Saturday, August 30, 2008

How's This for Cute?

























The three cutest kids ever...and that starts off my response to Heather's tag:

Three joys: Bryce, Carli, and Jeremiah!

Three fears: any threat to my family's health, any threat to my own health, not being able to take care of myself when I get older.

Three goals: getting and staying as healthy as I can, finishing my poetry website and writing another book, increasing my level of spirituality.

Three obsessions: finishing my website, keeping the people I love safe, food.

Three random facts about me: I used to be a pretty good ballerina and an All-District Orchestra violinist. (The latter is misleading because I was in grade school at the time!) I went parasailing in Mexico. I can't be in the sun at all because of my lupus. (A big bummer for a girl who grew up in Southern California!)

Governor Palin??!

Okay, I wasn't going to get political that often in this blog (despite the fact that it's an election year) but I have to admit that I'm dumbfounded by McCain's choice of Governor Palin as a running mate. Let's face it; if Obama is inexperienced, Palin is a babe in the woods. Two years ago, she was a mayor!

I have to admit that I liked the idea of Romney because of the economic expertise he would have brought to the ticket. But my main concern is this: McCain just lost the best argument in his favor...Obama's lack of experience. Frankly, I won't be surprised if he just lost the election as well. How can he complain about the speck in Obama's eye when the mote in Palin's is the size of a voting booth?

Hey, I could be wrong. Maybe Palin will turn out to be a marvel, a "natural" who will stand up to media scrutiny (to say nothing of Joe Biden) like a pro and come out smelling like a rose. Such virtuosity is hard to imagine in a novice, but nothing is impossible. (Anyone know a good genie?)

All I can say is this...Yesterday I was undecided, leaning towards McCain. Today I am undecided and not leaning at all. Governor Palin is going to have to convince me she's up to the job, and McCain is going to have to convince me that he used good judgment in picking her as a running mate. As you can see, the second is contingent upon the first, and if he had picked Romney, my vote would have been signed, sealed, and delivered.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

THE WEBSITE


(I jump rope a lot better on my blog!)



Introducing.........(drum roll)..........the sadly incomplete but happily (and quasi-quickly) progressing.......Susan Noyes Anderson Poems website! Where can you find it? Well, you might wanna check out susannoyesandersonpoems.com.

Come visit. You can give me ideas/comments/suggestions.

Thanks!

=) 

Website Woes

AAAAAAUUUUUUGGGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!

There, that feels better. 

You may wonder about the source of my mind numbing, scream-evoking madness. Never fear, your curiosity will not be left unsatisfied. The etymology of my newfound lunacy (feel free to argue the "newfound," if you must) is one word: website. Or two words, if you prefer that incarnation: web site. Either way, I've thrown myself off the proverbial cliff with this one, and it ain't pretty.

Yes, friends, I am building a website! I am also certifiably crazy. As of 1:30 this morning I had spent 12 hours on the stupid project, and I've only got two pages done. Granted, one of them is the home page, but at this rate I will be creating my self-proclaimed gift to the cyber world for the rest of my life. Why is it such a time-guzzler? Because I am undertaking the gargantuan task of posting all of my poetry online for public, non-commercial use. (Of course, publishers, authors, composers, etc. will still have to contact me for permissions, but non-professional, everyday people will be able to use the poems as desired, with the caveat that the copyright information must be clearly visible on any copies made.)

My husband thinks I should just do another book, a poetry collection, but I am more inclined to handle the poems this way because I think they will get more exposure online. After all, my first effort, At the End of Your Rope, There's Hope, only sold 5,000 copies (the average number for a "successful" book). Awaken Your Spiritual  Power sold slightly less than that, and His Children has been extremely difficult to publicize (though I will brag that Dean Ravi Sharma of the Monmouth University Library wrote an online review rating it his favorite book of the year and saying that it "changed the way [he] looks at the world").          :)

Anyway, I digress. The point is that I've decided to put the poems online where they can be shared with and enjoyed by anyone who has an interest in them. After all, what's the point of writing a zillion poems, sharing them briefly with a limited audience, then relegating them to one of many binders on a closet shelf? Hey, they deserve better than that, right? The time has come to let those suckahs see the light of day! Free at last...free at last...thank...  (Wait a minute, I think I'm getting carried away.)

Did I mention that I am a complete nut case? Oh, yeah. I did. One day you will be able to see this for yourself on my new poetry website...coming soon.

=)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Nie Nie Dialogues - We can help!















When I decided to get into blogging, I didn't realize how much of a community exists. As a new but already invested member of that community, I am dedicating today's post to Stephanie and Christian Nielson. Stephanie is the creator of Nie Nie Dialogues, a blog that is truly enchanting.

"Nie," as her family calls her, and her husband (Christian) are the parents of four young children. They were recently involved in a small airplane crash in Arizona. Stephanie is burned over 80% of her body. Her husband is burned over 30% of his. Right now they are in critical condition, with chemically induced comas.

Needless to say, they need prayers for recovery and money to help pay for medical expenses and rehabilitation in the event they do recover. It looks like Christian will survive, but Stephanie is still touch-and-go, though her sister cJane (click here to view cJane's blog), is convinced she will make it and provides regular updates on her blog. I am adding my faith to cJane's.

As I said, Stephanie has a terrific blog of her own, (click here). I hope you'll take time to scroll down and read some of her posts that were written before the accident. It's clear she is a very cool lady with a great life and family. The Nielson children, who were not in the plane, are being cared for by two of their mother's sisters. (Aren't sisters the BEST thing ever? Mine sure are!)


Thanks.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Big Daddy Dave

Ever have those moments when you look at the guy you married and suddenly remember just exactly why? (Actually, I probably have them more often than not, because Dave is uncommonly cute.) 

Seriously, you've got to admit that this grandpa has some serious appeal!  

I'm just sayin'...   

=)

Read 'em and DON'T weep


I read something kinda scary today. Not that I wasn't aware we had a problem, but these stats are CRAZY! (source: JenkinsGroupInc.com, as quoted by Michael R. Ash in an online book review):

"It's been said that America is a nation of non-readers. We are, by and large, literate, but we are often uninformed and tend to spend less time reading than watching TV or surfing the internet. 

"According to a study by the Jenkins Group:
58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school
42% of college graduates never read another book after college. 
80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year. 
70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years. 
57% of new books are not read to completion.

"When we do read, we often choose pop magazines or novels over nonfiction. Most Americans are severely uninformed in regards to significant historical issues, current events, or scientific facts. According to a 2003 Gallup poll, nearly a third of Americans were unable to name the current US vice president, Dick Cheney. According to Carl Sagan, nearly half of American adults don't know that the Earth goes around the sun and that it takes a year to do so. One-third of US teens were unable to associate Hitler with Germany. 

And we have an election coming up???...(to say nothing of lives to live in an increasingly troubled world). This situation is appalling, and we need to do something about it. Beyond reading ourselves and encouraging our children to read, we need to get more involved in the community to ensure that reading statistics improve rather than worsen in years to come. We also need to figure out what is wrong with our educational system when grown people are unaware that the earth revolves around the sun and cannot associate Hitler with Germany. This is frightening. If we forget the lessons of Nazi Germany (and other historical lessons), how can we expect to go forward and continue as a free nation? Is anyone else as disturbed (and surprised!) by this information as I am?

One thing's for sure. Action is definitely better than mere reaction when faced with statistics like these. I'm going to begin with letters to my governor, senators, and congressmen. We've got to figure out what's broken in our educational system, and throwing money at the problem is not enough. Serious changes need to be made at the federal and state level, as well as the community and family level. It's up to us to get the job done, so let's get out there and make some noise! The future success and safety of our country depends on it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Isn't life interesting?

There's nothing black and white about life, is there? The whole experience seems to run on a system of checks and balances, with happiness/satisfaction largely dependent upon having a good sense of perspective.

Case in point, yesterday.

Not-so-good things:  lost suitcase, chipped granite on kitchen countertop, Todd's books cost almost as much as his tuition.

Good things:  suitcase found, granite guy coming Saturday and thinks he can fix countertop, Todd qualifies for in-state tuition.

Pretty much of a draw, right? But here's where that all-important sense of perspective comes into play...

Sense of perspective:  Jeremiah, Carli, Bryce



Kinda tips the scales, doesn't it? So have a good day, guys! I certainly will.  =)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Lament of the Lost Luggage

Here's the thing. I'm convinced Southwest has it in for our immediate family. It hasn't even been a year since they lost Dave's suitcase, never to be seen again, then reimbursed him for only about half its contents. (And he had to show receipts for those!) Just filling out the ridiculously detailed forms took hours; in fact, if he had billed the time at his work rate, the check he received wouldn't even have been worth it. And don't forget that electronic devices of any kind are not covered, which means we no longer have a video recorder.

Still, as a direct byproduct of my sublime inner peace (?), I have come to accept our luggage experience. In true Oprah style, I am at one not only with the universe but with the everlovin' planet. Loss is a natural part of life, right?...I GET IT!...(officially channeling Oprah now). Besides, these are only material things and not worth ruminating about. The Andersons are sufficiently evolved to look beyond such petty and inconsequential losses. (Impressive equanimity, no?)

No. Because apparently we are not sufficiently evolved to look beyond Todd's loss of luggage last night. Yep, another Anderson suitcase has vanished, this one somewhere between San Jose and Tucson. Naturally, the missing item contains almost an entire wardrobe, most of it relatively new. The airline assures him, of course, that all will be well. No doubt the missing bag will arrive today on a plane from Las Vegas. Sorry for the inconvenience; it hardly ever happens; here's a $50 voucher for future flights. Blah, blah, blah. Yada, yada, yada. (Isn't it fortunate I'm at one with the universe?) Now if I just knew THE SECRET I could bring that suitcase back with "intention."
(All Oprah jargon provided free of charge for your reading pleasure...)

Okay. My personal advice for future flights...and this goes out to all of you: Pack lightly, IN A CARRY-ON. If you must check something, be sure to fill it with "special" vacation clothes, purchased at Goodwill. (You'll like the new look; trust me.) And don't forget to save your receipts!

Monday, August 18, 2008

The birds have flown the nest again

Well, it's over. 

The grandchildren and grown children have gone home. The house is all picked up; the crib and youth bed are put away; the candles and curios (no longer threatened by pudgy hands and sticky fingers) have returned to my coffee and end tables. Order is restored; peace and quiet reigns.

Lovely, right? 

Nope. Lonely.

I am missing them! 

Thankfully, they will be back for Thanksgiving...  =)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Time out!

Well, my son (Ryan) and daughter-in-law (Heather) just took the kids on a hike, so I actually have a moment or two to collect myself. I have already made a valiant attempt to put the house back together. It wasn't completely successful, but at least you can sort of walk a straight line through the rooms now. Well, some of the rooms....  =)

Yesterday we went to the Children's Discovery Museum, where I made a significant discovery about myself. I AM OLD. 

Having said that, we're having a great time, and Matt gets here today. With his arrival (and my husband's, who's been out of town), the entire family will be together. My favorite thing!

Add this family visit to the Olympics, and it's hard to find anything to complain about. Hey, could you believe that Phelps pulled out that gold medal last night? Unreal! And how about our two gold-medal-winning gymnasts? What great girls they seem to be. (We listened to an interview of them and agreed they are pretty poised and gracious for their ages, 16 and 18.) It was also fun to see our champion beach volleyball team guys almost lose the first set and then overpower their opponents in the second set yesterday. Pretty exciting stuff.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The grandkids have landed!

As you can see, I haven't blogged since Sunday. What that means is that my grandchildren have arrived, and we are busy with the usual assortment of Legos, Star Wars figures, puzzles, cars, blocks and every other kind of toy known to man strewn all over the house. It's definitely grandparent heaven over here.

With that explanation, I will sign off for a couple of days until I no longer have my very enticing grandchildren in my home to keep me busy and entertained! 

=)

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Olympics are a big hit for My Family

My eldest son called on his way home from work Saturday afternoon to ask me one question: whether I had seen the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. He was disappointed to learn that I hadn't because he really wanted to talk about how "mind-boggling" they were. Needless to say, this enthusiastic description sent me to the DVR immediately to see what I had missed. I could only agree that the opening show was pretty spectacular. I especially liked the segment celebrating Chinese maritime tradition. Those special effects were awesome.

Even more awesome was the way thousands of Chinese performers worked together to achieve such amazing images, from mass drumming and tai-chi performed in unison to the art of making boxes rise and fall in perfect symmetry. Even the platform from which a Chinese singer performed was held up by her countrymen. Very cool.

Unity is always cool, and even in its beginning phases, the Olympics has shown us some good examples: the men's gymnastics team and silver-medal-winning women's relay team, for instance. Today I hope to see some of that unity in our men's basketball team, whose NBA stars failed to do well in Athens due to a sad lack of it. Hopefully, they've learned from that experience and will humble themselves enough to work together.

We can learn from their experience too, and that's what makes the Olympics great. Lesson one: Working (and playing and living) together takes humility. This is true in the Olympics, and this is true in the family. There are valuable lessons here, and I'm glad my family will be watching. 

PS. I'm also glad all of my children/grandchildren will be visiting next week so we can practice!

Friday, August 8, 2008

So You Think You Can Dance

I liked every one of the final four dancers and thought I didn't care that much who won, but when Katee came in third I realized how much I was actually rooting for her. It did ease the pain a bit when they gave her $50,000 for coming in first among the girls. (I wish it had been $100,000, and I bet she does, too!)

Still, I have to give Josh props. My only reservation about him was that he sweated so profusely that it made me feel sorry for his partner. (The partners all seemed to enjoy dancing with him, so I was no doubt projecting on this. When I was in middle school, I used to have to dance with a guy named Barry whose hands perspired like crazy. In those days we were taught that you never said no when someone asked you to dance. All you could do to protect yourself was try to avoid being asked. I can still recall how Barry's palm would dampen the back of my dress as we swayed to the music. Ugh. Even worse, he smelled like Velveeta cheese.) So much for sweet memories...

As for Twitch, he was a great personality, and I have a feeling he'll do very well for himself. Courtney was just plain darling; I loved her AND her Italian family.

That about sums it up. I will now prepare to go into the inevitable SYTYCD withdrawals, hoping that the Olympics can facilitate the weaning process.

=)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

On Speaking the Truth

I'm giving a lesson in church this Sunday that has me contemplating truth and the importance of sharing it. As a rule, I quite enjoy speaking my truth; in fact, this tendency has landed me in trouble more than a few times. I remember in particular a high school English teacher who once observed with a certain lack of appreciation that I had a serious "need to be heard." She was right, of course. (Case in point: this blog!)

At any rate, this need of mine has manifested itself in many ways, some more outrageous than advantageous, but I've gotten better in my old age at not going over the top. Generally speaking, if I think it needs to be said, I'll say it...to anyone and everyone, regardless of venue. If it needs to be written, I'll write it...to an individual, a company, a congressman, a senator, a newspaper, whatever. Speaking up for a worthy person or cause appeals to me; giving up (on either one) does not. I share my thoughts and opinions at the drop of a hat, journal for posterity, and pen books/poems/articles for publication. In short, I like having an audience. I like using my words to share my feelings. I just like it.

Which brings me to the question that's been niggling at me since I began preparing Sunday's lesson. Why does this knee-jerk "need to be heard" of mine go missing when it comes to sharing the gospel, one-on-one, with people I don't know? What am I so afraid of? Just give me half a chance to air political views or parenting tips, and I'm all over it. Why is it I'm able to begin any conversation but the most important one?

I don't have all the answers yet, but I'm clear on one thing. The Lord's children need to hear Him. Consequently, He has a need to be heard, just as I do. Unlike mine, however, His need is entirely selfless. It's all about their comfort and well-being, not His. 

Sharing the gospel without fear means forgetting about me and focusing on those around me. It also means turning to Him with increased faith and consecrating my own voice to His work. If I am willing, my all-too-human need to be heard can be enlisted in the service of His divine one. With the help of the Spirit, I can learn to speak His truth at any time, in any place, and to any person. 

Anyway, that's the idea. Now all I need to do is execute it. Next?  =/

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Joys of Grown-Up Kids

One of my sons, the 26-year-old, is spending a couple of weeks with us...something he hasn't done for ages. The last time he was in our home for anything other than Christmas, Thanksgiving or a quick weekend trip, I was treated to the residual hallmarks of adolescence. I'm sure you know the drill, including but not limited to clothes all over the place, crushed Doritos on the carpets, spilled drinks on the coffee table, and marathon movie-watching.

Imagine my amazement Monday upon our return from the infamous dental visit posted earlier. As we exited the car, my son (a complete stranger, I now realize) actually walked back out of the garage and down the driveway to retrieve of his own accord (be still, my heart) the emptied garbage can and recycle bins from the curb. Even crazier, when I thanked him profusely, he acted as if his actions were only to be expected.

I had chalked this incident up as a complete fluke of nature when I observed the clincher. Yesterday my son (who keeps referring to me as "Mom," so I'm sure it must be he) walked purposefully into an empty room where I had left the light on and turned...it...off. Enough said. Manhood has been achieved.

Of course, being a grown-up doesn't mean one puts away all childish things. Apparently it doesn't mean one puts away all one's clothes either...or watches Heroes one DVD at a time. That's okay. Men are more manly with a flaw or two, right?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dentist Dilemmas

You know what's even worse than going to the dentist? Going to the dentist and coming home with only 3/4 of your smile intact. I mean, seriously. How unsettling is it to look in the mirror and realize that the nerve you customarily count on to lift the upper right corner of your mouth has been completely taken out? Of course, you're hoping this phenomenon is only temporary, but you never really know until the novocaine wears off, do you?

Maybe I'm just a worrier–(maybe??!)–but I have to talk myself through this experience every time it happens, and it happens a little too often for my liking. However, you'll be glad to know that, once more, I am in possession of a full smile. SAFE! Until the next time a crown cracks... =(

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