Wednesday, October 31, 2007


My friend, Kathy, convinced me to get costumes for the kids. So late this morning, I went to Walmart and got them these two costumes. Duncan wanted a Superman costume but there wasn't any left. So instead I got him this dragon costume. And I got Denice a simple princess outfit.

Grr! I am a fierce dragon! Heheh.

Look at me, I am a pretty princess. She complained that the dress was scratchy so I made her wear a shirt dress underneath it and tights because it was a bit cool outside.

The dragon and the Princess.

All set to go to the Harvest Festival. Our church organizes this Harvest Festival open to the public every year. Instead of the kids running around the neighborhood going trick or treating, they can gather in one safe place and enjoy free burgers, corn dog, drinks, funnel cake, fries, and lots of games and candy. There were also free rides - pony rides, hay rides, petting zoo, tea cup ride and a merry go round.

There were also raffles, and you don't have to pay to enter any of these raffles. The prizes were some pretty hampers.

Kids and some adults came in their costumes. It was indeed fun to watch them all. No, Doug and I did not put on a costume. :-)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Like my widgets?

Ever since this blog's PageRank went down one notch, I felt it even more necessary to promote my other blogs. Those blogs went from PR 0 to PR 2 and when the next time Google does the ranking thing, hopefully at least one of these new blogs will go up to a PR 3. One can only hope, eh. BUT it won't go up if nobody visits those blogs. :-(

So by adding the widgets to three of those blogs on the sidebar to this blog, I hope to attract those of you who visit this blog regularly to visit those other blogs too. Please lah, go visit. Heheh.

Anyway, I found Widgetbox today and it was what I had been looking for as a means for promoting my other blogs. I had seen the widgetbox at some blogs but what it could do did not strike me till today. I think the widgetboxes are ideal for promoting your other blogs especially on your most popular blog.

Don't you think so?

Word of Promise

I first heard about the Word of Promise on the Laura Ingraham show last Friday. She had Jim Caviezel on her program and he talked about the Word of Promise which is a audio Bible of the New Testament. Laura played some excerpts of the Bible on her show and I knew I just had to have it.

I ordered the audio Bible from Amazon on Saturday and today it arrived. I have listened to a few chapters of it and I really liked the way the New Testament is presented; in dramatic audio theater style.

Some of the voices in this audio Bible, besides Jim Caviezel, are Stacy Keach, Michael W. Smith, Lou Gossett Jr., Lou Diamond Philips, Richard Dreyfuss, Marisa Tomei and Michael York who is the Narrator. There are a few others of course.

If you want to hear a sampling of the audio Bible you may go to the website You can also buy an MP3 version of the Bible from the website itself. I can assure you that it will be a very good investment. You don't have to waste your time in the car listening to useless stuff, instead you can listen to the New Testament. The version that is used for this audio Bible is the New King James Version.


These are just four of the pumpkins that were harvested from two pumpkins plants that we planted this year. There are still about three or four on the vine and about two in the kitchen.

I do not know what to do with these pumpkins. If they are as sweet as those pumpkins we eat in Malaysia I would have cooked at least one already! I don't know if they are sweet or not but because they are quite big I don't want to cut one up just yet, until I know what else I can do with the remainder. I mean you can only cook so much pumpkin at one time!

I did a search on pumpkin recipes and there are lots of them. But most of the recipes require you to mash the pumpkins. Err, what's the easiest way to do it? Boil it first before you mash it? I thought about pumpkin tempura, now that is not difficult to do.

If nothing else, I could cut up the pumpkins for the seeds. Roasted and salted pumpkin seeds, now that's something I know I like!

No, I do not want to make Jack O Lanterns out of my pumpkins!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Chicken foot, anyone?

Denice is very fussy about her food. She smells whatever food she does not recognize before she even takes a bite. If the smell is not to her liking, she will refuse to eat it, even if you tell her it is very tasty. If she doesn't like the texture of a food, she will refuse to eat it. Even if the food smells nice or even tastes nice, but the texture does not feel right in her mouth she will spit it out.

But the strange thing is she likes to eat fried fish head!! She will bite and chew whatever part is chewable. In the picture above she is examining a chicken foot. The chicken foot was in a pot of soup, among other things, served at a Chinese restaurant.

She took a small bite and decided she didn't like it. She sure loves soda, candy, bubble gum, frozen yogurt, popsicle, and plain ice cube though!

Duncan and a dog

Dillon, Duncan's cousin, has a very frisky dog. He jumps all over people and really freaked Denice out.

Duncan was happy to play with the dog, and even held the dog leash. For a while at least before the dog dragged him and he fell flat on his face! That was it. The dog had to return to his pen.

I told Dillon not to let Duncan hold the leash because the dog was a lot stronger than he was. And being Duncan, he didn't know how to let go. He thought he was going to be able to control the dog and lead the dog where ever he wanted the dog to go. :-)

Text messaging while driving

When Robert Gillespie looked up from his text message, he saw a freight train. EOM. ("End of message," that is, for non-texters.) Eugene police say Gillespie's car crashed into the side of the Union Pacific freight train about 2 a.m. Tuesday.

When officers arrived, they found him alert and talking, but trapped in the car. They learned about the cell phone and text message as they worked to rescue him.

Gillespie, who had turned 38 the day before, was charged with drunken driving and careless driving, police spokeswoman Kerry Delf said. His injuries were described as not life threatening, and no members of the train crew were hurt.

Full story here.

Text messaging while driving may be hazardous to your health! At least this guy got out of this accident alive. He could very well have been killed by the train!

I don't know what it is with people and their addiction to text messaging. Isn't it a lot simpler to just dial the phone, hey you don't even need to dial anything anymore, just hit the speed dial and let the phone ring? I do not understand the need for text messaging unless of course it is cheaper to send text messages than call? I can understand the case if it involves long distance but to your buddies?

There have been so many cases lately of road accidents where the drivers were distracted because they were text messaging. I don't care if they get hurt in a self accident because they brought it upon themselves but if other innocent road users get hurt because of their distraction, now that is a different story. Isn't it illegal to be text messaging while driving in the first place?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

No Halloween Costumes

Halloween is this Wednesday. I have never celebrated Halloween, and the whole time I have lived in this country, only once have kids knocked at our door for Treat or Trick.

But my kids are old enough now that they are asking for Halloween costumes. After church today we checked out the costumes at the local supermarket. Denice wanted a Princess costume but there wasn't any. There were some animal costumes that could fit them but at the last minute I decided not to get them. We only got a scary looking candy bag for Duncan.

We decided to check the pharmacy next door and see what they had in way of costumes. They were all too big for the kids and we went home with no costume for the kids. I could have bought them the animal costumes but the real reason I didn't get them was I was not prepared to buy them something that they were only going to use once! Heheh, I'm too cheap!

This week is dress up week for the kids. Monday is Hat Day. I didn't see any nice hats except some witches hats. Doug didn't like them seeing that the kids are at a Christian school! On Wednesday they can come to school in their costumes. As in previous years, one or two might come in their costumes, the rest come in their ordinary clothes. Seems like there are other parents like me!

I know this is America and Holloween is a big "holiday" for most people, but I just can't get myself excited about celebrating it. It is not a religious holiday so I don't see the point.

Our church is holding a Harvest Carnival on Wednesday instead of Halloween. There'll be lots of candy, hay ride, free b-b-q, petting zoo and other rides. This is a big celebration organized by my church and it is open to the public. It is a much safer place for kids, and they can get all the candy they want, and have a good time at the same time.

No need for treat or trick-ing.

More Yard Work

The area around the house is now ready for planting the grass. But before any seeding can be done, our sprinkler system needs to be up and running.

Yesterday a guy who does sprinkler work came to the house and he says he'll be able to do the work this week. The sprinkler pipes has already been laid in the ground quite some time ago. Doug had someone come in and do the trenching but he did all the pipe laying himself.

This was about two years ago!

So what this sprinkler guy has to do is locate all the spots where the sprinkler heads will have to go and fit the sprinkler heads at those spots. Once that is done, we'll have to hire another person do the hydro seeding. The sprinkler guy knows someone who can do the work and he's going to recommend this person to us.

Hopefully everything can be done before it gets too cold, and the growth of the seeds affected by the cold. I am really looking to a green lawn instead of weeds.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Small World

Two days ago, I checked my Technorati account to see who has been linking to me at my Pemerindang Puteri blog. I decided to check out the blogs who had linked back to my blog.

One blog was by a strange character who considered herself an activist and was railing against capitalism. Hmm. I don't know what it is about young people who seemed to be infatuated with socialism and found all sorts of evil in capitalism. Has it become trendy to be anti-capitalistic? Or are these young people going through a phase in their lives?

Anyway, my point of this entry: I also followed a link to a blog owned by a university student studying medicine in Yogjakarta, Indonesia of all places. Some of her posts were in Iban and I left a comment on a couple of entries and asked her who her parents were since she mentioned a place where an aunt of mine is from.

I also noticed from her pictures that she looked rather familiar. I thought of a classmate, but I wasn't sure that that classmate could have a daughter of that age. It was possible, I thought.

As it turned out, this young lady was indeed the daughter of my classmate! What a small world indeed! Imagine my former classmate having an adult daughter and I have two 4 year-olds! Haha.

Stuffed Biscuits

I am definitely on a roll! Sardine Puffs, Pig in the blanket, and now stuffed biscuits. :-)

I sauteed ground beef, chopped onions and mashed sweet pototo with 2 teaspoons of curry powder for the filling. I added a little bit of salt and about two tablespoons of sugar into the mix.

The biscuit dough was Pillsbury, and what I did was cut the thickness of the dough into half. I then flattened the two halves and stretched it a bit. Then I put about one tablespoon of filling on one half and place the other half on top and sealed the edges.

Looks good and tastes just as good! I used purple sweet potatoes, hence the dark appearance of the filling. That's not red bean paste! :-)

Two pieces of stuffed biscuits were more than adequate for my dinner!

Pick up hug

Daddy, give me a pick up hug?

Why Duncan? I already gave you a pick up hug just now.

I like pick up hugs. Lots of pick up hugs.

Why do you like pick up hugs, Duncan?

Because I just like it.

This is the dialogue that goes between Daddy and Duncan daily. He sure does love his pick up hugs! Daddy picks him up and gives him a hug in his arms, that's what a pick up hug is.

Sales Training is an online company which serves as a resource center for people wishing to get information on the best places to take plumbing courses. They collect your details, analyse your information and pass your details onto a plumbing training company in your region in the UK. These companies will then contact you regarding the course you are interested in.

Many of the people who successfully completed their plumbing courses have asked to help them with Sales Training . Why shouldn't they be interested in being trained to market themselves and the skills they've worked so hard to achieve? That is what is now expanding into. Anyone wishing to take up sales training courses can now contact them so that they can match you up with the best place that you can take the sales training.

Paper Air Planes

Today Duncan asked me to make a paper air plane for him. Ya, I know how to make paper air planes. I made so many when I was a kid. Duncan gave me a piece of paper and I started folding it. After a couple of folds, err, how does this go again? I turned the paper around, folded the edges, and ... Apparently I have lost my skill!! I do not remember how to make a paper air plane anymore! :-(

This is the internet age, right? You can find anything on the internet. Sure enough there are several sites that teach you how to make paper air planes. I found this paper air plane site based in the UK. It is a very good site, with clear diagrams and video too! You would think with clear diagrams and video tutorials I would be able to make at least one! You thought wrong! Why so "bebal" ("dumb" or close to it in meaning)?

Cobra paper plane top view

Cobra paper plane belly view

I finally found one design that I was able to follow. Only because of the video tutorial! I couldn't make sense out of the diagrams! The design is called Cobra Paper Plane. I think I still have to look at the video again if I were to make another one! :-) It certainly is different from the ones I made as a kid.

Sue them till they are forced to close down!

Planned Parenthood faces criminal charges for aborting late-term, pre-born babies in violation of Kansas state law. Today, Kansas District Attorney Phill Kline filed a 107-count indictment against the abortion group. District Court Judge James Vano found probable cause. The charges are as follows:

23 felony counts of making a false writing
29 misdemeanor counts of performing unlawful late term abortions
27 misdemeanor counts of failure to maintain records
29 misdemeanor counts of failure to determine viability

"Planned Parenthood is accused of falsifying records to cover up numerous violations of state law against aborting late-term babies," said Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America (CWA). "Now we know what Planned Parenthood means by 'privacy' when it refuses to release information on the abortions it commits on pre-born babies -- it is claiming privacy on its own alleged illegal actions."

"Planned Parenthoods around the country receive federal funding, so our tax dollars may be subsidizing this alleged illegal activity. The Department of Health and Human Services should begin an immediate investigation to discover whether other Planned Parenthoods around the country engage in the same type of potentially illegal activities, violating state and federal law."

Judy Smith, State Director of CWA of Kansas said, "We believe that the allegations brought against Planned Parenthood of Overland Park need to be investigated. The people have a right to expect that the laws enacted by their representatives are followed to the letter. As a women's organization, we want to ensure that every woman receives the legally approved medical standard of care on any procedure, including abortion. If this is not happening at Planned Parenthood clinics, women should be able to rely on the law to protect them."

Concerned Women for America is the nation's largest public policy women's organization.


About time. Planned Parenthood receives funding from the government, and I say it is time to end the funding of legalized murder of the the unborn using our taxpayer dollars.

Planned Parenthood uses a large chunk of public funds to lobby for unrestricted access to abortion. I say, now is the time to stop this barbaric practice of abortion on demand.

I am praying for the time where abortion is not a "right". I am praying for the time when the "constitutional right" that was discovered by judges in Rowe v Wade is overturned.


Before I left for dinner last night two of my blogs, this one and Pemerindang Puteri were at Page Rank 3. When I got home from dinner, Google it seemed, had been busy. Both blogs had dropped from Page Rank 3 to 2! I am sooo pissed!

I don't really care about the the PR of my Iban blog because I cannot do any paid post there because it is a non-English blog. But for this blog, I managed to snag a few opps this week that had a PR3 minimum requirement and a 1 million maximum Alexa rank requirement. Now that this blog has dropped one notch, the number of opportunities will be limited.

It seems that my blog is not the only one that got hit. Even the internet mogul himself, John Chow, has his blog's PR drop from 6 to 4. Several fellow Posties are also bemoaning the drop in their blogs' PR. Has Google penalized us because we are doing paid posts? Quite a few blogs that I know of who had zero ranking before this and have not done any paid posts, have gone up to PR 3.

I have three new blogs that are a little less than three months old each. They have all gone up from PR 0 to PR 2, and its not as if there is a lot of traffic going to these blogs! These blogs are not used for paid posts, well except for the odd one or two paid post opportunities that came my way. My hobby blog had a PR 1 but now it is PR 0! :-( Not that it really mattered on this blog! I post quite infrequently on this blog, but I was happy that it even had a PR. Now, nothing. Zip. Zero. Nada.

I wouldn't mind so much or even cared about page ranking if I was just writing for fun. But since I have started writing paid posts, it does affect the potential income from writing paid posts. Pissed, that's what I am!

Further Reading: Digg Favorites Slapped By Google

Friday, October 26, 2007

Benefits of Boiled Peanuts

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. - For lovers of boiled peanuts, there's some good news from the health front. A new study by a group of Huntsville researchers found that boiled peanuts bring out up to four times more chemicals that help protect against disease than raw, dry or oil-roasted nuts.

Lloyd Walker, chair of Alabama A&M University's Department of Food and Animal Sciences who co-authored the study, said these phytochemicals have antioxidant qualities that protect cells against the risk of degenerative diseases, including cancers, diabetes and heart disease.

Full story here.

This is wonderful news because I love boiled peanuts! The last time I had boiled peanuts was a few weeks ago when I bought about 1.5 pounds worth of peanuts at the Galt Flea market. I hope next week on market day, they still have peanuts for sale. Three weeks ago I also found jujubes at the Flea Market, something I'd not had since I left Vietnam more than 10 years ago.

Ok, back to the peanut story. A lot of the time whatever health benefit a food has is almost totally gone by the time it is cooked. Boiled peanuts instead bring out the phytochemicals. Too bad that raw peanuts in the shell are not available all year round. Peanuts are so much better tasting when boiled still in the shell.

I wonder if the raw peanuts that are sold in the packets still have the same benefits? The news story does not say if the boiled peanuts are those that are still in the shells or had the shells removed.


Portland's school-based health centers have not been reporting all illegal sexual activity involving minors as required by law, but they will from now on, city officials said Thursday.

Cumberland County District Attorney Stephanie Anderson questioned the health centers' reporting practices after the Portland School Committee decided last week to offer prescription birth control at the King Middle School health center.

The King Student Health Center has offered comprehensive reproductive health care, including providing condoms and testing for sexually transmitted diseases, since it opened in 2000. The school serves students in grades 6 to 8, ages 11 to 15.

Maine law prohibits having sex with a person under age 14, regardless of the age of the other person involved, Anderson said.

Full story here.
When the story was first reported nobody in the news media brought up the issue of sex with anyone under age 14 was illegal. The public was never informed that a health care provider, at school or in private practice, MUST report known and suspected cases of sex involving persons under 13 to the state's Department of Health and Human Services.

It is clear that in their eagerness to provide birth control to kids, the school board and the health care provider at the school's health center ignored the law and ignored the parents' rights over their children.

I think schools should refrain from providing such services, that is, providing birth control. Some school health centers have taken and expanded patients' privacy rights beyond the scope given to them, especially when they are dealing with minors.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Sardine Puffs

This morning I decided to make sardine puffs after seeing a picture of the sardine rolls that Pat had for breakfast yesterday.

I used one piece of 9" pie crust which I cut into four pieces. I had to trim the edges a bit so they don't look too bad. I rolled the dough from the trimmed edges and was able to make two small skins for the sardine puffs.

This Pillsbury pie crust is really flaky. I like it! I should try making curry puffs using this too.

Good thing I still had one can of sardine in tomato sauce left. I added chopped shallots and chilli into the mashed sardine.

I still don't know how to fold the edges of the puffs properly.

Ta da! Fresh and hot out of the oven! I dusted some beaten egg on the top of the puffs to give it this golden look. I will most certainly try to make curry puffs using Pillsbury pie crust. It saves me time as I don't have to make the crust from scratch! I don't even know where my rolling pin went! :-)

Fires caused by global warming?

Most of you know that I am quite the skeptic when it comes to global warming. A lot of the noise coming from the people who insist that there'll be dire consequences caused by global warming if nothing is done now to stop it, comes from people who don't really know much about the science behind climate change.

Harry Reid, the Senate Majority leader, is one such person. He told reporters, "One reason why we have the fires in California is global warming," emphasizing the need to pass the Democrats' comprehensive energy package. What a shameless way to politicize an already difficult situation faced by folks in southern California because of the fires! If ever there is such ignorance displayed by a politician, here is one.

Forest fires in California is not uncommon. It is a yearly occurrence much like the flu is. This time, the Santa Ana winds, which whip dry air from the desert plateau westwards and downwards into southern California, heating up as they descend, blew at speeds of up to 100 miles per hour. This is nature at its most ferocious. Put fire into the mix, and we get a lethal combination.

The fires are caused by global warming? Don't make me laugh. Senator Reid, realized his idiotic comment and backed away from it when pressed further by reporters.

An Afternoon's Diversion

I took a break from my computer and decided to make some ear-rings. I should have been working on my clients' quilts but making ear-rings for yourself is more fun! :-)

Today I decided to use non-tarnish artistic wire instead of my usual sterling silver. I got tired of looking at the tarnished state of my sterling silver ear-rings! The wire I used is a 22 gauge and it is quite soft. I had to be careful when I did the wire-wrapping. It bends out of shape really easily.

Swarovski crystals and natural pearls. The middle crystals are two toned. Beautiful combination! :-)

Another pair of swarovski crystal ear-rings with a triangle shaped glass bead in the middle for interest.

I made two pairs of these ear-rings. The long bead is made of abalone shell. The small round bead is sterling silver and the blue zircon bicone beads are swarovski crystals. The extra pair I gave to Kathy, my good friend, and the kids' reading tutor.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Dance Videos

I am a huge fan of TV's Dancing with the Stars. I think shows like this has generated a greater interest in ballroom dance. I am sure many of us watching the show wished that we could dance like the contestants. We all realized that almost all the contestants had very little ballroom dance background yet with enough practice and coaching they were able to dance so beautifully and so well.

Not all of us are able to enroll ourselves with a dance studio and receive lessons from professional dance teachers but fortunately for us there are dance videos that we can use to teach ourselves a little bit of ballroom dance. Maybe just enough to not make ourselves look like we have two left feet while on the dance floor?

I'd love to be able to do the salsa, and it doesn't look too difficult a dance. Among the dance videos that has is Learning to Salsa Dance. That sounds just the kind of video I need, don't you think?

2,500 dollar car

Nissan and Renault hope to start selling a car for about 2,500 dollars in India in around 2010 along with their local partner there, chief executive Carlos Ghosn said Wednesday.

"We have already practically decided all the attributes of the car," Ghosn told reporters at the Tokyo Motor Show.

"We have the full intention to do it -- if it's feasible. Hopefully this is going to be 2010 in India," he said.

Ghosn, who heads both Japan's Nissan Motor Co. and its French partner Renault, said he would visit Indian partner Bajaj Auto next week for talks on the car.

Full story here.

Will Proton and Perodua be able to come up with a similar car, a car that many low income Malaysians will be able to afford? Isn't Renault already involved in one of the Malaysian car companies? I don't see why they can't come up with a similar low priced car for sale in Malaysia!

Driving a car is a lot safer than riding a motorcycle. Children being driven to school in cars are a lot safer than being sent to school on a motorcycle. I have seen an adult with two or three kids on his motorcycle. That is definitely not safe!

A thought just came to my mind. If there are cars that cheap available in Malaysia, that means the Mat Rempits can then afford to own cars. Imagine the Mat Rempits menacing other road users in their cars! * shudder*

Tractor Work Part II

The tractor work around the house is going on really well. The work will probably be done by the end of the day. We are only having one acre done, and the back acre left alone for now.

The is the small fenced in area in the back yard. The soil looks like it is ready for planting grass seeds. Before the tractor tilled this area, it was all hard and dry.

This is the east side of our property. Looks good to me! :-)

This is the west side of the front yard. Doug pulled down the old and crumbling fence so that the tractor work can be done that much better around the border. This is actually where Doug and I had planned to build a pond. That project will have to be put on hold for now because we have young children. Young children around a body of water is a lethal combination. The other problem with having a pond right now is the leaves from the eucalyptus trees that lined the west border is only going to clog the pond.

Home improvement involves a lot of work, time and money. :-(

Cartridges for my printer

I need to replace the ink cartridges on my HP Deskjet 895 Cxi. I am happy to note that Cartridge Finder has made it easy for me to find the right cartridges for my printer. All I had to do was enter the brand name of my printer and then select the model. I was able to choose between two vendors who offered the best prices including shipping. What a convenient way to shop!


What is a pergola? [ Frankensteina wants to know. :-) ]

A pergola is a garden structure with an open wooden-framed roof, often latticed, supported by regularly spaced posts or columns. The structure, often covered by climbing plants such as vines or roses, shades a walk or passageway.

This is the pergola that we built on the west side of our house. It is a shade structure but not to give shade to a walk or passageway. It is a stand alone structure.

We had it fenced in because we wanted it to be a privates space. Eventually that is where our hot tub is going to be. Usually you do not put a roof on the pergola but we are going to put a clear roof over ours. With a permanent roof on it, we'll be able to keep the area under it relatively dry. We'll be able to install some ceiling fans and light fixtures on the ceiling too. I hope to make it a tropical paradise. :-)

Doug needs to order the clear roofing that he wants to put over the top. We've been to Home Depot, Lowe's, and Meeks, and none of them carries the kind of roofing that Doug wants. That is why the pergola is what it is now. Near completion, and not ready for what we want to do with it.

We are planning to build another pergola in the center of our backyard. I hope to be able to plant some creeping plants on that one. Wisteria would be nice but it takes a long time to grow. I thought about morning glory or grape vines. We'll decide once that structure is built.

This is Noel. He is a professional in the construction business. He built the pergola for us. This picture is of him building the pergola at Kathy's house. I did not take any pictures of him building our pergola. Richard (Kathy's husband) is a lot better at documenting the pergola that he had built in his back yard.

This is Kathy and Richard's pergola that Noel built. Our pergola was the guinea pig because it was the first that Noel ever built. This pergola is similar to the one we have.

Right now we have someone do some tractor work around the house. Once the grass is planted and established then we can think about building the next pergola.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Plan to limit access to the pill

A Portland School Committee member wants to give parents the power to keep their children from participating in a controversial new plan to make prescription birth control available to students at King Middle School.

Benjamin Meiklejohn submitted a resolution Monday, to be considered by the committee on Nov. 7. The proposal would give parents the option to block access to prescription contraception if they enroll their children in the King Student Health Center.

Meiklejohn's proposal also would limit access to prescription contraception such as "the pill" and "the patch" to students who are at least 14 years old.

Full story here.

At least one parent is not going to roll over and flow with the punches regarding the decision made by the school board!

I don't know how successful this parent will be because according to that same news two of the Committee members on the school board who voted for the middle school girls to have access to the pill are not going to vote to reduce that access.

I am still incredulous that the school Committee can make decisions affecting minors without the consent and knowledge of the parents.

As one commenter to this whole business has said, "School Vouchers". If school vouchers were as readily available as the pill and condoms, a lot more parents would choose to take their kids out of such schools which don't seem to care about parental rights over their own kids.

If the School Committee succeeds in keeping their previous decision, I think parents who disagree with that decision should take the school board to court. Parents should never allow their rights to be usurped by a group of people on the school board.

Some Tractor Work

Today we have a guy with a tractor come out to our home and do some tractor work on our property.

This year we are really, I mean REALLY, going to start planting the grass in the front and back yards. In California autumn is the best time to plant grass because it is cooler and with the rains in the fall and winter, the grass seeds will grow quite well.

The guy with the tractor is going to till the land, and bury all the large holes that Doug has dug all over the property, and level whatever low spots on the property. We've had a few tractor work done around the property in the past, but hopefully this time it will be the last.

We are not going to attempt to plant the grass ourselves. We'll hire some yard maintenance company to do it. Doug has already laid out all the sprinkler pipes in the ground so once the grass seeds are already planted, they'll get all the necessary watering they need.

We'll also have to hire someone to put up fences in the back acre so we can keep the geese there. Won't do us much good, eh, if the geese starts feeding on the new grass growth!

Monday, October 22, 2007

California Burning

Does it seem like California is burning? CNN is reporting that 250,000 have fled the raging fires in San Diego. My neighbors just moved to San Diego a few weeks ago. I hope the fires are no where near the neighborhood they have just moved to. It would be terrible if it did! :-(

Malibu is suffering the same fate as San Diego. Modest homes, mansions and churches have not been spared. Governor Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency throughout seven counties in Southern California on Sunday.

Sometimes you have to wonder if the fires were not intentionally started by arsonists. Whenever the Santa Ana winds start blowing, fires seem to be the order of the day. California, at least in northern California where I live, has a lot more rain this year than it did this time of the year last year or in previous years. Whatever dampness that was present in the areas is as good as dry tinder, the way the fires are going.

If indeed the fires were caused by arson, and if any of these arsonists is caught, he or she should be put away for life. A pyromaniac like that should never be left to run around because he will do his evil deed again and again. Nature herself is the source of many fires, she does not need Man to help her.

I am sorry that many have lost their homes in these fires. I think it is terrible to lose everything you own. Yes, homes may be rebuilt, and possessions may be accumulated again, still it is traumatic to lose every earthly possession you've got.

I will have to re-assure my parents back in Malaysia that the fires are no where near where we live. Every time there's a tornado, a flood, or a fire, they get anxious.

Tri Tip Dinner

Last Saturday evening, Doug and I attended a fund raising Tri Tip Dinner organized by the local Kiwanis chapter. The primary statement that defines the Kiwanis is "changing the world, one child and one community at a time". The Kiwanis are similar to the Lions, in that it is an international organization of volunteers serving the community.

Our dinner tickets for the function were paid for by the Lions Club. The Lions Club, of which we are members, needed someone or two to represent the Club at the Kiwanis function. That was how Doug and I got to attend the Tri Tip Dinner. Even though the dinner was paid for, we still had to pay about the same amount as the ticket prices in baby sitting service! :-)

Throughout that dinner, I felt cold. There was no heating there because the function was held in a big barn out in the country in a small town called Herald, which actually borders the city of Galt. That Saturday, there was quite a breeze and even though I put on my denim jacket over my sleeveless top and light long sleeved sweater, I still felt cold. I was wearing a pair of slippers, which I regretted because my feet felt really cold. :-(

We didn't know anybody there except for Jim and Margaret who had bought tickets to the dinner. Jim and Margaret are also Lions and if it weren't for their presence, that Saturday night dinner would have been one boring affair for me! There was some country dancing but nobody there really knew much about country dancing. Good thing the emcee gave good instructions on what to do! Doug and I did not hit the floor. Nah. I was too cold. Heheh.

The only saving grace of that dinner function was the tri tip. The tri tip served was not bad. I went for second helpings! :-)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Jindal All the Way!

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Republican Rep. Bobby Jindal was elected governor of Louisiana on Saturday to become the first Indian-American to lead a U.S. state.

With most of the precincts counted, Jindal, 36, had 54 percent of the vote to win without a runoff in Louisiana's electoral system, where candidates of all parties run in a single primary.

Full Reuters story here.

Congratulations to Bobby Jindal! I am not Indian but as a fellow Asian, I think Bobby Jindal's victory is a huge triumph. No longer will the likes of Mrs Clinton's and Joseph Biden's stereotyping of Indians be tolerated.

If not for Kathleen Blanco's dirty final campaign tactics in the last gubernatorial elections, Bobby Jindal would have been running for re-election this time around. And who knows how differently Hurricane Katrina and Rita would have been handled in Louisiana?

With this win, Bobby Jindal, at 36 is the country's youngest ever elected governor. I have no doubt that Jindal will be a very good governor for Louisiana. I hope he keeps his promise of ending corruption and of getting rid of those feeding from the "public trough". About time.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Too much support for kids may not be good

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Moms and dads who both offer lots of support and reassurance when their young children express negative emotions may not be doing them a favor, new research shows.

Studies in four- and five-year-olds found that the children whose parents reacted with differing levels of support to their emotional setbacks were actually more emotionally mature and handled conflict better, Dr. Nancy L. McElwain of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her colleagues found.

"It's good to give your child some support, but also at the same time some space to manage the problem," McElwain told Reuters Health.

Read the full story here.

I could have told them that without them having to conduct this study! The school of hard knocks is the best teacher for any kid! :-)

Of course I am not saying parents should not encourage their children or give them the support they need, but the reality is children like adults need to learn to depend on themselves sometime and learn from whatever difficulty they think they may be facing.

Children need to know that they are not always totally helpless, that they too are endowed with a strength that need to be honed by hard circumstances.

In praising and giving our children the emotional support they need, balance is the key. I think as adults we know, if we have learned from our personal experiences, what the right balance is.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Send Your Panties!

BANGKOK, Thailand (AP) — Women in several countries have begun sending their panties to Myanmar embassies in a culturally insulting gesture of protest against the recent brutal crackdown there, a campaign supporter said Friday.

"It's an extremely strong message in Burmese and in all Southeast Asian culture," said Liz Hilton, who supports an activist group that launched the "Panties for Peace" drive earlier this week.

The group, Lanna Action for Burma, says the country's superstitious generals, especially junta leader Gen. Than Shwe, also believe that contact with women's underwear saps them of power.

To widespread international condemnation, the military in Myanmar, also known as Burma, crushed mass anti-regime demonstrations recently and continues to hunt down and imprison those who took part.

Hilton said women in Thailand, Australia, Singapore, England and other European countries have started sending or delivering their underwear to Myanmar missions following informal coordination among activist organizations and individuals.

"You can post, deliver or fling your panties at the closest Burmese Embassy any day from today. Send early, send often!" the Lanna Action for Burma Web site urges.

"So far we have had no response from Burmese officials," Hilton said.

Source: AP

I hope the panties they send are stinky ones, unwashed ones! Show those generals how despised they are! Let those panties sap their power!

You know what, if there was a Burmese embassy near where I lived, I would go there and throw my panties at it too.

The people of Burma have been under the yoke of the military junta for too long. People in other Asian countries are slowly coming out of poverty but in Burma many people are just concentrating on survival. But not for the generals though. They live secluded in their luxury villas in Naypyidaw, cut off from the squalor of Rangoon and other towns.

I say down with the military junta and support the democracy movement. I'd like to support the democracy movement but how do we get our voices heard? There have been protest marches against the recent military crackdown, and signed petitions were sent to international leaders to pressure the Burmese government.

That's a start because last week a senior general offered to meet pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

Keep those pressures on Burma's military leaders and hopefully things will begin to change for the better in Burma.

Further Reading: Q&A: Protests in Burma | Free Burma Coalition

A no no

The day before I found this note stapled to an envelope on Duncan's page of the sign in/out book at my kids' preschool. I immediately suspected what was inside because the previous morning, he had one of those items in his hands. I had told him not bring it to school because it was possible that those items were not allowed. But Duncan said, "Me put it in my pocket. Me not let Teacher see it. " Yeah, right. So it wasn't much of a surprise when I saw the note and envelope in the sign in/out book at the end of the following day.

Yes, he brought two small spent shells to school. I thought he only had one. The shells were only about half an inch long. They were the spent shells that Duncan collected after our target shooting outing recently. According to the teacher, he was proudly showing the shells to the kids in school.

Duncan had wanted to bring a few of his toy guns to school previously. Toy guns are absolutely banned from school. In some schools, kids are not even allowed to put their fingers in a gun pointing position and point them at someone. They could get suspended just for doing that. Definitely no cops and robbers games allowed at school.

Empty shells are harmless, but since schools are paranoid about guns, I better make sure such incidents never happen again! :-)

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Update: School OKs Contraceptives to Middle School Girls

PORTLAND, Maine - After an outbreak of pregnancies among middle school girls, education officials in this city have decided to allow one school's health center to make birth control pills available to girls as young as 11.

King Middle School will become the first middle school in Maine to make a full range of contraception available, including birth control pills, patches and condoms. There are no national figures on how many middle schools provide such services. Most middle schoolers range in age from 11 to 13.

"It's very rare that middle schools do this," said Divya Mohan, a spokeswoman for the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care.

Read the rest of the story here.

Is this unbelievable or what? King Middle School is the first school in Maine. What about other middle schools in the country? I'm sure there are others doing what this Maine school is doing.

One of the school committee members, Sarah Thompson who has an eighth grader, said she supported the policy even though it made her feel "uncomfortable". What a cope out! She said she had done her parental duty, because there may be a time when her daughter will feel comfortable coming to her. What?! That is a fine example of abdicating your parental role to the school. How much more of her parental responsibilities is she willing to give up to the school?

What the adults who supported this policy are saying is that they are not encouraging the kids to have sex by offering them the contraceptive pills but for them to be careful and not get pregnant.

This is what I heard on the Dennis Prager show this morning. It is like a wife telling her husband who is about to go on a business trip. Ok, here's the condom. I know you are not going to have sex, but I want you to be safe.

You understand what that means? *Grinding my teeth and frothing at the mouth.*

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Contraceptives for 11 to 13 year olds

A middle school in Portland, Maine is considering giving birth control pills to middle school students.

Students at King Middle School in Portland, Maine can already get condoms from their school and now the school committee is considering letting them get birth control pills as well.

The average age of a middle school student is 11 to 13 years-old. King Middle School would be the first middle school in the state of Maine to provide birth control pills.

Children need their parents’ consent to be treated at the school’s health center, but the kids do not have to tell their parents the reason they are being treated. The identities of the children receiving birth control pills would be kept confidential.

According to the State of Maine, 13% of middle school students are sexually active.


Sex happens. Because of that young girls should be given birth control pills to prevent unwanted pregnancies. What is wrong with this scenario?!

In the first place why are 11 to 13 year-old kids having sex? Where are the parents? Aren't they watching what their children are doing?

Why is it the school's business to give out birth control pills to 11 to 13 year-old girls? It is just unbelievable that the school is bypassing parents and giving out these pills behind the parents' back! Why is it ok to give out birth control pills without the parents' consent yet it is not ok to even give tylenol, a harmless pain killer, to kids without the parents' permission?

I am practically frothing at the mouth at what is going on here! Just because sex happens, is there no reason to teach children to abstain from sex until they are adults? Don't these adults who are proponents of giving kids the pill care what the possible long term effects of taking pills this early in one's life?

What adult believes that kids that take the pill is going to be effective in preventing pregnancy? These pills have to be taken daily, and consistently. Kids keeping a routine without being told? Don't make me laugh! Getting pregnant is only one of the problems that these sexually active children will have to face. What about sexually transmitted diseases? What about contracting HPV that can lead to cervical cancer? Is the school going to make it mandatory for girls to take the HPV vaccine next?

Parents, wake up, and take back the control over your young daughters' lives instead of giving it to the school or some government beauracracy by default!

Kids are Great!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Laughter Yoga?

When you think about yoga what comes to your mind? Meditation. Contortionist-like positions. Those are two things that come to MY mind. But laughter?

Today, as I was browsing the titles of some of the videos on google video, I came across Laughter Yoga. Laughter Yoga was started by Dr Madan and Madhuri Kataria. We all know that laughter is the best medicine, right? Normally we don't laugh for no reason. If we did, people would think we were crazy! We laugh because there is something funny that makes us laugh.

But in the Laughter Yoga class, participants do not need any reason to laugh. I watched a video of one of the Laughter Yoga classes. Just watching at the participants laugh was enough to make me laugh along with them. :-) In fact I am still laughing as I write this because the video I just watched is still very fresh in my mind. Yes, laughter is very contagious!

I didn't realize that Laughter Yoga is a serious business, not a laughing matter in fact. Dr Kataria is so serious about spreading the laughter movement that he is even conducting Certified Laughter Yoga Teacher training courses. You know what, I know I can do this course, and pass with flying colors, unlike the OTHER yoga where I have to contort my body to an impossible position! Haha.

According to Laughter Yoga, laughing exercises need to be combined with yoga breathing to give you the health benefits of hearty laughter. How does laughter benefit our well-being? When we laugh our bodies release a cocktail of hormones & chemicals that have startling positive effects on our system. Stress is reduced, blood pressure drops, depression is lifted, your immune system is boosted & more. Western science is just starting to discover the great effects of laughter. (Source:

Laughter Club, Sydney Australia. Picture Credit:

People are forming laughter clubs all over the world, maybe you and I should join one if we can find a club to join, or form one ourselves! Heheh. But I guess before we can call it a Laughter Yoga club, we ought to get ourselves certified first.

There's a whole list of Laughter Yoga videos on YouTube. If you want to feel good today maybe you should watch one or two of the videos. I can guarantee that you will laugh along with them .. no need for any reason to laugh. :-)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Is that an image of Pope John Paul II?

This fiery figure is being hailed as Pope John Paul II making an appearance beyond the grave.

The image, said by believers to show the Holy Father with his right hand raised in blessing, was spotted during a ceremony in Poland to mark the second anniversary of his death.

Source: Daily Mail

What do you think? I don't know what to think but Catholics do seem to find a lot of images of saints, Jesus and of the Virgin Mary in a lot of things from the grain of a bathroom door, tortilla and even on the side of a soybean oil tank. It is interesting though to speculate that the image in the flames is that of the late Pope John Paul II.

I am not Catholic so I don't normally want to read much into such images. But the Vatican seems to be taking the existence of that image seriously and believes that the image is indeed that of Pope John Paul II. I am sure that the image is only going to help advance the process of sainthood for the late Pope. I am also sure there are many that would consider that a miracle, proof that the Pope was a true servant of God, deserving of sainthood.

I am quite surprised to learn that the Roman Catholic Church, approves and disapproves of apparitions of Jesus and Mary. I found a whole list of Catholic apparitions on a website and on each apparition you can see whether it has been approved or disapproved by the Church.

Whatever you might believe, the figure in the flames does look a lot like the silhouette of Pope John Paul II!


It has been two weeks or so since my kids started with their reading lessons with Kathy. In that short time I have seen marked improvements in their letter and number recognition. I am grateful that Kathy is willing to do this tutoring for me. Like I said before, I am not patient enough to do the job. Kathy is a trained early childhood educator and has many years of teaching experience and, as far as I am concerned, she is doing a far better job than I will ever hope to do.

Denice can even write her own name now, and to me that is a major improvement because just two weeks or so ago she was unable to do it. She still needs to work on keeping the sizes of the letters at about the same size.

I don't think you'll have any trouble recoginizing "Denice" in that handwriting.

Duncan can sort of write his name. His C is sometimes facing the wrong way and sometimes his U and N look very much alike! :-) Sometimes the letters are put in the right order, sometimes they are not in the right order. But you can sort of see all the letters in his name. It is a major improvement though, because 2 weeks or so ago he wasn't even holding his pencil right, what more to say put the letters together to form his name!

Can you make out Duncan's name?

Kathy's tutoring is worth every penny I'm paying her! :-)