Month: December 2006

  • Mercy Maud, is it New Year's Eve already?

    Unbelievable.  Surely it hasn't been almost a year since Charles signed up for the Navy, preparing to leave the end of January.

    Apparently that's how long it's been, though, and Mom had the annual New Year's Eve party to prove it.  A lovely party, except Jonathan wasn't feeling well so he didn't come, Jessica's working, and Justin and Jill are in Bowie at her mother's house.  Fortunately the family's large enough that even with those absentees there was a pleasant turnout, including Alex, Beth and Hannah making a webcam visit, to the delight of those present:

    Dec06 333sm

    Okay, Dmitry was amusing himself with either his phone or the Nintendo DS, but the ones in back clearly show where the computer was, don't they? 

    Dec06 337sm

    Dad and Meredith chatting with Alex.  Meredith would leave periodically but then, like a comet, she'd show up again.  She spent a fair amount of time visiting both with Aunt Jeanne and Alex:

    Dec06 345sm

    Dec06 346sm

    Isn't she a poppet?  As is her cousin, Hannah:

    Dec06 350sm

    Hannah's an artistic li'l critter; here's a fingerpainting she did:

    Dec06 353sm

    I'm going to print it out and hang it up with the other children's pictures. 

  • BBC is an entertaining site. ;^)

    It gets the cool stories, and no mistake, such as this one:  
    Parrot's oratory stuns scientists

    The finding of a parrot with an almost unparalleled power to communicate with people has brought scientists up short.

    The bird, a captive African grey called N'kisi, has a vocabulary of 950 words, and shows signs of a sense of humour.

    He invents his own words and phrases if he is confronted
    with novel ideas with which his existing repertoire cannot cope - just
    as a human child would do.


    He uses words in context, with past, present and future tenses, and is often inventive.

    One N'kisi-ism was "flied" for "flew", and another
    "pretty smell medicine" to describe the aromatherapy oils used by his
    owner, an artist based in New York.

    When he first met Dr Jane Goodall, the renowned
    chimpanzee expert, after seeing her in a picture with apes, N'kisi
    said: "Got a chimp?"

    He appears to fancy himself as a humourist. When another parrot hung
    upside down from its perch, he commented: "You got to put this bird on
    the camera."


  • Well, ain't this a kick in the head?

    From BBC comes a startling claim:
    Housework cuts breast cancer risk

    Women who exercise by doing the housework can reduce their risk of breast cancer, a study suggests.

    The research on more than 200,000 women from nine
    European countries found doing household chores was far more cancer
    protective than playing sport.

    Dusting, mopping and vacuuming was also better than having a physical job.

    The women in the Cancer Research UK-funded study spent
    an average of 16 to 17 hours a week cooking, cleaning and doing the


    The latest study looked at both pre- and post-menopausal women and a range of activities, including work, leisure and housework.

    All forms of physical activity combined reduced the breast cancer risk
    in post-menopausal women, but had no obvious effect in pre-menopausal

    Out of all of the activities, only housework
    significantly reduced the risk of both pre- and post-menopausal women
    getting the disease.

    Housework cut breast cancer risk by 30% among the pre-menopausal women and 20% among the post-menopausal women.

    Well, dang.

    And here's another "well, dang".....Charles called this morning and we missed it! Hadn't yet hauled our carcasses out of bed, and don't have the telephone ringer turned on in the bedroom (a habit born back when the girls were teenagers with friends who would call in the middle of the night). He's in Cyprus, and said he'd call back "shortly", an adverb of indeterminate meaning.

    EDIT: He called!

    He's in Limassol, having arrived there yesterday:


    So far there's been no liberty, and they shan't be there long.  It looks to be a beautiful city, though, so I hope he has a chance to visit it:


    This is the first time a U.S. sub's been at that port in eight years, he says.

  • Setting aside the question of whether or not the late President Ford
    was an important president or not, I think suspending mail service on
    January 2 in his honor - so that there's no mail delivered on Sunday,
    Monday or Tuesday - is
    unreasonable.  Three consecutive days of no mail?  Two in a row is
    common as mud, but I can't recall the last time there was no mail for three days in a row.

  • Duet from the Russian Jazz festival...

    Someone made a video of the band's lead singer (who was supposed to sing "Baby, It's Cold Outside" at the holiday concert only his uncle suddenly died so he had to leave) and a Russian singer performing "New York, New York." About 1:45 into it Alex can be seen standing (no tuba in this piece, apparently....hmph! their loss) over to the far right.

  • Tornadoes in December! Whatever next?

    What crazy weather!  

    We've had tornado sirens going off and everything.  Some poor person died down in Grosbeck (sp?) around Waco, with a dozen injured.

    Wow....they've evacuated DFW airport. 

  • Just call him 'Fireman Ivy'. ;^)

    Charles emailed, saying he's now an official E-3!    e-yippee

    Just one rank behind Alex, as he pointed out.  

    Alexander, how's the studying for the E-5 coming along?  e-nogood

    They should be pulling into an unspecified but 'pretty fun' port before long, only he has "duty on the worst possible day".  Presumably that'd be either New Year's Eve or New Year's Day.

  • Well, THAT was weird!

    I went to reply to the comments on the Navy uniform post and when I did, the comments disappeared.  

    Eleanor, Kelly, Jane....I did NOT delete your comments.  They vanished all by themselves like they'd been posted in invisible ink or pixels.

    ISTM this happened once before.  If there was a 'delete all comments' link to be accidentally clicked I could understand it, but there's not.  e-headscratch

  • Okay, this is the sort of thing only the mother...

    ...of a couple of sailors would find of interest, but I am, so it is.  I mean, I do.  Whatever.

    In 2007 the standard Navy uniforms will be changed to these; here's the work uniform:


    The sleeves roll up for warm weather.  Buttons are hidden.  And the new service uniform:


    The ultra-traditional enlisted man's dress whites (the uniform Charles
    wore when he arrived home last August) are to remain unchanged, I

    BTW, the uniform allowance will be increased next year because of the
    switchover.  I daresay Alex and Charles will be relieved to learn that
    (of course, they doubtless have already seen and heard this info).

    Tell you what I'm unclear about, though, and that's when the service uniform is worn.