Carnival of Family Life #50

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:27 pm

  Welcome to the 50th Carnival of Family Life!

CFL50 iconSome days I want to change the world and other days I love to sit back & enjoy it the way it is. Kailani’s carnival is definately for enjoying.

Speaking of enjoying, I’d like to say how much I enjoyed Lil Duck Duck’s hosting of the Carnival of Family Life last week.  This too.


Kailani presents A New Competitive Sport posted at An Island Life. (I really did think that adding Kailani’s link for this crowd was silly, but in case someone doesn’t have it handy.)

Some of the very best blogs this week were reflections on sadness. Was it the gray weather? Tax time? Just don’t miss them.

Jeremy at Daddy Dialectic remembers the impact Kurt Vonnegut had on his life, with some interesting thoughts on the value of sadness.

Sadness as a spice as you move through life’s stages, from Hueina Su My Little Thomas the Tank Engine posted at Echoes of Cold Moon.

TherapyDoc at Everyone Needs Therapy hit all the holiday hotspots in her story that puts everything in perspective.

Much as I loved reading everyone’s blogs, Karen’s entry was a very welcome break – The Piano Concerto posted at Karen Shanley: Author Mom with Dogs.

This next story has one of my favorite characteristics in the Carnival of Family Life submissions – it revolves around action that could have been based on my day or any of my friend’s, yet it was heart-warming. Then I got to DeputyHeadmistress’s comment on the awful thing she had done that had guilted her into posting such a nice piece – I had to laugh. Please enjoy On His Day Off posted at The Common Room.

Ready for Spring? – Lill is – Local Color posted at News from Hawkhill Acres.

Mom & Dad present Easter Dinner With a Two Year Old posted at Raising 4 Boys.

Another theme this week – old fashioned toys: muse presents Old Fashioned Fun! posted at me-ander.

A very happy day from a very serious site. Congratulations to Megan and Paul. Wedding in the Rainforest posted at Child Protection: Serious Business..

A touching account of FridaysChild’s parent’s love inspired by their 50th wedding aniversary at her very colorful website . She has the added distinction of being the first submission this week – of course, if I ever am first, you can be pretty sure I was hoping to be in the last one.

A little venting from Julee at HomeSchoolDaze on strangers brings out an hysterical comment.

T Minus Five Months captures all the sadness, guilt and fear involved as your child moves to the next stage. Really great if you’re on the far side of the transition – you get to say, “I remember feeling that but the new stage was so much better.” From Lena at Cheeky Lotus. (Actually a quote in Jordan’s submission under advice makes my point so much better.)

A typical stress day with kids and what makes it all worthwhile from Csara at Baby Talkers.

Okay. I thought I was too busy for stories this week (after all I was editing this) but the drama last night demanded one. Enjoy 10-yr-old Techie Ghost Stories.


Is it payback time? from ManicMama . It reminds me of the glee in my mother’s voice as she spoke of the coming payback on the birth of my first daughter. She was thinking of the time I decorated the wall above the crib with the contents of my diaper. My mother’s reaction at the time is probably responsible for my utter lack of any subsequent artistic talent.

Pregnancy-stupidity, pre-menopausal-stupidity, post-menopausal-stupidity, senior-moment-stupidity, what-ever … Sherry at Chaos Theory nails it and we all hope it will go away. (I was giggling so much while reading some of her antics that my husband needed to know why – as I read them out he wanted to know why she was writing about me.)

The Expatriate’s Kitchen: Taute Cuisine 6: Battle Orange Continues was a toss-up between food (the sweet potato gratin looks really good) and humor. You know if Expat Chef ‘s tag-line is “wit as sharp as his 10-inch culinary knife” he has to be able to pull it off – though in my house I give small children knives so they don’t hurt themselves on dangerous things in the kitchen . . . Never did work out that honing stone stuff. It’s posted at The Expatriate’s Kitchen.

Madeleine Begun Kane presents A Doggone Limerick posted at Mad Kane’s Humor Blog. And just because I like her limericks and in honor of the day, don’t miss Yet Another Tax Filing Limerick .

Somehow I think Karen missed her opportunity to be a star of Youtube –Doctor, Heal Thyself posted at PediaScribe Blog.

Your Health

Dr. Alex at RDoctor.com had a very interesting and challenging site with a submission on Cesarean Section with an accompanying quiz.

Finally, the secret to diet sucess at Karen’s blog Live the Power . (Not to be a spoiler, but does this mean if I really believe in the chocolate diet I’ll lose weight?) It’s also a very nice reflection on the little things we do to make our extended family happy.


For the definitive word on grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches and the best 387 comments on the subject from skeet at skeet’s stuff. I can only imagine what the recipe for meatloaf might bring.

Absolutely scrumptious-looking breakfast recipes at Fish Creek Inn’s website – though I think someone using margarine with sausage and cheese is probably in serious denial. (It may have just been a fleeting holdover from the previous day’s yogurt & strawberry pancake mindset.)


Remember the quiet joy when your infant was absolutely content? The insight Anmol Mehta offers at his blog on Mastery of Meditation, Enlightenment & Kundalini Yoga may help you find a way to extend that feeling.

A pithy blog on how redefining the problem can help you work with your teenager at Modern Sage Online.

Lending advice a little less stringent than Shakespeare’s from Grad Money [Matters] covering good points you may never thought of (are you nosy?- forget lending). It includes a very valuable link if you should decide you really could be your son-in-law’s banker.

Stephen  somehow missed firehosing all preschoolers daily to stop germs, but otherwise a nice comprehesive list for Coping with Preschool Sickness posted at Project Paradox.

Kevin presents Tips For Teaching Toddlers To Share posted at More4kids Parenting. But what I really want to know is why they forget all the carefully instilled sharing lessons as soon as they are adolescent sisters? (& why would they want to share a hairbrush??)

Tonya presents Temper Tantrums (TT) posted at Tears-n-Tantrums.

Good to know for your next trivia contest or maybe advice if you’re picking out names – Lisa presents Baby Names from Around the World posted at Let’s Talk Babies.

Lisa, last week’s hostess, presents 3rd birthday party activity ideas posted at Lil Duck Duck.

Some ways to bring medieval culture to your family (sort-of – will Monty Python really lead to a life of appreciating history?) from Mother Road at Disney’s Family.com.

Karen presents 25 Ways to Save Money with a Baby posted at Thrifty Mommy.

Jordan includes a great quote for those times when things seem overwhelming in Growing Pains posted at MamaBlogga.

Dr. Hal presents North Star Mental Fitness Blog: Four Miraculous Phrases posted at North Star Mental Fitness Blog. You might think about when these phrases are taught to small children – two are among the first phrases learned but I’m wondering if I’m an incompetent parent that I haven’t ‘taught’ my children to say the fourth.

Lori presents Tips for Fun at the Park or Playground with Kids posted at Fun Play Dates. I am really ambivalent about the invitations to playdates (How is a real special day made special?) but her other suggestions are classic.

Another on the classic toy theme this week – Kerri presents Educating at Playtime posted at Play Library.

Leisa presents Musicality posted at downwiththekids.net. Is this the pay-it-forward side of payback?

The urge to track citizens seems to increase with technology’s ability to do it – Erica focuses on an issue in Britain Term-Time Holidaying & The Education System posted at LittleMummy.com.

New Bloggers Completely Off-topic But I’ll Help Anyway

Rich McIver presents How to Power Nap at Work posted at Spine-Health.com Blog.

Rodger Constandse presents 8 Practical Tips for Improving Your Listening Skills posted at Goals to Action.


Don’t forget to submit your entry for next week’s carnival at Digital Rich Daily. 


Carnival of Family Life

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:49 am

I’m very happy to host the 50th Carnival of Family Life this week. I’ll be giving special prominence to anyone who submits stories of family community service or involvement. 

Thanks for participating.


NetFlicks Prize Contest – One Million Dollars Just Waiting

Posted in Just A Thought, Uncategorized at 11:48 am

My husband gets in moods where he would like to see me engaged in more gainful employment. Chauffeuring kids, answering client’s questions, chauffeuring kids, managing the house, chauffeuring kids, writing a blog do not count when he thinks about how fast we could pay off the mortgage if I would just take a consulting gig. This morning he came up with a plan.

I should win the one million dollar Netflix contest to develop a better way for Netflix to recommend movies. No problem. I look at the leader board & see that Netflix grossly underestimated the time it will take to get a solution 10% better than theirs. (Don’t they know that watching movies rots their brain?) Most of the leading contestants with websites are grad students looking for jobs, companies that already had a solution for their problem and decided for $1,000,000 they’d adapt it to Netflick’s problem, academics, and one altruist pushing Amnesty International. Double no problem. (I love my husband’s opinion of my abilities.)

I register, start downloading the large database and whip up an algorithm. (How hard is it to model talking with your friends over coffee, finding out who likes the same movies you do & what they think of movies you haven’t seen?) So my husband reviews my algorithm and immediately starts telling me I need to include a weighting factor for those viewers who don’t have the same ratings I do. Does he think I listen to my friends who liked Borat?

First issue. The database doesn’t have data to pick out who my friends are. OK. I’ll take a broader view of who my friends are. (Actually my friends are pretty diverse so I’d already done that, but seems awfully presumptuous of Netflicks to assume that I’d think the same as everyone else.)

Moving on, it’s not even in the form I want to check out if I like my friend’s taste. OK, I can fix that. Since I’m just a girl, my husband elbows me aside and starts loading the data I need into a database with the format I need. A quick speed check indicates it will take just under 2 weeks. I wonder if I still have the numbers of those nice boys with access to Crays that I dated after college?


Carnival of Family Life – future host

Posted in Uncategorized at 7:09 pm

I’ll be hosting the April 16 Carnival of Family Life. I’ll be happy, I’m sure, with all submissions that meet the carnival criteria, but I’ll give special prominance to submissions where your family worked to make your community better. Thanks.


British Airways Lost Baggage Policy – Wrong

Posted in Just A Thought, Uncategorized at 1:31 pm

British Airways has a quaint notion that if they tell their clients with lost baggage that it is not their policy to address the issue they can ignore the problem. This is not legally correct since Britain is a signatory to the Montreal Convention and they certainly don’t even mention it in court when they are taken to small claims court.

BeNetSafe - Helping keep children safe onlineIf you check your baggage with Bristish Airways and they say even once that “it is not their policy to handle your claim and you need to go to some other carrier” ignore the customer service communications and take them straight to small claims court. 

Carrier liability for luggage is limited by the Montreal Treaty  which explicitly states the maximum liability based on the weight of the luggage and nullifies any claims of reduced liability.

Prepare for Potential Baggage Loss 

Most luggage is lost during service disruptions when everyone really wants to move along – don’t let yourself be rushed.  British Airways does not document for you the weight of  your baggage. You must write down the weight of each item on the correct baggage ticket. This may be on your boarding pass but don’t leave the counter until you know how much each item weighs. If your luggage is especially valuable – which it will be if there is a terrorist disruption and they force you to check your cameras, computers, IPODS, etc. – buy a special declaration of interest in delivery at destination. The airlines-issued equivalent of baggage insurance.

Also, be sure the luggage is evenly distributed amongst all the people in your party. If your luggage is lost and you need to sue, you want to go to small claims court. If they helpfully assign all the luggage of a family to one person the single claim will be above the small claim court limits.

British Airways has decided that not delivering luggage when there are massive delays and then only paying claims to those who are persistent is the most cost-effective way to deal with lost luggage. If more people are assertive maybe they will purchase corporate baggage insurance and automatically treat everyone fairly.


Should Communities Support Seed Banks?

Posted in Abrupt Climate Change, Uncategorized at 3:09 pm

Send Eco-elegant flowers

Norway, awash in oil revenue and significantly at risk if an abrupt climate change event occurs, has been working on a seed bank. They are planning to hollow out a mountain, install failsafe climate control and rent out space to governments to store seeds against cataclysmic disasters like abrupt climate change, asteroid strikes or nuclear war.
Planning is great and they have the money to do it, but if one of these disasters occurs how are the client governments going to get to the seed bank? Who, exactly, will be authorized to make the withdrawal? Somehow I can’t picture an asteroid hitting the Midwest and the Agricultural Department riding out 10 years later, after the dust settles, to claim our corn. (Of course they did find the one mad cow in the US, so maybe I am underestimating them.)
More to the point, the USAD appears to maintain a seed bank in Colorado. Would it make more sense for communities or regions to fund local programs at local agricultural colleges? Any disaster big enough to wipe our seed stock is almost certainly going to wipe out our means to travel long distances to replace it.

Seed bank article from bbc


In Defense of Clutter

Posted in Hiring A Maid, Uncategorized at 3:20 pm

I often read about ways to organize my life and eliminate clutter. It sounds very seductive – relieve stress, find your keys instantly, purify your mind. I wonder though about the other values you embrace on your way to a clutter-free life.

I have games from my grandmother’s generation. Handed down from relatives near & distant that know I worship hoarding. Board games in boxes so strong you could prop up the side of the home with them should it start to collapse. (One wonders if Haggard had taken out an old game & played it with his family when he was first tempted to illicit activity if he would be happier now.)

Gifts from my clutter-happy side of the family tend to be few but worthy of keeping forever. Small collector’s items, large lathes for creating hand-made wooden pens, origami kits that supply the Christmas decorations for the following year’s tree. Of course, no one said my family was practical – I have some trouble finding homes for all these things.
Other friends are definitely in the clutter-free pew. Equally generous, they tend to arrive with a multitude of cool gifts never meant to be kept. Do they know the stress of determining if the pieces can be mended or worked into some other collection so their memory is treasured?

Does buying an object knowing that it will be trashed in a relatively short time lead to a lack of respect for all things material? I’m not sure, but I think it a very slippery slope. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to find a home for this tiny screw. The ones I had like this from 25 years ago are starting to corrode.


Why Plan for Abrupt Climate Change Now?

Posted in Abrupt Climate Change, Uncategorized at 5:38 pm

“I’ve read the news. People say we don’t have to worry about global warming / abrupt climate change for another 40-100 years. I plan to be dead by then.” 

Must make life insurance planning easy.

The estimates that the Arctic ice cap will melt by 2080 are based on the decrease in ice surface area measured by satellites. Unfortunately the ice thickness seems to be shrinking much faster than expected. http://www.imarest.org/news/ProfWadhams.pdf (Not a peer-reviewed article but based on his credentials, http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/user/pw11/ , he should be authoritative.