Monday, January 28, 2008

Moments of Parental Pride

Everyone thinks their own kid is a genius, and I am certainly no exception. But I don't usually brag.

But right now I am going to take a moment to do just that.

My twelve year old, David, has a history of fighting and bad grades a poor attitude and low threshold for paying attention. This year he has made quite a turn around, and I am so proud of him. He doesn't fight anymore, his attitude has improved, he does his own homework with very little prompting, and his grades are mostly A's and B's with a couple of C's.


What most impresses me is how far he's come in his academics, his grasp on what it all means.

Some examples are:

During the Iowa primaries we were watching when the final stats came in and some of the candidates had tallies like 49% or 52%, but a couple had 0%.
One of my boys said,
"Wow... it would be embarrassing if you got 0%, nobody voted for him!"
David, without missing a beat, said,
"0% doesn't mean he didn't get any votes, it just means no enough people voted for him for it to count as at least 1%! If there are 200,00 voters, and less than 200 people vote for him, that doesn't equal 1%. "

I was amazed. He said he hadn't talked about that in school, that it just made sense.

Then, just yesterday on the way home in the car he was telling me what he'd been watching on television. He said he didn't understand why President Bush would have pushed us into war without proof of WMD's. We were discussing that when he said, "We need to get out of that war. We are spending billions, and that money could keep us from getting into this Recession everyone says is coming."

It's not whether he is right or wrong that impresses me, it's that he is paying that much attention, and that he cares about it all all. I didn't get into political discussions at 12 years old.

It's cool to see your kids grow up, watch them change and become adults in thier own right. It's these moments that make it all worth it. :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Website of the Day

I like information. I really enjoy it when it's given to me in a way that is comprehensive and interesting.

Two days ago I learned about, which has nothing to to with zippers or dieting and everything to do with finding information about any US zip code.

I first checked out my own zip code, and found much of the information therein depressing, if not true. I do live in a rural and not wealthy portion of the state.

I next checked out the zip code in Hawaii where my son is moving to in May. It does have some relevant information, which he found helpful.

What does your zip code say about you and where you live, do you think the information is accurate?

Visiting Other Bloggers

I like to read other peoples blogs, but I am more of a lurker than a poster myself. Heck, I have a hard time posting regularly in my own blog. But lately I have felt like reaching out and participating more. So I've been visiting some of the blogs of my old pals from AOL from back when i had my own blog there. Great people, and good posts.

One of my favorites is Paul's Blog, Aurora Walking Vacation. He also does Cowboy Poetry and Not Cowboy Poetry. All worth visiting if you get the urge. ;)

Anyway, today I found the following Meme on his blog, and thought I'd like to answer it, so here goes.

1. What is your name? Dawn, and Alba when I lived in Sicily. I miss the nickname, but I feel silly using it here.

2. How old are you? 43, which seemed incredibly old ten years ago and seems fairly young now.

3. Where are you from? That is a hard to answer question. I have grown up so in many places, lived in so many others where I felt very at home. I currently live in the mountains of NM, so I claim that, and I feel at home here. Is that an answer?

4. Do you smoke? Not for many years, and I am so glad I quit.

5. Do you drink? Yes, sometimes moderately and responsibly, at other times I over do it some. Most of the time not much.

6. Do you have a family? Please explain, if yes. Yep. Big family, Myself, my hunny Brian, and our five kids together, Logan, Keri, Mitchel, Patrick, David.

7. What are your hobbies? Photography, Design, Reading, Writing, Gardening, My pets. (Three dogs, a cat a ferret, eleven chickens and a turkey.)

8. What is your favorite ice cream? Hmmm, depending on my mood, something with caramel and buts, or a raspberry sorbet.

9. What is your favorite animal?
Felines in general. I love cats, of the domesticated and wild variety.

10. Do you wear glasses? No, but I should.

11. What nationality are your ancestors from? I have some Irish, some German, some English, some Hispanic, some Native American, and those are the ones I know of for sure.

12. What color is your hair? Reddish brown. No gray so far. (Hurrah!)

13. What are you wearing now? Long Johns, sweat pants, a turtle neck and a red sweater over the top. I am cold, and this is what was clean this morning.

14. What is your favorite color? If I am wearing it, I like black, though I love all earth colors. If I am paiting a room I like creamed coffee or something like it. Mellow and soothing. If It is about being outside I love bright green and blues. If I am dressing a model, I am obsessed with red.

15. What teacher do you remember most from your childhood? In high school I had Betty McKiethan, for art. She influenced me in ways that still impact me. Also Mrs. Smith, for History, who gave me a love for all things in the world, and a hunger to always know more.

16. What are your pets and their names? Dogs: Rua, Ziggy, Luke. Cat: Willow. Ferret: Momo. Chickens: Dixie, Daisy, Rosie, (the rest don't have names yet.) And my turkey Hagar.

17. What is your favorite food? I love food, and there are no favorites. But I enjoy spicy stuff, hot stuff, good sauces and unusual combinations. Most things international, and thing that challenges my pallet. :)

18. What is your job? I do a lot. Too much ;) I am full time Office manager for a mechanical insulation company, I own a photography business which I do about 20 hours a week, I am a co-owner of a IT consulting company, a board member at the New Mexico Art League, and a volunteer for the Albuquerque Animal Shelter. :)

Now, I need to get back to work. Hehe....

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


I am a big fan of Sci-Fi movies, End of the World genre flicks, and sometimes good Horror movies. When I first saw the trailor I knew I wanted to see Cloverfield. However, after reading some reviews of it on IMDB, (careful reading some of these reviews there are lots of spoilers), I changed my mind. It sounded too disjointed, and like something that might cause me to walk away with a headache and motion sickness, something I am not willing to pay the price of a theater ticket for.

My kids, however, made a big deal about seeing it, and I found myself interested again, so I saw it today. I am not in the habit of doing movie reviews, but my preconceived notions about whether I'd like Cloverfield or not were so off base, I felt like I ought to post something.

The premise of the movie is that a group of people are throwing a going away party for one of their friends in New York City. One of the guys is given the job of recording the revelers, and so becomes the mode in which we see the rest of the movie, through the lens of his personal video camera.

This does mean that there is a lot of jolted, jerky scenes, and when I say a lot, I mean almost every frame. (Reminds me of when I first started using my own home video camera, I can hardly stand to watch some of these old movies because they are so badly done). Though Cloverfield obviously and intentionally makes the film bouncy and often hard to follow, it works well for the story being told here. If it were too smooth, you would not be able to believe these characters are running in terror, in fear for their own lives.

Though the cast, (Michael Stahl-David as Robert Hawkins, T. J. Miller as Hudson "Hud" Platt, Jessica Lucas as Lily Ford, Odette Yustman as Elizabeth "Beth" McIntyre, Lizzy Caplan as Marlena Diamond, Mike Vogel as Jason "Hawk" Hawkins) are not big name actors, they deliver a well executed performance. The dialog both before and during the monster attacks serves to connect you to the characters and give the sense that they might be people you know.

This is not a feel good movie, if you're looking for one you might want to check out something else. But this was, for me, surprisingly believable, and I might even like to watch it again. If my review were to count for anything, I'd give Cloverfield two thumbs up. :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Rough Week (s)

It's been a hectic week or two. If it could go wrong, it has gone wrong. We ran out of propane, which is both how we cook and heat our home, about a week ago. Several days before that our car was involved in a six car collision in the canyon just outside of Albuquerque (driver hydroplaned on ice and crossed over the median head-on into traffic. Brian was in the car, and had no injuries, but it totaled the car.) Two days later we ran out of Propane at the office, and the propane company said they were out of propane and it would be a week before they got any in. I borrowed my mothers car, which has no heat, and so I have been suffering in the cold more than a bit. (We can't afford to fill the tank at hoe until we fix my car situation, not enough money to go all the way around.

In short, it has been a difficult week or so.

I find myself fearful at all this talk of recession, thinking that if things are hard now, how bad it could become if the economy were to take a nose dive.

Even so, I am not good at focusing on problems. Call it optimism or Ostrich Syndrome, but it seems pointless to dwell on what you can't change right now.

I have been enjoying the company of my eldest son, Logan, who has been home for a couple of days sharing transportation with me. My youngest isn't as social with me, but he's doing pretty good in school, and has been developing a more grown up personality. Coming into his own, so to say. It's fun to watch.

I have an itch to do a photo session, so hopefully soon I'll have more to share in that area, until then, it all good wishes to all of my friends out there. :)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Find of the Day

Okay, so I didn't find this today, but I am sharing it with you today.

Freecycle is a great idea, an I joined it a few weeks ago. I found it through a friend initially a couple of years ago, but never joined because... uh well, I don't know why.

Anyway, here is a brief history of Freecycle as found on their website at

"On May 1st, 2003, Deron Beal sent out the first e-mail announcing The Freecycle Network™ to about 30 or 40 friends and a handful of nonprofits in Tucson, Arizona. At the time Deron founded The Freecycle Network, he worked with a small nonprofit organization, RISE, which provides recycling services to downtown businesses and transitional employment to Tucsonans in need.

As the team recycled, rather than watching perfectly good items being thrown away, they found themselves calling or driving around to see if various local nonprofits could use them. Thinking there had to be an easier way, Beal set up that first Freecycle e-mail group in a way that permitted everyone in Tucson to give and to get. Freecycle was off and running.

The Freecycle concept has since spread to over 75 countries, where there are thousands of local groups representing millions of of members -- people helping people and "changing the world one gift at a time." As a result, we are currently keeping over 300 tons a day out of landfills! This amounts to four times the height of Mt. Everest in the past year alone, when stacked in garbage trucks!

By giving freely with no strings attached, members of The Freecycle Network help instill a sense of generosity of spirit as they strengthen local community ties and promote environmental sustainability and reuse. People from all walks of life have joined together to turn trash into treasure."

I happened to find two groups in my area, one in Albuquerque and one in the East Mountain area. I joined both, but find myself contributing mostly to the Albuquerque Freecycle group because that is where I spend most of my time.

So far I have found a home for a bunch of books, some clothes, toys and blankets, counter tops and a sink, vertical blinds, and a few other items. I have picked up some winter coats, a wood burning stove, and a Christmas tree stand. I have seen everything from piano's and televisions to cans of stray buttons offered. I simply can't get over it.

It's handy, it's easy, and it does good for everyone: the environment, my family, and anyone who participates. Can't beat it.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My Son Likes Zombies

So I saved a link to a website with a short story about zombies, because it's hilarious , and somehow touching, if you like Zombies.

In case you like zombies as well, I thought I'd share the link with you. Even if you don't care for zombies, it's an interesting read. :)


Find of the Day

I am one of those people who constantly reminisce about "the good old days". Back when people had manners, what you ate was what you thought you were eating, and there was no question about whether burning the American flag was okay or not.

But like many people, I have new age senility. I forget sometimes with though so much might have gone wrong with the world in the past decades, so much has also gone right. The advance of health and technology, human equality and rights are on the rise, and of course the internet.

It's little ads like the ones I found today, the following being an example, that remind me that the Good old days weren't necessarily better in all respects, just different. There are some things I miss from way back when (like cleaner air) and there are things I don't miss (see the ads for more examples.)

Can you name ten things you liked about the good old days, and ten things you don't miss at all?

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Giving a Little of Yourself :)

Are you lining up your New Year resolutions? Have room for an extra one that will cost you nothing, do a ton of good, and take mere seconds? Pick one of the causes below, make it your home page, and click the "Click Here to Give -- It's Free Button". It costs nothing, and every click counts toward donations from sponsors.

I've been doing it for about three months now, I don't even notice it anymore, and the feeling of knowing I am doing something (even something as tiny as "clicking") it a nice one. :)

Breast Cancer
Child health
Rain Forest
Animal Rescue

BTW, each topic also has some great items in the store, and your purchases also fund each cause. It's a win - win situation!

Sunday, January 06, 2008

When Professionals Can't be Professional

This man drives me nuts.

He has always seemed to me to be insincere and full of himself. This perception was only heightened when I heard that he had visited Brittany Spears (without her request) and then gone on public television to let all of the watching world to know about the visit and his opinions of the matter:

"My meeting with Britney and some family members this morning in her room at Cedars leaves me convinced more than ever that she is in dire need of both medical and psychological intervention," McGraw told the programs.

"She was released moments before my arrival and was packing when I entered the room. We visited for about an hour before I walked with her to her car. I am very concerned for her," he said.

If I were Spears or her family I would be beyond upset that this "professional" was spewing my personal information to the public without any justifiable cause. Does he think talking about confidential patient information on television will make her better?

Now, I am not defending Brittany Spears. She evidently has plenty of issues that need addressing. But the paparazzi hounding her surely hasn't helped any, and I can't see that having "Doctor Phil" visit and then talk about her disparagingly on television hasn't made her more willing to seek professional help.

There's a line between entertainer and heath professional, that this man needs to find. Perhaps he should seek some professional help.

**Update: I found this link: Gallery of the Absurd. It succinctly mirrors my own feelings about Hollywood.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Last Photos of the Old Year

I ended 2008 on a good note, with a photography session with a gorgeous model and good friend of mine Maria Erikson. She's from England, though she travels so much I imagine she feels at home just about anywhere. Visiting the states again for about a month, Maria chose to spend the holiday with my family and I, which was a treat for everyone. She has a wonderful and winning personality and she fit right in as if she'd always been there. I only hope my rowdy family didn't make her wish she'd stayed in England. ;)

The day after Christmas Maria, Crystal (who has moved to Idaho and was also visiting for the holiday) popped in the car and drove to the top of the mountain and took photographs. Most of them are nudes, or close enough to being nudes, so I am not posting them here. But I have one head shot I'll share with you, and when I have a gallery up where you can see the rest of them I'll make a link for those of you who might want to see them.

Here's the Photo:

It's not my favorite, but I like it all the same, the backlighting particularly. Maria is a great model, very experienced and lots of fun to work with. I met her through One Model Place when I hired her for a day, and we hit it off. Lucky me. :)

Stumbling Around

I am one of millions of people who signed up for StumbleUpon , a toolbar that is added to your Firefox or Explorer toolbar so that you can "Channel surf the internet ... to find great websites, videos, photos and more based on your interests. "

A friend turned me on to StumbleUpon (Thanks Tim!) and I have been addicted to it ever since (Not so much thanks Tim! lol!)

I am not kidding when I say addicted. I spend a great portion of my internet time (which is no small amount, but I won't divulge the hours, since that would qualify me for ridicule) on StumbleUpon, which has become more than a toy for me, but a true tool which helps me find what I am looking for more efficiently, among other things.

Today, however, I have been simply playing around.

I Stumbled on a site called The Scribbler, another wonderful contribution from The title is very self descriptive. You get a small white space in which you can draw a simple or complicated image, and then you click a button that says "Start Scribbler". Then it scribbles your image into a fun piece of art. There are some basic setting changes you can make to The Scribbler, such as color, line width and opacity. But basically it is a matter of drawing an image that The Scribbler can convert to a... well, scribble.

Here's my scribbles for the day:

You should drop on over to The Scribbler and try doing one of your own :) If you do, send me links, I'd love to see what you've come up with!