Sunday, December 30, 2007

Environmental Consciousness for the Underachiever

After Ethan was born, we bought a jogging stroller. I had high hopes of actually jogging with it, but we've found we mostly use it for walks to the park and around the neighborhood. I had been wanting a pedometer to measure my walks since the speedometer/odometer that came with our fancy stroller measures in kilometers (only!), and I'm not 100% sure it works. It is nice to know I'm strolling at 10 km/hr, but it's not really useful information.

I had a pleasant surprise, then, when my sister-in-law and brother gave me what must be the Godfather of all pedometers, if it can even be classified as a pedometer. I think it's actually a high-tech training device for athletes. You know, ultra long distance runners, bikers who regularly traverse states, etc. Not one to be intimidated by looking silly in front of triathletes, I charged the thing up, popped it on my wrist and took a walk... to the grocery store, exactly 1.06 miles from home. This brings me to the point of my post, which is actually about being socially responsible, and my hidden desire to live in a community where people walk to work, to school, to the bank and grocery store. We lived in New York City for a while, and walked just about everywhere. Except Harlem and the Bronx Zoo.

I started thinking about how many places I can walk in our neighborhood; it's not exactly Manhattan, but it is conducive to walking. Within a mile, I can count a grocery store, our bank, our pharmacy, our pediatrician, our dentist :), a mom-and-pop gourmet coffee shop, a massage parlor, a passel of expensive boutiques, salons and antique stores, a pastry shop, a park with playground, a church or two... even Matt's favorite Chinese place. Within a couple of miles, we've got a library, a post office, my doctor, both hospitals, a bunch of fast food, barbershops, dollar stores, more antique places, a couple of schools. It's incredible. I'm thinking about going without my car for a week. Except for walking to work (not crazy about that idea at 5 in the morning or at 7:30 p.m. after a 12-hr shift), I think I could pretty much get where I need to go by foot. And this is good, because I don't recycle anything except for aluminum cans, and I do throw away a lot of plastic bags and diapers.

I wonder if the extra gas money saved would make up for shopping at the expensive grocery store? Maybe. The real question is, will I save more money by not being able to get to the mall, or will I end up shopping at the boutiques? Good thing Stein Mart is close.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sweepstakes Update: Google, The Evil Empire?

So, from time to time I enter sweepstakes. And I rarely win things, but at least now I know why: Google. In Google's quest to rule the internet, they've added one more weapon to their arsenal: breaking people down by depriving them of hard-won sweepstakes prizes. I won a Jimeale diaper bag. However the prize notification e-mail went into my spam, along with the follow-up letter which went something like this: "If you don't respond by midnight tonight, we'll give your diaper bag to someone else, slacker!" Not really, but I wrote back anyway, a week late, hoping there would still be a cute bag sitting around with my name on it. There wasn't, but they offered me a consolation prize. So, no hard feelings toward Cool Mom Picks. Further update to follow. Meanwhile I will brood on my love-hate relationship with Google as I blog, search, organize and share photos, track internet traffic, and write content for ad-heavy web pages, all thanks to Google.

Friday, December 28, 2007

A Kinder, Gentler Rant

Every so often, I read political blogs. Unfortunately, they often seem to be rants, and these rants come from all sectors… rants about how the US middle class is causing global warming, and rants about how Al Gore is mistaken (and we shouldn’t believe anything he says because he didn’t really invent the internet anyway); rants about how good things are happening in Iraq and rants about how bad things are happening in Iraq, and both are probably true, just as good and bad things have been happening in that area of the world for at least 4,000 years. Sometimes, I even get caught up in comment threads where people conduct virtual arguments, picking at semantics and occasionally making insightful and even brilliant points. One thing I’ve noticed is the intense contempt some of these writers have for anyone who doesn’t share their opinions… and this in turn makes me respect them less. I try to see their viewpoint, but frankly, it’s hard. I imagine it would be just as hard for them to see mine.

It makes me wonder, as I read a rant with which I disagree, if the labels were reversed, would the content really change? Or would it just be another rant? In other words, I think we would be much better served by constructive problem-solving, rather than by blaming large groups of others for the world’s problems. Instead, the issue at hand is always someone else’s fault.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

2007 Christmas Letter and Photo

For those of you whose in-boxes were full, we've devised another way to foist our year-end thoughts upon you... the 2007 Morrison Christmas Letter and Photo. (If you give something a grand title, it makes it that much more auspicious.)

There’s a lot of balancing involved in writing a good Christmas letter: how to avoid sounding boastful without being boring, how to avoid the presumption of assuming you want to know all about our lives without completely ignoring you… it goes on and on. Then, just as I’ve decided not to write, I get a delightful letter from a friend, and I’m encouraged to go ahead and let you know what’s up, despite all the ambiguous feelings I have about this sort of thing. Here goes:

Due to the birth of our sweet son Ethan, the year passed in a blur. I’m not really sure what else happened, but he was definitely a highlight. Ethan weighed in at 8lbs, 7oz, on January 25, sometime after 4 pm. After several weeks of insomnia and resultant psychosis, our lives settled into a nice routine, and we are so grateful to God for the joy of having a little one around. He rolled over early, crawled at about an average age, and said “Dada” for months before finally mouthing the word “Mama”. Music to my ears. His little hugs, smiles and laughs make up for all the spit up and dirty diapers he’s managed to produce over the past 11 months.

Everything else that happened this year seems to be a little overshadowed by the whole firstborn son thing. We’ll try to dredge the recesses of our memories, however:

Both Matt and Ethan were baptized on the same day in April. It brings a sweet ache to my heart even thinking about it now.

Matt graduated from UT Tyler in May with a BS in Computer Information Systems, and went to work for Vann Pumping Systems shortly thereafter. This allowed me to cut back from three to one to two days a week as a labor and delivery nurse. Ethan loves having Mommy at home, but when I’m at work he either stays with Dad, with Marmee, with Grandmommy, or with a family from church. Matt also continues to work as a houseparent one weekend a month at Breckenridge Village, where Ethan charms his special friends with his slobber and smiles.

I reached a big milestone this month by completing half of my 48-hour Master’s degree, an MS in Nursing that will allow me to sit for the Family Nurse Practitioner boards, and bring me a couple of steps closer to an eventual goal of becoming a certified nurse-midwife. Don’t ask how exactly. It’s complicated. I also continued to drill as a Navy Reserve Nurse Corps officer one weekend a month. I enjoy the training, and have memorized more acronyms than should be humanly possible. Not to mention, I finally got dog tags and get to wear camouflage and combat boots.

We so enjoy hearing from all of you throughout the year and especially now when everyone’s so motivated to send letters. What’s up with that anyway?

Matt just read our letter and registered his approval with, “It looks pretty good, actually.” So, I guess my job here is done. We’d like to close with one final thought as we focus on Christ’s birth:

“Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift.”
With love and joy,
Matt, Elisa and Ethan Morrison

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Ethan Meets Santa

We had other shots, but this one is classic. I'd love to know what Ethan is thinking... "Is that beard real? Should I pull it?"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Question

My brother Marti has recently (and unwittingly) introduced me to a geeky comic strip called xkcd. In honor of the fact that I have finished half of my Master's, and therefore have time to goof off and do things like this, I offer my own parody, followed by a few favorites:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Checking Out the Tree

No News Is Good News

We haven't posted in a while. No excuse except things like an 11-month-old, Christmas shopping, finishing up Pharmacotherapeutics, raking most of the leaves in the yard into ten huge bags and mulching the rest, preparing scholarship and student loan applications, going to drill one weekend, then Lubbock the next. Yep. Lubbock, as in 8 hours from here with a baby in the back seat. Ethan's actually a good traveler, so we had a nice trip.

A note on the Pharm class: It's not that I didn't learn much about drugs, because I did, but what I really learned was how little I know about medications. I really don't give many on L&D... about the same ten drugs. As for the rest, I'll just have to cozy up to one of those nice little PDA programs.