The Right Perspective

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

A Tale of Two Super Bowls...A Saga

Want to hear something funny? Let us start at the beginning...

About this time last year, my darling husband received his annual bonus check from work. And he began to scheme...

Andrew's dream, being the technological grand master of this house, was to own a high definition, bigger screen tv. So of course, being the loyal and devoted wife that I am...I agreed to his plot, but not without a scheme of my own. I was fine with him getting the new, larger tv, but since the particular tv that he wanted was wider than the old one, we were going to have to buy a new entertainment center.

Now, understand, this did not break my heart. After all, we were still living with the first entertainment center that we, as a newly-wed couple, had purchased from Kmart for our little apartment. We bought it together, but it was his idea. I never liked it. It was made of a combo of fake blond "wood" and speckled dark grey "wood." It was far too modern and manish for my taste, but being the sweet new little bride, I didn't dare give my real opinion.

Fast forward five and a half years and darling Andrew knew, without a doubt, how I truly felt about that entertainment center. So the deal was struck and the frenzied research for the perfect tv began. (I say "frenzied" because this HAD to be purchased in time to watch last years' Superbowl in high definition. I say "research" because we're both nerds!) Anyhow, we finally chose the tv that fit our budget and our requirements and then, in what was one of the fastest big-purchase choices we've ever made, we shopped for and bought our beautiful new entertainment center, all in one day, with a 15 month old in tow. We assembled the new three-piece entertainment center late into the night, moved the behemoth piece into place and then gently carried the new HDTV into our house and placed it in it's new home. It was a beautiful moment. If I remember correctly, this was all done the day before the Superbowl...

Only to discover that the Superbowl was being broadcast by a station that did not air in HD. The hubby wasn't pleased, but he had great hopes for future tv viewing.

Fast forward to 2007....We live in northern Indiana. It's Superbowl time and the Indianapolis Colts and the Chicago Bears are playing each other. In the Superbowl. And we can watch in HD! (Keep in mind, this may only happen once in our lifetimes.) Andrew has been nearly giddy and that, of course makes me happy too.

Which makes what happened tonight oh so sad. Andrew came home from work and started shoveling more snow. (I measured at least 14" today on the deck.) While he was outside, I tried to turn the channel to something else only to discover that the tv was acting strange. So strange, in fact, that it turned itself off. Now, we have DirecTv and sometimes the signal from the dish gets confused, so I assumed that maybe the snow had somehow built up in the dish and needed to be swept out. However, it quickly became apparent that the problem went much deeper.

After trying all the troubleshooting techniques that I know (and trying to gently break the news to Andrew), I called Samsung customer service and spoke to a representative, after holding forever, of course. The friendly young man took down all my information and then asked me to describe what was wrong. So I told him that the picture was changing shape and size, bowing on the sides to form an hourglass shape and then shutting off every few minutes. His response? "Wow, I've never heard of anything like that happening before. That's really weird." Oh, and did I mention that he just happened to tell me that the warranty just ran out a few days ago? Of course it did!

Thankfully, the kindly young man must have sensed my frustration because he offered to extend the warranty for another month and he faxed my complaint to a local repair company and made it sound like whatever needed to be done would be covered under warranty, which is good, if that's what actually happens. The only problem is...there are only 3 work days, including a Sat., before the Superbowl.

As I told the customer service guy, "You know, this really stinks because we live in Indiana and the Colts are in the Superbowl and this is really not going to make my husband happy." The guy laughed, and I think took pity on us.

So, that's all I know for now. Tomorrow morning, bright and early, I'm going to call the repair shop and beg for their services ASAP. For now though...we've resigned ourselves to the tiny old 13" tv on a stool in front of the fancy HDTV and lovely entertainment center.

Ain't life grand?

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Fun in the Snow

So, it's about 16 degrees outside with a foot or more of snow covering everything and more still falling. What do normal people do? Curl up by the fire with a good book and some hot chocolate? Yes, that does sound nice, but it's not what we did. Today, Emily played in the snow for the first time. (Last year, we just didn't have much.) We went out yesterday and bought snow boots (that light up, of course!) for Miss Em plus some plain black ones for mom, snow pants, a water-proof coat and some extra gloves in preparation for the "Big Snow-Playing Event". Em was quite excited. The first thing she said this morning was "tow?" which is her word for snow. She was ready for adventure. So we piled on the layers, donned our hats, boots and gloves (and camera, of course) and headed outdoors. Emily...all bundled up and ready to play in the snow!
Em standing in the newly shoveled driveway...with about 2 feet of snow behind her!
Emily "helping".
She was determined to shovel, but she kept saying "up, up" because she needed my help lifting the shovel to throw the snow into the pile.
Working hard! (Mom and Dad are hoping that by next year she'll be an old pro at this!)

Enough Already!

This was the view from the front door on Sunday morning.

This is the view out onto the pool deck...what a sad, cold sight!

This is the view from our driveway on Tuesday. We have at least a foot, probably more, in most places.

This is one of my pretty, normally nicely rounded shrubs. It's not looking good under all that snow.

This is the view down the walkway to the front door from the driveway. I've decided it's definitely time to invest in a snowblower. Shoveling is no fun!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

In-state Tuition for Illegals in Maryland

Newly elected Maryland governor Martin O'Malley (D-how did you guess?) is poised to sign into law a bill, proposed by Democrat delegate Victor R. Ramirez, which will entitle ILLEGAL aliens in the state of Maryland to in-state college tuition rates. The illegal aliens would then be eligible for a reduction of nearly half the tuition rate (or on average more than $8,000) per year on tuition costs in Maryland colleges.

Of course, if I, a completely legal U.S. citizen, born and raised a mile away from the Maryland border, but none-the-less a Delawarian, were to apply to a Maryland college, I would have to pay full price for exceptions.

Hmmm..can I apply for illegal alien status? Free healthcare, half-price college tuition, amnesty...I mean really, I could have paid off my college loans years ago!

What a load of horse manure!! (Sorry, but this really, really burns my behind. Chris, do you have an illustration you'd like to share for this one?)

For more info, see story on Fox News website...because if I write any more, I'm just going to get myself in trouble.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Truly Bizarre

While reading some of the headlines on the Fox News website, I ran across this one: "Chinese Police Bust Ring Suspected of Murdering Females to Serve as Brides to Dead Bachelors". I honestly just thought that somewhere, there must have been a typo. It didn't make sense. So, because it caught my attention, I read on..."A ring of gangsters who traded in the bodies of women they murdered, selling them as brides to keep dead bachelors happy in the afterlife, has been arrested in China."
Well, that certainly cleared things up...sort of.

The article went into great detail about how three Chinese men built a business around a Chinese superstition regarding bachelors and the "afterlife". Apparently, " It is not uncommon in rural parts of China for a family to seek out the body of a woman who has died to be buried alongside their son after the performance of a marriage ceremony for the deceased pair." Well alrighty then! Does anyone else think this is just a little bit weird?

But the story gets better. According to the article, the "dead bride" entrepreneurs discovered that they could make a good living by providing dead women to families who believed that their dead bachelor son needed a good woman for the afterlife. So they did what anyone in that situation would do...they preyed on vulnerable women (a prostitute and a mentally handicapped woman), killed them and then sold them for a profit. Of course!

This became a quite lucrative little business for the three men, though there were problems along the way. In one instance, the men did not make quite as much profit because the family purchasing the body was dissatified with the quality of the DEAD woman's body. WHAT!?!?!

But alas, the three body-dealers got caught and arrested. Says Yang Dongyan, 35, “I just wanted to make money. It’s a quick way to make money. I was arrested too soon otherwise I had planned to do this business a few more times.”

Seriously, this has to be one of the most bizarre stories I've ever read.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Ford Loses $12.7 Billion in 2006

The title pretty much says it all. Ford is losing money at an incredible rate. This isn't really much of a surprise as most, if not all, American car companies are struggling to turn a profit these days. There are a lot of reasons for the losses in profit including poor management, too many governmental restrictions, and unreasonable union demands, among others. But in Fords' case, I believe there is something else that they might want to start considering.

In recent months, the American Family Association has been putting pressure on Ford to stop their support of the homosexual agenda. At first, Ford balked, then pledged to remain neutral in the "culture war", and then made the decision to ignore the call of many Christians and conservatives and defiantly support some rather offensive homosexual material. According to the AFA, "Among other things, the company reneged on their agreement to remain neutral in the culture wars, increased their support of homosexual publications, sponsored TV programs pushing homosexuality and required employees to attend "diversity" training promoting homosexuality." They also sponsored an extremely graphic homosexual scene in FX's show "Dirt" (Jan. 16th episode). So graphic was this scene that, although I read the description of what was shown, I won't post it here. Apparently it is also available for viewing on YouTube, but you must sign in to prove you are 18 or older, which indicates to me that I have no need to see for myself the depravity of such a scene.

As a result, the AFA has organized a boycott of the Ford Motor Company. (for more info, visit Now, I realize that not everyone is into boycotting, because quite frankly, these days, a Christian could just about boycott everything which isn't always feasible. However, I'm seriously considering this one, which is sort of an inconvenience as we bought a Ford minivan last year and it's still under warranty. But I digress...

I believe that Ford is beginning to feel the wrath of a lot of conservatives who have had enough of the brazen support for all that is unholy and anti-Christian. I think that the 2006 numbers are so bad, at least in some part, because there are people (at last count, 659,270) all over who, just like me, have had far too much of companies trying to force their liberal agenda in our faces. And maybe, this is a way to fight back...

Duncan Hunter to Run in '08

Today, California Rep. Duncan Hunter (R) has formally thrown his hat into the ever-expanding ring of presidential hopefuls. I have to admit, when I first heard that he was considering a run, I didn't really know much about him. So I checked out his voting record. (Check it for yourself HERE.)

I like what I see and hear out of this man, however the Reuters article I read describes Hunter as a "longshot" and a "distinct underdog". I hope they're wrong. Hunter is really the only person in the current group of contenders who seems to be listening to the Republican base. It's sort of refreshing. Any thoughts from anyone else out there in blogland?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

John Kerry Says "No" in 2008

Picture courtesy of:

The first thought that comes to mind is...will one of the most famous flip-floppers of recent history change his mind? It's a fair question given his record.

The second thought is...Hallelujah!!! We won't have to listen to one of the most boring orators drone on and on about his heroics in Vietnam and then compare the war on terrorism in Iraq to the war in Vietnam...because, you know, he was there, in Vietnam, and he was a hero. Did I mention that John Kerry was in Vietnam? (And before anyone complains, I honor anyone who went to Vietnam and acted honorably.)

The third thought is...John Kerry will not be President of the U.S. WOHOOO!!!

The fourth thought...I wonder why he isn't running? Surely he hasn't suddenly just realized that America doesn't want him as her Commander in Chief. So what is he up to? Hmmm...this can't be good....

The fifth thought....Aha! Here's the real deal. John Kerry believes he has a better chance of getting what he wants, (read: he believes he has more power) by remaining in his Senate seat, at least now that the Democrats have the majority. His plans, in a statement to his Massachusetts supporters, " 'Thanks to you, we have a new Democratic Congress that is fighting to stop the administration's disastrous course in Iraq, thanks to you we can be a Congress that addresses issues like climate change and health care, and thanks to you, change is coming to Washington.' "

So there you have it, folks. Straight from the horse's mouth, Sen. Kerry has just laid out the Democrats' plan for the forseeable future. First and foremost, get out of Iraq no matter what the cost all the while blaming President Bush for the ensuing disaster. Second, tackle the REALLY important issues facing the global warming (or its new name "climate change". That way, if the trend changes, they can, still blame Big Industry and of course, George Bush). Third, turn America's healthcare system into a socialized medicine situation.
Because that's working so well for Castro in Cuba....

Trying Out a New Look

So, I guess you could say that I'm difficult to please.

Okay, not really, but I just can't find the right template for my blog. The one I like is already taken by two of my favorite bloggers, so I decided to try to find a different one that I like better than my current "look". I'll leave it for a while, so that I can see if it grows on me. I'm still not sure...I think I need more choices (hint, hint Blogger!)

Monday, January 22, 2007

Chavez for President

photo courtesy of:

Hugo Chavez, dictator extraodinaire of Venezuela, is at it again...bashing America and President Bush. Here are some of his latest rants, courtesy of Fox News:

"Go to hell, gringos!" (this would be Americans)

" 'What does the empire want? Condoleezza said it. How are you? You've forgotten me, missy ... Condoleezza said it clearly, it's about creating a new geopolitical' map in the Middle East.."

"They took out Saddam Hussein and they hung him, for good or worse. It's not up to me to judge any government, but that gentleman [emphasis added] was the president of that country."

"Criticizing excessive consumption and self-indulgence, Chavez also announced plans in his broadcast to raise domestic gasoline prices and approve a new tax on luxury goods such as private yachts, second homes and extravagant automobiles."

"He did not give details on the gas price hike, which he said would not affect bus drivers who provide public transportation, or the luxury tax. He said revenue from the new measures would be put toward government social programs [emphasis added, again]."

Hmmm...I wonder if the Democrats have considered asking Chavez to run on their ticket...he's right up their alley.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Family Needs Prayer

I just heard today that a young couple who both attended college with me are in serious need of prayers. I know this couple is unknown to 99.9% of those who will read this, but God still hears those prayers too.

Josh and Shelley Buck are youth ministers at a church in Michigan (I think). A little over a year ago, they lost their infant daughter suddenly in an in-home accident. They've slowly but surely been healing from that, and their faith and journey has been amazing. Shelley is pregnant once again (they just found out they are having a little boy) and she and Josh were apparently on vacation in Mexico. Sometime yesterday, Josh was involved in a diving accident in which he very badly damaged the vertebrae in his neck/spine. He nearly drowned and his lungs are very full of water. He is also paralyzed, with little hope of recovering the use of his legs. He has some movement in his arms and the doctors and family are hoping for some feeling in his hands, but the prognosis is pretty bleak. He is not currently breathing on his own and he just underwent major emergency surgery (all of this is taking place in Miami, by the way).

Needless to say, this family desperately needs prayers, so i fyou have a moment and think of them...please pray. They've been through so much already. Both of them are in their late twenties to early thirties. More info can be found at


Sometimes my perspective is all wrong. Sometimes it takes a 2x4 to the head, courtesy of God, to realize it. Sometimes it takes a gentle tap on the shoulder, to get my attention, and then a turning of my head, also courtesy of God, to help me see things with better perspective. Either way, the experience is humbling, and usually involves tears.

I've been having the shoulder-tapping-head-turning type of experience lately. I've not had the best perspective on things in my life for a little while now. Some of it is understandable, some of it has an explanation and some of it has been me not living a life that is enough like Christ. So since the beginning of this year, I've started reading the Bible, in a new format, with the goal of reading it in its entirety in one year. I'm hoping to see things in a new light, with new perspective, I guess you could say. I know the basic plot, the stories and even some things a bit more in depth, but a fresh perspective happens every time I re-read the Bible and that's what I need.

I've also been trying to take some time to be still and pray. Notice I didn't say "make some time" or "find some time". Those never seem to happen, so now it's time to take the time to pray...and be still. Wow, it's hard to just be still. Not in a physical sense, of course...that's simple. I can sit still. In fact, I've disciplined myself to be able to sit still for hours on a hard, backless piano bench and practice or perform, with good posture to boot. But to still myself, to still my body, my heart and my mind before God so that all the other stuff of life fades away and I can hear my Creator speak is hard, even after years of knowing Him. I can manage, sometimes to still my heart, to have peace deep inside and not worry, but stilling my mind is a big battle. There's always something else to think about, something else to worry about, something else to do. I have a feeling it will always be that way. Satan does his best to keep us too busy to be still, too busy to listen and too busy to hear God. And so sometimes, God has to yell to be heard.

I think He's been yelling and I was close to getting the 2x4 experience again. But maybe this time, in the nick of time, I was still just long enough to hear and maybe my perspective is changing.

I've been catching up on some old college acquaintances through their recently-discovered blogs. It's been fun to see them as husbands and wives and parents, but sometimes it's been humbling to read about some difficult turns their lives have taken. Then, I've also stumbled across total strangers who have written some of the most inspiring words out of their utter devestation. I never thought when I started blogging that it would be used by God, but it has. Reading the words of parents who have lost their precious children at much too young an age has reminded me anew how precious my own child is, because at the age of 2, sometimes you need reminding. Reading about the faith of people who are faced with tremendous, life-altering challenges has challenged me and again, humbled, me and reminded me that life can change in an instant and all that is left is clinging to my faith in God. It's a hard lesson and I've needed the reminder, but I've also needed the reminder of how blessed my life is right now. All the little stuff I've been worried about is unworthy of my time. I should be focused on the joy in my life and on living with joy, not worry and stress. It's time to focus on the blessings and the One who has blessed me and on building my relationship with Him.

And on listening to the One who speaks softly, so He doesn't have to yell to get my attention.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

I've Been Tagged!

Well, I'm not usually one for playing the schoolyard game "tag", but since this promises absolutely no running (to which I do believe I am allergic), I'll play along. Skyepuppy has "tagged" me, so I guess that makes me "It". So here are my answers:

1) What's the most fun work you've ever done, and why? (two sentences max) While in college, I participated in a huge Christmas musical each year that we performed 5 times in 4 days. We practiced intensively for months leading up to it, but the comraderie of the other hundred or so choir members and the looks on the faces of those in audience seeing and hearing our final product was worth all the hard work, as we got to literally see the story of Jesus come alive for people, sometimes for the first time.

2A.) Name one thing you did in the past that you no longer do but wish you did. (one sentence max) I wish I could take hour-long bike rides on country roads just for the fun of it.

B. Name one thing you've always wanted to do but keep putting off. (one sentence max) This is a toss-up between learning photography and sewing, but I don't really have time for either class.

3A.) What two things would you most like to learn or be better at, and why? (two sentences max) I've always wanted to try my hand at playing the violin because when played well, it's like having another, sweeter voice with which to sing. I would also love to learn photography because I see things that I think are beautiful and want to capture them, but somehow my photos never quite do them justice.

B. If you could take a class/workshop/apprentice from anyone in the world living or dead, who would it be and what would you hope to learn? (two more sentences, max) I'd like to learn how to cook from someone like Paula Dean who makes all the yummy and not-at-all-good-for-you comfort foods. Then of course, I'd need to learn how to exercise it all off from someone...

4) A. What three words might your best friends or family use to describe you? Hmmm....Responsible, Dependable, Genuine.

B. List two words you wish described you: Funny and Adventurous.

5) What are your top three passions? (can be current or past, work, hobbies, or causes-- three sentences max) I love my family, reading and music.

Okay, so there you have it. Probably no surprises and not all that interesting, but then again, that's kind of me. What you see is what you get!

I don't really have 5 other people to tag, so the only person who I think will actually maybe do this is Bekah over at Bekah's Bits.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Alluring New Nightime Apparel

Not quite what you were expecting from the title of the post, huh?

Yep, this is what I get to wear to bed for the foreseeable future thanks to years of intensive piano practice and too much typing. I apparently do indeed have some minor carpal tunnel syndrome, according to my new doctor. I've been having pains in my hand, arm, elbow and wrist for some time now. I've also been waking up at night for a couple years now with my hand and fingers being tingly and numb from falling asleep. When I was pregnant, it was really bad, which apparently is fairly normal. I have some classic symptoms and seem to have caught it fairly early. The doctor thinks that using the splint at night will help stave off any surgery, which sounds just fine to me. I just hope he's right.

Anyhow, I've suspected it since my sophomore year in college, when I spent the better part of the year working on what still remains one of the most challenging pieces of music I've ever had to play. I was asked to play for the senior recital of a clarinetist. This is a big deal to a music major and I was honored and in way over my head with this particular piece of music. I can still vividly remember the hours upon hours a day of practice that I did, punishing both hands, wrists and arms, but particularly the left one. Guess which wrist is afflicted now? doesn't take a rocket scientist to guess the left one. I started having pain while doing things like turning doorknobs and of course, playing the piano and typing, but being a music major myself, far from home and my normal doctor, being somewhat invincible and too busy to find time, I just suffered through the pain, knowing that eventually I would finish this job and be able to take a break for the summer.

I did finish the job. I played my little heart and hands out for a solid 30-minute long Sonata for Clarinet and Piano. It was good. I'm so very proud of the work I did on that song. It's one of those rare moments as a musician, when I know that I could not have done any better and that my best was pretty darn good. I have a recording to prove it...but because it is on cassette tape, I can't prove it here.

Then again, the above picture proves that there was a time when I was really good at playing the piano, and I have the injury to prove it!

By the way, my darling husband has affectionately termed my new splint, "The Club". I figure it could come in handy, as he has a habit of stealing the covers and kicking me in his sleep. Yes...this might be a very handy little tool....

Thursday, January 04, 2007

New Year, New Plan for Iraq?

I've been away for too long. Now that I am beginning to settle back into a more normal routine (at least for a little while), I think it's time to take this blog back to its humble roots...political discourse. (Yes folks, it's been a while now since I've tackled the tough stuff.) So here goes...

According to Reuters, via Yahoo, some Senate democrats may support President Bush's plan to send more troops to Iraq to create a temporary "surge" in force. Carl Levin, (D-MI.) said he might support the move but added, "I can't believe the president is simply going to say, 'We're going to increase troops in Iraq...It's likely the president would add something of a conditionality to it."

In Levin's mind, the condition the President might call for would "need to be combined with the announcement of a reduction in U.S. forces starting in four to six months, and set political milestones for Iraq to meet." In other words, we'll throw up to 30,000 more U.S. men and women into the mix, then start bringing everyone home in a set time period of, oh say, 4-6 months...whether the job is completed or not. Whether the Iraqi's can stand on their own two feet yet, or not. Whether the commanders on the ground recommend this move or not. Whether conditions have changed, for better or worse, or not. No matter what.

Unconditional troop withdrawal in a set time frame...that's what the newly elected Democrat majority wants. Not victory, not improvement, not the tough backing of a fledgling democracy in a volatile region. They want the troops home and the "war they supported before they knew it would be a real war with death and problems" over...right now.

However, Levin's support of Bush's plan isn't sincere. If Levin and other prominent Democrats really truly wanted victory in this war, if they really wanted to make the sacrifices of the brave men and women in uniform who gave their lives for freedom in Iraq count, then they would be committed to doing whatever it took to bring freedom to the Iraqi people. They would not put unrealistic conditions on plans to send more troops in. In fact, instead of putting more conditions on the armed forces, they'd be better served doing all that they could to un-hamstring, for lack of a better word, the troops so that they could do whatever was necessary to aid in the freeing of the Iraqi people, not place more and more restrictions on their abilities to fight the war. What is needed is a little less restraint, a few less restrictions and conditions and more determination to win this war, once and for all.

So, it would seem that 2007 is going to start off a lot like 2006...Democrats saying they want us to bring the troops home no matter what, Bush and the current Republicans staying the course, when that isn't necessarily the best option and no one willing to do what it takes to win. Yep, 2007 sounds an awful lot like 2006 to me.