March 31, 2009
Our New View - Signed, Sealed, & Delivered
At our closing today, we learned about the meaning of "mortgage" from the French.
From Wikipedia: The term comes from the Old French "dead pledge," apparently meaning that the pledge ends (dies) either when the obligation is fulfilled or the property is taken through foreclosure.
"Dead pledge" sounds a bit ominous, don't you think??
Category "Music - of all kinds"
March 17, 2009
In honor of St. Patrick's Day, it's time to listen once again to the soundtrack to one of my favorite movies of all time: "Once." Such a great story, and such great music. I'm listening in memory of the Irish side of my family, especially my beloved grandfather, Leo Francis Ryan. He died suddenly of a stroke when I was about 8 - I wish I had gotten to know him as an adult - my sense is that he was quite a guy. He's the second from the right.
Here is a link to the soundtrack - enjoy!
Category "Social Science"
March 15, 2009
I discovered a column in the Sunday Boston Globe that gives me a good feeling as a social scientist. It's entitled "Uncommon Knowledge: Surprising Insights from the Social Sciences", by Kevin Lewis. [Click here]
One of today's clips, "The peaceful effect of boys," noted that "the gender of one's children affects one's view of foreign policy." Seems that "households with more boys were more likely to think that the United States should not intervene in other parts of the world and should use diplomacy over military force." The biggest effect seems to be on fathers of boys, who may be concerned that their sons would be drafted. It's a plausible explanation -- however, the U.S. has not had a draft in decades.
In any case, it was fun to encounter this column - it's always good to get some of those initially counterintuitive ideas out there for public exposure..
December 28, 2008
Holidays - Palling Around with the Grandkids
It's such fun to experience the holidays through the eyes of a 2 and 4 year old - it's really magical. We had lots of quality time together as well as many opportunities to get glimpses into who they are and might become. Take a look.
October 8, 2008
July 6, 2008
Maine on the Fourth
I spent the long 4th of July weekend at my sister's cottage in Maine. NB: In Minnesota, they are "cabins," in New York, they are "camps," and in Maine they are "cottages." We had a great time --- eating, resting, talking, reading, paddling around the lake on the paddle boat, more eating, watching fireworks, roasting marshmallows, going in to town, & repeating same. It was a good get-away. It's great to be closer to family.
We stopped at a restaurant nearby for lunch, and their menu featured home-made potato chips -- they were thin, crisp, hot, and sprinkled with bacon, onions, cheese, and a Gorgonzola cheese sauce. Totally decademt.
On the 4th, we went into the Town of Limerick and stopped at the Runaway Cowgirl's Hideout on the main drag. I was totally smitten by a large Newfoundland. He came right up to me very calmly, and I thought I had known him all my life. In fact, I could have sworn that there was someone I knew in that dog suit. It was quite remarkable - I can't recall ever having such a strong pull toward a dog. That's probably a good sign as I prepare to welcome Sierra into my life in just about a month.
February 24, 2008
Heard on SNL
Heard on SNL last night (welcome back, writers!)
"Did you hear that 50% of American marriages end in divorce?"
"Well, the other half end in death."
December 30, 2007
From Technicolor to Grey
After spending 10 days in the land of warmth, vivid colors, Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla, and chicken molé enchiladas, it's back to cold and grey. The sun has not peeked out since I've been back home, and there are no immediate prospects on the horizon. And there's a huge icicle hanging on the power lines to the house; I hope it doesn't all come crashing down -- c'mon sun, do your thing!
The trip was enjoyable and much needed. It involved a lot of good food, a lot of "hanging out," a few good movies ("Atonement" - highly recommended .... and "Once" -- I got the DVD for Christmas). Reid and Meredith are at wonderful ages -- 3 1/2 and 1 1/2 - both in awe of the world in their own ways. Even though Halloween is long past, they enjoy dressing up in their costumes. Here are the bumblebee and the dragon.
I'm counting on the colors in their costumes to add life to the bleak landscape outside.
Category "Six Feet Under"
July 29, 2007
Home Is Where They Have To Take You In When No One Else Will
I watched the last episode of Six Feet Under this morning. At their core, the Fishers are the most traditional of families, while at a glance, they may look dysfunctional and crazy. Ruth embodies the unconditional love that is at the center of their family. Although each member moves in and out and has all manner of planned and unplanned misadventures, Ruth remains in the eye of the hurricane. She keeps her door unlocked, and no one in her family is turned away, even if she knows they will break her heart again. Socialized to relate only to the most traditional model of what family should be, she moved to embracing the most unconventional and diverse in all its beauty and awkwardness.
When Claire prepared to leave for New York, Ruth said, "I pray you will be filled with hope as long as you possibly can." That sums it up. Yes - life is difficult and to think of it as all happiness and satisfaction is grossly naive. At the same time, we must continue hoping each and every day. It's what keeps us being able to put one foot in front of another.