Festival of Trees

Zachary's first visit to the Festival of Trees

Watching the kids do gymnastics

Silly self-portrait!


Here's the little turkey enjoying a little turkey...
and if dirty clothes are a sign of how much one enjoyed the
meal, then I would say he REALLY enjoyed it.

He LOVES LOVES LOVES cranberry relish!


True to my word...

There are now LOTS of new photos here for your enjoyment.... Hopefully, we won't have to endure another drought anytime soon. :)

16 month photos


Oh how I miss those days! He's growing so fast...

Waiting for daddy's return

Those legs are too cute...I couldn't resist.


Honest to goodness...he built it like this.
And then was reaching for it, so I had to snap quick....

Steady as he goes

Isn't he a fashion plate?

and so dang cute!

First grilled cheese sandwich

In honor of the new shoes...

The new sneakers!


Future Engineer

Zachary has discovered the joys of building something

...and he's pretty darn good at it!


Zachary enjoying the magnetic letters mommy
made for him

OK Zach, now spell "wikipedia"

Giant tower!

Fun with daddy...

Good lord.

Bush's approval ratings from this site


New tricks, part 5

  • "shhhhshing" with his finger up to his lips (let me tell you how dang cute THAT is!!!!)
  • tonite, he decided that he needed some additional toys in the bath with him, so he toddled out of the bathroom to the kitchen, where his tops were, and made two trips to bring additional fun things into the bath...again, so dang cute!!
  • turning on the tub faucet...and then turning it off. And then on. And then off. And then on. And then off. And then on. And then off. And then on. And then off. And then screaming like a Banshee when mommy carts him out of the bathroom in an attempt to save the country from drought!
  • hugging the dogs as often as possible. And bless their hearts, those wacky canines are totally putting up with it.
  • getting to a standing position without any assistance - human or inanimate.
  • getting the file cabinet keys in and out of the lock without any assistance.

Can you see why this little boy is keeping me so busy?

Ok, I'm off to bed.

My apologies...

the computer has been in operating condition now for several days...but between illness (mine), holidays (ours) and a busy toddler (up for grabs), I simply haven't had time to do the updates everyone is clamoring (?) for.

I hereby promise, that during nap time on Monday (assuming there is some), I will update accordingly and post many pictures.

Please check back and help keep me honest!


One more political statement...

A Failed Presidency?

By Stephen Pizzo, News for Real. Posted November 23, 2005.

Instead of focusing on this administration's screw-up du jour, isn't it time for the mainstream media to start taking real account of the messes Bush has created already?

The door is locked, George.

The first nine months of the George W. Bush presidency foretold what was to come.

If you recall, pre-9/11 George was the quintessential deer in the headlights. He had landed the biggest job in the world, and had no idea what he was supposed to do next.

I was reminded of that look on Monday, when I saw the photo of W. trying to escape reporters' questions in Japan. It was a telling moment. He ended a news conference with a perfunctory, presidential "Thank you." He strode from the podium, employing his most serious presidential stride. So far, so good. Then his act abruptly collapsed. He pulled the door handle, but the door was locked.

And there he was again, for the whole world to see, pre-9/11 George, lost, adrift and looking for help. Help had always arrived for George before. It arrived and saved him in the nick of time on Sept. 11, 2001. But that kind of help doesn't grow on trees, and now he's on his own again.

September 11 did for George W. Bush what cocaine does for losers; it makes them feel and act like winners. If you've known a cocaine user, you know what I mean. They brim with energy and self-confidence. They listen to no one but their inner buzz. They are cocky, smug, obnoxious. Still, if they are able to focus that buzz, they can create an illusion that they actually know of what they speak, that they are driven -- even leaders.

As long as the cocaine lasts, the illusion can, too. But when it runs out, or stops working, the loser is all that's left. 9/11 has stopped working for George -- so Bush, The Loser, is back.

Not that he was ever gone, which explains why virtually everything he has done since 9/11 has come to naught, or worse. Had 9/11 never happened, W. would be long gone already, a one-term President, like his father before him.

Therefore, the media needs to begin a conversation we would have had around the third year of Bush's first term: Is this a failed presidency? And if so, how?

Let's begin by taking the pulse of America's majority population: Working families. (More)

  • Pre-tax incomes fell for middle-income families of every type
  • After taking into account changes in both pre-tax income and taxes, the finding remains that most middle-income families lost ground
  • Family spending on higher insurance co-pays, deductibles, and premiums has escalated in recent years
  • Inflation-adjusted income of the median household was unchanged and remains $1,700, or 3.8 percent, below its most recent peak in 1999, according to Monday's release by the U.S. Bureau of the Census

How about those Bush tax cuts and all the jobs they were going to create?

On Monday, General Motors announced it was cutting 30,000 jobs. This continues a trend we've seen throughout this presidency. One picture is worth one thousand jobs:


How about Bush's free trade deals? How's that working out for us?

The trade deficit so far this year is running at a record annual rate of $706 billion, putting it on track to far surpass the old record of $617.6 billion set last year. We are selling less and buying more from aboard.

Why? For one reason, outsourcing has resulted in everything being manufactured abroad now. Way to go. How bad does the trade deficit have to get before the dollar collapses? Stay tuned, we are well on our way to an answer.

Those tax cuts that were going to stimulate the economy so much, Bush said, would cut the budget deficit in half. How's that going? (More)

The National Debt continues to grow by $3.14 billion per day since September 30, 2005. The total national debt now stands at just a tad over $8 trillion, or $27,200 of debt for all US citizens -- yes, including the kids.

Bush inherited a government operating, not just in the black, but in surplus. How'd he build on that?(More)

First Bush went on a gifting spree, giving nearly $2 trillion of it away in tax give-aways to companies and the already-wealthy. Then he went shopping with the nation's platinum card. Surpluses quickly disappeared and were replaced by end-to-end budget deficits. We'll be adding another $320 billion to that this year. Hell, Bush ran up another $50 billion in debt in October alone. What's in your wallet?


(Note: Bush blames the deficits on the war. But during war, countries raise taxes -- they don't cut them. So either we are not in a real war -- in which case Bush is not only a spend-thrift, but a liar, or else we are in a real war and he's stupid. Take your pick.)

Every year, more and more Americans find they can no longer afford basic health insurance. Bush said he would fix that. How's that fix going? (More)

The only thing Bush has done to address this growing crisis is to cook a plan that lets large pharmaceutical firms and private insurers call the shots. He called it the Medicare Drug Benefit Program. But to get the drug companies onboard, he had to agree to a provision that prohibits Medicare from negotiating lower drug prices. Not only that, but now that the plan has been implemented -- as designed by this administration -- no one can understand how it works. A retired accountant with an MBA called NPR and said even though he was member of Mensa, he couldn't make heads or tails out of the Medicare Drug plans. Nevertheless, the program will add billions to the budget deficit. Clearly it's working for somebody, just not those it was supposed to help.

Bush sells himself as "strong on defense." So, how strong are our defenders? (More)

The war in Iraq, added to ongoing commitments in Afghanistan, is exhausting both our military machinery and manpower. Military experts warn that the US could not respond now to another major military challenge. And enlistment in our all-volunteer force is declining, just as demand for fresh troops increases.

That's quite a list of failures. Instead of just focusing on this administration's screw-up du jour, isn't it time for the mainstream media to take an accounting of the messes this guy has created, already?

Do they add up to a failed presidency yet? Or do we have to wait until he does something really stupid… again?

Stephen Pizzo is the author of numerous books, including "Inside Job: The Looting of America's Savings and Loans," which was nominated for a Pulitzer.


Still no pictures

I'll keep working on Chris to finish our technical upgrades... and the camera is nearly full of new pics!

Keep checking back....


Big Bonk!

Well, tonite, Zach had his first big bonk--complete with tears and blood.

As often happens with toddlers, he was toddling along and somehow, his face ended up meeting with the kitchen chair leg in a most unfriendly manner. We're not sure if his tooth went thru his lip, or if he bit his lip or if the lip just split when he met the chair leg, but that's really all rhetorical. His lip ended up split, fat and bleeding, and he cried and cried and cried.

It truly was heart wrenching for me to witness. Thank heaven Chris was there to deal with most of the blood.

A most unpleasant event for all involved.


New tricks, part 4

Zachary's latest accomplishments (in no particular order):
  • building things with his legos (instead of just knocking down things mommy and daddy have built)
  • stacking cups into towers (ditto the legos comment)
  • flushing the toilet, repeatedly (luckily, we keep the lid down, so he has NO idea how truly fascinating it would be if he could watch the water - and anything he chose to toss in - go down...tho I think those days are coming)
  • climbing into his chair, and onto just about anything else he can manage
  • pushing himself backwards on his car (his feet reach the ground now!)
  • figured out that when the dishwasher is open, he can climb onto the door and reach things that are on the counter (which leads me to another thought I've frequently had: how do babies learn to go on their tip toes to reach something?? I've never taught him that, but Chris and I are both amazed when he does it)
  • Oh, and did I mention, WALKING???!!!???!!??!

These shoes are made for walkin'

Today, another momentous milestone...Zachary got his first pair of real shoes!

We ventured out to the mall, to Dillard's, where they sell Stride Rite shoes, and walked out with a new pair of sneakers for the boy. It was an interesting adventure all in all, with mommy ending up all sweaty from trying to wrestle a wriggling and sometimes squawking boy into real shoes. After trying on just three pairs, we settled on the ones that were on his feet at that moment, and thru a tricky act of distraction, extracted Zach from the destruction he was wreaking on the nearby shoe display, and left the store without further incident.

Tho I think his earlier rolling across the floor steam-roller style while wailing was incident enough.

Interesting...but not surprising...

From Alternet:

On October 3, official body recovery efforts in New Orleans were called off, even though over 100 homes in the Ninth Ward remained unsearched.

The search resumed amid public outcry. But it appears that residents are still returning to find the bodies of their loved ones.

Body collection was subcontracted out to Kenyon Worldwide Disaster Management, a private firm with close ties to the Bush family.

Ah, private sector efficiency--cutting costs by skipping black people's houses.


Technical issues

Just to let you know, we're in the process of updating our hard drive and it makes for difficulty uploading pictures...I am still taking LOTS and will post some by the end of the week, hopefully!
Keep checking back!


Call it

We have a walker!!!!!


Who needs a magic carpet??

I guess it's easier to wipe down your
tray when you sit on it.
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He's teasing me...

...by taking one or two steps here and there totally unassisted--and not even between people! He is mere hours away from figuring out he can just take off...well, maybe more like days--but he's very close nonetheless.

Then my baby really is gone forever.

Hmmmm....what's in here?

Exploring the pantry

Nothing too interesting, I guess.


Falling Upward - Bush Style

(For those of you who haven't checked it out, check out www.alternet.org)

Failing Upward, Bush Style

By Tom Engelhardt, Tomdispatch.com
Posted on November 10, 2005, Printed on November 10, 2005

The motto of this administration might easily be: "failing upward." Of course, that's not hard when those leading the country into catastrophe are also making the appointments and bestowing the honors. Somewhere in this world of ours there should be at least one Wall of Shame (and perhaps an adjoining Wall of Cronyism) for an administration which has heaped favor, position, and honors on those who have blundered, lied, manipulated, and broken the law (not to say, cracked open the Constitution and the republic).

Here is just a sampling of the band of culprits who might appear on such a wall and but a few of the things for which they might be held accountable.

Honored for Catastrophe

Former CIA Director George ("slam dunk") Tenet, who oversaw an "intelligence" program of lies, misinformation, abductions, torture, the disappearing of prisoners, and the setting up of a mini-gulag of private prisons from Thailand to Eastern Europe, awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom as his tenure at the Agency ended.

Former Coalition Provisional Authority head L. Paul (I never saw an army I didn't want to disband) Bremer III, under whose leadership in Baghdad the American occupation mis- and displaced more money than is humanly imaginable, and under whose leadership Iraq descended into chaos, awarded the Medal of Freedom.

Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Richard ("Guantanamo is a model facility") Myers, who oversaw the Iraq War and whose claim to fame may have been that he called Dan Rather of CBS to try to suppress the first "60 Minutes II" report on Abu Ghraib, awarded the Medal of Freedom.

Former Centcom Commander Tommy ("we don't do body counts" ) Franks, who oversaw "victories" in Afghanistan and Iraq in wars that have never ended, retired to great administration praise and became a "paid patriot," awarded the Medal of Freedom

Promoted (or Retained) for Disaster

Defense Secretary Donald ("stuff happens") Rumsfeld, who planned the invasion and occupation of Iraq so brilliantly and bragged that he could stand up longer than any Guantánamo detainee, kept on as Secretary of Defense in George Bush's second term.

Former Undersecretary of Defense Paul ("There is no history of ethnic strife in Iraq") Wolfowitz, who spearheaded the administration's blind cakewalk into Iraq and declared himself "reasonably certain" that the Iraqi people "will greet us as liberators, and that will help us to keep requirements down," was made World Bank president and now prefers not to be "distracted" with ancient "history."

Former Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security John ("I'm with the Bush-Cheney team, and I'm here to stop the vote" and "there is no such thing as the United Nations") Bolton, who never saw a country he couldn't include in the Axis of Evil, a treaty he wasn't ready to shred, or negotiations he wasn't prepared to sabotage, was given a presidential recess appointment as UN Ambassador after his nomination was deep-sixed by Senate Democrats.

The Torture Brigade

Former White House Counsel Alberto (no rules apply) Gonzales, who helped marshal the administration's case for "relaxing" interrogation rules on prisoners, and the man to whom so many of those torture memos were sent, was made Attorney General.

Former General Counsel for the Pentagon William J. Haynes II, who appointed a working group to circumvent laws and treaties restricting the administration's urge to torture, developed administration policies to deny detainees at Guantánamo prisoner of war status; developed the Pentagon's military tribunal policy to try them; promoted the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens by the President without legal counsel or judicial review, and recommended (over the protests of military lawyers) many of the most abusive tactics used at Guantánamo, was nominated to a judgeship in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals by George W. Bush on September 29, 2003. Only a Democratic filibuster in the Senate derailed the appointment.

Former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel at the Department of Justice John ("must be equivalent in intensity to the pain accompanying serious physical injury, such as organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death") Yoo, infamous for drafting the August 2002 "torture memo" to White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and a supporter of unfettered presidential rule in matters of foreign policy, returned to his position as professor of law at Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley, and wrote a book.

Former Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Jay ("certain acts may be cruel, inhuman, or degrading, but still not produce pain and suffering of the requisite intensity to fall within [a legal] proscription against torture") Bybee, who was the official author of the August 2002 torture memo , is now a judge on the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Former Legal Counsel to the Vice President David Addington, "a staunch advocate of allowing the president in his capacity as commander in chief to deviate from the Geneva Conventions," "a principal author of the White House memo justifying torture of terrorism suspects and… a prime advocate of arguments supporting the holding of terrorism suspects without access to courts," known for his "devotion to secrecy" and to an extreme version of unfettered presidential power (as well as a backer of the stalled Haynes judgeship), was promoted to Vice-Presidential Chief of Staff after I. Lewis Libby's resignation.

Former head of the Justice Department's Criminal Division Michael Chertoff, who advised the Central Intelligence Agency in 2002-03 on how far CIA interrogators could go in coercive interrogation methods on terror suspects under the federal anti-torture statute, was appointed head of the Homeland Security Department where he oversaw FEMA's disastrous responses to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma, and where he remains today.

Former principal deputy assistant to the Vice President for National Security Affairs John Hannah, a conduit for Iraqi exile prewar mis- or disinformation on Saddam's WMD arsenal, involved in producing prewar administration claims linking Saddam Hussein to the 9/11 attacks and in the Valerie Plame/Joseph Wilson smear campaign, promoted to National Security Advisor to Vice President Cheney.


Former FEMA Director Michael ("I am a fashion god") Brown, who so spectacularly botched the agency's response to hurricane Katrina, is now on the federal payroll as a $148,000-a-year consultant to FEMA.

Former U.S. Military Commander in Iraq Lt. General Ricardo ("Arab fear of dogs") Sanchez, who personally signed off on the use of coercive interrogation techniques outlawed by the Geneva Conventions, including the use of "working dogs," was to be made head of the U.S. Southern Command and nominated for his fourth star until Pentagon officials came to fear that his role overseeing the Abu Ghraib scandal would create opposition in the Senate and so he was given a major command in Europe.

Former Commander of Joint Task Force Guantánamo Maj. Gen. Geoffrey ("Gitmo-ize the confinement operation") Miller, who brought Guantánamo interrogation methods, including the use of dogs, to Iraq before the Abu Ghraib prisoner-abuse scandal (reportedly claiming that Arab prisoners "are like dogs, and if you allow them to believe they're more than a dog, then you've lost control of them"), and for his efforts was then made senior commander in charge of detention operations in Iraq, instead of being cashiered in shame, is now assigned to an Army management position in the Washington, D.C area.

Sadly, while this gallery of rogues was being honored and/or promoted and/or protected, those who really should have received honors and medals were, by and large, overlooked or forgotten -- not just figures like ex-Marine and former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter, who insisted before the war (to the sneers of American reporters) that Iraq was unlikely to possess even the shreds of its former WMD program, but all those millions who massed in the streets and insisted that an invasion of Iraq would be a path, paved by lies, that would lead only to madness. No "medals of freedom" for the likes of them.

Tom Engelhardt, editor of Tomdispatch.com, is co-founder of the American Empire Project and author of "The End of Victory Culture."

© 2005 Independent Media Institute. All rights reserved.
View this story online at: http://www.alternet.org/story/28061/



American cheese
Life cereal
Raspberry fruit leather
Soy milk
Lovely presentation, isn't it?
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The wooden car track

that I referred to in an earlier post
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A boy and a cat

She does love him, even if she won't admit it.