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There Goes the 'Hood

January 23rd, 2008  · stk

Whiting Way Estates - a nearby, rural subdivision. Lot number 7 was the first to sell and the new owners announced their arrival by clear-cutting trees. They cut down trees on designated, protected park land, so they could have a view of the pond. Read about this travesty.

Owner Cuts Trees In Protected Wetlands

Cutting down mature trees on designated Park land is a heck of a way of introducing yourself to the neighborhood.

- a neighbor     

The land used to be part of a cattle ranch. It's been selectively logged a couple of times. A few years back, it was sold to developers and they subdivided it into eight individual, five-acre parcels and a park. Development of our rural neighborhood is inevitable and we've been watching the 'progress', over the past year. First they bulldozed a rough trail, trucked in lots of fill and gravel, using it to build up a road-bed. Last summer they laid down 'chip-seal', drilled water wells (one on each property), stuck up signs and waited for buyers to snap up the lots at about $300k a pop.

The first one has been sold - lot number 7.

I was surprised that it sold first. It's a pie-shaped lot that backs up to a large pond. On the positive side, much of the parcel is hidden from view of the road. On the negative side, much of the parcel is exposed bedrock (sandstone), with only a thin veneer of moss growing on it.

The new owners have put up a spiffy looking gate and did something that I didn't think of doing. They clear-cut a swath of trees and now have a wonderful view of the pond.

Only vaguely do I remember what the parcel looked like, before the trees were removed. I seem to recall that the pond was largely hidden from view, by the dense forest.

It was surprising to see a large stack of logs, piles of brush, torn up ground and Caterpillar tread marks everywhere. Surprise turned to shock, however, when I realized that trees were cut down on the adjacent lot 9, which is park land!

For maps, pictures and more about the damage ... hit "read full story" ...

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Updated: 24-Jan-2008
Web View Count: 14128 viewsLast Web Update: 24-Jan-2008
Filed in:Alexandra

State of the Art

January 19th, 2008  · stk

Alex's art has changed dramatically, over the past year. The growth in her artwork from 3 years to 4 years is amazing. Have a look back at her accomplishments, in this retrospective: "Alex: A Year of Art" (which also includes a pure-CSS 'popInfo' slide show).

Alex: A Year of Art

A simple typo would change the title to "A Year o fArt"! LOL! You've got to love English, eh?

Hey, teasing aside, I love my little girl! It's more challenging some times than others, however. I'm thinking of this morning, when, at 6:15 AM, I woke up with her face 2 millimeters from mine.

"Daddy, Daddy," she said. The sound was muffled through my ear plugs, but I heard her say, "You need to wake up."

"Why?" I asked, still very groggy, "What's the matter?"

"I have to watch T.V.," she said, matter-of-factly.

"Ah, no you don't," I replied, "For one, it's too early and for two, you're going to day-care today."

"Whaaaa!" she cried, running out of the room and leaving me with an unexpected, loud and way-too-early wake-up call.

Even with the temper tantrums and the repetitive questions, Alex (also known as "the Oop", a family nickname) is generally a pretty good kid. If she's not pestering the cat, watching television, playing computer games, turning her room into a disaster zone or "helping" us with tasks, Alex can be found doing artwork. She LOVES art! (What kid doesn't?)

It's been interesting to watch her artwork change, over the course of the past year. She's now almost four and a half years old. She's becoming a "big girl" and it's starting to show in her art.

For one thing, Crayola crayons are less often broken into bits and used as "soup" or "kids" or "whatever" in her play. They're less often found lying about the house, as they're now utilized for their intended purpose - art - and kept in her plastic crayola tub.

This has been a nice change, but it's not as remarkable as what she's doing with the crayons. A year ago, she was learning to color BETWEEN the lines. After she mastered that, it was time to learn color-appropriate drawing. (You know ... elephants are grey, not purple ... plant leaves are green, not multi-colored, etc.) During the year, she began to experiment with free-form drawings. Then, this fall, she drew her first "object" (a "portrait" of Tuxedo, our cat). Soon after, other things began to follow. She went through a "flower" stage. Now she's starting to draw PEOPLE!

In fact, I'm now the proud owner of a self portrait she did, where she drew herself and then me! An "Dad 'n Oop" picture! (Be still my beating heart)!

These developments are amazing to behold and I know that sooner than we can blink, she'll be all grown up and out of the house. I'm already ruing that day, but I try to make each of these moments last, because they are so precious.

As much as I love my little girl and her art, we don't save any of it. I don't want to end up with drawers full of old art. Instead, I scan them into digital files and save them (along with our monthly photos). We think it's a great way to keep her art without taking up physical storage and then we've got a chronologically stored history of her artistic development!

It was after looking back at her art, over the course of the year, that her development became apparent. In an effort to demonstrate her accomplishments and to showcase her work, I've put together a "popInfo" "popInfo" CSS Technique. popInfo is a pure XHTML/CSS method that makes this pop-up information box. It's cross-browser and standards-compliant code (no javascript). It saves page real estate, adds information, interactivity and is search engine optimized. princess oop art Learn more about "popInfo" by clicking the link (or anywhere inside the popInfo box). <-- More "Alex Art"! This drawing is from the "princess series" (she was - still is - enamored by princesses of all kinds). I've probably scanned 20 or so "princess" drawings! show. It includes 13-months of her artwork, from January 2007 to today. There's a representative picture from each month, plus a brief description of each piece.

In fact, the background on this page is one of her recent works. It's titled, "Sidney" (she's the 13-year-old girl that lives next door, who often babysits Alex). You can see that she's now combining her "flowers" with "people"! I wonder what will be next?

To see the "Year of Art" slideshow (or another way of using the "popInfo" pure-CSS technique) .... carry on ....


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Updated: 19-Jan-2008
Web View Count: 39119 viewsLast Web Update: 19-Jan-2008
Filed in:Book Reviews

A Long Way Gone

January 2nd, 2008  · Rachel

Rachel reviews "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier", an autobiography by Ishmael Beah. It's a mesmerizing tale of how an ordinary African boy, living in Sierra Leone, becomes a killing machine and lives to tell about it

(Non-Fiction)Review of "A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier"
an autobiography by Ishmael Beah

Living in the relative comfort of North America, war is not something that I know much about, but Ishmael Beah knows about it first-hand. In his autobiography “A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier,” Beah tells his tale of tragedy, violence and survival. He uses honest, straightforward language that carries you along as though he were telling the tale as you walk beside him.

When twelve-year-old Beah, his brother and some friends left home to visit a neighbouring African village, they had no idea that their lives would be forever changed. While away, the Sierra Leone rebel army attacked his village, leaving in its wake a tide of chaos and devastation. Beah tells how he spent the next few months wandering the forests, trying to find his family and to overcome countless difficulties in order to stay alive. While traveling with a group of six other homeless boys brought Beah companionship, it also meant that they were regarded with fear and suspicion, or met with hostility, as others thought they were a wandering squad of child-soldiers. Months passed and the boys narrowly avoided death by any number of ways, until they are given shelter at a village occupied by government forces. However, the reprieve was short-lived as, within a few months, the village was surrounded by rebels, leaving the boys no choice but to take up arms and become child-soldiers.

Click "Read Full Story" to continue reading the review of "A Long Way Home".

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Updated: 7-Jan-2008
Web View Count: 31756 viewsLast Web Update: 7-Jan-2008
Filed in:Informative

HaPPY New YeaR

December 31st, 2007  · stk

We have no sage advice, heartfelt annual retrospective or rosy prognostications for the new year. We offer a holiday greeting that is short and sweet. A Cheshire-cat grin will leave people wondering, "what ARE they up to?"

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Updated: 1-Jan-2008
Web View Count: 4614 viewsLast Web Update: 1-Jan-2008

Christmas Magic

December 28th, 2007  · stk

Alex gets a visit from Santa. Video of Alex's excitement & joy from a personal visit from Santa (courtesy of the North Cedar Fire Hall). Engine 1 arrives with lights & sirens, then Santa climbs down, with a gift for one very excited little girl! (A bit of Christmas magic)

Alex 'n Santa - Christmas Magic

The Oop turned four years old in October and she is fully into the swing and spirit of Christmas. It was a special holiday for us and the guys at the North Cedar Fire Hall made it even more so with a bit of Christmas magic.

First, Oop and Dad joined the other volunteer firefighters and their families for an old-fashioned hay ride, through town, on Sunday night. Candy canes, hot chocolate, music and lights made for a festive, although chilly, trip.

Then came Christmas eve.

And Santa Claus!


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Views: 16951 views
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Updated: 30-Dec-2007
Web View Count: 16951 viewsLast Web Update: 30-Dec-2007