Shari MacDonald Strong

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Outsourcing Childcare

Some days, this would look pretty good . . .

Report: Many U.S. Parents Outsourcing Child Care Overseas

Welcome Back, Potter

To celebrate the release of the new/last Harry Potter book, I'm posting this video starring Patrick Towne, brilliant actor in his own right and also husband of author/actress Brett Paesel. I had the honor of co-hosting a MotherTalk event last year for the release of Brett's book, Mommies Who Drink. Brett is hilarious, brilliant, savvy, and somebody you not only want to read but want to be friends with. At the end of the night, Pat came by to pick up Brett, and the few of us left talked and laughed until the wee hours. Pat is like the brother or brother-in-law or cousin you wish was in YOUR family, just so would have an excuse to hang out regularly. I love these people.

Anyway, Pat plays a grown-up Harry Potter in this video. It won't make sense to those who didn't watch bad 1970s TV. But for those of us who did . . . well, I think you'll agree that this is dead on. I especially appreciate the Overbearing Laugh Track and the "freeze frame" final shot. Brilliant!

Last Night at the Zoo

Last night, we saw Pink Martini in concert at the Oregon Zoo, with some friends of ours. (Thanks, Liz and Casey, for saving us seats! Traci, we missed you!) I am a huge fan of China Forbes and Thomas Lauderdale and Co., especially the new album, Hey, Eugene! I can't find a video of my favorite new song, "Dosvedanya Mio Bambino," but here's one of my other new favorite, the new album's title track: "Hey, Eugene!"

And here's a great video of the good old Pink Martini standard, "Sympathique." Not new news, but, oh, I do so like the video!

8 Random Things

I have been tagged for a meme by my friend Linera. I've never done a meme before, but what the heck? Even if it does steal all my good material for when I play "Two Truths and a Lie"! So, okay. Here we go with 8 random things about me:

1. I have been in the hospital ICU unit twice: in the spring of 2002, when I came extremely close to dying of pneumonia, and in the fall of 2004, when I had open heart surgery for a condition that also very nearly killed me.

2. During my heart surgery, I was essentially "dead" for 29 minutes, during which the doctors drastically lowered my body temperature and took me off the heart-lung machine while working on a particularly tricky section of my heart.

3. As far as I can tell, I suffered no brain damage. As far as I can tell, I suffered no brain damage. (Ha ha! That was Craig's little joke after the surgery…)

4. My grandfather was a contortionist.

5. My grandfather invented the famous "Master Cleanser" lemonade detox diet.

6. I have had e. Coli. (Waaaay up there, in terms of pain; though not quite as bad as recovery from heart surgery.)

7. My husband and I adopted one of our children and had the other two via gestational surrogacy.

8. In 2005, I had a terrible, brutally painful (on par with the e. Coli) abscess/staph infection in my leg. (Left a nasty scar.)

What strikes me most about my 8 random things is how many are medically related. If I had lived in any other time, I would have died long ago, from one of scores of different illnesses. Medical technology has saved my ass so often, it's frightening. More than that, it gave me at least two of my children. (Twenty years ago, the boys wouldn't even have been possible.)


And now, in keeping with the theme of randomness, here are three old photos of my children, which I'm posting for no particular reason other than I think they (children and photos) are beautiful.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

If You Love Something, Set It Free. If It Comes Back, It's Yours; If It Doesn't, It Never Was? Discuss.

While we were on vacation last week, Craig fashioned small boats out of driftwood and sticks for the children. After Eugenia's floated away just before bedtime, she began to panic.

Eugenia: My boat! My boat! GET IT!

Me: But it's floating! That's what boats do.

Craig: Let it go, honey. Maybe the water will bring it back, and you'll find it on the shore in the morning.


Me (ironically): "If you love something, set it free . . ."

Eugenia (sounding world-weary and utterly disgusted): That NEVER works!

Nobody Knows Me Like My Baby

Craig: Does Will finish your sentences, too?

Me: Well--

Will: Yep.

Friday, July 06, 2007

"I Love Coffee, I Love Tea . . ."

This morning, my husband Craig slept in, sick, while I got ready to take the kids to summer camp and pick up a latte. When it was time to leave the house, I couldn't find my car keys, so I grabbed Craig's and left him this note:

When I got home later, Craig held up the paper towel and pointed at it with a puzzled look on his face.

"I had no idea," he said, "that you and my keys were so close."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

This is Just Patently Silly

My husband is an inventor, so he keeps up on this stuff. Here's what's new at

I especially like the third item on the page: "Female Doll Resembling an Angel." says: "Kids, never talk to a giant angel with a sword and no halo." Luckily, the giant angel also has no hands, and thus cannot access the sword in her sheath (she said in a Dwight Schrute voice).

A Little Bit of Perspective for Breakfast

Last night I opened up my laptop and read the news about W commuting Libby's prison sentence.

"Son of a --!"

"What?" Craig asked. I thrust out the computer screen angrily. "Oh. Yeah." He nodded. "I know."

I proceeded to rant furiously about Bush's cronies and how they get away with everything.

Then this morning, I read Ben's take on the whole thing. I shook my head. While (hardened cynic that I am) I can't go so far as to echo goodhearted Ben's last, credit-giving two sentences (and, at the risk of dating myself, my saying that "Bush got it right" is as likely to happen as Arthur Fonzarelli admitting that he was ever "Wrr-rr-rrrong"), this post absolutely made me sit up and reconsider my position. Do I believe in compassion, or don't I? Do I believe in mercy only for those people I like and agree with? I'm still furious with G.W. for the horrific damage his administration has done, domestically and globally. But I'd hate to see anyone rot in jail. (Thanks for setting me straight, Ben. Give my love to Megs.)

LATER CLARIFICATION: Several hours later, after I've had time to think about it, I still think GWB is as much of a grade-A you-know-what as ever (like that was in question?). He didn't do this because he's compassionate and merciful, but because he wants his administration to get away with a bunch of $#!+. And that still royally pisses me off. But while I do think Libby's actions were inexcusable, I think of his wife and kids, and I can almost feel the relief. It's just a shame he's the only guy in the country who's getting cut a break. The ones who really suffered in this -- Valerie Plame and all the undercover operatives who worked with her -- are the ones who are up a creek. So sad, really.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Thoughts from the Abbess

LOVE this post (excerpt to follow) from Magpie Girl, a.k.a. the Urban Abbess:

"My girls are attending half-day church camp this week. . . One of the downfalls of this particular camp that makes it tip into the “indoctrination camp” category at least once each year, is that mid-week the group leaders give the kids a piece of paper asking them to sign if they’ve made a decision “to accept Jesus as their personal Savior . . ."