Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Wizards, Lions, and Rabbits, oh my!

I'm nearly done reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire in preparation to actually watching the movie, sometime, if we can find a sitter and a free weekend! I'd say rereading, but since I've only listened to my husband read it aloud while I crocheted, this is the first time I've read it myself! I actually wasn't looking forward to reading it; the books are rather an easy read so I figured since I already knew the story it wouldn't be very exciting. It definitely wasn't as exciting as the first time, but still exciting enough to keep me reading all day, and neglecting my work! But such is my penchant when reading!

In addition to HP, another movie that I will be seeing in the theaters (and there aren't that many I will see since movie tickets here cost upwards of $10!) is The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Apparently, CS Lewis would not have approved of the movie. The source they cite is this posting of a letter apparently from CS Lewis re the radio version of his books. There is no way to authenticate that this letter actually exists from these sites, but for the sake of argument, I'll say it's authentic. He was against a live action version because an 'anthropomorphic' Aslan would be 'buffoonery' (as can readily be seen in the BBC version!) but he was not opposed to a cartoon, except that he didn't agree with all of Disney's practices. Since computer generated graphics are just (very) glorified cartoons, I don't think he would be too disapointed in the portrayal of Aslan in this newest film, though I do think he would still be wary of Disney producing it! I also don't think he would be displeased with the live actors portraying the other human characters, but I'll wait and see how well the storyline is preserved before venturing an opinion on whether CS Lewis would approve of this version.

One final movie I would like to see in the theater (but we'll see if I really want to pony up the money for it!) is Wallace and Gromit's Curse of the Were-Rabbit. It seems to go right along with my own feelings towards rabbits, considering they continually destroy my own garden!

Off to see the wizard... Harry Potter..... sometime...

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Brown turkey, brown yarn, and brown...nose?

Sorry I haven't posted in a while! Can I use the holidays as an excuse? My family came to SoCal for Thanksgiving and we had a blast! In a month we'll be heading back to Utah to visit family there. Aren't the holidays great!?

I finally got my yarn I ordered back in August! It's Mr. Brown. Not sure what I can do with it, maybe use it as trim with another yarn. I'll post it here once I decide!

And in case you were wondering, longer needles are needed for fatter buttocks.

Hoping no needles are in my near future,

Friday, November 18, 2005


Politically speaking, California is a scary place to live. Of greatest concern to me at the moment is the "Preschool for All" initiative that is slated to be on the June 2006 ballot. Personally, I can see many things wrong with this initative, but I know that people will say "Free preschool! Sign me up!" or "If you don't vote for this, you will be hurting our kids" and it will pass. Here's an article from the 'Sacramento Bee' (requires free registration to view) with three studies concerning the effects of preschool on children.

The first example is done by the group that is sponsoring the initiative and shows that children performed better (in kindergarten!) if they went to preschool before kindergarten or lived with parents who read to them regularly. The conclusion they come to is that greater access to preschool will boost academic performance. It studied 10,000 children in CA's lowest performing schools.

The second was done by reasearchers at Stanford and Cal Davis, Berkely, and Santa Barbara who studied 14,162 kindergartners across the country. It concludes that while kindergarteners who attend preschool do tend to do better academically (in kindergarten!) they also found that children who entered preschool earlier were slower to develop socially.

Both of these studies seem pertinent to the issue and well done, except the possibility that the first group was only interested in supporting their agenda. One thing that bothers me about both studies is that they only studied kindergarteners. What happens to these kids for the rest of their lives? That's what I want to know. At any rate, I can rest easy now knowing that reading to my kids is equivilant to preschool! Maybe they should mandate that all parents read to their children instead of spending money on preschool for all.

The final example they use in the article is almost laughable. It is a study of 521 CA Kindergarten teachers. The conclusions are that most CA Kindergarten teachers believe that preschool helps kids. This study was basically an opinion survey and not based on any hard facts, so the only reason I can see that they included it in the article was to boost the pro-universal preschool argument!

Here's a website from a group opposed to the inititive. Granted, many of their arguments are inflamatory in nature but it brings up valid concerns about funding for 'preschool for all' (especially in 'budget crisis' CA) among other things. See #'s 1, 2, and 3. Of greatest concern for me is #12. It is scary beyond belief to me that CA would consider forcing parents to abandon their 2 yo children to the state. And this is not the first I've heard of this idea. It also sounds a death knell for Homeschooling in CA. So far homeschoolers have managed to survive by becoming private schools, but if preschool becomes mandatory that will no longer be possible because the regulations placed on preschools are such that no home could meet them. So then 'they' would have to start making laws specifically for homeschoolers and you can bet they won't be homeschool friendly laws, if 'they' don't outlaw homeschooling altogether.

Parents, that's your scary story for the day because as they say:

'As CA goes, so goes the nation'

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Shorts weather in November!

Well, now I'm sick. I hope it goes away in time for Thanksgiving! My family is coming to sunny SoCal to celebrate with us this year. And it is sunny! Yesterday we had a high in the 80's! Time to break out the shorts! The Santa Ana winds are back, bringing with them hot, DRY air but who knows if it will still be warm by the time my family gets here. My dad wants to go to the beach. Cold! But if the Santa Anas are still blowing it might actually be nice.

I was hoping to do some Thanksgiving shopping today, but the way I'm feeling I don't really want to haul the boys (who both still have coughs and runny noses) around the grocery store. Maybe I can convince my hubby to come home early and go shopping for me. I was planning to prepare the pie crusts and freeze them tomorrow, but I can't do that until I go shopping! Arrrgghh! Why is it that you always get sick at the most inopportune times?!

For any of you that are interested, I have made a cookbook especially for Thanksgiving Dinner. It has recipes and instructions for the turkey, stuffing, cranberries, sides, and of course pies. If you'd like a copy, here's a link. Here's another link for the timeline that goes with it. (They are both Word documents, so you'll need to have Word installed on your computer to view them.) Sorry, no okra recipes this time!

Under the weather,

Monday, November 14, 2005

Past Crochet Project: Love Knot Shawl

Believe it or not, I'm mostly finished with all my Christmas present crocheting! Just a few minor things to finish. I'm quite surprised myself, and I keep wondering if there is someone I've forgotten. Hmmmm.

Since I haven't started any new projects (that I can mention) I'll post one of my past projects for you to ogle. ;) This is my 'Love Knot Shawl'. The picture is really bad; the color is much brighter in person. I should take a better one. It was inspired by this pattern, but I had to modify it as I didn't have the right amount of yarn. I worked it from the point up rather than the top down so it would still be a shawl when I ran out of yarn! Plus, rather than using Lion Brand 'Incredible', I used another ribbon type yarn I had on hand and mixed it with a confetti type novelty yarn. The effect is really nice. The love knot stitch (aka 'Solomon's knot') really shows off the two novelty yarns and gives the shawl a nice drape. Now if only I were trendier I could wear it!

Not much is going on at my house. Both boys are sick and it looks like I'm getting sick too. My older ds missed saying his line ("I choose the right by paying tithing") in the Primary Program yesterday. I was sad about that, but we figured it was better than having him coughing all over the other primary children on the stand. And even though my younger ds acts like he feels fine, he has a sheen of snot all over his forearms that I thought the nursery teachers might not like. No barfing though. Oh wait! There was one incident, but I'll let my hubby tell you about it since he was there.

Itchin' to be stitchin'

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

My name is Alberta and I'm a nerd....

We have no Halloween decorations so this year we made Jack-o-lanterns and stuck them on the boy's window. Ever since we did those simple little constuction paper pumpkins, my oldest ds has been going crazy making Jack-o-lanterns of every size and color. Don't get me wrong, these are very cute pumpkins, but frankly I'm getting tired of it. So I've been trying to come up with an equally simple Thanksgiving project to replace them, something my older ds can do himself without my help. Of course, the first thing I thought of was a turkey, but I couldn't think of a way to put it together that would be as simple as sticking cutout eyes and mouth on a circle pumpkin. So next I thought maybe a cornucopia. I couldn't figure out how to make that one simple either, but it got me thinking about the origin of the word 'cornucopia'. I figured it was probably related to 'cornet' (a type of trumpet) and 'copious'. So I pulled out my Oxford Dictionary of Word Histories to look it up. 'Cornucopia' itself was not in there, so I looked up 'cornet' (which it turns out comes from the Latin 'cornu' meaning 'horn') and 'copious' (which comes from the Latin 'copia' meaning 'plenty'). So 'cornucopia' (horn of plenty) comes into modern times directly from the original Latin unchanged! Wild! I wonder how many other words do that? Rob?

Thanks for joining my stream of consciousness ride.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

I like to ride my bicycle.

My older ds has finally started riding his bike independently! Don't get too excited, he is still using training wheels, but up until now he refused to go down any small incline unless someone was holding on to the bike and then he'd whine the whole way down. Now he has finally figured out how to use the brakes to slow himself down without stopping completely and that has boosted his confidence enormously. He's also decided that it's more fun to go fast! So now it's my turn to be afraid. All this recent bike riding has piqued my younger sons interest in bikes as well. He begs for turns on his brother's bike, which is way to big for him, and then wants me to push him around on it. Maybe we'll have to return some of the Christmas presents we've already purchased and go get him a bike instead!

In the spirit of my husband's blog, here's the fitness report! Since Monday I have been waking up at 6:30 to be ready to go walking at 7am. I haven't been able to get up that early on a consistent basis since son #2 was born! The key I have found is to get someone else involved. (I'm walking with a girl from our ward.) If I'm just waking up early to do something by myself, it is way to easy to ignore the alarm. But now I know that someone is waiting for me, and if I don't show up they will be disappointed. Plus, it's much more fun to have someone to talk to while you are walking. She has two little girls, each a year or so behind my two boys so we definitely have something of common interest to talk about! I know walking isn't the most strenuous workout but as I've been mostly sedentary lately this is a big improvement!

Trying to avoid becoming a fat bottomed girl,