Sunday, November 30, 2008

November in Illinois

I awoke this morning to a tiny voice repeating, "Mommy make the waffeals?" Bleary-eyed, I ambled to the kitchen when--- what?--- snow. It was literally raining snow. So, being the crazy photog that I have become, I decided this was a photo op not to be missed. I snapped one photo that I have titled, "Irony." I'll let you guess which one that is. The others are the trees that surround my backyard.

I have to say, I have always loved freshly fallen snow, and I am having to really hold myself back from going outside and playing. I have been battling a chesty virus illness for a couple days, and I am not going to tempt fate.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A "Hopping" Good Thanksgiving

We celebrated Thanksgiving 2008 with Uncle Michael's family in Lake Zurich. Among the highlights was time on the trampoline. In the slide show, you see Max, Ignatius, and Rachel enjoying some bounce time before the turkey.

Friday, November 28, 2008

This Woman's Review

Last Saturday, I went to see the Movie adaptation of Twilight. Here are my random thoughts for those who are interested.

At first, I was scratching my head at the choice for Edward, Robert Pattinson. The still photos of him that were used to promote the movie did him no justice. Edward was the larger-than-life gorgeous vampire, as described in the book. I think I was expecting that "drop dead" quality in the photos. They need to work on that for New Moon, because the man can have these types of photos taken, most definitely.

Well, after doing some of my own cyber-stalking, I realized that Pattinson, who loses his very charming English accent for the film, was the PERFECT Edward Cullen. Believably 17, believably a vampire, and believably in love with Bella, played by Kristen Stewart. I changed my mind very quickly. I think Kristen Stewart was a believable Bella, also.
The movie itself, however, made me scratch my head. Definitely low budget. Obviously, the producers were counting on the draw of the Twilight book fans (ahem) rather than the draw for any type of decent directing. I am hoping by Breaking Dawn they will have made the money to overcome this, because that adaptation of the last in the series cannot be done badly. I guess I just don't understand why some of the scenes were altered so completely from the sequencing in the book. Also, a great deal of the plot was rushed, it seemed.

I downloaded the soundtrack before I saw the movie, as the soundtrack was getting great reviews. They were all well-earned. I typically buy and play and soundtrack until it's a little maddening. Always have. I was fairly unfamiliar with the bands, except for Linkin Park. I thought the songs were great, particularly "Bella's Lullaby." Rob Pattinson even had a couple of songs on the album. He sounded... pained... and might want to just stick to acting. However, Muse is a band I have grown to love ("Supermassive Black Hole" is a great song). Just some good, alternative-like tunes for those who like that genre of music.
I also read Stephenie Meyer's manuscript draft for Midnight Sun, which is basically Twilight from Edward's perspective. VERY interesting read. It was sad to read on her blog that the manuscript somehow "got out there" and was being illegally distributed, but it figures with the popularity of her series that this occurred. Anyway, I had heard in an interview that Robert Pattinson read the manuscript as he was preparing to play Edward, and reading it made a lot if his acting decisions make sense to me.
Lots of craziness for a great set of books and an interesting series of movies (I hope). In all, I don't mind being wrapped up in the madness. It's so much more interesting than reality.

Monday, November 17, 2008


More and more, I lean toward a self-diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive disorder. Now, laughing at me is not nice, for those who know me (and are probably screaming "YA THINK?!").

Seriously, lately, I just am able to clear up my mirror image of myself. There are some things that I am clearly not compulsive about (anymore). Laundry, for example, or keeping an overly-tidy house. School is also taking a back seat in my compulsion list. However, food and these stinking books by Stephanie Meyer...crazy compulsive.

On the food front, I finally realized that I am battling something far larger than just needing to diet. I have dieted, and dieted, and dieted. Over and over to no avail. I have been doing a lot of reading about compulsive overeating, and how a diet will not help. It seems especially related to PCOS, which I have. Anyway, more on that as I obsessively search the Internet.

What is with these Twilight books? At first, I scoffed. There was no WAY I was going to read a 500 page book for "fun," and there was NO Bleeping WAY I was going to read four of them. Lo, and behold. I just finished Eclipse tonight. That leaves Breaking Dawn. I will not open that thing tonight, I SWEAR.

SPOLIER ALERT. Do not read on if you intend to read the series.

So seriously, these books. They revolve around a main character, Bella, and her love interests. Her main love is Edward Cullen, your modern-day "good" vampire. She has some latent feelings for her "friend," Jacob Black, a vampire-loathing werewolf. Now, right there, reading the plot, one would think, "Why would JoLynn read this crap?" Seriously, I reread the sentences above, and they sound ridiculous. I think two vital elements bring these books to the level of addiction for me. First, I think all grown women like to think back to when they were 17-18 and had the whole world ahead of them. If there were love interests in their lives at the time, most women can really identify with Bella and her angst. Well, sort of, in a non-vampire way. Second, I keep shouting at the books. Meyer makes me mad with the plot in New Moon. Oooh, I was so mad. The depth of Bella's pain at being left by Edward... anyone who experienced a breakup when young knows the depth of that pain. Plus, it was Edward! He was not supposed to leave the love of his existence! I recall reading this late at night and just being ticked that I would not be getting any sleep. I could not "leave" Bella that catatonic. She had to dig herself out of this. Enter Jacob Black.
Poor, used Jacob. Bella... love the beautiful vampire or love the dorky werewolf... why was this a choice? Yet, in Eclipse, she claims her love for Jacob... and Edward? She made me so mad. BUT, that's the beauty of this writing. She's 18, not 39. She is seeing life as an 18 year old. And she's ticking me off.
Edward, on the other hand, has become my favorite character. He is the king of cool. Truly. I don't know if that was Meyer's intention, but she definitely makes Edward an absolute treasure of a guy. He is devoted to Bella to the point of being willing to give her up to Jacob if that's what she truly wants.
In Eclipse, Edward proposes to Bella... and she makes this whole big stink about not wanting to get married. Again, I am 39, she's supposed to be 18. What an idiot. Yet Edward is so patient and protective of her, killing an evil vampire who seeks her death. She is so not worthy.
OK, done with my fantasy world. Glad I got that off of my chest. What a nutcase!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Very interesting

Well, as of this afternoon,, has... changed. The Agenda items that were posted this weekend have disappeared. Very interesting, I have to say. Perhaps someone believed the wording needed a little "tweak." Makes me happy. :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

An effort to educate, part 1

As of last Tuesday, a majority of the Electoral College and American voters chose Barack Obama as the President-Elect of the United States with Joe Biden as his Vice President-Elect. Since then, a site has been posted with the Obama-Biden philosophies of governing the country. When I entitle my blog "An effort to educate," I will try to take a vignette of the policies and ideas posted, give the direct quote, and share some of my feelings. I encourage you to share yours by commenting as well. The only censorship I will do with my comments are profane ones, as judged by me. This is about talking politics, not shoving views down people's throats. If you would rather not read about this, as our President-Elect says, you have a choice. Read or don't read.

My need for this comes from what I believe was the biggest uninformed electorate in United States history. This has nothing to do with race. This has everything to do with ideology. Read on if you wish.

Agenda Item #1: Faith

Quote from

Reconciling Faith and Politics

“(Obama's speech on faith) may be the most important pronouncement by a Democrat on faith and politics since John F. Kennedy's Houston speech in 1960 declaring his independence from the Vatican...Obama offers the first faith testimony I have heard from any politician that speaks honestly about the uncertainties of belief.”
— E.J. Dionne, Op-Ed., Washington Post, June 30, 2006

In June of 2006, Senator Obama delivered what was called the most important speech on religion and politics in 40 years. Speaking before an evangelical audience, Senator Obama candidly discussed his own religious conversion and doubts, and the need for a deeper, more substantive discussion about the role of faith in American life.

Senator Obama also laid down principles for how to discuss faith in a pluralistic society, including the need for religious people to translate their concerns into universal, rather than religion-specific, values during public debate. In December, 2006, Senator Obama discussed the importance of faith in the global battle against AIDS.

JoLynn's take: What does it mean to be a "pluralistic society?" I view it as the same as "moral relativism," a term which I consider to be a glaring oxymoron. A pluralistic society is where no train of thought is valued above another and every train of thought is considered equal.

I find it interesting that Senator Obanma has laid down principles about how we should discuss our faith. To my knowledge that is directly against my freedoms of both speech and religion, guaranteed to me by the First Amendment. I am permitted to have my views. I am also permitted to think some views are right and others are wrong. For example, I find that there is no middle ground on abortion. It is wrong to kill our youngest and most vulnerable citizens. I believe that there is a soul joined with each new baby from the moment of conception. I get to believe that. I get to believe I am right and others who believe otherwise are wrong. That is what this nation is about. Not making everyone feel good.

Under Senator Obama's position, we should allow people to spread lies. Will we be giving Ahmadinejad the benefit of Obama's pluralism? Is he right that he wants to obliterate the country of Israel? Is he right that he spreads this idea that the Holocaust did not happen? Do we get to say he is wrong or must we accept his views with the equality of a pacifist's view?

If you think I am being extreme, consider this quote from the Associated Press: Hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad congratulated Obama on his win — the first time an Iranian leader has offered such wishes to a U.S. president-elect since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. I think we will be hearing and seeing a lot more from this Iranian leader than any of us might wish to.

Bottom line: Mr. Obama does not get to dictate to anyone how public debate in this country should be held. Considering the company he has kept before, during, and after this election, he should think long and hard about stating "principles" to anyone.