Monday, October 31, 2005

Luke, I Am Your Poodle

The Hairy Sith Lord Pokes Its Toungue At You.



Is there anything a dog won't do for the people it loves? This is standard poodle Delta, playing a dark Sith lieutenant to my nephew Grayson's Darth Vader. She adored trick-or-treating, and marched politely up to everyone's door by Grayson's side. Her only error was that the intended Dark Sith Death-Dog image was kind of marred by the tongue-lolling grin and the constantly-wagging tail sticking out from under her cape.


And this is our precious coonhound friend (and adopted family, through complicated poodle-relations) Fiona, in her fairy-princess outfit. I thought she loooked rather indignant, but was assured by her mom that she enjoyed being the belle of the ball. Anyone else have fun pet costumes to share?

Sunday, October 30, 2005

What We Have Here...


...is a failure to communicate.

"I need you to stick around today, I'm having some kind of weird abandonment anxiety or something."

"OK." (kiss on cheek) We'll talk about it when I get back."

Please Keep Frappin', People!!!

Seriously...when I see a couple hundred of basically the same visitors each day, and only 44 of you have "frapp'd"...I feel sad, like a little homeless puppy. You don't want that, do you? So come on, folks, click the globe I ripped off from Laurie, and stick a pin it it, wouldja? I'm begging! And if you have a blog I haven't visited, leave a comment so I can find you, too! I love you guys!!! For reals!

Family and Friends, I am talking to YOU, too!

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Rejected Halloween Costumes, And A Zane Story

These were all ensembles of her own design, and all from today:
Mad Scientist (observe Einstein-inspired hairstyle and safety goggles on top of head).
Half-Nekkid Ballerina... with Goggles?
Totally Nekkid Spelunker...With Goggles (note flashlight).
Half-Dressed (top half this time) Footman from "Cinderella"...With Goggles.
I had to play Cinderella while Bella put the "slipper" on my foot, pronounced it a perfect fit, then pointed out my prince in his recliner and told me to marry him "happy ever after."


My sister reminded me of a story I'd forgotten, from a Halloween a few years ago. Our church does this thing, as many churches around here do, called "Trunk Or Treat", in which church members park their decorated vehicles in the church parking lot and fill the trunks or hatches with candy, with an open invitation to children as an safer alternative to trick-or-treating at strangers' homes (I know, sad world, huh? No more homemade cupcakes or Rice Krispie Treats or caramel-corn balls in your treat bag. *sigh*)

Anyway, Dad loaded up with some great candy, but refused to decorate. He knew what the kids were there for--the CANDY. And of course, he had choice comments and proper responses to everyone's costumes--being impressed with the fairy princess' beauty, or properly frightened at the scary monster. This was in the early days of Harry Potter's popularity...maybe even before any movies--I'm not sure. So a boy shows up in a homemade Harry Potter costume, since there weren't any pre-made ones out in the stores back then. He had horn-rimmed glasses, some kind of cape, and possibly a scarf and/or the lightning-bolt birthmark. Zane regarded this kid for a little while as he chose his candy, and finally his curiosity got the best of him, and he asked the question.

"So, who are you dressed up as, Smart Dracula?"

Friday, October 28, 2005

Best Retail Warning Ever

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Thursday, October 27, 2005

Paramount Is On My List

And it's not the Christmas card list, either. First there was the whole Tom Ignorant Cultist Cruise Propaganda Publicity Tour, and now THIS:

Parents Protest 50 Cent Billboard
Posted Thursday, October 27 2005 @ 06:41 AM PDT by RD Ross
Filed under: Industry News
Parents at Golden Day Preschool (watch video) in Los Angeles are in an outrage. Right above where they drop their kids off is a billboard for 50 Cent’s upcoming movie Get Rich or Die Tryin'. The ad prominently displays the rapper/actor holding a gun in one hand and a microphone in the other. Community leaders see this as a blatant endorsement of gun use and violence. A boycott has been called by several organizations, including the local NAACP and Stop The Violence Increase The Peace, among others.

Najee Ali, of Project Islamic HOPE, pointed out, "Gun violence is one of the leading causes of death for young black males in South Central Los Angeles and across urban America.” In the last year there were 379 homicides in Los Angeles, as of October 8th, 2005. Of these murders, 71% included the use of guns. But Ali doesn’t blame 50 Cent for the ad. “It's irresponsible for Paramount Pictures to promote and market a movie that glorifies carrying guns,” he said. "We demand that Paramount Pictures remove these negative images of death and destruction, images that our young children are influenced by." Paramount has yet to respond.
(Source: AllHipHop.com)

Now, I'm not even going to get into my thoughts on "Fitty", his lifestyle, his lyrics, or anything else (and believe me, I do have some issues, as a mom and a hip-hop fan), because I agree with Najee Ali on where the responsibility for this ad campaign lies--squarely on the shoulders of Paramount Pictures. There were alternatives to that particular billboard, particularly in proximity to preschools and high schools (there are no reports as yet, of these images being placed near elementary or high schools or civic centers in the inner cities, but that doesn't mean they're not there).

The main publicity image for the movie, the one most prominently featured on Paramount's official website for the film appears to be this one,

which in my opinion is even WORSE, featuring "Fitty" from the back, holding an infant, but with a handgun tucked into the back of his pants. I'm offended by this in so many ways, I can't see straight.

But there is another image, which, in my opinion, could have been so much more positive, and from what I've read on Paramount's website about the movie, truer to the film's message. What, I ask you, would have been wrong with this image, which puts a much more positive slant on the film's tag-line, "At the end of the day, what will you hang on to?" plastered all over the inner-city to promote Get Rich Or Die Tryin'?
Fewer ticket sales, is what, and that, naturally, is all Paramount cares about. If this upsets you, please let them know about it. The minds and lives of our children--ALL of our children-- are more important that whatever money Paramount is going to make from this, um, cinematic tour de force.
To contact Paramount by mail, phone, or fax (which apparently count for MUCH more than e-mail):
Brad Grey Chairman & CEO
Paramount Studios
5555 Melrose Avenue
Hollywood, California 90038
323-956-5000
323-862-1204 (fax)
Update: Paramount has removed at least some objectionable advertising: article

All You Really Need To Know...

...about Harriet Miers' withdrawal of her Supreme Court nomination: This line from the Associated Press report pretty much sums it up:

"There were few regrets on Capitol Hill, from either party."

Allthough, I was pretty tickled by this line from that master of mirth and good humor, ol' chucklebucket Trent Lott:

"Let's move on," he said. "In a month, who will remember the name Harriet Miers?"

One can infer that Harriet won't be sitting on the porch with the gang when Lott's gulf coast house is restored to it former splendor.*

* President Bush, addressing Katrina survivors in Alabama: "We got a lot of rebuilding to do.... the good news is and it's hard for some to see it now but out of this chaos is going to come a fantastic gulf coast... out of the rubbles [sic--that's right, "rubbles", plural, obviously much worse than your run-of-the-mill "rubble"] of Trent Lott's house -- the guy lost his entire house -- there's going to be a fantastic house. I look forward to sitting on the porch. "

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Birthday Party Highlights

We had a great day Saturday, just a quiet party with family. I'm kinda glad we didn't invite other kids, because we were pretty much at "gift overload" as it was, and the overstimulation got a little intense. Next year will have to be scaled down a bit. Mom graciously provided her home, since we can't fit more than one additional person into our house if we're all in it ourselves. She also provided the party hats and Dora cake, which Bella got her fingers into immediately.The unopened PRESENTS were driving her batty, so that's where we started. Every single gift got a gasp of appreciation and lots of shouting to make sure EVERYBODY SAW. The highlights, in case you have a toddler and you're taking notes for Christmas, were these:

The aforementioned "Puppy Surprise", from Andrea and Grayson and Chip.

And the muy ridiculoso "Dora's Talking Dollhouse" from Grandmommy H., complete with MORE FURNITURE THAN I HAVE (this is not right). Seriously, an entire one of her toy bins is now devoted to Dora's furniture, friends, and accessories.

Mommy and Daddy have actually had time to think, and blessedly, relative QUIET since the dollhouse came. We love the dollhouse, 70-million pieces or not. I have been reading a BOOK!!

And then there is the amazing creativity and wonder that is the homemade fairy-princess dress from Grandmommy M. Think this went over well? And how.

Oh, and did I mention that with a simple change, the dress becomes a totally new dress? And that there is a faux-fur stole, for crying out loud? There will be a whole separate post later this week on the awesomeness that is my mother-in-law.


And yes, her parents also got her some presents--some little things like a couple of "big girl" puzzles, Play-Doh, Lite-Brite, and the "big one", an InteracTV system. This thing is way cool. She was already capable of playing computer games on my laptop, so we figured if she could work a keypad mouse, she was ready for this. It's pretty great, and she really loves it. She calls it her "video game" (in truth, she calls it her "dibeo game", and we find that too cute to correct her yet), but every game is educational. She can load the various game cards by herself, navigate through the programs, and basically do it all herself with minimal parental assistance (which would be defined by Miss I DO IT MYSELF! as interference anyway). Mommy recommends.
Being the center of attention for the "Happy Birthday" song was such a thrill for our little diva that we had to re-light the candles and do it again...while she sang along! All in all, I'd consider the day a howling success for everyone involved, especially the birthday girl, who had no idea that her actual birthday was two days earlier. ;-)

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

WHERE YOU AT??

Seriously--I wanna know! I'm loving this new Frappr beta they're testing, and I get a real kick out of looking up my site's stats and seeing where people are from. It's just so exciting, and it "shrinks" the world and brings us all closer together in some weird, geeky way. So PLEASE...next time you stop for a visit (meaning right now, because look, you're already HERE already!), take a minute to click on the Frappr logo, top right, and stick a pin in your geographical location, wouldja? For me? Stroke my inner nerd. I started with my own pin, so just please add your own, at your leisure...but SOON! ;-) I have it set up as a world map, because
I do get visitors from all corners of the globe, but if you like you can manipulate the map and zoom in and out, east/west. north/south.

Bonus points for shout-outs and pictures, but they are not mandatory. Extra bonus points if you are from some exotic locale that would drive me mad with jealousy. Super bonus points if you're within 5 miles of me and I didn't know it. I love you, Internets! I know everyone SAYS it, but I really MEAN it.

Update--y'all have no idea how much I am loving this. Keep it coming! I have one tiny additional request: If you have a blog that I have never visited, please leave a comment so I can find your online presence (unless you're part of the Shadow Government, in Witness Protection, or are one of the Men In Black)!

Adorably Haunted Hotel Rooms?



Or GHOULISH RABIES FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE?

Why I won't be staying in the new Hampton Inn in Raleigh, NC.

We May Not Know Literature, But We Knows What We Don't Like

Matthew Baldwin, a journalist who also writes the wonderful blog "Defective Yeti" (linked in my sidebar), has written a piece for The Morning News, titled "Lone Star Statements." Basically, it takes Time magazine's list of the 100 best English-language novels from 1923 to the present, and juxtaposes these classic titles with Amazon.com reader reviews. The result is hilarious, and the concept pure Matthew. A must-read, truly, if you have any fondness at all for literature.

It's Gettin'--It's Gettin'--It's Gettin'...

When first we practice to deceive."

Of course, the more you practice, the better you get.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Potpourri

WENT TO THE SHRINK AGAIN TODAY (me again), because the Zoloft is kicking my butt and I'd really like to rejoin the world. I have been instructed by my doc to stop the Zoloft cold-turkey and start Effexor tomorrow, even though every source I can find, including Zoloft's own P.I. sheet and this fantastic psychiatric meds website say that cold-turkeying off Zoloft is a BAD THING. Oh, well, we shall see.

But the highlight of the visit was that we wound up taking Bella along, and good gosh, she was a hoot. In high form, she was. QUOTE OF THE DAY: While roaming around the huge and mostly-empty waiting room in the pdoc's office, Bella struck up an involved conversation with a nice lady who happened to have a 2- and a 4-year-old at home and was also a preschool teacher, so she was not bothered by Bella's prattlings. When the lady first spoke to her, Bella just puffed up to her fullest height, and with arm flourishes worthy of those "The Price Is Right" gals, said "Hello--I am Isabella Faith Millerrrrrr!" Then, with an extremely dramatic wave toward the sofa upon which Alex and I sat, she continued, "And these are my friends, Mommy (dramatic pause) and Daddy!" There was more, but that was the part that killed us.

THIS IMPRESSED ME, because I sure don't have this kind of manual dexterity, and this column was higher than her head. These blocks, on end, are no more than an inch wide, if that.

OUR LITTLE HOPE is safely in Hahvahd, MA, after an uneventful flight, hopefully getting to know her intended. It is so difficult to find a stud dog who not only complements your bitch phenotypically and genotypically, who is also of sound and stable mind and temperament, AND has had the full slate of health clearances and genetic testing appropriate for the breed. This guy has it all, is a breed champion and performance titled, and we're really hoping for great things from this cross.AND SPEAKING OF BREEDING DOGS, if Isabella ever decides to get involved in it, there is some indication that she will make a discerning breeder. One of her birthday gifts at her party on Saturday (more on that in a later post) was a poodle "Puppy Surprise". The idea behind this plush toy is that it is a "mommy" dog, with puppies inside. The "surprise" part is the mystery of how many puppies there will be, much like in real life! Apparently, the marketing department felt that a natural birth would be too upsetting, so Puppy Surprise dams have a sort of velcro C-section, which, in my opinion, is a little unsettling.Bella's cousin Grayson had this same toy when he was really little, and he was helping her take out the puppies and count them, and we were all kind of gathered around as Bella gasped with delight at each new pup. They were each a little different from the other, but only in small ways. Until...the count was going, "ONE puppy! TWO puppies! THREE puppies...And then Grayson says quietly, "...and a...hamster?"Bella takes hold of this last "puppy", takes one brief look at it, and pronounces with certainty, "This is NOT a poodle! This is a CRITTER!" and tosses it unceremoniously over her shoulder. Seems she has no problem culling the non-show-quality pups from the litter. When we'd ask her, "Did you get FOUR puppies in your Puppy Surprise?" She'd answer testily, "NO! THREE puppies and a stupid CRITTER!" I've slipped it back in a couple of times, only to have her discover it and wail, "Mommy, that critter is in my Puppy Surprise again!"

Anybody know of a good pet home for this guy? He seems cheerful and laid-back, just not up to the breed standard.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

For My Friend Jen

Because she's going through something sad, lonely, and all-too-familiar to me. Because I can't be there to hug her and fix her meals and babysit Charlotte to free her up to do whatever she needs. Because I'm not there to just be still and quiet with her. Because she asked, and I love her.

Some pictures my sister just discovered when she had an old roll of film developed today. They're poignant for me, too. Baby On A Boat. And the exceedingly large and gentle hands holding her in those first pictures are my Dad's.

How To Coax A Tear From His Eye

While watching "Cinderella", during the scene in which Cinderella and the prince first dance and sing together, point to the screen, turn to him, and say, "That's me and you, Daddy."

Saturday, October 22, 2005

When Your Breakfast Smells Like Feet

Another McDonald's post, and here's how it began. This morning, before Bella's birthday party, we drove Hope to the airport so she could fly to Harvard, MA to be bred to a beautiful multi-titled champion dog. So on the way back home, we thought we'd stop and treat Bella to a pancake breakfast at IHOP. She loves pancakes, and she'd never been there. So we got her all worked up about the pancakes, only to arrive at the IHOP and find it overrun with "Race For The Cure" participants. They get free breakfast after the race, or something. So they were crammed in, and there were at least 50 waiting out in the parking lot. I guess waiting an hour or more for free pancakes is worth the $5 they'd cost for some people. Myself, I can't imagine it being worth my time.

So, now we had a dilemma. There was not another breakfast restaurant anywhere near, and Bella was all psyched for the pancakes. Alex said, "Well, I guess we'll just have to go to McDonald's." I told him that McDonald's wouldn't be serving breakfast any more, since it was nearly 10:45. His response? "Oh, they'll serve ME breakfast, because I want some breakfast." This is common Alex logic.

This is when I began sinking ever-lower in my seat, bracing for the impending embarrassment.

We went through the drive-thru, and when it was our turn to order, Alex begins just confidently ordering breakfast items, as if he totally expects breakfast. As if he hasn't been to McDonald's regularly for over 30 years, and has no IDEA that they stop serving breakfast at 10:30. Here is how the exchange with the poor people working the McDonald's drive-thru went:

Underpaid Drive-Thru Lady: "We ain't got no breakfast now."

Alex: (Loudly and confidently) "Well, that's what we came here for!"

UDTL: "Well, I'm sorry about that."

Alex: "When did you stop serving breakfast?" (As IF he didn't know.)

UDTL: "About 20 minutes ago."

Alex: (lying blatantly) "Well, I've been waiting in line here at least that long!"

UDTL: "No you have not!"

Alex: "Yes I have!"

UDTL: "Well, you might have been up in some other McDonald's, but you ain't been in THIS line for no 20 minutes!" (You have to admire her backbone and spunk.)

Alex: "I'm telling you, I've been waiting that long, and I want some breakfast!"

UDTL: "Well, what did you want? I'll see if there's anything left."

Alex: "I want pancakes and sausage."

UDTL: (Consults kitchen worker) "OK, I do have some pancakes and sausage. Is that all?"

Alex: "Do you have any McGriddles left? Bacon, egg and cheese?" (We were not into the healthy eating today, obviously.)

UDTL: (Consulting again) "Ummm, I think we can scrape something together (emphasis mine)."

Alex: "All right." At this point I order a lunch item, and we're given a total and proceed to the window, a couple of cars in front of us.

Me: "You know you're about to get a loogie McGriddle, right?"

Alex: (Laughing) "No, I'm getting my danged pancakes."

Me: "The phrase 'scrape something together' is not really something I feel comfortable hearing at a fast-food restaurant."

We got to the window, paid, got our ridiculous food, and I tried my best to distance myself from the lunatic breakfast-demander in the eyes of the Mickey D's employees, slumped down in my seat and muttering "Thank you" frequently and sincerely. Bella's pancakes were pristine, and she was happy. That sandwich of Alex's, however, looked...well, ragged. As if it had, in fact, been "scraped together" in some fashion, like Frankenfood. He was so pleased with himself for defying the law of the fast-food universe, however, that there was no way he wasn't eating it. He smiled smugly the whole time, until the last bite.

Alex: "You know, this smells kind of like feet."

Need I Say More?

From a 45-question personality test that converts your answers to the form of a classic movie:

Belinda

Alex


Any questions about my day-to-day life?

Friday, October 21, 2005

In Celebration

Today we celebrate the life of the greatest man to influence my life and the lives of many others. My father, who died unexpectedly just a little over a year ago, was a man of enormous stature--not only physically, but spiritually, and in heart and love. There is absolutely no way I can tell anyone who didn't know him just how wonderful a man he was. His love for his family was strong and total. His love for his wife was...legendary. If all women were loved like that at some point in their lives, this would be one amazingly happy planet. He was absolutely besotted with his family of girls, and then his daughters' children, one for each of us, a grandson and a granddaughter.

His name was Zane, and I loved him with a ferocity, and miss him more than I ever could have imagined possible. He was my Dad. If you'd like to join me in celebrating the life of this remarkable man, then do one, or more, or all, of the following things:

*Pray for someone who has mistreated you.
*Perform an act of service for someone who needs it, and expect nothing in return.
*Watch the German film, "Das Boot". Preferably the Director's cut, all 209 minutes.
*Smile genuinely at everyone you see for an entire day.
*Make up ridiculous lyrics to popular songs, and sing them loudly.
*Thank God for the blessings in your life.
*Thank God for the tribulation in your life.
*Reach out to someone who is going through a hardship that you yourself have endured, even if it is painful for you.
*Speak the phrase, "I hope I don't get crazy and fall in that cactus!" to a complete stranger. This is most effective in the waiting room of a doctor's office.
*Watch the entire mini-series (available on DVD) "Shaka Zulu."
*Make an anonymous donation that will help people in need in your neighborhood/town.
*Whether referring to the cartoon or the fried chicken franchise, pronounce "Popeye" as "Pie-Pie".
*Embrace a child, and feel its goodness in every part of your heart and soul.
*Lean in and tell someone conspiratorily, "Confuscious say, 'Man who fly upside down have crack up'." An acceptable alternative would be, "Man with hole in pocket feel cocky all day."
*Share your chair with a good dog.
*Play cards with friends or family. Utilize these crucial phrases during the play of others: "Think long, think wrong," "Are you sure about that?" and most importantly, "UP jumped the devil!" This last should accompany any trumping or winning play of your own. At various points in the game, slap a card to your forehead, so that it sticks (its face to your face), while you wait for others to make their play. Make clear the insinuation that no matter what they're about to do, the card on your head will slaughter them all. Be right.
*Tell your entire family exactly how much they are loved.
*Startle a loved one half to death, by whatever means is most effective. In the aftermath of their shock, look innocently surprised, and say, "Look out, now!"
*Show your family through your deeds exactly how much they are loved.
*Prepare a giant portion of a favorite food, preferrably ice cream, which you will refer to simply as "cream." When onlookers are astonished at the size of the portion, look shocked and say, "A monkey could eat it." When people look at you in confusion, simply explain, "Well, I'm a LOT bigger than a monkey!" Upon finishing your dish, lean back, groan, smile, and say, "I feel sooooo unneccessary!" as if that makes sense.
*Most of all, make certain that you are available for hugs, love, and support at all times. Never miss an opportunity to warmly embrace one that you love.
*Leave everyone with absolutely NO DOUBT about who you were, how well you loved, and that God's love shone through you.

Thursday, October 20, 2005