A Leonberger for Christmas!

A few months ago, Tom and I signed up to be adopted by a Leonberger — our third — but there were birthing complications and the little guy didn’t make it. We were heartbroken, but resigned ourselves to just wait for the next litter.

A few hours ago, our breeder called to tell us that one of the other buyers had to back out and that there was a wonderful little puppy who would love to be spending his Christmas with us if we wanted him. What? Are you nuts? Just how fast can you get him here?

Any way… travel logistics are still in the works and we’re trying hard to come up with a really good “D” name — please cast a vote in the poll on the sidebar if you have any good ideas… but he’s absolutely beautiful no matter what we call him!

Christmas Puppy Christmas Puppy

LionHill Kennels
Leonberger Club of America

In Remembrance: Pearl Harbor

As I started this post, it was my intent to say thank you to all those who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. After several false starts, I realized that the reason I was having such a hard time expressing my thoughts was because the words “thank you” feel so damned insignificant.

The muzzles of Arizona's 14-inch guns
Photo by Brett Seymour, NPS
… because to simply say “thank you” is not nearly enough.
… because to say “my thoughts and prayers are with your families is not enough”.
Stairs once leading below decks to officers' staterooms
Photo by Brett Seymour, NPS

A bowl and fork located in Arizona's galley area
Photo by Larry Murphy, NPS
… because the words “thank you” will be so easily forgotten before the sun next sets over Pearl Harbor.

Actions speak louder than words and in this case, truer words have never been spoken. As Americans, living our lives in a way that honors all of the brave men and women who gave their all for this country should be something we do without pause or question.

I pledge to always give my gratitude and undying support to all the men and women of the U.S. military who continue to serve, for they are the ones who most honor what you died for on that fateful Sunday morning. They are the ones who continue to carry the torch of freedom that passed down by those who went before them. They are the ones who will stand tall for everything that’s still good and right about this country, who will fight for what we believe in, who will give their own lives to make the world a better place — not just for Americans, but for all of God’s creatures who believe a free world is the only world worth living in.

Rest in peace, knowing that your beacon of hope still burns bright as ever in our hearts.

Sailors honor men killed during the
7 December 1941 Japanese attack
on Naval Air Station Kaneohe, Oahu

Time Line of Events
Casualty List
USS Arizona Preservation Project
USS Arizona Memorial
USS Utah Memorial

Happy Winter Solstice

I couldn’t believe it when Tom started his annual rant about Christmas being three weeks away and we have a lot of stuff we need to take care of. Where has the year vanished to? It’s bad enough that we’re both procrastinators, but this year’s a little worse with me making frequent trips to Burlington, Ontario for work.

Being a Native American, I’m sometimes reminded that the whole idea of Christmas as it is observed today is relatively recent history in North America. The picture we associate with the current day Santa Clause was born from the publication of A Visit From St. Nicholas by Clemaent Charles Moore — a poem first published in 1823 and more commonly known as ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Obviously, the Christian version of Christmas was introduced to Native Americans by the Europeans after their arrival in North American in the 1600’s.

What’s really interesting is that while Native Americans knew nothing of Christianity, they — like other non-Christian civilizations — had been celebrating the Winter Solstice which occurs between December 20 and December 23 — just a few days before what we now call Christmas Day. Apparently it was relatively easy to convince Native Americans to celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25 because the story was very much in line with their spiritual beliefs about the Winter Solstice.

I also find it interesting that when referring to the Winter Solstice, some think of it as being the shortest day of the year while others concentrate on it being the longest night. The latter seems more appropriate to me, with the dark of night being a time for quiet reflection and anticipation. I think I now know why as an adult, I’ve always enjoyed Christmas Eve so much more than Christmas morning.

Enough rambling already. I’d like to be among the first to wish you a happy holiday however you choose to celebrate and a very Happy Winter Solstice.


How do Native Americans celebrate Christmas
Winter Solstice

Email Client Of The Day Is…

Thunderbird from Mozilla.

I just started a new job and have been traveling back and forth to Burlington, Ontario. I’ve never been a fan of WebMail and wasn’t about to use Outlook anywhere near my mail server, so I decided to take Thunderbird for a spin.

It’s awesome. It has pretty good junk filtering, supports both IMAP and POP3 as well as identities which is a must if you use qmail’s dash-extensions.


* http://www.mozilla.com/en-US/thunderbird/

Fiscal Irresponsibility

The thing that’s been burning me for weeks now is how CEO’s can run companies into the ground, collect big bonuses and convince the Federal Government to bail them out for being stupid and irresponsible.

So how is it that CITI warrants a $306 billion bailout while it still has plans to honor a $400 million contract to have its name on the new Mets stadium for the next 20 years?

So now the Government is going to run our economy into the ground, proving they’re no smarter than the kooks they’re trying to save.

Pat yourselves on the back, America. You elected ’em. You wanted change? I believe you’re going to get exactly what you asked for, but I seriously doubt it will be what you were expecting.

Some people shouldn’t be allowed to breathe…

So I’m on this flight tonight from Manchester to Philly and about 20 minutes before we land, the guy sitting in front of me whips out his cel and starts sending email and making phone calls. Everybody’s staring at him, but nobody says anything.

So after we got off the plane, I caught up to him and the conversation went like this:

Me: What part of no phones from gate to gate do you not understand?
Him: Do you work for the airlines?
Me: No.
Him: No really, do you work for the airlines?
Me: No. Really.
Him: Well I do.
Me: I don’t really care who you work for — it doesn’t give you the right to break the rules.
Him: I was conducting official business.
Me: That doesn’t give you the right to break the rules, either.
Him: I was coordinating our landing.
Me: Huh? What kind of idiot do you think I am?
Him: Really.
Me: I know you’re lying. My husband’s a pilot.
Him: I sign your husband’s paychecks.
Me: Regardless of what you think, you are not that special. What if everyone had whipped out their phones? Don’t you get it?
Him: I am special.
Me: Not only are you a jerk, but you’re way more stupid than you look. My only hope is that the Darwin principal kicks in where you’re concerned.

I was met with a blank stare. I rest my case.

My only regret is not getting security to arrest him — impersonating an FAA official is a federal crime.

What’s The Status of President Elect Obama’s Pilots License?

Running the U.S. is a lot like flying an airplane:

  • There’s no such thing as training wheels.
  • Executing drastic corrections too quickly can be fatal.
  • Autopilot only works if you know where you’re going.
  • Losing your focus when you hit bad weather can be fatal.
  • You need both a right wing and a left wing and they have to work together.
  • The person you put in the right seat needs to be prepared to take over.

© 2008 Brenda Bell

Stories about my Mom

When I was a kid, I was in a hurry to do everything. When my Mom taught me to sew, I just couldn’t see the point of all that pinning and basting — why not just cut the fabric, slap it under the needle and let ‘er rip?

So every once in a while, Mom would eye me taking a short cut she’d prefer I not take. She’d just go about her business reciting “the poem”. You know… the one that goes:

If a task is once begun,
Never leave it ’til it’s done.
Be the labor great or small,
Do it well or not at all.

To this day, I can’t take a shortcut on anything. If I even think about it, that little ditty starts rolling around in my head, I can’t sleep at night and keep looking over my shoulder.

Thanks, Mom. I miss you.

Are you voting early?

According to Gallup:

Gallup’s latest update — based on interviewing conducted through Wednesday, Oct. 29 — shows that 21% of registered voters who plan to vote say they have already voted early or by absentee ballot. This percentage has been increasing steadily over the last two weeks. Another 12% of registered voters say they still plan on voting early, leaving about two-thirds of those who plan on voting who indicate they will actually vote on Election Day itself, next Tuesday.1

Only 32 states allow early no-excuse pre-election day in-person voting.2 In 2006, these states made up for 62% of registered voters.3.

If what Gallup says is true, more than half of the likely voters in these states will vote early (assume a reasonable margin of error in the numbers reported by the Census Bureau).


1 http://www.gallup.com/poll/111673/Interest-High-One-Five-Already-Voted.aspx
2 http://www.earlyvoting.net/states/abslaws.php
3 http://www.census.gov/population/socdemo/voting/cps2006/tab04a.xls

Even Bill Richardson (D-NM) agrees…

… that Barack Obama’s numbers about tax cuts just don’t add up.1

There’s no indication that Obama has changed his tax policy, which states that anyone making under $200,000 would get a tax cut under his administration, and nobody making under $250,000 would be hit with a tax increase.

But Obama has promised tax relief for 95% of tax payers. If you read Tom’s blog post a few days ago, it’s obvious that the 95% does not include tax payers making $200,000, or even $150,000:

“What Obama wants to do is he is basically looking at $120,000 and under among those that are in the middle class, and there is a tax cut for those,” Richardson said in the interview, according to a clip posted on YouTube.


1 http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/10/31/low-richardson-pegs-middle-class-making/