Thursday, June 29, 2006

Independence Day

Yesterday I saw a TV commercial for a car sale. A "4th of July" car sale. The ad flashed images of shiny new cars, parked neatly in their rows, beckoning for some patriotic American to come and take them home. "America the Beautiful" was the song chosen by the car company to accompany the ad. "America the Beautiful". I don't get much opportunity to sing the historic songs of patriotism these days, but I'm pretty sure that "America the Beautiful" doesn't include anything about the beauty of "rows of shiny cars".

I am disappointed by the way that we Americans observe our national, patriotic holidays. Memorial Day, Independence Day, Veteran's Day. Now, I recognize that Independence Day differs from the other two. Independence Day should be a day of celebration. It is the day that we celebrate the birth of our nation. We SHOULD celebrate! But not with car sales. Not with 0% financing until 2008. How do those things commemorate the sacrifices made by our founding fathers?

I am preaching to myself here. I haven't quite figured out exactly the best way to celebrate. I have an inkling that an appropriate Independence Day celebration would include family and friends enjoying one another's company, enjoying the freedom that was so hard-earned by those who came before us. It would include a time to reflect on what we are celebrating. It would include an act of gratitude toward those who are still making sacrifices to maintain our freedom. The other patriotic holidays - Memorial Day and Veteran's Day, specifically - should be observed similarly, I think, only perhaps not so lightheartedly. These days are, after all, set aside as times to remember and appreciate our servicemen and women, especially those who have given their lives for our country. They are not necessarily meant to be happy occasions. (Contrary to popular belief, we do not need to be happy all the time.) If I may make so bold a comparison, Memorial Day is to Independence Day as Good Friday is to Easter. A horrible day, a day of ultimate sacrifice. Without it, we would have nothing to celebrate. And, just as Easter is not about pastel eggs and candy, so Independence Day should not be about fireworks and barbecues. These things are ways that we can enjoy the day, but if they obstruct the true meaning, then they are worthless.

So now I'm thinking about how to celebrate. Here are some ideas:

  • Learn all of the verses to The Star-Spangled Banner and read a biography of Francis Scott Key.
  • Volunteer at a VA hospital.
  • Spend an afternoon visiting with residents at a nursing home (lots of WWII veterans now live in communities like this).
  • Support our active duty military personnel.
  • Read the Declaration of Independence.
  • Spend time as a voter registration volunteer.
  • Make sure YOU are registered to vote!
  • Visit a veterans' memorial.
  • Watch a movie that portrays the sacrifices made for the sake of freedom, such as The Patriot, Glory, Saving Private Ryan, or We Were Soldiers.

Have a happy Independence Day.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Perilous Ventures

Elise is ten months old now and is "cruising" - pulling herself to stand while holding onto furniture and walking alongside said furniture. It's very cute, but it has also made us realize how dangerous growing up really is. It is 11:21 in the morning right now. So far today, Elise has: 1) fallen off her favorite climbing toy (i.e., Mommy's filing box) onto her head, 2) fallen backwards from a standing position onto the linoleum floor, and taking a heavy piece of petrified wood with her (we use it as a bookend), 3) gotten her finger stuck in the wheel of a pull toy, and 4) bonked herself in the face with Daddy's keys, which make a splendid rattle. All before her first nap. I can't wait to see what the afternoon holds.

Now some of you might be thinking, "What negligent parents!" You either recognize the aforementioned events as normal perils associated with graduating from babyhood to toddlerhood, or you think these minor injuries are the result of parental negligence. If the former, you are correct and discerning. If the latter, well, phooey on you.

Addendum: While I was typing this, Elise crawled under swing and tried to stand up, which resulted in not only hitting her head on the bottom of the swing, but also in the swing swinging and coming back to hit her in the head a second time. Maybe being indoors today is a bad idea.

Saturday, June 17, 2006


"Only a dummy would give this up for something as common as money." - Grandpa Joe, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Think of it what you will

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, "Don't do it!" He said, "Nobody loves me." I said, "God loves you. Do you believe in God?" He said, "Yes." I said, "Are you a Christian or a Jew?" He said, "A Christian." I said, "Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?" He said, "Protestant." I said, "Me, too! What franchise?" He said, "Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?" He said, "Northern Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist." I said, "Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region." I said, "Me, too!"
Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?" He said, "Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912." I said, "Die, heretic!" And I pushed him over.

- Emo Philips, I think.


We've been working on a lot of projects around my house. It feels so great to get them done. My husband has been working his tail off all weekend cleaning and organizing the basement. It looks fabulous. I have been working in the baby's room. I had all these grand plans of a beautiful, dreamy nursery before Elise was born. Then she was born, and what was still undone has remained undone. Until now. We finally got a dresser for her, and are finally hanging the various pictures and such on her walls. My sewing room has been rendered useful once again and I am busily working on sewing and craft projects, trying to be with it enough this year to actually finish some of the projects that I intend to use as gifts come Christmas. It has been a productive weekend. It's nice.