Saturday, February 28, 2009

Megs Birthday Party

Happy,Happy Bithday Megs!

The "oven cake" faired well. Bens looks like he is proposing again, I believe that the chocolate will win her over

I got the Galadriel Goblet!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Sad Day

This is a very sad day for me. I have discovered that I can no longer tolerate cheap red wine. The fact of the matter is, it gives me a headache. A headache that lasts through several doeses of Advil, a strenous workout, and caffeine. The last two times that I have imbibed on cheap red wine, I didn't even drink that much of it, relatively speaking and I have had a day long headache as a result.

Now I am not saying that I can only drink $50.00 bottles and better (although that does help), but it seems as if I am ageing out of the $3.99-$6.99 range. I used to be able to tolerate such wines, usually from Trader Joes, headache free. Middle age is upon me and this is just another side effect.

I won't be switching to white wine soon either. That has always given me a headache. Another option is to give up drinking red wine altogether or mooch from my friends. I haven't really decided on a reasonable solution, I am still exploring my options.

I probably won't stop drinking red wine altogether. I just like it too much, I might start by being moderately picky about the level of cheapness, buying better wines on sale in the cheap range might be a good place to start. I could announce that I will be mooching off of my friends, but many of them read this blog and they might stop inviting me over.

For now I will start a journal and list specific cheap wines that give me a headache. Maybe I will find one in the bunch that doesn't. Sadly I don't own a winery or have thousands of dollars to spend on wine. Drinking it will have to remain a careful habit for me.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Beautiful Winter

My kids and I did this run last Friday. Unfortunately our winter has been jammed packed with other things this year and we just haven't hit the slopes as much. I really, really miss it!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Ten Things that I am Thankful for Today

1) A great education that prepared to do something that I love for a living
2) My children
3) Books, books, and more books
4) That I sometimes have the time to go and see movies by myself, I saw "The Reader" today
5) My housecleaner
6) My child minder(s)
7) Memories of a beautiful, sunny ski day last weekend
8) My husband has his job and there are no lay-offs predicted in his area of work right now
9) Trader Joes (talk about easy dinner prep!)
10) Peace and quiet when it comes in my house

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Gilbert by the Light of Day by, Myself

Gilbert sipped on his mug of strong, black coffee as he gazed out of his front room picture window, the only window n the house where the shades were not drawn. That was the first thing that Gilbert did every morning after he woke up, go around the house and draw all of the shades. When it got dark, he would open them, especially tonight, when the moon would be full. Gilbert would have a perfect view of the full moon when his picture window shades were open. This morning, however, as Gilbert was drawing the last shade, something caught his eye. It was the little girl next door. She was alone in her backyard. In her hand she held a crystal. The little girl was using the crystal to capture rays of sunshine. Mesmerized, she turned the crystal in all different directions, studying it carefully from each angle. As Gilbert stood at his window, drinking his hot, black coffee with one hand on the pull cord, he flashed back to his own childhood.

Gilbert had not been interested in the sun since childhood. He was trying to remember when he lost interest in it, when that loss of interest turned to distaste and finally to avoidance. Even thinking as far back as he remember, he did not recall ever studying the sun with as much intent and purpose as the child before him on the lawn. “Coming!” she yelled suddenly, shaking Gilbert from his memories as she tore across the lawn-a flash of blue and white-the crystal, dropped on the grass, continued to catch the suns light. Gilbert pulled the cord on the blind to shut out the glare.

Taking his memories with him, Gilbert sat down to his computer, trying to get some work done. The last five years had been heaven for Gilbert. His position as an independent web-page designer meant that he never had to leave his house during the day and he hadn’t left his house even once that he could remember during daytime hours in five years. Sometimes he had to meet with clients in person. Gilbert made them come to his house, to his home office, if you could call it that. Always they found a way around ever having to come for a second in person meeting. Maybe it was the dust or the dark. Gilbert looked at his front room/office, it was piled high with books, banker boxes, and files, Gilbert had a hard time throwing anything away. After a client heard about his reputation and insisted on meeting him in person, Gilbert would oblige, warmly seating them on his chair, worn thin by his cat Oscar or his small couch, made homey by his mutt dog, Ralph. The client would drink Gilbert’s bitter coffee and ask to see samples of his work. Gilbert would show them, give them options, and remind them that they could do all of this via e-mail or his web page. Gilbert’s lack of social graces and inhospitable living environment soon drove even the most persistent clients away from future personal interactions.

Gilbert liked the night. Through the years he had learned how to structure his life so that everything that needed doing or any meager entertainment that he desired could be done just as easily after the sun set. A few nights ago, Gilbert was walking Ralph around the neighborhood at midnight. He often saw other dog walkers in the neighborhood at that hour. This made him feel less conspicuous and maybe even a bit main stream. Ralph had seen a rabbit and bolted from Gilbert’s hand. A fellow night time dog walker had caught Ralph by the leash and returned him to Gilbert. The woman, Doris, lived two doors down from Gilbert. They had never met, she was genuinely surprised to discover that he had lived in the neighborhood for five years and she, who had known everyone for twenty, had never even seen him before. Yes, Gilbert could remain quite hidden when he wanted to.

Late at night, pushing his grocery cart down the vacant aisles, Gilbert was sometimes privy to things that weren’t meant to be seen by others, things that he suspected didn’t happen during the day, young couples making out behind store displays, people eating almost freely from the produce section, a shoplifter hiding items in a pocket, coat, or purse, store employees smoking and talking causally at the front registers. It was a whole different world at night. Sometimes Gilbert found it more entertaining than going to a movie.

Gilbert awoke to the light of the full moon outside his bedroom window. It was his habit to retire to bed soon after lunch time, usually around 1:00pm in the winter and 2:00pm in the summer. He allowed himself eight hours of sleep, arising to shower, shave, and dress as one would do in the morning. Tonight Gilbert would do his grocery shopping, make a delicious dinner for himself, walk Ralph, and watch movies. He thought briefly about getting some work done. In addition to web design and maintenance, Gilbert also wrote blogs for several clients. He could put that off until the early morning though. The night was his to enjoy.

A knocking sound broke through Gilbert’s ocean dream. He opened sleepy eyes and fumbled by his clock for his glasses, 4:00pm. He was in the deepest part of his daytime sleep. Not wanting to be bothered, Gilbert rolled over and put a pillow over his head. The knocking continued, then stopped abruptly, only to be replaced by a ringing doorbell. Gilbert thought that it had been disconnected, but remembered through his sleepy haze that he had reconnected it in order to not miss his most recent client, a high profile attorney. Slowly, Gilbert climbed out of bed and into some pants. Knocking he could ignore, but this incessant ringing was giving him a headache. As the doorbell continued to chime in the background, Gilbert fumbled for a shirt. “Coming,” he shouted, pushing his glasses up his nose.

At first he didn’t see her when he opened the door in a fury, ready to shout insults at the doorbell ringing fanatic. She stood at his doorway, the little girl from next door, sobbing, shaking piteously, “My, my, my…mom,” she choked, “Please help me mister, my mommy…my mommy…just fell.” Choking down his fury, Gilbert searched for the right words. How long had it been since he had actually talked to another person, two weeks, a month? Conversational interaction was not a frequent occurrence for Gilbert. “I…I’m not sure what to do.” Truly, Gilbert was not sure what he could do, the emotion, the possibility of a medical problem. “Please,” the girl begged, “No one else is home, I tried Mrs. Jennings and Auntie Doris’ house and no one is home.” Gilbert paused, he had no idea who these people were, were they his neighbors? The little girl stood there clad in jeans and a pink “Hello Kitty” t-shirt, she wore flip-flops on her feet. “Mister…please,” she grabbed Gilbert’s hand and pulled him out onto the porch. The late afternoon sun bore down like a hot ball of flame scorching Gilbert’s night eyes. He put a hand up to shield them as he stumbled down his own front steps. “Are you sick?” We need to hurry, my mommy,” the little girl implored him. Gilbert knew that he would have to find the strength to do this, to come out in the light of day. He looked at the little girl, “What is your name?” “Mandy,” she looked back at him with innocent blue eyes, “What’s yours?” “Gilbert.” “My mommy says that I have to call adults by Mr. or Mrs., I will call you Mr. Gilbert.”

Mr. Gilbert entered Mandy’s house in a daze. His whole body was shocked by the sunlight. He felt disoriented, his chest was constricted, his throat dry. Mandy’s house was cool and light. All of the blinds were open. There was almost as much sunlight in the house as there was outside. “She’s in here,” Mandy steered Gilbert to the right, into the kitchen. Mandy’s mother lay in a crumpled head at the base of the cooking island in the center of the kitchen. Gilbert heard crying. “Is the radio on?” “No, that’s my baby brother, Kennedy, he’s just waking up from his nap.” Gilbert paused, a baby, what would he do with a baby. “Mr. Gilbert, can you please check on my mom, will she be all right?’ Gilbert bent down, Mandy’s mother was tall and slim, her long brownish hair fell over her face. Gilbert brushed back the hair from her mouth, his knowledge of first aide was rudimentary, Gilbert didn’t think he felt any breath coming from her nostrils. Clumsily she grasped her narrow wrist and attempted to find a pulse. He didn’t feel anything resembling a pulse, but was unsure if he was checking in the right spot, he reached for the phone and dialed 911.

Mandy appeared with a chubby baby boy on her hip. “Ma!” he pointed, Mandy let him down and toddled and crawled over to his mommy, climbing on top of her and trying to get her to wake up. With a gentleness that he didn’t know that he had, Gilbert lifted the baby off of his mommy. Kennedy looked squarely at Gilbert and started to scream. Gilbert tried to soothe the distraught infant. He felt a tapping on his leg, Mandy was there holding a sippy cup. “Here,” Kennedy grabbed the cup and began sucking hungrily. “Is my mommy going to be O.K.?” Gilbert looked at Mandy, he had no idea what to say. His head was reeling with his new foray into daylight, he had never spent any time around children, he had in fact, never been by himself with children. “Where is your father?” “He’s travelling for work, Mr. Gilbert, will my mommy get better?”

The sirens shrieked in the background, they sounded like they were coming closer. Mandy grabbed Gilbert’s leg with both arms and buried her face in his knees. When the paramedics arrived, they talked to Gilbert like he was the husband/father. Gilbert tried to explain that he wasn’t, but his voice was rusty and he couldn’t get the words out. That was how Gilbert found himself in the family car, driving two distraught children to the hospital.

Both of the children were crying as Gilbert struggled to park the car at the hospital. He was confused by driving in the daylight and the screaming children caused him to become completely disoriented. He lost his way several times.

As he stumbled into the emergency room, weighted down by the screaming children, a nurse approached him, clipboard in hand, “Are you Mr. Smith?” “No, I’m…” “We have Mrs. Smith here, the ambulance said that you were right behind,” she waved the clipboard furiously, “Mrs. Smith needs emergency surgery, we need your consent.” “I’m…I’m not her husband,” Gilbert stammered. The children, huddled around his knees, wide eyed and sniveling as they looked up at the nurse, thankfully they had stopped screaming. “Well, where is he! And who are you?” the nurse shouted at Gilbert. The emergency room appeared to be close to capacity, all of the helpless, waiting patients seated in their plastic chairs turned to look a the scene unfolding between Gilbert and the nurse. “I am the neighbor, I only just met them today.” “Never mind, we’ll find him.” “What do I do? Where do I take the children?” Gilbert called to the nurses’ wide, white receding behind. Gilbert tried to think of what he had seen fathers do on T.V. in similar situations. Slowly, Gilbert squatted down, taking Kennedy in one arm to stabilize him, “How would you like a cookie?” “Really?” Mandy looked at Gilbert, wide-eyed and sniffed, “We have to be careful of Kennedy though so that he doesn’t choke.”

After treat time in the hospital cafeteria, Gilbert and the children returned to the emergency room. “So there you are,” the same nurse from earlier scolded Gilbert, “We tracked down Mr. Smith, he is on his way and he doesn’t know who in the hell you are.” “I am from next door, I keep to myself, I never met the Smiths before today when Mandy came to my door…” Gilbert realized by the suspicious look that the nurse was giving him, that he was losing ground. She squinted as she looked him up and down. “I think that you had better go. We have a social worker here to look after the children.” The nurse scooped up Kennedy and took Mandy by the hand. Mandy was reluctant, looking back solemnly at Gilbert, he watched them fade down the dingy hallway.

Gilbert tried once to talk to the Smiths. He rang their bell to return the car keys. Nobody was home, Gilbert wrote a quick note and left the envelope on the front porch. He surprised himself by leaving his phone number, asking them to call. Several weeks later, the house was up for sale. Gilbert ventured out to attend the first open house. He had found himself longing more and more to be awake and active during the daytime. He found out from the real estate agent that Mrs. Smith had died, a brain aneurysm. Mr. Smith and the children were moving in order to be closer to his parents. Gilbert felt grief in his heart when he remembered Mrs. Smith lying on her kitchen floor. He found himself wishing that he had gotten to know the family. What had Mrs. Smith’s laugh sounded like, did it sound like Mandy’s? Gilbert reached up to adjust his glasses and felt a damp spot near his eye. Embarrassed, he moved quickly through the house and out the back door. Gilbert stepped in into the center of the damp yard. He caught a rainbow glint out of the corner of his eye. Bending down to get a closer look, Gilbert saw the crystal. Mandy’s crystal in lying in the soft mud. Feeling his heart lighten, Gilbert grasped the crystal in his hand and held it up to the bright afternoon sun.


Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dress Sizing Your Apartment

I was listening to NPR this morning and I heard a great quote, I think that the commentator said that it was taken from Spy Magazine, circa 1987 (?):

A woman's dress size is inversely proportional to her apartment size. A woman who wears a size 2 dress will have a size 14 apartment and a woman who wears a size 14 dress will have a size 2 apartment

Hmm...true or not true? I would like to believe this to not be true, yet I see more examples around me than I would like that do seem to indicate that it may be so.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Dancing with the Stars

It is official, Woz will be on the next season of "Dancing with the Stars." The pressure is on Bill!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Valentines Day 2009

When You Really, Really, Really Like a Love Song

Ahhhh...Ain't it Sweet!

Yes, Somebunny Loves Me!

The first annual Valentines "potlove" party was a success. These were the love song winners:

Best Love Song, "Fly me to the Moon" Frank Sinatra

Worst Love Song, "Havin' My Baby" Paul Anka

"Earworm" "I think I Love You" David Cassidy

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Party Love Songs

After creating my playlist, I included the songs that I listed on my previous post as well as a few others that I found on my ipod, I have now been able to make my categories:

Best Love Song: "Love and Affection" Joan Armatrading

Worst Love Song: "All Out of Love" Air Supply

"Earworm" Song: "You'll Never Find" Lou Rawls

"You'll Never Find" was not my earworm song until yesterday. I made a playlist, downloaded some songs, and burned a CD to take to the party. In this process "You'll Never Find" has become my "earworm" song. Nowadays it would be considered elevator music, but I grew up in the '70's and it was popular on the radio and on turntables across the country. I don't think of the elevator when my "earworm" gets going, I think of hearing that music on the school bus (yes, the drivers could pretty much play what they wanted to back then), eavesdropping on adult conversation, watching my parents get ready to go out for the evening while I got to look forward to staying home with one of my older cousins, watching singers wearing pastel tuxedos on T.V., riding in the car with my mom when she was mad at my dad (she always had the radio on at those times and she always seemed to take us kids when she went on these drives, I never have found out why), playing outside without supervision for hours on end (we lived on a few acres of land), or watching the older hippie kids around town and wondering what I would be like when I grew up. All in all, not bad memories. I think that I will keep my "earworm" song this Valentine's Day.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Love Songs for Valentines Day

We are going to a "potlove" party on Saturday night and we are supposed to provide some music, awards will be given for the following love song categories:

The Best Love Song of All Time
The Worst Love Song of All Time
An "Earworm" Love Song (one that you just can't get out of your head)

This is my list thus far, although I have not categorized these songs:

"Roses" Mary J. Blige
"Love and Affection" Joan Armatrading
"Silly Love Songs" and "My Love" Sir Paul McCartney and Wings
"You'll Never Find" Lou Rawls
"The Look of Love" Dusty Springfield
"Love you Madly" Cake
"Love will Keep us Together" Captain and Tenille
"Is this Love" White Snake
"I'm Still in Love with You" Al Green
"Baby I Love your Way" Peter Frampton
"Crazy Love" Brian McKnight
"Sweet Love" Anita Baker
"All out of Love" Air Supply
"The Look of Love" Diana Krull

While this is by no means a complete list, I am hoping that it will get me started. I think that I might just compile a "Love Song" playlist and let people vote. I will probably add "Girlfriend in a Coma" The Smiths, because that is more my type of love song.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Enzyte Bob

Bob has finally found a way to ward off the cubicle blues:
Enzyte in the morning.

I bet that he is thinking about taking a long lunch.
Where is my secretary?


Blogophile (plural blogophiles): A person who is fond of or obsessed with blogs or blogging. An obsessed person who fondles blogs or simulates blogging while in the shower.

Retrieved from "Nasty Habits and Their Insidious Seduction" By J. Jurgensen Author of “Been There, Done That, My Journey through the Mexican Penal System” Random House

Category: English nouns

A "concerned" friend of mine recently sent this to me, hmm..., maybe I am "obsessed," perhaps not as obsessed as others I have control over my addiction! Postnote, this is the same friend who recently asked me to help him set up his own blog. I wonder if he still wants my help???

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Religious Misuse

I consider myself to be a person of faith. With this in mind, I am becoming increasingly more bothered when I see religion used to cover up illegal activities. Just because an organization is religious, I do not believe that gives them the right to violate their followers or disregard the laws of the country in which they are based.

Recently I read an article in a local, independent newspaper, "The Stranger," about the relocation of pedophile priests to remote outcroppings in Alaska. The article can be viewed at I am not Catholic, I was in a Catholic church once for a wedding. Maybe I am not the best judge, but as the article says regarding the prolific "dumping" of priests with questionable pasts to these remote areas begins to "look less like an accident and more like a plan." The number of suicides and social/emotional problems faced by the citizens of these areas seems to have increased as well in the presence of said priests.

I am mostly just tired of the pay outs and the covers ups and the amount of energy that the Catholic church puts into trying to sweep this obvious problem under the rug. When are they ever going to hold any of these priests accountable? Will any of these cases ever see a courtroom? I'd like to remain hopeful, but as it stands this remains just another example of religious misuse.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Heart Magic Man 1976 Midnight Special

The Wrestler

I saw the film" The Wrestler" last night. All that I can say is, "Wow!" what a story! Parts of this film were quite difficult for me to watch. I am a healer by nature and I have difficulty understanding why someone would put their body through such pain over and over and over again. Mickey Rourke really put in an exceptional performance on this one. I also thought that Marisa Tomei did an excellent job as an ageing stripper. They both must have put in countless hours at the gym to get in shape for their respective parts. Both were at the end of careers that they should have given up long ago. Although the film focused primarily on the wrestler (Mickey Rourke) and his personal and professional challenges associated with ageing out if his profession, these issues were present for the stripper (Marisa Tomei) as well. What I loved most about this movie was the intimate portrayal of a person so devoted to the past that he had no way of making any sense of his future. His body was going, going, gone, but he still couldn't let go of that glory day, April 6, 1989, the date that was the fulcrum of his life. The very best part of this film, besides the truly great acting, was the terrific ending. I despise tidy, happy endings that don't fit in the real world and this one went beyond my expectations. I also enjoyed the music, it went perfectly with the lifestyles and expectations of the film's characters.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Casting off the Burkha

As many of you know, if you read my blog, I am not a big fan of fundamentalist religion. While fundamentalist religions do have the right to exist, I believe that they have a responsibility to show tolerance and consideration for the world at large and live harmoniously in the world with other human beings. I first started to think this way in 2002 after the September 11th attacks. I got to thinking about how we here in the west ignored fundamental Islam for many centuries passing this group off as being too far away or too small to make a difference here in our lives in the west. That has proven to be untrue and fundamental Islam and the encouragement their religious freedom proved to be very costly to our country.
Now we have books like Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, which is one of many out there that tells the "inside story" of fundamental Islam. I am choosing to focus on this book because Ayaan Hirsi Ali has chosen to cast off the burkha to a very public detriment. People often look at women in burkhas and think, "if they don't like living that way, why don't they just leave." That is exactly what Ayaan Hirsi Ali did. Now she has a death threat over her head. This probably has more to do with her public denouncement of Islam than for actually choosing to peacefully leave it. Because she has gone public with her story "free" countries both in Europe and America have started paying closer attention and statistically documenting such things as honor killings and female genital mutilation. Before Ms. Ali was a public figure, these things went on freely in our world and we who are "politically correct" turned a blind eye in the name of religious freedom.
In 2004, Ms. Ali teamed with a Dutch film director, Theo vanGough in order to film part I of a ten minute short film entitled "Submission." This short film can be viewed at . After the first part of this short film was produced both Ms. Ali and Mr. vanGough received numerous death threats from the more fanatical side of the Islamic community. Ms. Ali chose protection, Mr. vanGough did not. He was murdered in November of 2004 by Mohammed Bouyen, a member of the Dutch Hofstad Network. Mr. vanGough was shot eight times, had his throat slit nearly to decapitation, and a five page missive threatening the west was affixed to his chest with a knife. Ms. Ali is a member of Dutch Parliament, approximately 3.2 million Euros have been spent on her protection.
Does this tell me that all people of Islamic faith are bad and ought to be eliminated? No, but it does tell me that even a single radical group, carrying religious principals (in this case jihad) to an extreme can be dangerous to the world at large. If one person isn't allowed to publicly renounce their faith without threat of death, that is extreme in my opinion. Those of us in the west are so bound by political correctness that we don't even seem to recognize extremism until it smacks us in the face or plows into tall buildings with hijacked aircraft (shouldn't the fact that at least one of those pilots, during his training, refused instruction on how to land a plane have been a red flag?).

We are the land of the free and the brave, we are a land where ideals can be taught and theoretically lived to the fullest. I don't want to lose this dream more than any other American. However, how free are those who are abused, threatened, or held hostage in the name of their religion?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Favorite Pictures

What is St. Teresa thinking????

Monday, February 2, 2009

Enjoying the Weekend in Style

Little did I know that when I made my post of the "Stones" that I would have a stylish weekend myself. It began on Friday evening when I went out with a good friend to Purple Cafe and Wine Bar in order to celebrate her belated birthday. Saturday I spent cross-country skiing with my good friend Megs here and on Sunday I went to Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of Balanchine's "Jewels" with my kids, and we came home to watch the last two quarters of the super bowl with my lovely neighbor. All in all a very "stylish" weekend indeed.