Monday, July 2, 2012

A Letter to Heaven

Dear Claire (AKA Angel Weasel),

I know it is awesome up in heaven but I wish that you were still here on earth.  You know I am a huge fan of your family and love your mommy's blog.  I can't help but wonder how different her blog would be, what your weasel nickname would be and what fun stories your mom would be sharing about you from the past ten years.  It breaks my heart that they only got to have two weeks with you and it is breaking a little more since in two days it'll be the 2nd anniversary of my dear friend's 3 month old Cherry Rose joining you up in heaven.  I hope you two are friends, I like to imagine the two of you having a blast playing together and then taking a break to have cookies that are way better than the not so good one she made me with my grandma who joined you up there in December, she was 101.5 years old so she has a ton of great stories she'd be thrilled to share with you.  Then you both could swing over and give my grandpa an "I told you so." and a hug for me, he's only been with you guys for about a month so maybe you could show him around a bit too.  Tell him that while it was awful to see him suffer I wouldn't trade the time I spent with him at the end for anything and I hope that I was a comfort to him or at least the morphine I gave him was.  And if it isn't asking too much please give Diana a hug for me and let her know I still miss her terribly and love her forever.  Thanks!


Saturday, June 18, 2011


Wow, it has been a whole year since I posted on this blog! Sorry for any of those who have worried about my absence, I have had a lot going on in my life and it might be awhile before I fully take this poor blog out of the moth balls and start posting more regularly.

In September I had one of the worst days of my life. I got a call that one of my closest friends had flat-lined while being rushed to the hospital. I spent the day hoping and praying she would be ok and waiting to hear something. I had just talked to Diana a few days prior, she was a bit out of it and the doctors weren't sure why but she seemed like she would be fine. I jokingly told her she wasn't allowed to die because I didn't have time to visit for a funeral (her and I had a slightly twisted sense of humor with each other) and she suddenly got kinda serious and asked me if my boss would let me go to her funeral, I told her that if something happened to her I would not be asking I would be telling and that I would definitely be going. I was totally broadsided to then hear that she had taken such a dramatic turn for the worse so soon after I had spoken to her. That night I called home and after talking to my dad for awhile he figured out that I didn't know that she had passed away earlier that day. I still can't believe she is gone, even though I drove home to attend her funeral as soon as I was safe to do so and saw her body in a casket it is hard to comprehend someone who has been a part of my life since I was a baby and was like a second mother to me no longer being there. It breaks my heart even more knowing that her son, my godson, has lost his mother at such a young age.

Today is the birthday of my dear friend WeaselMomma's daughter Claire, aka Angel Weasel. For those of you who do not know Claire's family will unfortunately be celebrating her 9th birthday at her grave, she passed away two weeks after she was born. Like Diana she brought joy and happiness into this world and left it and those who love her way too soon. I like to think that Diana is helping Claire celebrate her birthday in heaven today, a mother taken from her child too soon and a child taken from her mother too soon, holding each other until they can be reunited with their families. Happy birthday dearest Claire, please give Diana a hug for me and remind her that I love and miss her very much.

Diana and her son in 2007

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Birthday Claire

Angel Weasel Badge

Today is the 8th birthday of a very special little girl. Her name is Claire, she is the daughter of my dear friend WeaselMomma. Claire comes from a beautiful family full of love, my little Niecey and I have had the honor of meeting them and both times we had a blast! Unfortunately we never got to meet Claire, she passed away when she was only two weeks old. Today is a hard day for the Weasels, please remember them in your thoughts and prayers and remember to give your loved ones a little extra love because life is precious and you never know how long you have.

Dear Claire, have a happy birthday up in heaven, you are loved and missed dearly by so many people here, even those like me who never got the chance to meet you.

Note: The organization SIDS of Illinois has helped the Weasel family since Claire passed away. They offer support to families who have lost a baby, education to help prevent SIDS from claiming more babies (In IL incidents of SIDS has gone down 68% with the Back to Sleep campaign!), funds research to try and end SIDS deaths and more. Anyone who wants to support this organization and the invaluable services they provide (the research they fund helps save babies everywhere) can do so here. If you would like to donate in memory of Claire she is listed as "Claire Weasel".

Saturday, May 8, 2010

A Brewmeister's Review: Melbourne Bitter

For your enjoyment, another post written by my Daddy, the Brewmeister:

The Brewmeister is devastated. An idol died, a whole nation of idols, an entire continent of idols died. They had the reputation of being the largest per capita of beer drinkers in the entire world. Says the raven, nevermore.

I was sitting in my lower level thoroughly enjoying a cold mug of Bill’s Cheapass Ale when my daughter came in with a six pack of brew. The label said “Product of Australia”, not licensed in Canada or worse yet made in Wisconsin but made in Australia. This impressed me! I read on. It said “Melbourne Bitter”. The Brewmeister was impressed and honored with a six pack of real beer from the beer consumption capital of the entire world.

I read on; the label said 375 ml. I cannot respect a beer that uses metric measure, it is anti-American liberalism. Real American beer drinkers drink ounces, pints, and quarts. I continued to read; it said 4.6%. Very weak by Brewmeister standards but the Brewmeister respects the fact that about half of the Australian beer drinkers are women. Perhaps if the alcohol content were more realistic the Australian birth rate would be much higher.

Enough about the can and the label, the real proof of a beer comes after it is poured in the mug and tasted. I poured a can of Melbourne Bitter into my favorite mug; it looked like a beautiful Pale Ale or a light Pilsner. It was beautiful. I tasted it; the romance was over. I wanted to spew it out but my daughter would have been embarrassed. I choked it down; It was worse than any supermarket swill I ever tasted, even worse than the Korean brew we drank in the army when we were almost broke.

My heart goes out to the beer drinking people of Australia. They have a colossal advanced case of Richard’s syndrome, their taste buds have atrophied to the point of being nonexistent. Low alcohol swill is their way of life. I have seen pictures of bikini bottom clad Australian women on the beach. Beautiful but they lacked beer bellies and stretch marks. A respectable brew in pint bottles would cure these problems.

Years ago the Foster’s brewing company brewed a beer fit for human consumption called Fosters. Then they gave up their self respect and franchised it to Canada and in the finally degradation franchised it to Wisconsin. Apparently they started drinking their own swill causing their decline into Richard’s syndrome and socialism. Melbourne Bitter should never be drunk by conservative Christian capitalistic persons. Possibly it can be used as a poison to kill Cane Toads.

Can Australians be educated to home brew their own beer? They are in dire need of many, many Mr Beer home brew kits. Everything needed is available on the internet. A few pints of real beer and you won’t have to worry about your boomerang not coming back. She will never leave except to fetch you another pint!!


Friday, March 5, 2010

Reflections on a Perfect Brew

For your enjoyment, and because I've been too busy to write a post of my own, another post written by my Daddy, aka the Brewmeister:

One day the Brewmeister was contemplating his latest masterful creation affectionately called Bill's Kickass Hard Lemonade. He was enjoying the praise coming from his pie eyed youngest when the phone rang. It was his oldest; it was a complaint about his favorite ale*, Bill's Kickass Ale. The Brewmeister was devastated; his prize product was not being loved and appreciated. It was too flavorful, too strong. At first the Brewmeister attributed it to Richard's Syndrome, named after a victim named Richard who drank too much MGD, a form of supermarket swill. His atrophied taste buds regenerated after drinking copious supplies of Bill's Kickass Ale allowing him to rejoin the human race.

The Brewmeister was devastated by this negativity! But rather than sulk in blatant self pity he reacted in a positive manner befitting a Brewmeister. This blatant negativity interacted with his natural creativity stimulated the Brewmeister to create a brand new brew, a reduced flavor brew (The Brewmeister does not acknowledge the legitimacy of so called lite or low carb beer. These are lame attempts to merchandise swill to brainwashed consumers who waste too much time watching television and actually believe their misleading and boring commercials.) After some experimentation, a new product was born, Bill's Cheapass Ale!! It has all the positive attributes of Bill's Kickass Ale but will not overpower the sensitive taste buds of the ladies. Men can enjoy it too**!

Only the Brewmeister can improve what the Brewmeister has created.

~~~~~Copy LiteralDan Section~~~~~

*He is referring to WeaselMomma's review of his Bill's Kickass Ale, click the link in the post to view the video she made of her trying it.

**The new recipe he developed, Bill's Cheapass Ale, is pretty much all he makes now and so he DOES enjoy it, quite regularly, lol!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Hanukkah 2009

I would like to wish my Jewish friends/readers a very happy Hanukkah!

I found out the hard way that when using a thin sparkler candle as the center candle of a menorah you have to make sure to leave enough room between that candle and the ones next to it otherwise the middle will melt and it will collapse and start on fire... All was well though, I blew them out and the cake is fine (and very very yummy!). Maybe I should have consulted with Melisa on this one, I'm sure she would have known this, lol! I hope that everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday season, and doesn't set their baked goods on fire like me ;)

Friday, December 4, 2009

All I Want for Christmas

Music is a funny thing. Music can bring out pretty much every emotion, fear, loathing, sadness, joy, love; the list goes on. Today the song "All I Want for Christmas is You" took on an extra meaning for me and I'm sure quite a few others as well. As any of my regular readers know one of the people that I have befriended through blogging is WeaselMomma. I hero worship should probably have a restraining order filed against me adore her and her family as does my niece who was bummed out that we couldn't visit them during the Thanksgiving holiday and who would have totally abandoned me to live with them had I not insisted she come home with me after visiting Weaselville last year (I am totally serious, it first time the "Well fine you can stay but I'M leaving!" trick did not work on her!). Today WeaselMomma wrote a post about two of her daughters and how this song inspired a sad yet beautiful moment between the three of them:

When most people hear that song they probably think of a romantic relationship, for WeaselMomma it is about Angel Weasel. Claire passed away unexpectedly seven years ago when she was only two weeks old and left a hole that will never be filled in the Weasel family so the song "All I Want for Christmas is You" is a painful reminder of the only person that WeaselMomma really wants but cannot have in this life. The other day when that song came on the radio her eldest daughter saw the pain in her mother's face and did the only thing that she could do for her mother, she gave her a hug and let her mother grieve for the child she lost while holding on to one that she is blessed to still have.

I encourage anyone who reads this to go read the post WeaselMomma wrote, it is a beautiful expression of the love between a mother and her children. If you are like me and wish you could give WeaselMomma a hug and make it all better (not that anyone or anything could make it all better) she gives you a way that you can do so virtually in the form of a donation to SIDS of Illinois, an organization that provides support to bereaved parents and family who have lost an infant, educates people to try and lower the incidence of infant death, works to inform emergency responders on how to be compassionate towards those who have just lost a child, and very importantly provides funding for researchers working to reduce and someday eliminate the incidence of SIDS and other causes infant death. This organization helped the Weasels get through the initial devastation of losing Claire and while it is based in Illinois many of the programs they have developed have been adopted nationally and research they help fund applies to all babies not just those born in Illinois.

If you make a donation in honor of "Claire Weasel" the Weasels will get a notification and know that their Angel Weasel has touched another heart, means something and is remembered by someone outside of her immediate family. From WeaselMomma and other parents who have lost a child I have learned that having their child remembered and matter to someone outside of their family is the greatest gift anyone can give and means the world to them. To sweeten the pot, if you donate and let me know I'll try and get Niecey to make a shout out video to say thank you, who could resist being mentioned in a video by this little imp???:

Please go give WeaselMomma some comment love and a virtual hug of any size you can afford, thanks! =)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Thank You Veterans

I am taking a short break from my prelim exam to say thank you to the US veterans as well as those currently serving in the military and their families. Veterans are the reason I can have this blog, speak my mind, go to school, vote and live my life as I see fit (within reason of course). And if not for the army I wouldn't have this picture, given to me by my grandma, of my daddy looking like a snazzy young stud back in the day!

Daddy enlisted after finishing high school, he saw the Cuban missile crisis and spent some time over in South Korea after the war. His older brother got drafted and spend the Vietnam war over in Germany doing something involving supplies. Daddy fixed things with the army version of duct tape (think he calls it "green tape") and did geek stuff. He "fondly" recalls SOS, which is a delicacy apparently ;).

Members of the US military, current and past, and their families: Thank you for all you have sacrificed to ensure my safety and freedom, you are the reason I am proud to be an American and I salute you!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Influenza Information and Vaccination

Dear Family and Friends,

I hope this message finds you all well. I have decided to write this to help get factual information about the H1N1 influenza strain and its vaccine to you all to help you make informed decisions about what is best for you and your family. There has been a large amount of misinformation spread by both traditional media sources and the internet. When this outbreak first started in Mexico there were numbers coming out of Mexico that caused much panic in the US and the world. After awhile it was determined that these numbers were inaccurate and we may never know how many cases and deaths there actually were, the numbers reported were higher than they are in reality. When the virus spread to the US panic spread even quicker that the virus itself, newscasters were referring to this strain as if it were going to kill us all. After awhile it became pretty apparent that this strain is not nearly as bad as they hyped it up to be.

Current data show that this strain is highly infective but it tends to produce a more mild and shorter infection in many patients. This does not mean that this virus is "safe" and something to forget about, it can still cause complications and death just like any strain of influenza, especially in children and pregnant women. There is also the possibility that it will mutate or recombine with other strains of influenza that can cause it to become a dangerous hybrid strain. Influenza can be a very unpredictable virus and so people should always take precautions to avoid getting it and spreading it if they do get it. Frequent hand washing is quite possibly the best way to avoid contraction and spreading of influenza and other infectious diseases. When washing your hands use warm water and soap that does not contain anti-microbials (studies have shown they can cause more harm than good), make sure to get every part of the hand, people often forget between the fingers, the top of the hand (the part many wipe their nose with) and under the fingernails. Proper hand washing takes at least 20 seconds which is about how long it takes to sing "happy birthday". Alcohol-based hand sanitizers have been found effective in killing influenza viruses and can be used if there is no access to a sink and soap, keep in mind that if your hands are dirty/grimy that the hand sanitizers are less effective. Avoid touching your face if you are out in public and have not washed your hands. Avoid coming into contact with infected people if possible. If you are infected the best thing you can do is stay home until you are no longer symptomatic. If you must leave your home make sure to wash your hands frequently, cough and/or sneeze into a clean tissue (or your sleeve if you do not have a tissue) and then discard it and wash your hands.

And now onto vaccination. It is recommended that everyone get a seasonal flu vaccine annually, there are select groups of people that should not get this vaccine, mainly those who are allergic to eggs as the vaccine is produced in chicken eggs. You most likely know if you are in this group, if you have any question about it ask your doctor to make sure. There is a vaccine against the H1N1 strain being produced and tested right now, it is made in the same way as the seasonal vaccine and thus far all safety testing shows it is no different than the regular vaccine in terms of safety, as was expected. Some of you may have heard of the 1976 swine flu vaccine issues, please do not believe the propaganda comparing that vaccine to the current one, trust me when I tell you that immunology and vaccine development has changed drastically in the past 33 years. No vaccine is completely without risk but the influenza vaccine has a very low risk and most of the side effects are mild and short lived, especially when compared to the symptoms and risks that the influenza virus poses. When it is made available to me I plan to get the H1N1 vaccine and I want my six year old niece and the rest of my loved ones to get it as well. I have already gotten my seasonal flu vaccine and recommend anyone who has not gotten it to get it as soon as possible, it takes time for it to kick in. Getting vaccinated does not guarantee you will not get the flu as there are many strains of influenza and they can only fit three into the one vaccine and it does not work against other viruses and bacteria that could cause an upper respiratory infection but as the three strains they choose are the most prevalent and/or dangerous strains it is definitely worthwhile to get the vaccine. Currently H1N1 is the most prevalent strain of influenza in the US but it is very early in the flu season, which normally peaks further into winter, and the seasonal strains could follow behind or coexist with the H1N1 strain as the season progresses. Flu season can be hard to predict but I believe that it is better safe than sorry and get vaccinated yearly.

For more information refer to the following links:
H1N1 Vaccine Safety Information:
Cool Public Service Announcement:
CDC's H1N1 Site:
Collaborative US Government Site:

I hope that I have helped clear up any confusion any of you may have had, feel free to link this to anyone you feel might benefit from this information. Remember that the worst thing one can do is panic in these situations, it can only hurt you as stress can lower the immune system. Knowing the risks so you can make informed decisions with confidence is the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. Feel free to ask if you have any questions about this topic or if something I wrote was confusing in any way, I will do my best to answer your question(s) or clarify points I may not have fully explained.

Take care,

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Three Cheers for July 30th

While I try to live my life so that every day is special, today is a very special day for me, for three reasons. And since today is extra special I've decided to take the time to share why with all of you =)

Reason 1: It is Daddy's birthday! About a million or so years ago my father was born. He was raised on a farm in Indiana, and a member of the 4H club. Lucky for me Grandma gave me some old pictures of him growing up, isn't he adorable with his baby cow?:

Fast forward somewhere around 50 years and you have the picture Niecey took of him after snatching my camera (I may have given her permission to play with it) over Christmas:

Happy birthday Daddy, you have always been there for me and are a wonderful father to my siblings and myself as well as Niecey. You are the best daddy a girl could ask for and I love you very much!

Reason 2: It is Niecey's birthday! Six years ago today I had a very very very sore arm from being Middle Sis's leg holder. It was highly traumatic seeing my sister give birth, I NEVER want to view a baby being born again, including my potential future offspring! Even though I am scarred for life over seeing my sister shoving an 8lb 2oz baby out of her nether regions it was all worth it. I was blessed with the most adorable little niece after enduring all that and watching that tiny little baby grow into this little girl has been amazing:

And who doesn't like morning snuggles? Whenever I visit and Niecey wakes up before me she will quietly play by the room I sleep in and check periodically until she sees my eyes open. Often she will try to get me to get up and play with her but usually she'll humor me and give me some morning snuggles before "making" me get out of bed, one of the great perks of visiting the homeland!

Happy birthday Niecey! I hate that I've spent the last 4 years of your life so far away but know that I am doing it in part to be able to give you a better future and even though there are 350 miles between us I am always here for you. Thank you for making me an Auntie, I love you with all of my heart and am so very proud of you!

Reason 3: One year ago today I decided to stop being just an observer of the blogging community but to join it. I started this humble little blog for several reasons but one of the main ones was that I followed so many wonderful people and felt close to them even though they had no idea I even existed for the most part. I wanted to see if perhaps some of these great people would find me amusing and let me join the fun. In that year I have made friends with so many amazing people and am so proud to be a part of such an awesome community. We laugh together, we cry together, and when someone needs help people in the blogging community step up and do what they can to support whomever is down, whether it be with a sweet comment or by donating money/supplies or in my case a fellow blogger opened up his home and let me stay the night when I got stuck in traffic and was going to have to try and find a hotel in a city I had never been to (I have not forgotten you and your wife's kindness and what a great time we all had Kevin, thanks again and I will get around to writing a post about it one of these days!). I think the world would be a much better place if real society followed the example of the bloggers. Thank you all for reading my blog, for the great comments you leave and for befriending a nerdy grad student, I love you guys!

So two birthdays and a blogoversary all in one day, definitely reason to celebrate! What better way to celebrate than with a yummy chocolate cake:

The 6 yellow candles are for Niecey's birthday (yellow is her favorite), the green one is for Daddy and the blue one is for my blog.