Archive for the 'Misc.' Category

Paul’s Countries Visited Map

Sunday, May 7th, 2006
Paul's Countries Visited Map

create your own visited countries map 

Paul’s been to Puerto Rico.¬† And Iceland.¬† And he did some excavating in Greece.

Kelly’s Countries Visited Map

Sunday, May 7th, 2006
Kelly's Countries Visited Map

create your own visited countries map 

Almost doesn’t seem fair that I get credit for ALL of Canada, when I’ve only been to Niagra Falls.¬† At least I’ll pass briefly through¬†Vancouver later this year.¬†

There’s so much more to see.

I can’t wait to retire.

Right On. And Off.

Monday, May 1st, 2006

Er. . .¬† In my blogging enthusiasm, I managed to shift all the text to the right.¬† The links on the side are still there, just all the way at the bottom.¬† I’ll get it back to the left, as soon as I figure out how.¬†¬†In the meantime, just think of it as a metaphor for national politics.

Take Your Work to Bird

Monday, April 24th, 2006

We’ve all heard of ‘take your child to work’ day.

Now I’ve run into someone who’s living a variation on that concept.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve spoken on the phone a few times at work with a benefits consultant who has been hired by a client. The consultant is retired and works part-time from home. I hear her pets – especially a squawking bird – in the background when we talk on the phone.

It’s odd. We’re trying to conduct serious business. And we each present ourselves very professionally as we discuss the various taxation implications of alternate benefit designs.

So I ignore the bird (and the occasional barking dog), and pretend that I don’t hear it. I presume that she’s privately cringing at her animals’ noises, and hoping that, in fact, I don’t hear it.

One day recently, I arrived at my desk in the morning to find a voice mail from her on a serious matter. During the message, the bird (it sounds like some kind of parrot or cockatiel) made its presence very well known. After she finished her message and was hanging up the phone – I KNOW she didn’t want me to hear this part – she yelled “BIRD….!” in a tone of reproach and mild correction (tempered with affection). I bet Bird got in big trouble for that one.

The next time she called, the signal kept cutting in and out. There was no bird in the background. I’m imagining that she went to the back yard, or the basement, and called me on a cell phone to escape the sound of the bird. It was hard to communicate over the weak signal.

I’d rather have the bird.

Dream Blog Synthesis

Sunday, April 23rd, 2006

Unlike the essayist in the previous post, I DO keep up with a few friends’ blogs, as evidenced by a strange dream I had this morning when I joined Emma for “morning naptime.”

In the dream, a camera crew came to film a documentary about a controversy that had somehow roiled up around me. The controversy: that I’ve started ordering pre-made (but uncooked, mind you) dinners from the local Dinner By Design and Dinner Solution outfits, to save time in my busy working Mommy life. (I blogged about the wonderful world of pick-up and heat-up dinners before.) But in the dream, instead of dinners the “problem” was that I was ordering and eating desserts.

It seems that a Muslim man living in Canada caught wind of my
time-saving meal purchases. It wasn’t clear, in the dream, if he had
learned about it through my blog, but that’s a reasonable conclusion for purposes of filling the narrative gap. Apparently he felt slighted and angry that I got to have desserts without taking the time to truly prepare them myself. I didn’t understand why this bothered him, but I had the opportunity to read a newspaper article about his complaints on the subject.

And the camera crew was most interested in capturing my take in the situation, although I didn’t HAVE much of a take, other then a sense of vague confusion and anxiety.

This dream of having a camera crew in my house appears to me to be directly inspired by the occurrence of just that very event for a blogging friend, who recently described some of the experience here and here. (The main page of his very interesting blog is right here).

And now that I’m recounting one of my dreams on my blog, I’m following in the footsteps of another of the bloggers I follow, who did the same recently, here, on her blog. (Here’s her main page; it’s cool. She lives in China.).

Note that both of these particular blogs that inspired my dream, and my online account of it, are both hosted on the unique and inestimable, which was domiciled for a while in Bloomington, Indiana, but has since moved elsewhere, just like the three bloggers that came together, sort of, in my dream: Editor B, MF, and ME.

You could do worse things than to visit that cool site for a while. There’s a lot to see.

Blog Irreverence

Sunday, April 23rd, 2006

Reproduced, below, courtesy of the Blogosphere, and for your entertainment, is the text of an irreverent essay from June 20, 2005 about NOT reading friends’ blogs.

(It’s the title that I really love. )

The source of this essay is JOHO The Blog, which is operated by David Weinberger. I first heard this essay in an embellished, somewhat sassier form when he read it on NPR. Audio version is available here.

No, I’m not keeping up with your blog.

I would like to. I really would. I like it and I like you.

But we’re now well past the point where any of us can keep up with all the blogs worth reading from the people worth keeping up with. Even with an aggregator.

I just can’t do it any more.

I’ve been faking it for a while. Months. Maybe a year. If we’ve met and I look confused about something you told me, and if you said, “I blogged it,” as if that should be explanation enough, I’ve made some excuse as if I read every one of your posts except that one.
The truth is, I probably haven’t read your blog in weeks. Months maybe.

And I don’t expect you to have read mine.

I don’t want to lie any more. I don’t want to feel guilty any more. So let me tell you flat out: There are too many blogs I like and too many people I like to making “keeping up” a reasonable expectation, any more than you should expect me to keep up with Pokemon characters or I should expect you to keep up with Bollywood movies. I’m not going to feel guilty any longer about my failure.

I will read your blog on occasion, either because I’ve been thinking of you or because something reminded me of you. Maybe it’ll be because you sent me an email pointing to a post you think I’ll enjoy. Go ahead! I’d love to hear from you.

But I hereby release you from thinking I expect you to keep up with my blog, and I preemptively release myself from your expectations.

Otherwise reading each other’s blogs will become a joyless duty. And we’re too good friends to do that to each other

(You can click on this picture, too)

Oh, Sweet Weekend…

Thursday, April 20th, 2006

Penance Interrupted

Thursday, February 23rd, 2006

OK, I’ve been feeling like a Schlub. I think I took a minor Karma hit for posting my little poll, below. According to a definition available online, “political incorrectness” means:

the use of expressions or actions that can be perceived to exclude or marginalize or insult groups who are socially disadvantaged or discriminated against

And if my poll was perceived (because anyone who knows me knows I wouldn’t mean it in this way) to insult socially disadvantaged groups, then, mea culpa. I apologize.

In order to restore my social-ethical standing in the community, I thought about what I could do to redeem myself for my possibly insensitive post.

I decided that it would be a nice gesture to make a small donation to an Ice Skating organization, so that young people of any persuasion can get support in pursuing their love of that unique form of art – the ice dance.

And so I started my search for a proper recipient of my charitable intention. I didn’t find many organizations that accepted donations. Several of the sites seemed to be linked to skating trade organizations or skating apparel sales companies.

I finally ended up at that U.S. Figure Skating website. And – Perfect! They not only accept donations, but also provide an online link permitting donations to the “Memorial Fund” intended to

provide qualified U.S. Figure Skating skaters in need of financial aid with monetary assistance to pursue their goals both inside and outside the competitive arena. The fund is committed to awarding skating and academic scholarships to those athletes who have demonstrated excellent competitive results and/or academic achievements and who have future potential in national and international competitions. . . . [and to] help fulfill the dreams of young figure skaters across the country.

Just what I had in mind to support! And just the perfect way to assuage any half-hearted and/or repressed guilt I may have had about possibly disparaging any particular former, current, or future Olympic skaters. So I filled out the donation form. I even entered my credit card information. And, feeling proud of myself, I clicked the submit button.

And for my efforts, I received the following message, in red text:

The minimum donation amount is $50!

Hmmm. . .

Well, I’m not that worried about my Karma. . .

So, uh, I’ll just get back to my regularly scheduled activities, then. Okey dokey.


I mean, I could have pursued the idea of the penance thing by sighing up for a $25 membership to the International Gay Figure Skating Union , but I have baby doctor bills to pay, yo! And what good would my little $25 do there, anyway. Sir Elton John is already supporting many of the athletes likely to participate in this group. And I understand that gentleman to be a generous spender. (A 1999 report cited his average $400,000 per month credit card bill).

So instead, I’ll keep my little money, and just enjoy this free (and fabulous) poster for the “Fabulous Cup 2005,” and hopefully, we can all leave it at that.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Wednesday, January 18th, 2006

OK – it’s been quite some time since I’ve done any writing that wasn’t intended to meet the various requirements of the Internal Revenue Code, ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act), or any of another of other codifications of federal law that govern employee benefits matters. SO, any readers out there are going to have to bear with me as I await the return of my muse (and as I slowly learn to get more high tech on my blogging capabilities. I’m hoping to figure out how to do hyperlinks, soon, but I’m not there yet – or maybe I am…) .

In the meantime, I can start with a humble offer of
a brief summary of some of our activities today. Paul
learned today that he recieved an “A” in his Federal
Income Tax class in law school. He earns a big
thumbs up from me AND from a generic woman I
found online for that! (I did not get an “A” in that class, and wish I’d paid more attention in that one back then, since I work with tax issues most of my days now).

He also went to the doctor today, and had to wear those funny eye shields for a while. He even met with a professor while wearning those, which he said was a little strange. I believe him.

When we got home, we put Emma in her highchair and fed her some Rice Cereal, which she got all over her face. I wanted to take a picture, but Paul assured me that this one from about a month ago, would suffice to document the concept. And I suppose it does.