Thursday, July 31, 2003

Hogwarts Hodgepodge

Because I'm feeling a little light and fluffy tonight (didn't take my vitamins today), here's a new meme that I think I'm really going to enjoy:

What would you give Harry for his birthday?

I think I would interview everyone--still living--who knew his parents. I'd compile as many stories about his parents that I could find and give him a giant memory book. I know, he's already got the photo album from Hagrid, but I think he'd really appreciate a few stories to tell him what his parents were really like. Especially after that incident in the Order of the Phoenix.

I might skip Snape altogether though. And I'd probably need to threaten Petunia with an influx of house elves to get her to tell nice story about Lily when they were kids.

Anyway, Happy Birthday Harry!
Because three (or four) categories weren't enough

Today the Governor signed SB5, a new sex offender registration and notification law. This is an ugly, complicated law that has the bonus of going into effect immediately, instead of the usual ninety days.

I am dreading how convoluted this will make an already complicated registration system.

Some changes wrought by SB5:

* Sex offenders can't live within 1000 feet of any school
* Some offenses have been recategorized as "child victim offenses" this will overcome the problem identified in the Dayton case last month.
* adult offenders must also register their employment or higher education addresses.
* The bill creates clever new categories such as "presumptive registration exempt offenses" and "habitual child-victim offenders."

The bill is over three hundred pages long so it will take a while to sort out the nuances. Oh wait. This is an emergency. Never mind.

This should be fun.
$278,000 to be superintendent of Cleveland Public Schools. This makes me sick to my stomach. Especially since superintendents in Chicago, Boston, and Detroit all make less (substantially less in Chicago and Boston).
Yep, Pres. Bush, the economy is getting "better"

6500 people out of work. I suppose these people will just have to make the most of their child tax credit refunds.

On a personal note, now I'm going to have to buy different sheets. Darn.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

"Summit agency violated Ohio laws, regulations in Kenmore child abuse case." This would be the case where some of the children escaped out a second story bedroom window after being locked in their room for weeks? The case with calls to Children Services dating back to 1988? The case where multiple calls were made to Children Services...and not investigated? The case where an 8-year-old boy was 28-pounds? My son is 14-months old and weighs 28-pounds!!! I hope there is a special kind of punishment for the people who deliberately let those boys suffer...for whatever reason.
So it seems that the definition of reckless has changed since I was in law school. No recklessness in leaving a 3-year-old in a locked van in a zoo parking lot on a hot day? I think I'm going to have to break out the old law books to check.

Monday, July 28, 2003

Maybe naming the baby isn't their biggest problem

Just what the web needed: a site that compiles really bad baby names accompanied by snarky commentary. It's kind of like television without pity for the pregnant crowd.

Just a sampling:

there is a girl who is in my classes at college, morgan. she is the most popular person in the world. i am a pack rat, so i save newspapers. i was looking through them, and i found out that she was even more popular as a kid then she is now. she is in about seven of the newspapers. then i was thinking, morgan, what a pretty name.i dedicided that mybaby, if it is a girl will be named morgan elizabeth. is that a good name?
Funny, I thought most stalkers were too busy working on their basement shrines to meet someone and get knocked up.

Ahem. Okay. Well it made me laugh out loud.

If you are doing any sort of home improvement on a home built before 1978, please contact a professional in order to test to determine if you need professional lead paint removal from your home.

Jobless more likely to commit suicide.

How do I get money to conduct a study like this?
I can't get my makeup to stay good for a year and archaeologists have unearthed what they think is 2000 year old face cream/paint. What do you think ladies? Hoax?
I'm currently stuck in home improvement hell. Everything needs fixed, and I have no idea how I'm supposed to get it done while entertaining my 14-month-old son who is now walking (and into everything). Peach paint and baby does not make for a happy ending.
For the first time in 30 years, the Soap Box Derby World Champion has been stripped of the title for making illegal modifications to his car.
And now for some humor...

Borrowing a comment from the Held in Contempt blog...

"There is one difference between a weekend away with baby and staging the Normandy invasion.

...Amphibious landing craft."

Duane must have children.
Now, the cynical side of me must speak up, if only to give me a place to vent/rant/talk to myself.

I was watching the noon news today, on the station that I used to work at. When they announced the passing of Bob Hope, they played a very nice piece about his life. Being a former employee, however, the sentimentality was somewhat dampened by my realization that the piece was the same one that had been put together several years ago when Bob Hope was ill and in the hospital. Granted, a few additions had been made to the end of the piece, but the main body of it was the obituary that had been edited in anticipation of Mr. Hope's passing YEARS ago. Now I know the news business needs to be prepared and on top of the story, but it struck me as a bit sick and twisted (and therefore I MUST blog about it). I wonder if they have a library of obituaries ready for the possible passing of any number of famous people?
Thanks for the memories
Bob Hope has age 100. Born in England as Leslie Townes Hope, he provided decades of laughter under the most common name...Bob. And did you know that, besides being an entertainer, he was a Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire with 54 honorary doctorates? He was also the first person ever to be named an Honorary Veteran of the US military. My father would probably want me to point out that Bob Hope was an avid golfer, playing on over 2000 courses around the world. He once joked that golfing was his profession, he just told jokes to pay the greens fees. Selfishly, I wish Bob could've lived another 100 years, so he could continue entertaining the world. But ultimately, I know Bob Hope is in a better place...playing golf and telling jokes wherever he goes. God Bless his Soul.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Baby is growing up

This afternoon, hubby and I ran some errands at the local mall. He needed his watch band fixed and was stunned to learn that they wanted to send it out to get a pin replaced. I need a few new clothes because several bits of me have not returned to their pre-baby positions and I am conceding they might never do so.

The mall also has a kids zone where kids can play and romp with other kids. This one even has a small library. Yay.

My girl's usual response to other kids is to giggle loudly and stare in wonder from afar, but flee if they approach her. Hubby had taken her to the kids zone earlier this week and reported that she ran when the kids took a few steps toward her.

Today however, that all changed. After a few minutes of shyness, another baby climbed into the same plastic car shape that my daughter was in. My girl backed as far away as she could inside the car and looked at hubby and I as if to say, "well what do you think of this?" We pulled her out of the car just as another baby wandered over. A slightly older girl asked hubby if she could play with our daughter and started patting her softly on the head. The next thing I know, my girl is racing to a stage area where she's climbed up to be with the big girls (seven years old I'd guess) who are reading books. She and all the girls were racing around the stage and I was thrilled to hear her giggle as she ran toward one of them and they bounced around together.

I got a little choked up: my girl is moving into the wide world. It was really wonderful to see.
Thank Heavens

Maybe this is a sign that the ridiculous Rachel-Joey pairing will end during this final season of Friends. I believe that ME2 disagrees with me (just a sign that we aren't actually the same person) on this one, but I found the whole Joey-Rachel-Ross to be tedious and uninspired if not downright uncomfortable. Their kiss during the season finale didn't strike me as a passionate-hurray-they're-finally-kissing-moment. Instead, I felt exactly as if Ross had kissed Monica. Eeeeeew.

I think Joey has been under-used on the show, but he certainly deserved better than to be tossed in with Rachel. I can't root for them. Sure they'd have gorgeous kids, but my goodness they'd be dumb.

Tuesday, July 22, 2003

A cool idea

Hubby and I were real movie junkies prior to the baby's arrival. Since her birth, he has seen -0- movies and I have seen two (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, which I recommend, and Legally Blonde 2, which I don't). I'm still a little sad that I did not get to see the Ents in the Two Towers on the big screen but I'm resigned to see them on our twenty-five inch tv. Sigh. My brother took his son to the movies when he was under a year, but hubby and I just couldn't do that to our fellow movie-goers. Not even for Ents.

Anyway, today I saw this article today and thought, "this would solve my problems. I love that the lights are low but not out completely and that the volume is down, so as not to hurt little ears. No one could complain about breastfeeding in public. I wonder if the theater invests in giant diaper genies? It would be a great way for moms to get together with other moms, but I'm not really keen on the idea of allowing my beautiful daughter to crawl on the movie theater's floor. Eeeeeeew.

Now if only they would start Reel Moms in Cleveland, ME2 and I might be able to catch X-Men 2 or Seabiscuit. Come on, we're at least the peer of Detroit for heaven's sake. I can accept us being behind Chicago, New York, D.C. and L.A., but Detroit????

Of course, that's assuming we can afford the cost of admission after we've spent all our money on diapers and such.
Parenting Styles

The baby girl and I were listening to NPR tonight while returning from some errands at Target and a visit to Petsmart's adoption center to look at the kittens.

The announcer introduces the segment by saying when her daughter was born, this woman quit her job. There is a slight pause in which I contemplate my jealousy, then the announcer adds, "to indulge in scrapbooking!" Huh? Well, it is one of ME2's favorite hobbies, so I listen.

He mentions, "Now her daughter is four, and she has seventeen scrapbooks!" Good Grief lady, I can't even keep up with my diary or tracking the basic baby firsts. The woman says, "Everywhere I go, I see scrapbook layouts." "Very cool," I think, because my artistic tendencies lean toward the written rather than the visual. Then the woman gushes, "I just didn't want her to wonder, when she got older, if she was loved."

Gosh, I was hoping my daughter would understand that she is loved because I tell her a thousand times each day, "Mama loves you!"

Now where are those pinking shears?

Monday, July 21, 2003

And yes, ME1, I know I'm supposed to be reading Harry Potter IV, but I just can't seem to keep my attention on it. I WILL finish it one day...I promise. I have to admit that I'm reading East of Eden as part of Oprah's Book Club. I'm only about halfway through it (it was a great read for my 8-hours-in-a-car trip) and I'm particularly interested in what people think of the Cathy/Kate character. I've heard that maybe she is Steinbeck's incarnation of Satan...but I'm just not so sure yet. I think I'll have to go join an online book club so I can talk out my thoughts.
I'm sitting here blogging in the dark, and these tiny little gnats and mosquitos keep landing on my screen, since it's the only light on in the room. I'm sure I should come up with something philosophical about that, but all I can think is...YUCK!
Adding my congrats
As ME2 indicated, Russell and his wife Danielle are pregnant. I'm guessing that they will have a girl--divine justice. Here are two links to the Aussie story.

Here's hoping for a happy and healthy baby.
Yet another reason to lock your car doors
A 5-year-old is in critical condition this evening, after taking his grandmother's car out for a drive. He was apparently injured when the driver's side airbag deployed upon impact.
I would be remiss if I failed to blog that Russell Crowe and his wife are expecting their first baby in January. My congratulations go out to them. I bet they have a pretty baby.
We're back from visiting my uncle, aunt, grandmother, and grandfather. The visit was strange, as the whole family is having to get used to the big "c" word (cancer). And my uncle is having a tough time, since this has scared him away from smoking. So now he's got the double bad mood from withdrawal and seeing a bunch of doctors. He has a consultation with the oncologist this week...for all his test results...and we will know what is what then. My aunt, being the tough old Polish lady she is, says God is going to have to arm-wrestle her to get my uncle before she's done with him. I just hope that's enough. Please keep them in your prayers.

Wednesday, July 16, 2003

Geauga County Sheriff Red Simmons passed away last night from pancreatic cancer. He had been sheriff for the past 11 years...since I was about 20 years old. It's strange how someone can be such a fixture in your town and yet you have never personally met them. My condolences go out to his family and friends.
If you live in NE Ohio, I highly suggest you spend a weekend visiting the Great Lakes Medieval Faire. This weekend is Pirate Invasion weekend...and if it's anything like last weekend (Celtic weekend), it promises to be a GREAT time. Unfortunately, I will be out of town this weekend, so I will miss it. But I fully intend to be back next weekend for Legends and Lore.
Yesterday was my mom's birthday...and I forgot to blog it!

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

The Child Trends DataBank has new 2002 Birth Estimates out. Highlights include:
~Teen birth rates have been declining for the past decade; the preliminary 2002 birth rate for teens ages 15 to 19 is the lowest rate ever reported in the United States, at 42.9 births per 1,000.
~Since 1995, the percentage of births to unmarried women in the United States has declined slightly among black women while continuing to climb among Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites. Overall, in 2002, preliminary estimates from the National Center for Health Statistics indicate that one-third of all births in the U.S. were to unmarried women.
~The percentage of births to women receiving late or no prenatal care declined substantially during the 1990s, from 6.1 percent in 1990 to 3.6 percent by 2002 (preliminary estimate).
~In preliminary estimates for 2002, 7.8 percent of all newborns were born low birthweight, the highest percentage since the early 1970s.
~Girls performed better than boys at every grade level on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) writing assessment in 2002. (which I personally find interesting given my recent blogging about "The New Gender Gap")
~Over the last decade, average reading proficiency scores have increased slightly for eighth graders, are unchanged for fourth graders, and declined modestly among twelfth grade students.
~After decades of decline, the percent of children living with two parents stabilized in the late 1990s, standing at 69 percent in 2002.
~The high school dropout rate for non-Hispanic black youth in the civilian, non-institutionalized population reached a historic low in 2001 at 11 percent, down from 13 percent in 2000 and 21 percent in 1972.
James Spader and Sharon Stone on The Practice? It's true. Sharon Stone will only be on three episodes, but James Spader is going to be a new regular. I just don't know if I can watch.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

I apologize for not blogging more recently. I am personally having a rough time, and haven't really been in the mood to blog. The latest addition to my already long list of feel-sorry-for me excuses is that my Uncle has been diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the neck. He discovered a plum-sized tumor in his neck and the oncologist is not sure whether that is the primary site (initial tests indicate it may have come from his tonsil). My Uncle will have more blood work and a CAT scan done Tuesday. Friday he will have a PET scan of his head and neck. My hubby and I are taking our son out to visit with the family (my Aunt and Uncle live with and take care of my Grandparents) on Thursday. This trip was planned well before any of this recent news, and we think it's important for our son to know his extended family...more so now. Please, keep us in your prayers.

On a side note, if you smoke...please stop. This type of cancer is typically a result of heavy smoking (which is my Uncle's case), and is completely avoidable. Please, do NOT put yourself or your family through this kind of uncertainty and upset if you don't have to. Find a way to stop smoking...for the sake of yourself and everyone who loves you.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

And How do I like the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix?

Very well, thank you.

I won't go into much detail because ME2 has not finished Year Four yet (good heavens)!

Here is what I will say:

1. I was somewhat disappointed that all the questions that I had formulated in the three years between Goblet of Fire and the Order of the Phoenix weren't answered in the first two or three pages. ;o)

2. By the end of Chapter 2, I was thoroughly satisfied.

3. Fred and George RULE!

I can only add that the writing is simply brilliant. As I raced to read the book before someone spoiled it for me, I often tried to read it while my daughter napped on my lap. This book is written so vividly that at times I was afraid the characters' shouting would wake my daughter. Then I remembered, she can't hear them yelling--it's a book!

I think the highest compliment I can give J.K. Rowling is that she wrote this one so well, I lost track of of the simple fact that I was sitting with a sleeping baby in my living room.
One of the many reasons I've been missing

I mentioned before that I am quite lucky to have such good friends and family. Here's another example of how lucky I am.

When we had my baby girl's birthday party, several family and friends came from across the city and around the country. Hubby's sister even called from Brazil to wish her niece a Happy Birthday. We were really touched by all the people who wanted to share our girl's special day.

Well, you know how hectic party days can be: you see lots of people, but rarely have enough time to visit properly with any of them. Hubby's uncle stopped me briefly to chat about the new Harry Potter book. I mentioned that I really wanted it. I had thought about taking Baby Girl to a midnight purchase, well, because I do wacky things like that. I decided against it because the little one really needed her sleep (and so did mama--man am I getting old). I added that I thought I could squeeze in reading while I was on break at work. But in the end, I had decided not to get it right away (for many reasons--mainly dealing with money but I didn't mention that to Hubby's uncle).

We finished our chat and I ran back to getting things for people at the party and saying good-bye to exiting friends and family.

At some point my Hubby's father and uncle disappeared. I thought, "how strange" but really didn't waste much energy pondering their absence. I continued puttering around the house, chatting with guests and doing whatever I thought was necessary to clean up.

When they returned, the family had gathered in the living room and we were comfortably chattering.

Hubby's uncle beckoned me and saying, "I thought for all you do for this family, you deserved something for yourself." From behind his back, he pulls out the new Harry Potter Book. And not the regular edition. No. It's the deluxe collector's edition. With the special case. And the color endpaper. And the special dust jacket art. I thanked him and tried not to salivate noticeably.

Be still my heart I am a lucky soul, to have someone be so kind.
Stupid Bravenet

They "upgraded" they're services. However, we no longer have our wonderful musical scale counter. It's gone forever. We're supposed to have a text line giving our hit count, but so far, we've got nothing.

Plus, when I check the stats at Bravenet, it shows we've gotten more hits since Tuesday, but it provides no other information--usually it shows the referral page.

This is an upgrade?

I think I'd best go find us a pretty counter.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Friday Five (roughly five days late)!

I was at the in-laws this weekend so I just saw this very cool Friday Five:

1. What were your favorite childhood stories? When I was very small, I had a cool counting book that involved elves. It went up to twelve, which I thought was pretty nifty because, well, twelve elves just sounds cool. Plus the twelve elves were in bed and their little feet stuck out--you could count to twenty-four.

I also liked the Runaway Pancake.

When I was older, I loved mythology. My grade school library had a series of books on myths and legends from various countries--I read and re-read all of them.

And of course, Dr. Seuss was great.

There was a really good book on Deborah Sampson (or is it Samson?).

I loved all books. I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I'm still waiting to grow up.

2. What books from your childhood would you like to share with [your] children? I wish I could find that elf book. Maybe my Mom still has it somewhere. I also want to share Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander. The Shoes stories by Noel Streatfeild. The All of a Kind Family by Sidney Taylor. The Louisa May Alcott books. Caddy Woodlawn. The Velvet Room. The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Figgs and Phantoms and The Westing Game , both by Ellen Raskin. I have tons of old Scholastic books--at least I hope I still do. I'm really going to need to ask Mom. Anyone else remember getting a free book every year through RIF?

Maybe the question should have been, "What books from your childhood would you not like to share with your children?"

3. Have you re-read any of those childhood stories and been surprised by anything? Hmmm. The Roald Dahl books work on a lot of levels. Sometimes I find nuggets in a book, that I didn't catch on the first reading. Every time I re-read the Lord of the Rings, I am dazzled by J.R.R. Tolkein's brilliant use of language.

4. How old were you when you first learned to read?I was small. I don't really know how old I was. My Grandma helped teach me and she died when I was five or six so I would guess that I was probably three or four? I remember that my great-grandmother was in a nursing home in an old victorian house. Belle was the woman who ran it--she only cared for three or four older ladies and her place was full of dolls and books. Belle gave me Gideon, the Man Who Won Without Fighting. I was only four or five then.

5. Do you remember the first 'grown-up' book you read? How old were you? I'm not sure how "grown-up" is defined. I read The Stranger, Terese Raquin, and Madame Bovary when I was fifteen/sixteen. I read the Flowers in the Attic series when I was thirteen. I was constantly reading so I'm not sure when I read what.
Windows on TriBeCa
43 of 300 surviving ex-Windows on the World workers are hoping to form a cooperative and open a restaurant in TriBeCa. I, for one, will make a point to go eat there when they open.
Is anyone else tired of hearing about LeBron James???
Baby Emma Rose Update
The teenager who "found" Baby Emma Rose abandoned in an alley is actually the baby's mother, according to DNA tests. The logic escapes me at this point, but then again, I've never been an unwed pregnant teenager. The baby's mother pretended to find the baby. The mother's mother (the baby's grandmother) insisted that there was no way it was her daughter's baby. I hope they all are able to make some sense out of the situation and get the help they so obviously need.
Woo-Hoo!!! I figured out how to manage my multiple postings!!! I feel like an official blogger now!!!
OK, I'm a stay-at-home mom so it's not a big deal, but I've been up since 7am and I just realized I'm wearing my t-shirt inside out (it's now 1:17pm). What has happened to my brain?!?!?!

Tuesday, July 08, 2003

New Ohio legislation
A new bill introduced this week would make it a felony to leave a child (under age 7) unattended in a vehicle. This bill is apparently in response to cases of adults leaving children in hot cars during the summer heat. Currently, these cases are treated as child endangerment, and are subject to a wide variety of punishments. I'm not sure where I see the need to change it...but I'll get back to you on this one.
Is anyone else having trouble with Blogger publishing their posts more than once?
Baby Emma Update
A 15-year-old girl has been arrested for abandoning her newborn baby in a Cleveland alley earlier this year. The 15-year-old, who was apparently identified through DNA, has been released to her mother and is expected to appear in Juvenile Court on July 17th. Baby Emma (named by the hospital nurses who cared for her) is currently living in a foster home.
Safe Haven law success
In the past two years, 20 babies have been safely surrendered in Ohio. This law allows a parent to deliver an unharmed newborn to a hospital, law enforcement agency, or emergency service organization, without fear of prosecution. While the count seems to say the law is a success, I would be very interested in case studies of these women/children to see what the ultimate outcomes were.

Monday, July 07, 2003

A summertime warning
If you have a "easy-set" or "simple set" pool for summertime cooling off (the kind where you inflate the top ring and then fill up the pool and the ring this one), and you have kids, you should be aware that they pose a serious drowning danger. The very thing that makes them easy to set up is what makes them dangerous. A toddler (or anyone), has only to push down on the top ring enough to climb in, since there are no real supporting walls to hold that top ring up. I saw a demonstration of this particular pool and the ease with which a child can get inside is scary. Until now, my hubby and I had been seriously considering buying one of these we're thinking it's not such a good idea. I guess it's a reminder that we should do our homework before buying any "toy" for our home and our son.

Friday, July 04, 2003

Happy Independence Day!!!

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

From our friends at This or That Tuesday
1. Lemonade or Ice Cold Beer? Lemonade...I only really like beer with pizza
2. Swimming pool or beach? Beach...I'm a water baby
3. Long weekends here & there, or a 2-week vacation? Long weekends here & there...2-week vacations can really get on your nerves...a long weekend is long enough to enjoy, but not too long.
4. Destination: Acapulco or Hawaii? Hawaii...never been, but would love to go
5. Destination: Mountains or Beach? Beach...I'm a water baby
6. Hotel/motel/B&B or camping? Hotel...four stars with room service!!!
7. Carefully planned vacation, or play it by ear? Play it by ear...the more relaxing the better.
8. Sneakers or sandals? Sandals...or barefoot if I can get away with it.
9. Air-conditioning or fans? Air conditioning...helps relieve the old allergies.
10. Concerts in the park or baseball games? Baseball games...I love the ballpark...and those cute guys in tight pants...oops...sorry...this is a family blog.
I have no idea why blogger is posting my posts so many times. Still working out the bugs in the new version, I suppose.