November 28, 2008


So, this post is a day late and a dollar short. I couldn't come up with a way to make this post clever and informative, so I'm just going to come out and say it: a new Cool will be arriving in June. A very small Cool, and we don't yet know if it will be Miss Cool or Master Cool. As of this week, though, the future Cool had a strong heartbeat and a proclivity for waving her hands around. Probably preparing for a political debate!

Anyway, we are pretty excited at the Cool household, and we have been ever since we learned that pirates are wild*. So, that's what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving season--heartbeats!

*In an episode of the Simpsons, the pregnancy test Apu and his bride take operates on the slot machine principle--three seperate slots. Babies, obviously mean baby, and pirates are wild. So, baby, baby, pirate equals a pregnancy!

November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Eve

Today, I'm celebrating an early Thanksgiving with Mr. Cool's family. Now, I know Thanksgiving Eve is not a traditionally observed holiday, but perhaps today, instead of hanging stockings, you could start preparing your list of things you are quite thanksful for. I promise tomorrow, a special Thanksgiving post from here. You won't want to miss it.

November 22, 2008

An Exercise in Futility

This post is a bit late after the event, but better late than never, right? In October and November, I went to a spinning class with my knitting group. In case, like my husband, you assumed we were taking up a new form of exercise, I will clarify that we were spinning yarn.

You start with this--some nice sheepswool, cleaned, processed, and drafted into a chunk of fleece.

You then try to put it on a spinning wheel. This is the wheel I had the best luck with, an Ashford Traditional. Hopefully, you're thinking of Sleeping Beauty now, although it is a bit different. What you can't see is my right foot, trying to smoothly pump the treadle to maintain a continuous speed, without any speed-ups or slow-downs.

I wasn't great at spinning. What you see above is my best tiny little ball of yarn--and it isn't great. My yarn is uneven, either just barely spun or overspun. I'm not a natural, and I don't know if our instructor knew quite what to do with me. My biggest struggle involved getting the yarn to feed in and wrap around the bobbin, which apparently means my problem was tension. No one ever showed my how to adjust the tension on my wheel, so that made it hard.

Still, it was fun to try. I need to figure out some way to display my "beautiful" balls of yarn. Mr. Cool is relieved that he doesn't have to drop a chunk of change on a new wheel. Maybe I'll have to try with a spindle . . .

November 19, 2008

Past Life

LIFE magazine just put their photo archives on the internet, and look what I found! It's me!

November 11, 2008

Medal of Honor: A Veteran's Day Post

Last week, Mr. Cool and I stayed up late watching a documentary on PBS on the Medal of Honor and its recipients. Mr. Cool knows he can always suck me in to anything military as long as they mention the Civil War. It was fascinating, and we spent a good deal of time this weekend reading about the Medal of Honor. I learned about some amazing men and women who have served our country above and beyond, and I wanted to quickly share some of my favorite honorees.

Tibor Rubin, a Hungarian immigrant, was placed in a Nazi concentration camp at the age of 13, until liberated by American troops. He wanted to go to the U.S. to become a G.I. Joe, and although he struggled with the language test, eventually made it. He served in Korea, under an anti-Semitic commander who tried to kill him. Unfortunately, he was just too darn good at soldiering. He was later taken captive and held as a prisoner of war, where he stole food for his fellow captives and worked hard to domitzvahs (good deeds) as his late mother had taught him.

The other story that shocked and surprised me involved Admiral Stockdale. Yes, the same Admiral James Stockdale who served as Ross Perot's running mate in the 1992 election and famously said, "Who am I? Why am I here?" at the VP debate. He has been the butt of many jokes ever since, when in reality his Medal of Honor citation is incredible. I find I must quote it, rather than trying to re-tell the story:
Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while senior naval officer in the Prisoner of War camps of North Vietnam. Recognized by his captors as the leader in the Prisoners' of War resistance to interrogation and in their refusal to participate in propaganda exploitation, Rear Adm. Stockdale was singled out for interrogation and attendant torture after he was detected in a covert communications attempt. Sensing the start of another purge, and aware that his earlier efforts at self-disfiguration to dissuade his captors from exploiting him for propaganda purposes had resulted in cruel and agonizing punishment, Rear Adm. Stockdale resolved to make himself a symbol of resistance regardless of personal sacrifice. He deliberately inflicted a near-mortal wound to his person in order to convince his captors of his willingness to give up his life rather than capitulate. He was subsequently discovered and revived by the North Vietnamese who, convinced of his indomitable spirit, abated in their employment of excessive harassment and torture toward all of the Prisoners of War. By his heroic action, at great peril to himself, he earned the everlasting gratitude of his fellow prisoners and of his country. Rear Adm. Stockdale's valiant leadership and extraordinary courage in a hostile environment sustain and enhance the finest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.
I hope today you will take a chance to learn about the many Medal of Honor recipients, including Vernon Baker, originally from Cheyenne, WY, "Hershey" Miyamura, raised in New Mexico, and the four heroes from Pueblo, CO. And, if you really are a Civil War nerd like me, reading the various citations from the Civil War is a great way to kill some time. Of course, thanks to any and all veterans who read this blog, and a special thanks to my family who has served in the military: my Grandpa Bill, my father-in-law George, and my brother-in-law Matthew.

I'll close this rather long post with a quote:
"We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm." ~Winston Churchill (Mr. Cool's oft-quoted quote)

November 10, 2008

John Leonard, In Remembrance

I grew up watching CBS Sunday Morning, with Charles Kuralt, and then Charles Osgood. I always stayed to watch John Leonard review books, movies, and TV. I loved his style, his words. He was a master of the grammatically correct extra-long sentence. As I watched Sunday Morning yesterday, I was saddened to learn he had died. I am grateful for the internet, which allows us to find his reviews and read his prose. I will leave you with a quick quote on reading, and a link to his review of Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

The books we love, love us back. In gratitude, we should promise not to cheat on them -- not to pretend we're better than they are; not to use them as target practice, agit-prop, trampolines, photo ops or stalking horses; not to sell out
scruple to that scratch-and-sniff info-tainment racket in which we posture in front of experience instead of engaging it, and fidget in our cynical opportunism for an angle, a spin, or a take, instead of consulting compass points of principle, and strike attitudes like matches, to admire our wiseguy profiles in the mirrors of the slicks. We are reading for our lives, not performing like seals for some fresh fish.

November 05, 2008


Whatever your feelings about the incumbent, one of the marvels of American history has always been the transition from one administration to another. Sure, John Adams left in the middle of the night to avoid Thomas Jefferson, but every since it has been a time that astonishes the rest of the world. So, today, I thought President Bush's comments about the election were pretty dang classy:
"No matter how they cast their ballots, all Americans can be proud
of the history that was made yesterday," he said. "Across the country, citizens
voted in large numbers. They showed a watching world the vitality of America's
democracy and the strides we have made towards a more perfect union. They chose
a president whose journey represents a triumph of the American story, a
testament to hard work, optimism, and faith in the enduring promise of our
nation," said President Bush.
Today, I am indeed proud to be an American. Although, I'm not sure what commercials will be on TV tonight.

November 04, 2008


I voted this morning in a small-town City Hall, with a cold line first thing in the morning. I am proudly wearing my "I Voted" sticker.

Many other elections have happened on November 4th, so check out today in history.

Edited to Add: Perhaps the coolest place on earth to vote today--if only I wasn't afraid of heights!