Wednesday, March 31, 2010


March 31, 2010

Who knew Erin's web page had a theme song?  And who knew you needed to show your midriff to be a righteous drummer?

Friday, March 26, 2010


March 26, 2010

You may have heard that things grow bigger in Texas. You want proof? My mom took a birding trip to south Texas for Spring Break. Here's a photo of one of her "Birds of the Day."

"Cluck"--not in the Merriam-Webster sense of the word:

Main Entry: 1cluck
Pronunciation: \ˈklək\
Function: verb
Etymology: imitative
Date: 15th century

intransitive verb 1 : to make a cluck
2 : to make a clicking sound with the tongue
3 : to express interest or concern ed over the new developments>transitive verb 1 : to call with a cluck
2 : to express with interest or concern

but in the chicken language sense of the word: "I need help" and that is what I need from you. I have a gifted student who has offered to help me (re)design and build a new web page for our lanyard project. You may have noticed that the old one isn't so hot in the sense that things are hard to find and it doesn't use space efficiently. It might get a "fail" on other important dimensions as well.

Please take a minute to answer two questions that will help me begin the redesign process. Either leave a comment or email me at .

1. Why did you visit Erin's Dream Lanyards? (choose as many as apply)

  • To make an order
  • Curiosity
  • To find out how to help
  • Followed a link
  • Interested in lanyard stories
  • To see the workshop schedule
  • To download material about lanyards
  • Other (describe)
2. Was there anything you were hoping would be there, but wasn't?

Of course, if you have any other feedback, I'd love to hear it. Believe me, you couldn't offend me by detailing the ways the website needs fixing (confusing, etc.).


As long as I'm clucking (in the chicken language sense of the word), I'd like to remind all the locals and those within driving distance that this would be a great weekend for you to do some spring cleaning. AND if you find anything that needs a new home:

Remember that on Saturday, April 24, Erin's school, Jane Long Middle School, is having a garage sale. This is not just any old garage sale, where someone tries to sell their garage or even the junk in their garage.

This sale is the major way the the Jane Long PTO funds the Erin Buenger Scholarship, established in her memory.

We have a place to store those things between now and then and can even pick up your items. Let me know (


Holy Flying Mammal! Here's what I found on the ceiling of my office when I got to work this morning:

Monday, March 22, 2010


March 22, 2010

I wasn't surprised that I broke out with poison ivy towards the end of the week. I had spent some beautiful days in the yard pulling weeds, clearing out the accumulated fallen leaves, and generally looking for excuses to hang out like a contented river otter soaking up the sun. I hadn't seen any poison ivy, but that doesn't mean that it hadn't seen me.

I was, however, surprised that my poison ivy rash looks a lot like the imprint of a curled up Teddy, right in the lappiest part of my lap (easier to explain a dog-shaped patch of poison ivy on the front/inner part of your thighs than some other spots you might have a rash). I have noticed that I can actually function taking one benedryl before bed and one when I get up (not too sleepy, not too itchy, not too grumpy. . . in fact, not really any of the seven dwarfs at all).

The benedryl has had one unwanted side effect. You may remember that the current (and still continuing) book in the mother/daughter book club is The Arabian Nights. I've made it up to the "Tales of Sinbad, the Seaman" (although apparently he is also sometimes Sindbad the Landsman, depending on whether he is home or away). Anyway, I have experienced the same thing reading through each of the seven voyages of Sinbad as I used to experience watching "Leave It to Beaver" or "The Wonder Years." Every episode (every tale), you just want to put your hands over your eyes and say "No, Beav/Kevin/Sindbad! Don't do that! That's big trouble!" Believe me, you don't get very far reading if you cover your eyes, AND if you cover your eyes after you have had a benedryl, just forget progress.

I booted on Sinbad last night to tune into C-SPAN to watch the health insurance reform vote (I know. I know. Where are the Esquire photographers for my "Girl Gone Wild" photo shoot?). Having watched the whip count on various websites for days, I had a good feel for what would happen, but I watched partially as a tribute to Erin. Kim, my friend from New York, wrote me this morning, saying that she was sure Erin was smiling after the vote and had probably made an elaborate table with the pros and the cons of the bill to make sure it all went down the right way.

I figure Erin would have taken it a step further, like she did on election night, and put together her
own whip count charts to supplement the published ones. I suspect she would have even done a little whipping of her own (and probably would have squeezed at least one more vote into the yea column). Health care has been a divisive issue for the last many months, but I know my friends in the pediatric cancer world no longer have to worry about reaching their life time maximums or about their parents being locked into untenable jobs because they are virtually uninsurable with that pre-existing condition called neuroblastoma. It doesn't solve the big problem presented by their diagnosis, but this bill promises to ease the stresses in their tough lives a little.

I also thought of Erin and how much she would have approved of President Obama's final pitch to the Democratic caucus on Saturday, when he said:

“Every once in a while a moment comes where you have a chance to vindicate all those best hopes that you had about yourself, about this country, where you have a chance to make good on those promises that you made ... And this is the time to make true on that promise. We are not bound to win, but we are bound to be true. We are not bound to succeed, but we are bound to let whatever light we have shine.”

Paul Krugman, my favorite heartthrob, Nobel-Prize winning economist puts this passage into context in his column "Fear Strikes Out." He writes "on one side, the closing argument was an appeal to our better angels, urging politicians to do what is right, even if it hurts their careers; on the other side, callous cynicism."
In the end, he concludes "a vicious, unprincipled fear offensive failed to block reform. This time, fear struck out."

Today, I muse on the many lessons Erin taught me. One (that I needed to review before last week) was to stay away from poison ivy. Another was to put aside fear and work (and play) on and let our light shine.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Fight On

March 15, 2010

The ides.  Of March.  Of course, Caesar had a warning about the grave peril he faced that day.  A whole host of other people I know have had their warnings as well.  They didn't come with a specific date, just a diagnosis:  your child has neuroblastoma.

These kids have died.  Cruelly.  Brutally.  Wrongly.  Some this weekend.  All in the past few weeks.

I never dreamed, in all my life, that I would know so many kids who died.

I'm angry.  When I am angry, I work harder.  I invite you to work with me, whether it is with the Children's Neuroblastoma Cancer FoundationNB Alliance, Neuroblastoma FoundationFriends of Will, Max's Ring of FireBand of ParentsErin's Dream Lanyards, or any other neuroblastoma fundraising group that you know of.  Don't get sidetracked.  Don't have a short attention span.  Don't be put off by the pain of children dying.

There are plenty of kids that will benefit from NB research:  Hans, Will, Toby, Dylan, Sam F., Anna and thousands more that I don't know. We just need to get to work and stay on task.  

Reach out and help.

Can't come?  Send beads.  
No time to shop?  Send your old unwanted or broken jewelry (we will re-purpose).
Not into jewely?  Send a contribution.
Broke?  Call, email, leave a comment.  I will figure out a way that you can help.

Fight On!  Just as Erin and all the other kids did. . . until their last breath.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


March 12, 2010

With warmer temps (at least here in Texas) and copious sunshine, some of you may anticipate doing a bit (or a bunch) of spring cleaning over the next few weeks. I know I am. If you find that you have things you would like to dispose of, consider this:

On Saturday, April 24, Erin's school, Jane Long Middle School, is having a garage sale. This is not just any old garage sale, where someone tries to sell their garage or even the junk in their garage. This sale is the major way the the Jane Long PTO funds the Erin Buenger Scholarship, established in her memory.

If you are interested in cleaning out your garage and donating some items to our sale, we have a place to store those things between now and then. Let me know ( .

Since what I know about garage sales can fit on Teddy's toenail, I sought and got advice to help guide your giving:

Things That Sell:

  • Baby/toddler clothing in good condition
  • Toys
  • Furniture in pretty good shape
  • Home Electronics (tv, radio, dvd players, etc.)
  • Art Supplies
  • Anything for kids
  • Computers and Equipment
  • Art Supplies
  • DVDs & CDs
  • Gardening equipment
  • Art & Collectibles
  • and more!
No thank you - doesn't sell:
  • Bed mattresses, sheets
  • Items too "used" or worn
  • Magazines, books
  • Anything dirty or dusty
  • Anything torn or with stains
  • Shoes (unless new and unworn)
  • Most clothing not for babies/ toddlers
  • Upholstered furniture not in great shape
In the meantime, clean has pervaded our lives, from the clean jokes that Walter prefaced his Presidential Address with last Friday evening.

To Walter and my making a convincing clean sweep over UT (t.u.) in the first round of the First Annual TSHA pool tournament in our suite after the Presidential Banquet last Friday night.
To the clean up of the house and yard when we returned from Dallas, so that we could host a meet and greet between local Young Democrats and Congressman Chet Edwards last Sunday evening.

Now, while I'm on a roll, I'd better get cleaning.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


March 9, 2010

I conceived this entry as a tribute to my old practice of noting things that made me say hmm (You can click on the labels at the left or right here to see other things that made me say hmm).  

Yesterday, something scrolled across my news feeder and really did make me say hmm out loud.  For those of you reading quickly and avoiding data when possible, this is a graph of water consumption in Edmonton for two days during the winter Olympics.  The green line is a week ago Friday.  The blue line is the next day, the Saturday of the Olympic gold medal hockey game.  The X-axis is time of day.  The Y-axis is water consumption.  What do you conclude from this data?


Another thing that made me say hmm was spotting a man dressed in black striding down the easement next to Finfeather the other day.  I use the verb stride purposefully, because his gait brought to mind Viggo Mortensen (who played Aragon, aka Strider, in The Lord of the Rings).  Black hat with brim, black scraggly beard, black long-sleeved shirt with black vest, black boots, and a flowing black skirt that rippled in the breeze.   Hmm. 

But the main thing that made me say hmm and have a flashback simultaneously was a visit to The Sons of Herman lodge week before last.  I was standing in for Congressman Chet Edwards again at a candidates forum.  I hadn't been to the Sons of Herman Lodge in twenty-eight and a half years.  Last time I was there, I was attending my dorm's winter formal, with a young man to whom I was engaged, but never married.  When I walked in the room a couple of weeks ago, it was like no time had passed.  The chairs--molded plastic, goldenrod, lime, and tangerine--were grimier, but otherwise exactly the same.  The tables, situated around the hall, stood arranged exactly the way they had been set in 1981.  Except for the missing disco ball and that I was wearing a sports coat rather than a mauve evening gown, I could have time traveled.  It definitely made me say hmm.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


March 4, 2010

For the second time in a row, I have a conflict on an Odd Friday (tomorrow), so that I can't host my usual Lanyard Workshop (thus the post title).  I miss all of you and look forward (with extreme prejudice) to seeing you on the 19th of March, for what I hope will be a mondo-big session.  My lanyard board is down to about a dozen in stock, and I can hardly wait to replenish (If any of you bead for me at home, I could use some shiny, spring color lanyards to fill an order that just came in!).

Speaking of replenishing, if you happen to drop in to a bead shop, or Michael's, or Hobby Lobby, or WalMart, or Joann's in the next week or so, please tuck a string of beads into your shopping basket.  The out of town workshops that we did in February have really depleted our stock, especially of accent beads and larger seed beads.  If we all help out a little, we gain a bigger variety and it doesn't cost any one person too much.

Why have I abandoned you, just when you had lanyard-making lust?  My first lady duties call.  As unpleasant as it may look to stay in the Presidential Suite (pictured below is one of the rooms of our five room suite), I feel responsible to support Walter in the last days of his Presidency of the Texas State Historical Association.  

This means that I have to attend a series of receptions, cocktail parties, and other events with rich food and charming company, but I am willing to do the hard work of being the President's wife.  Walter even voluntarily offered to wear his conference ID on one of the Erin's Dream Lanyards that I brought along, which is pretty awesome, because in addition to the ID card with this name and affiliation, his badge has more colored ribbons (indicating various honors and roles) than a Russian general.  Talking about a magnet for extra attention!  Maybe someone will take his picture and I can show you.

Monday, March 1, 2010


March 1, 2010

Willie wanted some entertainment, and our new neighbors seemed happy to provide it. Who are our new neighbors? A pair of peace-loving emus. They browse the local ranch just across the fence behind our dam, scrounging for whatever plants and insects are in season. I don't think they eat dogs, but I'm not sure. While the video I have embedded is not actual footage of our actual neighbors, it does seem to capture their mild-mannered attitude towards the world.

(NOTE: I removed the embedded video because it just caused too many problems. Make sure you click on the link below for maximum laughs.)


Willie noticed their carefree, bon vivant posture and knew in his heart that they would want him to join the filming of their episode of "Dancing with the Emus." So he did.

First, they danced stage left to stage right (as illustrated by Sunday's B.C. comic strip):

Then they danced stage right to stage left:

I never really thought that a bird could run as fast as Willie. But apparently, at least one can. I think the whole episode left both Willie and Mr. Emu wondering. . .

"Do you think dog/emu tastes like chicken?"