Melting and Inspiration

Mar 30, 2008 at 8:30 PM
Our snow-man is melting now. Finally - it's so cold for March.

His head melted oddly, widening and flattening, then his body tipped over... until we eventually had a snow-hammerhead shark.

-----------

The girls are looking for books about the inspirational things that people do to help one another. Something to counteract the news they have heard lately about people harming one another... I'd like to show them that we live in a world full of wonderful and hopeful things as well, so long as we take the time and effort to help each other out.

Does anyone have any suggestions?

I was explaining today about why I'm reading Banker to the Poor -- very inspirational book about Nobel Peace Prize winners in India (you should read it) -- when it struck me that they need that gap filled.

Last week, they studied about the International Human Rights Decree -- and they were both stunned. I found out why. They were shocked -- they realized that somewhere in the world are people who are violating other people's human rights as standard practice. Not accident, but purposeful hateful suppression.

I explained that, YES, that did happen. And making sure enough people in the world knew about the International Human Rights Decree was a great way to counteract that - information is the best way to defeat ignorance.

Etc...

Then we ended off on it for the time being.

I didn't realize that it had affected them so profoundly until Aurora started to tear up while I was talking about Mohammed Yunus and what he's doing in India. I asked her what was happening and she said that she was just so glad that he was helping people and making great changes happen.

I realized she still has attention on the rights and capabilities of people around the world. It was a shock to the system to imagine a world with hatred as part of the government syste.

I want to counter-balance that recognition of the evil in the world with something equally meaningful and good.

So, I need a book full of such inspirational people -- does anyone have a good book about humanitarianism around the world -- something that is age appropriate?

I don't necessarily care about celebs or sports people. Just do-gooders, charitable persons, those who have made the world a better place. Really any kind of non-fiction where the world is improved would be fine with me.

I'm sure there are plenty, but before I go shopping, I want your input -- Any ideas?

Moon Landing

at 3:37 AM

Recently, I heard my first about the moon landing being fraud. So far, what I saw of this conspiracy theory hasn't convinced me, but I wanted to see what you said.

So here's the poll results.

It amazes me that two of you were positive it's a fraud, 4 more weren't sure.

That's a pretty high percentage.

----------

Are we just so jaded now about our government that we no longer really wonder whether the wool is over our eyes -- only whether it's lambs wool or steel wool?

Are we now assuming there is truth in every theory that arises about any incident?

----------

OK. So, the moon landing. If it was a hoax, it was harmless. What isn't harmless is poking holes in the few remaining points in our history that we can unabashedly be proud of. The moon landing was one of them - now it's controversial?!

I have to agree with my folks - HOW could such a huge and nasty secret could be kept covered up for 40-some-odd years with no leaks? Not flipping likely.

I have my doubts - not about the moon landing but about the hoax thing.

You conspiracy theorists need to stop woe-telling and leave my remaining precious historical moments and figures alone. I value the pride amd morale that we, as Americans, derive from those moments. The space race was a problem of some other generation... My generation faces a massive lack of pride in American history (or even knowledge of it, outside of hearing about controversy). So, rather than push down more of that pride, why don't you do somethign to improve the country you think is conspiring against you so much?

So, quit it. Leave well enough alone.

Snowy Weather

Mar 29, 2008 at 1:56 PM
It's snowing here - HERE - at my house. In March (almost April!).

There is a light dusting of snow on everything, and more of it on my car.

Still, rather than play in our humble show of snow, we wrapped up in our thickest winter coats and tumbled over to Grandpa & Grandma. They live another 600 feet higher in elevation. I grabbed up Harlan on my way the same time. By the time Am wakes up, it'll be long past high sun, and the snow will be gone.

When we got up to the Upper house, we realized we'd forgotten the mittens, but they decided to play anyway. Freezing hands and all, they laughed and cavorted and ducked and sneaked.

So, we spent an hour there, until they'd muddied all the good snow that wasn't on the roof. The girls just got back here - from making snowmen, throwing snowballs at eachother and playing hard enough to not care about cold.

Now all three of them are huddled around the woodstove warming up and looking all rosy-cheeked and happy.

Well, I just wanted you to know. But I have to toddle off now. It's time to make hot chocolate and Cream of Wheat to warm these kiddos up from the inside.

Heavy Bareback

at 3:02 AM
The horse, Heavy (Short for Heavenly something or other really long), is a good bareback horse.

Julie, Katherine, Rory and Mandy all rode her bareback while SHelley and her girls were visiting from LA.

Julie is an old hand at this. Fearless. Skillful and caught on to riding without a saddle rather quickly.






Katherine was just giddy at getting to be on a horse -- bareback or not. Loved it. She'd only checked up on whether she would be allowed to ride a horse while she was here about twenty times. She had even started asking me before I left LA. It was primary on her list of things to do while on the ranch. And second, and third, etc.





Rory and Mandy have ridden bareback before. They got turns too, which was really sweet of Heavy because she was tired.





Rory rode, came back and Heavy got put away.



Mellow got really jealous. Heavy had had her picture taken, gotten to ride out with kids on her, and stuff.

Girls Night Out

at 2:13 AM
Well, the girls are sleeping over at Am's. Their friend Harlan is her son - he's 10 - full of mud and snails and tree forts. They've been friends since they were all babies. Tonight they:

* Tried to play Duck Duck Goose - Rory got smacked in the eye with an elbow. I'm not even sure how that happens. But she's fine.

* Threw paper airplanes off the loft stairs.

* Ran around the livingroom giggling

* Played chess

* Read a book together full of funny kids stories

* Crashed into deep and restful slumber

Do you remember being that way as a kid? I do. The total abandon with which you throw yourself into EVERY single activity. Even sleep. Lovely fun.

My little girls are so grown up and yet so YOUNG still. They are starting to LOOK like little women, but they're not there mentally yet. Time ticks on, and they're getting closer and closer to womanhood. I'm starting to see the "adult faces" they will have, under those beautiful little girl looks. They've gotten TALLER lately. Shot up!



Plus, yesterday I was talking to Mandy and she was holding her own, discussing history and word roots with me - nothing unusual, but her attitude towards me had changed. She was treating me like an equal. She used to take everything I said as hard fact. Now she challenges me. Now she checks her facts, thinks things through, asks follow up questions that are getting smarter and smarter. They both do that, but Mandy was the one talking to me just then.

I am so looking forward to experiencing motherhood from the perspective of equal.

They're getting more and more beautiful every day - like the beginning of Snow White.

They're going to be fighting off the boys someday soon enough - or flirting. Ugh. But tonight, they are eleven, and discussing the best way to make paper airplanes, which fart joke is funnier, and sneaking reading as late as possible by whatever light they can.

New pictures coming up next.

Life and stuff

Mar 27, 2008 at 7:27 PM
Bass-ackwards

There is a joke about Country songs that goes...

"Knwo what happens if you play a Country song backwards?"
"No. What?"
"He gets his girl back, his house back, his truck back, his dog back, and his job back."

Well, for a little bit there, things were turned upside down a little more than I was expecting.

But, as of today...

I've got my house back.
I got my phone back.
I got my mailbox back.
Kids are back.
Got my couch back.
Got my furniture back.
I've got my cat back.
All my stuff's unpacked.
Everything's arranged and looking good.
And Tucker is as happy as a young pup.

Looks like the song is finally finished playing backwards.

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Cat's Out from Under the Porch

My cat, Cole, was born right here. In fact, in this room, where I am currently drinking a cup of cofee and writing this blog. Almost directly under where I current have the foot of my bed. When he was little, he was the runt. One of only two survivors of his mom's first litter. He was a sweet cat, enjoying people-company and liking to nap on my lap.

I loved this kitty from birth. Totally loved him. He was my daughters' favorite.

You couldn't put him in the car though, because he'd FLIP OUT. He was a total homebody - never went outside for anything. Not even for night hunting.

He eventually became the only survivor, probably because of his shy nature. Laszlo disappeared in that mysterious way that cats sometimes do when they're Toms. And then his momma, Star, must have gotten eaten by something while out hunting one night, because she never came back home. And there is NO WAY she'd have left us.

So, eventually, he was the only one left.

When it was time to go off with Michael on our whirlwind trips, it was obvious Cole was not going to be up to the jet setting, so I left him with Am.

Well, as soon as he could, he sneaked outside, and stayed there. He tucked himself under her porch and refused to come out except for food when no one was around. She left the food out there every day and hoped he ate it before the vermin got to it. Couldn't get him to get near anyone though.

Didn't matter what she fed him, how much she called, or what she did. He wasn't having it.

Yesterday, she lured him out with wet food, grabbed him up, popped him into her house, and he spent a few hours curled up behind a big stand-up freezer, refusing to come out.

Am said he had gone feral, and Adam said he was not going to come out until we poked him out. Adam fetched a big stick, and proceeded to start poking behind the freezer. I told him not to. I saw a fire iron back there from some previous attempt to poke him out. Poor cat - teenage boys have their own ideas.

Not quite the same as mine.

I laid down on the floor right next to the freezer, looked right at him, and made the same noise I had been making for him when he was little that meant, "Come here, I want to pet you". It's kind of a "psst-psst-psst-psst-psst-psst" noise.

It took him a minute, but he climbed out and into my hands. Then he started purring and burrowing into my shirt.

I took him all the way home, petting and holding him -- driving with one hand, petting with the other. No flipping out at all. First time a car didn't make him freak out.

He spent his first two hours here glued to me, wanting to be petted, frolicking, licking, rubbing on me. So sweet. And he's obviously not fussed about Tucker being here.

No interest in going outside.

Not a feral cat after all - just didn't want to be owned by anyone but me.

I didn't realize that some cats act with the kind of devotion that dogs do. I didn't realize that he'd bonded with me so thoroughly. I have NEVER had a cat like me before - except when it was convenient for them.

I cried a little and petted him some more.

Well, I guess I finally have a cat that loves me, even when it's not convenience that makes it do so. Most of them won't give me the time of day. This one won't get off my lap.

Maybe I can be a dog person AND a cat person.

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Dogs and Cats

Still raining to beat the band here. Lots of rain. It hailed yesterday, hailed this morning and froze over last night. Right now it's COLD. Way too cold for March. The end of March no less.

It's snowy up the hill. SNOW. For PETE'S SAKE!

I'm almost totally out of wood, so I've got to drum up more wood for this late freeze.

The good news is it's fab-tastically gorgeous out. The sky at night has been spectacular. Wooh!

--------------

The girls have started home schooling on that new curriculum I got in LA. My Aunt's BFF is actually the creator of the curriculum I've been eyeing for years. What a co-inky-dink! I got first hand advice on how best to apply the curriculum, supplementary materials, etc -- straight from the origin point of the curriculum. Very nice.

They're pretty good at it so far. Right now they're doing Pilates for PE. They finished their first course in the series this morning.

Rory wrote up a great school schedule, and Mandy supervised. They brought it to me once they both agreed on it. They're sticking to it nicely, too. It's quite complex, yet it manages to spread all their subjects out in a doable way across the week, and in a good balance. I'm impressed and proud. We hung it up on the fridge and I've been told by Mandy that it's my job to make them stick to it.

Today's study guide is on how to analyze data to determine validity. It is a bit of a precursor to the idea of scientific reasoning, which comes next. Their study guide says for them to look for practical examples of facts, falsehoods and opinion in daily life and on TV. We have no TV. So, I'm going to be hyperscrutinized by my kids for a while.

Should be fun. Perhaps I'll sneak in a few obvious lies to see what they do.

No Phishing

Mar 24, 2008 at 6:39 PM
Phishing emails are emails that appear to be from your banking institution, and appear to have a valid link, but are actually links to a website dressed up to look like your banking institution (AKA: B of A, Paypal, BB&T, WaMu, etc).

For instance, the link might appear to be to:

secure.realbank.com/log-in-page.html

but when you hover over it, it actually goes to:

secure.realbank.com.faker.liar.com/log-in-page.html
OR
secure.realbank.com.faker.liar.com/whatever.html

The way that works is:

The owner of liar.com sets up a subdomain of "faker", with a subdomain of "com", with a subdomain of "realbank" with a folder in it called "secure" and BLAMO, puts a page up that mimics some authentic website.

Phishing is fraud, and is RAMPANT online. It is one of the most prevalant forms of identity theft out there.

The second someone inputs their username and password, the page sends their precious log in information over to a dedicated thief somewhere, one who then takes that secret log-in information, logs in to the banking institution, transfers all the money away, and leaves the victim with nothing.



Not good.

In any email you get, hover over EVERY link to see if it really goes where it says it does. Read the WHOLE LINK URL. The best way to go to your bank is to just follow your pre-existing bookmarks to the website yourself. Or type the URL of your bank into the address bar yourself. OR, if you don't know the real website address, search for the banking institution through your favorite search engine. They're good about sending you to the right website. And check the URL EVERY time you insert your log-in details for ANY site.

Good. You've saved yourself, but that's like running out of a burning building and leaving your grandma behind.

What is to be done about the other less educated web users out there?

Well, most of us simply say "not me, suckers" and delete the email, harumphing in satisfaction at having ducked fraud yet again. And, some of us think we're fixing it when we mark those emails as SPAM and report it to the SPAM filtering programs that way. Not good enough. Most people DO NOT HAVE a spam filter.

Phishing is only really blasted away when you or I report it to the people who can handle it.

How do you do this?

When you get one - DO NOT DELETE IT.

Forward it, instead, to spoof@ (insert real banking institution website here) .com
or abuse@
or phishing@

(I always use all three -- one of those will be the company standard for where to send phishing emails.)

For instance, if you get one pretending to be from Wamu.com, send the email to:

spoof@wamu.com, abuse@wamu.com, phishing@wamu.com

Also, forward the email to:

phishing-report@us-cert.gov

(The US Government has an office for this, too.)

In Internet Explorer, make sure your "phishing filter" is active. It's under Tools | Phising Filter | Phishing Filter Settings.

What I always do next is:
Using Internet Explorer, I go to the phishing page - the fake one. DO NOT CLICK ON ANYTHING. Nothing Nada Zip.

Instead, using your file menu, go to :

Tools | Phishing Filter | Report This Website.

You will be taken to an Internet Explorer Phishing Report page. First, report the site, then fill out the next page.




Within a few days - hopefully before too many people have lost their life savings, the fake website will be taken down, OR, will atleast make a big phishing alert pop up for the rest of the users of Internet Explorer out there. Which is the majority of people online.

I know it's a pain in the neck to do this, but if we ALL did it, it would take away the scammers livelihood. Following the above steps saves someone else from catastrophe, as much as doing it in person. You're preventing a crime.

I think it is worth the time and effort to do.

Don't you?

Boomerangs in Space

at 1:11 AM
Wow! Boomerangs still work in outer space.

Cool.

Quackery is spreading

Mar 23, 2008 at 10:05 PM
Here is a great example of a totally bogus psychiatric activity.

A random quote from the article in MSNBC...

The report that accompanies those results instructs doctors that a positive test means patients are two to three times more likely to have bipolar disorder. But the studies from which those figures come also show the gene variations themselves are rare even among those with bipolar.


BAsically what they're saying is:

Here's a test that shows you're probably bipolar, even though we are not quite sure what it is. But not even everyone we've already labeled as bipolar would come up positive for this genetic trait. In fact, not even the majority of them.

What genetic trait testing is saying is:

Here's a piece of the string that determines your physical body.

How did the psychs even manage to make a link between mental and spiritual stuff and the unlocking of the genome?

I don't see the connect, and before they start making money on yet another harebrained unhelpful piece of mumbo jumbo quackery, I need them to PROVE the connection.

Not because it disagrees with my personal beliefs (which it does) but because they are practicing ROTTEN science. Rotten. Real science requires a lack of assumptions. Basically, you are required to connect the dots.

There are so many missing dots in any psych science that there simply cannot be any credence granted to it.

People!

When are you going to realize that the psychs - every last flipping one of them - are duping you! TRILLIONS of dollars! Trillions!

And they've cured how many people (ever) of this elusive and undiagnosable bipolar disorder?

Uhm. None.

That's right. NONE.

!!!

Sheesh.

Maybe the people who are falling for this one are doing so because they're all hopped up on drinking water.

The Scalpel and the Soul

at 7:51 PM
Can doctors come to terms with the fact that we are not just our bodies?

This doctor is speaking out about the importance of the soul, in his new book.

I'm planning to buy it.

Hear him explain his book and tell his stories.

Choosing Religion - Scientology

at 3:14 PM
Choosing religions is such a personal choice.

In America, thankfully, we're blessed with a constitution that guarantees a separation of church and state -- there cannot be a sanctioned religion here. At least by the government.

But that doesn't mean that there aren't people trying to create a religious intolerance online. Those darned anonymous hackers continue to push against the wall that is religious freedom -- and in ways that they simply would not be allowed to do so in the real world.

Hopefully, there will be better legislation passed to protect people from hate crimes online, and protecting the freedom of religion online as well.

However, I digress.

The point here is that one of the comments I received back when I allowed anonymous comments was a pretended compassion for me, saying that when my kids grew up, if they chose not to become Scientologists then I'd never hear from them again.

Basically, this comment tried to tell me that I'd be forced to sever myself from my own children. A doom and gloom warning. (Pretended help.)


Huh. That's funny. Because...

I have this cousin, you see.

She is my favorite cousin, the same age as me. We were the closest cousins I know. We basically spent our early years constantly in one another's company.

When we hit our teenage years, we'd both gotten just about as much immersion in Scientology as the other. She a little less than I, I think. I had more counseling than her, probably.

At some point, I chose to train up and really learn my religion; she didn't ever do that. In present day, she is now a happy, well-educated, successful business woman, running her own company with her lifelong boyfriend, in a major city. We're proud of her competence and drive, and proud of how long she and her boyfriend have stuck together.

At some point, she chose not to be a Scientologist.

She isn't rude or mean about it, but she simply doesn't choose it for herself. And because she was around it constantly as a child, the lingo is second nature, the basic tools are second nature to her. She finds it very useful to apply to things. We never run into any trouble over this issue. I never would have even thought to blog about it if it wasn't so obviously needed -- to point out the lies being told online right now.

She made that break for herself only. None of us ever pushed her away OR tried to pull her back in. Religious choices are ones we make for ourselves. Each and every one of us. It was my cousin's choice to make, and she made it. I can't say I agree with it, but I respect her right to choose religions, just as I hope others will respect my right to do so as well.

As far as my relationship with the church, the fact that my cousin is a non-Scientologist now has simply never come up as a bad thing, and no one ever even brought up whether or not I should stop speaking with her or break away from her in any way.

I speak to her as regularly as our separate lives allows.

As far as I know, there is no religious doctrine I'm violating.

I spent the weekend with my cousin recently baking and cooking and hanging out. We caught up on a few years of missed time (I've been busy with kids lately), and we had a wonderful traditional Jewish meal (matzoh ball soup - yummy!) with my aunt and uncle. My Aunt is Jewish/Scientologist. It was so nice to see them, and to have a traditional family meal. On that side of the family, most everyone is Jewish. My aunt chose to remain a Jew when she became a Scientologist. She is both equally, and has been both for 30 years.

Now back to that comment.

Honestly. If the comment had been true, wouldn't somebody in the last 20 years have come to me saying I needed to break off from the side of my family that isn't completely devoted to Scientology only?

My family is completely cohesive, we all talk to each other unless we get too busy -- as with any family it happens now and again.

There is certainly no one I am made to break away from.

What a load of hogwash that comment was.

Probably, this boils down to those few people who -- being terribly upset with the religious choices of their family member -- completely mishandled a break in their family over religion.

I assume that it does happen. Human beings make mistakes. Each of us makes our choices our own way. Families sometimes take a while to adjust to the religious choices of other members. We tend to assume that everyone else in our group thinks the way we do -- and when that doesn't turn out to be the case it can be devastatingly difficult to find common reality - agreement.

It is that way for sexual orientation choices, and for religious choices, and sometimes for even the most mundane of choices. For instance, The mother of a friend didn't speak to her for a year over the placement of wedding guests. A religious choice is so much deeper than that. We can get offended because each of us believes we've found the RIGHT path away from evil. Each of us believes this intensely and deeply - that is the very nature of religion.

And so we can rush to make sure everyone we know is also on that right path -- sometimes being deeply hurt and worried for those who don't agree upon what path is the right one.

But as they say in Japan about religious tolerance:

"There are many paths up the mountain, but the view of the moon from the top remains the same" ~ Unknown Origin


I love my cousin very much, and respect her religious choices. She respects mine. I know her full history, and she knows mine -- as most cousins do. And there is no subject which is taboo in conversation with her.

Religious choices are very personal. There is a tenet from The Way to Happiness, which (in typical Hubbard form) goes straight and direct to the heart of the matter - "Respect the Religious Beliefs of Others".

"Faith" and "belief" do not necessarily surrender to logic: they cannot even be declared illogical. They can be things quite apart... The Way to happiness can become contentious when one fails to respect the religious beliefs of others. ~ L. Ron Hubbard


I will gladly respect your religious choices.

Respect mine.

Burned by the Flame

Mar 22, 2008 at 9:44 PM
Here are the poll results about how many love matches you've all had.



Interesting. Highest number of included people, of all my polls ever. Most of you had two or three. There were even a few of you in the "who's counting" range. Oy vey!

Some of you have been lucky enough to have one only (assuming you still have that one special person).

Most of you already know that Michael turned out to be a dud as a husband. He wasn't actually willing to create a marriage, after all. Once he knew what it was. So I left once it was obvious there wasn't a future there. We're getting annulled. I'm actually not in a bad way over it.

Love is an interesting thing. It is a created thing only. You cannot find it, you have to MAKE it happen. And both people have to MAKE it happen. Sometimes that happens on the first try, and sometimes it takes a few hard knocks. I know some people who are on husband or wife number 3-4-5-6-7 and are finally happy as clams at high tide, but weren't earlier. It really is a matter of choosing to create it. And choosing the right person carefully.

I learn that more and more as life goes on.

If it takes me hundreds of tries, I'm gonna get this whole LOVE thing right eventually.

I have not yet found that one amazing person whom I can easily share the rest of my life with and who wants to share mine, but I HAVE been lucky enough to find many great friends. I have a few very close friends among my exes. Some of whome read my blog. You know who you are.

I also have several wonderful female friends who are also in the single mom's club right now. So I must be careful not to start up a man-haters club. It really isn't the same thing from person to person.

But I don't think I have time right now to put into searching for anyone new.

Today, I:

Continued unpacking, repaired and moved furniture, set up the third bedroom, cleaned my house fully, fixed my stopped up sink, baked, cleaned the kitchen AGAIN, made two meals so far, worked for 4 hours, and led a small expedition into the woods with the girls.

Yesterday we got even more done. Busy, busy busy.

It is unbelievably difficult to be a single mom. There is so much more to do in a single day than I can easily manage. I usually drag myself to bed bone tired from just trying to keep up with myself (to hell with the Joneses). I'm not aiming high, I just want a great life right here in my own house.

Some days are so darn successful -- but there are always others than aren't.

I'm not complaining. I know I'm unbelievably lucky. I just know that I have put in more than the average share of hard work in life, and I'd like someone else to help me tow my rope.

It'd just be nice to find a comparable partner in life -- one that wants to spend the rest of his life in a happy situation with just one woman. And who can maybe fix a busted sink without me having to take over. Or -- as Shelley says -- I need a guy who knows that Paris is Hecuba's son rather than a damned hotel hieress.

Doesn't seem like a tall order. Especially not when everyone I know has nothing but glowing words for what kind of person I am. By their measure, I ought to have qualified men lining up. But no.

The adventures I've gotten myself into on the way to finding a compatible male to cohabitate with have been interesting to say the least. A few marriages crashed on the rocks, a few fleeting love affairs more aptly called mishaps, and more practically, a heck of a lot of car trips and plane flights.

I'm going to take a break for a while from it all, and focus on my kids and my job. I'm going to focus on being the best me I can be, the best mom I can be, and building up what I do have. I'm going to take more classes on search and rescue, and on things I'll need as a disaster volunteer.

I'm not planning on blowing from this, but I do know that I would kick myself in my old age if I didn't take every moment available to me to make what I HAVE got amazing.

Heck, with my luck, he'll fall into my lap while I'm out of the game -- at the worst possible moment for it.

And if not, at least my children and I will be doing wonderfully in the meantime.

Grease Fire advice

Mar 21, 2008 at 3:30 AM
Never put water on a grease fire. The water gets under the oil, and then the whole thing explodes upward in a huge ball of yuck. Don't try to smother the fire in flour or sugar either, as these feed the fire and create another huge explosion.

What I just saw was: 1. Turn off the heat. 2. Do not move the pan that is on fire. 3. Wet a washcloth and then ring it out. 4. Place it completely covering the pan in a smooth motion. 5. Don't touch. Let it cool completely before cleaning it up.

Here's the video I saw. It was sent by email, but it's the same video.

Inteligence Test

Mar 19, 2008 at 2:07 AM
Here's my result.



Actually, it is a test of ability to spot outpoints. Try it, let me know how you do!

http://www.mikescomputerinfo.com/inteltest.htm

Lots of Walks

Mar 18, 2008 at 8:56 PM
Shelley is here, visiting, and I told her all about the rare trillium flowers that grow here.

I almost NEVER see these flowers, as they're being crowded out by other life forms and they're extremely picky critters, for flowers, about where they live and such.

Today I saw a trillium flower while taking a walk with the girls.

We've taken lots of walks around the perimeter, so to speak. We walked into the meadow twice, the creek was visited three times (popular), and the kids went on a "daffodil hunt" for me earlier. A daffodil hunt means they find daffodils for the livingroom, but they only get them from where they aren't immediately along the main roads or directly in the yard.

In a short while, we're going to drive up to Lookout Point. I'll to show them all the sights between.

We'll also take the 3-mile hike (between my and my dad's house) and take in all the beautiful oak savannahs.

I wish the weather was more agreeable. It was SOOO pretty last week here.

This week, the week that Shelley shows up, it's pouring rain all day every day.

But at least the cows are complying. I was literally in the middle of telling her the demented tumor cow story (search my blog for old posts about it if you want to know more) when one of my neighbor's errant cows wandered into the yard and started eating my lawn.

Ahhh. I missed this place.

What Kind of Handgun Are you?

at 8:23 PM
I am a: Glock Model 22 in 40 cal
Firearms Training
What kind of handgun are YOU?


Woo hoo! A Glock 22 is a GOOD GUN. UNfortunately, I don't own one. I own a Smith and Wesson 908 9mm. Take the quiz yourself. But only if you're rady for the result.

Shelley comes tomorrow

Mar 17, 2008 at 8:40 AM
Shelley arrives tomorrow with her girls, Julie and Katherine.

They're going to be MUCH fun. Seriously looking forward to it.

We're going to use the Orchard as an Easter egg hunting ground - it's big enough for an Easter egg hunt the size of Clearwater's hunt - the whole town comes out for that! But it's just for 6 kids. I'm totally spoiling them this year.

And then we're driving to our local sea side town to see the Dunes and take a look at a Northern Ocean. Her tropical kids have never seen this kind of Ocean, which is a world apart from what they're used to. Almost ought to have a different word for a rocky cliff overhang, smashing kind of thing than the word for the bright sunshiney coconut frond beach they're used to.

Yay! Can't wait to see them.

No More Anonymous Comments

at 4:18 AM
Because of the barrage of misinformed or simply nasty comments I've gotten lately about my religious choices, and including links to downright lies and libel/slander/hatespeech links (which I'm not interested in receiving), I'm discontinuing allowing anonymous comments.

I even had one comment tell me that I'm raising automatons (to put a LONG comment briefly) because I called my kids "well behaved". PLEASE. Could you be more insulting? I have always applied peripatetic educational principles to my children, always talked to them about how to question the world, how to find Science in everyday things. I am encouraging free thought. Anyone who wishes to be their full selves OUGHT to use as much of their native incredible capacity for new thought as possible.

Anyway, I'd had enough when I got that one. I wanted to find that person's blog and see what other kind of communiations they were sending out. But, nope. Anonymous.

Another one sent me what looked like a SPAM list of terribly skewed and hate-speech filled websites. Again, I wanted to know who sent it. UMPH! No go. Anonymous again.

I looked through all the negative comments I got lately. I found only ONE common element in these hostile or covertly hostile communications. None of the people commenting included a username -- all comments were anonymous.

That's right, because of that darned "Anonymous" group of commenters, everyone needs to now declare their identity up front or won't be able to comment.

So, basically, if you want to comment on THIS blog, expect to be able to enter identification -- at least in the minimal form that this blog allows.

Otherwise you're not getting published.

Poll Results

Mar 14, 2008 at 11:51 PM

Hey - No one elaborated. BUM-MER.

Desi

My office is back up and operational, Spring is Sprung, and Cameras are busted

at 11:43 PM
Hey! I got my office all organized and operational again. The wiring is screwy and hodge podge - I can't remember exactly what cords went where, but it's all working, and it's all good.

But it didn't quite feel back to normal until I posted a bunch of artwork on my bulletin board that my daughters drew me.

Rory drew me a scene out of the sounds of music, except with her instead of Julie Andrews dancing on the hilltop.

Mandy drew me the most beautiful Indian woman (with a dot on her forehead).

And I got a picture of them and I hugging. They're saying "Mommy!!!!" and I'm saying "Sweeties!" and everybody has their names and arrows pointing them out. It's awesome.

I realized you'd like a picture of this art, but my cameras are broken.

How did I ever LIVE without a camera? I don't know how to function without instant gratification in the form of a working digital camera.


Anyway, as soon as I do, I'll take some pictures of Spring on the ranch. It's absolutely BREATH TAKINGLY GORGEOUS here right now.

Love-ly love-ly love-ly.

:)

Living is easy

at 6:56 PM
It's amazing how I simply don't get upset as easily at all by things people say or do anymore since I finished my basics line-up - I read all the most basic books in chronological sequence recently. Hence, I call it finishing "my Basics" -- it's become as common a phrase as any other in Scientology lately.

I am so glad we're all studying up on what our religion is. At least that way, there is enough knowledge of what a Scientologist actually is to be able to truly stand up and defend it.

I think there were far too many dilletants before and a great deal of us have had to confront our internal dilletantism and go "OK, well, I get it. I didn't know, but now I'm going to study up and start doing this for real."

The difference is tangible.

Honestly, this group has never been a better one to be part of than now.

Call Centers

Mar 13, 2008 at 4:22 PM
I love globalization. I think the more the merrier. Production in more places can ONLY result in more products, more wealth, and more people thriving. Flourish and Prosper!

However, the call centers for customer support should be located in a place where the person you're talking to can have compassion and empathy for you.

The girls in Bangalore who answer your phone calls for the phoen company do not empathize with you not being able to pay your bill. They still live in a cuontry where the worst thing that might happen to a person in that week is still starving to death.

Granted, the call centers are loaded with the very most fortunate people. All of these kids have skills, a job, a place to live, more income than most Indians, and such.

But they cannot drum up the compassion to make exceptions because of what seems like a really lame excuse to someone living in a third world country.

I make that blanket statement only because I have -- not ONCE since the changeover to Eastern call centers -- not once been able to get someone to remove a surcharge, extend my due date, grant me a little leeway.

And that's not because of a lack of politeness, or a lack of compassion. There is simply no empathy for someone in the land of milk and honey, the land of exorbitant plenty, who is having a rough time.

A rough time there is living in a 3 X 3 cardboard structure in the slums.

A rough time here is having to cut back on coffee and eat more Mac and cheese for a while.

There is seriously a difference.

And I honestly am not sure, if from the global scheme of things, I should be glad that every time I call my third world call center I am reminded of the small scale of my problems in teh greater picture, or if I want Joanie in Minneapolis back -- who granted me a 2 month extension when I cried about my car repair costs.

Something to think about anyway.

The Internet is not always enlightening

Mar 11, 2008 at 3:05 PM
I was going through the comments about the post I wrote about Scientology and Children a few days ago.

All of them were positive -- or so it seemed. One was mascarading as a nice post -- it called my article "interesting".

I clicked on the link she recommended as also being "interesting" and it turned out to be a covert attempt to get me to link my blog to a site trying to get Scientologists to change their minds.

What a ridiculous thing to do! Honestly, like I'm going to turn around and go "Wow! The last 31 successful years as a Scientologist mean nothing to me because someone made a nasty website. Oops! I change my mind."

Silly, silly people. When are you going to understand this is a real religion here. We're happy with our religious choices - each and every one of us. That includes you - or at least I hope it does. And it definitely includes me.

So, there is no need to send me links to sites to tell me how wrong-headed I am for being completely satisfied spiritually and mentally with my religion. I'm just not interested in changing the religion out -- especially when your recommendation is just to overturn all my great stable data and make myself into a nasty negative nellie like you've gone and done.

Geez - if you feel like talking to me that way, go ahead and clear your conscience in whatever way your religion provides for doing so -- mine recommends writing up your overt acts (deeds more destructive than constructive), but Catholics have confession, Christians have always got a Pastor/Minister to talk to, and there are countless ways in countless religions that were provided for clearing up misdeeds, cleansing the soul.

If you're trying to tell others that their positive, happy religious choices are BAD ONES, you need it. No doubt about it.

Want to Know more about L Ron Hubbard?

at 2:54 PM
Thursday is Ron's Birthday. Always a special day to me. I think about how great a man he was - and how glad I am that he existed.

Here's a site about his life:

http://www.aboutlronhubbard.org/eng/wis3_1a.htm

My kids are up to it again

Mar 10, 2008 at 2:10 PM
I was driving with the girls to the ranch on Friday. We stopped for gas, and the girls went into the store with a dollar or so to get gum.

Miranda came running out to me and said "Mom, Mom! (Big wide eyes) there's something we NEED to get. We already spent what you gave us but we NEED something else. Please can I have $3.30?"

"What is it?"

"Something. Not bad."

I said "Is it sugar?"

"Nope. It's good."

"OK." I gave her three bucks, and she ran in at top speed.

As I'm turning around from the gas pump I see Aurora and Miranda walking up to me being cagey with something behind Miranda's back. Uh-oh, I'm thinking.

Mandy and Rory suddenly pop out with a big sheepish grin and Rory handed me a yellow rose. They bought me my favorite kind of rose. That was the big emergency they needed the money for.

Awww.

Later Aurora said the man behind the counter asked her if it was mother's day. She said that was funny. Mandy laughed and said "It doesn't have to be MOTHER's DAY for you to love your mom!!"

And then they both cracked up.

-----

I love my children. Wow.

Scientology and Children

Mar 5, 2008 at 9:55 PM
My daughters are coming back in the morning from visitation with their dad. They arrive happy, well cared for and generally incredible as usual.

That is not an accident.

My ex-husband and I were very careful to use Dianetic principles when they were infants, to apply Scientology to our own relationship and to the relationships with our children and we currently have happy, bright, drug-free, remarkable, independent thinkers for children. They are extremely good Scientologists. I have absolute strangers come up to me and comment on how well behaved, thoughtful and bright my children are. Often people remark at how well my children get along with each other.

Again - that is no accident of fate. One child would be an accident. Two is hard work and right choices as a parent.

Doing it once is an accomplishment. Creating a life that allows two children to not only get along with others wonderfully but with each other is amazing. I am so proud of both my own choices as a parent - steadfastly applying Scientology to each and every difficulty as it arose -- and I am proud of the kind of father that my ex-husband is. He applies Scientology to his relationship with his children as well.

We may not have been right for each other as a couple, but we're doing a great job raising our daughters together anyway.

How often do people who divorce end up being able to successfully manage raising children together and maintaining great communication? If we didn't have our Scientology basics in, we'd be sunk. I credit the fact that we have reached such an amicable accord, that our children are happy, and that our lives are happy ones in spite of our difficulties and differences with the fact that we simply act on the good ethical principles that our church was founded upon.

The girls read the Way to Happiness - and did the extension course - last year. This resulted in clearing up all worry that they had about how to enter teenage hood, what was appropriate behavior, how they should approach the ethical dubiousness of their friend's behavior at school. The list goes on.

Scientology is so obviously an amazing, workable way to improve the quality of a life - you have to wonder what the heck people are thinking when they suggest that the children of Scientologists are worse off for it.

That's just crazy.

I was raised as a Scientologist. That's right, I'm second generation -- and my kids are third. Even though most of my friends didn't know or care about my religious choices, every one of them was envious of my parents. And they were AWESOME parents.

My father loved to challenge me to think for myself. He would present me with wonderful concepts to solve, provide me with odd jobs so that I felt productive and let me help even when it slowed him down or caused problems. He was ALWAYS incredibly good at making me feel like a whole, worthwhile person. It's called "granting beingness" and I have to say that my dad kicks butt at it. Every person, from 6 months to 60 - everyone is treated like an equal by my father - He applies a policy called "You can be Right" to life. And it has been so successful as a relationship management system -- everyone I know likes my dad. My best friend says he's the best dad ever.

Was this because his parents were good parents? No. Did he learn from their example? They were pretty bad - alcoholism, bad marriages and drug use runs rampant in his family and there is very little stability -- but he's a clean, rational, stable, competent person. I admire him as a person as much for what he IS now as for what he has overcome to get there. You will rarely meet such a good example of a Scientologist. My step-mother is also a wonderful, powerfully effective and competent person who is a rock for me -- just amazing. She's third generation herself -- and her grown daughter is a fourth generation Scientologist raising a fifth.

My mother lives in Scientology's mecca, Clearwater. She showered me with love as a child - I had NO doubt I was loved. She's a wonderful artist, and a great person. I can't think of a person I'd rather have as my mom. I love visiting her and my step-father. The reason I decided to use the Way to Happiness in raising my kids and why I feel it is the best moral code I can teach my children -- is that I have been living by it for the last 25 years - since I was 6. And that is my mother's doing.

ANY time that I would falter or make mistakes, I took a look as my own personal responsibility for the troubles I was having, spotted my own misdeeds (called overts), cleaned up the mess I was in by applying the formulae created specifically for changing conditions in life (called ethics conditions) and got on with things. Because the point of being alive, I think, is to get good things done, to prosper, to make good things happen, and to otherwise create more good than bad. When you're mired in your own errors, or the troubles that can stick you down in life, simple application of the Scientology ethics conditions has NEVER ONCE failed to get me out of it.

Was my mother's unconditional love and sanity as a mother because of her own upbringing? No. Her mother was awful, the kind of person who tries to foster trouble between family members. The kind of person who you have to handle with kid gloves. And yet I never realized this, because my own mother was quite possibly the kindest, sweetest and most caring mom ever. I never saw a hint of it in her own treatment of me. And that was because she was able to address any issues that might otherwise have affected me in her Scientology auditing. I never would have known. She was fabulous to me.

No matter what happened, where we moved, what jobs my parents has, I had a HOME as a kid. I was loved and challenged and raised with morals, and given everything I needed to succeed. That doesn't mean I received THINGS - I received knowledge. Way more valuable.

I was never interested in any other religion, despite studying them. Scientology WORKS - why would I want to mess with that? I don't mix in a bit of this or a bit of that. We're JUST Scientologists.

I've spent the last ten -- almost eleven -- years applying ONLY Scientology to raising my kids.

And while I respect the choices of others and their right to be something else, to mix in other practices, to choose other religions, to use modern psychology in raising children -- I just don't see why you would.

I personally see so many vast differences between children of Scientologists and children raised without Scientology -- and in very measurable ways:

The quality and quantity of admiration, of happiness, and especially of ability to communicate freely with their parents. So totally different. Their handling of misdeeds without drama, confusion and upset, and the general moral character, whether they get into trouble with the law, whether they take drugs. Way different.

Whether they can achieve a decent education and go on to lead happy lives. This is what matters -- and Scientology creates -- in the VAST majority of cases -- a remarkably sane, competent, happy adult. We're not lying when we say that the average Scientologist community is a totally different place than the average non-Scientologist community. It's drug-free, happy, productive, and a fun, free-thinking group.

But only when it is applied correctly. Mix it up or make justifications for your own lack of confront, unwillingness or failings and you will not get the same quality of result.

I personally dislike the idea of the online attacks against such a great group. Can you imagine the idea?

We live in a world where our children's problems are:

Lack of education OR
Inability to Study
Moral Uncertainty
Drug Use
Instability in the home

Scientology has solutions THAT REALLY WORK for all of that. Every last piece of that problem. And the people who use it correctly don't end up having those problems. Ever.

What kind of doofus would say that it's a bad idea to apply Scientology to children?

Especially when I can count on one hand every time in my entire life that I've seen a child of Scientologists who wasn't happy and (having been such a child, then I was a nanny and a teacher, as finally as a mother) I can think of hundreds and hundreds of Scientology children that I personally know who are happy, ethical, and doing well in life!

Those who would say otherwise are trying to lead you down a path that doesn't work. There's no truth in that.

If you don't believe me, take a look yourself if you want. Go to any Sunday service at any Scientology church and take a look for yourself at all the kids there -- ask their parents how their education is going, whether they need behavior modification drugs, whether they have problems with their children that they don't have workable solutions for.

Overall, we've got a great group. Scientology - correctly applied - always works.

Back to the point -- I'm proud of my Scientologist children. They surprise me with their wonderfulness -- far greater than I even imagined.

Read this post in spanish - en espanol