Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Sleepless In Las Vegas

It happens about once a week. I go to bed between 10 and 11 at night and fall right to sleep only to wake between 2 and 3 and then toss and turn until 5 or 6 in the morning. It isn't too bad if the next day isn't a workday but it is still annoying. When the next day is a workday, I'm exhausted. At least, in that case, I'm so exhausted I can be pretty sure of a good night's sleep that day.

My bed is a comfy, pillowtop Queen that I bought about five years ago. My pillow is a new acquisition from Bed, Bath and Beyond that has the perfect amount of squishiness for me. I don't drink caffeine after noon and, though I do like to have a glass or two of wine with my dinner, I don't drink to excess. I really have no idea what keeps me from a good night's sleep other than, perhaps, an over active mind. Here's a sample of my thought processes while trying to get to sleep (bracketed words are said out loud):

"Oh no, not again. I need some sleep tonight. Try to think about nothing. Or something boring. Mom used to tell me to think pretty thoughts. She would suggest thinking about soft, purring kittens, maybe that will work. Which is kind of funny because Mom never really liked cats much, she was more of a dog person. But maybe she thought kittens would make me sleep. I wonder where Diva is, she probably jumped out of the bed when I woke up, she hates it when I move around. [Hey, Diva, come on back, I'll lie still.] I'm not going to look at the clock. I bet it's after 4 by now. I need to get some sleep. There's so much to do tomorrow. I have to finish my self evaluation and also follow up with Daddy's case manager. I sure hope he gets out of the hospital tomorrow. And I better make sure to go to Costco before they close. I hope we get let out of work early. Before all the NYE traffic starts. I wonder if I'll be able to see the fireworks from the house since they aren't shooting them off from the rooftop this year. I can't believe this year is gone already. It's 2009. Mom died over 10 years ago. And Zodiac has been gone a year now. I hope Diva lives to be an old cat. When she's gone I wonder if I should just not have an animal. I could travel more easily. But the house sure would be lonely. Maybe by then I'll live in a retirement community. That would be nice. No house maintenance responsibility. Like getting the house painted. It sure needs it. And getting the leaves cleaned up out of the yard. I need to find a new lawn maintenance guy soon. I suck at being a home owner. Maybe this weekend I'll hit it big on the slots and invest in the megabucks. I think it is almost 16 million. Wouldn't that be nice? Especially since my 403B is tanking. Things better turn around or I'll never get to retire. If I was retired I wouldn't care if I could sleep right now. I'd read a book until I fell asleep and then take a nap in the middle of the day if I got tired. I need to go to the library and get some books. And take back the Reichs book. I think it's overdue. I should have renewed it online. I wish they hadn't closed the GV library. I wonder where my new branch is. I'll google it before we leave work. Now I'm hungry. Geez, it's 5. I might as well just get up. Okay, close your eyes Susan and count to 100. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, [No, Diva I'm not getting up yet, lie back down]. Where was I? 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, might as well turn up the heat and then lie here till the house is warm and then take a shower........... hmmm must have fallen asleep finally. Ok, time to get moving. [Ok Diva, breakfast for kitties]

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Vacation with Deb

Deb arrived the day after Christmas to spend the weekend. We don't exchange gifts but, rather, typically we go out for a nice dinner and then go to a Las Vegas show or spend a day at the spa. This time we ate more and didn't do the show/spa thing. Instead we spent our entertainment money on penny slots. Our first excursion was a dismal failure and we ran out of our money pretty fast. Sunday we tried again and we recouped most of our money. Plus we got to play the penny slot bonus games a lot.

Our dining included dinner at Diego, brunch at Terra Verde and dinner at Osaka. It was all good.

At Diego, we had a Diablo Shrimp Enchilada that was excellent and just spicy enough. We also had fresh guacamole made at our table. It was good but not spicy enough - which was easily fixed with any of the three salsas served with our chips. The guacamole (don't look John) had cilantro onions and sun dried tomatoes. I wasn't sure I was going to like sun dried tomatoes in the guac but it was surprisingly good. The dessert flan was also delicious especially since the restaurant comped it. After reading the reviews on this restaurant, I've concluded the service and the food is inconsistent but the night we were there both were great.

Our brunch at Terra Verde included lobster omelets with a Mimosa for Deb and a Bloody Mary for me. All was paid for with my Green Valley points. It was quite good but both Deb and I agree this won't become a regular place for us and I'm not exactly sure why because the food is well prepared and the service is good. It must be the ambiance. Or maybe that I think the food is a little over priced even though it is good.

At Osaka, we had teppanyaki and so the meal included entertainment. Our chef was very nice and funny and managed to toss knives and light fires without injuring us. The shrimp and scallops, fried rice and veggies were excellent. We had some green tea ice cream for dessert (included in the meal price) and were stuffed. We even got 10% off because Deb printed a coupon from their website.

During the weekend we also watched The Women and Mamma Mia. I wouldn't recommend either one though I liked the cast in both. You might get Mamma Mia just to watch poor Pierce Bronson trying to sing. It was sad and dismal but amusing. Meryl Streep did a decent job singing and I do like her but think she was the wrong choice for this movie.

Deb left yesterday and now my house is quiet and sad. Diva and I miss her.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Day After Christmas

Now my holidays can really begin. Deb will come home to visit today. We're planning to eat, gamble our pennies and see some movies. Plus she'll get time to visit with friends. I'm always happy to spend time with my girl.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Not Your Dad's Wagon



Seat belts, cup holders, digital tracking system and MP3 player. The radio flyer has come a long way.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Harried Weekend

My weekend started with a call from my stepmother that my father fell and broke his hip. He was transported to a the hospital and then moved to another hospital farther away where the doctor authorized by his HMO has hospital privileges. During the transfer, they neglected to bring his x-rays with him and so he had to be x-rayed again. Which meant he had to be moved around again - with a broken hip! I often think that our health plans are designed with the convenience of the medical personnel and insurance companies rather than the needs of the patient. But I digress.

The rest of my weekend has involved figuring out what is going on with my dad and how we're going to handle getting my stepmother some transportation. She does not drive. I'm hopeful that tomorrow when hospital offices open again, I'll be able to find some help for her. The office the hospital operator transferred me to, when I explained my dilemma, is not open on weekends. It would seem to me that hospital services should be available 24/7 because people can't arrange to need the services only between 8-5 on weekdays. I also discovered that,when Dad wants to phone his wife from his hospital room, he incurs toll charges. It would also seem to me that phone calls are so cheap these days, hospitals would have low per minute charges. But what do I know? In the meantime, I've made sure he has a phone card, that the hospital knows I have authority to receive information about his condition and that my daughter will make a trek to L.A. to check on him.

Because I knew I wasn't going to have a lot of free time and also because I'm a procrastinator, I had to quickly mail a few gifts out. I'm not a good gift giver in the first place and so this year I'm even more pathetic. And forget about cards! I'm happy Debra and I have altered our Christmas traditions so that we go out and have a nice meal and then go to a show or spend some time together at the spa. Easy, breezy. And fun too.

Now that I have the dad situation as much under control as possible from 300 miles away, I think I'll try and get some other chores out of the way and then I'll curl up with a good book. And then I'll feel less harried.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

More Snow



Looking from my porch toward my neighbor's house.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Let It Snow



It doesn't happen often so when it does, it makes the front page of our paper.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Treats For Me

Cheese: when I visited on Thanksgiving weekend, BFD introduced me to Saint Andre cheese which is all buttery goodness with a flavor reminiscent of brie. This weekend I found some at Whole Foods and treated myself to a chunk. Let it sit out until it is easy to spread and then serve it with bland crackers to make sure you get the flavor of the cheese.

Lush: This is one of my favorite stores for shower gels and moisturizers. I discovered the store when I was in Canada and have shopped at the San Francisco and Santa Monica locations. This week, my daughter called to tell me she had been at the San Francisco outlet and learned there is now a Las Vegas store. I went there this weekend and treated myself. With the promotional gifts, I brought home a great collection. But I'll be going back soon. I'm so excited Lush is here.

Salmon: While I was at Whole Foods finding yummy cheese, I picked up some Asian BBQ Salmon which is tender, flaky, and seasoned to perfection. At $20 a lb it is an indulgence. One of these day's I'll learn to make it for myself and save a fortune.

Chocolate: At Trader Joe's this weekend, I bought a tin of dark chocolate wedges. 70% Belgium cacao with ancho and chipotle chiles plus some Korintji cinnamon. Nice heat with bitter chocolate. Delicious.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Follow The Money

Forbes Magazine published a list of billionaire bloggers. According to the blurb:
Forbes.com found 13 billionaires out of the 1,125 on our list who are true bloggers. We didn't count occasional "guest bloggers," such as George Soros' onetime contribution to The Huffington Post but looked at those who blog regularly, for work or for pleasure

I'm listing a few from the slideshow. I'm not sure Forbes was thorough in their investigation. One choice wasn't a current link. The first entry on their list had only a single entry which was more than two months old. Other choices were more what I'd classify as websites, not personal blogs. These are the few selections that I consider real blogs:
Alleged insider trader Mark Cuban
Financier Carl Icahn
Hotel heir John Willard "Bill" Marriott
Ebay founder Pierre Omidyar
Oilman T. Boone Pickens

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Memory Trick

After our Thanksgiving feast we had about a pound of BBQ Salmon left. Deb wasn't going to eat it and so I took it home with me. I packed it in ice and put it in my cooler and headed home. I was making an overnight stop at BFD's and when I brought the salmon in, I said, "Help me remember this in the morning." She said, "That's easy, just put your car keys in the refrigerator with the salmon." She told me she uses this trick with anything she needs to remember - just puts her keys with whatever it is.

Sure enough, the next morning the salmon came home with me.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Happy Birthday, John!

I sent a birthday greeting to a list my brother and I are on and one of the participants sent this link in response. I love it.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

I'm A Winner

This week I won two things! First over at verbatim I won a coupon for a free bottle of Clorox 2 Stain Fighter and Color Booster I think Clorox wins the longest product name. I didn't have to do anything to win, just post a comment.

Then over at PurpAnd, I won a calendar of Purp. Purp is the cutest kitty ever (except for Diva..and Jasper). To win that one I guessed Andy's weight. I haven't ever met Andy in person but he gave lots of clues so it wasn't hard. It was appropriate that I should win because I suggested that he make a PurpAnd calendar with all the photos from his blog.

So maybe this is my lucky month and I'll win the sewing machine too!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Dexter

On my way home from Thanksgiving in Santa Barbara with Deb, I stopped at BFD's house. I had a second Thanksgiving with her family and then everyone left and it was was like old times with just the two of us and leftover food. When we were growing up in the same city, we started the tradition of spending the day after Thanksgiving together. We'd alternate houses and spend the Friday talking, reading, laughing and noshing on leftover turkey and stuffing. So spending the evening with her was just like old times. And now we have wine.

She has Showtime and so we watched an episode of Dexter. BFD filled me in on the plot. It is a strange show about a serial killer who works for the police department as a forensic expert. He only kills really, really bad people who have escaped justice. I just can't decide if I like him or not. I do like the actor who plays Dexter. Michael C. Hall was also in Six Feet Under. Interestingly enough, in both shows the dead father speaks to his son from beyond. The full episodes of Dexter are available online so I may watch a few more before I decide if I'll be a fan.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Food Coma

The bad news is, it did rain pretty much throughout the day on our Wednesday Thanksgiving. The good news is Deb's friends helped move the grill under the overhang and so we got the grilled fish. With about 15 of Deb's friends, we enjoyed wine, salmon and all the other white trash, carb-filled sides. We had mashed potatoes, spoon corn bread, stuffing, and green bean casserole. We also had steamed broccoli to bring a little balance. To be fair, the stuffing had no butter and we use 1/2 the soup and twice the beans in the green bean casserole. The salmon has a great zin sauce and is grilled so that's probably pretty healthy. The mashed potatoes do have butter but are made with 2% milk.

The company brings dessert and we had pumpkin cheese cake, gingerbread men, orange glazed cinnamon rolls, and pumpkin pie w/ ice cream. And of course, there was a lot of good wine. We ate and drank late into the night. On Thanksgiving day we stayed in and ate leftovers. We were very thankful for good food and good friends.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

It Never Rains In California

After twenty seven years in Las Vegas, I'd almost forgotten how it can rain in sunny Southern California. It started yesterday evening and it hasn't stopped yet. I don't think it intends to stop until late tonight. That puts a bit of a damper on our plans to BBQ salmon for our party this afternoon. I'll keep my fingers crossed that the rain lets up just enough to get the fish grilled but may have to bake it instead. But with the delicious Zin sauce we have for it, I'm sure it will still taste great.

The good news is we have plenty of wine and we can stay indoors all day!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Turning Up The Heat

Yesterday, for the first time in the season, I turned on the heater. At my house, typically, the heat goes on on Halloween night but our weather has been unseasonably warm and I haven't been cold in the house. Yesterday, I put the heat on for about 15 minutes in the evening just to take the chill off. Then it was off again until this morning. I set the temperature very low overnight because I don't like the air to be too warm. I like to be all cozy under the covers while breathing the cooler air. Toward this end, I also put the flannel sheets on the bed. From now on, I'll probably jump up about 15 minutes early, dial the temperature up and then hop back into bed until the house warms up a bit. No, I don't have a programmable thermostat and, yes, I know I should get one.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My Advice For The Day

If an email you're sending to me includes the phrase, "I'm not trying to be provocative," then you should rethink what you're writing to me; 1)You probably are being provocative, 2)You probably know it and 3)You come across as a total jerk. If you decide not to take my advice, you'll learn soon enough that I won't be your champion next time you need support from me. Seriously, people, before you trash other people, take a look at yourself.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm Free!

This is the first of several Wednesday afternoons I am taking off from work between now and Christmas. I asked for the time to ostensibly get some things done for the holidays. HA HA. So today I should be getting some shopping done to have everything ready for next eek when I go to Deb's for Thanksgiving. But, hey, there's still several days left before I leave. It wouldn't be a vacation if I wasn't running around at the last minute gathering up everything I need. And then forgetting some things and having to shop for them at Deb's.

So I'll probably just go have a nice lunch and then go collect my $10 gift in penny slot play from the Green Valley Station. I do need to get the kitty some food and pick out a space heater for my bathroom. If you have any suggestions for other fun things you can add them here. I may not do them this Wednesday but I have 3 more coming up soon.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cartoon Commentary and Lazy Post

I don't have much time to post today so thought I'd just share. I got a big group of political cartoons today in email. Here are the four I liked the best.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Contest

verbatim highlighted Prizey today and so I went over there and entered a contest for some free soap. There are lots of giveaways you might find interesting. For the soap, you just have to add a comment stating what bars of Nebraska Sunset Soap you would choose if you win. The contest is sponsored by Chocolate Fingerprints.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My Day

We had Veteran's Day off from work and so I spent my day doing a variety of activities. First I went to play penny slots and won a few dollars. My new favorite game is Star Trek. The game designers are getting pretty fancy. The players have a login and so the game keeps a history. I've accumulated 129 medals which allows me to play different levels of games. It's intriguing. After my penny adventures, I used my points to have the breakfast buffet. I had some eggs, bacon and biscuits. I sat for awhile drinking my coffee and reading a new mystery book.

After breakfast I headed to Kohl's. I don't usually shop at Kohl's but I had a 30% discount coupon and they were having a sale. I wanted to get a supply of socks since it is getting cold and I'll have to start wearing closed toed shoes soon. I got nice assortment of socks and then headed to William Sonoma to use my birthday gift certificate. I found a potato ricer which I've wanted for a long time. This Thanksgiving the mashed potatoes will be extra special.

This afternoon, I went to the library to stock up on books on tape. I've decided I'm done listening to the radio while driving since the news is almost always depressing.

This evening I used another coupon to get $10 off my dinner at the Oyster Bar. I had a great Caesar salad and some shrimp scampi. I brought a lot of the scampi home and I'll have a nice dinner tomorrow. I came home and walked a mile and a half on the treadmill. While I walked, I listen to some chapters of Falling Angels, the Tracy Chevalier book I'm currently 'reading'. I rested up and then loaded the dishwasher, fed the cat and then sat down to write this post. Now you're all caught up.

Tomorrow I head to Reno for the day to attend a retirement party. I wish it were mine.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Fix This Barack!

Vote for the changes you want. Or submit your own ideas.
Some of the current favorites:

Repeal the Patriot Act entirely
...And start fresh, without the snap-judgement
1911 points by anonymous 4 days ago 7 comments 2.

Seriously Invest In Alternate Fuels
1831 points by anonymous 4 days ago 15 comments 3.

Get out of Iraq
Please, get us out of there
1726 points by wallywest 4 days ago 5 comments 4.


Restore Habeas Corpus (en.wikipedia.org)
1200 points by anonymous 3 days ago comment 5.


Stop the drug war
1415 points by SurferGurl 4 days ago 9 comments 6.


Stop having the NSA listen to Americans without a warrent
1336 points by anonymous 4 days ago 5 comments 7.

Affirm net neutrality in law
1226 points by anonymous 4 days ago 3 comments 8.


Friday, November 7, 2008

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Bittersweet Victory

I'm still elated that Barack Obama is our President Elect but at the same time, as my daughter pointed out, it is bittersweet that in a country that overcame bigotry and hateful campaigning to elect our first African American president, several states continue to discriminate against their citizens by banning gay marriage. Californians voted to allow minors to get abortions without parental consent. They voted to make sure the animals we raise for meals are afforded enough room in their cages to turn around. And then they voted to make sure two people of the same sex not be allowed to proclaim their love and live together in marriage. That is just so sad. The campaign spread fear and lies, telling people schools would teach all children about same sex marriage and churches would be forced to marry same sex couples. Never mind that any parent can refuse to allow their own child to participate in sex education classes and churches all over this country currently refuse to marry couples as they please.

The final insult is the claim that same sex marriage will some how destroy the sanctity of heterosexual marriages. Here's a news flash: the only person responsible for the sanctity of your marriage is YOU. Have you looked at heterosexual marriage statistics lately? Over 50% end in divorce and that happened long before same sex couples started getting married. There are heterosexuals who cheat on their spouses. Is that hurting the sanctity of your marriage? I didn't think so.

I find it so hard to believe that many people are still afraid of people different than themselves.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

It's A Great Day For America

I am so proud to be an American. Congratulations President Obama. And, oh yeah, I predicted this! Read it here. I didn't really think it would happen in 2008 but I'm glad it did. I think this is a good thing for America and will be the beginning of a new era in our country and in the world. Yes We Can!

Besides the fact that my candidate won, there were a couple of other cool things about this. First of all, of course, is the fact that I witnessed a transforming, historic event in my lifetime. Secondly, I heard the news from Jon Stewart, one of my favorite people. And thirdly, I heard the news long before my bedtime. I can go to sleep tonight and dream some dreams of changes.

P.S. Look how incredibly accurate 538 was. Next time around I think I'll just take their word for it and skip chewing my fingernails while watching the returns.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Finally!

Tomorrow is the big day and I will be so happy when it is over. I know I'll be glued to election results but I have done a pretty good job of avoiding advertisements, phone calls, radio and TV news about the election and about our lousy economy. I've posted only a few pro Obama entries and I've joined a support group where we all agree on who we will vote for. That has eliminated a lot of stress.

Books on tape have helped a lot. NPR couldn't stop talking about the election or the economy and I had to discontinue listening to them on the way to and from work. Instead I listened to several books, my favorite being Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier who also wrote Girl With a Pearl Earring. I enjoyed GWAPE (the book and the movie) but I think I liked BB better. It is set in the late 1700s and is about a Dorset family that moves to London in an attempt to put a family tragedy behind them. William Blake is a neighbor who moves in and out of their lives as they try to adapt to life in the city. Chevalier does an excellent job at historical fiction and I was captivated.

Of course you would already know this if you were my friend on Goodreads. You'd also be able to discover that I'm currently reading Falling Angels also by Tracy Chevalier. This story is about families in London in the early 1900s and takes place just after the death of Queen Victoria.

Another diversion has been exploring some new TV shows. One that may become a favorite is The Big Bang Theory. Though the characters seem a bit immature to me for being college professors and I worry the premise of nerds living next to an attractive, bright young woman might end up as a one trick pony, so far it's been amusing. Another show I'm watching is Samantha Who about a woman who suffers amnesia as a result of being hit by a car. The premise is she was a mean and hateful person in her past but now is the new improved Samantha. Again, the concept might get old quickly but I have to say I just love Christina Applegate in this role so I'll be watching.

So you see, I've kept myself distracted from the election as much as I can. But I don't know if I can sleep well until we have a new president. And though I promise not to leave the country if Obama loses, if he does lose I'll be so sad to be living in a country where more than 1/2 the people think Sarah Palin is qualified to be the Vice President. So please, country, don't let me down. Because you know Barack Obama is never gonna let you down.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Advice

It's Halloween and the scariest thing out there for me today is the McCain-Palin campaign. Let's hope November 4th is a mandate for change and a victory against the politics of fear and division.
"So irrespective of what the polls look like, we have no choice but to show up en masse and unequivocally reject Republicans like Sarah Palin -- hurling them onto the slagheap of history next to Orange Alerts, HUAC and the Willie Horton ad. Imagine what an undisputed electoral victory would say to Republican strategists like Bill Kristol who suggested to John McCain that the easiest path to victory was the politics of fear. Imagine the eardrum-bursting shockwaves a massive Obama victory would send through the heads of the McCain operatives who fed the "domestic terrorist" attacks into Sarah Palin's empty dome."

Full article: The Mandatory Rejection of Sarah Palin

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Many Tanks

Today I paid 2.53 a gallon for gas, can you believe it? At the same station I paid $4.00 for just a few weeks ago. As the market went down, the price of gas went with it. Maybe we should be hoping for the price of gas to go up.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Obama '08 - A Vote For Unity



via freakgirl

One More Week

Finally, only one more week of ads and phone calls. Once this election is over I think I may robo call the winners several times every single day to congratulate them.

I've voted already and think most people who visit here have either voted 2008 already or have voted in enough elections that they know they won't have any problems on Nov. 4. If you think you might have a problem voting, make sure to read the information at goodvote.org (via verbatim) and follow the directions to ensure your vote is counted.

I find it so hard to believe people will go so far as to disrupt the voting process, thinking they are helping their candidate or party. Is that really the America they want to live in? I guess it is 'ends justify the means' thinking because they believe their candidate or party is best. Sad.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Haf Bak

Honey, I'm home!

I'm home but haven't really settled in yet. Had a great time in So Cal seeing family and friends and visiting my favorite ocean. There's nothing like a couple days of sun and sand to make you wish you never had to go back to the office. The only thing that got me headed toward work today was the thought that at least it is a four day week. We have Halloween off! Yay!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I Voted

I've voted! Nevada has early voting and I'm so glad they do. No having to get up extra early on voting day to get to the polls. Just go to your local mall or grocery store and vote. The early polls opened yesterday and will remain open until October 31. Sadly for poll workers, Oct. 31 in Nevada is a state holiday and while the rest of us have the day off, the polls remain open. But it's all for a good cause and I salute all those workers.

And if all goes well I just voted for the next President of the United States. Come November 4, we'll find out if I was right. Or left.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Poverty - Blog Action Day 2008

"They" say you should write what you know. I can't say that I know poverty but poverty is the topic of Blog Action Day 2008 and so I'll try.

The closest I ever came to poverty was in 1982 when I fled from my ex-husband with my daughter and the $300 that I had squirreled away from the grocery money my ex doled out to me. Even then, though I had no money and no job, I had the support of my mother,SIL, brother, father, grandparents and BFD so I knew I'd be fine. I'd have a place to stay and food to eat. I had an education and a good work ethic. I was broke but I wasn't poor. And now, 26 years later, I have a good job, a house that's almost paid for, a daughter who is self-sufficient and, when the stock market recovers, a pleasant retirement on my horizon. And I still have family and friends I can count on. I'm blessed.

Some people are not so blessed. They don't have a place to stay or food to sustain them. They have no skills, no education and no support system. They depend on the kindness of strangers. Those of us who are blessed are the strangers who contribute to the support of those who have less. In a perfect world, we would all contribute what we feel is appropriate and that would be enough to help those who have nothing. Charitable donations would be sufficient to provide for those who can't provide for themselves.

Sadly, it doesn't work that way and so, together, as a government, we attempt to create a system that takes contributions from some of us and redistributes those contributions to others. We don't know the people our money goes to and unfortunately, with anonymity comes contempt. You can see that just by observing conversation on the internet. People insult each other and engage in hate speech they'd never use with their neighbors and friends. And when money is involved it becomes even more vicious. We're sure that other person doesn't "deserve" the money or is scamming us. They could work if they wanted to. We're giving them the money for food so how dare they buy Filet Mignon when we're eating pot roast. Negative feelings spawn resentment; those of us who have resent those who have not. We argue about who is deserving and who is not. One group says we should help everyone and one group says we shouldn't help anyone.

I don't have any answers, only observations. I can only imagine a world where everyone has the basics they need to survive; shelter, food and health care. Those are my basics. If every person had those basics, wouldn't it be great? Imagine.

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one
- John Lennon




Monday, October 13, 2008

Buddy, Can You Spare A Tank?

It's happened to me several times. I'm filling my gas tank and someone approaches me with a sad story about how they just need a little money. Maybe it's bus money or money for milk for tomorrow's breakfast or money for gas. I gave money to someone once and then happened to go in the mart and see them getting a soft drink. Now I just tell anyone that asks that, no, I don't have any money right now.

This weekend I was filling my gas tank and heard a voice, say, "Excuse me." I looked up to see a nicely dressed elderly lady looking at me. She continued, "Could you help me get gas? Normally my daughter comes with me." I wasn't sure why she was getting gas by herself if the daughter usually does it for her but I opened my car door and got my wallet and went to the other side of the pumps where her car was parked. At that point, she told me she just didn't know how to pump the gas. She gave me her credit card and I swiped it and asked for her zip code. Then I asked her what grade she wanted, selected it and put the nozzle in her gas tank. While the car filled with gas she told me how she left and then discovered her granddaughter, who had borrowed the car the day before, had left her with an empty tank. She just never learned to pump gas. Her husband died five years ago and her daughter usually helped her get gas. I learned a lot more about her while the tank filled. When the tank was full, I handed her the receipt and said goodbye.

I not sure how I feel about my willingness to pay for some gas for a woman who looked like she could afford it when, if a scruffy looking man had come over and asked me to help him get gas, I would have said no. Even though the woman wasn't really asking me for money, I pulled out my wallet without thinking. Maybe I should be more open to helping people who might really need the money. Or less suspicious of them.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I'm In, Are You?



October 15, 2008 is Blog Action Day. Blog Action Day is an annual nonprofit event that aims to unite the world’s bloggers, podcasters and videocasters, to post about the same issue on the same day. The aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

I'll Take That One


Yep, I think I'll vote for That One.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Stop Me Before I Embarrass Myself

Google has a feature that tries to keep you from emailing while drunk. If you set the option, Google googles will make you answer a few math problems before sending mail. It only works late on weekend nights so if you are a weeknight drunk, it won't help.

If this feature is successful, Google should have a similar option to peep keople from dlogging brunk too!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Power of Complaining

For the past several years, every Thursday morning, a local paper has been tossed on my driveway. I glanced through it a few times but wasn't overly impressed. It wasn't a bad paper, just not something I was interested in. Sometimes I would take it with me to work but mostly I just tossed it in the recycle bin.

A few years ago, I called the home office and told them I prefer not to receive their paper. The editor seemed puzzled since it is a free paper. I explained I just recycle it and thought it was a waste to give it to me. For about a month after my call, I didn't receive the weekly paper. But then the deliveries resumed.

Eventually it really annoyed me that these people insisted on tossing this paper on my driveway so that every week I was responsible for disposing of it. About 6 months ago I wrote an email to the paper explaining that I didn't want to read their and wanted them to stop delivering it to me. I suggested that they give away their paper at libraries, groceries stores and coffee shops and not waste the gas driving around my neighborhood littering.

I have not received a paper since then. Every Thursday, I walk out and see papers on every driveway but mine. I wonder if I should share my email with my neighbors.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Pails By Comparison

Maybe I'm just naive but I don't understand why we have to have one giant 700 billion dollar bailout bill that everyone agrees on. Why can't it be one issue at a time? 50 smaller 14 billion dollar pails. For instance, it seems both parties and the public agree on increasing the FDIC limit. So pass that bill. One down. What's next?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

5 More Weeks

I really don't have any good blogging material, I just wanted to say, "5 More Weeks." Five more weeks and the phones calls stop. The TV ads will stop. The bickering will stop. Ok, so not everything will stop. But I predict we'll all so so thankful the election is over that regardless of who wins, the stockmarket will feel our good mood and soar to new heights. Yep, that's my prediction. Remind me about that on November 5, please.

Also, my election day is only 2 1/2 weeks away because we have early voting in Nevada and I intend to be at my mall with ballot in hand on October 18 when the doors open. I might even be like the lady in the Mervyn's commercial, standing outside at 5 in the morning reciting, "open, open open." I'm going to vote the moment I can and then I'm going to laugh when anyone tries to discuss the election and put my fingers in my ears and say "la la la la la la, I can't hear you and it doesn't matter anyway because I already voted. So there."

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Book The Vote

This weekend, I sat outside my local library with voter registration forms. I did not approach people and ask them to register. I had a small sign with the words "Register To Vote" on it. It also had an "Obama '08" statement at the bottom. On Saturday, a very nice woman who was being paid by the Republican Party chatted with me while we greeted the people who came by. I registered 4 people and she registered none. Sunday, a very talkative man, being paid by the Republican Party, chatted at me for 2 hours straight as we greeted people. In the 2 hours I was there, I registered 4 people and he registered 1.

Both of the Republican workers were very nice and both were surprised I wasn't being paid. I just wanted to make sure people registered. If the registration stats from my very small, unofficial sample, are correct, Obama will win in a landslide. But then again, maybe Republicans are just so committed, they've all already registered. We'll find out soon!

The most poignant moment for me was when a very distinguished looking African-American man stopped and asked me for a form. He sat down and filled out the paperwork while my Republican buddy and I chatted (or while R chatted and I listened). When the registeree handed me the completed form, he said, "I am almost 80 years old and this will be my first time voting." I replied, "Congratulations," as I shook his hand. Then he said, "I still have the hole in my head where the police hit me the first time I tried to register." I felt like crying but I retained my composure as I shook his hand again and he continued into the library.

It wasn't that long ago when a young black man could be beaten for trying to vote. Today the son of an African man can run for president. I want to say we've come a long way. Instead, I'm haunted by the vision of American police beating American citizens who wanted to vote.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Caught!

Hey big, long, hard to pronounce string of digits, you can run but you can't hide. Your buddy tried it but those UCLA wiz kids finally tracked him down.
So enjoy your freedom, but just remember, your days are numbered. MWAHA HAHAHA

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Comments

When I went into the blogger editor today, there was a comment waiting for my approval which was very strange because I didn't think I set moderation on. I freed the comment from limbo and then realized I didn't know what post it went with. It said something like, "what about the homeowners?"

I went to the settings for blogger and saw that I had clicked the option to moderate comments that arrive 14 or more days after a post is published. I started to browse my older posts and, while I never did find the moderated comment I was looking for, I did see several comments on older posts. I will browse the help manual this weekend but if you already know how to know when new comments arrive on blogger, let me know. I typically only glance back a couple days to see if I have new comments.

UPDATED: I found the late arriving comment. It was on my bailout whine that was posted over a month ago. By my BFF anonymous.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Grampa McCain

via johnnyb



I think he wants to be present, excuse me I mean be president, not be president,er be present.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

42 More Days

I usually listen to NPR on my way to and from work. These days, all that is on during my commute time is election news or financial crisis news and I CAN'T TAKE ANY MORE! Yesterday I stopped at the library and got Fool Me Once on tape and started listening to it this morning on the way to work. The ride is typically 20-25 minutes and the CD is about 10 hours long so I figure it will take about 2 weeks (working days) to get through. If I listen on the weekends too, it might only last me a week and a half. With six weeks until election day I figure I'll get through 4 books at least. Any suggestions?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Tomato Bread

I made a new batch of bread this weekend and it is nice and wheatie. I used about 1/3 whole wheat flour. Following zoebakes' advice I bought some wheat gluten to help the rise. I added about 1 T of wheat gluten, and reduced the white flour by the same amount. The bread is wonderful and crusty and chewy.

I've mentioned before I use my toaster oven to make the bread because I don't make much at a time and I don't want to heat up the kitchen too much. Here is a picture of my oven before I add the bread. I don't have a small baking stone so I use my stoneware pie plate. The rack is on the lowest level and I've used the oven pan and rack to put the stoneware on. I add the water to the baking pan and the little oven works just like the grown up one.

Here are the pictures of the Cherry Tomato breads I made; the roll was a little thicker and softer. I used grape tomatoes and when I halved them, I squeezed out the seeds. My breads might not look quite a nice as Zoe's but they tasted great. Next time: More tomatoes!



Friday, September 19, 2008

Wheat! Bread! Yay!

I'm very happy Zoebakes has joined Twitter. I saw her following* me last night and quickly tweeted her to tell her how much I'm loving having Artisan Bread sitting in my frig, ready to bake when I get home at night. My last batch was the light wheat - delicious. I told her I want it to be wheatier and she told me to get some wheat gluten. She also told me to try Cherry Tomato Baguette with it. How did she know I LOVE cherry tomatoes? And I love my balsamic vinaigrette I reduced to yummy syrup consistency; it has a faint taste of chocolate now.

This weekend I'll use the toaster oven for my creations but it is getting cooler and soon I'll be able to make bigger batches in the regular oven.

*following is not stalking, it just means she signed up to see messages posted by me. You can follow me too but be aware I don't tweet very often.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

47 More Days

I am so tired I could write a song about being so tired...but that's been done.

I'm tired, tired, tired of election coverage. And I'm tired of both sides; it all sounds the same to me now. This is what it sounds like:
You're going to raise taxes.
Am not!
Are to!
You're a liberal wacko!
I know you are but what am I.
You're a facist neocon!
Am not!
Are to!
Am not!
You're a poop head!
You're a booger!
I am rubber you are glue, whatever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.

And that, my friends, is what election propaganda sounds like to me.

Does not!
Does to!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Did You Know?

I had a whole post and then Blogger went crazy and it disappeared so I'm going to try and recreate it.

I was cleaning out old bookmarks and rediscovered the Internet Public Library. While looking through the stacks I found the section on the Presidents of the United States. Did you know only 15 presidents, out of the 43 we've had, have served more than 4 years? 14 of them served 8 or more. Coolidge became president after Harding's death, was then elected and served 6 years but refused to run for another term which would have allowed him to serve 10 years. He thought the longer term wouldn't be good for him, his family, or the country. FDR ignored Coolidge's advice and was elected to a 3rd term and then 4th term* but didn't live to talk about it. 8 of our presidents died in office, 4 of those were assassinated. Lot's of interesting facts. I may just do some more studying, starting with Washington and working my way forward.

And speaking of presidencies, if you think campaigning is rough these days, you should read about how vicious campaigning was in the olden days.

*updated to reflect the comment. Bad editor, bad editor.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Burn After Reading

BNFC and I went to the movies today and, after paying the exorbitant amount of $7.50 for the matinee, saw Burn After Reading. The 7.50 was a shocker but the movie was worth it. It was typical Coen brothers and well done; good acting, crazy plot, several surprises and pure entertainment. Just what we need in these crazy times. Don't try to figure it out, suspend disbelief and go along for the ride.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Always Meerkats, Never Badgers

Via verbatim. Absolutely great monologue by Craig Ferguson.


Vote 08!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Top 5 Coen Brother Movies

Something fun and definitely not politics. Name your top 5 Coen Brother movies. Mine are:
1. Fargo
2. O Brother, Where Art Thou?
3. The Big Lebowski
4. Blood Simple or Raising Arizona
5. Raising Arizona or Blood Simple
Have to confess: I haven't seen No Country for Old Men yet because I'm scared. But I'll see it someday.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Frannie and Freddie

This came to me on the way to work while I listened to NPR talk about the take over.
Fannie and Freddie were bankers
Lordy, how they could lend
Swore to be true to investors
Yeah, make sure we all could spend
They were our banks, wouldn't do us no wrong
Don't have the rest of it, and knowing me I won't get back to it soon. So you just get the snippet.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Not Politics

Today I'm all about food.

Last week, BNFC and I went to Gilcrease Orchard and picked us some zucchini and pears. The trip made me wonder why this has not been part of my life for the past 27 years here. Sorry Deb.

I don't have to think about what to do with pears yet because they are not ripe but I did need to find something for zucchini. Don't get me wrong, I love zucchini but I have enough of it now that I needed more ideas. And then verbatim sent me to this link. The cake looked yummy but what really interested me was the fried zucchini.

I grated up most of a largest zucchini and threw it in the pan that I'd sprayed with olive oil. I cooked it until it was pretty dry and then added one beaten egg and a little salt. Then I topped it with grated Parmesan. It was delicious. I didn't add the Italian seasoning mentioned in the article, but I'm sure that would be good too. You can add as much egg as you want; it just depends on how omeletty you want it to be. I went with less egg and was happy. It isn't the prettiest dish I've ever seen but it sure was good.

Friday, September 5, 2008

The Over Under

When I arrived in Las Vegas 27 years ago I had no idea what an over/under is. For those of you who may not know, the over/under is the a game total you can bet against. So if the total on a football game is 38 you can bet whether you think the total points scored will be above or below that number. When I came to Las Vegas I was working for handicappers who bet on the over/under and I programmed their secret formula into the computer so they could more quickly 'predict' the outcome of the game.
I digress. Today CNN had this poll on their website.
Which party's convention made the stronger case for why its candidate should be elected to the White House?
Democrats 58%
Republicans 33%
Neither 9%
Let's call these the over/under numbers. Are you taking the Dems over or under 58% of the popular vote? Repubs over or under 33%?

I think most of you are taking the under on the Donkeys and the over on the Elephants so I will adjust the numbers by 1/2 of the 9% 'Neither' block giving the Rs the benefit of the doubt. That makes it:
Democrats 53.5%
Republicans 37.5%
Now where do you stand?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Still 62 Days

But I just couldn't help myself. If Dooce's readers are any indication, Obama will win in a landslide. Of course, you might push back and tell me Dooce's audience is a bunch of liberal, leftist whack jobs. I guess we'll just have to wait and see. 62 more days.

UPDATED: Again, can't help myself. Do some people just not remember what they've said in the past? You know they have ways of digging those things up for you before you make the next speech.

62 More Days

It's hard to find a lot to blog about when everywhere you turn you see Tina Fey* Sarah Palin on the news. I've decided not to pick on Sarah because the media is doing such a good job. I do have to say to my friends, the Republicans, it's going bad when you have to blame the media for all your problems. Hillary tried it and it didn't get her anywhere either.

In other news, some would question my use of blog as a verb. They tell me I post on a blog. But posting just doesn't sound right to me. So I will blog; I'm such a rebel.

In still other news, I'm switching back to hot coffee. My seasons are determined by personal signs, not the traditional chill in the air, birds on the wing, or leaves jumping off trees. You know that summer is over when I switch out my coffee drink. No more iced quad espressos.

And in more news than you'd ever want, I used italics in the place of quotes in the paragraph above because I didn't want to end up here.

*I'm allowed to use that joke because I noticed the similarity before Jon Stewart put it on TV."

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

64 More Days*

This article in the Sun points out how political strategists "have used the sensational to misdirect voters from real issues as a way to get their candidates elected." My brother's post today is of a similar vein - but funny. I googled the psychologist mentioned in the Sun article and found this Washington Post article from last week.
"We are continuing to navigate through the modern world with a Stone Age mind," Davis said"
And so, it seems, I might as well stop hoping for the media to focus on the issues. I'll just start marking the days to the election.

* Edited from 63 to 64 because, as Brian pointed out, I'm really waiting for Nov 5.

Friday, August 29, 2008

What Goes Around

The man behind a creative Obama poster:
Fairey is known for putting his stickers and posters in unlikely and often illegal places."That's always been my style," Fairey says. "I don't get permission. I just do it."

The posters have become quite popular.
"But Fairey, whose posters have helped raise money for the campaign, says he has little patience for people who have copied the image for personal profit or resold his posters — at huge markups — on eBay."

Seems to me Mr. Fairey has a nice double standand going there.
Read it here.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things

There was this:
"We may not agree on abortion, but surely we can agree on reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country. The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang-violence in Cleveland, but don't tell me we can't uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals. I know there are differences on same-sex marriage, but surely we can agree that our gay and lesbian brothers and sisters deserve to visit the person they love in the hospital and to live lives free of discrimination. You know, passions may fly on immigration, but I don't know anyone who benefits when a mother is separated from her infant child or an employer undercuts American wages by hiring illegal workers. But this, too, is part of America's promise -- the promise of a democracy where we can find the strength and grace to bridge divides and unite in common effort.


I know there are those who dismiss such beliefs as happy talk. They claim that our insistence on something larger, something firmer and more honest in our public life is just a Trojan Horse for higher taxes and the abandonment of traditional values. And that's to be expected. Because if you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from.

You make a big election about small things.

And you know what -- it's worked before. Because it feeds into the cynicism we all have about government. When Washington doesn't work, all its promises seem empty. If your hopes have been dashed again and again, then it's best to stop hoping, and settle for what you already know."

And this:
You know, this country of ours has more wealth than any nation, but that's not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military on Earth, but that's not what makes us strong. Our universities and our culture are the envy of the world, but that's not what keeps the world coming to our shores.

Instead, it is that American spirit -- that American promise -- that pushes us forward even when the path is uncertain; that binds us together in spite of our differences; that makes us fix our eye not on what is seen, but what is unseen, that better place around the bend.

That promise is our greatest inheritance. It's a promise I make to my daughters when I tuck them in at night, and a promise that you make to yours -- a promise that has led immigrants to cross oceans and pioneers to travel west; a promise that led workers to picket lines, and women to reach for the ballot.

This:
The times are too serious, the stakes are too high for this same partisan playbook. So let us agree that patriotism has no party. I love this country, and so do you, and so does John McCain. The men and women who serve in our battlefields may be Democrats and Republicans and independents, but they have fought together and bled together and some died together under the same proud flag. They have not served a Red America or a Blue America -- they have served the United States of America.

So I've got news for you, John McCain. We all put our country first.

And this:
America, we cannot turn back. Not with so much work to be done. Not with so many children to educate, and so many veterans to care for. Not with an economy to fix and cities to rebuild and farms to save. Not with so many families to protect and so many lives to mend. America, we cannot turn back. We cannot walk alone. At this moment, in this election, we must pledge once more to march into the future. Let us keep that promise -- that American promise -- and in the words of Scripture hold firmly, without wavering, to the hope that we confess.

There is more. Read the speech here.

My Prediction

I have to post this now because otherwise no one will believe me 8 years from now when I claim I made this prediction. If Barack Obama becomes the next president, Hillary will kick herself for not showing up to support him tonight. She's thinking he'll lose and she can run in 4 years. But if he wins, she can't beat him in 4 years and in 8 years he won't back her for the nomination.

I'm putting a reminder in my google calendar for 2016 and we'll see how I did.

Not So Dumbo

I think these zookeepers are nicer than Disney circus people but the article still reminded me of:

Needs More Seasoning

I think Norm is supposed to be the Las Vegas version of Louella Parsons, who chats about what the celebs are doing in our town.

In today's column, he asks Rich Grant, seasoned spokesperson for the Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau to share some of the weirdest questions his staff have been asked.
Grant's favorite?

"What season is it right now?"


I don't get why that is weird. Maybe Grant isn't so seasoned after all. Does he not realize that seasons are different in different parts of the world? For example, Culture.Gov.Au lists the seasons for Australia:

Like all countries in the southern hemisphere (the hemisphere south of the Equator), Australia's seasons follow the sequence:

Summer: December to February
Autumn: March to May
Winter: June to August
Spring: September to November


So perhaps the tourist who asked the question, just wanted to know what season it was in the United States.


Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Put Some Lime In The Coconut

Last April I headed off to El Dorado County for our annual food and wine tasting event. In the course of the trip, we tasted some great spicy ginger and lemon shrimp on rice. The chard it came with was pretty good too but the shrimp was yummy. Scott and I were determined to make our own version.

When we returned from our weekend, we poached some shrimp in vegetable broth to which we had added ginger and lemon. Once the shrimp was cooked, we removed it and then added some cream and red chili sauce to. We simmered the sauce for a long time but it never reduced enough to be a nice thick sauce. The taste was good but not perfect.

Last weekend I returned to Reno/Tahoe for another event and we decided to try the shrimp dish again. This time we used chicken broth instead of vegetable broth and we used coconut milk instead of cream. We also made a roux of butter and flour to thicken the sauce with. Good but not good enough. And very white! I definitely didn't like the chicken broth flavor.

Today I found this recipe and tonight I experimented some more. I halved the recipe. I added about a tablespoon of grated ginger to the marinade. I used vegetable broth (next time I may add fish stock). I didn't add jalapeƱo. I also didn't use the cilantro but not because, like my SIL and verbatim, I don't like it; I just forgot to buy it. I also sprinkled my dish with some chopped cashews. I cooked the rice in broth, adding just a pinch of saffron. And I used basmati rice. Adding the coconut milk to the just cooked rice was a tasty touch. Here's a picture of the final result.



I think we've almost got it perfected.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

More Math

Maybe I'm missing something but this article confused me. It tells about two teens who collected samples of sushi and had the samples tested to see if the fish was correctly labeled. Reportedly, 25% of the tested sushi turned out to be mislabeled.

The results showed that 25 percent of the girls' samples were mislabeled: half of the restaurant samples and six out of 10 grocery store samples.


If 50% of the restaurant samples were mislabeled and 60% of the grocery store samples were mislabeled how could the final result be 25%? Maybe they meant 50% of the restaurant samples were mislabled and 6 samples of all the samples taken from 10 grocery stores were mislabled? There were 60 samples altogether. If 18 of the samples were from restaurants and 42 were from 10 grocery stores then 15 of the 60 were mislabeled, or 25% of all samples.

But that isn't how the article reads to me.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Do The Math

Here's an interesting article in the Washington Post (via verbatim) that shows the differences between the Obama and the McCain tax plans. Those of you making more than 600K per year should probably vote for McCain.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Am the Messenger I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak



My review


rating: 4 of 5 stars
I enjoyed this book a lot. I listened to it on a long drive and it was the perfect book. It was engaging and well written; it entertained me for the entire drive. I like Ed and all his friends. His adventures were funny and kind, scary and poignant at different times.



I didn't give the book five stars because I haven't decided yet how I feel about the ending. At first I thought it was contrived and somewhat of a cop out but I'm becoming adjusted to it.



The audio tape I got was unabridged and had a great reader. He really was Ed.


View all my reviews.


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Debra,
Happy Birthday to you

Somewhere in my travels I heard a mother say, "I couldn't have done better if I'd custom ordered you." That pretty much says it all. You are everything a mom could ask for. I love you to the moon and back.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Barry Funny

Back when I used to subscribe to a real newspaper so that I could get newsprint all over my fingers in the morning, I used to look forward to the Dave Barry columns. He has that observational humor I like that takes everyday events and makes them funny. Like my brother. And every January I couldn't wait to read Dave's recap of the previous year.

When I started reading my news on the Internet and gave up newspapers, I would occasionally look for Dave's columns online. And I'd try to track down the year in review. Eventually I just stopped reading his column. When he came out with a blog, I found I didn't have a great desire to read it regularly. Instead of funny articles by Dave, it seemed to just be links to items that amused Dave.

Along came the Olympics and my friend asked me if I was reading Dave's articles. That's when I discovered I there are regular Dave articles linked to from the sidebar of Dave's blog. And the Bejing ones are very funny. The only annoying part is that Dave has pictures of himself at various tourist sites. And he apparently lets his mom cut his hair with a bowl on his head. So while I'm laughing at what he writes, I'm also imploring him to join the 21st century and get a big boy haircut.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

What's Nu?

Here's a Survey of American Jewish Language via verbatim. It is intended to determine your familiarity with Yiddish and Hebrew words and won't take you long to complete.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Brainiac

I've been havng fun over here exercising my brain. My free trial is almost over and even though I am enjoying it, I don't think I'm enjoying it THIS much. But I'll keep playing through my trial. I like the birdwatching game; it seemed too simple at first but it gets harder. I also like the monster game which appeared kind of childish at first but is challenging in the extreme game. I like the number 'raindrop' game and want to try it with a keyboard that has a traditional keypad because I think I'll rock.

Give it a try, let me know what you think.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

U.S.A.

U.S.A! U.S.A! U.S.A!

That's all I have to say today.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Just A Thought

Wouldn't it be great if the President of the United States was the biggest celebrity in the world?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

We Need Some Stinking Badges

Look over there. Yes, over there. To your left. My right. I added that badge at the request of my pretty cool niece. Or maybe that should be, my pretty, cool neice. What a difference a comma makes. Just ask Bill. Either way, my neice supports To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA) and asked me to put the SocialVibe badge on my site.

The social vibe site is interesting. A social network to support a variety of causes and focused on a young crowd; I know, I'm old - I just joined in the event it might get more $$ for my neice's cause. I believe my neice gets points based on visit to my site. I haven't notice the $$ going up so you guys need to visit me more often.

At any rate, I think my neice is absolutely wonderful and I'm so happy she has a strong social conscience. And I wear my badge proudly.

Monday, August 4, 2008

For The Birds

Today Deb was alerted by her cat Jasper to an emergency just outside her door. A baby bird had fallen out of its nest. Deb had noticed that the mom bird had been absent the previous day but now one of the babies was on the ground. Deb couldn't put him in the nest (it was too high up) so she tried to move him off the sidewalk. She went in to find something to pick him up with but he disappeared by the time she got back. She had to go to school and she called me worried about the poor little guy. I told her there wasn't much she could do if mom was gone and the bird couldn't fly yet.

She persisted and called a local wildlife organization to see if they would go rescue the babies.

They said they couldn't do that but she could bring the bird to them if it was still living. When she got home she found the little bird in the bushes; by then he'd been there 5 hours. She got him out and tried to get the nest as well but couldn't reach it. There didn't seem to be any activity in the nest and so most likely the babies were just too young to survive without mom. Or some predators got them.

Deb got back in her car and drove the dying bird to the wildlife group; a round trip of about 20 miles. They put him in an incubator and will try to save him but don't offer much hope. I think it was pretty sweet of Deb to try and rescue the little bird. It reminded me a lot of her gramma who used to bring home baby birds found on the tarmack at the LAX. Mom worked there for many years and every so often she would bring home some lost baby bird and feed it from an eye dropper. The birds always died but Mom was always hopeful and would bring home every one found.

Two kind, gentle women in my life.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Organization

When I was young and played with Barbie dolls, I would periodically organize all of Barbie's clothes. I'd hang dresses up in my Barbie closet, put socks and underwear in the Barbie drawers and line all the little Barbie high heels in a row in Barbie's Dream House

For a few weeks, I'd be very careful to put Barbie's things back whenever I played with her. Eventually I'd get lazy and just shove the clothes back in the Barbie case and the items would get all intermingled. A few weeks or months later, I'd get the bug to organize again and spend an hour making everything neat.

That pretty much describes me today. It doesn't matter if it is my clothes, my work papers or my email. I go through a clean up phase and then keep everything neat for a few days or even weeks. Eventually I get lazy and papers pile up, email clogs my inbox and shoes litter the closet floor.

This applies to my purse as well. I shove money in the wallet, drop coins in the bottom of my purse, and stuff receipts in any convenient pocket. I end up digging for my keys, my cellphone and my sun glasses.

Then I get tired of the mess and decide to organize. That's what I did yesterday. I bought myself a new tote and wallet. I dumped everything out of my old purse and organized it all in my new purse and wallet. Coins in the coin purse, credit cards in the card slots, make up in a make up bag. I sorted receipts and threw out all I didn't need. I put a pen in the handy pen holder.

Now I'm organized again - for a week or two at least.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Salad Days

A coworker's wife made this chicken cranberry salad for us the other day and everyone loved it. Even though I don't eat much chicken, I chowed down on this. Today, I used tuna instead of chicken and it was just as good. I did cut back on the mayonnaise and I used Trader Joe's dried cranberries instead of craisins. It was excellent.

Arf Arf!

Love it!. Pretty much I just love the English Fail blog.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Cheap Cheap Cheap

This (via verbatim) does sound kind of fun but, even though a year's supply of chocolate is very tempting, I'm not going to enter because I am cheap. I have to pay .20 for every text on my company provided cell and so I won't spend the money to text my novel to them.

3rd Person Hell

Only those of you who watch Project Runway will understand. Susan is getting very, very tired of Suede

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

You're As Old As Your Brain

Take the test to see how old your brain is. My brain is around 23. Or maybe 28 depending on how much wine I've had. On one of my tries, I purposedly failed every section just to see if how old a brain could be. 120!

You'll be presented with a group of numbers. Memorize the positions of the numbers. The numbers will disappear and empty circles will remain. Attempt to click the circles in numerical order. Try it, it only takes a few minutes.

UPDATED: I changed my instructions based on John's comment so don't get confused and think he's really old.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Monday, July 28, 2008

Where's My Bail Out?

Congress is working on bailing out the mortgage companies and homeowners caught up in the foreclosure mess. I haven't really read enough to know whether I think this is a good idea or a bad idea. I do think the brokers who helped people commit fraud by exaggerating their income ought to be in jail and I think the people who lied about their income to get a loan shouldn't get any help at all.

But, what I want to know is, when do I get my bail out?

Okay, technically I don't need a bail out because I live within my means, pay my bills, have a good retirement account and have money in the bank. I didn't buy more house than I could afford, I didn't lie on my income documents, I didn't sign my loan papers without reading what my monthly payment would be. I've made those payments on time for 22 years. I've refinanced twice and cut my interest rate almost in half. When I first got my house, paying that monthly bill meant we didn't have a lot of furniture and we didn't eat out very often. Over time, my house payment took a smaller and smaller percentage of my take home pay. I've refinanced twice and cut my interest rate almost in half. After a few years, I could save more and I could treat myself to some nice things. Now my taxes will pay to bail out others who weren't quite so responsible. Like the woman I listened to on NPR explain that she is facing foreclosure because she took out a loan even though the papers she signed indicated she would owe $2000 a month. Somehow she overlooked the fact that her income is $26,000 per year. How could she not have known she'd end up defaulting on that loan? I and other taxpayers will help her out. That just doesn't sit right with me.

Sure, I'm not facing foreclosure and I'll own my home outright when I retire. And I'll be able to retire. So I guess I'm rewarded after all.

Best Neighbor Ever

Mr. Rogers

Friday, July 25, 2008

WTF America!

Right now I am mad at America. If you watch SYTYCD, beware, SPOILER coming.

I mean it, don't read if you don't want to know.

I can not believe hewhowillbenamedinthecomments got kicked off last night. What is wrong with you, America? Yes I know at this point they are all pretty good dancers and they are all nice boys you'd be happy to have over for dinner but, COME ON. Mark and Joshua are just not as good as Will and Twitch. And if I have to watch one more week of Joshua sweating like a rainforest, I don't know if I can take it. Yeah, yeah, I know he can't help it and I'm sure dancing is hard work, but still, EWWW!

Anyway, America, you blew it last night and you won't have hewhowillbenamedinthecomments to kick around. I know, I know, you thought he was so good he'd win by a landslide and so you voted for one of the other cute boys. Next time pay attention and vote for the best.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Old Homestead

This is where I lived from the time I was 13 until I went to college. You may have to maneuver the image some - our house was the little white one.


View Larger Map **

I came home from college the summer of my freshmen year but then I don't think I ever really lived at home again and my mom sold this house when I was junior in college. I don't feel attached to any particular childhood home since I lived in 6 different houses while growing up. I did like this neighborhood the best though, and though it looks narrow and tiny here, as I remember it, this was the nicest house we lived in.

Mostly I liked my neighborhood buddies. One girl my age next door and another one next to her. Another girl a couple years older lived up the block. She's the one who taught us to tease our hair and wanted to teach us to smoke. She got pregnant at the end of her senior year and was the first friend I knew with a child. Two cute boys lived on the corner. BFD lived in the better neighborhood and she would meet me half way when I was coming to visit her and we'd walk back to her house. I tried to walk there using google street but got confused at the intersection - really just got bored making the little person walk. Besides, once I was 16 I drove over there.

** not sure why the little map doesn't work but you can click the link to see the street view. UPDATE: It now seems to be working occassionally.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Save Yourself

Every time the price of gas rises, my local TV station checks out the stations around town and then announces which ones have the lowest prices. People race across town to get the best deal, lining up to save 5 or even 10 cents a gallon.

I have nothing against saving money but I don't think people really analyse how much they actually save.

Let's say your tank holds 15 gallons. Saving 10 cents a gallon means you saved $1.50. Let's pretend your car gets 25 miles to the gallon. If you drive 5 miles out of your way and then idle in line for 15 minutes, you probably use at least $1 in gas getting your deal. You'd be better off to get gas at a nearby station and skip your latte that day for some real savings.

And while we're talking about people saving gas, I have a request for hypermilers. The slow acceleration doesn't bother me but I would appreciate if it those of you who have decided that going 10 miles below the speed limit is the answer to your gas woes would GET. OUT. OF. MY. WAY. Drive in the slow lane, please, and I'll try not to steal any wind velocity as I pass you.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Please, Mr. Postman

Look and see, is that package really for me?

Two weeks ago I opened my mailbox to find a small package. I was on my way out to the store and I idly opened the package as I walked to the car. Surprise, surprise, there were 4 bottles of prescription medicine. A little belatedly, I looked at the address. The package did not have my name on it and I didn't recognize the name that was there. The house number was the same as mine but the street it belonged on is 1 block east of me. So, I hopped in the car and delivered the package to the correct house. The man who answered the door was happy to have his medicine.

Yesterday, I opened my mailbox and found another small package. This time I looked at the addressee before ripping the package open; I'm a quick learner. The address was mine but the name on the package was not mine. It wasn't a name I recognized as being one of my neighbors either. I couldn't put the package in the outgoing mail because that slot isn't big enough. I don't want the person to miss out on their mail so I guess I'll mark it return to sender and drop it at the post office so the sender can figure out the correct address.

Maybe next week the mail in my mailbox will really be for me!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Watz Up?

Thanks to my brother, I'm hooked on yet another reality show - America's Best Dance Crew. The dancing is incredible. But for the past couple weeks they've had a feature that is driving me nuts! As the crew is dancing, there are cut in shots of the team members commenting about the dance. Distracting to say the least. The music is muted and I can't watch the dancers and listen to the commentary at the same time. It. Must. Stop. Or. Else.

Other than that, I'm loving the show.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The True Story

My SIL arrived Thursday night a little after 8 PM. I brought her back to my house stopping only to buy ice because, for some reason, my brother's family can not live without it. My SIL almost canceled her trip when she learned that my new refrigerator's ice maker wasn't hooked up yet. After suffering 20 years of visiting me and using bagged ice, she was sure this trip would include fresh-made ice. She did however manage to deal with factory-made ice. We put the purchased ice in the ice maker and no one was the wiser. She filled a glass with ice from the door and then covered it with refrigerated bottled water. Hey, baby, you're in Vegas now!

After our ice adventure, we settled down and went to sleep. We needed to get some sleep for our wild Friday in Las Vegas. I got up the next morning and headed to work while my SIL snoozed. I did as much work as I could in four hours and headed home at lunch time. Soon my SIL and I were lunching at the cafe at Green Valley Ranch Station and then we headed to the penny slots. At the end of the day, we were down about $20 each. We sucked up our losses and stopped at Whole Foods to get some food for dinner. The evening was spent quietly at home watching the results from So You Think You Can Dance. Then it was off to bed.

The next morning found us getting coffee at Starbucks before a visit to Ethel M's to pick out chocolates. Some to eat immediately and some for the SIL to take back to Ohio with her. We stored the chocolate at home before heading off to a GREAT lunch at I Love Sushi. It was a belated birthday lunch for me. And then we did more gambling. Another $20 down the tubes. But we had fun. And we got free gifts, if by free you mean they were given to me after we finished losing our $20.

A stop at Trader Joe's resulted in some treats for the SIL to take back to Ohio and some dinner for us. We bought artichoke ravioli and portabello mushroom ravioli to have with salad. Before heading home, we stopped by Enzo's Pizza and bought 9 garlic knots because 6 wouldn't be enough and 12 would be too many. I will not tell who ate 3 on the way home. Enzo's garlic knots are the best when warm.

When we got home, I heated up some EVOO, tossed in a couple cloves of crushed garlic and let it saute but not burn. Then I turned off the heat and added a handful of chopped basil and a clump of grated lemon peel. The aroma was enticing. We tossed in the cooked ravioli and stirred. The garlic knots had been kept warm in the oven and the salads were dressed with vinaigrette. What a great meal that was!

Sunday was mostly spent hanging around the house while SIL packed up for the next chapter in her Las Vegas adventure. I dropped her off at the Riveria where she'll spend the next few days. I headed back home to wash clothes, do some work and get ready for another work week.

And so you see, my previous summary was pretty close to the truth. Well, except for the boy toys and the gin.

Back To The Grind

Which means of course I've made the Starbucks run for the day. Oh yes, and I'm back at work after a fun filled weekend with the SIL. I dropped her off to visit with another friend yesterday afternoon. Then I returned home to clear out the empty gin bottles and kick the last of the boy toys out so I could get some rest after two days of non-stop partying. Our weekend included gambling, hot oil and chocolate. We did get in a couple of knotty situations but it all ended well.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It's Only Words

I like words and not just because they come in handy when I wish to talk. I like how words can be used to communicate but I also like to see them twisted in ways that amuse me. I come by it naturally. The first time I remember laughing at being silly with words was when I was about 7 or 8 and we were driving in the car with my mom. She said, "What's that up the road, a head?" which I thought was the funniest thing I'd ever heard. It still makes me chuckle. When my brother and I were 7 and 9, respectively, our mom took us on our annual shopping trip for new summer flip flops. We didn't call them flip flops then, we call them them zorries or, more often, go aheads. We had fun picking our new footwear and were quite proud of them, so that night when our grandpa came to visit we rushed out to show him our fancy sandals. He looked at them and said "Yes, they are very nice, now why don't you go ahead to bed?" We were ROTFL. :-)

Reading the paper the other day, I paused when I read the headline, "Death Of Dolphin Under Investigation" and the first thing I wondered was why the dolphin was under investigation and whether the investigation caused his death. Seriously. And then I laughed at myself.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tick Talk

"United spokeswoman Robin Urbanski said between one and three ticks were discovered"
Um. Would that be two?
Tick talk.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Hands Free

Remember if you live in California, it is against the law to talk on your cell phone while driving. Unless of course, you are hands free.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Duck's Bed

I often have occasion to miss Jenny's Mondegreens but I haven't contributed lately and so I understand how it's been allowed to go fallow. I posted there about the Duck's Bed in 2004. I had another radio mondegreen today on the way to work. The announcer said we'd be hearing the story of the anniversary of "a tax that killed several people" which made me wonder how taxing people could kill. As the story continued, I quickly realized it was about the anniversary of "attacks that killed" and that made more sense. Not that attacking and killing every really makes sense.

P.S. In my 2004 entry I pondered whether my entry was a real mondegreen and today I can't figure out why I ever thought it wasn't. It was classic mondegreen even if not a lyric because I don't agree a mondegreen has to be in a song.