hurricane ike pictures


These photos are from a news site called They are phenomenal pictures of Hurricane Ike's wake. Oh the destruction, eh? Click on the photos to see them better.

I don't recall ever seeing an alligator walking on all fours on the highway.
This one is taken 220 miles above the earth's surface. It's amazing how it captures the force of Ike.
Poor little horse. That was a close call.


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baby nadia


Sometimes the news is remarkable and oh, so sweet. Take this newborn in Russia. She is the 12th baby born to her mother. Her name is Nadia and her birth weight was 17.1 pounds. Hokey Dina. Amazing.

the new seven wonders

Years ago in Junior High, I did an essay on the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. I think I still have it. Bozo-brain teacher gave me a B-. It was easily an A. Anyway, the "wonders" of the world have always intrigued me.

Last year I learned there is another list being compiled. This list is the New Seven Wonders of the World. I quickly cast my votes and encouraged all my family members to do likewise. I thought it was a cool way to influence history.

Well, today they released the winners of the New Seven Wonders contest. Of course these don't replace the ancient seven wonders, the are merely newer.

There were 21 contenders for the prize. I'm mildly disappointed by some of the results. As you'll see, only three of my choices made the cut.

The contest has been in the making for at least six years and received millions and millions of voters.

The winners are: (imagine the drum roll here)

• The Great Wall of China (I voted for this one) 
Great wall

• Petra in Jordan

• Brazil's statue of Christ the Redeemer

Christ the redeemer

• Peru's Machu Picchu (I voted for this one)


• Mexico's Chichen Itza pyramid


• The Colosseum in Rome (I voted for this one)


• India's Taj Mahal


When I voted, I easily chose my first five, but I struggled with the last two. I did some reading as it was an important decision for me. My seventh choice was difficult, and unfortunately I don't remember what I finally decided on. In all honesty, my seventh vote could have been anything as they were all equally impressive, but none stood out like my first six.

I voted for:

The Great Wall of China
The Colosseum in Rome

The Acropolis in Athens


The Pyramids in Egypt


Stonehedge in England


Machu Picchu in Peru

I don't remember what my #7 was.

These should have won, but I'm going to be a good sport about this.

kudos to the momma tiger


In a California zoo, a tiger gave premature birth to set of triplets. The poor things died shortly after birth. The mother tiger started to decline in health and the veterinarians felt that the loss of her litter had caused her to fall into a depression. The doctors decided that if the tigress could surrogate another mother's cubs, perhaps she would improve.

Checking with many other zoos across the country, no tiger cubs of the right age were found to introduce to the mourning mother. The veterinarians decided to try something that had never been tried in a zoo environment. Sometimes a mother of one species will take on the care of a different species. The only orphans that could be found quickly were a litter of pigs. The zoo keepers and vets wrapped the piglets in tiger skin and placed the babies around the mother tiger.

Momma Tiger is the proud mother of these little piglets.


barbara walters in kabul

Barbara Walters of 20/20 did a story on gender roles in Afghanistan several years before the Afghan conflict. She noted that women customarily walked five paces behind their husbands.

She recently returned to Kabul and observed that women still walk behind their husbands. From her vantage point, despite the overthrow of the oppressive Taliban regime, the women now seem to walk even farther behind their husbands and are happy to maintain the old custom.

She asked an Afghan women, "Why do you now seem happy with the old custom that you once tried so desperately to change?"

The woman answered without hesitation, "Land mines."


hairy heartburn


A Johns Hopkins University study found a correlation between babies born with lots of hair and their mothers having heartburn while they were pregnant. Evidently, a hormone that relaxes the bottom of the esophagus - thereby causing heartburn - is also influential in fetal hair growth.

I love snippets of information like this.

My heartburn pregnancy was Stephanie. She had a good amount of hair.

baby amellia

This is Amellia. She was born at less than 22-weeks gestation weighing 10 ounces and was 9 1/2 inches long. Can you believe someone so small and fragile can survive outside the womb? But she's 4 months old now and about to leave the hospital. Currently she weighs 4 1/2 pounds and is 15 1/2 inches long.

Notice how she compares to the ball-point pen for size. This picture was taken when she was a newborn.

Can you believe those tiny feet in the nurse's hand?

fat is in the air

This is Hercules. He was missing from his owner, but was found when he got himself stuck in a doggie door attempting to steal a snack. Isn't he huge?

These are newborns in Cancun. The big guy weighed over 14 pounds and the other little fellow is of average weight. Can you believe this whopper? Can you believe someone's been carrying him around in her tummy? And you think you have stretch marks.

in the news

Interesting things that grabbed me from the paper today:

-- By 2024 NASA plans to have a base on the moon. Yes, a place where astronauts will live. Now that is way out there.... The things that are possible. Wow.

-- Queen Elizabeth's English is changing. Since becoming queen in the 1950's many of her speeches are on film. AND there are people who analyze the Queen's speech patterns (and make money from it, no less). These "researchers" can prove that her speech has changed. In the past she would have said "citae" or "dutae." Now she says city or duty. I wonder if she is watching too much American TV.

-- In Johannesburg South Africa, a prisoner Vaselined himself up really slick-like and escaped out a prison window between bars. He was apprehended later. Imagine that, sliding between prison bars.

-- I am a minority. Over 80% of married mothers are in charge of the family finances. I find that fascinating. I'm very happy to NOT carry that responsibility.

cindy margolis

I learned this morning that Cindy Margolis has decided to show her buff in Playboy. For the record, until I read this highly intelligent article, I didn't know who our dear Cindy was. Now I know she is the girl who pointed at refrigerators on The Price is Right. I've done my share of pointing at refrigerators and I've never considered honoring Playboy with my presence. And for the record, I have good reasons for believing that Playboy has never seen anything remotely similar to me. All those dolls on Playboy (the very few I've seen) look amazingly similar to me. Where is the variety that's supposed to be the spice of life? Change the color of hair, skin tone, position, but never change the general body shape. How predictable is that? Boring.

Our Cindy is posing for "good reason." Some of the profits will help couples struggling with infertility. I am sure you'll agree this is mighty nice of her. Now to share an excerpt of her interview.

The question is "Why now?"

The humble answer is:
"My decision to do Playboy is literally 20 years in the making. I've always prided myself in keeping my clothes on, being the girl next door. I've had the number-one downloaded (celebrity) Web site, and for years I've been known as the "Queen of the Internet" in the "Guinness Book of World Records," America Online, Yahoo!, (all while) keeping my clothes on, and I've been very proud of that. Every couple years when Mr. Hefner would call, I would very graciously decline, because my mom would kill me, and I thought it was more mysterious keeping my clothes on.

"But, this year, when I got the call from Mr. Hefner, it was my 40th birthday. So I thought, "Wow -- at 40, they still want me?" And I thought it's almost an inspiration -- like a "you go, girl" moment. I feel empowered that you can be married and have three children and still be sexy and confident and look great.

"My mom would have killed me before, but I'm an adult woman now, and I'm ready to show the world that you can have it all at 40 -- be fabulous, 40, and pose for Playboy."

Cindy and I have a number of things in common:
1. We've both pointed at refrigerators.
2. We are both married.
3. We both have 3 young children.
4. We both have prided ourselves in keeping our clothes on.
5. We both turned 40 this year.
6. We both have moms capable of homicide.

But here's what separates Cindy from Val. When Mr Hefner called Cindy in her 40th year, she chose to bare all. When he calls me, I will decline. Cindy's mom may have come around. My mom has not.

judy blume

Judy Blume is a children's writer with many books to her credit. I didn't know she wrote adult books until just now. Her book Wifey, was not well received by many because it has some raunchy stuff, at least it's perceived as raunchy by some. I've never read it so I don't know what's in it, but I can appreciate the dilemma. She was rebuked and chided for Wifey.

Among the letters she received was this verse:

You’re rude and crude
Depraved and lewd
You’re caught in a moral crunch
You’re vexed, perplexed
And oversexed
So when can we have lunch?

self defense

Last week in Portland, Oregon a nurse returned home after her shift in emergency room to find an intruder in her home. He came toward her with a hammer. She took one hit from his hammer before she wrestled it from him, sat on him, and strangled him to death.

Intruder (since discovered to be a hired hit man by the nurse's ex-husband) weighed roughly 190 pounds. Nurse hero weighs approximately 250.

Self Defense. The latest of my reasons to stay overweight.

multiple births

I just read on about two sets of multiple births. The first article was about a Los Angeles couple who three years ago were blessed with triplets. The mother, now 40, assumed she was through having babies. However she just gave birth to four babies; two boys and two girls. The boys are identical. The couple now have nine kids and they live in a one-bedroom apartment.

The other article was about identical twin boys born two months apart. Baby #1 came four months premature and Baby #2 just joined him.

As I read and watched the videos of those sweet stories, I recalled something similar making the news when I was a teenager. I remember watching the news in my boyfriend's living room. After the story was told, Wayne, my boyfriend's dad, without a hint of a smile solemnly declared, "I'd slit my damn throat."

these girls are twins

These girls are twins. Really they are.

"While very rare, the phenomenon is not unknown, though it does entail a very particular combination of circumstances at the moment of conception. First, both parents must be of mixed race. Second, the twins must be fraternal (each conceived from a separate egg fertilized by separate sperm) as opposed to identical (both conceived from a single egg and sperm). Third, each sperm and egg must carry the genes for a particular skin color (i.e., black/black or white/white). The odds against it are indeed a million to one. " (copied from www.urbanlegends).

The amazing conception happened after two eggs were fertilized at the same time in the womb. Both Kylie and her partner Remi Horder, 17, are of mixed race. Their mothers are both white and their fathers are black.

According to the Multiple Births Foundation, baby Kian must have inherited the black genes from both sides of the family, whilst Remee inherited the white ones.

The odds against of a mixed race couple having twins of dramatically different color are a million to one. Skin color is believed to be determined by up to seven different genes working together. If a woman is of mixed race, her eggs will usually contain a mixture of genes coding for both black and white skin.

Similarly, a man of mixed race will have a variety of different genes in his sperm. When these eggs and sperm come together, they will create a baby of mixed race.

But, very occasionally, the egg or sperm might contain genes coding for one skin color. If both the egg and sperm contain all white genes, the baby will be white. And if both contain just the versions necessary for black skin, the baby will be black.

For a mixed-race couple, the odds of either of these scenarios is around 100 to one. But both scenarios can occur at the same time if the woman conceives non-identical twins, another 100 to one chance.

This involves two eggs being fertilized by two sperm at the same time, which also has odds of around 100 to one.

If a sperm containing all-white genes fuses with a similar egg and a sperm coding for purely black skin fuses with a similar egg, two babies of dramatically different colors will be born.

The odds of this happening are a million to one.

(all of this was copied from the London Daily Mail)

Isn't this amazing?

the pope's death

This pope who taught so many people how to live was also teaching, in the hours leading to his death, how to die.

"'Death is sad,' Dziwisz said. 'But his death was beautiful, because he believed in where he was going -- to meet God.'

"For those in the bedroom, it was not a time of grief. Instead, they sang a hymn of thanksgiving. 'When we saw that his heart wasn't beating anymore, we didn't cry,' said Dziwisz. 'We sang, 'Te Deum laudamus,' thanking God for his life, for his accomplishments and for being able to stay with him until the end.'"

The above came from, my regular news source. I thought it was beautiful. I doubt if thousands are gathered outside my house as I'm dying, but I hope the few with me will be able to say something sort of like the above about me. And if they can't say it honestly about me, I hope for the sake of my memory, they'll lie.

flooding in edmonton's river valley

  Debs in the river valley, bystanders looking at the flooding river  
(That's Deborah in pink. The river is high already in this photo.)
 Day 2 of flooding; Hannah
(This picture is Day 2 of the flooding. The trail that Deborah was on in the first picture is now under water. That's Hannah in the middle of this picture.)

Our North Saskatchewan River has broke free and jumped its banks. (I lifted that quote from a Rich Mullins' song --"the Cimmeron broke free and jumped its banks.") Yes, it's flooding. It's cool, because it's not even raining. Our river is fed from the mountains, and the mountain streams are causing overflow down the river.

The kids and I went down yesterday to check it out. Many logs were floating swiftly down stream. We just returned from our second gawking excursion and the river is still rising. These pictures are of the same location, one taken yesterday, the other today.

wedding stress

You probably read or heard on the news about the poor woman who ran away on her wedding day. I understand the disdain of all those who looked for her and worried about her. She was really irresponsible. However, even understanding their irritations, I can so totally identify with the poor woman that I have nothing but pity. It's really unfortunate that she created such a lousy story, but that too is something I could be reduced to doing over a wedding.

I read the story, chuckled and nearly cried at the same time.

There are brides that pull it off with the most beautiful grace and then there are those like the run-away bride and me. You won't hear me judging the poor woman. That would be nothing short of the pot calling the kettle black.

Interesting News Quips

On CBC.Edmonton this week, I read about the tragic death of a young prostitute. The cause of her death hasn't yet been released, but her body was burned as was the patch of earth around her dead body. The last line of the news article was, "The police are calling her death suspicious." I was tempted to write a letter to the editor to say, "You reckon?"

I also read an ironic piece of news. The largest abortion clinic in the city is closing its doors. It will reopen under the same staff as a different medical practice. Guess what it will be! A fertility clinic specializing in in-vitro fertilization. Isn't that an irony of ironies?

"...only by journeying all the way to the river, where it swirls and rumbles and still carves its way through some of the oldest rocks on earth, can you fully appreciate the work of the two great architects of the Grand Canyon, time and the flowing river."

That's a beautiful quote by Francois Leydet. I would argue that it is seriously flawed though. How about this: "only by journeying all the way to the river, where it swirls and rumbles and still carves its way through some of the oldest rocks on earth, can you fully appreciate the work of the two servants of the Great Architect of the Grand Canyon, time and the flowing river."

"What one finds...will be what one takes the trouble to look for." Joseph Wood Krutch