Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Have a happy merry joyful Chrismakwanzukkahfestivusnewyear!

I have been neglecting the blog lately and that is going to continue as the Dude and I leave tomorrow morning for a visit with our families in Pennsylvania. We missed the big storm last weekend but hopefully snow will still be on the ground when we get there! I hope all of you enjoy your holidays, wherever you are and whatever you're celebrating!

I'll leave you with a few overdue pictures of our Christmas decorations!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


When most people think about Penn State athletics, they think of football. When you ask most people about a long time, winning coach at Penn State, they think of Joe Paterno.

Most people should think again.

Tomorrow night and the Penn State women's volleyball team and their coach Russ Rose will be playing for their 101st consecutive win, Coach Rose's 1000th win, and their 3rd consecutive national title. Yes, you read that right. The last time these girls lost was in 2007. I caught them on tv once a few years ago and was hooked instantly. Women's college volleyball is nothing like the games you play at barbecues or on spring break; these are incredible athletes who make the ball float, slam, and appear to defy gravity on a regular basis. A good hit percentage in volleyball is similar to pro baseball: above .300 is good, above .4oo is amazing. Penn State has a senior hitter averaging better than .500 this year!

Tomorrow night's game is going to be nationally televised on ESPN2. I hope lots of you get the opportunity to watch these amazing athletes...and of course to root for PSU!

Let's go Lions!

*Disclaimer: No, I'm not talking about that kind of streaking. There will be no trench coats in this post!

Picture source:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

In Which I Can Finally Prove I Am Right

Although I like to believe that I'm always right, I rarely have hard facts to back it up. But today the Freakonomics blog (one of my favorites!) linked to an article in The New Scientist comparing dogs to cats. The pets were evaluated quantitatively in eleven categories and dogs came out on top, 6-5! Of course this was no surprise to me...I've always loved dogs since I convinced my mom to let me bring one home when I was five years old.

Dog lovers rejoice!

(A picture of my parents' dog Duke, because I figure you're tired of pictures of Max)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Happy Birthday Max!

Tonight Max ate adult food for the first time instead of puppy food so I'm calling it close enough to his one year birthday.

Last year at this time the Dude and I had just moved into our new house and I was planning our wedding. Since we were so busy, we told everyone we weren't going to get a dog until after we were married, about 10 months away. Within a month, we had Max. He was 8 weeks old, weighed less than 10 pounds, and had us at hello.

No wonder we couldn't resist!

We watched him grow and counted how many tiles he touched when he slept. They're 18" square and when he got here he could stretch out and still be all in one tile. Here he is on Thanksgiving just a few weeks ago, stretched out in the kitchen and touching no less than eight tiles. He weighs in at 50 pounds.

Happy Birthday Max!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Best Christmas Special Ever: TONIGHT!

Sorry for the late notice but I just found out that THE BEST CHRISTMAS SPECIAL EVER is airing tonight! That's right, "A Charlie Brown Christmas" airs tonight at 7:00 Central (8 Eastern). Get ready!

I don't remember when Charlie Brown became my favorite Christmas special. I couldn't tell you why it's my favorite. It could be the excellent music, the humor, the dancing, or the chill I get every year when Linus tells the Christmas story (whenever I hear the King James Bible version of it I hear it with Linus' lisp). The show is somewhat religious, which I am not, but I think the show does a great job of getting across what Christmas is all about: inclusion, acceptance, generosity, and love for each other. Oh, and a lot of dancing.

(Linus tells the Christmas story)

I wanted to gather all my Charlie Brown Christmas paraphernalia for you and take a picture, but after two attempts I realized again I had forgotten something and decided it was good enough. So friends and family, if I left out something you gave me, please don't be offended. This time of year it's spread out all over the house!

(In the picture: 5 books, 5 ornaments, the Charlie Brown Christmas game, a skating pond where the characters skate while a song plays, the DVD, and two stuffed animals. Not in the picture: the soundtrack CD, numerous Christmas cards, and whatever else I forgot)

Something about the special just gets to me. I watch the whole thing with a dopey grin on my face. I dance along with the characters. The Dude even let me have the DJ play "Linus and Lucy" (the Peanuts theme song) as the recessional at our wedding. Don't worry, I danced then too.

After I watch "A Charlie Brown Christmas," it officially feels like a special time of year. I hope all of you have a tradition that makes you as warm and fuzzy inside as this makes me! Because, as Linus knows, "That's what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown."

Classics Revisited

I've been home sick for the last few days with bad cold. This happens to me (and lots of other people) just about every year, so I have a routine to deal with it that involves chicken soup, grapefruit juice, and daytime tv. That probably sounds familiar to anyone reading this. When I start to get a little better and run out of Law and Order reruns I want to read, but I often don't have the concentration to continue my current book (in this case a 600 page tome about the 14th century). So, I turn to my childhood favorites. For the last few days I've been rereading the "Little House" books, but I also enjoy Roald Dahl, The Little Princess, and whatever else my upstairs library offers.

Do you have sick time habits that you'd like to share? What children's books do you return to over and over?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Good News for Needy Kids

Following up from my post yesterday, the Salvation Army explains that they ask for Social Security numbers to prevent families from registering at multiple locations, not as a means of discrimination based on immigration status. Personally I think it would be great if they could come up with a way to do that which didn't use SSN but I admit it could be a challenge. I hope there aren't too many people out there trying to scam charities in the first place. Mea culpa to my readers for leading you astray!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Merry Christmas! (if you have the right paperwork)

I was greatly disturbed to read this article that Salvation Army will only be giving out toys to children whose parents can prove their legal immigration status. I understand that immigration is an extremely controversial topic, but it saddens me to see it taken to this extreme. Most of the kids who will not be getting toys won't understand that it's because of their parents' situation; they will just be disappointed that Santa didn't come to their house. Santa travels around the whole world, not just the USA. Shame on you, Salvation Army.

Salvation Army requires proof of immigration status before giving children toys

Edited to add: The Dude and I just had a debate over this and he pointed out that whether or not I agree with it, it is within the Salvation Army's right to choose who they help. That is absolutely true. All the more reason to find out about the goals/morals/rules of a charity before you give them your money. For some people, this may meaning adding Salvation Army to the list. For me, it means removing them.