Monday, January 31, 2005

They thought they’d never see the day . . .

My only regret about being gone this weekend (on a stretch of lonely road in California with bad radio reception to boot) is the fact that we were unable to watch the smiling Iraqi faces as they cast their ballots for freedom and peace. Just looking at the photos on the Internet is amazing, enough. Thank God for the brave Iraqis who overcame the fear of terrorists and boldly went out to make their voices heard.

Land of Aquatic Adventures

I didn’t realize until this past weekend that Kevin had never been to SeaWorld. (I think he had just as much fun as the kids!) We all had such a great time. And, to top it off, it was one of those picture-perfect San Diego days . . . bright, sunshiny, and 62 degrees. Mmm . . . beautiful.

With a bit of advance planning, we managed to do just about everything in the park. The dolphin and Shamu shows were indescribably incredible. It’s amazing what they can do with those animals. The trainers must have a lot of confidence to work with the killer whales especially. One of the trainers stood on the nose of Shamu as it launched the trainer eight stories into the air. Another trainer ran in place on top of the whale as it rolled around in the water. In addition to the surprise tricks, a lot of humor was interjected into the shows.

We also really enjoyed interacting with the many different sea animals. There were different “petting zoos” at the park, including a tank with a bunch of rays (obviously with their stingers disabled). The rays would come up to the surface and curl their “wings.” To my surprise, they felt very slimy and mushy. We also got to “pet” three or four different dolphins. By contrast, their skin was very slick, smooth, and rubbery. In order to touch and interact with the dolphins, we had to buy a tray of fish to feed them. Kevin bought two trays saying, “I paid enough money to get into this blasted park, I’m not going to leave without feeding the dolphins!” I don’t know which was more fun: watching the dolphins or watching Kevin.

Kevin & His New Friends (a.k.a.: "Who said dogs are a man's best friend?")

Lone, happy dolphin.

Bein' Silly.

Warning: You Will Get Wet; You May Get Soaked. (This is a picture of K, D & M in the raft.)

The brave (and very drenched) crew.

In the shark tunnel.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Making Good On A Promise

Well, I made the “mistake” of telling my little brother and sister, David (10) and Melissa (8), maybe 8-9 months ago that we would take them to SeaWorld sometime soon. Since then, we’ve been reminded umpteen times that we need to fulfill my obligation. For instance, last August I got this sweet note from my brother saying “I’m glad you got a new house. I love you and miss you. I hope I can see you soon. David.” Then I opened the letter from my little sister and it said: “WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO TAKE US TO SEAWORLD? Love, Melissa.” So . . . the short version of the story is, we’re going to take them this weekend. It’ll be a rush-rush trip to San Diego and back. But it should be fun.

It was a last-minute decision (as of yesterday) to make this trip this weekend. We were originally planning on going next weekend but something had unexpectedly come up on my calendar for next weekend. And then we realized, much to Kevin’s chagrin and dismay, that every single one of our weekends are booked from now until April, except for one. “At least we have a life,” I said, trying to console him. “Yes,” he replied. “But it would be nice if we could have a slower-paced life!”

Introducing Barbara

I don’t think I’ve ever “introduced” another blog on my site, but, hey, there’s always a first time for everything. Right?

Barbara Curtis, although she’s an experienced author and speaker, has only just recently joined the blogging world. And I’ve really appreciated reading her posts. Not only does she have a wealth of experience to draw from, she’s down-to-earth, endearing, humorous, and “real.” I like that.

So, anyway, because I’ve enjoyed reading her blog so much recently, I thought I’d share it with you. (But, gee, it’s getting harder to find the time to read all the cool blogs out there!)

Thursday, January 27, 2005


Okay, one more link and I promise I'll log a "real" post next time. :)

This is an incredible article by Michael Medved, a Jewish man who was once a liberal activist but is now a conservative talk show host and one of the most brilliant thinkers of our day:

"Oscar Bids Reflect Industry's Discomfort With Religion"

What makes people happy?

This essay, on measuring happiness in light of economic growth, is interesting. The study shows that despite our economic growth and increase in our standard of living, people are less happy. In determining happiness, the common factor among the reportedly "most happy" people is marriage (or at least a monogamous sexual relationship). Although the study interprets the data as "happy people are people who have lots of sex," I think it's interesting that marriage and happiness go hand in hand, while marriage is one of the primary social building blocks under attack today. No wonder our nation's overall happiness is receding.

Don't Drink Water; Drink Pepsi Instead

One of Kevin’s mantras is that you don’t have to drink 6-8 glasses of water a day to be healthy – and if anyone tries to convince you otherwise, it’s a hoax. He says that your body will tell you when you need more hydration by making you thirsty.

Throughout our several years of marriage, he has pointed out different authorities (sometimes even medical professionals and nutritionists) who agree with him. Most recently, he found this factoid on an MSN quiz:

“6. Everyone should drink eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy and properly hydrated. True or False?

The right answer is false. While it's a good idea to drink plenty of water, there is no scientific or medical basis for the specific amount of eight glasses per day. Water intake needs vary from person to person, depending on age, size and amount of physical activity. We can also get water from food and other beverages, so we don't necessarily need to get all of our fluids in the form of drinking water.”

One of the things that attracted me to Kevin is that he thinks independently. If my doctor told me to drink eight glasses of water a day, I would probably determine to just “do it.” Kevin, on the other hand, will find reasons why the doctor might be wrong. Gotta love the guy.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Virtual Hairstylist

Okay, if you want to waste a lot of time (while having lots of fun), you can check out the Virtual Hairstylist. What’s amazing about this website is that you can either upload your own photo – to see how you’d look with a new do – or you can pick a model with a similar face shape and coloring. The appeal of this website, I think, is that it could possibly save you from those infamous tears of dismay at the salon.

Isn’t it wonderful that God made hair grow so we can play with it, do wild things with it – if we want to, and not face long-term repercussions?

Boy or Girl?

Hmmm . . . this is an interesting little guessing game. If any of it’s true, we’re probably having a boy. But I doubt it’s anything more than a compilation of old wives’ tales.

Guess Your Baby's Gender

And, to support my last speculation - here you go.

Our whimsical purchase. And there you have it!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Cabin Congregation

This past weekend we went up to Truckee (in the Sierras, near Tahoe) to spend time with two other married couples at a cabin, nestled quaintly in the snow. (Lots of snow!) It was nice to get away, experience fresh mountain air, and enjoy good conversation with friends. Two of us are expecting our first child. There were several times when I felt badly talking “baby talk” so much with the other mom-to-be (Kristi). It’s amazing how when you get two pregnant women together, that becomes the natural topic of conversation! But, trust me, I tried really, extra hard to be sensitive to the non-pregnant wife and talk about many non-baby things too. Especially when I caught her rolling her eyes whenever the subject of child-rearing, breast feeding, or how-to-decorate-the-nursery would come up.

It didn’t help matters that I brought the book Babywise along with me, thinking I might get a few moments to read it. Kristi had heard about it and was strongly opposed to any idea of scheduling. (Most of her opinions were based on what other young mothers had flippantly said about the book. And, trust me, I know how heated – and defensive – young mothers can be about how they’ve chosen to feed their babies, raise their children, etc.) By the end of Friday evening, however, I convinced Kristi to at least read the book. I told her that if she reads it and still disagrees with it, then she can at least disagree in an educated manner. I also convinced her that, even if she disagrees with 95% of it, there will still probably be a few concepts in there that she does agree with and she’ll be better off learning about them. By the end of the weekend, Kristi had read the entire book and said that she, surprisingly, agreed with nearly everything the author had to say. I was proud of her. Honestly, I can respect someone who disagrees with something as long as they’ve read what the other side has to say and know “for sure” that they disagree. But when someone disagrees with something based on what they think the other side has to say . . . I have a hard time respecting that.

This post about our Tahoe weekend just wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include the story of our new glass bowl (or is it a vase?). On Saturday we went to Old Town Truckee to look at some of the specialty gift and antique shops. Although I periodically enjoy browsing through these shops, I’ve never bought anything at one of them. This is partially because I’ve never felt I could afford anything in those shops. But on Saturday, as Kevin and I were browsing through the merchandise at one of the shops, we became captivated by this large, cream-colored glass bowl that stood tall on several wispy, fragile-looking legs. “Isn’t that cool,” said Kevin. “That is so cool,” I replied. Feeling very spontaneous, we asked the saleslady how much it was, expecting it to be $999.95 or some other ridiculous amount. We were shocked that it was much, much less. On a total whim, we bought that stupid, artsy, beautiful, wonderful vase. Even though it wasn’t expensive, it also wasn’t cheap. In fact, I think it’s the most expensive spontaneous, non-useful item we’ve ever purchased!! (Shouldn’t we be thinking about buying baby furniture?!)

Several days later . . . I think we’re still trying to recover from the shock that we actually purchased it. Several times we’ve looked at each other and said, “Can you believe we bought that?!” (I’ve tried repeatedly to justify it by telling Kevin that it can be an early birthday present for me . . . or that we’ll eat out less for the next five years of our marriage . . . or . . . ?)

Anyway . . . Now it sits beautifully on top of our dining room table. (If I get a chance to take a picture, I’ll post it.) I’m sure that, years from now, we’ll laugh over this experience . . . especially when we have a defiant two-year-old who crawls on top of the table and breaks it.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Here's a Radical Thought: Raise Your Own Kids

I’m currently reading a bunch of Universal Preschool garbage that was just introduced as AB 172 in the California legislature. While the bill calls for voluntary preschool, available to all children ages 3-5, it also seeks to incorporate universal preschool with preexisting day care programs and state programs for infants and toddlers. And this, of course, is the first step toward making preschool mandatory – the transcendent liberal dream.

Am I really a right-wing radical person to believe that parents should raise their own kids and not dump them into state institutions when they’re practically still in diapers? For me, the bottom line is: “If you’re not planning on raising your own kids, don’t have them.” Get a BMW instead. It’s probably cheaper, too.

This brings up another question. Why do people have children in the first place? Is it to raise them for God? (I hope this is, ultimately, the reason why I'm having children.) Or is it for personal fulfillment?

A new career awaits Kevin . . . if he wants it, that is.

Yesterday we had a frustrating experience when the cable guy came to hook up our modem. (We’re finally exiting the dinosaur age of dial-up at our house!) Ironically, it was cheaper to get both internet cable and basic cable TV, rather that internet cable by itself (you get a steep discount if you already have basic cable). The frustration began when, after being at our house for nearly an hour and a half, the cable guy kept asking me questions and telling me about certain “problems” he was running into. I thought it was very bizarre that he was including me in on his problem-solving sessions. I had a few questions for him too, which remained unasked:

“Do I really look like a techno-nerd who will be able to help you?”
“And, speaking of which, aren’t you the expert?”
“Shouldn’t you be able to solve these problems on your own?”
“Isn’t that why we’re paying you to come to our house?”

Finally I called Kevin at his office and handed the phone to the cable guy, hoping that the two of them could resolve it together. In the end, the cable guy said that the cable modem we’d purchased couldn’t be hooked up and he’d have to install his cable modem instead. Kevin told him, in no uncertain terms, that we are not paying to rent his cable modem. (If we get a bill for it, I think Kevin will go ballistics.)

When Kevin arrived home last night, after bible study, he sat down and read a sheet of directions that were sitting there, left by the cable guy. In less than ten minutes, Kevin had figured out the entire process of hooking up our cable modem, called the cable company to get a hook-up number, and had it installed properly. It’s been running perfectly ever since. Needless to say, I was very proud of him. “Kevin,” I said, “If the law thing ends up not working out for you, a brilliant career awaits you in cable installation.”

Thursday, January 20, 2005

“Liberty will come to those who love it.”

I thought the inauguration speech was great. The only thing that left me with a little gnawing question inside was Bush’s statement that liberty will come to those who love it. What if you’ve never known liberty? How can you love something you don’t know?

Apparently there were 21 drafts of Bush’s second inaugural speech. I used to think it would be fun to be a speech writer but now I’m having second thoughts. Not only would the 21-draft thing provoke my patience (or lack thereof), I would also grow weary of constantly creating words to express the ideals and philosophies embraced by other people. It’s much more freeing to be able to express my own opinions. So, for now, I’ll stay in public policy. And, of course, I’ll happily remain a humble blogger.

As if it were yesterday, I distinctly remember the inauguration of four years ago. My good friend Meredith flew into town to attend the festivities with me. Somehow (through a very well connected co-worker), we got “tickets” to work (hang coats, pass out memorabilia, etc.) at the inaugural ball. We were so excited to be able to go, we didn’t care a lick that we’d have to work to get in. On January 20, 2001, we got up at the crack of dawn, stuffed our “ball gowns” (i.e., prom-like dresses) into bags, and took the metro into D.C. Pretty soon we met up with other friends and were herded like cattle onto the capitol lawn for the ceremony. It was 34 degrees and raining. (For all you Californians who don’t know what that’s like . . . it was pretty miserable.) But we loved every minute of it. The excitement of the moment carried our spirits and soon we were oblivious to the slushy mud beneath our feet, the dampness on our faces, and the numbness of our fingers.

We watched some of the parade, ate lunch at union station (Kevin was there and I think I liked him even then, but was in serious denial), tried to clean the mud off the hems of our pants, and were soon on our way to the D.C. Armory for the inaugural ball. As we got dressed in a cramped bathroom, Meredith and I both vowed that someday we’d come back as U.S. Senators so we could have covered, front row seats for the inauguration, a warm, ritzy hotel room to change clothes in, and tickets to attend the ball – rather than have to work at it. But, hey, when you’re 20 and 21 years old, respectively, (or any age, really) you can endure a lot when you love adventure and have big dreams. So, we enjoyed ourselves nonetheless.

We wore our big, poofy dresses, walked around the ball like we were some bigwig’s daughters, took pictures of John Ashcroft and many other famous people (Meredith knew them all), and of course took lots of pictures of George W. Bush and Laura dancing.

As soon as we took our seats in the metro, I fell soundly asleep from exhaustion and Meredith took pictures of me snoozing with my mouth open. (When I later found out, I wanted to kill her.)

And that was the end of that wonderful, blissful, fatiguing day.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Whatever makes you happy . . .

The good news is . . . I have a new computer at my office. The bad news is . . . I have a new computer at my office. Although I’m overjoyed to finally have a computer that works adequately, it was a pain to be without a computer while it was being set up. (Isn’t it sad how much we rely on technology?)

Speaking of technology, Kevin has been glowing with excitement for the past few days because he just got more memory for his laptop. Although, as a good wife, I’ve been very supportive of him during this happy time in his life, sometimes I catch myself wondering why the heck he’s so thrilled about a little memory card. You see, I get excited about entirely different things . . . say, ice cream. Or a pair of shiny red shoes. Or when the GOP party takes control of Congress. Etc. But, hey, I realize we all have different things in life that thrill us. And if new memory is what melts Kevin’s butter, then I’m really happy for him.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

But What Exactly Is Being Chosen?

This morning I’ve been attending various pro-life functions, starting with a prayer breakfast and ending with a rally, to commemorate the tragic consequences of the Roe v. Wade decision (January 22, 1973).

When we think of the holocaust and the 9-11 attacks, we are saddened by the loss of life. It’s easy to forget, however, that a daily holocaust – a daily 9-11 – takes place in the secreted rooms of “women’s health clinics” across this nation.

“Choice is very important to me,” recently said Patty Berg, a California Assemblywoman. “Regardless of what subject we’re talking about.”

The duplicitous thing about Berg’s statement (made in relation to the current euthanasia debate) is that “choice” is essentially an ambiguous and meaningless term. When you think about it, the law exists to preserve our liberties by limiting certain choices. I’m sure Berg wouldn’t support child molesters “choosing” to prey upon children. (And what respectable liberal would actually support school choice, i.e., vouchers?) The questions that should be asked in a public policy debate are: 1) “What exactly is being chosen?” and 2) “Should citizens be allowed to make that particular choice?”

The words “a woman’s right to choose” are not only a semantic dodge but a philosophical one as well. Those who utter them aren’t in fact wholeheartedly committed to a woman’s right to choose . . . . No serious candidate or major political party has made a campaign promise to defend a woman’s right to prostitution, recreational drug use, suicide or a host of other private activities that remain outside the bounds of the law. – Paul Reisser, M.D.

It’s a cop-out to say you’re “pro-choice” and leave it at that.

And when we really look at what the abortion "choice" involves, how can we accept that choice? Here is one last quote to ponder:

It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish. – Mother Theresa

The most powerful moment of the rally today came when a high schooler (and friend of mine) spoke about the humanity of the unborn. If you have a minute (which you probably do, since you’re reading this blog) I would encourage you to read his speech. It’s one of the best oratories I’ve encountered on this subject.

Friday, January 14, 2005

So glad I'm not a princess.

Out of curiosity, does anyone out there think that the Prince Harry fiasco has gotten out of hand? Typically I ignore all the drama of the British Royal family but, since it’s been the lead story on Drudge for the past two days, it’s becoming more difficult to ignore.

Although it was poor taste to wear a Nazi uniform to a costume party, I find it hard to believe that it was anything more than immature judgment and “joke” gone sour. Besides, at a costume party with friends, who says you have to dress up like the hero every time? Why can’t you dress up like the villain? But, then again, maybe there’s a different standard for you when you’re a prince. Forget those childhood fantasies! Prince Harry’s predicament sheds light on the reality of it all.

The Boys' Lunch Club

Lately I’ve felt like a mom who sends her child off to school every day to eat his lunch on the playground, out of a Spiderman lunch pail, with all of his buddies. Kevin routinely eats lunch with several of the other young attorneys at his firm – sometimes they eat out but most of the time they congregate in the lunch room to swap narratives and jokes over the lunch hour. Lately I’ve been hearing stories about how they’ll compare their lunches and oftentimes share Dorritos or carrot sticks. I’ve even heard a few stories about making fun of certain lunches (e.g., “Ew, what’s that?”). You’d think they were little boys and not grown men. But, seriously, I’m glad Kevin has good friends to work with . . . and share lunch with.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

When Life Really Sucks

Sometimes I like to flip to random places in my bible and read random verses. Today my thumb landed on Habakkuk 3:17-18:

Though the fig tree should not blossom,
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail,
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold,
And there be no cattle in the stalls,

(In other words, “Though life really sucks . . .”)

Yet I will exult in the Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.

This made me think of a friend of ours who was disillusioned by the Christian Walk when he “did everything right” but, despite his efforts, things didn’t turn out how he’d hoped. Because of this, he walked away from the Lord, saying, “I tried the ‘Christian thing’ and, obviously, it doesn’t work.” (As if God is someone we can summon down from heaven at any given moment and command to do whatever we want Him to do.)

Incidentally, our young friend was a product of fallacious Bill Gothard teaching, i.e., “do these ten things and everything will go well for you” or “if you just follow this list of things to do, God will reward you, and you will be successful.”

Frankly, I don’t see anywhere in scripture where a Christian is promised “success” defined as health, wealth, fame, beauty, happiness, etc. On the contrary, many godly Christians in scripture were expected to endure torture, hunger, loneliness, famine, violence, etc. Although, as Christians, we experience many blessings (I wouldn’t want to go throughout life without the hope, peace, and joy I have as a Christian), none of us are guaranteed external abundance or happiness, as the world defines it.

The true test of our love for God lies in how much faith we have in Him when we go through trials and hardships. The true test of our devotion to God is evidenced when we can praise Him and, even “rejoice” in Him, though we have absolutely nothing.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A spoonful of coffee helps the budget go down . . .

Last night we went to Starbucks to work on our budget. If you have to work on your budget (which I assume most reasonable people will do this at least once or twice in their lives), then Starbucks is a good place to do it. Not only does it provide good ambiance for serious conversation, it also provides the opportunity to blow four bucks on coffee before you figure out how much money you have to spend on “frivolous” things. (Of course, whether or not good coffee is a frivolous expenditure is, I’m sure, something that can be debated for many hours.)

They have this really interesting new drink on the menu called Chantico. It looks like a type of drinkable chocolate fondue. Anybody out there tried it yet? I’m curious but not sure I want to pay for something that isn’t worth it. But, then again, it would be rather difficult for Starbucks to mess up something so wonderful as chocolate.

Don't Waste Your Money On An Expensive College

Here is a very interesting article by Dennis Prager, written several years ago. The reason I link to it now is because I happened to hear him talk about this topic on his radio show the other day and it caused me to scour the internet to try and find some of his quotes. Although I don’t have the text from his show, this article covers some of what he talked about.

“Never have so many paid so much to so few for so little.”

On his radio program, he also talked about the Forbes 400 list of the wealthiest Americans, how they made their money, and other statistics . . . like where they went to college. Out of the top ten, several of them are college dropouts and the rest of them went to colleges that are virtually unknown to mainstream America. (Several of the wealthiest Americans, further on down the list, are actually high school dropouts.)

This topic was interesting to me, personally, because I’ve taken some flak from several people for going to a non-accredited law school. But since I passed the bar on the first try, feel I received (overall) an excellent education, have zero student debt, and really love my job, I frankly could care less about what other people think.

I once spoke with a judge in Long Beach about the possible drawbacks of going to a non-accredited law school. He literally grabbed both of my shoulders, looked me in the eye, and said, “How successful you are in life will depend entirely upon one thing: YOU.”

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

"Oh," said the librarian to me . . .

. . . “Someone’s expecting a baby.” How did she know this? Maybe it was the fact that I was checking out four different books on baby names. . . and that gave her a clue.

At this point, we’re more nervous about naming a kid than raising one. When I was a child, I named all of my baby dolls “Clara.” It was my favorite name ever. But since I haven’t given much thought to baby names (or baby doll names) since my early girlhood, I went to the library today and loaded up on reading material.

One book is called 35,000 Baby Names. If I can’t find at least one (or two) in there that I like, it’s probably hopeless for me. Do you think? Another one is called Celtic Names for Children. I picked this one up since we tend to like names from the Northern Brittish Isles. Another one (that I’d heard of before) is called Beyond Jason and Jennifer. The last one I picked up looks like it will be totally impractical but completely fun. For that reason, I think I’ll read it first. It’s called The Language of Names: What We Call Ourselves and Why It Matters. A few facts on the cover of the book enamored me when I read them:

- People named Junior appear to be more likely to end up in mental institutions than those not named for their fathers.

- The names Wendy and Vanessa were invented, respectively, by J.M. Barrie and Jonathan Swift.

- American citizens have the right to choose any name they want, as long as it isn’t offensive or taken for some unlawful purpose.

- The current most popular name for Hispanic and Asian infant boys in New York City, San Francisco, and California is Kevin. (Ha!)

- The malapropian movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn (born Gelbfisz, which means “Goldfish”) is said to have told a friend, “Why did you name your baby John? Every Tom, Dick, and Harry is named John!”

- Ever since Plato, philosophers have been trying to decide just what a name is. They still can’t agree.

It appears that I have some fun reading ahead of me! See you in a few weeks. (Just kidding.)

Monday, January 10, 2005

Spousal Disagreement

A: I agree with you most of the time.
K: What?!
A: Kevin, you wouldn’t want a wife who agreed with you all the time. Since I disagree with you maybe 0.9% of the time, you know that when I actually do agree with you on the rest of the 99.1%, it’s because I think you’re smart and logical, not because I blindly believe everything you say. You wouldn’t be happy with a wife who always said, “Yes, Kevin dear” to everything you said.
K: No, but I would like it if you’d initially disagree with me and then realize I’m right in the end.
A: (laughter)
K: Or, better yet, if I’d be able to persuade you to agree with me every time you disagree.

[Editor’s note: I have to admit - most of the time when I disagree with Kevin, I am later “proved wrong.” Perhaps I should just throw in the towel and always agree with him. Hmm . . . let me think about that. (pause) Nah! Life’s more interesting the way it is now.]

It was a very random weekend, including a very fun birthday party with a D.J. and dancing, a Pampered Chef party for Amy (seriously – I think I’ve been invited to approximately five Pampered Chef parties in the past twelve months!), our first-ever “repairman” visit for a broken appliance (our icemaker ceased working in our fridge just before Christmas – and our pocketbook is now feeling the pain; you wouldn’t believe how much icemaker repairs cost!!), helping a friend install a DVD player in her house (which involved moving a large TV cabinet), and late-night cribbage games.

And now . . . it’s Monday.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Inspired By Conservative Women Leaders

I just got a really cool 2005 calendar from my boss featuring “Great American Conservative Women.” It inspires me. It really does.

Although I’m a big fan of many male commentators and conservative leaders, I think it’s important that women stand up to express and articulate conservative ideology as well. They have a different perspective than men do on a wide variety of issues, especially concerning the role of women in raising families, making an impact on society, being involved in community, etc.

Kay Coles James (not featured in the calendar, although she should be in there) once said: “Women can have it all – but not all at one time.” This spoke volumes to me because, as a woman, I sometimes struggle with the fact that I can’t do everything successfully all at once. But that’s how life is. There are different phases of life to focus on different things. This doesn’t mean that I can’t partake of all the wonderful things life has to offer – it just means that I can’t do it all at once. Thank you, Kay, for sharing this with me and so many other women. (Thank God for conservative female leaders!)

One woman who is featured in the calendar, and definitely deserves to be there, is one of my heroes: Phyllis Schlafly, founder of Eagle Forum and main opponent of the ERA. Ann Coulter (also featured in the calendar) wrote an article about Schlafly entitled Call Her Mrs. As I read this article, it confirmed what Kay Coles James said. Schlafly has successfully accomplished many great things. Yet, she’s always had her priorities in the right place. Schlafly’s life inspires me and challenges me to be like her. Here is the full article. Here is an excerpt:

“She was nearly the first woman ever to attend Harvard Law School – though it did not then admit women, Schlafly’s Harvard professors found her so brilliant that they offered to make an exception for her. (She declined.) Instead, she married, raised six amazingly accomplished children and later attended law school in her 50s – all while fighting the establishment in her free time. She is brilliant, beautiful, principled, articulate, tireless and, most important, absolutely fearless.”

Thursday, January 06, 2005


This morning was my first official OB appointment. Kevin went with me. He said he felt awkward ‘cuz he was the only male in the waiting room. Speaking of which . . . The waiting room of this particular doctor’s office deserves special mention in this blog. I’ve never seen anything like it. You know how, typically, doctor’s offices are painted a sterile vanilla color with boxy-shaped furniture? Well, walking into this doctor’s office makes me feel like I’m going to visit a kindly, sweet grandmother. There’s floral wallpaper, stained oak trim, plaid couches, and winged-back chairs to sit on. It’s rather nice, actually.

I really like my doctor. (It was a shot in the dark when I picked her out of a directory. Although, I did call her office to first make sure they don’t do abortions.) She’s very easy-going and has a cute personality. Much to everyone’s relief (I’m sure), I won’t go into detail about the exam. Although, I will say . . . if you’re a man, be grateful you will never, ever experience a pap smear.

Today we actually got to hear the heartbeat for the first time. Although I’ve heard other people talk about how powerful this experience is, I honestly wasn’t quite prepared for how overwhelming and exciting it would be. My first thought was, “It’s alive!” (Lately I’ve had these recurring doubts about whether or not I’m really pregnant because I’ve been feeling very “normal.”) Anyway, I simply cannot describe to you with mere words how amazing it was to hear this little whoosh-whoosh-whoosh sound coming through the Doppler.

Just when we thought the appointment was over, the nurse told us that the doctor wanted to do an ultrasound. I immediately wondered if something was wrong because my insurance only pays for “medically necessary” ultrasounds, in addition to one done at 20 weeks. The nurse said that nothing was wrong: “The doctor wants to do it ‘just for fun’ and we won’t turn it in to your insurance.”

If I thought I wasn’t prepared to hear a heartbeat, I definitely wasn’t prepared to see the actual image of my child swimming around in utero. It was captivating, breathtaking, and unbelievable. It was also a very emotional experience. My first thought was: “How can anyone not be pro-life after seeing something like this?”

I think the reality of what awaits us next July has finally sunk in. Oh my gosh . . . I’m going to be a mom!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

A Perfect Hatred?

Angela and I just had a hearty discussion on Ps. 139:21-22: “Do I not hate them, O Lord, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.” Angela said it’s hard to understand how hating can ever be a good thing if we are supposed to be filled with love for others. “Maybe it has something to do with hating darkness and those who are anti-Christ are darkness,” I suggested. But how then, we wondered, can we show love to sinners in need of Christ if we must “hate” them for being darkness? And why would anyone want to become a Christian if they are “hated” by Christians? (Obviously . . . there’s something missing in our analysis.) The key, we surmised, must lie somewhere in the fact that the hatred described in Ps. 139, in order to be acceptable and “good,” must necessarily be a “perfect hatred.” But what exactly is perfect hatred? And how can we, as fallen human beings, ever hope to realize “perfect hatred” (let alone try to define it!)?

How can godly love and perfect hatred co-exist?

“Someone told me once that hatred is not the opposite of love but something very close to love because it is a strong emotion just like love,” said Angela. “And you typically hate someone only because you care about them. Otherwise, you wouldn’t feel any emotion toward them at all.” So then we decided that the opposite of love must be apathy – a large void – or having absolutely no feelings toward someone.

In the end, we had more questions than answers. But that’s the charm and mystery of thinking deeply about something – the deeper you dig, the more you realize how completely vast and cavernous this world is. And, besides all that, it’s so much fun to philosophize. In fact, if I could find someone to pay me for it, I think I’d like to do it full-time. (Dream on, Amy.)

Rumblings at Town Hall

Our luggage has finally been returned to us by Continental Airlines. [And to think how often I took for granted the sheer delight and privilege of being able to use a hair dryer!]

Last night, after work, all I wanted to do was go home, unpack, eat dinner, and read a good book with Kevin. (Or maybe start taking down our Christmas decorations.) But something came up at work and I had to attend a school board meeting. Sigh . . . [There’s something terribly wrong with having a very large mortgage and never being home to enjoy what you’re paying for.]

In the end, I’m glad I went to the meeting. It was an incredible experience. CRI has been working on an issue with a local school board wanting to overturn a policy requiring parental notification when minor children, as young as age 12, leave campus for “confidential medical services.” This issue has gained quite a bit of media attention, both locally and nationally. Because of this, the board room was packed, overflowing, and spilling out into the hallways with concerned, passionate, and enraged parents wanting to give the board a piece of their minds. The experience last night was yet another reminder of why I love community activism. At one point during the meeting, if you can believe it, I even started feeling slightly emotional at the plea of one articulate mother. But maybe that’s just because my hormones are out of whack right now. Ugh.

Anyway . . . tonight, fortunately, we don’t have any plans. So I think I’ll go home, unpack, eat dinner, and read a good book with Kevin.

Oh, and then there’s that little ant problem in the kitchen that I’ve been ignoring for the past two days . . . .

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Koons Clan: Kevin, Shannon, Laura (Mom), Colin, Amy, Megan, Dale (Dad)

Megan and Amy having too much fun!

Kev and Colin celebrating the New Year

Monday, January 03, 2005

Looking Back . . . and Ahead

Until this point I’ve been very happy to say that I’ve never had an airline lose my luggage. But I can no longer boast about this. We flew into Sacramento yesterday and, would you know it, the most nonessential piece of luggage we brought with us was the only one to arrive. The three pieces of luggage containing all of our toiletry items were on vacation somewhere in Houston. So, here I am, sitting at my desk without any makeup and stringy hair ‘cuz I couldn’t dry it this morning. Sigh . . .

We had a wonderful time in Indy. I got my wish: We had a beautifully white Christmas. We had a good time visiting family – and even had time to catch up with a few of Kevin’s old friends. We enjoyed attending a Christmas Eve candlelight service at Grandma and Grandpa’s church, relished Christmas day and all the familiar celebrations, had fun shopping, watching movies, sledding with Colin and some friends, Kevin enjoyed skiing with Colin, and I enjoyed a trip to the spa with Megan and Shannon for facials. (I highly recommend this . . . very relaxing!) When we went sledding, we made a “train” by hooking three sleds together. Kevin and I were sitting on the middle sled when, one-third of the way down the slope, our sled flew out from underneath us. Needless to say, it was a very bumpy ride (understatement). Although we were flying downhill at a rapid pace, it seemed like it took an eternity to finally make it to the bottom. I think we alternately screamed and laughed the whole way down. Hmmm . . . good times. Probably the most fun day of all was New Year’s Eve. The whole family went out to dinner and then we went to the symphony for their 10 p.m.-midnight concert. Everyone in the audience had bright glittery hats and noisemakers. It was a lively crowd! The Manhattan Rhythm Kings were there to join the symphony, sing and do some tap dancing numbers. It was great. After the countdown to midnight, everyone went out into the main hall to dance and enjoy Big Band music. And then, at approximately one o’clock, we proceeded to go to a friends’ house to play games until almost four in the morning. I don’t think I’ve stayed up that late since law school days. Frankly, I’m surprised I made it!

Anyway, I’ll try to post some pictures. Some of you may know by now, ‘cuz word travels fast – or you may have received our very belated Christmas letter, that we decided we need more blog material and figured a good way to get it would be to add another person to our family. (Just kidding about the blog part.) We’re due in mid-July and are very excited, anxious, happy, freaked-out, disbelieving, etc. You know . . . all those feelings that every new parent-to-be typically experiences. And this is only the beginning . . . Life will definitely change. This will be a new chapter. We’re looking forward to all of the joys, sorrows, and adventures.