Sunday, July 30, 2006

Only in West Virginia

It's 9:15 pm in Chez ErinAnnie, and a blazing 90 degrees inside my apartment. Strangely enough that is the same temperature outside where there isn't air conditioning. But I'm glad the landlords of Washington Lee Apartments think the a/c in here works just fine.



Don't you just love our fancy a/c system? Wall unit with mega fan set up directly in front of it for maximum air dispersement!


I know you can't really read this little magnet thermometer. But take my word for it, it reads 85 degrees at 10:45 pm. And for those of you wondering what this magnet is, he is the pissing boy statue from Brussels.


But let's talk about something other than sweaty armpits in your own house. For instance, let's talk about whitewater rafting! This weekend was the first McBride Extended Family and a Few Friends Whitewater Rafting Trip. This was a pet project of my father, who was excited to get the family together for something other than mashed potatoes. From the "Maurice McBrides"- Dad, me, Steph, and friends Joy and Rachel. (Mom was along for the ride, but chose not to raft.) The "Dane McBrides" brought in Uncle Dane, Matthew, and KristiAnne. Aunt Darla went solo (too many pregnant and recently pregnant members of her family!). The Skeens produced Uncle Jim, Michael, Katrina and JC (Rice), and Evan. The Reo McBrides brought along "Unca Reo" and Christopher R. for our ride, while Aunt Keri, Carson, and Alexander went for a more tame trip down the Upper New River. The Whitehursts failed to represent. And the Jones family showed up with Uncle Michael, Savannah, and Christopher M. So really, Joy and Rachel were just completely overwhelmed with McBrides on all sides, but they held their own well.

Now, the McBride family isn't exactly known for its athletic prowess, but we try! It is always greatly amusing to watch our family of lawyers, doctors, and PhD's, get out there and play sports.

I will save my commentary on the extended family's fashion sense for another day. (pictured- Aunt Darla, Dad, and the back of Uncle Jim.)


I think we held our own on the river yesterday. We went down the Lower New River in 3 guided rafts with the North American River Runners. Rae, Joy, Steph, Michael and I were in a raft with the guide and 3 guys from Ohio. And let me just say for the record that the 3 white guys from Ohio made the McBride family look like Olympians at rafting.

But it was fun! I think there were 10 different rapids, including 3 swimming rapids (where you can get out of the raft and just swim it instead), a jump rock, lunch, and a couple of swimming lengths. Now, not many people know exactly how bad of a swimmer I really am. But please, let me assure you, I suck. You never have to tell me twice to wear my helmet and life jacket. I like wearing them! (But then again, I also like wearing bullet proof vests, aka body armor, so what does that tell you?) I usually don't get out of the raft and swim in the river since swimming isn't my strong suit. But this time I had a lot of fun getting out in the water! I even did one swimming rapid. The water moved fast enough that I didn't have to worry too much about not being able to swim back to the rapid. I could just float along and keep up with the raft for the most part. And when I did lag a little behind, my darling little sister Steph, was kind enough to let me hold on to her foot while she pulled me down river.


Apparently while I wasn't looking my baby sister found my camera and took several self portraits. It's a good thing too, or I might have forgotten what she looks like!

Did you know "down river" is a bit of a misnomer with the New River? There are only two rivers in the world that flow south to north, the Nile and the New. So on this particular journey you start "downriver" and work your way up to the New River Gorge Bridge. Just for fun- did you know it is the second highest bridge in the world at 876 feet high? And it is made out of steel, which rusts on the outside, somehow making the inside stronger. And of course, they save money by not painting it and letting the rust control it. Only in West Virginia would rust be considered a positive feature.The New River Gorge Bridge in all its rusty glory

So we survived the river, and had a great time. After the rafting Rae, Joy and I got back in the car for our very 5 hour drive back. We made a pit stop in Buena Vista to visit Rae's sister.

And while we were there it occured to me I should call my cousin Jonathan as well. So our impromptu visit to BV resulted in seeing not only Rae's sister, but also seeing J, and meeting his fiance Sarah.

I offered to loan Joy some relatives so she wouldn't be left out. But she declined and ate her fries.


And then we did what girls do best and visited the Wal-Mart. I mean really, what spells Saturday night party more than 3 exhausted girls in a Wal-Mart in nowhereville, VA??


All in all, a good weekend. And I'm looking forward to going back to the Gauley River in the fall when they open the dam and get in some really fast rapids. We're hoping to make it for Bridge Day when base jumpers launch themselves senselessly off the New River Gorge Bridge. (We'll raft the Gauley one day, and then the New the next day, so we can be in the water to watch the jumpers.) Now, just to get through the month of August, the heat, the packing, the moving, etc.

CNN.com - Socialite's son denies abuse claims - Jul 28, 2006

CNN.com - Socialite's son denies abuse claims - Jul 28, 2006

This is a joke, right? They aren't really saying that a woman with a personal chef and 7 other servants, including nurses is being neglected?! What? She was forced to eat meals prepared with her nutrition and abilities in mind? And the chef was uninspired? Her personal chef was uninspired?! Well, go lock up that awful son of hers right now! Lock him in the gallows! Beat him in the town square! Without this outrageous lawsuit, think of all the neglected elderly out there that would be forced to shop off the racks, and buy their own groceries!
Oh the humanity!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Lactivists?

CNN.com - Lactivists: Where is it OK to breastfeed? - Jul 27, 2006

There's a big hooha going on about public breastfeeding. Over on Juli's 360 blog she very adamantly states her opinions on the subject. Juli, like other moms, takes the argument that breasts are first and foremost a body part meant for feeding, and not a sex object. I'm not going to argue with any of that. I agree. I won't even attempt to disagree.
Many women want it to be made a right or law that they should be allowed to breast feed in public. I do not agree. But before Juli blows a gasket, I'll explain further. Please breast feed your children! It is good and healthy for them. But as for your breasts, please, keep them covered. Yes, I think women should make personal effort to feed their children. But I don't think I should have to watch them do it. They can do it in a restaurant, bookstore, wherever, BUT KEEP'EM COVERED LADIES! And if your child doesn't like being covered up, go to a private place.
The only argument the "lactivists" ever make is that breasts are for feeding and are not a sexual object. Well, NOT TRUE, now is it? Whether or not breasts are sexual objects isn't really an argument. We all know that they are. And I don't think the lactivist lobby has the ability to reverse that way of thinking. And because of that, breasts are not meant for public display. (there's about 5 of you i could call out by name right now- don't make the comment i know you are thinking!) Please, it makes me uncomfortable every time some woman I don't know decides to start rearranging and popping things out. I don't need to see the breasts of every woman out there. Breastfeeding is a beautiful thing- for those intimately involved in it. It isn't a beautiful sight for the rest of us. Please, keep them covered and to yourself.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

McBride, Siskel, and Ebert

I can't recall if I have ever done a movie review blog before, but tonight I will. I have seen several movies in the last few weeks. The searing temperatures in my apartment force me to run off to the nearest movie theater and watch whatever is showing. As a result, I have seen the following and given them these reviews-

A Scanner Darkly starring Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Woody Harrellson, and Robert Downey Jr. A lot of people claim they haven't heard of this movie, but once they have seen that it is the odd almost cartoonish real action movie, they realize they have. As for the cartoonish real action thing, it took some getting used to, but by the end I liked it. However, the movie left me with a sour taste in my mouth. If you can handle a movie about drugs and the seedy world surrounding it, I would recommend this movie. But if the slightest foul behavior turns you off, don't see it. It isn't for everyone to say the least.
3 stars out of 5

Cars What can I say about the most popular movie in America? It was good. I liked it. I generally hate cartoons except for Shrek. But this was cute and tolerable. The last 10 minutes and the credits are worth the slow and dull parts during the rest of the movie.
3 stars out of 5


You, Me and Dupree This movie was so overly stupid I couldn't take it. It has some bonafide funny parts. But most of the movie was Owen Wilson over playing the dumb guy role. He's funny in that role when it isn't the focus of the movie. But this movie is all about how dumb he can be. Save it for video, trust me! And save the video for late at night when anything is funny. There is one classic line in it though, "You set Dupree up with a Mormon Librarian?"
1.5 stars out of 5


Lady in the Water I fully expected to hate this movie. I really did. But it turns out every review I read was right on- I hated it right up till the point where it changed and I LOVED it. The trailers to this movie are very confusing and misleading. And when I heard that M. Night Shyamalan had put himself in his movie I only thought he was ripping off Hitchcock (and anyone who has been in my apartment knows I love Hitchcock). However, when I left the theater all I thought was I hope more people will cast him in movies. He's fantastic. And the movie is classic Shyamalan. It is tense, original, and has a twist. Oh, and it has one of the best laughs in it I have had in a long time. And you don't have to worry about nightmares at the end.
5 stars out of 5- you really should go see this one!!



And as a sidenote to all those wondering about the kidney stone. I've passed and everything is working fine again!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Vicodin is my friend




I am bummed that my first post after sharing bloglines with my friends is about a bodily function. Kidney stones and William Shatner- I have sunk to an all new low. But Shatner has inspired me. I am in the process of passing my own special little one right now, and have decided to auction it off for charity soon as well. Why should Shatner have all the fun? I mean, mine hurts like hell too! Someone should get to profit from it.

I have vicodin, so this process is getting much more tolerable. And I have lots of friends and TiVo. Ooh, and You Tube, You Tube helps a lot too. And don't forget the cranberry juice, lots and lots of cranberry juice.

I have a request of the blogosphere. Humor me. Seriously. I need funny jokes. Anything. Funny stories. Links to funny you tube videos. Endorphins are my only friend. Have you ever passed a kidney stone? Trust me, humor and laughter are all I got.

Of course, this may end up not being actual stones. But we've ruled out everything else, and I have had them 5 times previous. I know it's going to be a stone, the doctors just haven't caught up with me yet. My body has always been faster than modern medicine.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

My Gift To You- Bloglines

Bloglines - www.bloglines.com

Let me share with you the coolest gadget I have. It's called Bloglines, and I know some of you need it. How do I know? Easy. I can see on my statcounter that you load this webpage 50 times a day waiting to see if I have posted something new. And it's not that I don't love the pageloads, it's just that I want to be a good friend and make you life easier.

Bloglines is a website (that you will bookmark and check 50x a day- trust me) that will track all the blogs you read for you and tells you when there is new material on them. I have 45 blogs getting tracked on bloglines. It saves me tons of time hopping from page to page. Now I can just read the blogs right there on bloglines when there is new material.

Consider this your public service announcement for the day. I in no way benefit from you following the above link and making your own blogline. (Even though I think I should.)

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Democrats Tweak the Primary Calendar

Democrats Tweak the Primary Calendar

Buried deep within the pages of the Washington Post.com today was a short piece about the changes made to the Primary and Caucus calendar. While at first this may seem inconsequential to some, these changes are actually very important.

Yesterday, the Democrats made big changes for 2008, adding two states to the perceived crucial early days of the presidential nomination process. Nevada will be placed in between the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. South Carolina will come after New Hampshire but before Feb. 5, when any state can schedule a vote.

There will, of course, be some fall out when NH throws its fit over a state moving ahead of it in line. There is a NH state law that requires it to be the first primary. (not caucus) This is some major toe-stepping. But once the temper tantrums and historical appreciation are over with, there is a lot more to this change.

First, Nevada is big with the unions. That one thing alone can shape and change the entire presidential election process. Although most of the politically unaware people in this world think that the state primary and caucus system has little to do with them, and is just some strange thing that happens in Iowa at butter festivals, they are wrong. In the earliest stages of the primaries, it is the simple, "I heard he's leading in the polls in Arizona," that make or break a campaign. It's all about word of mouth and how many times "Romney is leading among women in Texas," is heard on the evening news, that wins a campaign. You think you don't care and aren't following the campaigns. But you did just hear that Romney is big with the women in Texas (and trust me, ladies, he will be when we get there), you many not know anything else about him, but you know that women in Texas like him. You perceive that Texas women are strong and independent types, and therefore, because you are strong and independent, you have just completely subconsciously decided to vote for Romney.

With Nevada moving ahead in the race, and the influence of unions (all casino workers are unionized), this can change everything. This means that potentially the next President of the US, will be decided by blackjack dealers in Vegas. And let's not forget the strippers! It will be the preferences of the strippers in Vegas that will make the evening news read, "Hillary Wins Big in Vegas," but you'll have to read closely to find out that it was a straw poll with the exotic dancers. But it doesn't matter, most people won't ever dig that deep, and will only hear that the women in NV like Clinton. (It's safe to assume the strippers won't like Romney.)

My point? This is why people need to get involved in local and early politics. It's the people that do get out and vote in straw polls, and participate in the primaries that make all the difference in who is elected next. Moving NV up is a very very strategic move by the Dems. (do note- I'm not criticizing them- i'm actually applauding their very strategic move) But I'm also encouraging you to get out and get involved if you don't want casino workers determining the next president.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

And the beat goes on

First and foremost- thanks to Tara for putting together a fun tubing outing today. I am sure pictures and recollections of the day will show up on other blogs (Tara, Anne, and Shaka) soon.

I started working at Beretta a little over 2 years ago, and moved into my apartment shortly thereafter. So the whole time I have lived here I have also been getting used to the road warrior lifestyle. Because of the frequent bursts of travel I never truly get comfortable at home. My suitcase never really gets put a way. I clean it out, but it tends to stay at the foot of my bed for weeks on end until I need it again. I'm also very bad about buying groceries. Because I rarely get to eat at home, or when I am home I'm too exhausted to cook, most groceries/produce go bad before I can eat them. So my apartment rarely feels like a home to me. I've liked it here, but I'm not going to miss it. I haven't connected with either of my roommates since living here either, so it never felt like my apartment was my escape. It has always just been a place to go sleep and change clothes.

So I'm moving in a few weeks into a house with 2 girlfriends. It is a fully furnished house, and we will only be there for 11 months. Between my work schedule (we move in and then I leave for several weeks), getting adjusted to the new surroundings, and learning the patterns of new roommates, I'm wondering if and when it will feel like home to me there. I'm looking forward to the change- especially getting a yard, sunroom, and a kitchen you can actually walk around in. But I still wonder if it will feel like home when my boomarang table and Hitchcock pictures aren't there with me?

Now it is time to start the purging, cleaning, and packing. On the bright side I'm not really moving a lot of the furniture. On the downside I have to paint my entire apartment over again.


Friday, July 21, 2006

HHS Secretary's Fund Gave Little to Charity

Something smells like an anti-Mormon conspiracy to me!

First one of the most ethical and "straight arrow" members of Congress, John T Doolittle, is
raked over the coals for fundraising activities. And now, just one week later, the Washington Post suddenly has breaking news that Secretary Leavitt also has questionable charitable practices .

Let's look at the cold hard facts.

1. Doolittle's alleged crime- his wife worked as a fundraiser. She kept all receipts. She did all of the work. Having personally been in her home I have no problem making the assertion that she probably made every single fundraising dinner from scratch, cleaned her home, and handwrote out every invitation. Why wouldn't she? She's one of the most amazing event planners in the world, and my personal inspiration to become one. She took a flat commission rate from every fundraising dollar she brought in. Apparently the Post doesn't think she should have done that.

2. Leavitt's alleged crime- his family charitable trust didn't give away enough money to charity. Well, I don't know if they did or didn't. But I do know that the Post very clearly spells out how many members of the family were a part of the trust. So it wasn't Sec. Leavitt alone. If Leavitt only donated funds to one place this year, and that one place was his family's trust, that was his choice. Does it make him a bad person? Well, no, just a slightly selfish one. But let's get one thing straight- that was nothing but my own personal assertion. I don't believe for one second that the Leavitts only donated to their own family trust this year. I've met them enough times, and I have met enough of their extended family and friends, to know that they are very active in other well-doing organizations. Mrs. Leavitt is one of the kindest people I have ever met. I find it completely impossible to believe that the Leavitts only donated to their own family trust. But even then, is there something wrong with donating your own hard earned money into a trust that takes care of your own family and your own interests? Is the Post really suggesting that it is wrong for a family trust to donate funds to its own interests??? Backing up to Sec. Leavitt and the choices he made with his own money. Did he do anything criminal with it? No. Did the trust he donated to do anything criminal? No. So why did this make the front page and why do we care?

Oh, because both Doolittle and Leavitt are LDS, and the LDS (Mormon) Church is coming up and out of obscurity with the political rise of Gov. Mitt Romney right now. People are waking up and realizing that Romney will rise to previously unexpected popularity when he saves and fixes the Big Dig problems. And with that, he will swoop the GOP nomination process. And there are too many close-minded people who just can't handle a Mormon with that much power. (Why? What did we ever do to you?)


Something smells like an anti-Mormon conspiracy (all in the name of "educating the people" - albeit improperly) at the Washington Post.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Oh what do you do in the summertime, when all the world is... HOT?

In case you have been living under a rock, or sitting too close to a computer screen lately, the East Coast is experiencing a little heat wave. Normally heat waves don't bother me much. I sit in an overly air conditioned cubicle all day, go out to my nicely air conditioned car, and proceed home to my barely air conditioned apartment. I try and venture outside every day for a "clean air" break, away from other people having a smoke break. Sometimes this is my only opportunity to see natural daylight and find out what the weather is really like.

Until this week.

Normally I am known for always being cold. Ask anyone who sits within ten yards of me! I keep a space heater under my desk, plus a shawl, and in the winter a jacket and/or scarf. I am ALWAYS cold. In my own home I tend to wear sweats in the summer because I really despise having cold air blow on me.

But oh no, not this week. This week has been too hot. I have walked around singing "It's Too Damn Hot" (a song from a musical I have forgotten the origin of), and SWEATING. Now let me explain something else- I never sweat. Ever. I can have the best work out of my life and barely glisten a bit. I just don't sweat. I have been in third world countries with less than adequate ventilation systems, and been just fine. But this summer in my apartment just plain SUCKS.

I have complained to the landlady. She informs me that the a/c works just fine. If we keep all our blinds and windows closed, and run both wall units full blast, we should be just fine.

Um, yeah right.

I tried taking pictures of the little magnet thermometer in various locations throughout my apartment, but it was just too tiny. You couldn't read the actual temperatures, therefore losing the dramatic effect I was going for. So you'll just have to take my word for it.

10 pm Tuesday night temps-
on the refrigerator- 80 degrees (approximately 5 feet from the a/c wall unit)
actually on the a/c unit- 77 degrees
in the living room- 85 degrees (a good 10 ft from the a/c unit)
and in my bedroom- furthest point from the a/c unit, with the ceiling fan going full blast- 95 degrees.

But the landlady insists it is working just fine. Good to know.

I have had to sleep in the living room, where it is considerably cooler, for the last few nights in a row. It helped, but I hate that I have to do it. I've been getting creative with evening activities to just keep me out of my own home. Movies, library, and grocery shopping can take up a few hours. Tonight I caved and just drove to my parent's house for a few hours. My mother has loaned me her nearly industrial strength fan. It has cooled my bedroom off to a mere 80 degrees!! Progress!! Unfortunately it also sounds like a typhoon in here, but I've slept through worse.

In the end, let me just say this. The management at Washington Lee Apartments SUCKS. The landlady, one Ms. Rose, is the absolute worst customer service provider I have ever met. I have lived here for 2 years, and have only survived because I travel 50% of the time. Our power went out this week, but only in the apartments. The hall lights stayed on just fine (they are not emergency lights). Was there any explanation given as to why we had no power for over 10 hours? No. Any apology from management? No. Do I expect it will happen again? You bet.

There is some satisfaction in knowing that if anyone were to google the name Washington Lee Apartments now, that they will most likely pull up this post. Future residents- beware. You've been properly warned.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Fly Me to the Moon...

Somewhere around the age of 9 I became aware of my very first "what I want to be one I grow up" dream. It was Christa McAuliffe, whom I am sure you all remember as the first teacher in space. For about one minute she made me want to be a school teacher too, so I could go into space, and then I saw "Space Camp" and realized I didn't want to be a teacher, I wanted to be an astronaut. Or at the very least, a kid with a pet robot who could "accidentally" shoot me into space.

My tenth birthday, 1985, was spent with my family in Orlando, where we had big plans to go see the Challenger shuttle launch. But like most launches it got delayed a few days, and we missed it. (or at least this is how my childhood memory remembers the experience) So just like every other school kid in America, I watched the Challenger Disaster live in a classroom.



When I lived in both Houston and Florida I took advantage of every opportunity to see various launches, visit the Space Centers, etc. To further assure you of my love for all things NASA, let me also explain that I begged my parents every single year until I graduated from high school to send me to Space Camp (and not just b/c I thought I could rig a way to get a space shuttle to accidentally launch). I used to own my own box set of VHS tapes of the "Right Stuff," "Top Gun," "Space Camp," and "Apollo 13," as well as several other videos about NASA that most non-nerds have never heard of.

What's my point? Well, I just haven't talked about the space shuttle to anyone lately! No one ever seems to care about the Space Race, going to the moon, when we are going to send civilians into space, and when Max is going to allow Jinx to be sold on the commercial market. I want my own Jinx, dang it! But seriously, I love all things NASA. I even went with my sister to a planetarium on vacation! Come on! What else do I have to say to convince you? That my first movie star crush was on Tate Donovan? And that I have every word to "Apollo 13" memorized? And that I read the book? And my favorite river is the Patuxent? And the only way I'll ever live in Maryland, is if I can live near the Pax? (a litmus test for true nerds right there) Or that I consider naming my first born son Yeager?

I have officially decided I want to go into space. And since NASA just isn't building the ISS fast enough for me (not that I would want to go to that flying heap of junk anyway), I've decided I'm going to have to follow Lance Bass' example, and go with the Russians. I've always wanted to go to Russia, and this just might be my chance. I am now opening my paypal account to your donations for "Erin's Trip to the Moon." I plan to pay for the trip with your kind donations as well as the profits from my next novel (which I am sure once I write it will be a best seller), which should clear a few million in royalties. I plan to be the first "Romance Writer in Space." And if I can't do that, I am just going to have to marry an astronaut or one of the Blue Angels. Is that so much to ask for? I think not.

Anyway, all that was just so I could post my current two favorite pictures. And to encourage you all to contribute to the "Erin's Trip to the Moon" fund.



Monday, July 17, 2006

One Sick Boy

As many of you know, I've been following the lives of several sick children for the past year. It all started with a little girl named Rebekah (link to her page on the side) who was fighting a rare form of cancer. She is 3 years old, and already a cancer survivor. While following the awful experiences of her life, and praying and crying for her family daily last summer, I came across little Maggie May's story. She was a little doll of a girl fighting a rare form of leukemia, and sadly succumbed to the disease last fall. (Joy, aka RubyG, has also been following these amazing kids.) And through both of those incredible families, I learned about Joshua and Oliver, little boys fighting cancer and leukemia as well.

If and when you ever feel like you are having a bad day, reading the stories of these kids and what their parents are enduring, will change your perspective on your life in a heartbeat. Recently, I've been reading the completely normal frustrations of both Joshua and Rebekah's mothers, as their children have ended their cancer treatments, and have started to become "normal" kids again. Having prayed so much for these little ones in the past year, I felt truly happy hearing that Rebekah can play pranks on her baby sister now.

I recently found out about 2 new children, and I just had to share them with you. The first one is Asher. He's a little preemie, born only 20 weeks into pregnancy. His twin brother, Jacob, passed away after only 7 weeks of life. While Asher is getting stronger each day, his life is still very fragile. You can learn more about him, here .

And just today I learned about a darling little boy named Colton. About a month ago he started suffering debilitating tremors (not seizures). The doctors are unsure of what is happening to him. He can't sleep, eat, speak, or do anything else really, on his own. His family can't leave his bedside. His story is very sad, and at times hard to read. I think they thing that has drawn me to him the most is that he looks just like my nephews. I hope you'll take the time to read his story as well. Colton's page

Some of you have asked me what the point is in reading these Caring Bridge sites. I don't know the families, and will most likely never meet them. What good is it doing them for a stranger to read their story? I think first and foremost the answer is just moral support. I think a mother stuck at a bedside of a very sick child with little to no contact with the outside world must find some solace and support and will to go on when she sees that 1,000 people read the story of her son's illness today. And how much more it must mean to the mother who has buried her 7 week old son when a complete stranger tells her she admires her strength and prays for her daily. Beyond all of that, is the amazing strength I get from reading the stories these families share. While I have never met Joshua's mother, Mrs. Brenneman has become one of my personal heroes. She runs a busy home with 4 other children, and her husband is a minister. While some people would give in to "poor poor pitiful me" she instead leaves amazing words of wisdom on her son's website almost daily. I am sure that if I met this woman I would simply stand in awe of her love and strength and ability to see good in the world around her.

I hope you'll visit these websites and learn more about these kids. They do deserve all the love, prayer, and support the world can offer. (And so do their incredible families!)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Some people's children...

Some people's children just cannot take a normal picture. They're just inherently incapable of it. We are two of those children.

































Saturday was the Beretta National Range Day. I had to attend a range event in Philly, so I brought along a few friends for the ride. (My new car's maiden road trip!) Joy, Amber, and Adam all braved getting up at the crack of dawn to join me up there. While I was working they did some sightseeing. They picked me back up for lunch, where we tried authentic Philly Cheesesteaks. No one was impressed. We're hoping it was just a tourist trap, although it really didn' t look like it. We also tried the outdoor Italian market and just walking around. And, of course, we paid homage to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell.























What It's Like for the Little Brother

Before- the brothers take off on a road trip



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And after the road trip...

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Beer Baron Coors Loses License for DUI

Beer Baron Coors Loses License for DUI: "DENVER -- Beer baron Peter Coors' driver's license has been revoked by a hearing officer who ruled the executive had been driving under the influence of alcohol, officials said."


Admit it, you know you're laughing.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Top of the Hill

Lately I have had this feeling that I am standing at the top of a hill, holding several large bowling balls, preparing to let them roll down. In my head I know that as these balls roll down they will roll faster and faster and spin off into lots of smaller balls. While in Utah I saw an exhibit at the planetarium called, "Newton's Daydream." It involved dozens of balls rolling down dozens of tracks, bouncing off ledges and magically landing in baskets. Just like everyone else, I stood there mesmorized the laws of Newton and how in spite of the chaos of the tracks, moving balls, and spinning wheels, everything always ended up where it belongs. I wonder how many other people stood there seeing their schedule and responsibilities reflected in the organized chaos?

I keep looking at the next 3 months on my schedule and hoping that I have learned a few things from Newton. I've started the balls rolling slowly down the track, and I'm watching them get in motion, and before I know it, they will spinning off in lots of directions. Hopefully, truly hopefully, I will have planned the tracks and balls and speed just right, and they will all land in that basket at the end of the summer.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Lawmaker Criticized for PAC Fees Paid to Wife

Lawmaker Criticized for PAC Fees Paid to Wife


This article is very eye-opening, isn't it? An entire article about 2 persons without one direct quote from either of them. There are indirect quotes and explanations from their staff, but not one quote from the Doolittles themselves. Is it because the Doolittles are hiding? Doubtful. It's because the Post will do anything to make a Republican, especially an ethical and conservative one, look bad.

I have read and re-read the article on Rep. John Doolittle and his wife, and I still can not identify anything illegal or unethical they are supposed to have done. Mrs. Doolittle worked on a commission basis – if she did not bring in any money, she would not have been paid. This is bad? The article says the PAC spent $40,000 over a 4-year period – that’s about $10,000 per year – on gifts for people who supported their PAC, which raised close to $1 million in the same time frame. This is bad? It seems the Post’s major complaint is that Julie Doolittle is good at what she does.

Hey Weisman and Birnbaum- do the real expose on them! Tell us exactly who those gifts were given to so we can decide for ourselves whether or not they were ethical! And while you are at it, tell us who else Doolittle is associated with, which watchdog groups have given him awards for his frugality, and for breaking open huge scandals in Congress.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Did someone say "family resemblance?"


There has a bit of discussion amongst the family as to who resembles whom. (Someone -jules/stacer- can correct my grammar and spelling later.) I think the following pictures will prove that the one of the boys looks just like me, one looks just like both of us, and the other one looks way too much like his mother.

Porter looks EXACTLY like his mother.

(We were deep into our Princess Leia phase. Oh to have sunstreaks, tans, and bikini bodies like that again!)



Dallin is a true hybrid between Natalie and me.


And try as my brother-in-law (Steve) may to claim Tell's genes, the kid is the spitting image of me.

(Sidenote to my mom- if you ever wonder how your daughters both turned out to be tomboys, please look at our Christmas presents- a punching bag, power tools, a race track, and Spider-Woman Underoos. Clearly Spider-Woman was the most tomboyish and least girly of the Justice League. She could kick wimpy Wonder Woman any day.)




Thursday, July 06, 2006

Wednesday and Thursday in SLC

After we returned from the Independence Day festivities in Provo, we hit the town on Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday we took the boys out for a waffle breakfast (where Tell ate Mac and Cheese and Fries), went to the Planetarium (where Natalie showed us how to walk on the moon), saw a movie about black holes, visited a water park thingamajig (Tell did NOT like it), got tacos, and some other stuff. After depositing the boys with their dad, Natalie and I took off for some girl time. What spells sister time more than pedicures, a movie, and sushi? Okay, well we couldn't find decent sushi, but we did get Mongolian BBQ, so close enough.
On Thursday we took the boys out to a garden near the U and let them run free. Porter managed to find a container of "almost compost" (apparently it needed to rot a few more weeks to really be compost- so in the meantime it was liquid crap, literally) and spill it all over the floor.
The trip has been a blast, but to be honest, I'm thinking about having my tubes tied.
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When on Mars...

Tell is demonstrating what a Martian looks like.
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Brotherly Love

I asked Dallin and Porter to hug and smile for the camera. This is their version of both. Porter frequently makes this face when you ask him to smile. Dallin's smile changes with every click of the camera. You'll notice they are touching each other and calling this a hug though.
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Brotherly Love- the Moment After

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Got Milk?

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I'm on Sale for $11.98

Today was also the first time I've ever been able to walk into a bookstore and "see" myself on the shelves. Good news Juli- we're on the shelves. The bad news- we're on sale. And not in alphabetical order.
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Dallin's Better Side

Dallin loves nothing more than to pose for a picture. The fun part is never knowing exactly which smile or pose he's going to give you. After taking this picture, and Dallin examining the digital display he informed me he looks very handsome in this shot.
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Tell of the Flowers

Some day my nephews are going to ask me why I made them pose in a flower bed. The answer will be, "to give to your future wife." That will not make them any happier.
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Sisters

Finally, a picture of Natalie and me. Apparently my hairdresser did a good job of getting my new color to match my "real" color. Natalie and I have nearly identical hair color now.
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One Little, Two Little, Three Little Indians

Here are my two favorite little wild indians in their teepee showing me what "real" indians sound like.
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Don't hate me because I'm beautiful

Natalie poses beneath the waterfall in her first shampoo commercial.
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Who's Got the Cutest Little Baby Face?

Porter does of course!
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The Utah Diversion


I arrived late Monday afternoon into Salt Lake City. After my luggage was retrieved from its special flight, Natalie and 2 of her boys picked me up and took me to their house. This is my first time to see my sister's first owned home, so obviously I had to get the grand tour as soon as possible. When that was done Natalie informed me we were going down to Provo to stay overnight with her in-laws and participate in the Independence Day celebrations with them. I have been hearing for years how funny the Gresko family grandchildren can be. Within 12 months, all 5 of the Gresko children had baby boys. Two years later, they did it again. Two of my nephews- Tell and Dallin, are amongst this staggering number of little boys. I had been warned that it is a little boy heaven when they all get together, but I wasn't well prepared for what I experienced.
Remember that song from the movie, "Annie" where Carol Burnett drunkely walks around singing, "little girls, little girls, everywhere I go, I see them"? I had my own version of that song ringing through my head as I met the Gresko brood. Little boys everywhere. Little boys running everywhere. Little boys screaming like banshees and running everywhere. And then we added the fireworks... Ay yi yi. (to the McBride cousins reading this, you'll understand me when i say, this was NOT a mcbride family gathering.)
Don't get me wrong, there are a few poor little girls enduring their onslaught of boy cousins. They were even cute sweet little girls. Too bad you couldn't hear a word they said over the Lord of the Flies and his Merry Men.
The Greskos' grandmother, Sandy, had purchased a $100 set of fireworks and we set them all off on Monday night. It was actually a pretty impressive display of home fireworks!
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