Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A great quote

This is for all those Heaven-bound buddies:

"Your good names and good deeds will be written in the same size font in Heaven, regardless of when or how we joined."

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: Peter Menzel and the people that share

I remember the first time I saw a shiek's entire household spread out in his front yard. I remember the couches most of all. His couches were so long, longer than my yard I bet. It was in a book that came out in the 1990's called "Material World." I had seen it featured on Oprah (that is when she wasn't such a rude interviewer as well as think she is all that and a bag of chips and I still watched her sometimes).

I wanted that book so bad. Google it. It is awesome. I have never forgotten it. But we were poor college family with a baby we couldn't afford, so I never bought it. I even would go to the bookstore and read it over and over. I would carry it around. But I could never justify the cost. No worries. I popped an email off to Mr. Fun just now to buy me a used copy on Amazon. Good things come to those who wait, eh? :)

Peter Menzel seems like a fellow that I would like to talk to. Or at least take a photo field trip with. He has traveled around the world more than once to photograph these types of eye-opening stories. He must a nice man, with a good energy because people are willing to share their private lives on their front lawns with him. Not everyone I know would do that.

Peter is back. He now has done a story on what people are eating in a week. The pictures tell the story. You should check it out. Just google: "what the world eats" and click on the first link: what the world eats--photo essays with Time Magazine. Eyeopening. When my new book arrives, you are welcome to borrow it and see the Sheik's couches for yourself. :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009


I saw there was a man on tv who called himself a "Ripperologist." What that means that that he feels that he is an expert on the story of Jack the Ripper.

Since most everyone (minus Cheryl tomorrow) I know has turned 40 this year, I guess that makes us "moldologists." We are there. We have arrived. New decade. We are now as old as mold so that must mean we know mold.

It makes me think of those lists in the chick magazines that show famous people and things you don't know about them. So in case you are interested in the workings and pieces of this moldy oldie, here you go. No particular order.

I hate washing silverware, especially forks. Too many sides to look after and clean.
I have had arthritis for 11 years.
I hate pairing socks in the laundry.
I love old musicals.
My kids love them too (not).
I hate for my hands to be dirty. I have a neuotic habit of rubbing them on the sides of my legs to make sure they are clean.
Ice cream makes me nauseated.
I don't read fiction...minus the Da Vinci Code and The Lost Symbol--Dan Brown.
I have never owned eye liner.
Potato chips make my lips swell up like Angelina Jolie.
I have been called "sir" an embarrassing number of times.
I don't know the words to most songs I hear on the radio.
I don't drink pop/soda.
I am a friar.
I don't like to be read out loud to.
I have always called my brother "Son" because that is what I heard him called by my parents when we were kids, so I called him that too.
I have a great idea for a book about green men.
I go to the thrift store when I feel a vibe to go.
I have chanted with the monks.

Here is to all us new moldologists in the world. Thanks to those who have helped us celebrate.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

For Real

The Boy is declining in several ways, so he will begin to see another specialist at the hospital so he can be assessed. They sent a behaviour exam for us to see how he is doing, emotionally.

Here are some of the questions: true or false (for real)

I have not seen a car in six months

I have just returned from a 9 month trip on an ocean liner

I would rather be a police officer than a teacher

I take a plane trip from New York to Chicago at least twice a week

I get phone calls from popular movie stars

I think he will pass this exam quite easily...considering he was only on the ocean liner 7 months. :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wanna take a field trip? Let's look at some graffiti

The Boy and I get to the inner city often,
as it is nearby the children's hospital where he is treated.
As often as we have been there, we found ourselves
taking the "road less traveled" (new route)
since we had to make a
fish food stop. Look what we found. :)
Going to the doctor sucks
(we just spent another morning there this morning)
but seeing these last week was fun.
It seemed a perfect ode to Tom Allison,
a man known to have a soft spot for Star Wars...
Chewy with a gold tooth
Just so you know, I DID NOT
edit a single one of these.
I want you to see their true color,
the true artistry that went into them.
Look at this woman!
We love Darth.
Seems a strange thing to graffiti...
I loved these fish. We are going to take some
family shots there sometime.
Have a great first day of Fall.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Let Peace Begin with Me

Happy International Day of Peace
"Let there be peace on Earth
and let it begin with me."

Sunday, September 20, 2009

I am woman...hear me meow

I was trying to remember if we sang "I am Woman" by Helen Reddy in my 8th grade choir or not...no matter. I learned it when I was young and never have forgotten it. You know the line..."I am woman....hear me roar." While it is true that I talk a lot, I am not big into roaring nor do I really have the pipes to do it. So years ago, I decided my roar is more like a meow. You know I am feeling it if I say to you "meow." So, this one is for you Helen Reddy.

Funny how we live with something that we don't like.
When we moved into our house 7 years ago next week,
I always have disliked the outside porch light. I didnt have
a best friend electrician at the time, and the idea that I
or even Mr. Fun might have the skills to change it was
too much. So I began painting the laundry doors white, and
haven't looked back. As you know, one house project
turned into another house project. But I never stopped
disliking that porch light but I never thought to do more
than just not like it.
The other day in the man store....Lowe's....I saw the
outside lights. There they were...clean, shine and on sale.
$23 later, 7 years of home ownership projecting and the
occassional "meow" here and there, I brought the
new light home. The cool thing was that I didn't call
the best friend electrician. I didn't leave it for Mr Fun.
What is cool is that it never occurred to me that I
COULDN'T do it. So I just did it.

Twenty minutes, some grounded wires, and the install
was done. I flipped the switch. And it worked.
The first time. :)


Friday, September 18, 2009

Mr Fun turns 40

Mr. Fun turns 40 today. He said he has felt forty for a long time already.
Might be all that fun he has shoved into his short 40 years.
Here is a tiny tribute to his fun-ness. :)

Field Trip to the Star Wars 3 International Convention

Mr. Fun takes the Girl to the Nascar race.
If you know Nascar, you will see they are rooting
for the opposite drivers!
Mr. Fun pouts with those who pout

Mr Fun has acclimated to the mid-west sense of style.
This picture also supplies the greatest Elf head during
the Christmas Office Depot Elf dancing.

Mr. Fun with his brothers during the Olympics.
He will tell you his Olympic experience was
beyond fun.
Mr. Fun looooooooooooooooooves electronic "girlfriends."
I bet he is watching a dance show right here...
Did you know he was offered a college scholarship
for dance? Serious.

Mr. Fun still loves his games,
even though he doesn't run
as fast as he used to.

Mr. Fun LOVES to drive fast. His inspiration:
Speed-Racer. That is why he has had the
#5 on any team jersey he is a part of a team of.
Have a good one, Mr. Fun.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

It is true. I have kissed a pig

I did kiss a pig. In front of 600 people. Dressed as Marge Simpson. I found this today and it made me smile.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Summery shots

I think I ate most of this corn you see here. Mr. Fun's non-electronic "girlfriends"--the Koi Water Garden tour Becoming the wildlife habitat...I love that I can see
the Girl's nails in this. She was growing them out. :) Cruise Ins with the local Rock Star of the Northland
Yeah, I don't know what this is...
You would think we saw this bad boy
in Europe, but no....it was here at Sam's.
Can you say "Christmas present"?
Is this monkey holding a pickel?
As the Utahns would say...what the heck?! Sunflowers are in full bloom right now.
These are mennonite women. Not to be confused
with the Amish. The amish don't wear prints. Shrooms from the back yard...

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: Macy's "Come+Together"

Wanna hit the world's largest dinner party on Tuesday? Head to the Macy's.

Macy's is sponsoring the "Come+Together" dinner party Tuesday night at 6 pm, across all it's stores in the United States. They are giving away a complimentary first course and the recipe.

Why is the clothing store giving away free food you ask? Good question.

Macy's will be matching all donations dollar for dollar to help provide up to 10 million meals for Feeding America and local food banks. Did you know $1 dollar provides 7 meals for familes in need? While I know the food banks love food stuff donations, I learned from my best food bank director friend, Nicholas, that the money donations get more done in the big picture of their work.

Macy's suggests three ways you can help them help the food bank:
1. Host a dinner party yourself to collect donations from your friends

2. Give a $1 donation at any Macy's

3. Shop for a Cause on October 17th

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Wanna take a field trip? Let's go see Fazal

Tom *made* this
Thursday night was the lecture by the photographer
Fazal--my current Bob the Builder. We hit it before
we headed off to the theater (insert yuppie Val image here)
to see "Momma Mia." I had two stowaways ride along
to the art museum with me--one Girl and one Tom.
For those keeping score, Tom is looking better than
he has since he was diagnosed almost three years ago
with his terminal cancer. Nothing terminal looking
about this fella currently. :)
Yep, those are huge shuttlecocks. Yep, they are random.
We thought this was some display that they had not
finished putting up. Nope. Just some more
random art work.

Here is the only image I could find of THE star of the evening, Fazal.

He outshone the theater and was the best speaker I have ever heard.

My two companions opted out of the lecture. That was a loss for them.

He was incredible. So articulate. So knowledgable.

So compassionate. So nice to look at (did I say that out loud? :) )

All kidding aside, he said some things that I will never forget. And I quote:

"Why must one have a genetic link to a place to tell the people's story?"

He offers a "visual response to unravel what the place has to offer."

He "makes" or "shoots" an image. He doesn't "take" it because it reminds him of taking something from someone without permission. He is trying to share who they are by their offering (by their allowing him to make the image). To let the person come forward in the image.

"Someone being reduced to a tragic moment in their life is wrong. The rest of their story is being forgotten."

"We need to be more responsible for the way we insert ourselves in other's lives."

He closed by reading a quoted letter/writing by an Afgan woman. This seems to be pivitol as to why he has become an advocate of women's issues. "Our prized posessions are pens and books. That is our treasure. We have been ignored by our men and abandoned by our outside sisters. The time has come for us to do it ourselves."

He is helping women do just that. Kudos to you Fazal. Sorry I couldn't have you to dinner.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: "Beloved Daughters" by Fazal Sheikh

A girl rescued from sexual slavery
I am heading to a lecture tonight about the misplaced females of India including the widow, the orphan girls, and the young girls who are trapped in sexual slavery. The lecture is sponsored by the Nelson Atkins Art Museum, which has featured a exhibit of photographs and the stories of some of these people. Without going into it, a certain strange chain of events has transpired in the last several months that have led me to believe that I perhaps have a work with the women of India....the widows to be specific.

Widows are stripped of everything they posess when their
husbands die. They are known as "White Ghosts."

The photogapher who calls himself an "activist/artist" is Fazal Sheikh . His work is amazing and simple. He is world renouned. I wanted to say kudos to him for delving into a subject that is painful to see, painful to read, and risky to some to discuss. I wanted to feature his work here. When I stood among those widows photos, I cried.

Isn't she beautiful?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Happy International Literacy Day

Happy International Literacy Day. If you are reading this, someone somewhere helped teach you how to do it.

"On International Literacy Day each year, UNESCO reminds the international community of the status of literacy and adult learning globally.

Despite many and varied efforts, literacy remains an elusive target: some 776 million adults lack minimum literacy skills which means that one in five adults is still not literate; 75 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.

This year, International Literacy Day will put the spotlight on the empowering role of literacy and its importance for participation, citizenship and social development."

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Spidery Fields Forever

Foggy mornings here in Kansas City. The Girl and I took
an impromptu photo field trip while the menfolk
of the house slept. We unexpectedly ran across
a field full of spider webs.They were every where.
It is not my nature to frolick about in my
pink housecoat in a field full of spiders,
but I couldn't resist those shots of the dew
on the webs.

I could write some touching analogy about how life

is like these webs. Sometimes pulled together

and sometimes not so and pulled together.

But my seizures are flared up, so

I am not really in the mood. Who knows

what is up with that.

Apparently, my own web is little disorderly right now.

This was a scary shot.
I think it was a girl spider because her
outfit coordinated so nicely. :)

Friday, September 4, 2009

It's all in the name

My mom says she wanted to name me "Veronica" and call me "Ronnie" for short. She got voted down, even before tribal councils exsisted.

I was cleaning the toliets at the church tonight and saw the name "Kohler." I remember a funny story that our buddies told us years ago.

Friends of theirs had a child, a boy, and didn't know what to name him. Of course, having a child is SUCH an UNEXPECTED surprise that I am sure they simply didn't have time to think about something so trivial with such little time to plan for the baby's arrival. Duh.

Anyhow, they couldn't find one (obviously they don't have a copy of the 10,000 baby names book that Juniper gave to us 13 years ago--which we still have--read so much that the cover has been lost years ago). So when one of them used the bathroom at the hospital, they seemingly were struck by the awe and majesty of the idea of naming their child after a toliet....you guessed it...Kohler.

Mr. Fun's dad is the first born son, John, who named his first born son John, who then of course named his first born son John. That family also has a tradition of naming their fourth son Deryk. But only the fourth son of the first born John. So even if I had been a better super mormon and had many more children and one had been the fourth son, I could not name hms Deryk. Rules is rules.

Then there is Juniper, who found out in the 12th grade from a school secretary that she (Juniper) had been spelling her middle wrong her entire life. Opps.

Mr. Fun is named after a modern day apostle.

The Boy was given a good strong Hebrew name from the Bible. I like Seth because he is known to be a carbon copy of his father, Adam. Our boy is very carbony of Mr. Fun...even down to the messy piles all around the house.

The Girl's name comes from a dance recital program we had read at Mr. Fun's nephew dance program. Mr. Fun wanted to name her "Arapahoe". He tried to sneak that name into her baby blessing at church....he chickened out at the last second. Good move on his part.

I saw something sweet at the store today.

I learned from my dad that it is nice to call people by their first names....especially people who are serving you like waitresses or people who work at the bank or wal-mart. When you do, they normally look surprised and you can see they are sorting through their brain to try and place your face.

Today, as I was checking out of the grocery store, the bagger guy was one who I had seen many times. He seems to have autism or some disability,. I have never seen him smile in the seven years I have lived here.

When I pulling out of my lane, pushing my cart to leave the store, I said, "Hey C***, thanks for bagging my groceries." And it happened. He turned a sheepish red, mumbled something, and smiled. A real smile. A happy smile. The kind of smile that makes you think that today his name made him feel special. As dumb as it sounds, today I was really happy for him that we have names. Even if they come from the toliet company.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Bob the Builder Award: Rotary and the Mormon Church Ladies

I consider it a good thing that I don't have a problem letting go of things. I am generally happier with less stuff. No living room furniture (lost that battle), no big tv (lost that conversation....happy about it now) and like five things to wear. I am happy when there is less. I even am happy when my zen garden water pond is empty. Drives Mr. Fun CRAZY. I am so hard to buy for that the joke is that whatever you get me, I want to give it away. Lori, one year, got me stamps and stationery. That girl knows me. :)

The funny thing is that I always have stuff in the basement. Lots of stuff. For a couple years, I had more shoes than the Payless shoe store down the street. One year I begged, borrowed and bought every discount used stuffed animal north of the Missouri River. One time I bought 50 pairs of flip flops in a snow storm. Once I collected 280 books, all of which had to be processed by a zillion PTA ladies. Let's not mention the money, the 4 billion canned foods for food drives and of course the medical supplies that have found their way to Jamaica. Oh yeah, I forgot the clothes for the orphans in Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania.

But this week, I think the current collection is the largest ever. That would be the collection of school supplies. Partially funded by my Rotary Club, and the rest funded by the ladies I go to church with. And we aren't talking about a few rulers and glue sticks. Couple notebooks. We are talking to the tune of 14,954 items(for those who heard the first update, I found 57 more items in the basement). That is every single piece of paper, eraser, box of crayons. And there is still more trickling in. :)

The supplies are going to serve the Midwest Foster Care and Adoption Agency here in KC. It seemed like a perfect fit. We have 8 children living in our congregation who are adopted or in foster care, and you know, all those extra school supplies for those new additions can add up for a family.

The cool thing is that it took so little work on anyone's part. The Rotarians passed around the bucket at lunch and collected $102 with their spare pocket change. The Church Ladies had a pink paper announcement the size of a small postcard asking them to donate. That was it.

September is coat collecting month. All coats. All sizes. :) It will go to service the Don Bosco Center in the city, who serves over 2,000 individuals a day.

It is great to be able to give all this great stuff away....:) Thanks everyone who donated.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Me and the girl

I am tired but wanted to give something to my adoring fans.
The left is me. The right is the Girl.