welcome

So, today I get to welcome my brand new nephews Samuel and Daniel – I listed Sam first because he is the second born, which means he’ll probably always be listed second after this.

Samuel Ryo was born 16.5 inches long and 2 lbs, 15 ounces – wow! tiny! (Samuel’s on the right in the picture).

Daniel Sho was born 17 inches long and 4 lbs, 3 ounces. (Daniel’s on the left in the picture.)

They were born about 8 weeks early; small, but fully developed and don’t need much help except a Daniel needs a little oxygen to dry his lungs.

Mother and twins are doing great, despite the drama today.

I’m so glad that Risa’s sounding happy and healthy, I hope her recovery is speedy.

I wish that I could go out and see everyone now, but my parents are driving west as I write this.

So congratulations to my brother and sister-in-law for being new parents; and thanks to my Aunt Julie, who has been a rock helping them get to the doctor and understanding what he says and asking the right questions; and welcome to the two newest members of our family!!

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loss of a favored website

I very often hop on one of my favorite websites “fantasticfiction” when I’m looking up a new author or book. I love that it is really just lists of books, arranged by author and date published, within a series (if it was part of a series). I like that they are up-to-date on when new books are coming out.

But last week I was looking up a book I was thinking of borrowing from the library and a evil spyware attached itself to my computer (and then a friend’s computer) through this site. It was awful and very sticky. It took the tech guy from my department two days to unglue the stupid thing; and he just went ahead and wiped my whole computer to do it.

I was very disappointed. There are weeks when I’ve gone to that site once a day – sometimes more – just to check something: like the extensive list of works by George MacDonald. I mean, wikipedia has some bibliographic lists, but I haven’t yet found a replacement site that is just that simple.

Crappy!

Wicked Sunday

Sunday in California was a beautiful day.

We (my cousins, aunt, grandma and I) caught BART into the city and the Orpheum Theater for a 2pm show and then rushed back out to enjoy my uncle’s grilled to “perfection” red snapper for dinner.

We had a great time and the show was wonderful. I admit I had my doubts about the story, but that was because I’d mistakenly thought the timeline was years before “The Wizard of Oz”, explain how the Witch of the West became “Wicked”.

In reality, the story runs just before “Wizard” and into it, showing that everything was misconstrued: the wizard and someone else wanted the “witch” as a pawn and then used her as a scapegoat. It was really interesting.

And well sung, danced and acted – though I much preferred the solos and duets, to the big numbers.

Great idea Aunt Julie, and thanks for the treat grandma!

Saturday on the coast

Okay, I get to California and have to write a paper for class. But at least I got it done.

And Saturday we went up the coast, Andrew planned the whole thing and he did a great job.

We left early and drove to Half Moon Bay, to a dog-friendly beach. It was perfect weather and the beach was beautiful, but Lou and Ella were pretty scared of the surf. And the other dogs. And the people… okay, they were just scared.

Still it was a good time. We drove north, through San Franscisco and over the Golden Gate. We stopped in Sausalito for lunch and the place we saw from the road – a dinner – was closed. So we went next door to an Indian-Mexican “confusion” restaurant that was one of theĀ  best meals I’ve ever had, though I couldn’t tell you what it was I ate: shrimp, blackened fish and lots of vegetables and Indian spices. Andrew had a crab burrito and Risa had chicken curry. It wasn’t cheap, but it was sooo good! If you’re in Sausalito, CA that’s the way to go.

www.enjoyavatars.com

After being stuffed we drove further north to the John Muir Woods, but it was packed! There were cars everywhere, and people. We drove through on Panoramic Highway, which runs in a giant circle, but weaves back and forth through the hills. Risa was reminded of a few months ago, before they realized she was pregnant and Andrew took her on one of those back, windy roads and it made her very, very sick.

Well, this time it was Lou who got sick; right on me and Ella. He just got this look in his eye and… the car still smells like “dog food”.

Andrew kept his calm (of course, he wasn’t the one with dog puke all over his back). He pulled over and cleaned off seat – pulling it out of the Rav4. I held the dogs to let them get some air, and attempted to change my shirt. Risa cleaned off Ella.

I told them that some people get dogs that prepare them to be parents. Lou and Ella are both that type of dog and Andrew and Risa acted like parenting pros. They’re ready for those twin boys to get here.

I, on the other hand, have a dog that is more of a companion and does not require parenting skills – which is good because I’m not doing the kid-thing. See how that works out?

After the puke episode, we drove on through Sonoma and Napa, stopping at a winery (I can’t even remember which one) for a sampler of red wine. Then on to San Ramon, the Perfect household and Grandma H. and a wonderful dinner.

It was a beautiful day.

flying

I’d forgotten that I don’t really enjoy commercial flying – but it has been since ’97 that I flew… so I guess I’m excused.

But flying is the way to go to visit family in California from the Midwest. They pack you on like cattle (Southwest), but your luggage gets to go with you!

And on the connecting flight to Midway, Chicago – which is already a really short skip – I met a nice older guy, who bought cocktails for me and the woman between us; I was at the window.

Thanks David and Tanya, for making that one easy! We had a nice chat.

I was thinking, looking out the window, when we took off how amazing it is that man’s come so far with flight and all that “wow” jazz. Then, as we landed, all I could think about was how broad and terrible man’s mark was on the earth. That was a little depressing.

It didn’t help that we sat on the connecting flight for about 1.5 hours before take off, with the pilot lying to us at first, saying we would be landing early. He finally told us we would be late when we took off…blah!

The people were nice on the Frisco flight too, (a woman from Philly near the window, and a 12 year old girl doing her homework in the middle), it was just long and my stomach was complaining that it really didn’t like the atmosphere and the pressure and the sudden jerking.

I much prefer the small planes that only seat a few, but I don’t think I can afford one of those…

But I got here and Andrew was waiting with Lou to pick me up. Kudos to him for being there so late, when he had work in the morning. That was awesome.

And poor Risa is pregnant and hanging in there like a trooper. No matter what anyone says growing a baby (and worse growing two!) is some of the hardest work there is. They should make a show to stress it – kind of like “The Dirtiest Job” or some such reality show…

holy wars

This weekend is the True/False Film Festival in Columbia. I’ve always wanted to go, but still haven’t managed it. Still, I often look at the line-up so that I can try and see the films at another time.

This year a really interesting one is called Holy Wars following an Irish convert, Khalid Kelly, to extremist Islam and Christan fundamentalist Aaron Taylor.

I went looking for Aaron Taylor to see where exactly he stood in the spectrum of conservatives, and I found this blog. At least, he seems to be admitting he was misdirected, if not out-right lied to about the war he originally supported in Iraq.

http://blog.sojo.net/2009/05/22/was-iraq-a-holy-war/

I’d still like to see that documentary by Stephen Marshall. There’s also a book written by Taylor about the experience called Alone with a Jihadist: A Biblical Response to Holy War. I’m considering getting this book or getting the library to buy it. It sounds like a very well-thought, comprehensive argument for Christ-like peace.

kudos to Toyota…

Everyone knows that Toyota is having troubles with a couple of giant re-calls on their products, right now. But last night I saw a new commercial from that company that caught my attention.

It was very impressive because I don’t often hear corporations basically say “we’re sorry”, “we made a mistake”, “we’re working to fix it”,”we’ll try to do better”.

After all, we’ve seen a lot of this recently, from contaminated pet food and childrens’ toys, to peanut butter and tomatoes… even war.

I can respect a mistake apologized for and fixed a lot more than a mistake glossed over, passed on and ignored.

I’ve gotten so sick of of this bluster-through policy that I almost automatically think the worst of those who utilize… and we’ve seen way too much of it in the last decade.

It’s good to see a change, and as for me, I remember things like this when it comes time to spend my money as well as my vote!