Sunday, September 28, 2008

Perspective

Because we've been discussing a depression hitting the States, I wanted to think about how another family might take this news in their country. I've been mulling over this shot I took of kids enjoying mangos in Haiti, thinking about them, their mom and dad, and how they might prepare when they hear a storm is coming.

And Haiti did just got drenched with yet another ferocious tropical storm. At least if we face grueling circumstances, our kids don't go into them dressed like this.


We have resources. We have education. We have compassion. We will weather the storm. Perhaps now is an important time to reach out rather than hold back. We can send a message to our collective psyche that we can continue to give, continue to help, even in the face of hard times.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Paul Newman

The thing I'll always remember about Paul Newman is how he came out of his star trailer and sat with us (crew) at lunch.

Found this video on his Newman's Own website. Great legacy, something that will live on. I hope I can leave a legacy like this.

Mr. Newman, you are - still - an inspiration.

Here's a clip from the film where I met him. Can't believe he's gone so soon.

Scary Computer Stuff


Now that I've changed over to high definition video, my external drives are no longer fast enough to edit properly. So, my friend Wedge at Wegener Media turned me on to this little device that hooks up to my computer via an eSATA cable. Nifty, but you need an expensive card to get it going. Leave it to computer guru Robert to find a cheap work around. Well, I bought this thing, and opened my computer to install it.

It's a good thing I didn't read the directions first, because I would have completely chickened out. I had to take my computer apart - all sorts of screws in a bowl next to me, and some left over when I was done . . . but, I am now up and running, and it is SCREAMING fast.

Very cool.


In other news, one of Alden's friends from China found us, and Alden has been on the phone with this friend for an hour. I can hear them talking from my desk. Alden is explaining to him how to do something on the computer and it sounds exactly like Wedge or Robert trying to walk me though something.

"No, hit the P key!" "Now hit ENTER." The thing is, he is outside, pacing in the yard while he's giving these instructions. I'm telling you, these kids are born double clicking!

He then came in and asked to get on my edit computer. Our laptop is out with David doing taxes. Well, supposedly he's doing taxes, though I just got an email from him asking if "pleather" is a real word (it is slang, according to Wikipedia, though there are several types of pleather, you have to be specific). Anyway, Alden was on line, playing a video game with a boy he went to school with in China, who stayed at his orphanage and foster home. Two years ago, neither of them spoke a word of English, and now they are yelling to each other while they are on line playing a game together, two states apart, in the USA, in totally new lives.

Nice.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Moscow


My dad just got home from a job in Russia. His first trip there, and he says he loved the food. It was 40 degrees, though, so I don't think I'll go with him any time before August. Here's a shot he grabbed of the Moscow Kremlin. I find it a surprisingly fun archetectural style.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

SAVE YOURSELF


This bailout screams "save yourself."

I just want to ask, what is there to fear if the USA enters a deep depression?

I'm not talking about the shockwaves that hit the rest of the planet if we stop sending millions of dollars in aid. That IS frightening. But, let's keep the discussion to right here, Market Street. USA.

Could a true depression cause us to reach out to our neighbors and lend a hand to those in need? Could a true depression slow electronic, all consuming life frenzy for a time and put purpose back into our daily tasks? Do you think we might begin to talk to each other about real needs rather than argue about abstract ideals?

I sound like I'm romanticizing here, but I've seen the happiness in those who have little, and I wonder if we lose what we have, we might not be better off.

Maybe we shouldn't be so quick to plug the cracks in this dam with sand. It's gonna go anyway, why not face it with dignity now rather than leave it to our children to navigate without us?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Elias

Elias is here this month from the Dominican Republic. Shorter people in the house are bummed he'll be leaving soon, and it will be back to just us booring parents. "Uncle Elias" is much more fun. He rides bikes with Alden, plays cards with Sarah and princess Zion actually listens to him.


I'm bummed he's leaving because he's great to have around and he can't sit still, so he's constantly looks for projects, and it's fun to see what he comes up with to work on. Last time he was here he volunteered to paint Sarah's new bedroom, and this time he's been spending a lot of time in our boat. One of these days we will get it into water, but I have a feeling it may be on his next trip over, as it still lacks seats.

David is going to miss him because Elias beats him at online poker every night. Okay, maybe David won't miss the sore throat he gets from yelling "YOU LUCKY DOG!!!" all the time.

This Saturday, Elias and I plan to go yard "sale-ing" early and then he and David are going to a Carolina football game, compliments of my friend Wade. Then, we are going to cook Dominican beans and rice. I tried it the other night and he gave me some pointers, so I've asked him to walk me through it. One of these days I WILL master that dish!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Artisans in the House


Only two days into this week and we are ART heavy. Monday we got together with our friends at Studio Campfire to get the kids' art ready for the State Fair. I'm excited about both Sarah and Alden's pieces. Sarah did a neat piece called "Dancing Henna" which featured a hand covered in henna, and the henna moving off the hand to surround it in the picture. Alden's work is a montage of school work in both Chinese and English, over which he decoupaged colored tissue paper in symbolic Chinese and USA flags, and then topped those with a large word in Chinese, made from strips of black paper.

In other art news, today was art class at Excelsior (30 mintues for Alden, two hours for Sarah), at the Tuesday homeschoolers program. They are both working on coats of arms since their focus this year at Excelsior is the Middle Ages.

And, tonight Alden worked on sanding and painting his pinewood derby car for Royal Rangers at church.


We have high hopes for the State Fair this year, especially since David brought home some earnings last year. I couldn't decide on a photo I liked, so I'm sitting this one out. I need to find some photos for the upcoming auction in Denver for Children's Heaven, and I planned to look for both a fair entry and auction photos simultaneously, but nothing is jumping out at me.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Weekend in Atlanta

We had a fabulous weekend with our friends in Atlanta. It was the first time we'd seen Little Cutie on the swing since we came home with her from India. She is so well adjusted and happy - it is just wonderful to spend time with her.


But, the big news was Zion's future husband's birthday! Here he is, with Zion on the couch (love this photo by the "other" mom).



The party was a real rush. I have my friend Laura to thank for this flattering photo of me pretending to enjoy myself on the giant inflatible slide . . . you know, just for my kid's sake.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Tokyo

My brother is going to Tokyo. All expenses paid, to compete in the international competition for the game, Metal Gear Online 4, that he has been playing lately.

I'm re-thinking my whole frequent flier strategy and wondering if I should take up gaming as my new "cheap travel" method. Previously, I gave up video games after weeks of frustration over not being able to complete a single screen of Pac Man. But, some of this skill must be genetic, right? I just need to learn to tap in.


Here's some info(!) from gamebattles.com:
This summer, GameBattles is proud to host the North American Qualifying leg of the Metal Gear Online World Championship, which will offer the two winning teams a trip to Tokyo, Japan!
. . . . both teams will be flown to Tokyo, Japan on or about October 8th -12th in order to battle it out with gamers from across the globe in the Metal Gear Online World Championship at the Tokyo Game Show! In addition to the winning a trip to Japan, there is $8,000 in cash and additional prizing from Konami up for grabs for the winners of the North American Qualifiers! Competition is sure to be fierce!

I'm realizing as I type this that I don't know how to properly format the name of a video game. Is it in italics or underlined like a book? Or in quotes like an article? My gut says think of it like a film, which is notated like a book title. I think. When I was in school, one gave Pac Man proper credit by just capitalizing the first letter of each word . . . not that any teacher wanted to see an arcade game mentioned in homework. I guess those proff's didn't imagine a world where your thumb power could entice sponsors to fly you around the world.

Travel is the finest form of education, wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tea Time


Today we hosted a local Homeschool Girl's Club.


She served her new friends tea, Chinese style, and showed them some tips about Chinese brush painting she learned from Grandma. Here she is grinding ink. I think the girls enjoyed grinding as much as they did painting.


And, here they are, running off a bit of energy - oh yes!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Cuba - Hurricane


Please pray for Cuba. The area where our friends live has been decimated by the hurricane storm surge, and we can't get in touch with anyone. There was a five story building near where they are that is now just GONE. In that area also, the water was already brackish, so our hope is that people can at least get clean water while they wait for other services to be restored.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Yearbook Yourself

Almost as much fun as turning yourself into a piece of IKEA furniture, my friend Heidi W told me about this one, Yearbook Yourself.

Here I am in 1960 and also, the year I was born, 1968:



Saturday, September 06, 2008

My Honor Star

I actually plugged in an iron and used it on clothing today. David bought one a few years ago when I was out of town, and now I have used it three times. Twice for karate rank tests for Alden, and today for a very special occasion.

Three years ago, our Sarah made a commitment to become an Honor Star. It's an intensive program at our church, similar to Girl Scouts, where girl's earn badges through helping others, writing essays, memorizing scripture and other materials, reading the New Testament, and choosing to live exemplary lives.

Three girls were honored today for taking on this challenge. Sarah and her friend Mikaila were two of the girls. They wear a white dress, and their dads escort them to the front of the church, where they are honored with a cape and crowning ceremony and a photo present ion about each girl. They also get to decorate a table with things that are a part of their lives.


I had to hold back tears. She is growing up so FAST! Zion is starting the early version of the program, so she got to stand on stage with her class and receive a certificate. Alden touched my heart by solemnly escorting me in and out of the sanctuary. He's now excited about working hard at Royal Rangers, because they get to wear swords with their uniforms.

Bahamas Training

David and I spent last week in the Bahamas, doing some training in audio, camera operation and editing. We really enjoyed our time, and our hosts educated us about Bahamian history and religion, economics and the recent devestaging effects of hurricanes. They also took us to this wonderful state park, where we saw some tiny birds that looked like humming birds. I thought humming birds didn't relax long enough to get a photo, so maybe they are something else. Anyone know?




Here's some of the editing class. Most of them are pretty young, which means they are born knowing more about computers than I'll ever hope to glean. Their enthusiasm for all things "techie" was energizing.

I get such cool jobs!

Oh, and here is our fun and colorful hotel by the inlet - live music at night from the porch and a nice local coffee shop a short walk from the lobby. Even when the power was turned off in fear of bad hurricane weather, it was still great.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Adopting children with HIV

I saw this article yesterday while sitting at the airport. Loved how it stresses that HIV is a manageable special need, and that more and more Americans are adopting children with this disease.

Now, if we can just make health costs more transparent so true competition can exist and health insurance prices can drop, we will be able to do even more.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0902/p04s01-woaf.html