Sunday, February 24, 2008


I'm not a very political guy. I am deeply concerned about social justice. That does require some involvement in politics. But, I've never campaigned for a candidate, contributed to a candidate's campaign or so much as worn a t-shirt for a candidate. That is, until this year.

I am inspired by Barack Obama. Not because he's the smartest person who has ever run for President (though he's certainly smarter than what we've had recently). Not because he has the most experience. Not because he's got the best policies (he and Hillary are not nearly as far apart as their campaigning requires they try to portray themselves to be). It's because he's the most hopeful candidate we've had in my memory. It's because he represents the opportunity to put someone in the White House who still believes we can do things differently. Also, I think he's the most compassionate candidate to come along in a long time.

I haven't read "The Audacity of Hope", although now that I have decided to back Obama, I will. I haven't read his detailed position papers, although the one on health care is sitting here printed out and ready for me to wade through. But, I've heard enough about his positions on the issues to know we fundamentally agree. And, I know enough about his history to believe he will genuinely try to do the best he can for all of the American people, not just the rich and privileged.

Here I am in my first campaign t-shirt:


Treasured Locks Milestone

Normally, our email blast gets us a little bump in orders. We might go from an average of 30-35 orders/day to a peak of around 50. But, Wednesday of this week, the email blast brought us 83 orders in one day. That beat our previous record by over 20 orders. Here's the pile we had for DHL on Friday (they missed Thursday's pickup due to weather).


Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day

Kayla decided she wanted to make dinner for us in honor of Valentine's Day (then she wanted us to retire to the basement to watch a "chick flick"). Since she can only make breakfast food, she decided to make pancakes, eggs and sausages for us. Shayna wanted to help since she had not bought a present for us for Valentine's Day. But, she had basketball practice.

Kayla needed supervision and a little help. But, she did a great job with the dinner and I could tell she was very proud of herself. She and Shayna are so thoughtful, it's really amazing for two young girls. After dinner instead of watching a romantic movie, we all watched Shayna's First Year DVD together. I'll never get tired of the scene where Kayla meets Shayna for the first time. It's priceless.IMG_2746.JPG

The Nicest Thing Anyone Has Ever Said to Me

The other night we were driving home from dinner. Tywana and I were talking about a friend of a friend who is in the reserves and has just been called up to serve 15 months in Iraq.  He's in his mid-40s.  Kayla piped up from the back seat "Daddy, you aren't going to join the reserves.  Are you?"  I explained to her that I was too old to join the reserves. She said "Good.  I need you here.".  Then, she seemed to start to correct herself but said "I want you here, too.".  Shayna joined in and said "Daddy, we do need you here.  But, we want you here, too."

Made my day...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Living in White Chester

There was a line in Hairspray that I thought was hilarious. Queen Latifah's character speaking about all the White people coming into her establishment said something like "If we get any more White people in here, we'll have a suburb." A couple of days ago someone sent a link to me about a website called Zip Skinny which gives a bunch of detailed data on the demographics of your zip code. Here's mine. I knew there were many of "us" out here in what some affectionately call "White Chester". But, I was surprised to see more Asians than Blacks. No point to this post. Just an observation.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Tywana's Singing Career

Tywana did her second solo at Nexus on Sunday. As I write these posts about Tywana, Kayla and Shayna stepping up, it's funny because there is a common theme. Tywana, while always pushing the girls, has been reluctant to take her place on center stage. Chip had to beg and plead with her to sing the solo. After pushing Kayla to step up in drama and Shayna in basketball, she did not want to draw too much attention to herself on stage.

She did a great job with it. I told Chip at dinner on Saturday that she really wants to be pushed (and she does). So, my guess is she'll be doing more of the same in the future.

Shayna the Basketball Star

Shayna was the high scorer of Upward on Saturday. She put in 4 baskets. I think the team's total was about 25 (it was definitely less than 30). Not bad considering she only gets to play half the game.

Shayna is so funny. At home, she's the center of attention. Always singing, always dancing (she loves her hip hop class). But, in public, she's a different person. Even though she's doing great at basketball, she doesn't celebrate when she makes a great play. She's extremely reserved in public. Not quite as shy as Kayla but, almost. With her eye-hand coordination, I expect her to be a very good basketball player. It'll be fun to see how she behaves on the court then.

Kayla's Math

Kayla has really been coming along with her math. She's doing what they call pre-algebra. But, they're sneaking a lot of algebra in there. She gets really nervous when we have what she considers big "tests" and last week we had a unit assessment. A unit consists of about 15 lessons. So, it's probably close a month's worth of work that she's being assessed on. With over 20 problems, it was almost inevitable she'd make an arithmetic error. She gets the concepts very well now. But, she'll think one number and write another. But, this time, she got a perfect score. She aced her unit assessment. She was thrilled.

I'm hoping this will help improve her self-confidence. In a lot of things, Kayla struggles because she's simply not assertive enough. It shows up in everything from her sewing, to her math, to simple things like a couple of weeks ago when she walked into a bathroom (by herself) that had a second door after you opened the first one. Instead of pushing through the second door, she thought it was a closet. She came back to where we were sitting and didn't say a word. Then, when I went to the bathroom, she followed me (unbeknownst to me) and stood outside. When I came out, she asked me where the women's bathroom was. When I showed her the door she had been in she said "That's just a closet.". I opened the door and showed her how she had to push the second door. That was a pretty good metaphor for the way Kayla approaches things. I keep telling her to push just a little harder. She's so very much like me at her age, I can completely relate to exactly how she feels. I'm really glad that I'm here to be her math teacher. We have a semester assessment this week. I expect her to do very well.

Treasured Locks Milestone

In just a couple of days, we crossed two milestones. First was reaching 1,000,000 page views for the last 120 days (a rolling stat that Yahoo keeps). Then, we finished January at 1,040 orders, the first time we had more than 1,000. We had been playing around the 1,000 mark for the last few months with the Christmas "rush". Revenue wise, we were actually down a couple of hundred dollars from December to January. But, the total number of orders was up.