Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Back Home

Well we made it back to Kansas in one piece and without any traffic tickets. I am still pretty tired but feel better today. It was cold in DC and here it is 70 degrees. I am loving my jacket free wardrobe!

I want to say that Little Man and I had so much fun on our adventure. Every American should visit that city at least once in their life. One week was not enough time for us to see everything so planning to see your favorite highlights is a good idea. I regret not getting to visit the Holocaust Museum but felt it was really inappropriate for Little Man. During our visit to the American History museum, Little Man saw his first picture of an abused slave. He was upset and questioning the reasoning all day long. He felt it was a huge injustice that anyone be whipped so bloody and badly. Isn't it funny how children understand this stuff instinctively? It took a civil war for grown ups to realize slavery was inhuman. I was proud of him but knew the images in the holocaust setting would be even more graphic so we skipped it.

The other thing I want to say is that native DC inhabitants need to take advantage of their surroundings once in a while. Our cousin that we stayed with has lived their for over 20 years and doesn't ever go into town if he can avoid it. I heard some people on the Metro train talk about "tourist trappings" in the city (meaning Washington monument, Lincoln memorial, etc.) and were really down on them. The Library of Congress was probably the most interesting building I went into the entire trip. You cannot check out any books and must be 18 to enter the reading room. They have an original Gutenberg Bible and Mainz bible (handwritten by monks) in display cases in the main hall for everyone to see. The building is a work of art in the purest form. The docent told us that the ceiling had been covered up for years because of security purposes but now technology allows them to expose it all and what a treasure it is! Our cousin has never stepped foot into the building. NEVER! That is sad. I encouraged him to go see it and showed him some pictures. He said he had no idea that the place was so ornate. Hopefully, he will go.

I have to get back to reality now. Today M-boy has an appointment with an otologist who hopefully will schedule the surgery M-boy needs. Have a great day all and I will catch up with your blogs very soon! Enjoy FAT TUESDAY

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Pictures inside the Library of Congress

Friday, February 24, 2006

Fatigue and Final Day

Today will be my last post until monday or tuesday. We start the trip back to Kansas tomorrow morning. We did not get to see everything here but I knew that would happen. Today we are going to try to squeeze in a tour of the Library of Congress and going to the top of Washington Monument if it is open. Little Man has finally declared himself brave enough. Then an art museum (hopefully the one with the only DaVinci in America) and on the train trip home we will stop at Arlington Cemetery. We have driven past it but I want to take some pictures. I don't care about seeing Kennedy's grave so we won't walk in too far.

Yesterday was a total washout until we went out at night. In the day time, we decided to see "The National Aquarium". Oh my gosh, first they charged to get in while no other museum actually charges. Then, they had a sign outside that said piranha feeding on thursdays but inside (once you paid) they had another that said it was cancelled. The touch pool was 'closed for maintenence' and then we saw the museum. I am telling the truth, it was a hallway full of fish tanks. Only one floor and one hallway long. That was what we got for 5 dollars and this is the national aquarium. If you have ever been to an Aquarium restaurant, you have seen more fish than this place. If you have been to the Mirage in Las Vegas you have seen more fish. Been to the doctor's office, you've seen more fish. Okay I was exaggerating on the last one but it was extremely small.

At the end of each day I ask Little Man what did he learn that day, just to cement it in his head a bit. Yesterday, I asked "Little Man, what did you learn about the Capitol building?" He said, "they fight a lot there". He is like genius level don't ya think?

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I was pleased to see Little Man in awe over Thomas Jefferson. Once he found out that this was the man who wrote the Declaration of Independence he was very reverant. This was a really good monument.

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A view of the Washington Monument at night. Beautiful!

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This is a monument dedicated to Albert Einstein. I think everyone who visits DC should see this. It was really interesting.

For your viewing pleasure (ha ha ha) I uploaded a video clip of the grand aquarium: video one
I tried ot do two but it failed. I will upload mroe when I get back to KS

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I'm No Lady

On tuesday I took Little Man to the museum of natural history. At that point I realized without a doubt, one week is not going to be enough time to see everything. So we will pick and choose our next stops. At the natural history museum we got to see the world famous Hope diamond. *yawn* It was much smaller than I imagined it to be (about the size of a brooch). I am not much into jewelry anyway so that exhibit was lost on me.

Wednesday Little Man and I went to the museum of American history. This was a fantastic museum and had more things to look at. They have the "hall of first ladies" which has items from every first lady you can imagine. They even have dresses the women wore on display (hooray for president Grant who obviously loved FAT women- he is my kind of man). When we entered the hall we immediately saw some of these gowns with huge portraits of smiling first ladies and that is when Little Man said "I am so glad you aren't a lady, Mommy" I tried not to laugh (kids hate when you laugh at what they say) and walked on. Then a little later when I had composed myself, I asked him why was he glad I wasn't a lady. He answered this : "hmm, I don't know why. I think I just need to think before I talk next time" This kid is one never ending adventure.

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That is one big turtle fossil.

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This is a fossil of a prehistoric "fish" with a fish inside its stomach. When Little Man saw this, he thought he struck gold. He told me he had heard about this and dreamed of seeing it.

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These clothes actually belonged to Benjamin Franklin. He was pretty small for a guy. I felt like the clothes were the same size Little Man wears.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Little Man Gets a French Lesson

Yesterday we visited the Smithsonian (the space one since there are a billion museums here). Little Man had his batteries fully charge and was running all over that place. We watched an IMAX movie late in the afternoon about the moon. While waiting for the movie to start, this French family sitting behind us was animatedly chatting about the day. The boy was about Little Man's age. The father would ask his son if he wanted to see some attraction and the boy would emphatically yell "Oui-oui!" At one point the dad must have asked the boy a spectacular question because the boy got to his knees on his chair and began chanting "Oui-oui! Oui-oui! Oui-oui!" with excitement over and over again. The next thing I hear is Little Man just laughing and giggling. You see, he heard "WEE-WEE, WEE-WEE,WEE-WEE" instead of "yes-yes, yes-yes, yes-yes" in french. I started laughing too and quickly explained to Little Man that the boy was not shouting out improper words. He looked a little disappointed. I was trying to be grown up and not laugh but I saw things from Little Man's point of view: imagine someone yelling "penis penis!" in a crowded room. Just see if you don't get a few chuckles.

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It was really cold our first day here.

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Little Man looking at the Declaration of Independence. This document and the movie National Treasure started his obsession to see DC.

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Little Man learning about gravity at the Smithsonian

Monday, February 20, 2006

Posting From DC!

Helloooooo blogger friends! Little Man and I are having a blast. We left Mr. Daphnewood in Bethesda and came to a town called Burke in Virginia to stay with a cousin. This town is the freakiest town you could ever see. It is a normal size suburb but there are like 100 street names called Burke. So my directions were take Burke Road to Burke Center and I think there was a Burke highway in there too. I just know there are too many Burkes. And it is a WHITE town. I mean, there is not much diversity.

My mom's cousin is a hoot. I think I have admitted this only other people's blogs but I am a registered republican. I won't go into my reasons today but I like to consider myself moderate. Anyway, this cousin picks us up in a tiny car (I am used to my SUV) with Kerry bumper stickers all over it. My favorite one he has "Don't blame me I voted for Kerry". Little Man got huge eyes and really nervous. I was so glad I had a conversation with him just two weeks ago about John Kerry. I told him that John Kerry isn't a bad man, he just didn't have enough of the same views as mommy to warrant my vote. So the cousin and I have been having some great laughs. He considers himself a moderate liberal. It really has been awesome.

Yesterday we went to Alexandria to Mt. Vernon. Aside from the thousands of high school and middle school students, it was a good day to go. They were celebrating Washington's birthday. There was this man that was dressed as George Washington pretending to be him and Little Man said "Mommy, I would like to speak with General Washington if you don't mind". I just laughed. When we got up there he said hello and then told the father of our nation Happy Birthday. I wanted to make sure that Little Man knew this was just pretend and he rolled his eyes at me and said "no one is 274 years old mom. I know he was just pretending". Ah I love when my kids are still themselves even far away from home.

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Thursday, February 16, 2006

On the Road Again

Mr. Daphnewood, Little Man and I will be leaving very shortly for our week in DC. I will be gone for a while (about 10 days) so my blog will be empty and I will not be able to visit your blogs. I will catch up with everyone when we get back. I think after all the stress and sadness I have dealt with over the past few weeks, this getaway is just what I need.

Sadness Beyond My Comprehension

My friend got married two years ago in May. She was a single mother of one who married a single father of four. I found out last night that one of my friend's step-daughters was killed while crossing the street. She was seven and just had a Valentine's Day party at school. This is just really hard to take in.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Just Griping About My Faith

Christianity can sometimes rip my heart out. I love Jesus and truly talk to Him everyday but I have not been able to drag myself into church in years. It is not religion or church that keeps me away; it is the people that attend religious functions that send me into hiding. I hate walking into a building, going with the intention of worshipping my Lord and Savior just to hear snipe-y judgemental comments. I am sure other religions have the same problem within their "sects" but I am not qualified to comment on that. This post is about my experience.

I went to a non-denominational Christian school growing up. Our high school was not allowed to have dances because it offended some Christian branches. Some branches did not allow make-up or certain clothing. Whatever. It was about respect and we tried to respect all types of Christians. I did not mind one iota. What bothered me was Christians attacking Christians. This branch said "they aren't real Christians because have idols in their church" or another branch would claim "they aren't good Christians because they have church on Sunday instead of Saturday which is the true sabbath". Some churches allowed jeans and tennis shoes and you can imagine the turn and burn sermons that inspired. Why do Christians rip each other apart?

Living in Kansas I see some really devout people. Some are quite judgemental. I am not considered a true Christian because I do not attend services weekly. At best, it seems I am just a weak Christian who is "backsliding". I consort with non-believers, I use profanity when driving, I watch R-rated movies, I gamble at the casino, etc. Is this what I signed up for when I asked Christ into my heart? Shouldn't He be my only judge and not His servants? No one knows my heart so why do people judge so freely?

Someone told me that you can tell by the fruits that you bear who is a Christian. Well I think that churches need to quit looking for only apples because in God's kingdom He has many fruit trees. So my fruits that I bear are not helping out at the church, or making a potluck dish for the Bible study group. I don't go door to door and hand out leaflets about Jesus. I don't buy flower print dresses and fancy stitched bible covers. I am just me, walking my own walk and serving God in the way He has chosen for me.

Christians are harder on other Christians more than non-believers. I know some non-believers would disagree but it is true. Baptists, Catholics, Lutheran, Methodist, Nazarene, Seventh Day Advent, Presbyterian it doesn't matter the title. Each branch thinks they are the "true" branch. But maybe it is me that is the self-righteous one. I am just feeling very alone today.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day

I hope everyone has a happy day that isn't overly sappy. For me, it is just an excuse to eat lots and lots of chocolate.

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Monday, February 13, 2006

The Seriousness of Allergies

I have sensitive skin. I have to use the same detergent when washing clothes or else my skin breaks out in a rash. I use the cheap Purex because Tide leaves me itchy and looking like ai have measels. Except for bee allergies and peanut allergies, most allergies are just more irritation than anything. Today I found another reason to hate allergies.

I had a TB test done in January and a second one done on friday. It is now protocol to do two tests when they patient has not had a TB test in over 2 years. No big deal. I am not high risk or anything. The first test went smoothly. No problems. Then last friday when I got the skin test my arm started itching. It got red and swollen and the bump went crazy. Did this mean I have a positive TB test? Mr. Daphnewood said "that is not a normal test." He told me don't worry because a positive TB test doesn't mean you have TB, it doesn't mean you had TB at one time and it doesn't mean you will get it. It just means you have been exposed to someone with TB. Great. He said it looked like an allergic reaction. He was sending me into the clinic for a second opinion.

I went in the clinic today with my arm still itchy but not so red. The nurse said she was not convinced it was positive. I told her what I experienced over the weekend. She too felt it was an allergic reaction. She said she has had patients with the same allergy before (something about the preservative used in the injection). She asked if I had shortness of breath, coughing fits, spitting up blood. No, no and no. She drew lines all over my arm. Measured the red circles and finally said "I am marking it negative". She said if she made it positive then I would be required to get a chest x-ray and take some medication. Not fun. Instead, I am recommended to retake my TB in May and be sure to dose up on benedryl before coming in. No problem.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Flashback Friday: Happy Birthday!

This weekend M-boy becomes a teenager. He told me last night that being 12 is boring so he can't wait to be 13. The first picture I have included is M-Boy at Disneyland. He hated crowds and screamed if we even entered a restaurant. If they sang happy birthday to a patron you might as well ask for the food to go because he never calmed down after that fiasco. He was sound sensitive and touch sensitive so Mr. Daphnewood and I decided to experiment (yes on our own son!). We did a little 'flooding' technique. We check into Disneyland hotel for 3 days and took M-boy everyday with two breaks for naps each day. It was the middle of summer so it was VERY crowded. At the end of the trip, M-boy didn't mind all the sights and sounds and to this day I can still take him in a crowd if I need to.

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Happy Birthday Baby!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Book Review: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

I just finished reading The Diving Bell and the Butterfly by Jean-Dominique Bauby. It is a memoir. After suffering a rare type of stroke, the author developed locked-in syndrome which means that his body is totally paralyzed yet his mind is intact. He can only blink one eye. I cannot imagine a more perfect hell. Since he cannot speak, Bauby managed to write this novel with the help of a friend who translated eye blinks. Basically the book was written one letter at a time. Amazing. The diving bell is symbolic of his body, trapped and weighted down while the butterfly is symbolic of his mind. He can fly free with his mind and encounter the world.

I highly recommend this book. It has been out for quite awhile now and unfortunately the author died just two days after publication. Mr. Daphnewood told me about the memoir after attending a neurosurgery lecture that talked about locked-in syndrome. Although this condition would be horrific for most, Bauby managed to find some element of life and hope and truly takes his readers there with him. It makes you rethink your position on vegetative states. You might still have the same convictions after reading but definitely, at least for this reader, those convictions are no longer black and white but very gray.

After searching for some links to insert in this post I found that they are making a movie of this memoir. Well I told you all it was a great book.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

I Take It Back

I take back that I said Denmark was a harmless little country. Wow! Talk about things getting out of hand. This is getting ugly. But I do stand by my opinion that people are overreacting to this. Seriously, get mad but the destruction and loss of life is not worth it.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Drama at Work

Mr. Daphnewood is on vacation this week. It is a good thing since there seems to be drama at every curve lately when he goes to work. He is in a small department so everyone there is like family. We really care for each others families. But even families have problems once in a while. I know it is just a blip and everything will work out, but for now just pray that everyone chills and gets back to their happy selfs.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Thank You, Dr. Blogger Buddies

My headaches are going away. I am a person that handles stress in very weird ways. I do not cry or hide in my room. I do not sink into deep depressions or go into mass rages like normal people do. I just push it down in my mind and "rationalize" and go on with life. When the rationalizing isn't going so well my body takes the hit in the form of colds, flus, mono, aches etc. Yes, I said aches. They were crazy people headaches that I was having. At least not crazy chronic headaches.

When I read your responses from my monologue, I realized I am under TONS of stress. My mother who has lived with me for 6 years now and helped out on many ways around the house was GONE for two whole months (she got back yesterday). My husband has been in Chicago for 2 weeks . I have 3 children that have been battling illness and I have had to juggle various types of appointments with them. And I witnessed "the accident". I should have been clued into the fact that I was having nightmares about it and also nightmares about our friend who died in the elevator so maybe they caused the headaches.

So now that I am aware of the stress that has built up inside me, I seem to have a handle on the headaches. It is amazing and very freeing. Your diagnoses were correct as were treatments. I am still going to go to the doctor (someday soon) but now it is not so pressing or scary. Thanks y'all.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Flag Burning

Why do Muslims always burn flags? I do not understand that at all. It is so weird to me to see a burning Denmark flag. Denmark is such a harmless little country with rich culture and interesting people. However, they dared to make a cartoon that mocked religion and now they must pay with flag burnings and threats of kidnapping/hostage taking. I wonder how a muslim nation would react if Denmark or any other country for that fact burned one of their flags. Is that like the ultimate insult? I don't mean to make light of their anguish but it is like the only religion in the world that responds first with a flag burning ceremony. As a Christian, when someone mocks Jesus I just do not support that company/person/product/country anymore. Why make threats? Why get violent? I know it is a stupid questions since the beginning of time wars have been fought over religion.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Don't Mind Me

These next couple of days my blog will be more like a diary. Feel free to comment, but the topics are more than likely to be VERY boring. I'll mostly be chatting to my innerself.

I really need to get in to see a doctor. I hide things from the hubby. These headaches are starting to scare me. I don't want to go in because they might be crazy people headaches and I don't want to be classified as crazy. There are enough psycho people in this family as it is. Not that it is anyone's fault but really, how much more medicine does this house need? Then the other side of the headaches is, maybe it isn't crazy people headaches and something else. Maybe something worse. That would really suck and I do not think I could handle that. Then it could be nothing. But if it is nothing then maybe it will go away by itself. That is why I haven't gone. I am hoping it will go away all by itself. I haven't had a physical in 7 years. I am not a young girl anymore that can get away with things like that. Grandma died from breast cancer and mom has had cancer already too. I should make an appointment.

Mom comes back tomorrow. I will have to get out of my sloppy habits and actually do the dishes after making dinner. I really don't mind waiting until the next morning but she freaks out. You never know when the paramedics will have to haul someone out of our house on a stretcher and see how messy or clean our house is. In fact, if I keep eating fried foods that person might be me. So get to work. Quit blogging and playing neopets. You have bills to pay. ughh. I'll talk about THAT tomorrow.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Housing in California

I am shocked at the prices of houses in California. I was born in a little city about 50 miles east of Los Angeles and growing up I knew it was an average priced town. Nicer than Ontario, not as nice Claremont. Our house back then was an expensive house. My parents paid a whopping $225,000 for it in 1979 but it was a very large house. There were 2 dining rooms (one formal), 2 living rooms (one formal), 4 bedrooms and a huge family room on .75 acres. I lived in my 3rd back yard among the fruit trees. My favorite trees weren't even ours but our neighbor's that hung over the far south wall (peach and plum). I was lucky yet we didn't have the "nicest" house on the block by far.

I just found out that my aunt sold her house. She has lived in that house more than 30 years. It a mainstay of my youth. It is a small house but she had an addition built when I was 5 and more upgrades over the years. It still is about 2,000 sq ft after all the additions (and no pool) but it sold for $475,000. My cousins and his new wife just bought a condo for $290,000 and it was a mere 1600 sq ft. What is going on? My cousin is YOUNG like 22 or 24 tops. His wife just graduated from college and now they are strapped with a house payment that size.

I know you are thinking, wow those must be nice houses but I tell you the truth: They are ordinary normal suburbs. In my aunt's case her suburb has been around forever and cars are parked all along the street 24/7 and the neighbor's house is right on top on hers. Single story homes too. Nothing fancy. So why has California gone bezerk? Do you have any idea how much house $475,000 would buy in Kansas? Even in Texas it would buy a lot. I think the world has officially gone mad.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Best Directors in Hollywood

With all this Oscar talk, I think I want to be vocal about what I see. When I escape to the movies by myself, I spend $7 for a ticket and $8 for a popcorn/soda combo. If I am in the mood for candy then that kills a 20 dollar bill in no time flat. This is at the matinee time too. SOOOOOO, I think I have every right the complain about my movie experience once in a while.

I think Peter Jackson and Robert Zemeckis are probably the best directors around these days. I am very fond of Ang Lee too because for a short little asian man, he can tell an awesome love story. I have not seen Brokeback Mountain yet but I have seen Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and Sense & Sensibility. He did not turn Brokeback Mountain into a political agenda, the media did. He just wanted to tell a love story. At least, this is what I have read him saying. Back to the greatest directors and WHY.

Peter Jackson and Robert Zemeckis make movies for ENTERTAINMENT. I am sick and tired of having friggin' political views crammed down my throat every time I sit and watch a movie. I don't care if I agree with the theme or not. Seriously. I love Steven Spielberg but for the love of God, stop telling me what to think! Go back to the days of Jaws and Raiders of the Lost Ark. I admire his dedication to the Jewish community and don't mind sitting through a historical recount of an era. But when a "spin" is put on certain movies to either support or not support a political view I get pissed. Who gives a rat's @ss what you think "should have happened" in history?! Get a blog if you want to spout your opinions.

I hate having to explain movies to my kids. I try to teach them to see BOTH sides of the story when I get suckered into watching an agenda pushing movie but it is so much safer to pop in LOTR or Back to the Future and let them laugh, cry, hide their face in fear and cheer for the hero. Basically, be entertained. I get enough reality and if I wanted to see some more I would watch the news.

Some of my favorite movies have hidden messages in them (yes I know LOTR is a Christian allegory but that is VERY hidden. It is mostly about sacrifice, courage and love). I don't stop watching them but secretly wish they didn't have that. I am not talking about messages of love, loyalty, honor, courage or anything theme like that. No no no. That is not what I am bitching about. Here is an example: Jurassic Park.

Jurassic Park is an AWESOME movie directed by Mr. Spielberg. I have watched it numerous times but underneath the action and adventure there is this "environmentalism vs. evil scientific progress" message. I care about the environment and even support most efforts but do I really want to see that in my movie experience? NO.

I feel like I am picking on Steven Spielberg. He is a good director and certainly not the only one out there pushing his political views on everyone *cough cough * george clooney *cough cough* Robert Altman *cough cough* Clint Eastwood *cough cough* I am just asking directors to please go back to entertaining us. We get enough programming from the commercials before your movie :)

Thanks to anyone who actually made it to the bottom of this post!