Monday, February 25, 2008

I always knew I loved Howard.

I don't care what anyone says, I heart Starbucks.
Anyway...
A few weeks ago Howard Shultz came back into reign, ahem... I mean became CEO once again, and this week they are to conduct a nationwide hands-on espresso training experience. All company operated stores in the United States will be closing this Tuesday at 5:30 local time and re-open at 8:30 that evening.
I, who worked for the company when it was old school and making your own espresso by grinding, tamping, and extracting it all by your little ol' self could not be more excited about this.
I was near the end of my time with the company when they made the switch to the automatic machines where the barista simply had to press a button to make a drink.
I was not happy about the switch to the automatic machine situation, and I was sad to see the old machines go. We used to have competitions during busy mornings to see how fast we could whip up quality drinks with our mad barista skills all while giving the customer an awesome experience.
The other thing was that, the espresso tasted different. It does, I promise.
So, with that I am pleased to say Howard is doin' it right. As he put it; " Customers will be able to truly enjoy the art of espresso as Starbucks baristas demonstrate their passion to pull the perfect shot, steam milk to order, and customize their favorite beverage."
Starbucks was getting a little to corporate for me, well let's face it they are... but I still love 'em, always will. Now though, I love them just a little bit more because they went back to old school.
Way to go Howard!
***ADDENDUM!!!- They still are automatic machines!!! They just changed a few other technical things but when all is said and done....I still love 'em, and I still have love for Howard.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Maxwell and the Bubble blowing fiasco

taken last fall...again with my camera. We have a nice video camera, time to break that baby out, dust her off and film away!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Maxo and EJ crazy Dance

taken with my camera, so quality is bad, but it still was fun!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Oh the romance.

image:www.health.com
I have never wanted my husband to be overly romantic and Justin isn't. He makes up for his lack of romance skills with his good looks and funny antics. We make up for our lack of romantic gifts to one another by giving each other practical gifts...now that's love.
In the signing of our mortgage last year we missed a form and the lawyers office had called Justin to set up a time when someone could stop by to get our John Hancocks. This week a girl from the office called to see if she could stop by on Thursday. In the midst of the conversation she realized it was Valentine's Day and asked if she should come Friday instead. Justin responded;
"Oh, it's fine...we have kids."

happy loves day!


These boys sure know how to cooperate with the camera...right.
Happy Valenties Day! Or as Maxwell calls it Happy Loves Day!
Also some birthday shout-outs to my brother Peter and Uncle Don!
click the pic to view larger :)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

3 1/2

Maxwell,

With you quickly appoaching the age of four, I sit here and wonder where the time went. Typical Mom thoughts, I know.
It is a joy to have you as our eldest son, even though you're not a natural leader. I think it throws an interesting element into our family dynamics as you follow more than you lead. It threw me off a bit because as the eldest in my family I definately liked the power. I'm not saying you are not independent because you most certianly are. You are a determined young boy. You play so well on your own and when other kids are around you love to run and join in the fun.
I definately think you have a lot of your Daddy in you. You are more reserved, worrysome, and apprehensive about most everything, but you also are so tenderharted, thoughtful, and kind.
After months and months of putting it off, and because you did so well in the crib we got you a big boy bed! You were pretty excited and more than willing to give your crib to Evan (who was currently sleeping in a pack-play). You have been sleeping so well in your big boy bed. You stay up so late playing make believe, but I don't mind. One night your Daddy and I stood outside your door giggling as we listened to you play.
One game you were playing was with your puppy, Jack. You were telling to open a door. Then, in a different voice Jack would "say",
"I don't have a door!"
You were working together as a team, you and Jack, I suppose trying to do some heroic thing that neither your Dad or I knew of, but you did.
You and Evan are now sleeping in the same room, and the other night I put you both to bed at the same time as we were out late, and he cried a bit when I left the room, so I stood to see what would happen.
" It's ok Evan. Do you need something? No. Ok I will read this book."
You both proceeded to "read" your books you had in your beds. You two chatted a bit more, but soon Evan passed out from exhaustion. It was precious.
You love babies, and they love you. Juliana (Uncle Chad and Aunt Mels baby girl) is your favorite. You always take time to chat with her, and she always has a smile for you. You are so gentle and sweet. You talk about her and how cute she is. Makes me want another little baby....we shall see.
You are still into coloring, play-doh, your trains, and cars. When I prepare dinner, I usually let you and Evan watch a video or TV and since we get every station under the sun (thanks to your Dad) you can watch nearly anything. You have been chosing to watch SpongeBob Squarepants. I have no idea why but you love that show. That sponge sure is funny!
Now on to potty training. OYE! Lets just say it has been interesting, and by interesting I mean hard, and by hard I mean many battles, and by battles I mean...well you get the idea. You were halfway there, but the good ol' #2 was not happening. We tried everything under the sun to get you to go. From treats and sweets, to making you sit on the toliet for 5 hours (that was a miserable night!) and still no dice. We had even promised you a special toy when you did go.
Then came February 3, 2008. I was actually out getting a haircut and when I arrived home, you and Daddy had great news for me. You had decided that it was finally the day to do it, and you did. We were SO proud, and a bit relieved that we would not have a 12 year old in diapers. Not that we did fear that, well maybe a little. You finally could break open your new Cars underwear and proudly wear them. It is now Wednesday, February 6, and you are doing so well! We went to the toy store Monday afternoon and you happily picked out a brio passenger train and a car play mat. You also proudly told the check out lady (who clearly was a Grandmother from the sheer exctiement she had in her voice) why you were getting a special present. It was a fun afternoon.
Besides the potty training issues we had, you are learning to listen, more patient with your brother and kind to others.
We are so thankful for you sweet boy and look forward to continuing to watch you grow.

once.

Once. My new favorite movie. I love it. The one thing I would change is the massive use of the f-bomb but other than that it is a must see and a film I love.
A simple Irish film that is classified as a musical does not have the look, sound or feel of your typical musical. This is far beyond The Sound of Music. Not flashy or in your face this film is easily lovable and a must see.
The main character (Glen Hasard)-whose name is never revealed along with his female co-star (Marketa Irglova) whose name is kept secret as well- is a street musican who sings very vague lryics of what seems to be heartbreak, in a very dramatic but romantic way. We later learn he is mourning the loss of his wandering girlfriend Catherine whom has moved to London.
He is playing one evening when a young woman stops to listen and begins to probe him about his lyrics. He seems to be irritated with her questions, (which reveal whom his songs are about) at first, but he soon agrees to fix her vaccum cleaner(as he works at his father's repair shop by day) and after doing so makes a pathetic pass at her in his which is quickly rejected by her. There is definately something between the two of them, but this film is a far cry from your convetional love story. It is a beautiful story of a fabulous partnership that develops into a deep bond between the two.
She, is a young Chezk woman who lives with her mother and young daugther. She sells flowers and cleans houses to support them. It turns out though, she too can play music. She plays piano, usually on her lunch breaks at a local music store, since she has no piano at home. Quite beautifully she can play, and soon she reveals how well she can work with his songs, playing and singin harmony and even taking on the task of writing lyrics to a tune he was having a hard time finding words for.
Once is not a overly dramatic or ambitous film. There is no deep plot or complex themes to figure out. Rather, it commemorates passion and dedication. While the desire to write a song, and make a demo is presented, the deep desire of communication and understanding is even more beautiful through those mediums.
While you have that happy/sad feelings when watching the film, you will feel as the story unfolds that it is actually occuring before your very eyes. With rich and satisfying music, Once is a film you will want to see more than once. :)

Interesting read.

Evangelicals a Liberal Can Love
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: February 3, 2008
Liberals believe deeply in tolerance and over the last century have led the battles against prejudices of all kinds, but we have a blind spot about Christian evangelicals. They constitute one of the few minorities that, on the American coasts or university campuses, it remains fashionable to mock.
Scorning people for their faith is intrinsically repugnant, and in this case it also betrays a profound misunderstanding of how far evangelicals have moved over the last decade. Today, conservative Christian churches do superb work on poverty, AIDS, sex trafficking, climate change, prison abuses, malaria and genocide in Darfur.
Bleeding-heart liberals could accomplish far more if they reached out to build common cause with bleeding-heart conservatives. And the Democratic presidential candidate (particularly if it’s Mr. Obama, to whom evangelicals have been startlingly receptive) has a real chance this year of winning large numbers of evangelical voters.
“Evangelicals are going to vote this year in part on climate change, on Darfur, on poverty,” said Jim Wallis, the author of a new book, “The Great Awakening,” which argues that the age of the religious right has passed and that issues of social justice are rising to the top of the agenda. Mr. Wallis says that about half of white evangelical votes will be in play this year.
A recent CBS News poll found that the single issue that white evangelicals most believed they should be involved in was fighting poverty. The traditional issue of abortion was a distant second, and genocide was third.
Look, I don’t agree with evangelicals on theology or on their typically conservative views on taxes, health care or Iraq. Self-righteous zealots like Pat Robertson have been a plague upon our country, and their initial smugness about AIDS (which Jerry Falwell described as “God’s judgment against promiscuity”) constituted far grosser immorality than anything that ever happened in a bathhouse. Moralizing blowhards showed more compassion for embryonic stem cells than for the poor or the sick, and as recently as the 1990s, evangelicals were mostly a constituency against foreign aid.
Yet that has turned almost 180 degrees. Today, many evangelicals are powerful internationalists and humanitarians — and liberals haven’t awakened to the transformation. The new face of evangelicals is somebody like the Rev. Rick Warren, the California pastor who wrote “The Purpose Driven Life.”
Mr. Warren acknowledges that for most of his life he wasn’t much concerned with issues of poverty or disease. But on a visit to South Africa in 2003, he came across a tiny church operating from a dilapidated tent — yet sheltering 25 children orphaned by AIDS.
“I realized they were doing more for the poor than my entire megachurch,” Mr. Warren said, with cheerful exaggeration. “It was like a knife in the heart.” So Mr. Warren mobilized his vast Saddleback Church to fight AIDS, malaria and poverty in 68 countries. Since then, more than 7,500 members of his church have paid their own way to volunteer in poor countries — and once they see the poverty, they immediately want to do more.
“Almost all of my work is in the third world,” Mr. Warren said. “I couldn’t care less about politics, the culture wars. My only interest is to get people to care about Darfurs and Rwandas.”
Helene Gayle, the head of CARE, said evangelicals “have made some incredible contributions” in the struggle against global poverty. “We don’t give them credit for the changes they’ve made,” she added. Fred Krupp, the president of Environmental Defense, said, “Many evangelical leaders have been key to taking the climate issue across the cultural divide.”
It’s certainly fair to criticize Catholic leaders and other conservative Christians for their hostility toward condoms, a policy that has gravely undermined the fight against AIDS in Africa. But while robust criticism is fair, scorn is not.
In parts of Africa where bandits and warlords shoot or rape anything that moves, you often find that the only groups still operating are Doctors Without Borders and religious aid workers: crazy doctors and crazy Christians. In the town of Rutshuru in war-ravaged Congo, I found starving children, raped widows and shellshocked survivors. And there was a determined Catholic nun from Poland, serenely running a church clinic.
Unlike the religious right windbags, she was passionately “pro-life” even for those already born — and brave souls like her are increasingly representative of religious conservatives. We can disagree sharply with their politics, but to mock them underscores our own ignorance and prejudice.
taken from :
The New York Times.

Monday, February 04, 2008

haircut.

I got my haircut this weekend...but I am still not sure how I feel about it. Part of me feels like it looks to boyish, and I feel like I should not cut my hair too short because of my round face. UGH! It is Monday after all...so I get to complain.