Saturday, June 24, 2006

Seven Servicemen Accused Of Killing Iraqi Civilian

Call me slow or dim-witted, but the last time I checked we are engaged in a war. And in war, both sides attempt to persuade the other that they are indeed correct, and unfortunately, sometimes somebody gets killed. Whether it be the enemy, us, civilians, bystanders, it's always unfortunate.

BUT, what is wrong with this country? Why are we so quick to point the finger at our own heroes and worse to hang them out to dry? In this latest attrocity we are trashing seven servicemen for killing an Iraqi civilian. According to a recent communication with his family Sgt. Hutchins of Plymouth, MA stated that what happened is not what is being reported in the media. Regardless, he and six other defenders of our freedom are being held in a California military prison. And at some point they will have their day in court. But until then, their names and reputations will be dragged through the media mud. Being treated no better than a mugger or felon.

So all you out there contemplating defending this wonderful country remember we send our beloved troops overseas. Tell them to defend freedom, root out that enemy, spread democracy throughout the lands. However, in situations that for one reason or another are questionable we will abandon you.

The line forms on the right.

Friday, June 23, 2006

More from my favorite book

We must confront, in the dreams we dream, as well as our intimate relationships, all that we never will have and never will be.

The Lazears go on to say, "As parents, we can dream; but we must also face reality. No matter how much we do for our children, they will never be everything we wish them to be."

Everyday, or at least it feels that way, I look at my children and wonder what are they going to be when they grow up. And everyday I come to the same conclusion. It doesn't matter what they do. Whether they are doctors, moms, scientists, programmers, nurses -- it doesn't matter. They have fullfilled my goals for them. They are my children. And I love them.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

STOP the brush, I want to get off...

Crazy, crazy, crazy...

I have discovered a new law of home repair physics. The more you paint, the more painting you have to do. I know, this seems the opposite of what you would normally think. But physics and painting are not normal. And I would know these things. Being a biophysist in a previous life, and currently -- a painter.

I have four painting projects going on simultaneously. All in various stages of completeness. There is the basement stair trim. That job just got its second coat of white paint. Hopefully it is its last, but that depends on coverage. Light areas get a third coat touch up.

The vanity cabinet doors is second. The vanity got painted last fall... The doors have been collecting dust in the basement since then. I painted the fronts this weekend. The backs got a coat yesterday. They were lying out on the lawn soaking up the sun when the thunderstorms started. I ran out to rescue them... It was too late. Water had gotten under the paint and started to bubble. I will look at them later.

The decking on the three entry ways to our home needs to be resealed. We sealed the beautiful mahogony last year and something happened over the winter. The sealer peeled up and with all this rain -- the wood has darkened. I am heartsick every time, and I MEAN EVERY TIME, I walk out the mudroom door. Since that entry gets the most traffic and the wood needs the most work, I am leaving it for last. Yesterday I resealed the front steps, and today I will do the kitchen steps, and this weekend -- hopefully -- the mudroom steps.

I am taping the trim on the wall between the kitchen and mudroom. I sanded the plaster this past weekend, and have been waiting for the paint on the trim to cure. I have discovered there are very few things, short of inadvertantly knocking the porch off a house, that could compare with pulling the paint off a freshly painted surface. I've done it. My mouth gapes, my heart slows as I wonder if there is any more of that color left for the repair.

.... hence very little writing.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Eighth Birthday

Seven friends and a sister
Swimming, pizza, ice cream cake
Presents, friendship bracelets, The Parent Trap
Eight sleepy smiling girls
Eating chocolate chip pancakes

Thursday, June 15, 2006


I have been faced with the daunting task of painting our kitchen since the fall. The job is so big, that it boggled my mind. I couldn't imagine getting paint into the pencil thin walls between the window trim and cabinets, so I didn't paint. Nine months later and I am still looking at plaster. In other words the painting fairy didn't grace us with her presence.

So I changed the rules. No need to paint the entire room at once. Do one section, one wall at a time. To test out this approach I painted the wall on either side of the tiling I just installed behind the stove. In one day, I sanded the plaster, filled in a few holes, sanded again, taped, primed and painted -- two coats. One easy wall under my belt, three difficult walls to go.

Difficult, how you ask. Difficult because they are behind the refrigerator, (I am a weakling), require fine taping for those tight areas, or scaffolding is involved. So today, I am painting the 18" by 24" wall area behind my laptop. It's sanded and primed, and in three hours it will have its first coat of paint. It's a goal I can achieve.

I've also been painting the kitchen and stairway trim. Again setting realistic goals. Yesterday I painted the trim around the bathroom door, and the mudroom archway. And last night and this morning I painted the risers and trim on half of the stairs leading to the basement.

Still with all this work I can't see the end of this job. But I sooth myself with the mantra that each brush stroke brings me closer to the end

Brush On!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Chapter Summaries

Some publishers want the first three chapters and a chapter summary submitted. So I have been picking away at the summary. It's actually a nice way to spend the wee hours of the morning. Read a chapter, focus on the major plot element that moves the story along, write it down. Not too hard, but difficult to do with the usual Mommy, Mommy, Mommy in my ear. Thank God for early mornings. It's so quiet I can hear myself think.

Yesterday was the second of no TV days. When the weather is good, I say OUTSIDE! Let's play, swing, garden, anything but be entranced by the tube. The little one was not happy at first. She loves her electronic sitter. And I must admit, it makes a good baby minder. But unless I want my children to grow as wide as its screen, it's outside to play.

I love to watch her chase the birds.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

That tone of voice

I am so sick and tired of how children talk to their parents, mine included. Just when did it become vogue or socially acceptable for children to talk back? I have tried everything short of a bar of Zest to get my point across. I hope the temperature reachs the 90's today, for this morning's bad tone resulted in no after school pool.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Oh, oh, I have to share this!

From my favorite mediations for parents that over do it.

"Be aware that a halo has to fall only a few inches to be a noose."

The Lazears go on to say, "Mistakes are opportunities. Today I will learn from my mistakes and go forward without self-punishment."

Friday, June 09, 2006

Are dimes the new penny?

When I find a penny, I pick it up, thinking that it is a penny from heaven; a penny from my grandfather. Over the past two days, during my daily walks to the local schools -- retrieving children, I have found five dimes on the ground. Have dimes become the latest pennies from heaven? Strange, I didn't think inflation reached all the way to heaven.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

I need to write

I need to write. Almost as much as I need to breath.

I finished the sixth draft of Forever Yours, (THANK YOU MBY -- for your wonderful comments and corrections), and sent it off yet again to be turned into spiral bound hard copy for my writing buddies and the curious. There are some people who wonder about what I've been up to when I tell them, "I've been writing." Maybe they are surprised I could push aside my adult A.D.D. (or is it early onset old age) to write one page nevermind 178 of them. (MBY: Note the numbers, thanks for the tip.)

But the book is gone again, and I'm in a writing hole. Kind of like the feeling you get on the last day of school. Or at least I got on those last days, way back when, wondering -- What do I do now?

Believe me, I would rather be writing that wallowing hip deep in laundry, with a basement ceiling system half installed, the kitchen tiling half completed, the veggie garden almost started, (but it's been raining so I take no blame for that), and quizzing the oldest on the Constitution. On the bright side, I have learned so much, or should it be, relearned so much from all the early morning quiz sessions over the years.

As far as the writing is concerned, I have started a submission for My essay is on preparing for the future. It's a tough assignment, but then that makes it a good writing exercise. My mind is all over the place. I need to focus. So I'll finish the tiling that is staring me in the face, (well at the back of my head), and then hit the skirt submission... dam the laundry.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Cartwheels in Church?

"Oh, let them, they're just kids."

"But this is a church, you think it's okay for them to do cartwheels in a church?"

The little old lady looked at me as if I had asked her to make me her sole heir. I looked back at her as if she had three heads. What's wrong with this world? Is it me, the horrible and mean mom for not letting my kids do cartwheels in the church (all right it was in the lower church and not upstairs), or this sweet little old lady?

Taking my side, it's the little old lady and the rest of the world who feel that kids can do whatever just because they are kids. Let me clue you in, the good behavour fairy starts at home. If parents don't teach their children right from wrong, when they are adults they won't have a clue.

For example, your little Jane is allowed to punch her friends when she gets mad. No comments are made, after all, she's little. Well, when are you going to tell her? And when you do, what's she going to think after you let her punch and kick for the first five, or six or ten years of her life. Why would you let her get used to one set of rules only to change them when she gets older?

I could go on, but I've made my point. Start with the basics at home:

1. Be nice.
2. Pick up after yourself.
3. Be honest.
4. Do cartwheels outside.

This place would be a much better place if parents would parent.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

WAR is not BLACK and WHITE

For the past week, the news, on the web, TV, and newspaper, has been littered with reports of families being killed by Marines last November, and then of the cover up that followed. It's devasting news, but it's devasting for all sides. But we, the US armchair generals, don't have all the facts. We probably never will. This situation is not for us to judge. It's for us to pray about.

It is my best guess that the majority of the three people that read this blog, have not experienced a war much beyond having it stream live into our lives via CNN. A war that we can choose to tune into or not. We know there is a warm bed for us in the next room, we know we have foods of our choice, and we feel fairly confident that we will live to see our children grow into successful adults.

Being one of the many armchair generals, I suspect this is not so when you are engaged in a war. I've seen the pictures racing around the globe on the internet of men and women sleeping in holes in the ground, (or leaned up against truck tires), rags over their face to keep out the light and the dust. All their belongings in duffels at their feet or tucked under their head. This is not safe and sound. This is grulling and mentally and physically straining.

WMD be damned! These men and women are there because they believe they can make a positive difference, in the lives of the people in Iraq and in our lives safely tucked in here at home.

War is not clean. The enemy does not stand up, wave and say, "Here I am! Those people evacuated three miles to the north are not involved. You shot at me and I'll shot at you." And they are not all young healthy men dressed like the red coats of old and marching towards you on a deserted street.

Even though I was in elementary school I can still remember my folks sitting around the table talking about how a small Vietnamese child was crying in the middle of the road and when two soldiers went to his aid, the youngster shot and killed one and blew the leg off the other. Was it this child's fault? Of course not. That child had no idea if what he was doing was right or wrong. Or another time I heard on the news that soldiers heard a baby crying in what was suppose to be an abandoned home. When they went to investigate they discovered the child was wired with explosives. All died.

So now, in Iraq we have bombs that can be triggered remotely from a short distance. And everyday our soldiers are under fire, getting killed or wounded. Some times in clearly marked battle fields and some times on crowded market streets. Some times seeing the enemy some times not. Like in Vietnam, these people are not following the rules of engagement and don't care about who gets caught in the middle of fighting for their cause. Whether it be a grandfather, a baby, a pregnant mother, or our soldiers.

So before we all pass judgement and dam all involved to hell, let's remember, from the comfort of our warm homes, with stew simmering all this rainy day, that war is not black and white.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Only so much room.

"The children had every toy his father wanted."

The Lazears offer that if (we) fill up (our) children's lives with things that are important to (us), there may be no room left for the things that are important to them.

Now, how true is that. Guilty as charged. How many times have I said to the girls, "I would've given my eye teeth to be able to _________." Fill in the blank with an endless list of things or activities. My girls are great teachers, stubborn, and almost as insightful as the Lazears. And thankfully they have a voice that I can't easily ignore.