Friday, December 29, 2006

Sometime in the next hour Saddam Hussein will be hanged.
And this bothers me more than I can possibly describe.

* * *

For those of you who didn’t quite make it through all eight of L.M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables series – here’s a quick primer.

Anne Shirley eventually fell madly in love with that awful Gilbert Blythe. They got married and had kids. Near the end of Rilla of Ingleside, a few of those siblings are talk about their brother Walter. “Realities never scared him,” one brother asserts, “only his imagination could do that.”

I am a little bit like Walter in that regard.
Reality does not scare me half as badly as my own imagination.
(Although reality can do a great job of priming my imagionation!)

* * * *

I've never witnessed a hanging
But in my imagination it is horrible
And it really really really bothers me.
I fear tonight will be nightmares night

* * *

I'm not trying to take a stance on capital punishment.
Nor am I going think about humane ways to kill people,
Or talk about Saddam's evilness,
Or debate about terrorist repercussions

I'm just saying -
The thought of being hanged is a scary thing.
If I watch, read, or listen to news tonight - there will be nightmares.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I'm a little tired of J.K. Rowling's smoke-n-mirrors marketing gimics.
Dude, just write the book (and allow your editor ample time to edit) and then sell it.
All these stupid little games and hints about more people dying just wear me out

In other news, Chana has a great post about Snape. (And I completely agree with her!)
You should go read it, and re-think your Snape prejudices!

And, as long as we're on the topic of Harry Potter - I believe the missing horcrux is in The Order of the Pheonix's headquarters. (Do you remember in book 5 when they're cleaning out the junk in the old house? And the twins find something that won't open???)

Ponder that this holiday season!

Friday, December 22, 2006


Here's the thing.
After eight years of doing this "not home for Christmas" thing, I've figured it out . . .
If I go into it with a miserable attitude I'm usually surprised by how nice things turn out. (And if I go in with a pretty good attitude, everything is a dissapointment).

There are a lot of nice things about Christmas (like holding snuggly foster-baby cousins all night long, hanging out with my grandmother, and seeing people I rarely get to see). BUT there are a lot of stuff that's not so nice (two days of rather boring travel, the lack of shower facilities, enforced 24 hour family bonding time, and the utter boredom that is "tradition").

So please disregard my bad Christmas attitude - I feel a little guilty for my lack of Christmas cheer and joy. But maybe in the long run it'll end up being a good thing.

In the meantime - bah humbug

Thursday, December 21, 2006

18 Things About Steph

1. She's one of the kindest people I've ever met (someday maybe I can take nice lessons from her

2. She's a frequent comemnt-er around her

3. She's now old enough to vote (instead of trying to influence my vote)

4. She's been accepted to Drake (with a very nice scholarship!)

5. She called me a spaz (Honestly, kids these days don't show any respect!)

6. She also thinks I'm a god.

7. She once encouraged me to question authority

8. She was one of four brave cello players that crammed into the little closet which was the orchestra room at a certain unamed elementary school where instrumental music was less-than-valued by an evil principal. (Of course, I'm not naming names - that would be unprofessional!)

9. I think she has a secret crush on my famous brother

10. If I ever get married, I hope she'll play March in the Style of Corelli at my wedding. (Go ahead and call me an elementary orchestra geek - but I LOVE that piece!)

11. She's my favorite hippie

12. She has the Orchestra 101 Rule figured out!

13. Happy Magical Surprise of Wonder still makes me smile

14. The Christmas card she sent came in a spiffy sparkly golden envelope (kind you might see in a fairy tale - if there were envelopes in fairy tales).

15. I have a silly story about her, french fries, and a McDonald's trivia game. And I still have the french fry box that corrosponds with the story!

16. 17 and crazy no longer applies!

17. She desperately wanted me to "adopt" her

18. Today is her 18th Birthday!

Welcome to the world of being (mostly) legal

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Newest Time Killer<

Weff Riddels

I'm on level 14 (and pondering)
This is almost better than Tetris!

Update: Got it (horray for forums!) Level 18 Baby!!!!

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Happy Birthday Beethoven

For your listening pleasure, check out these six clever variations on the Happy Birthday song, in the style of Beethoven (you will giggle!)

Friday, December 15, 2006

This Week

This week I helped a poet think of the perfect word – In my imagination this word is the missing piece to a poem that becomes famous, launching the poet to unheard of fame and fortune. In reality, that’s not the way things work; the poet and I were in a rather mundane conversation when she got stuck for a word. (But still . . . )

This week I grieved the death of a colleague – why do people die? why? why? why?

This week I watched season one of Slings & Arrows – Wowie Zowie! I purchased it thinking it could be a good Christmas present for brother Andrew. (Of course, I had to preview it before giving it to him!) Having watched it, I’m not sure Andy would like it (and maybe I want to keep it for myself). It is an absolutely BRILLIANT show (and I’m debating if I should check out season two from the library, or just buy it).

This week I received my first REAL Christmas Card - from Papa VW! Happiness abounds! (I did get a card from a local dentist earlier in the season – but that doesn't count. Cards shipped through bulk mail from dentists I don’t know are automatically disqualified from Official Christmas Card status)

This week I had an embarrassing moment with my laundry – A story that really deserves its own blog post (maybe this weekend).

This week I fought the worst ear worm in history – An occupational hazard (and lemme tell ‘ya – once you get Run, Shepards, Run! in your head NOTHING will get rid of it!)

This week I “fired” an apprentice – In retrospect, I should have said “You’re fired” (just like Donald Trump). Instead I whimped out with, “If you want to continue in this program, you will need to re-apply.” (yeah, I'm not good with conflict).

This week I ate popovers with my mom – popovers are yummy!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Note to self

Be gentle and patient with me for the next few weeks.

Friday, December 08, 2006

For My WDM Kidos

I know you ladies don't listen to Writer's Almanac - but this morning there was a quote made me giggle and think of you!

Much as I resented having to grow up in Des Moines,
it gave me a real appreciation
for every place in the world that's not Des Moines.
- Bill Bryson

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sister Kristie

20 years ago, if you had asked my sister what she wanted to be when she grew up, she would have answered "I want to be a Hot Dog Maker!"
She liked hot dogs, and in her mind "Hot Dog Maker" was the perfect career.

A few years later, when the VW family started playing with the go-kart, we realized that Kristie's true calling = Professional Racecar Driver (or stunt driver).

Alas, Sister Kristie grew up to be a techer - a very talented teacher (the kind you wish your kids had!) But we knew, deep down inside, she was race car driver.
And when I saw this picture on her husband's website, I naturally thought she had been pullled over. (Poor Kristie)

But, it was not KJ who got pulled over.
Instead she used her amazing driving powers for good
And helped to catch a drunk driver.
(Of all the VW kids - she would be the one to push her new car to 100 mph!)

Read the full story here.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Things You Didn't Put On Your Resumé

by Joyce Sutphen

How often you got up in the middle of the night
when one of your children had a bad dream,

and sometimes you woke because you thought
you heard a cry but they were all sleeping,

so you stood in the moonlight just listening
to their breathing, and you didn't mention

that you were an expert at putting toothpaste
on tiny toothbrushes and bending down to wiggle

the toothbrush ten times on each tooth while
you sang the words to songs from Annie, and

who would suspect that you know the fingerings
to the songs in the first four books of the Suzuki

Violin Method and that you can do the voices
of Pooh and Piglet especially well, though

your absolute favorite thing to read out loud is
Bedtime for Frances and that you picked

up your way of reading it from Glynnis Johns,
and it is, now that you think of it, rather impressive

that you read all of Narnia and all of the Ring Trilogy
(and others too many to mention here) to them

before they went to bed and on way out to
Yellowstone, which is another thing you don't put

on the resumé: how you took them to the ocean
and the mountains and brought them safely home.

From Today's Writer's Almanac

Sunday, December 03, 2006


When you relax, you can make miracles.
~ Tan Dun

From this article

user: passwordssuck
pass: ihatepasswords

Tan Dun is brilliant (and if you haven't listened to Symphony 1997 recently, you can come over to my house for a listening party!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Apple Bread Memories

I have a complicated family tree.
It’s not any more complicated than your family
But it seems extra-complicated, because all of the extended-extended-extended family still stays in contact

True Conversation (after a funeral).

Uncle P: Yummy! Who brought apple bread?

Me: It was one of the Wisconsin people.

Jaime (who, at that time, was newly married into the family): You mean you didn’t know who she is?

Me: I *DO* know who she is. She is one of the little old Wisconsin ladies that I’m related to somehow.

Andy patiently explaining: It’s hard to keep track of the whole family. The third cousins of great grandma’s brother could easily be here today - there's just too many relatives to keep them all straight.

Uncle: [Peaking out] into the lobby. Oh! That’s XXXXX

Me [for Jaime's benefit]: How are you related to XXXXX

Uncle: Do you remember Cliff and Alberta? She’s Alberta’s sister.

Jamie: Hey! That's not sooooo complicated!

Me: Now ask how we’re related to Cliff and Alberta!

Andy : [laughs]

Uncle: uuuhhhhhh

* * * *

I’m still not sure how we were related to Cliff and Alberta.
But they were terriffic people!
They had a real live farm - - and every once in a while we’d go visit them!

I LOVED the farm
I LOVED Cliff and Alberta

Every time we went to the farm, Cliff would let the kids throw dried corn cobs to (at?) the pigs.
(Throwing corn at pigs might not sound like a lot of fun -- but to this suburbanite kid, it was one of the funnest things in the world!)

Alberta was a great cook
She was also the old-fashioned farm wife who believed in four FULL meals a day (plus lots of homemade snacks!)

* * * *

My first visit to Clif & Alberta's farm happened when I was a baby
I don't remember anything about it, but the story has become one of those infamous family legends.

I was still very young (probably two-ish) and during the four hour drive to Cliff & Alberta's they'd been quizing me on farm animals. ("What does the cow say?" "What does the pig say?")

Shortly after we arrived, Cliff took us all to the cow barn, and my parents said, “Hey Julie, what does a cow say?”
But I’d already become intriuged by a barn cat.

* * * *

For the record, kitties are much more interesting than cows.

* * * *

So Dear 'Ole Dad, Mom, Cliff and Julie are in the cow barn.
Mom says, "Hey Julie what does a cow say?"
Without missing a beat, Julie replies "Here kitty kitty . . ."

These random memories/stories are brought to you in part by the Apple Bread baking in my oven. Yummy yummy apple bread. Just like Alberta (and her sister) used to make!
The End