July 15, 2010

Mawaige--that bwessed awangement

Ten years ago today, my husband and I exchanged rings and vows and were declared married. We won't have much chance today for a fancy celebration. We didn't book an anniversary vacation, we won't be going out to dinner tonight (perhaps this weekend), and we're not exchanging gifts. No, today will be filled with the mundane. Kids to day-camp, work, my summer home improvement projects, and maybe plotting a visit from the Tooth Fairy for our six-year-old. The only real celebrating we have planned is to open a bottle of wine from the year 2000. Hopefully it won't be vinegar.

I never pictured such an ordinary day for our tenth wedding anniversary. At various times we've had visions of cruises or trips to Hawaii or any number of other grand plans. But priorities shift, as they often do, and we didn't end up planning anything really special. But thinking about what's in store for the day and the lack of "party" atmosphere, I can't say I'm disappointed. I don't need a fancy dinner or a diamond anniversary band to properly celebrate ten years of marriage. Oh sure, they'd be nice (though truthfully I'd rather have a Nook reader than expensive jewelry), but the real celebration is the home and family we've created over the past ten years. I wouldn't trade it for anything.

March 24, 2010

Those Other People

So. Health care reform. We all know the bill passed, was signed by Obama, yadda yadda yadda. I'm not here to add more to the debate over the bill, or universal health care, or whether or not Obama is the Antichrist. Find somewhere else if you want to argue those points. No, what has struck me in the last couple of days is the number of people I've seen online who have made comments along the lines of "how on earth did this pass when the entire country is against it?" or "no one wants this reform, our representatives are ignoring the will of the people!"

Ahem. I have news for these folks.

The entire country is NOT against it. Yes, there are protests and a lot of very vocal people who are against it. And there are of course those who are for reform but don't like this particular bill. But it's not everybody. Thinking back to 2003 and the invasion of Iraq, I don't think I talked to anybody who was for the war. That doesn't mean they weren't out there. It doesn't even mean I didn't know anyone who was for it. I just wasn't aware of them. I think what happens is that sometimes we get so wrapped up in conversations with friends and family, who typically have similar values and opinions to our own, that we forget about Those Other People.

For the most part, Those Other People are also intelligent, thoughtful, and caring people. They just disagree with you. Maybe you ignore them (I know of a couple of people who have taken to deleting liberal or conservative friends from their Facebook lists). Maybe they've kept quiet for some reason. I know I despise being painted as a "stupid liberal". "Heartless conservative" isn't any better. So it easily could be that Those Other People you know are more interested in hearing the news of your life than they are in getting into a pissing match over politics. Whatever the reason, we need to remember that the people we choose to talk about the issues with are virtually never a representative sample.

ps-This also applies those times when you feel like the only conservative/liberal/moderate around. You're probably not.

February 6, 2010

Demanding realism from the unrealistic

"Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" was the film tonight at Casa de Jentifred. Hey, what do you expect when you've got little kids? I was just glad it wasn't the 723rd showing of "The Little Mermaid". Anyway, for those of you who don't usually watch movies with less than a PG-13 rating, the basic premise is that a slightly wacky inventor creates a machine that transforms the water in clouds into food. Hence, the title. Realistic premise? Hell, no. It's a kids' movie--what do you expect, really? It's a genre that typically features talking animals, sentient toys, and/or fairy godmothers. My kids were laughing hysterically at the idea of cheeseburgers raining down from the sky, but even the 3-year-old knows better than to expect chicken nuggets from the next storm.

As it turned out, one of the main characters in the film has a peanut allergy (as do my 3-year-old and I) and has a reaction due to an unfortunate encounter scratching her arm against some giant peanut brittle. She swells up comically, argues with the wacky inventor over going to get her epipen, gets the meds, and is immediately fine after a shot in the thigh. Apparently, a lot of folks in the peanut allergy community had major issues with this unrealistic portrayal of allergy. I'm wondering if they missed the giant pieces of food landing on other characters and NOT killing them? It's a movie, folks. It's not realistic and isn't meant to be. In real life, no--it's not funny when someone's face swells up. But it's not funny when something falls out of the sky and lands on someone either. In real life she would have called 911 and gone to the hospital. In a movie, that doesn't advance the plot.

Honestly, I liked how it was done. You want realism from a movie? Go see a documentary. I prefer to be entertained.

October 29, 2009

Life Lesson #326: Short people should not park their tall cars outside during a snow storm

We've had quite the storm here in the Denver area over the last few days. The snow started falling Tuesday evening and is just now tapering off as of early Thursday afternoon.

This is my back deck. The actual measurement is 20 inches.

Some of the trees are having a hard time coping.
And our maple hadn't gotten around to losing its leaves yet. It will probably lose some branches instead.
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Another tree has lost its leaves and the snow on the branches is simply stunning.
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Make a little birdhouse in your soul:

Even the trucks were having a tough time:
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But the real trouble was that my minivan was parked in the driveway. It's tall. I'm short. It was not fun to clear off.
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October 16, 2009

Swine flu haiku: ode to Tamiflu

Mighty Tamiflu
Knocking out little piggies
Miracle drug-yay!

October 2, 2009

I need a geek

I am trying to update my Creative Memories Storybook Creator software. I've been running version 2.0 just fine, but the 3.0 version looked nifty, so I upgraded. And it won't work. It says it installs fine, but when I click on the icon to run the thing, I get this:

Main exception message: Access to the path 'C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Creative Memories\Packages' is denied.
Type: System.UnauthorizedAccessException
Source: mscorlib

at System.IO.__Error.WinIOError(Int32 errorCode, String maybeFullPath)
at System.IO.Directory.InternalCreateDirectory(String fullPath, String path, DirectorySecurity dirSecurity)
at System.IO.Directory.CreateDirectory(String path, DirectorySecurity directorySecurity)
at r8.u()
at r8..ctor()
at r8.d()
at w9.a(Boolean A_0)
at w9.a(String[] A_0)

As near as I can tell, the file path in question ('C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Documents\Creative Memories\Packages') doesn't exist.

Commence the banging of my head against a wall. I have tried:
repairing the install
uninstalling and reinstalling
uninstalling both v3.0 and v2.0 and reinstalling
creating that file path
and various combinations of the above.

I'm running Windows XP, Service Pack 3. Throughout the entire process, v2.0 has worked fine (well, except for the period of time when I had uninstalled, of course)

Customer service for Creative Memories is closed until Monday.

Brian and I are scratching our heads. Time to take a break and make a beer run.

But if you have any ideas or know someone who might, I would be incredibly grateful.

September 3, 2009

Meet my phone: Rasputin

I admit it, I'm not easy on my phones. My current phone has taken the most abuse of all. It's been run over (twice--and yes, with a car), dropped on concrete more times than I can count, and most recently crushed between my hip and the cupholder of my car. And the damn thing still works. The cupholder incident accomplished what vehicular assault failed to do, which is crack the screen. (See the little tiny crack to the right of the camera icon? That's what happened under the tires. The giant crack in the middle? That's what the cupholder did.)

So I trotted over to the AT&T store to see what they had and how much a new one would set me back. I only gave the sleek shiny iPhone the briefest of glances. All those apps would sure be nice, but I need a phone that can take my abuse. Which is why I'll be getting the same exact phone next time. That is, when I get tired of looking at the cracked screen, because I'm pretty darn sure this thing won't die on it's own.

July 27, 2009

A note to the Joann's store in Escondido, CA

It may seem strange to be sending a thank-you note for not allowing my 5 year old daughter to use your restroom (even as she was doing the potty dance in front of the cutting table), but hear me out. By making us leave your store in order to find a restroom, you sent us to the Michael's down the road, where we found a larger selection of the ribbons we were looking for, lower prices, and a sales clerk who was absolutely appalled at our story of being directed to the bathroom at the fast food restaurant across a very busy road. So in the future when I am in the area and looking for crafting supplies, I will be driving right past Joann's and visit Michael's instead.

June 30, 2009

On flower pots and libraries

My city, like many other municipalities these days, has a bit of a budget crunch. Expenses exceed income and so cuts must be made. One of the first things my city cut was the flower pots that decorate major intersections in the summers. To me, that seems like a reasonable cut. Yes, the flowers are beautiful. But they cost $20,000 per year (including water and labor costs). And at the same time, our library is struggling with its budget and has a hiring freeze, even with several open positions. In my opinion, if you've got an underfunded library it's not wise to spend taxpayer money on flowers.

In the end, the Rotary Club took up the cause and donated money for the planters. Wonderful, I say. We get to keep the flowers without spending very much city money on them. They are still watered and tended by city workers who have been reassigned from jobs like weeding and picking up litter, but the bulk of the expense has been shouldered by the Rotary Club and private citizens.

However, (you knew there was a however coming, right?) I am a bit concerned about the attitudes of my fellow citizens on this. Clearly, not everyone shares my priorities. A sampling of the comments left on the various stories about these flowers:

Rotarians show the city what matters, even if its just flowers. Seems that the city needs a clue on what matters. Hurrah for community volunteers!

Yes, hurrah for community volunteers. But I'm thinking that the cutting of these pots from the city budget is a sign that the city DOES have a clue what matters.

Talk about out of touch with your citizens. Broomfield needs to listen to its citizens and find a way to put this in the budget.

As a citizen of Broomfield, I will support putting this back in the budget when we can fully fund our library, not before.

Eliminate a couple of part time positions and you've got your money. It's all about priorities.

When a city government prioritizes protecting it's own staff versus providing for the town, somethings wrong. The core mission of a city government should be to provide services. It's core mission is not to protect a job or two.

If the city was flush with cash, sure I could get on board with this. But we're NOT. And yes, the city government should provide services. Like, oh, I don't know....a staffed LIBRARY? Flowers are not a service, they are a nicety. When our family budget is in a crunch, the niceties are what get jettisoned first. And really? In this economy you put more value on some flower pots at intersections than you do on keeping people employed and off the public assistance rolls? Hmm.

June 10, 2009

Time to stop and smell the roses....or clematis

Originally uploaded by jentifred
Just sharing a few pictures from the garden tonight. The light this evening was great for photos. And for just sitting on the front porch enjoying a little bit of nature.