Saturday, June 27, 2009

Electronics Bust

Our neighborhood suffered a recent rash of break-ins.  Hopefully we'll be seeing less activity for a while. From the SPD Blotter.

Stolen electronics located in Rainier Valley

 On June 24th, a South Precinct patrol officer stopped a vehicle occupied with known burglary suspects. The officer observed several electronics inside the car. The occupants denied ownership of the items. South Precinct detectives interviewed one of the occupants who admitted to committing four area burglaries. He also stated that he and other burglary suspects would routinely sell their stolen laptops to a computer parts business in the 7600 block of Rainier Avenue South.


On 6/25/09 South Precinct Detectives served a search warrant on the business looking for a specific stolen laptop computer. The detectives found hundreds of laptop computers lined up on bookshelves, several hundred hard drives along with numerous digital cameras, I-Pods, games systems, cell phones and other electronics. The detectives ran the serial numbers or owner applied numbers on ten of the laptops. Seven of the laptops were reported stolen in area burglaries. The business had no paperwork, receipts or other documentation commonly found in a retail business. The business was secured until the warrant could be amended.


On 6/26/09 South Precinct Detectives served an amended search warrant on the computer parts business, the owner’s home and his storage unit. Over 600 laptop computers were seized along with hundreds of other electronic equipment. 


The South Precinct Detective’s Unit will be cataloging each of the seized items over the next several days.  Some of the victims of these burglaries have already been contacted and told about their recovered property.


The precinct requests that other potential victims wait at least a week before contacting the unit to see if their property was among the found items.

Monday, June 22, 2009

True Love

I know my husband loves me because he bought me the mug I've been obsessing about for several months now. It's white and orange ceramic with a silicon band around the middle. Beautiful and so fun to hold.

Gifts are one of the Five Languages of Love. I think it might be my primary language based on how loved and understood I'm feeling right now.  Also, I'm still high from the electric toothbrush he gave me about 10 years ago. 

The book is highly religious yet I've found the concept it proposes - that others can feel the love we are offering them best if we speak their "love language" - works well in my family.  Of course there is still the small matter of remembering to be mindful of it. But days like today remind me how effective small efforts can be.

Doesn't the orange look great with my coffee in it?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

What I Learned Today

Several years ago my aunt showed me how to cook bacon quickly and easily in the oven.  With many bacon lovers in the house, this saves me gobs of time as I can lay out a couple of packages of bacon and have the whole shebang ready in about 20 minutes.  Without all the splattered grease.

BLTs were on the lunch menu this afternoon and we were expecting 2 guest.  This calls for even more bacon than I usually prepare.  I filled a second pan with strips of the salty stuff. After about 20 minutes I learned that the same bacon, baked in separate metal and glass pans, will cook at different rates. 

My advice - judge the doneness of your meat by the progress of the metal pan not the glass pan. To wit:

Baby Stealing Isn't Just a Foreign Issue

Elle at Shakesville passed along an example of one reason why I focus so much on the integrity of the agencies "helping" with child placement. And my place in the system/business that is adoption in our country.

Baby stealing in the US is not a thing of the past.  And it is so sick and wrong it makes my stomach hurt and my heart ache to read about these injustices.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Spring Has Sprung!

In response to my annual disappointment at how cold and rainy "early summer" is here in Seattle, I've chosen this year to regard June as "late spring." After the 4th of July we'll talk about "early summer."

In celebration of the Seattle late spring, look what I picked in the garden today!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ancient Rome (in less that 10 minutes) by Theo

There was some debate Wednesday over whether or not Theo actually paid attention during the day's history lecture - the final summation of Ancient Rome.  

To prove that he intently listened and understood, Theo insisted on giving me the rundown.  I had the presence of mind to get the video camera out.  He was concise, fairly clear for an 8 year old, and so animated and cute it made my mommy toes curl.  

I'm not sure everything is 100% correct, but he still knows 99x more about ancient history than I do. I know it's long, but check him out!

edited to add:
This is Theo's version of what he learned.  And I want to call out that his ability to hold onto all this information is in huge part due to Scott Powell's clear and engaging presentation of the material.   


The day after the elections in Iran, I asked Bill if he'd been following the news reports.  He replied that he was, and I commented that I found the whole thing shocking.

Bill countered that he found it many things but was in no way shocked on the outcome of the political process in Iran.  We've seen their system in action for many, many years and nothing is surprising about the current turn of events. Which is true.

And I still find the whole thing shocking.  I'm always shocked to see police beating people in the streets.  I'm always shocked to see adults lying and stealing. 

I am shocked and saddened to see people grabbing for power not matter the price instead of choosing to behave in a manner that is consistent with all they believe to be right and true, striving to learn and understand more about themselves and others in the process.

I still find the whole thing shocking. Bill says that is one of the things he likes about me.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Me, too

An elegant post from John Raible.  There is nothing I could add to his writing.  My response thus is short - me, too.  

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Naked With Socks On

Naked With Socks On rates at the very top of my blog list. 

First of all, the man knows how to put words together on the page.  

His ability to explore a huge range of subjects and his willingness to be authentic amaze me. Recently he's written pieces questioning if he's racist, where's he's at with religion, a letter to his sister and a mind-numbingly sexy bit.

NWSO is the only blog I regularly click through to from my Google Reader because the comments from his community of readers are thought-provoking and entertaining. And he's got great art. 

Super writing, great material, good conversation and lovely pictures.  What more could a dedicated reader ask for?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Beatles Rock Band

New favorite video, made apparently for the Rock Band game. As always, love the music. And wow, the images are stunning.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Reading Ideas for Ancient History

This post comes mostly from an email I sent to the mother of another child in Theo's amazing homeschool history class. When I type so many words, i think "oooooo, this feels like a blog post."  

For the record, Scott Powell of History At Our House regularly makes me swoon with educational admiration. You really ought to check his program out and sign up for next fall.


What is working for us right now is for me to check out essentially ALL the books from our public library on whatever subject Mr. Powell is exploring.  For instance, I requested about 85 juvenile books which met the search topic of "ancient rome".  I ended up checking out 67 of them (the others really didn't look compelling).  Then I brought them home and stacked them on the coffee table (well, actually most of the flat surfaces in our living room). Theo sifted through them and the best ones floated to the top of the pile. The obvious rejects I returned quickly to make more visual space for him to discover those that are left.

Theo's a pretty good reader at this point, yet some of these books seemed out of his reach.  I don't worry about reading level. I figure even if he only gets 40% comprehension out of the book, that's a ton more than he's going to get NOT reading. My sense is that for this first level of history we're really trying to create a foundational love for the subject and learning in general. Plus, he completely stunned me with some of what he'd retained about the various Emperors, and I know that information was in several of the more advanced and dry-looking books.

Several people have commented recently on how many books he seems to be reading - I think he's at about 180 books since September.  I've been wondering why he reads so much.  I think part of it is that he really does like to read, part is that his parents are obsessive readers themselves and part of it is that he doesn't have a lot of other choices. He has very little screen time in a week, comic books are only for weekends when all of the week's school work is done and we have 1 hour enforced quiet time everyday. He also wakes up at the crack of dawn has 2 choices: play with toys or read library books.  After his fingers go numb from the legos, he turns to the library books.

Something I learned from Lisa Vandamme is to read the first bit of a book out loud.  Theo is often nervous about a new subject and was worried about the Flavia Gemini series, so I read the first chapter of the first book to his sister while he was nearby. Rosie and I took a break to do something else and the next time I noticed him, he was about half way through the book. He essentially didn't stop until he finished the last of the 9 books. Once he was into the story and idea of Ancient Rome, he really enjoyed the more factual books that we had sitting around.

I did this library binge for Ancient Egypt and it worked well, too.  Ancient Mesopotamia apparently isn't so historically sexy, so we only ended up with 5 or 6 books. I think Theo's level of enthusiasm and knowledge between the 3 cultures Mr. Powell has covered over the year is clearly reflected in the number of books our library holds on each subject.

A few of the books I noted he liked about Ancient Rome:
All of the Flavia Gemini series by Lawrence (Thieves of Ostia, Fugitive from Corinth, Assassins of Rome)
"Tiger, Tiger" by Lynn Reids Banks.
"Heroes, Gods and Emperors from Roman Mythology" by Usher
"How To  Be a Roman Soldier" by National Geographic
"Tools of the Ancient Romans" by Kickinson
"Julius Caeser: Conqueror and Dictator" by Therme
"Augustus: The First Emperor" by Forsyth

Oh, and once he'd read through most of the stack, I went and got out the Astrix books!  But I kept them well hidden for a long time.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What Would Who Think?

I'm been thinking about one of my posts from March pretty much since I hit the "publish post" button.

Here's the part that has been bugging me:
And, I find I'm a little afraid to talk about our choice, especially on-line.  Really, honestly, in my mind I believe that in a functional world, all babies belong with their first mamas.  Yet here we live in this way less than perfect world and I'm about to reap this amazing relationship because of someone else's huge loss.  What are people who really know and understand adoption going to think/say?  
Worrying or even wondering what other people are going to think about me and my decisions isn't really something I do. 

So writing and publishing it has sat wrong with me.  After long periods of thinking it over, I've decided I'm not really worried about what some of my adoption world heros think of my choices, I'm worried about what I think.  Does this choice resonate with my personal integrity?

Here are the questions that really gnaw at me, and I don't know how to answer.
- How do I ever justify being part of a system that takes a baby away from its mama?
- What am I doing to change this truly messed up world?
- What about all those lovely children in foster care who need homes?  Do I have responsibility for them in some form as a member of this broken system? Am I a wuss for choosing not to take on the challenges the foster system (not the kids, the system) presents me?
- When I adopt an infant, am I preempting the cycle of neglected child to foster care to eventual adoption?  Or am I essentially stealing someone's baby?
- Now that I know so much more about the challenges of transracial adoption, how do I justify bringing another black child into our very white home?  Am I deliberately robbing another black child of its culture? Or is our home a reasonable choice in this crazy world?
- Would the world be better off if I just produced more white kids and stayed out of the TRA world?

I'd love to hear what you think.

ps.  Let's all pause before moving on to laugh about how self-absorbed it is for me to spend over 2 months thinking about my own blog post. Whew!