have a blog, I'll leave my memory of you in my comments. I can't wait to see what people remember.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Vicki

My brother and parents are going to be away from the house for a week or so in August, and their regular dog-sitter won't be around. I really want them to bring Vicki up here so she can stay with me while they're gone. I love her!

Monday, July 28, 2008

I feel disgusted by some people

I will start this post by stating what a far more clever person than I once wrote:
If you don't want it on the 'net, don't put it on the 'net!
That being said, I will respect privacy and leave names out of this bit.

A blogger wrote the other day:

Thought of the day...

...is anyone else tired of hearing about the pregnant "man" who gave birth? "He" is not a man! Give it up people. Let it go.

I clicked the link to comment, and saw these two already there:

Thank you. I very much agree. Also, can anyone explain why this "guy" who is married is the one who got pregnant when "he" has a perfectly capable wife?

and

Pet Peeve #1,257,578.23:
People who do really ridiculous stuff just for attention.


I had to respond. However, this blogger chose not to "approve" my comment, so it was never posted. Therefore, I will post it here, in as much of its entirety as I can remember.

He IS legally a man. His wife had to have a hysterectomy when she was younger, and is therefore unable to have children. This was the only way for them to have a child that was biologically related to one of them.

I think this had less to do with them wanting attention, but rather, with them wanting a child. Why should you be allowed to have children but then deny them that same right?

My pet peeve? Making judgments about someone else just because they make different decisions than you.

Or maybe we should just make miscegenation illegal again?
On that note, I ran across this interesting little bit in the LDS Aaronic Priesthood Manual 3. This would be in Chapter 31: Choosing an Eternal Companion. (emphasis mine)
Quotation and discussion

Compare the results of the vote with the following statement by President Spencer W. Kimball. Have a young man read it.

“We recommend that people marry those who are of the same racial background generally, and of somewhat the same economic and social and educational background (some of those are not an absolute necessity, but preferred), and above all, the same religious background, without question” (“Marriage and Divorce,” in 1976 Devotional Speeches of the Year [Provo: Brigham Young University Press, 1977], p. 144).

So perhaps the Mormons would like to see a Constitutional ban on both miscegenation and same-sex marriages.

Whatever happened to loving your neighbor?

Pitiful.

Bust a move

In order to make sure I have a healthy heart, I know I really need to do some cardio exercises during the week. Plus, it'll help control my anxiety and get rid of some of my flabdominals in the process. I refuse to run outside for two reasons: 1) the humidity here would kill me with one shot; and 2) I don't really want to be one of those women who gets attacked in the middle of the afternoon. The perks of living in an urban area.

The gym? Well, I got a membership and have been once. I'm not very good about that.

So, I thought to myself, I love dancing around the house, but I look foolish when I perform these same moves in public. Erego:


There were about 7 different options to choose from at the bookstore last night. I almost got the Dancing With the Stars: Cardio Dance, but I couldn't tell if it had different time options like the Gaiam video.

We'll see if this goes any better!!

Backstage with Barack

Barack Obama will deliver his nomination speech at the Democratic Convention in Denver in front of more than 75,000 people at a huge, free, open-air event outside of the convention hall.

It's going to be an amazing event, and if you make a contribution of any amount before midnight on July 31st, you could be selected to go Backstage with Barack:

https://donate.barackobama.com/backstageinvite

Friday, July 25, 2008

Obama in France

According to McClatchy:

Sarkozy called Obama "my dear" and said he'd work with any American president — but "I am especially happy to be meeting with the senator."

In an effusive, rambling soliloquy, Sarkozy said twice that that "the French love the Americans," and declared that "the adventure of Barack Obama, it is a story which speaks to the heart of French people and speaks to the heart of Europeans."


Thursday, July 24, 2008

The results

Okay, the landscapers are done. They didn't finish until this morning, which is why I didn't put pictures up last night. I tried to take the pictures from the same spots as the others, so you can compare.

The border beween the two halves of the back yard

Before

After

The yard from the driveway

Before

After

The steps and pathway to the back porch

Before

After

The pathway to the back porch from the steps

Before

After

I like the new pathway up to the back porch, and it's nice to have all of the ivy gone, but I miss the green! They were very gentle with my plants, and as you can see, the lavender and roses haven't been touched. However, my flowers in the back, that were still small green shoots, have been mulched over. We'll see if any of them continue to sprout up through the mulch. Oh, and the flowering trees have been cut down.

So, what do you think of the changes?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Keith Olbermann

A couple of weeks ago when Brian was out here, he mentioned watching Keith Olbermann. I said, "Bah! I hate all those pundits!"

But, he got me curious, so I actually watched a couple of episodes of Countdown, and I must say, they were rather enjoyable! I'd like to describe it as a bit like The Daily Show, but with a little more brain.

Here's a clip from last night's show. Good times.


The "garden-destroyers" are here

Here is what my yard looks like right now:

The border beween the two halves of the back yard


The yard from the driveway


The steps and pathway to the back porch


The pathway to the back porch from the steps


I'll post more pictures tonight after they leave... I'm scared of what it will look like! I hear the chainsaw now... :-(

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Updates... with one teensy political comment

Summer break has been meandering along nicely. Lately, it's been a bit too hot to work to much in my garden. Plus, the air quality has gone between Code Orange and Code Red every day for the last two weeks. So, I've been spending a lot of time inside, reading or catching up with friends on ye olde Facebook.

Speaking of my garden... Eric talked to the landlord yesterday (finally!) about the holes and foxes in the yard. The landlord is having a landscaper come out on Wednesday to make a bunch of changes to the back yard (how will this affect the foxes? we'll see...). He's going to have them tear up the divide between the near back and far back of the yard. I'm not super pleased about this, as this is where I've spent hours this summer digging and planting. I'm afraid that most of my gardening work will be disappearing tomorrow, and becoming what? I have no idea. I hope he actually does do something about the foxes, though, and fixes up that far back yard, because it's really ugly and scary back there, and the trees have been a nice border so I don't have to look at it or go back there.

He also wants to extend the patio to connect the back porch (off the kitchen) to the concrete area off the back of the house. I REALLY hope this doesn't mean my lavender and roses will be hacked away.

I'll have to keep an eye on what's going on out there tomorrow, but I'm rather disappointed about all of this. We'll see how it goes.

I went in and worked for 3 days last week. The kids in summer school have to take their SOL exams, so I decided to be a proctor for those to get a little extra money this summer. I'll have to go in a total of 8 days over July and August, and I'll get paid $26/hour. Not loads of cash, but enough to maybe buy me a couple more pairs of shoes! :-)

I got my hair cut yesterday. I hadn't been since January, I think... whoa! I cut off about 4 inches. It's still pretty long, but it looks much shorter to me, since that's what I was used to. Here, I'll give you a picture, even though I was really hot yesterday when I took it, so my face looks shiny-funny.My hair used to cover my boobies. So yes, it's much shorter to me, but I like it! Plus, it'll just keep on growing!

Sometimes I like to dance around the house. This is what I look like:

Ha! Good times. You know, I drew that myself :-)

Last thing for now... I just have to post it, even though I promised nothing political. But, come on! There's a chance this guy could be elected president!! The Middle East is a VERY important part of our foreign policy, and our leader NEEDS to be knowledgeable about it!!



If what he just said didn't shock you, please take a look at the map, and excuse me while I cry a little bit.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The "inexperience argument" is crumbling

Barack Obama is currently in the Middle East meeting with leaders there to discuss plans and ideas for the future and America's role there. John McCain has consistently said that Obama lacks experience, especially foreign policy experience, and cannot be trusted to lead this country in the right direction. He challenged Obama to visit Iraq himself to see the situation on the ground.

Well, it turns out that this trip of Obama's is working more and more in his own favor. Each meeting he's had thus far (first in Afghanistan, now in Iraq) reconfirms that Obama has the right ideas.

From an article entitled "Iraqi leader meets Obama, calls for U.S. troops out by end of 2010" we learn:
After talks with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama on Monday, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki reaffirmed that Iraq wants U.S. combat troops to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2010, a few months later than Obama had proposed.

Ali Dabbagh, the prime minister's spokesman, said Maliki and Obama didn't discuss specifics during the hour-long meeting. But he said the Iraqi government would like to see all American combat troops out of the country by the end of 2010, a bit later than Obama's proposal to draw down all combat brigades within 16 months after he'd become president.

"Barak Obama showed his support to this government," Dabbagh said. "He came to listen to our views and the views of the prime minister. And the prime minister gave him his point of view about the presence of U.S. forces and . . . what we want from the forces."

"We had a very constructive discussion," Obama said upon leaving the meeting at the prime minister's private residence in Baghdad's fortified Green Zone.

Perhaps Obama really is the leader with the right judgment?

PS. I promise I'll post something non-political later today!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's all in your head

Worried about the economy? Bills piling up? Feel like you have to choose between buying groceries or putting gas in your tank?

Good news! It's all in your head!


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Daily Dose of Obama

So, if you're tired of reading about why I support Obama, listen to this guy, instead.



And, just because I love this clip so much:



Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Cupcakes

Last night, I felt like cupcakes, so I walked down to the market and picked up some white cake mix and chocolate frosting. I totally don't have a sweet tooth, but oh my god, these cupcakes are SO GOOD!

I ate 3 last night and 2 this morning.

Whoops!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Obama'08 Bumper Sticker

I have a bunch of Obama'08 bumper stickers. If you want me to send you one, let me know. If you know I don't have your address, send me an email. It's the very first bumper sticker I've ever put on a car of mine. Whoa!

Or, you can also get one for free at MoveOn.org.

Anybody know the price of gas these days?

Back in February, a reporter asked Bush about the predictions that gas would reach $4 a gallon. His response? "That's interesting. I hadn't heard that."



Then, in a press conference today, another reporter referenced the remark. And today's, much more enlightened response? "Where are they now?"



Hehe, aren't I cute? I'm so out of touch with the needs of the American people that I have no idea what they are paying for gas, and I clearly don't care. Heck, I make more money this way! It's good to be an oil man. Heh heh heh heh heh.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Being Open

This is a student at my school. I love that I'm at a school where diversity is not only accepted, but celebrated, by both the students and the staff. And by the way, the teacher he mentions in the video is NOT in my district -- she was in the district he lived in before moving here.



You can read the 4-page Washington Post story: Owning His Gay Identity -- at 15 Years Old

Belgian Budweiser!

Anheuser-Busch finally gave in. They've agreed to sell their company to the Belgian beer brewer InBev. Hey, maybe Budweiser will start tasting good, now!

From the New York Times

My Plan for Iraq

Published: July 14, 2008

CHICAGO — The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.

The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president. I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown.

In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda — greatly weakening its effectiveness.

But the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true. The strain on our military has grown, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and we’ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted. Iraq’s leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country, and they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.

The good news is that Iraq’s leaders want to take responsibility for their country by negotiating a timetable for the removal of American troops. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. James Dubik, the American officer in charge of training Iraq’s security forces, estimates that the Iraqi Army and police will be ready to assume responsibility for security in 2009.

Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government.

But this is not a strategy for success — it is a strategy for staying that runs contrary to the will of the Iraqi people, the American people and the security interests of the United States. That is why, on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war.

As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.

In carrying out this strategy, we would inevitably need to make tactical adjustments. As I have often said, I would consult with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government to ensure that our troops were redeployed safely, and our interests protected. We would move them from secure areas first and volatile areas later. We would pursue a diplomatic offensive with every nation in the region on behalf of Iraq’s stability, and commit $2 billion to a new international effort to support Iraq’s refugees.

Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been. As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won’t have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq.

As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan. We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there. I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq.

In this campaign, there are honest differences over Iraq, and we should discuss them with the thoroughness they deserve. Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea, and would redeploy our troops out of Iraq and focus on the broader security challenges that we face. But for far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender.

It’s not going to work this time. It’s time to end this war.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Tony Snow

This morning, former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow died after a long fight with cancer. I didn't love the guy - especially during his stint in the White House - but I'm not going to celebrate his death, either. So, here's to you, Tony Snow.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Straight-talking again!

John McCain's at it again! Nothing but straight-talk from this maverick! When questioned about whether or not he supports birth control being covered by the same health insurance companies that cover Viagra....



Oh boy! That's a tricky one!

Hope all you women out there that take birth control paid attention to that! Without insurance coverage, the cost to you would pop up to anywhere from $40-$80 a month. While at the same time, Viagra would continue to be covered for men. Therefore, clearly, it is okay for men to engage in sex whenever they want, but for women, it's taboo.

Women shouldn't have sex, but men can.

Wait, are you promoting homosexuality?

Ha, of course not! Oh boy...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Time for a new look

I went to hang out at the pool this afternoon with a teacher friend of mine. Afterward, we headed across the river so I could get my nose pierced. I think it's cute! This is a bad picture of me, but you get the idea...


It hurt when he stuck the needle through, but it's not sore anymore. Now, it just feels like I have a big booger in my nose.

Oh boy!

Life... Illustrated

I saw this on my friend Monique's Facebook page, and thought it was cute. Therefore, I am stealing the idea and putting it on my blog. And then I will be tagging some of you, so I can pass it on :-)

Instructions: Go to a photo site like Flickr, type your answers to the questions in the "search" box, use ONLY the first page, and upload a photo as the answer.

1. What's your first name?

Michelle

2. What's your favorite thing to do?

Cuddle :-)

3. What is your favorite color?

Mauve

4. What is your favorite movie?

Ferris Bueller's Day Off

5. What is your favorite time of year?

The beginning of autumn

6. Name your favorite beverage.

Merlot

7. Where is your dream vacation?

Croatia

8. What is your favorite dessert?

Sopapillas

9. What do you want to do when you grow up?

Change the world

10. What do you love most in life?

Learning

11. One word to describe yourself.

Comfortable


Now... I will tag: Lance, Marla, and Ang

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Is Google God?

According the website: "We at the Church of Google believe the search engine Google is the closest humankind has ever come to directly experiencing an actual God (as typically defined). We believe there is much more evidence in favor of Google's divinity than there is for the divinity of other more traditional gods."

They even provide a list of nine proofs to show the strength of their theory. They can be found here.

My favorite piece of hate mail?

"I'm sorry, but I must not only completely disagree with your little Googlism idea, but i must also call it insanely retarded."

Ah yes, this made my evening :-)

Politics, as usual

Since I'm on summer break and my flowers are coming up just fine, I don't have much in the way of updates. So, I'll post a little about politics again. Ah, my first love :-)

The AFL-CIO is releasing an ad tomorrow in key states (including Virginia) that is critical of John McCain and his Senate record.



The AFL-CIO has endorsed Obama, and we can expect to see more ads like this in the coming months.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The liberators have overstayed their welcome

Yesterday, Reuters reported that the Iraqis are ready for U.S. to create a timetable for withdrawal from their country (cue: screams of horror in the background). Specifically, from Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki:

"Today, we are looking at the necessity of terminating the foreign presence on Iraqi lands and restoring full sovereignty," Maliki told Arab ambassadors in blunt remarks during an official visit to Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates.

"One of the two basic topics is either to have a memorandum of understanding for the departure of forces or a memorandum of understanding to set a timetable for the presence of the forces, so that we know (their presence) will end in a specific time."

So... how does that play into John McCain's plan to remain in Iraq for another 100 years?

The Bush administration's response?
In a briefing today, spokesperson Sean McCormack said the remark may have been a transcription error:

McCORMACK: Well, that’s really the part — the point at which I would seek greater clarification in terms of remarks. I’ve seen the same press reports that you have, but I haven’t yet had an opportunity to get greater clarify as to exactly to what Mr. Maliki was referring or if, in fact, that’s an accurate reporting of what he said.

(cue: stick fingers in ears and yell, "Nah, nah! I can't hear you!!")

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Their own kind of fireworks

We went to our friends' wedding last night up in Maryland. It was a good time. The ceremony was supposed to be outside, but it was raining, so they were able to move it inside without a problem. We just went from have 120 seats to having only 30, but nobody seemed to freak out about anything. The ceremony and vows were very sweet.

The dinner/reception was also outside, but under a tent. They had a great live swing band playing and some delicious food. And the rain made it nice and cool outside!

I had fun hanging out with everyone, but I didn't last too long... I was ti-red! Eric and I went back to the hotel around 11/11:30 and I totally crashed out.

This was our table at dinner. Table 12 rules, Table 11 drools! :-)

Congratulations to the newlyweds!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Think about it, maybe


I saw this ad for The Nature Conservancy in Fortune and thought it was quite powerful. So, I went and checked out their website and joined. It looks like they do some really good work and they provide tips for simple ways to make your life more green. Because you might think, "It's not my problem."

But really, it's just not your problem yet.

Working from home

Hello to all of my new readers over from Facebook! Wow, I've gotten like, 55 friends in a day and a half! It's super :-)

I got that crazy-fun doll at a flea/farmer's market last weekend. She was only $7! The guy selling them was really old and said he makes them out of recycled material (envelopes, mostly, and he said the fabric came from the library...?) to sell so he can make a little money for gas to drive his van around to the V.A. hospitals in the area and play his keyboard for the patients. Cute, huh? He even had a tape playing with his keyboard music. I couldn't resist!

Eric decided to 'work from home' today, so he came with me to run errands all morning. It was fun! I bought three new pairs of shoes... who can complain about that??

Tomorrow we are going up to Maryland for a wedding. Too bad, no fireworks at the wedding :-) But, it'll be a fun time. We'll stay up there for the night so we don't have to worry about getting ourselves home after an evening of wedding-celebrating!

Not much else going on right now. Anything political to talk about? Oh, I picked up the latest copy of Fortune Magazine so I have more to talk with Lance about! It goes over both candidates' plans for the economy. I might do a voter registration drive... not this weekend, but perhaps next. Make sure you're all registered to vote!

The flowers are still growing well. I'm restraining myself from posting more pictures, since they still pretty much look the same. I'll wait till they actually flower.

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Oh, so THAT'S how you make friends!

Ta-da! I never thought the day would come, but I actually made a page on Facebook. I got an invite from an old friend and I thought, "Hey, why not?" I heard it was way cooler than MySpace, anyway. Am I cool enough for this? I'm not sure, but I guess I'll give it a shot!

I went to a garden center down the road yesterday and bought some new plants. Stuck them in the ground this morning. This one's a ground cover rose that's supposed to be about 30" high and 3' wide. I'm hoping it will spread out and cascade down the wall. That'd be so nice :-)


I also planted some lavender, but the picture was only okay, and I didn't feel like going out to take another one.

Believe it or not, I don't have anything else to say right now!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

New Clothes

I bought this awesome new dress from American Apparel that has over 20 different ways to wear it. Over 20! It's fantastic. Oh right, and it came in the mail today. Hooray! And, if you've never heard of American Apparel, you should definitely check it out. No labels and sweatshop-free.

Here's the dress, and the link to check out the different styles.

Extra! Extra!

"Mothers who eat junk food during pregnancy and while breastfeeding have obesity-prone children, rat studies suggest."

We really needed a scientific study to tell us this?

Oh sure, blame it on the women

According to Bruce Ware, a professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kentucky, women and men are both sinful. Okay sure, I've heard that before.

Oh, but wait.

The woman's sin: wanting her own way instead of submitting to her husband.
The man's sin: responding to her threat to his authority by either, 1) beating her; or 2) becoming passive, saying "Yes, dear," "Fine, dear," "Whatever you say, dear."

Commenting on selected passages from the first three chapters of Genesis, Ware said Eve's curse in the Garden of Eden meant "her desire will be to have her way" instead of her obeying her husband, "because she's a sinner."

...

"And husbands on their parts, because they're sinners, now respond to that threat to their authority either by being abusive, which is of course one of the ways men can respond when their authority is challenged--or, more commonly, to become passive, acquiescent, and simply not asserting the leadership they ought to as men in their homes and in churches," Ware said from the pulpit of Denton Bible Church in Denton, Texas.

article link

Oh dear. So, men, in order to assert the "leadership they ought to as men in their homes" would be better by being abusive? Wait, what is he trying to say?

Those crazy Southern Baptists!

As anyone who knows me knows, there is NO WAY that a man can expect me to submit to him. Ah, sweet Eric :-) I am, ahem, quite strong-willed.

So if some pastor was telling Eric that he should abuse me in order to reaffirm his authority? Oh no, there is no way I'd stand for that!

It's a wonder any woman is religious.

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