Etiquette question

If the host of an event tells the crowd to put their hands over their hearts for the playing of the National Anthem, and you notice the fiftyish woman next to you not doing so for the duration of the song, is it OK to punch her?

The event was a 5k to benefit wounded warriors. If she hates the country so much, why would she participate in the event?

My time was 28:23, which is not as good as the one I did last month, but Bill wasn’t running with me. Despite that, the smaller venue meant I finished 2nd in my age group. It’s pretty cool to place. The top female was 39, and ran it in 17-something.

Another Day, Another Rant

Florida Hotel Fires Employee for Refusing to Remove American Flag Pin

The email I sent Casa Monica:

Dear Casa Monica,
Last month, my sister and I enjoyed a wonderful weekend in St. Augustine and stayed in your hotel.  We were happy to be so centrally located to all the sights in the historic district.  We didn’t spend much time at the hotel, but our room was such an oasis after a busy day of shopping and sightseeing.
I am planning to return in a few months to share St. Augustine with my husband.  Unfortunately, we will not even consider staying at Casa Monica.  I understand the reason and the necessity for rules concerning dress codes, however, the wearing of an American flag pin should not ever be against a dress code in the United States.  Your firing of Sean May for wearing such a pin is an indication that the Casa Monica hotel does not support the ideals upon which this country was founded. 
You may have whichever rules that you like, and I do respect your right to make and enforce them.  And I may choose whichever hotel I wish to stay in, of which there is a plethora.  It definitely will not be Casa Monica.  As the spouse of an Army officer, I am offended by your actions, and I will be sure to tell all my friends, who are primarily military, where not to stay if they have an opportunity to visit St. Augustine.

The fallacy of choice

I spent a good chunk of yesterday working a booth for the 40 Days for Life Campaign at a local festival.  I handed out flyers and asked people if they would pray to end abortion.  Most people ignored me or didn’t notice me.  Some people took the flyer and moved on with little to no comment.

A group of young men laughed mockingly and one declared, “Prayer solves nothing!”  It’s sad to be so hopeless.  I do think if unmarried people stopped having sex, there would be very few people seeking abortions, but I’m sure he would be even more offended by that suggestion.  I would have liked to say, “Widely available contraception has made the problem worse, not better, what do you think is the solution?”  But probably he, like many people who stopped by the booth, think abortion is only a concern for young, unmarried women.  So many women said things like, “I’m married, so abortion doesn’t affect me,” or “I’m done having kids, so I don’t care about this issue.”  

OK, people, let’s look at the big picture.  Thousands of Americans are being killed every day.  This is everybody’s problem.

The booth had a basket of tiny babies made from rubber that showed the size of a baby at 12 weeks gestation.  It came with a card that described the development of the fetus up to that time.  Week 5: arms and legs develop, Week 6: fingers and toes develop, Week 10: baby has fingerprints.  The booth also had a display showing babies at 20, 26, and 30 weeks gestation.  In most states you can easily get an abortion up to 24 weeks, and it’s shocking to see how big the baby is at that point.  Even those 12 week old fetuses are most definitely not a clump of tissue.

Children were the most drawn to the basket of rubber babies, and they would drag their parents in with them.  Women liked to come in and see how big their own babies were – we had lots of women saying how far along they were and marveling that something the size of your fist could push your belly out so far and kick you so hard.  I think most people were shocked to see how developed a baby was at 12 weeks, which was the point of the display.  One woman took a little baby to give to her granddaughter, who lost a baby at about 12 weeks a year ago and was still mourning.

One incident was the most disturbing.

I had taken a break from the hot sun (I got a bit sunburned yesterday with the clear skies and highs in the 80’s) and was sitting behind the table instead of standing in front.  Two young men came in to touch the tiny little rubber babies, and they were followed by a young woman and her boyfriend (I assume).  I pointed out the age of the baby models and handed the young woman a flyer and asked her/them to pray to end abortion.  Her boyfriend took her by the elbow, turned her away from the booth and pushed her on down the path saying, over his shoulder, “I do not agree with this at all!”

Uh huh.

What about your girlfriend, buddy?  Doesn’t she get to decide what she agrees with?  Or are you taking care of all the thinking for her?  Maybe it would be a real shame if she thought that was really a baby, if she knew it wasn’t a clump of tissue.  Maybe she might start thinking that unmarried sex was dangerous, and cut you off.  Maybe she might think that she could never end a pregnancy…and that would ruin your life, because you have no desire to be a father.  Maybe you disagree with ending abortion because it would mean being responsible for your own actions, and who wants to do that?

This is, of course, the fallacy of CHOICE.  If you are 20, unmarried, and pregnant, it is highly likely that your mother, father, sister, brother, girlfriends and boyfriend will all tell you to just get an abortion.  It’s safe, it’s legal, it’s the best, easiest solution.  If you tell them your concerns about how maybe it’s wrong, maybe you are killing a baby, they will tell you to ignore your conscience, that it’s a clump of tissue, that it’s no big deal, that’s it’s legal, so it must be ok.  If you persist, they will tell you you would be making a big mistake.  Your parents may tell you that they won’t help you.  Your boyfriend may threaten to leave you.

At some point, literally or figuratively, someone will take you by the elbow, turn you toward an abortion clinic and push you down the path.

Who made the choice?

Is this the image of a calm, resolute woman weighing all the options, carefully considering the facts and statistics concerning fetal development and medical side affects (short and long term) of an abortion, and then making an informed decision?  Or is this a scared woman, backed into a corner and desperate, being handed lies and half-truths, who is being told what to do?

We have thrown off the “shackles” of pregnancy and motherhood, only to find new and different taskmasters.

I’m sure they only have the woman’s best interests in mind, right?

School with a teenager


Teacher: Shakespeare wrote two kinds of plays: comedies, which always have at least one wedding, and tragedies, which always have at least one death.

Teen: What about Henry V?

{brief silence}

Teacher: Shakespeare wrote three kinds of plays: comedies, which always have at least one wedding, and tragedies, which always have at least one death, and histories, which are historical.


Teen: Does anything travel at the speed of darkness?


Teen: Who drank all the coffee?  Mom!  Can you make more coffee?

Elective: Halloween Costume Design

Teen: During lunch, can you sew my cape?

Teacher: You want me to work on my lunch break?

{downcast look}

Teen: Can I sew my cape?

Teacher: Uh, no.

(I definitely see some potential here for him learning to sew on my machine, but I’m expecting more fabric today for two other costumes, and I just can’t afford the learning curve this time.  Maybe I’ll have him, after Halloween, make a cape for Billy and learn that way.)

A Cool Giveaway!!

Last month, I had the chance to download – for free – some digital scrapbooking software to try it out.  My earlier post with photos from Mary’s birthday was made with this software.  It is super easy.

I made a few more pages, and turned it into a movie.  The quality I chose was “web-quality” which is fairly low-quality.  I did have other options, with higher resolutions, so I assume that they would be even nicer (but would be annoying slow for a browser).

Since I promised My Memories that I would do this review weeks ago, I don’t have the time to fully investigate the software’s many options.  What I did use was simple to manipulate and customize to suit my personal taste.  I am not a scrapbooker, because I just don’t think I’m that artsy…I’m more of a written word kinda gal (hence, I blog).  But I do think the ease of this software and the many templates available in the package or online (some are free and some are for a price) will help even a right-brained type like me be able to produce lovely keepsakes for their children.  And if you are the creative type, I’m sure you will find even more uses with the program.

Last year’s birthday party

photo shoot montage

Now, what would you do with these pages?  Once you have a pretty page or album, what could you do with it?  The scrapbooking software allows you to “share” your pages in many different ways.  One way is to turn each page into a jpeg.  One way is to email friends and family a movie.  You can print the pages and form a paper photo album (the “old-fashioned” kind) with the added bonus of being able to replicate it if it is lost or damaged.  I think, if I have the time, that making a slideshow or movie that summarizes the past year would be a fun and interesting way to send updates to distant family and friends in lieu of an annual “Christmas letter.”

Now, My Memories is so wonderful that not only did they give me their software for free, they have offered to give the software away to another lucky person.  In order to be eligible to win, you must go to their site and then come back here (or on FB) and comment on your favorite template or background.  If you “like” them on Facebook, tell me that you did so, and I will enter your name a second time.  And if you visit their blog, let me know that, too, and I’ll enter your name a third time.

Contest will be open until midnight on Sunday, October 16th.  Sometime on Monday, I will randomly pick a winner.

Lastly, if you don’t win, but you decide you want to order this software, you can receive $10 off by using a special promo code.  Not only do YOU get $10 off, but I get money for referring you.  Use this code: STMMMS61090

Mary turns 4

Saturday was Mary’s 4th birthday.  I took it hard on Friday night for about 2 and a half minutes, which was all the time I would permit.  I can’t believe how old she is.

I blogged about her birth here.  I blogged about problems with nursing her, and how she tried hard to starve to death (I am not kidding).  I blogged about overcoming that to go on and having to cut her off eventually around her 2nd birthday because I was tired of it.  She still strokes under my chin to compensate for her “loss.”

So many of you readers have been with me through all of that.  Thanks for sticking around.  May we have many more good years of sharing.

On Thursday night, I strong-armed a woman into making Mary a birthday cake the next day.  With no notice, she did a fabulous job.  Mary really wanted a cake with unicorns.  She got one.  So cute!  Notice the broken M.  That was not how the cake looked when I brought it home.  This girl still can not keep her hands off anything.

 I love the middle picture here.  What to wish for?  Oooooh, I don’t know…so many choices…Oh! the pressure!

We squeezed Mary’s cake and party between Peter’s football game and his team’s end of season party/coach’s son’s birthday party.  The older boys had football later, followed by a party, Mass and camping.  A busy day.

I will blog about those photo spreads later today.

Science/History class trauma

This happened weeks ago, but I’ve had these photos on my camera and finally downloaded them.

Katie was trying to find a quiet place to read her history.  This is quite a challenge here.  I’ve been to other people’s homes during school hours, and they are not as noisy.  I crave quiet students diligently reading, but that is not my lot in life.


The back deck was too hot and sunny, so I suggested the front porch which remains shaded until afternoon.  And so she went.  Not too many minutes later, she returned, a bit startled.  Apparently, a snake had been on the roof, stalking a gecko.  Apparently, he caught it, but in the process lost his balance on the roof and so the two came tumbling down, landing right in front of her.

After but a moment’s pause, we all jumped up to go see.  I took one look and went to get my camera, which was on B&W (I did not realize this until it was over).

There was a snake, with a gecko hanging out of it’s mouth.

snake on porch railing post

zoomed in

We stood, not 18 inches away, and watched the poor gecko in his last moments.  It was horrifying, in a detached, scientific sort of way.  The snake, in the middle of eating, was terrified by the looming figures of 7 people lurking over him, but he was a bit busy and couldn’t move.  As soon as the last of the tail was swallowed, the snake took off.

Back in the house, Jenny cried.  I held her tightly.  This is why I am not a biologist.  I hate this stuff.  I’m not fond of creepy crawly things at all, but around here, as long as they stay outside, the geckos are kinda cute.  We even consider them our friends.