East Of Eden

"A curious mix of the relevant and reverential"

"You are not Trayvon Martin"

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I just read a great article by William Saletan at Slate... so great, that I had to get up out of bed (I was reading it on my iPad), and post here.


Trayvon Martin is dead, George Zimmerman has been acquitted, and millions of people are outraged. Some politicians are demanding a second prosecution of Zimmerman, this time for hate crimes. Others are blaming the tragedy on “Stand Your Ground” laws, which they insist must be repealed. Many who saw the case as proof of racism in the criminal justice system see the verdict as further confirmation. Everywhere you look, people feel vindicated in their bitter assumptions. They want action.

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More Perfect.




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Some Saturday Stuff- July 13th.

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Princess Sophia at her surprise fifth birthday barbecue last Saturday, July 6th.



Good Saturday to you! Last Saturday, we celebrated my neiece Sophia's birthday. She was surprised and very happy. As you can see, she definitely looked like a princess, crown and all. Although it was super hot and humid, everyone had fun. I know Joscelyne would be proud.


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Good Lord. Suspected Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has a dang fan club. From The Gothamist:


As Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev arrived at court today, about a dozen supporters—yes, supporters—were there waiting to cheer him on, holding signs and demanding his release. The Boston Globe reports that some were chanting “Justice for Dzhokhar’’ and “Give him his freedom back" as a white van bearing Tsarnaev pulled up.

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A healthy baby?

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My pregnant (with Z) belly, about five and a half months along.



Great post by Nalida Besson from Disabled Children Human Rights:


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Evangelical adoption nightmares.

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Thanks to all the medical stuff going on, I haven't been blogging so much. I have been reading a whole lot, though (which is more fun anyway). I came across this sad story of "missionary" adoption at Mother Jones. I had heard over the past 8 years or so, about the push among Evangelicals to adopt. It was presented very much in a missional form: the Bible speaks frequently of feeding the hungry and clothing the needy. Don't forget to help the orphan and do unto "the least of these". I was inspired by some of the stories I heard, of kids from war torn countries being adopted into loving American families.


Then, I read this:

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Ultra Real Art

Joe passes on these links to amazingly realistic works of art done in oil and some even in pencil.


From NY Art Beat:


Yigal Ozeri salutes his country of origin in new oil paintings at Mike Weiss Gallery, that fuse the concept of the warrior goddess with the “universal soldier,” paying homage to heroine of the show, whose looks and reputed combat skills rival the attributes of the mythological goddess, Atalanta. His show entitled “Territory” explores an essential human archetype in direct, uncompromising images, rarely conjured in art today. In the United Kingdom, people honor and venerate the Queen as the figurehead that symbolizes the nation. In Israel, the nation places its hopes and expectations for the future, even its very survival, upon the reigning queen of the military.


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Don't let the smile fool you. It was probably the lingering drugs getting me giddy.



On Monday, I went back to St. Francis for surgical implantation of a permacath for plasmapheresis to treat my CIDP. I wasn't knocked out; instead, I got a cocktail of sedatives that left me awake but in a weird twilight. The procedure went well, and I was soon in recovery drinking some much needed water and graham crackers. It was a short stay because I was quickly walked up to the infusion room for a two hour round of plasmapheresis.


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Some Saturday Stuff- July 6th

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Cousin hugs!



Good Saturday morning! I hope you're enjoying this long holiday weekend. Despite my mother's illness, I have. Yesterday, Zoe and I had lunch with my stepmom, Kathy, and my neice, Sophia, Joscelyne's little girl. After munching on crab cakes and mac and cheese at The Tropicana Diner, we went to the park. It was hella hot, but my goodness, the girls had so much fun playing. Then we went back to our place to cool off, and the girls played blocks and puzzles. Later today, we'll be headed to Sophia's surprise birthday party. Tomorrow, she'll be five.


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On the 4th.


Painting by Frederic Edwin Church, 1861, oil on paper, "Our Banner in the Sky", H/T: http://www.urbancure.org/



My friend Aja sent me an email that had the picture above in there. After yesterday's post with bad kitschy paintings, it's nice to look at art that combines country with some class. I wonder if it's us modern folks that have a real problem doing this? The painting above is from the Civil War Era.


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Stars, stripes and saints.


Happy Independence Day! Soooo... how are you liking that picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary wrapped in the American flag? I saw it and thought, "Wow... just wow." David Gibson, writing at RNS:


I did a double-take when I received the latest edition of The Tablet, the newspaper of the Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn, and saw this image taking up most of the front page. It is the Blessed Mother wrapped in the American flag, and a poster of the photo has been sent to all parishes in the diocese.


The ad is part of the Fortnight for Freedom campaign by the bishops, which ends Thursday, July Fourth, with a closing Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, celebrated by Cardinal Donald Wuerl. (A number of other dioceses around the country will have similar events.)

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Creatives Space: Maria G.




Maria Gavilanez, like most of us, spends most of her time indoors. The New Jersey wife and mother is a public school teacher and recently earned a master's degree. That meant many, many, MANY hours either prepping for class or studying hard for the classes in which she was enrolled. Add in the frigid cold of Northeastern winters, and there's even more reason to stay in.


The hibernation is thankfully over. She graduated in May, school wrapped in June, and the weather has been downright steamy of late. Maria has been enjoying the great outdoors, right in her own backyard. Check out her beautiful and peaceful garden:

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It's a Barbie World.

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Check out "normal" Barbie, a doll created with realistic proportions. From Huff Po:


Artist Nickolay Lamm of MyDeals.com used CDC measurements of an average 19-year-old woman to create a 3-D model, which he photographed next to a standard Barbie doll. Lamm then photoshopped the 3-D model to make it look like a Barbie doll.


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Watch the throne.



Or the princess and the pee. With Zoe just a few weeks away from being two, yesterday I finally hauled out the pink Princess Potty which was gifted to her on her first birthday by Uncle Joe and Aunt Jenny. So far, Zoe has taken a liking to putting up the lid and plopping down on it whenever I go in to use the big potty. But I'm not sure she really gets it.


So, parents (and devoted aunts, uncles, grandparents, babysitters and teachers, etc.), got any tips? Oh, and by tips, I mean *actual* advice as opposed to accounts of how your precious was potty-trained at nine months while learning to speak French and American Sign Language.

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Lonely games lost against you.



Not too long ago, I bought K a copy of "Oh, The Places You'll Go!" by Dr. Seuess. I've purchased this book a few times prior, but interestingly never for a child. Instead, it's become a go-to gift for friends and family who graduate from high school or college.


Once upon a time, about a decade ago, I was in college, working towards my B.A. in Early Childhood Education. In one of my classes, our professor would gift us, upon completion of a big project, with little quotes from "Places". I still have one of them now, protected a little plastic frame. The book, full of those classic Suessian rhymes, is so surprisingly deep. It marked on my mind, "Life can be so incredibly hard. Sometimes, you'll fail. But with brains and determination, you can pick yourself up and keep going." These are messages that could be taken universally, but often did not stick in the five year old kids I'd babysit's little worlds. So I saved it for the grown-ups who were at crossroads, and gave the kiddies "Green Eggs & Ham" (which I think could benefit a bunch of grownups I know, too...).


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The Real Mad Men

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Move over Don, Roger, Peggy and Joan. It's time to meet the real men and women of Madison Ave, courtesy of Thirteen. I watched the premiere last night, and definitely recommend it. check it out:



Watch The Real Mad Men and Women of Madison Avenue on PBS. See more from The Real Mad Men and Women of Madison Avenue.

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Amen and pass the lentils.



See that photo up there? It's the inside of my closet turned pantry. I hung two photos with passages from Psalms ripped from an old calendar. It seems silly, but I don't know how many times, aggravated from a long day of cooking, cleaning and toddler tantrums, I have swung open that closet door and have been reminded that God is with me. I remember that He hears my prayers full of Mommy wailing and woe.




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I like the sunrise. Even behind these clouds.

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Kurt Elling



It's pouring out. Which for me, is better to look at then just the overcast clouds that has set up residence for days now. I feel myself sinking. I think I probably have SAD, because I really do start feeling down emotionally during long stretches without sunshine. I've been this way since childhood.


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Some Saturday Stuff- June 29th.




Hello Saturday! The photo above is of a beautiful flower that K brought me yesterday from a farmer's market. It's so gorgeous. It was his anniversary gift to me. My Hunny did well.


So, some crazy week, huh? Parts of the Voting Rights Act got overturned, as did DOMA and Prop 8 and the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin Murder Trial introduced us to Rachel Jeantel... which introduced us to a whole lot of drama.

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Unpatriotic, jerky fail.




And the fails keep coming. From Upworthy:


An IRS contractor hurt his foot playing football in military prep school. He never served in the actual military. Then one day, decades later, he used it to get preferred treatment in military contracts. Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who lost both her legs and still could lose her arm from combat injuries, felt that this might just be a touch inappropriate. It gets amazing around 4:30.

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"... the awesomely gifted Alisha DeFreitas... tells her story of  her brush with the Culture of Death and her refusal to play the world’s game. I love that she gives two well-aimed upraised middle fingers: one to the abortion culture of the Left, and one to the Randian Makers vs. Takers class warriors of the Right. She’s one of my heros."

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