Aspen's maternal grandmother, affectionally referred to as 'Nanna' by her grandchildren passed away today, succombing to a year long battle with cancer that was, unfortunately, discovered too late.
Nanna was a loving grandmother who always looked out for her grandchildren's best interest, even if that went against what her children thought were in their best interest.

Though she had not technically been my mother-in-law for several years, my divorce from her daughter had essentially no impact on how welcome I felt in her home during the holidays or any other time.

Nanna, until health issues arose, was a big help with watching Aspen on days when I had to work and there was no school. She wore a warm smile and kind heart for all to see.

I remember the first thing she taught me as I joined the family and was being introduced to the south and it's 'ways'... It was permissable to speak ill of someone behind their back as long as you said 'god bless them' immediately after saying their name.

i.e. "You know, Beth, god bless her, couldn't boil water let alone make a cake."

I have used that 'etiquette' religiously ever since.

Aspen took the news today well. She knew it was coming and we were able to visit her this last Sunday, fortunately while she was still aware of those around her.

She will be missed by all those who knew her.

Heaven is a bit richer today with her presence.
Goodbye Nanna, you are loved.



Daddy failed miserably at the hair this year for the class pics. I don't know if I'm losing my touch in my older years or what but after 15 minutes of goop, blow drying, spray in conditioner, rinsing, gel, 'froofing', repeating, 'primping' and combing we ended up going with the 'daddy must have done your hair today' look.
I think I pulled it off rather well.




Matt Lauer interviewed Disgraced Senator Craig this week which aired on NBC Tuesday night.

While daring to ask Senator craig if admitting that being gay would be 'an awful thing to have to admit', Senator craig responded carefully "It is a lifestyle that I do not agree with."

Assuming just for a moment that Senator Craig really is perfectly stright and the Minneapolis airport bathroom incident really was just a bizarre misunderstood interaction, I want to call the good Senator out (since Matt Lauer didn't do his job effectievly) on what he means by '(gay) lifestyle'.

Homosexuals, tolerant heterosexuals as well, are getting pretty tired of this illigitimate term being used by intolerant bigots and not being called out on it.

There is no such thing as a 'gay lifestyle'!

I challenge anybody to name 2 things that constitute a 'gay lifestyle'. Likewise, I throw down the gauntlet for someone to describe an all inclusive 'heterosexual lifestyle'.

'Having sex with someone of the opposite sex' (something not even all heterosexuals are lucky enough to partake in) hardly constitutes a 'lifestyle'.

There is not one single lifestyle practice into which one can categorize every homosexual or heterosexual!

Hence, no 'lifestyle'.

If Senator Craig wants to be fair and accurate (assuming he won't start with being honest and open about his bisexual practices) then he (and all other closed minded bigots) can say they don't agree with the practice of 'same sex sex' and leave it at that.

And Mr. Lauer, I have the same advice for you that I have for President Bush: Do Your Damn Homework!


A CRITICAL MISCONCEPTION (aka: the irony continues)

I want to back off the previous post just a tad (just a wee bit mind you). I was rather impressed with President Bush's public praise for The Dalai Lama yesterday at The Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony. His bringing to front stage China's childish and short sighted stance of deeming The Dalai Lama an agitator and separatist, I felt, was a difficult yet morally and politically proper, if not courageous, moment of his tenure.
I did care to bring up one tiny inaccuracy regarding his introduction to the Buddhist leader however. A phrase used to describe him that probably went unnoticed and certainly unchallenged by nearly everyone in attendance.

President Bush referred to The Dalai Lama as 'a man of faith'.

Of course, such a description immediately caught my attention and began to make my blood boil, not unlike a majority of what Bush says in public.

Faith is defined as "To believe without reason; Believing impulsively, or believing based upon social traditions or personal hopes" also "a belief in one or more deities".

I want to call this misstatement about The Dalai Lama, and subsequently Buddhism in general, out so as not to perpetuate such a myth.

Buddhism is not a religion. Seeing that Buddhism does not discuss in the least bit even the conception of 'god' (a prerequisite for a 'religion'), it is not a theism. It holds no stance what-so-ever regarding the existence of god. No more so than does the commonly repeated 'golden rule' (also often misapplied as a 'verse').

Buddhism has nothing to do with faith. In fact, quite the opposite. What stands Buddhism apart from 'religion' is the fact that it dissects faith and actually holds it as a potentially dangerous and debilitating practice.

Buddha himself went so far as to say, repeatedly, that not one of his followers should take any of his teachings as truth without first putting his teachings into practice and seeing first hand for themselves if they hold them to be true on their own accord. Something no 'religion' does.

Buddhism is contra-faith, to make up a word (presidential candidate Stephen Colbert can make up the word 'truthiness' then I can take creative license too! - Colbert '08!). To believe in something without reason or evidence is illogical.

Anyway, the gist of this post is to point out that in trying to compliment His Holiness by referring to him as a 'man of faith' President Bush in fact described him with words that are in complete contrast to who he really is and what he stands for. That President Bush is blissfully unaware of this dichotomy is perhaps more troubling than the inaccurate description in the first place. It certainly shows he, nor his advisers or speech writers (if applicable in this case) did any true homework into the person that was receiving the highest award given to a civilian by the U.S. government.




The Dalai Lama is in D.C. this week to receive the Congressional Gold Medal.

Yesterday he met with President Bush. The White House quickly announced that it would not release an official photo of the meeting.

It is presumed that the decision was made because they wanted to avoid upsetting China as much as possible. (China denounces all meetings between the Dalai Lama and any head of state because they view him as an enemy of the state, an agitator and a separatist).

You see, China invaded the sovereign country of Tibet in 1950 and The Dalai Lama (Tibet's leader) escaped capture and went into exile in India where his primary residence remains today. Throughout his life he has fought peacefully for the return of his country and freedom for his exploited people. He has insisted on using only diplomatic methods to achieve these goals. In 1989 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his non-violent practices and for refusing to take up arms against China, the naked aggressor of his country.

So I find it just a tad ironic (just a wee bit, mind you) that President Bush, a man who can be held directly responsible for breaking international law and the cause of death of 3000+ plus of his countrymen, wants to avoid being associated with a man who has dedicated his life to peaceful resistance of naked aggression.

Certainly Bush doesn't want to taint his reputation any further. He must be mindful of with whom he is seen publicly. He needs to stay close with Dick Cheney and others who fabricated blatant untruths of Iraq's WMD status in order to justify invading the country and toppling it's government.

Since The White House refused to release a photo of the meeting (in order to appease the government of the occupying country) I decided to release this one.

I think it is much more appropriate and makes much more sense in the grand scheme of things.




He nearly snuffed himself because only the hottest chick in Hollywood broke his heart (she sensed I was out there somewhere).
Help him feel better and see his new flick.
Think of all the laughs he's given us afterall!

And click on that thing above by the way. It's fricken cool! But damn it all if it doesn't come out here till Oct. 26!



Yesterday Aspen had riding lessons. As her trail ride came to an end and her group emerged from the dense woods I sensed something not right about the overall vibe. Quickly I learned that the horse behind Aspen's had bucked up (that means standing on it's front legs and kicking - reared up means standing on it's back legs - who knew?) and kicked at the horse behind it (for following too close one would surmise). Unfortunately, the horse ended up kicking the leg of the 9 yr old girl riding the horse.

That girl arrived out of the woods a few minutes later still on the horse but in obvious pain. As they took the girl off the horse her blood soaked jean leg attracted everyone's attention. She had a pretty good compound fracture of her right tibia. It was not a pretty sight.

Aspen was worried for the girl and the horse (she had heard that if a horse ever broke a leg it had to be put down. I had to clarify that a horse had to break it's own leg in order for it to be put down, not someone else's leg).