Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Why the EPA Wants to Kill Us, or God Made a Good World

Well, here we go. I have wanted to blog on some science stuff at some point, so we'll try this out and see if anyone is interested. I at least hope the eye-catching title gets you to read it.

Ever since I did my senior thesis work in asbestos I learned a lot about how the EPA and groups like OSHA work. Basically some good intentions gone horribly wrong. I would like to take this opportunity to throw a small water balloon over their high, impervious wall of governmental authority. Here's a few common misconceptions that will get you to enjoy the world God made hopefully just a little more:

1. Asbestos is not bad for you. Asbestos describes the way some rock crystals naturally grow. It's an amazing thing, but they grow into fuzzy balls that look like cotton. It is amazing stuff that cannot be burned and can be made into any shape imaginable. Unless you mine the stuff, it probably won't do a thing to you. You breathe nearly 4,000 asbestos fibers every day outside in the air. Since making asbestos insulation illegal there are more catastrophic fires and more people have died. You see, since it is the perfect insulator, asbestos can keep your house from burning down. The EPA itself doesn't even know what asbestos is, and it classifies certain small chunks of rocks as asbestos that are totally harmless.

2. Lead paint won't do anything to you. The EPA only measures total lead in something, and doesn't pay attention if the lead is by itself, lead sulfide, lead oxide, or some other combination. Your body can't digest lead by itself or lead sulfide (which is usually the type put into paint). You can eat it all day and it goes all the way through. Only lead oxide can be absorbed by your blood, so no gnawing on rusty pipes, but other than that there's no problem.

3. Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. Every plant and animal breathes out carbon dioxide, and plants need it to survive. It's carbon monoxide that comes out of car exhaust and combines with oxygen in the lower atmosphere, creating smog (which is really just ozone).

4. Arsenic is good for you. There are certain elements that are poisons in large amounts, but your body needs them in trace amounts, and the only way you can get them is by drinking tap water. Water runs over rocks, and the minerals get dissolved into them. Other minerals in tap water like calcium, magnesium, sodium, or iron are entirely harmless (although they may effect taste).

5. Without global warming we would all die. Global warming really refers to the fact that our atmosphere keeps us relatively cozy. It holds in the heat from the sun and that's a great thing. If you want to end global warming, move to the planet Mercury and see how you like it there.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sumo Wrestling Training Academy

Yes, we start young. The dog wanted to join in, but her belly isn't big enough.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I Know Why the Fates Were Old Women

The Fates, from ancient Greek mythology, were three old women who sat at their looms. They sewed constantly, weaving the tapestry that was your life. When they cut the thread at the end to tie it were dead. They knew the future, and could tell if the choices you made would inevitably lead to your destruction. I think I know why they were old women.

I have realized, being a mother, that I am a fatalist, and if I don't change before I get old, I will be a Fate. This is because I know what's going to happen. When my son puts his milk too close to his elbow at the table, I know what's going to happen. When it's raining outside and everyone rushes in the door with their boots, I know what's going to happen. When kids start playing tag through the house, racing around corners, I know what's going to happen. It makes sense, and the consequences are obvious.

Usually I'm right, but a problem arises when I'm wrong. Sometimes the kid running down the hillside, arms flailing in the breeze, with both his shoes untied...doesn't fall down. Sometimes friends jumping off the top bunk, landing on the couch...doesn't get anybody hurt. While I am a fatalist, my husband is Providential--go ahead, let them try it, he insists, what's the worst that could happen? Getting injured is not necessarily the worst consequence in the world.

Job's wife was another fatalist, "Curse God and die!" She told her husband. God had hurt Job, so that made sense, it was definitely the reasonable thing to do. However, Job was not a fatalist, he was Providential. He refused to curse the God that brought the gifts in form of trials. In the end, he was blessed beyond all reason.

God most assuredly is not a fatalist. He foresaw all the trouble, destruction, and mess that we would make of the world--and He made it anyway. He relishes crooked lines, messes, and off-balanced toddlers running down the hill. He can draw straight, clean up, and even heal broken skin. Even Adam in Paradise may have tripped and skinned his knee, or knocked his milk over, and he blessed God when he did so.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

More On Little Known History

We live in a town which notoriously disdains its history. There are a few museums, here and there, but most are sparsely attended and stocked. Maybe it has something to do with earthquakes destroying everything every few years, or something.

I've been interested in Santa Cruz history ever since I've moved here, but even more keenly so since this is where I'm raising my children. I've looked for good history materials, but have never found anything more than a few pages, until my husband came home with Santa Cruz County: Parade of the Past written by Margaret Koch. It's an older book, published in 1973, but is by far the most thorough I've ever seen.

A couple of my favorite characters so far include Adna Hecox and Elihu Anthony. They moved to Santa Cruz County back in the 1840s, and both were Methodist ministers. Hecox preached a sermon while he was camped in Sacramento, on the trail, which was the first Protestant sermon ever preached in California. He and Anthony moved their families to Santa Cruz where they started agricultural businesses. Hecox was also elected mayor (a position of considerable importance under Mexican rule), and was the county's supreme court justice--and at a time with no written law code to go by, he had to weigh each case with what he knew of Biblical justice. He was later appointed by the U.S. federal government to man the lighthouse that was built at Steamer's Lane (the lighthouse that stands there now is a replica of the older one). His daughter tended the lighthouse after he passed away.

By this time the Santa Cruz Mission had been nearly abandoned, or taken over by secular government offices. When the Mexicans took over California, all the missions were secularized and given out to regional governments. Hecox and Anthony began Methodist church services in a home and Hecox donated some of his land to build the church on his property--the first Protestant church building in California!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

On Kids and Dogs

For those who don't know yet, we got a dog, her name is Dax, about two weeks ago. When I was a kid lots of kids got dogs, and got them for free, or captured one that was wandering down an alley somewhere. They slept outside in a plastic house (or were let into the garage when the temperature plunged sub-zero), and ate the cheapest bulk food we could find. We took them to the vet for rabies shots and (...ahem...) to have certain reproductive tools removed, and that was it.

Now that I have a dog in Santa Cruz County, it's a totally different world. We have a sweet blue heeler/pointer mix who follows us around and is very obedient (except for digging holes). I enjoy taking her places, because she's well behaved and likes to ride in the car, but I've realized I don't like the attention she gets. There was a certain type of person who used to always come up and coo over my newborn baby (when I had one), who was usually very kind and thoughtful, and was usually a grandmother. Now I meet the certain type of person who comes up and coos over my it is a newborn...and this weirds me out. Not normal, friendly people, or little kids who ask permission to pet her, but the weird ones. Like the lady at the pound who asked me why I would feel the need to separate the dog from our family because I said on the adoption application that our dog could sleep outside if it felt like it.

For example, yesterday at the beach I was interviewed by the local news channel what I would do if my dog contracted H3N8. I didn't know what that was, and had to be informed that it's like swine flu for dogs. WEIRD ALERT! No, I hadn't actually heard of it, and yes, if my dog got it we'd probably let her sleep around the house until she felt better. No, I'm not worried. As you can probably tell, my bit got cut at production.

Secondly, we met an older couple with a newly adopted "newborn" puppy. They were carrying around this giant lab puppy like a baby and talking to it in squeaking voices...yes, both the man and his wife were. When their puppy said hello to our dog, Dax jumped away and nearly knocked me over. The man pointed at the dogs and yelled at me, "You'd better stay out of their way!" WEIRD ALERT! Sorry, sir, but I'm going to try and stay out of your way.

We explain this phenomenon to our kids by explaining that some people here are confused. They treat their dogs like kids and their kids like dogs. It makes sense to them, and they think it's weird too. To reform our culture maybe I'll start using the term "animal tool" instead of "animal companion."

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Why Leif Eriksson is My Hero

When we decided to name our son Leif, we didn't know much about Leif Eriksson at all--except that he probably discovered America before Columbus, around 1000 A.D. We were slightly concerned that we might be naming our son after a bloodthirsty Viking raper and pillager, so we decided to research the man a bit.

What we found absolutely convinced us to name him Leif! Leif Eriksson was really an amazingly brave and good man in the very early days of Nordic Christianity. We've read several historical accounts, and even own the "Sagas of the Greenlanders"--some Nordic tales that should be way more widely read.

Leif's father, Erik the Red, was banished from Iceland around the year 1000 A.D. He had killed a man, possibly on accident, so he left with his family and a fleet of ships to the west. There were rumors of more land that direction, so they went. All but only a handful of ships either turned back or were lost at sea when Erik the Red finally discovered Greenland. They settled there and built homes and farms.

Leif was Erik's second son (he had both an older and younger brother), and so was not poised to inherit any land. He sailed back east to Norway to serve in the guard of King Olaf (later known as Saint Olaf). Olaf had just converted to Christianity, as did the majority of the Scandinavians. Leif served Olaf for several years, and also converted to Christianity. After Leif's time of service was over, Olaf sent him home to Greenland to tell his family "how the White Christ had defeated Thor and all the gods."

On Leif's journey home his boat was caught in a storm and driven off course. He landed in a place he called Vinland, because of the grapes growing everywhere. This was in what is now Newfoundland, Canada. His crew landed and built homes and a small village, which became known as "Leif's Booths." They farmed the fertile land over the winter, hunted, and logged (Greenland has nearly no trees). They saw natives a couple of times, and traded with them. After a couple of years they restocked their boats and went back to find Greenland. On the return trip they also rescued sailors in two other ships who were stranded in the icy waters. When they arrived back at the colony Leif earned the nickname "Leif the Lucky." While he was gone they thought he had been lost at sea, but he returned, with his entire crew, and rescued the crew of two other ships!

Leif shared the gospel with all the Vikings living in the region. They converted, all of them except his father Erik. In fact, Leif's mother, Thorjild, refused to sleep with him again until he repented (which still didn't work)! Leif built a church for his mother, Thorjild's Chapel. He also shared with the villagers the incredibly abundant and rich land just to the west of them. He mapped out how to get there and where his "booths" were. His two brothers sailed off to find the new land--one wrecked his ship and the other was lost at sea, leaving Leif in charge of the Greenland colony.

Legend has it that Erik the Red finally converted on his death bed, and archeologists have found Thorjild's Chapel. There is a churchyard that surrounds it, but three bodies were buried just under the church's wall; which they say are those of Erik, Thorjild, and Leif.

October 9th is Leif Eriksson's Day, which is conspicuously close to October 14th--Columbus Day--and although we like the guy and all (Columbus, that is), we like the Nordic story better.

Friday, October 9, 2009

A Good Day for Sarcasm

Just when I thought that there was nothing to blog about Obama up and wins the Nobel Peace Prize of all things. Thank you, Captain Obvious, for your observations from the media. Sometimes it's so easy to make a joke that it's better to just chuckle and watch it pass on by. My favorite part is that he won because of the plans he intends on implementing, not on anything he's actually done. Poor Alfred Nobel he must be rolling over in his grave, but the man did invent dynamite, which is not exactly a tool of peace.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Where's the New Post?

I keep trying to think of blog posts, but when I sit down to write the mind is blank. It's probably that way because I've enjoyed thinking about nothing and zoning out for the precious few minutes a day that's become possible. This fall Leif is in kindergarten, Ryle is in preschool (which I teach), Ryle takes gymnastics, Leif is in soccer (practice and games each week), and I'm coaching junior high basketball. Yep, that's it, we're now one of those families.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

She's Done!

Our lovely friend Jessica has finished some lovely pictures for us!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Knew Her Before She was Famous

My friend, Jessica Garaway, is pursuing some work in photography that I think is just grand. You should check out her website, Sweet Voyage, right here. As you scroll down the page you'll find some pretty cute kids--including my own (the rest are related to her).

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Hard Times for Satarists

Although we live in hard times for satarists, where nearly everything they tease actually exists somewhere, it seems like those at The Onion are still surviving all right. This is hilarious. And frighteningly true.

In The Know: Should The Government Stop Dumping Money Into A Giant Hole?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Save the Planet by Swiping Your Credit Card

So I recently saw one of these at the San Francisco airport. To make it even more embarrassing, I was at the airport at about 5:00 in the morning, and when I saw the little kiosk, I burst out laughing. I know I looked like an idiot, but not nearly as much as the person who would actually use the thing. My favorite line from the article is "[t]he traveler could then swipe a credit card to help save the planet." If only do-gooding was always as easy as swiping my credit card. I bet you get a warm, fuzzy feeling when you do it too.

My second-favorite line is "travelers...will soon be able to assuage their guilt," which makes me wonder if John Tetzel is really the one behind this thing. Does anyone else think this whole system seems the least bit fishy?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Why Don't They Make Kids Shows Like This Anymore?

When I was little I remember my parents running to join us in the living room when The Muppet Show came on, and I used to wonder why. Now I know--it's hilarious, and I make my kids watch it so I can watch it with them.

Ahhh, the good old days. Now I can think of at least 15 different things that they would probably be sued for.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Today I am so thankful to God for His kindness. Two years ago we started a two-morning-a-week preschool with some friends in the hopes of starting a full-time school by the time my son was ready for kindergarten. We started with 4 students, ages 2 1/2 to 4 years old. God has blessed our efforts tremendously and today St. Abraham's Classical Christian Academy opened its doors to a class of three 2nd graders, three 1st graders, and two kindergarteners (my son being in kindergarten). In two weeks we start preschool with no less than 10 students! My sister is our full-time Kindergarten through 2nd grade teacher while I'm still teaching preschool. My thanks also go out to the Brownlees and the Farleys who are graciously hosting our students at their homes! Praise God for His kindness!

Monday, August 17, 2009

At Least We Can Defend Ourselves when the Social Workers Show Up at the Door

We pray for our president a lot, mostly because he makes us really nervous. This week he did something, or rather didn't do something, that's actually really good news. Of course, nobody in the media thinks it's good news, but I think it's good news. It seems like he let pass into law the lifting of the ban that didn't allow people to carry loaded guns into national parks. Well, if he doesn't follow any of the Constitution except for the 2nd amendment, at least we'll be able to defend ourselves when the social workers show up, asking us to sign on to national health care.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Stories About Idaho, Part 3

Once upon a time there was a good ol' boy local legislator who had been in office for years. There was an election coming up and a doctor from Nampa (just west of Boise) decided to challenge him. Everyone was excited as this guy was a self-proclaimed reformer who was tired of the incumbent's wastefulness and wanted to take him on. He quickly gained a following and locals were getting excited about an election that was usually pretty routine.

The challenger was invited to do an interview for a local TV station to define his political platform. He started out pretty normal, talking about how pork needed cutting and taxes needed dropping, but then something strange happened. As he started talking he started loosening his tie. Then he unbuttoned his shirt. At this point the TV reporter started squirming. Then he started taking off his dress shirt. At this point the TV reporter stopped asking questions. When he started pulling off his undershirt the TV station cut to a commercial.

Once the initial confusion wore off it turned out this political reformer was nothing but an escapee of the local insane asylum. He was not, nor had ever been a doctor, and the asylum authorities had been searching for him for about six months.

And that's what Idaho is like.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stories About Idaho, Part 2

Once upon a time I had a contest with a boy in my class about how hick our families were. I told him that my relatives always compared hunting stories and how often they had shot each other in the foot.

He told me about his grandmother who chewed tobacco in the summer. When she was done with it, she didn't spit it out, but she put it on the fencepost outside to dry. When the weather got cold she took that same wad of tobacco from the fencepost and smoked it in her pipe. She saved the dregs from the pipe and chewed them in the summer, drying them on the fencepost....and on it goes. In fact she had not bought new tobacco in something like ten years. He won the contest.

This is what Idaho is like.

Stories About Idaho

Once upon a time I had a friend from one of the smallest towns in Idaho. As she put it, the town was so small that you had to know, in detail, who you were related to so you didn't accidentally date them.

Her uncle was a high school rodeo champion and had won multiple massively-large belt buckles as prizes. He wore these with pride on his belt, for years and years. Eventually his beer belly got so big that the belt buckles rubbed into his stomach. Instead of finding a more suitable belt buckle, he just got his chainsaw, cut the belt buckles straight through the middle, and kept wearing them.

And that's what Idaho is like.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Friday, July 17, 2009

Quote of the Week

I had never known that Flannery O'Connor said this before, but I really like it. It seems to be a good way to judge any medium of fiction: novels, movies, TV, etc.

"The two worst sins of bad taste in fiction are pornography and sentimentality. One is too much sex and the other too much sentiment........What offends my taste in fiction is when right is held up as wrong, or wrong as right. Fiction is the concrete expression of mystery--mystery that is lived."

Flannery O'Connor

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Encouragement for Moms

This is a funny story taken from Erma Bombeck. Some of you may remember her, but she was a humor columnist who published around fifteen years ago. She's a Roman Catholic and I read this a few years ago:

There was once a woman at my church who was the perfect mom. She had six kids and always managed to answer her door pregnant when the priest came to call. They were all obedient and cheerful and her house was always tidy. She seemed to be a cheerful woman herself so I asked her once how she managed to do it. She said, "Late at night, when they're all tucked in bed, and their lunches are made, and their clothes are laid out, and their shoes are lined up by the door, and the house is quiet and clean, I get down on my knees and thank the Lord that I didn't kill any of them today."

Monday, July 13, 2009

I Love This

I know this is old and made the Facebook rounds about four months ago, but I love it. I was thinking about it today when I used my credit card--which I hate doing. I also think about it every time I get frustrated at slow internet connections.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy War for Independence Day

I wish this was our current national anthem.

Let tyrants shake their iron rod
And slav'ry clank her galling chains
We fear them not; we trust in God
New England's God forever reigns.

Howe and Burgoyne and Clinton, too,
With Prescott and Cornwallis joined,
Together plot our overthrow,
In one infernal league combined.

When God inspired us for the fight
Their ranks were broke; their lines were forced
Their ships were shattered in our sight
Or swiftly driven from our shore.

The foe comes on with haughty stride
Our troops advance with martial noise
Their veterans flee before our youth
And generals yield to beardless boys.

What grateful off'ring shall we bring,
What shall we render to the Lord?
Loud hallelujahs let us sing,
And praise his name on ev'ry chord!

By Williams Billings, about 1777

Friday, July 3, 2009

California Dreamin'

My husband is a lifeguard at one of the most unknown beaches in L.A. Well, mostly just unknown to the type of people I know. It turns out that if you live in South Central L.A. and want to go to the beach, and don't know where to go, so you just drive to the end of the freeway, this is the beach you end up at. I love going there so much more than the tourist havens of Manhattan or Hermosa Beach. Those places are filled with frat boys and sorority sisters who plan on staring at each other all day. Here is a taste of what I saw in only 8 hours at Dockweiler (better known as the beach where all the stabbings happen):

Big gangsters swimming in basketball jerseys
Big gangsters swimming in wife beaters
Their ladies in gold and/or sequined bikinis (wearing all their bling)
A generator attached to a boombox blasting Michael Jackson's Thriller
Two couches and two mattresses dragged all the way to shoreside for all-day chillin'
A man with a bellybutton ring (not to mention several others also)
Every hairstyle you remember from 1990

One thing's for sure, they are having WAY more fun here than at the tourist beaches.

Monday, June 29, 2009

How to Make Happiness Even Happier

We just ended a 12-hour day at the Happiest Place on Earth--Disneyland. One of my favorite things to do is to leave the park and eat dinner at The Nearly-Happiest Place on Earth, the Rainforest Cafe. I think it is called that because a small rainforest needs to be clearcut daily in order to supply power to the place.

Anyway, I like to say that it's nearly the happiest place because it is there where we sit in air conditioning and have a margarita. After that I am prepped and ready to tackle the Happiest Place for a couple more hours. My tired and drooping feet get cheered up to finish out the day with the kidlets. This year I had (what I think) is a great idea. Why not put a beer garden in the middle of Disneyland? After only a few hours us weak adults are pooped--but the kids are still ready to go. Why not make a nice, discrete little adult watering hole, just to the side of Sleeping Beauty's castle somewhere where they can recharge and be cheerful, participatory parents for another few hours? I bet they could make some real cash with this.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Thoughts on Michael Jackson

Thankfully I'm not sick of hearing about Michael Jackson on the news yet because I don't watch TV, and the internet doesn't scream at me (yet). I realized yesterday that when I was a kid I told my mom that I couldn't imagine a world without Michael Jackson. "Some day he's going to die!" I told her, "Yep, just like everybody else." She wisely answered. I, however, was young and couldn't believe that someone that powerful could be mortal. Maybe that's what he thought too, and that's why he got so weird.

Michael Jackson and Madonna both defined the culture of my growing-up years, but mostly because I was the only kid I knew who wasn't allowed to listen to either of them. I heard about them, read about them, looked at pictures of them, and had friends tell me about them, but they were off-limits in my house. It was one of those strange childhood things that you're not allowed to do and for some reason you become fascinated with. I remember sitting in my cousin's room looking at his Thriller poster and him telling us all about it. I remember that same cousin coming to a family dinner with one white glove on his hand. When my grandma asked him why only one he said, "You only wear one." I thought that was so cool.

Well, at least the park in Beverly Hills will be a little less creepy this year.

By the way, I finally did get to see Thriller (by junior high or so), and it is pretty cool. But it would have absolutely freaked me out if I'd seen it when I wanted to. And it's amazing how closely he ended up resembling those zombies.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Who Gave You the Right?

In his book The Abolition of Man C.S. Lewis uses a mistake in a grammar-school textbook to draw conclusions on the state of culture and education in his society, as well as where it is headed. Drawing from his idea, I'd like to present mine. My husband teaches U.S. History to middle school kids and he was reviewing a kids' reference book on the U.S. Constitution. The textbook goes through the entire Bill of Rights, shows the original text, and documents periods in our history where the specific right was featured. It also lists any Supreme Court rulings that have to do with that right. All in all it's a pretty good book, but my husband noticed something that got us thinking.

The book actually stated that the First Amendment "gave us the right to free, unhindered speech." When we looked back at the actual text of the amendment, on the mirroring page, it said, "Congress shall make no law abridging the freedom of speech." Now, who gave us the right? The textbook seemed to say that the constitution gave us the right to free speech; but the language of the constitution itself says that congress may not restrict the freedom of speech. The constitution seems to assume that we have the freedom of speech already.

Now this came as a surprise to me, but probably just because I got an insufficient education. The Declaration of Independence says that man was "endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights." That means that the Founding Fathers believed that civil rights came from God and that congress was not allowed to mess with them. In fact, none of the Bill of Rights actually gives us the right to do anything--it assumes that God has given all people rights and it explains how the federal government may not infringe upon them. If God did give men the right to free speech, then any government that tries to mess with that will ultimately fail.

When we start assuming that the state has given us rights, instead of God granting them, the government can make up any right it chooses. Who's to say stop when we start having a right to abortion, a right to free health care, a right to affordable housing, a right to surf the internet? The UN has already neared the end of that road, and we're not far behind. However, if we assume that God has granted us our rights then we are not allowed to invent just any old right that we choose (in order to justify something we really want). The government that feels that it can grant rights can also take those rights away--then who will we have to complain to?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"All the Glory to God and the Calories to Us!"

Quote of the week by Nan Devine, chef and hostess extraordinaire after serving up a marvelous Father's Day feast. I asked her if I could keep her quote forever!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Hills

Since soon we will be migrating south for the summer and spending time in the famous Beverly Hills, I have been meditating on some of my bizarre impressions of the place.  Of course Beverly Hills is world-renowned for famous movie stars, but I think it's definitely one of the weirdest places in the world (I guess it's not odd that those two things should go together).  So, in honor of the place, here are my Top Ten Weird Things about Beverly Hills:

10.  Houses with no foundations built in an earthquake/fire/flood/mud slide zone.
9.  The daughter of the former Shah of Iran who blasts Arab disco through the neighborhood until at least 2 am.
8.  Rich people who treat their dogs like children and their children like dogs.
7.  Michael Jackson's house that overlooks the only children's park in the city.
6.  Paying $10/gallon of milk at Whole Foods.
5.  During the day being the only white person in the entire city.  Everyone's ethnicity changes between the hours of 9 am and 5 pm.  There are Mexican nannies, Mexican landscapers, Mexican construction workers, Mexican pool cleaners, and Mexican dog walkers.  I really think more Mexicans should actually live in the houses since they do all the work!
4.  The 95-year-old neighbor who is a former Russian ballerina.  He is also gay.  He also walks his German shepherds every afternoon while wearing a tweed jacket (yes, even in 100+ degree weather).  He also paints rocks for a living.
3.  George Michael (in all his bling) kindly helping you with your double stroller at the bank.
2.  Non-native-English speaking nannies at the park who sit on the grass while the children play in the chlorine-saturated "stream."  They sit on the grass and watch the non-native-English speaking construction workers get their lunch at the mobile taqueria.  The construction workers stare back.  They both make comments about each other in their non-native-English speaking languages.  When you combine this with #7 it just discourages me from ever attending the park.

And the #1 weirdest thing about Beverly Hills is.....
1.  The 90-year-old neighbor, and former silent film star, who lives with her boyfriend.  But it gets weirder--he used to be her mother's boyfriend.  And it gets weirder--her mother only passed away about 5 years ago.  

Monday, June 15, 2009

Growing Up in Santa Cruz

I took my younger son to a nearby local bookstore for their "Read Time" this morning.  The reader was a sweet older woman, with the perfect British accent that is necessary for a good story hour.  She was reading some book about a little boy pig who was always told to make messes and wear dirty clothes (because he's a pig of course), and who had always wanted some day to have a clean room and wear clean clothes (because he didn't fit in).  Anyway, at one point in the story the Mama Pig puts her son to bed with the familiar rhyme:
This little piggy went to market
This little piggy stayed home.
This little piggy had roast beef
But this little piggy had none.
And this little piggy cried "Wee," "Wee," "Wee," all the way home!

She paused here to ask the youngsters if they knew that poem too.  Their usual blank stares didn't tell her much, but one mom leaned over and pointed to her son saying, "He knows it with tofu."  I don't think the reader understood, so she repeated herself, "He knows it with tofu, not roast beef." (She could only bring herself to mouth the hideous words "roast beef").  At this point the employee understood, at least I'm sure more than this mom did, and repeated the poem with the more culturally sensitive changes:
This little piggy went to market
This little piggy stayed home.
This little piggy had TOFU
But this little piggy had none.
And this little piggy cried "Wee," "Wee," "Wee," all the way home!

I thought of insisting that my son knew it with "McDonald's greasy hamburgers" instead of tofu, but thought better of it an instant later.  She seemed too pleased.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

I Am Michael Scott and So Are You

This is the best show that's ever been made by the entertainment industry.  I haven't watched TV in ages, but I can't get enough of this one!  Why is it so great you ask?  Well, in the interest of entirely ruining comedy by trying to explain it away, here we go.

1.  This show would make Chesterton proud.  People do stupid things all day long, and it's hilarious to watch.  My life would probably be even worse.
2.  Everyone identifies with a different character, but nobody wants to be Michael Scott, the boss.  However, the real point is that we are all Michael Scotts.  Michael Scott takes every pathetic, sinful, self-centered thought every human thinks throughout the day--and then he says them out loud.

3.  The one character who never repents, never changes, never apologizes, and you never feel sorry for is not Michael Scott--it is Ryan the Temp.  He is pathetic.
4.  Even the most admirable characters on the show mess up.
5.  It tells the truth about people--and there is no laugh track.

This is not to say the show is infallible.  Some of the more recent episodes make me nervous that it will plunge to the depths of foolishness and inanity where most good TV shows go to die; but I will keep my hopes up until that happens--and if it does I will keep watching the re-runs.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Conversations You Never Saw Coming

Ryle:  "Mama, I love mac 'n' cheese even more than God."
Me:  "Ryle, you are not allowed to love mac 'n' cheese more than God."
Ryle: "OK."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Celebrity Spotting in the Hills

OK, so instead of a shirt and tie, imagine him in a t-shirt and shorts and an i-pod stuck in his ears, and I saw him like that last weekend jogging by my grandmother-in-law's house in Beverly Hills.  Unfortunately, I didn't realize it at the time, or I swear I would have said something witty and clever (or it would have sounded witty and clever until it came out of my mouth).  In fact I didn't realize it was him for sure until I came home and looked up some pictures of him with a shorter do, since his shaggy mane had been trimmed a bit.

At least now I have about a month to think of something clever to say the next time he jogs by when I'm living there for a couple weeks.  How about, "I hope no one puts your i-pod in jello!"

Monday, June 1, 2009

Second Verse Same as the First

I was one of those kids who didn't have cable growing up, so there were tons of songs I loved on the radio and knew nothing of their music videos.  Now that seems like ancient history, since I can look up anything on You Tube!  Here's one of my favorites from my high school days and I think the video is better than the song.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Christology for Boys

So here's a conversation between my 3 1/2-year-old boy and his older brother (and I'm not exaggerating this at all):

R:  My head is going to crack right down the middle.
L:  Yeah!  Down the middle!
R:  And it's going to break open.
L:  Yeah!  Break open!
R:  And blood is going to shoot out everywhere (lots of dramatic emphasis using hands).
L:  Yeah!  Blood everywhere!
R:  And the blood is going to flow all over my body.
L:  Yeah!  All over your body!
R:  And then my arms are going to fall off (more dramatic emphasis).
L:  Yeah!  Your arms!
R:  And they're going to rip apart.
L:  Yeah!  Rip apart!
R:  And blood is going to flow everywhere.
L:  Yeah!  Everywhere!
R:  And it's going to happen to everyone in the world.
L:  Yeah!  Everyone in the world!
R:  Except.....for Jesus.
L:  Yeah!  Except for Jesus!

My husband assures me that they're normal boys.  I surely hope they turn out normal.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Guess Not Much Has Changed in the Last 100 Years or So

"It reminds me of a string of wet sponges; it reminds me of tattered washing on the line; it reminds me of stale bean soup, of college yells, of dogs barking idiotically through endless nights.  It is so bad that a sort of grandeur creeps into it.  It drags itself out of a dark abysm...of pish, and crawls insanely up the topmost pinnacle of posh.  It is rumble and bumble.  It is flap and doodle.  It is balder and dash."

--H.L. Mencken on a political speech by then-President Warren G. Harding

Yet In My Flesh Shall I See God

Today I had news that an old friend of the family passed away.  The news story is here.  I first met the Bettger family when I was probably about 9 years old or so and we went to church together for many years and I was friends with both their children.  Their father, Tom, was riding his bike home from an errand last Thursday when he was hit by a car while crossing the intersection.

Tom Bettger was a godly man who served his church, community, and family.  He was kind and compassionate and involved in many missionary projects throughout his lifetime.  If you think of it, please pray for his widow, Kathy, and their two adult children Molly and Andy and their families.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Well-Behaved Women Don't Invent History

So I've been having fun continuing the project of my massive family tree.  The next step was to do quick internet searches to find historical people in the line and write a short summary of who they were and what they did.  Yes, I know, the internet is full of bad information--but I've mostly just been looking to see if someone was known in history at all.  One thing that I noticed about halfway through the Middle Ages somewhere is that there were some pretty amazing women around then!  Here are some of the more interesting ones (both good and nasty):

Aelia Eudoxia (d. 404): She was the wife of the Eastern Roman Emperor, Arcadius.  She actively supported orthodox, Nicene Christianity and gave money to fund the anti-Arians.  She became an enemy of John Chrysostom when he condemned women's lavish dresses and parties, because she thought she was being targeted.  She had him exiled twice.  During his second exile she bled to death after miscarrying her seventh child.

Aelia Eudocia (401-460):  She was a servant who had been deprived of her father's inheritance by her evil brothers.  She went to court in Constantinople to plead her case, and her persistence attracted the attention of the emperor Theodosius' sister, Pucheria.  Pucheria hired her as a lady-in-waiting and taught her manners, introducing her to her brother.  Eudocia and Theodosius II were married and she became empress.

Basina de Thuringia:  She left her husband and went to Gaul (France), where she proposed to the King of the Franks and he married her.  She is known for saying, "I want to have the most powerful man in the world, even if I have to cross the ocean for him."  She is the mother of Clovis, the first Frankish king to convert to Christianity.

Theodelinde of Bavaria (570-625):  Married to the King of the Lombards, but when he died she chose to marry his brother, making him king.  She worked hard to restore orthodox/Nicene Christianity to primacy in Italy, fighting against Arianism.  She built many churches in Lombardy and Tuscany, including a cathedral.

Fredegonde (543-597):  A servant and mistress of the Frankish king Chilperic I.  After he murdered his wife she became queen.  She had one brother-in-law assassinated and made attempts on the life of her other two brothers-in-law.  When her husband mysteriously died, she took his money and her infant son and took refuge in a cathedral in Paris.  She had her infant nephew killed so that her son would inherit his lands.  Gregory of Tours says that she was "ruthlessly murderous" and "sadistically cruel" with "few rivals in monstrousness."  She may be the source of the evil stepmother in Cinderella fables.

Emma Welf of Altorf (d. 875):  Wife of the German King Louis.  She led an army against insurrectionists who tried to capture her husband.  The traitor was so frightened by the arrival of the queen at the battle lines that he fled to exile.  She had seven children.

Gisele, Princess of France (820-876):  Youngest daughter of the French Louis I and named after Charlemagne's sister (her aunt).  She was known for her piety and virtue and was the sole educator of all nine of her children.

Oxburth of Wight (810-835):  She was the mother of Alfred the Great who said she was "a religious woman, noble both by birth and by nature."

One of the bumper stickers that I despise the most is "Well-Behaved Women Don't Make History."  I've always tried to come up with a witty comeback for that one, and my husband finally helped me come up with one: "Well-Behaved Women Don't Invent History."  These Ancient and Medieval women were anything but pushovers and pawns.  They influenced entire nations and empires--either by their righteousness or wickedness.  Many of them even converted their husbands through their examples of faithfulness, or were only known because their powerful children praised them, like Alfred the Great's mother.  I'm not sure of the definition of "well-behaved" would be, but hopefully the feminists aren't asking for another Fredegonde.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Fun with Swine Flu

I've been enjoying myself the last few weeks following the breathless pronouncements made by governmental authorities on how worried we should be about the swine flu.  Now, don't get me wrong, I have some missionary friends in Mexico where this has been serious business; but even they've been a little overwhelmed by paranoia.

So far, here are my favorite stories:
1.  You would think the Muslims would be grateful that they don't eat pork during this time, but even they're getting in on the action.  It seems like the lone pig of Afghanistan just got a little more lonely.

2.  This one I heard on the news yesterday and I thought it was a joke (if you didn't think #1 was a joke, which it isn't).  The WHO has stated that swine flu is not a pandemic...but if it was at least 2 billion people could be infected.  Isn't that a little like the USGS saying that there hasn't been a big earthquake in California...but if there was a lot of people could die!  It's a good thing we have experts in these things.

3.  The last one isn't a news story, but more like some literal swine flu fun.  The game is called "Sneeze," and although it starts out fun, it gets a little more creepy.  I started to wonder if that's what viruses do with their time off?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Just What I Needed

I love You Tube.  Every nostalgic bone in your body can be fed in an instant.  I just found a few favorite gems from years past, that also remind me that being over 30 isn't such a bad thing after all.

Check this out.  You can't beat the dancing girls, and the sunglasses.  Do you think their lead singer looks like Mark Hamill?

And how about these guys?  Don't you love the era when you could be manly, play guitar, have a bushy beard, and wear silvery, skin-tight pants?  I think the drummer's a caveman.

Aaahhh..those were the good times.  Of course I don't remember much of them, since I was either not quite born yet, or still in diapers, but I do miss their music.  And their clothes and their cars.

Can you tell I just figured out how to embed videos?  Welcome to the space age!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Our Nanny

Aren't you glad that we have a government that knows what's best for us?  The federal government has promised to treat the swine flu exactly like they would deal with a hurricane.  Won't we all be sleeping better tonight knowing that?

OK.  So that's two sarcastic posts in a row.  I'll stop now.

Welcome to the 21st Century!

Gavin Newsom, the young liberal mayor of San Francisco, has formally entered the race for California's governor, to be held in 2010.  We know this because he announced it on his Facebook page.  I wonder if he only lets his "friends" vote for him?  We can only hope.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

You Know You Are Old When...

the classic rock station plays songs that you remember being on the Top 40 station.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Narnian

So a few weeks ago the boys were invited to a Narnia-themed birthday celebration.  They needed to come as their favorite characters, and they got a little carried away (or maybe their parents did).

  Mr. Tumnus the Faun

 Trumpkin the Dwarf

Leif is currently enamored with old men's beards.  His favorite characters are always dwarfs and the old Obi Wan Kenobi from Star Wars.  The other day he told me that he will be a man when he turns 5, and he will grow his beard when he's 5.  He really wants a beard.

Note to child social services: No actual tobacco was included in the pipes portrayed in the above pictures.  They were merely for theatrical effect to portray the joviality and fun times to be had in Narnia involving tobacco.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Could Just Put One on my Car

25 Random Things about my Betta Fish

This is dedicated to all of those acquiring "first pets" for their young children.


2.  WHAT COLOR IS YOUR BETTA FISH? Kind of bluish-purple/black

3.  WHAT DOES YOUR BETTA FISH DO FOR FUN? Lies on the bottom of its tank.


5.  IS IT MALE OR FEMALE, OR DO YOU NOT KNOW? Female, we know because the pet store man said so.


7.  HOW OLD IS YOUR BETTA FISH? A few months?


9.  HOW OFTEN DOES YOUR BETTA FISH EAT?  Once every few days.

10.  HOW LONG DO YOU THINK YOUR BETTA FISH CAN GO WITHOUT EATING?  Really long, maybe a week?  After a couple of days she starts eating air and making herself float.  "Oh no!  Wall-E's floating!!  When was the last time we fed her?"

11.  WHO BOUGHT YOUR BETTA FISH?  My 3-year-old son.


13.  WHEN DID YOU GET YOUR BETTA FISH?  A few months ago?

14.  WHAT TALENTS DOES YOUR BETTA FISH HAVE?  She can go for days facing straight up towards the top of the bowl, tail down.



17.  HOW LONG DO YOU THINK/HOPE YOUR BETTA FISH WILL LIVE?  Long enough to have a good life.



20.  HOW MANY TIMES HAVE YOU DONE #19? At least once.


22.  WHAT KIND OF FOOD HAVE YOU FED YOUR BETTA FISH?  Fish food, Thanksgiving dinner, Christmas dinner, stuffing, chocolate cake.


24.  WHAT DO YOU THINK YOUR BETTA FISH THINKS ABOUT?  The meaning of life--no really I think she thinks about....hmmmm......I know!  "Now it's light.  Now it's dark.  Now it's light again..."


Saturday, April 4, 2009

My Husband Rolled His Eyes....

I'm glad that there are people out there with enough time on their hands to produce their own versions of the classics:

Classical Camelot

Classical Maritime Adventure

Classical Oratorio

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Freaky Smart

Are you ever just blown away and freaked out sometimes when your children show you that they have intricate, complicated minds?  Especially when they're still preschool age?  

This probably falls under the category of "Shameless Appeal from Doting Parent," but I'm going to share it anyway.  My 3-year-old just freaked me out by how smart he was.  In preschool today they played a game with balloons.  When we got home I asked him if he had fun with the balloons and he said, "Yes.  I liked the red balloons, and there were 1, 2 of them.  I really liked the blue ones, but there was only 1 blue one."  Intrigued by the thought of him remembering this I asked, "And how many white ones were there?"  He answers, "1, 2, 3, 4.  No; 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 white ones."  By now I'm starting to freak out.  "How many pink ones?"  I ask with amazement.  "I told you, Mama, there were 2 pink ones and 2 red ones.  There were 2 purple ones.  There were no orange ones, but one yellow one.  Mama, I really have to go potty now."

So there you go.  My child is Rain Man.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Are You Smarter than a 12th Century First Grader?

1.  Say the alphabet.

2.  Say the Lord's Prayer--in Latin.

I don't know about you, but I only got 50% on that test.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Show Me the Money!

I've been thinking a lot about wealth recently, and not just because newspeople keep talking about the disappearance of it.  Mostly my oldest son has started to ask a lot of questions, "Are those people poor?" "Why are they poor?"  "Are we poor?"  My favorite was what he said when he saw the empty fridge before grocery shopping--"We are so poor now, Mama!"

I also overheard, a few months ago, someone who owns a multi-million dollar house, and a vacation home, and takes trips all around the world, call themselves "middle class."  If that's middle class, than what are the rest of us?

The last thing, the one that really got me going, was listening to presidential candidates go on and on about who would do the best things for the middle class.  I realized that a huge change had happened, and only since I was a kid (I think).  Political candidates, especially Democratic ones, used to talk about what was best for the poor.  I'm not saying that they, in actuality, did anything to help the poor, but they at least thought that's where their priorities should lie, and it was what people wanted to hear.  

But now, even the most liberal man ever elected president only talked about what was good for the middle class.  He was arguing with the Republican candidate over who was going to do more for the middle class!  Once I realized this change, I began to think about the wealth categories that the Bible has.  Jesus often talks about the "poor" and the "rich," but "middle class" is never mentioned.  The apostles also talk about rich and poor, and the Old Testament law is filled with exhortations to think of the poor.  

Now, does a truly middle class American look more like a poor person or more like a rich person?  I would say rich.  In fact, I think "middle class" could even be defined as "rich, but not as rich as that guy."  We're always told that it's healthy for societies to have a large middle class, but what this really means is that there is not such a striking difference between the rich and the poor, and this is (thankfully) what we mostly see in our country.  

The saddest thing that happens when we only care about the welfare of the middle class is that we've put ourselves in a position to ignore a huge portion of the Bible.  The rich are repeatedly warned and exhorted not to forget the poor.  Well, if we're middle class, then that doesn't mean us--it means that rich guy over there!  

So ends the explanation as to what I answer my son when he asks if we're rich, "Of course we are!"  I say.  God has blessed us with so much--so much, in fact, that we have enough to share with the poor.  If that's not the definition of rich, then what is?

Over the River and Through the Woods

I took The Elder and Segundus on an epic walk today.  It was more of a "Tour of Aptos" where we saw all of the sites, but they would probably point to the donuts and the beach as the most important highlights.  I had given up walking with them for a while without my husband, mostly because we live at the top of a hill.  Walks would always sound great on a warm, sunny day, with the beach only a few blocks away, so we would pack up the stroller and set off.  We would walk out the gate; cheerful, grinning, and laughing.  However, the return trip would inevitably involve me pushing a giant stroller straight up a mountain, sweating and exhausted, while two children cried and moaned about how hot, hungry, tired, thirsty, etc......they were.  

Walking without a stroller was a better idea, but they were still too little to make it home on their own.  We did family walks, so they could take turns getting rides on Papa's shoulders, but I rarely took them out during the week anymore.

With Leif starting kindergarten next year I began to realize that my favorite childhood memories involve that blessed, free time before I started school.  Every free moment I am now determined to do some playing--hiking, beach trips, poking around in the woods days...and to top it all off my children can now take long walks and come home cheerful and happy!

We have now entered an exciting new phase of parenting--a stroller-less, happy children, hiking and exploring time!  It all started off today with a plan to walk across the railroad bridge to do a bank errand and get some "treats."  As we strolled high above Aptos Creek with only a single wire as a "barrier," my sons liked to talk about the dead body that was found down there a few weeks ago.  I wanted to use it as a lesson about how high bridges are dangerous, but they mostly wanted to talk about the dead guy.  Segundus asked excitedly if the police cut off his head and put it in their big pile after they found him.  I assured him that they probably didn't (but I'm still curious where the "pile of heads" picture came from).  The whole conversation had a very "Stand By Me" sense about it.

We did our bank errand and the boys were desperate for donuts, so we set off up the mountain.  On the way, we passed over the creek once more, and the boys had to poke their heads through the fence and ask me about dead bodies again.

The Little Donut Shop on Top of the Hill is a quaint place.  It's the kind of donut shop you imagine your grizzled great-grandfather named Jethro to go, and sit outside all day smoking cigarettes and drinking coffee.  It resembles this type of place perfectly, except in one, small detail--the prices.  They remind you that you're still in California, and still in a resort town by the beach (even though there are still grizzled old men in there drinking coffee, but they're not allowed to smoke cigarettes anymore).  I paid a small fortune for 3 donuts and bad coffee, but the boys love it, and the owner loves them enough to give them free mini cinnamon rolls once they're done.  The other patrons of the shop were discussing where they would fly if they owned their own aircraft, whether or not winds are traveling clockwise or counter-clockwise over Monterey Bay, various government conspiracies involving mysterious seismic booms, and temperature thermoclines that make Santa Cruz warmer than Aptos.  It's a fun place.

Since The Elder insisted that two donuts had given him extra energy, we crossed the freeway once more to frolic in the fields above the state park and beach.  There's a massive empty lot (which always equals "fun" in the kid mind), but what makes it better than any ordinary empty lot is that it ends in a cliff down to the ocean.  They picked flowers, and then pretended they were storm troopers or lions, and then we headed down the "secret path" to the beach.  Segundus told me that this was the "dark woods" and several times their way was blocked by a branch or stick or two.  This, of course, necessitated them getting down on their backs and sliding, military-style, under the stick.  Most of these sticks were an eighth of an inch or so in diameter, and lay about 3-4 inches off the ground, know.

This brought us to the sand which cannot be passed without playing in.  They found various pieces of trash to entertain them and then pretended that a log was their pet, giant alligator.  Then we all had to get drinks and bathroom breaks before we headed up the cliff to our house.  Traditional stops here include: the fire hydrant with lots of dog poop (to be grossed out by), dirty cars that park close to the sidewalk (to run hands along), and an abandoned front end loader that has sat, unexplainably right outside a multi-millionaire dollar mansion for sale, ever since we've lived around here.  At this point, as we were halfway up Mt. Everest, The Elder told me that the energy from his donuts was beginning to wear off.  Still, very little whining ensued; it was all minor until Segundus tripped, smacked his chin, and bit his tongue on the curb.  Thankfully we were within sight of home, and hurried there.  Our very last treat of the day was to see our neighbor drive by in his race car, out for a drive (he owns a Ferrari).  

Thus ended our "Tour of Aptos" with one happy Mama, one happy kid, and one bloody chin.

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Funniest Thing My Child Has Ever Said

 My husband made me a margarita.  The boys thought it looked tasty and asked for their own.  My husband said, "Sure, I'll make you some virgin ones."  Segundus looked at The Elder and said with intense excitement and happiness: "Leif, we each get our own virgins!"

I Am Related to Odin

So I've been having fun putting together a family tree.  It contains some very interesting historical and mythological characters.  So for those of you who enjoy reading certain long portions of I and II Chronicles, check this out:

Odin of Asgard (215)
begat Beldeg of Scandi (243)
begat Brond of Scandinavia (271)
begat Frithogar of Saxony (299)
begat Freawin of Saxony (327)
begat Wig of Saxony (355)
begat Gewis of Saxony (383)
begat Esla of Saxony (411)
begat Elesa of Saxony (439)
begat Cerdic of Saxony (407)
begat Creoda of Wessex (493)
begat Cynric, King of Wessex (525)
begat Cealwine, King of Wessex (547)
begat Cuthwine of Wessex (584)
begat Cuthwulf of Wessex 
begat Ceolwald of Wessex (622)
begat Ceured of Wessex (644)
begat Ingild of Wessex (680)
begat Eoppa of Wessex (680)
begat Eafa of Wessex (732)
begat Eahlmund, King of Kent (758)
begat Egbert the Great, King of Wessex (775)
begat Ethelwulf, King of Wessex (857)
begat Alfred the Great, King of Mercia (849)
begat Edward II (870)
begat Edmund I (921)
begat Edgar the Peaceful, King of England (943)
begat Ethelred II, the Unready (968)
begat Goda of England (1014)
begat Ralph, Earl of Hereford (1003)
begat Harold, Baron of Sudelay (1051)
begat Robert, Baron de Sudelay (1085)
begat Robert de Sudelay (1125)
begat Sybil de Ewys (1165)
begat Robert de Tregoz (1190)
begat John de Tregoz (1222)
begat Sybil Tregoz (1271)
begat Mabidia de Grandson (1294)
begat Catherine Pateshull (1300)
begat John de Tudenham (1346)
begat Robert de Tudenham (1372)
begat Margaret Tudenham (1404)
begat Thomas Bedingfeld (1428)
begat Edmond Bedingfeld (1450)
begat Agnes Bedingfeld (1457)
begat Christopher Browne II (1482)
begat Christopher Browne III (1523)
begat Thomas Browne (1557)
begat Abraham Browne (1607)
begat Jonathon Brown (1635)
begat William Brown (1684)
begat Isaac Brown (1711)
begat Isaac Brown (1739)
begat John Brown (1780)
begat Timothy Brown (1811)
begat Isaac Brown (1836)
begat John Frank Brown (1858)
begat Kenneth James Brown (1909)
begat Kenneth John Brown (1935)
begat John Allen Brown (1953)
begat ME! (1979)

From a pagan god to my kids in only 62 generations!

Unfortunately for him, though, Odin isn't the oldest relative I've got.  That distinction goes to somebody named Clodius II.  I don't know what year he was born in, but to give you an idea, Clodius' great-great-great grandson died in 113 A.D.

After spending the last several days searching and cataloging ancient French, Saxon, and Norwegian royalty, the Norse are by far the most entertaining.  Who else has names like: Ingjald the Wicked? or The Mighty Olof? or Ragnarsson Sigurd the WormEyed? or Moelda the Fat (who happened to be a queen)?  

Do Over

So we'll give this blogging thing another go.  

The "new" and "improved" Lady Sybil blog may contain posts my husband comes up with, so maybe it should be re-named Moist von Lipwig.  That name is a little scary, since it was given by "doting if unwise parents."

So stand by for a possible name change, but if you were once a loyal reader, sit back and enjoy.