Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Killing time

Well, I have packed for at least a month's stay. It is very different to pack for a long time...I will be going to an old farmhouse which is somewhat isolated from the community. Therefore I have packed books, magazines, needlework, both of my cameras.

I am sure that I will have plenty to do at first, but when things start to fall into a routine, the time will move very slowly and painfully. Cooking will be a challenge as there is very little to work with and the appliances are on their last legs. At least the washer and dryer are new.

Tonight, we have ordered pizza and are waiting tonight for my daughter and her husband and my son to come by for a little Christmas. We will all be going different directions in the coming days and while we will all be together at my parents over the holidays that time will be more somber. Traffic is horrible, so they are delayed in getting here.

I am trying to keep my mind off of what lies ahead. I have no idea how long my mother has. My sister thinks it is about 8 weeks, but the doctors are saying maybe 6 months. It is so hard to plan what to do when you have no control over any of the plans. I leave tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. so will have to be at the airport at 6:30. I have two large suitcases (I usually travel very light), so hope I can check in at the curb and just take my backpack and purse on in.

Weather here is C-O-L-D! It will probably be the same in Colorado.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Pushing the Pause Button

Well, is does appear that I will be heading out to help set up the hospice for my mom on Thursday. They do not have a computer at the house or internet access, so looks like this little site will be on hold for a month maybe. If I get near a library I will blog or at my sister's house, but being its the holidays and being I am there for another reason, I am not planning on it.

So "toodles" to the few readers who may stop by ---until a later date.

Sunday, December 12, 2004

Aren't we special?

Yes, I know, I got in at midnight last night and I got up at 6:00 this morning. Creature of habit that I am, I still wake up around 5:00 AM. I will probably crash this afternoon. But just had to add this new blog.

Taking advantage of the early morning quiet, I am getting rid of all the catalogs that make it to my mailbox. I have this delicious looking Godiva catalog...and was looking through the pretty pictures when I come across their insert:

"Complimentary Sampling and In-Store Theatre Events at Your Godiva boutique." The 'events' listed include "Peanut Butter-Dessert Cups" on 11/17 and the "Candy Cane Bark" on 12/12. Who writes this stuff?


Went to her concert last night. Pretty much sold out. The old broad can still bring them in. Her opening act was "The Village People' which I had thought were all gone or dead or something. Honestly. They were buff and energized and had the kind of music the audience could appreciate.

My son was kidding me about seeing all the transvestites and actually I thought that would be fun if there were some. But this audience was all over the place in age, and while there were gay guys, no transvestites that I could see. There were many old folks from suburbia--which is probably a little bit of a disappointment to her, since it shows her the reality of her age and how normal people her age really look.

Anyway, the only tickets I could get were up and away. I decided that I am too old to be sitting so far from the main stage. My eyesight just isn't good enough and of course, my memory is going so I forgot to bring binocs.

She didn't sing some of my favorites from the older days... she is probably sick of them, but she still has great pipes and a good bod and wonderful costumes. Her guitar player was fantastic, so all in all a good visit back in time for me.

Friday, December 10, 2004

Weather or Not

I have doctor's appointments today, so am not going into work. They are having one of the Christmas parties today at the office. I am sort of sorry to miss it, because it usually is fun, we all get along, and they sometimes have live music! No booze, but good food.

Weather has been close and clammy all week. If I were a romantic I would say that it is full of misty lace and cozy fog. If I were bipolar I would be in a deep funk as the sun has not shone for days. If I was an optimist, I would be happy because the temperature has been in the 50's and 60's which is pretty unusual for December in this area. But I am practical and realize that it is too wet to wear my favorite suede boots.

My husband, who hates the holidays almost as much as he hates shopping, said I should pick up something (anything...any cost) for my stocking today as he hasn't a clue what to get me. Boy I do know how to pick em.

Thursday, December 09, 2004


As I have mentioned in past blogs I had a younger sister who passed away almost three years ago from cancer. She left behind a husband and two children. The kids are now teenagers. They live on the other side of the continent from me and I have been able to visit almost yearly due to business trips. But due to my budget demise, I can no longer travel out that way.

They do get back into Colorado to visit the rest of the family once maybe twice a year, usually over the holidays.

When we recently went to visit them in California my husband realized that a close cousin of his actually lived just up the road from them. So we ALL went out to dinner together one night. We thought it would be good to get them together since my sister had passed recently. My brother-in-law while well known in his town is pretty much a quiet, stay at-home guy. He never emails us or calls.

Well, today I just got the Christmas card from my husband's cousins with following quote buried in the rest of the news (D is my brother-in-law):

"Saw D and his lady friend . I know her from dance class... smalltown. They seem to be quite an item."

What a surprise! I knew that some day he would get involved with someone else. He has quite a bit of money, so is a good 'catch.' I have mixed feelings about this and wonder how the kids feel, but I also am curious as hell about her...! I wonder if the rest of the family knows.... Interesting the gossip one gets in a Christmas card.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

The old girl

Well, it appears that the old girl is going out on all pistons. Pretty much as she lived her life. She has a mass on her liver that is rapidly growing, she has kidneys that are failing and she is anemic so they think she is bleeding somewhere internally, although interminable tests cannot find where! What will eventually kill her and when, doctors don't know and if there is a God he is not talking.

I talked to my mom yesterday afternoon after they had given her two pints of blood. She was so chipper, talking so fast, and really upbeat. She can be a real curmudgeon so this was a blessing. My brothers and sisters far away are arranging the details of hospice care in one of their homes. I asked how I could help (other than fly out which I will do in the coming weeks) and they wanted me to look into the funeral arrangements. They are lost when it comes to this. I took the bull by the horns and did this for my sisters untimely death in California a number of years ago. It helped keep me busy and they always saw me as the bossy one ( come on, I'm not that bad) and so they were glad that I took over.

I will do so again this time. Get it in order and then run it by my Dad and everyone for the final say so.

I am sad but not depressed. My mother and I are close--but we have had our up days and our down days. I am not a favorite child. Unfortunately, she lost the favorite child to cancer. In addition, since I live so far from them, the space has brought about a different relationship than that which she has with my two other brothers and sisters. It is OK. Ten years ago there would have been lots of second thoughts and anger and guilt. But no more. As Buddha says, " What we think, we become."

Each time we meet with death and help someone we love through that passage, I know that we grow in wisdom. I just hope that I can be wise instead of stupid in this trial.

Monday, December 06, 2004

I have this little cheat

I can't get my thoughts together for blogging right now. My husband is at a late seminar and he has scheduled a medical X-ray for after the seminar late this evening...always the one to try to squeeze 13 activities into a crate for a dozen. When I turned on my cell phone to call him I found a message waiting for me that had come in a few hours earlier.

It was from my youngest sister. She has told me that the mass on my mother's liver is indeed growing fast and they are going to put her in hospice. They put her in the hospital this weekend. The medical staff never explored this mass due to her age --87--and her weakening kidneys and told us to hope for the best--that was back in September.

Now it appears that we are in the goodbye stage of this.

My cheat is this...I just can't call my sister back right now. I am waiting for my husband to call to pick him up so he doesn't miss his appointment. When he calls, my cheat is gone. I have to get on the stick and help Sis. I have to grow up.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

Pre Season Short Shot Blog

I have found that I really enjoy the blogging whether anyone reads it or not. It has become a little bit of a creative escape for me. Helps give me perspective on my life, which I tend to view with a more critical eye until I go back and read my archives.

Anyway, today in A.M. I will start to decorate this rental house somewhat (going to get out of the PJs first) and then meet my daughter for setting up her baby registry and then driving back home and more decorating and then driving back to the same place to meet up with friends for an early dinner.

I still have to blog about the WPI interns reception last week...inspiring and also blog an update on L. at work. Also have been busy having fun with the Espresso Stories site. Really rewarding for us non-writers who like to write. Hope to blog in-depth tonight!

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

"The times they are a changin."

I was watching National Public Television yesterday and taking a tour of the Netherlands with Rick Steves. His shows are always interesting as he combines food, culture, history, and art with some of the practical aspects of travel. I used his book when we traveled through Italy a few years ago and found it saved some time and some money.

Anyway, after the show he was part of the money raising segment that NPTV does throughout the year to stay alive. During his comments he went off message several times and seemed to almost go into a subtle politcal rant. At one time he said that television stations were asking for certain information before they would broadcast his travel show. The questions were about what was to be shown from the country...i.e. would there be artwork or sculptures that showed private parts of the human body? If so, they would then decline showing the program. He gave a gentle but determined smile and looked deeply into the camera and said something to the effect that the Europeans have long gotten over this shame of the human body and that this art was so important for all to see, etc. etc.

I just sat in my chair trying to figure out what century I had dropped into? Parents guard your children well or the girls will be in Chadors and the boys will never know what a female face looks like much less where babies come from.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Notes on the wedding.

Since middle-angel asked, I will tell a little about the precious wedding ceremony. It took place in a small Lutheran church in Philadelphia. Very simple ceremony with men in tuxedos and bridesmaids in deep carmine dresses with lovely beading across the front in a V-shape. Bride was tall, blonde and had the next door look that nice girls have. She had the loveliest veil with small crystal beads sewn randomly and sparsely across the netting. She twinkled like starlight with each movement. They had a violinist, organist and a soloist. It was very nice.

Reception was in the Sheet Metal workers building at Penns Landing Caterers. This is a very dynamic building built by various sheetmetal workers groups. It has metal ceilings and walls and yet is very elegant (with candlelight reflecting off all the metal) and has a huge stage where the band played most of the night. (One of the singers in the band just happened to be my son-in-law's brother as well!) So my husband and I danced as best we might finding polka, salsa, mambo and foxtrot beats in many of the more modern tunes that suited the crowd of young people. We also attempted club dancing which must have given the younger crowd a good laugh. But we are no longer shy at our age, knowing that life goes on and doesn't wait for you to feel competent at anything.

Joined my daughter and her husband and his parents for Sunday Brunch at Creperie Beau Monde which I highly recommend if you are ever in the Philadelphia area. The crepes are made with buckwheat flour and yet are so light and amazing. There are dozens of fillings both savory and sweet, and the price is not high. The decor is sage green with gold leaf patterned wall paper. They even had a nice fire going for us on the rainy fall morning.

The wedding

There is a tradition at many American (and probably Western European) weddings where a small coin is placed beneath the cup or plate at each of the reception tables. If you get the coin, you get to take home the flower centerpiece. My son-in-law got the coin and since my daughter was a matron of honor and had a lovely nosegay as well as a nice floral bouquet for being part of the wedding party (son-in-law was also a groomsman) they let us take home this floral arrangement. So lovely!! Don't you think?

Wedding flowers

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Happy Thanksgiving Day

Unusually easy day for me today. Only my son and his friend are joining us. Daughter and her husband are eating at the In-laws. We will join them on Saturday for a wedding and brunch on Sunday with the in-laws in Philadelphia.

So since only the four of us (can't remember when we have been this small over the holidays) I have not tried to kill myself with the cooking. We are having a cranberry stuffed turkey breast, separate sage stuffing,pear and fennel salad with spring greens and blue cheese, buttered sweet potatoes with the required marshmallow topping, herbed green beans with ham, creamed peas and pearl onions, and the traditional pumpkin pie with whipped cream (back-up is an apple walnut cake with vanilla ice cream.) (I forgot to get the rolls--oh well.)

Going to put out some pre-dinner snacks now.

I hope that everyone feels peace today, whether they are with relatives they like or don't like, friends or just on their own.

A small T-Day table but with large thankfulness.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

The Lost weekend

Daughter and I spent the early Saturday afternoon shopping for maternity clothes (which are awfully choking expensive if you care about cut) and a few holiday gifts. She still has a darling figure with just a little tummy showing at 4.5 months along. Then we ate at a nice Vietnamese restaurant called Green Papaya before heading for the movie.

“What the Bleep…” was certainly different than many documentaries. The movie tries to tie together quantum physics theory with man’s concept of God…among other things. That alone stirs controversy. While it presents some interesting and beautiful ideas it is done with elementary school graphics and junior high school explanations of science. The dumbing down for the movie audience leaves one with lots of basic questions about what the movie hoped to accomplish. It is worth seeing if you have a philosophical bent and it has motivated me to do some research in some of the areas they were discussing.

After we got out of the movie we headed to Borders’ Books for some browsing and then went back to my house and had a little slumber party. The baby was being very active so I got to feel it kicking and stretching. What wonderful memories it brought back! Later we watched “Finding Nemo” on cable which I had never seen. It is so beautiful and really somewhat scientifically accurate regarding ornamental fish. I’d like to get the CD. <>

On Sunday we slept in and then, like the good mother that I am, I made her a bacon and pancake breakfast. We headed downtown and did some window shopping while waiting for my husband to call. He got in around 1:00. My daughter had mentioned that she had had boxes of put-together furniture in her dining room for over a month. They needed to go upstairs to her baby room/guest room and her husband hadn’t been able to get a buddy to help move the heavy stuff. (This is no surprise as he rarely does any physical labor around the house…yard work is also tough on him. He is able to golf and go to football games on the weekends though. I am not totally critical here. He does work very hard at his job and earns a nice fat salary, but he tends then to want weekends totally free for fun as a result. He was currently at a football game and so wouldn’t be back until late that evening.) I asked my hubby if he was too tired to do some furniture moving and he was more than amenable if it was something for his little girl. So we spent the afternoon putting together a wooden bed, and unpacking several other boxes of furniture, and moving out the entire dining room so we could lay out her new rug. Whew! Got that done and then has some salsa and chips while we watched the Ravens win over Dallas. We had lived in Texas years ago, so we are Cowboys fans and the loss was a little bit of a downer. After that she had Tivo’d “Lost” which I had missed last week and so I got to see that and am now caught up for this coming week. “Lost” is one of those TV series that you really can’t miss or you are somewhat clueless for the following episode.

Then about 6:30 she headed out for a recruiting dinner for her company and her husband showed up and the three of us went out to a local Italian restaurant for a nice catch-up dinner. We talked some politics, some baby and some about his parents, whom he had seen over the weekend. His last grandmother is having lots of health problems and his parents are going through that time of life we all go through, wondering what to do with Mom or Dad in order to make their remaining life as easy but as safe as possible. We gave him our advice which he actually seemed to want to hear. What a long and busy weekend.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

View from my computer room.

That old nature vs. nurture question.

This Web Article tells me that maybe I was born a liberal?

What the bleep do we know?

I am meeting my daughter at 2:00 this afternoon for some shopping and then going to a movie. We are going to see What the Bleep do We know. I had actually purchased three tickets to this movie three weeks ago and then my husband got a kidney stone and we spent that night in the emergency room of the hospital. I bought two tickets online yesterday and hopefully with him still in Taiwan, there will be no emergencies. The movie has managed to stay in theatres just by word of mouth, so should be at least interesting. Especially this time of the year.

Shopping for the holidays has gotten much easier since I no longer shop for my brothers and sisters and their kids are mostly grown and away. My celebration of Christmas has become more and more a habit. While I still feel there is a God somewhere out there, I feel less and less it has to do with these mythological celebrations that mankind has invented on this planet. Why would God be a man? Why would he manifest himself as a man? What not appear as the very weakest among us, such as a crippled child or an old woman? (I mean in the biblical story.) Why would he ever take sides in a war where his 'creations' destroy each other. If God is perfect, then there is no place for killing or hatred.

While I do not begrudge anyone in their beliefs...after all whatever gets us through the day...I just look deep into my heart and soul and cannot lie to myself. I have no fear of Satan. If such an evil power exists, it has no control over me. I have no fear of death...just fear of pain. I see myself as a biological animal on this planet. If my spiritual component exists beyond...great. I do not fear a punishment for my honesty with myself. I am willing to use all the tools available to me and do not refuse anyone's prayers.

But, I know, with little exception, I am responsible for myself and what happens to me. My husband also feels this way. My grandchild that is due in April will be raised as a Catholic...probably the farthest road in life from mine. I hope that our spiritual paths will cross often, though.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

This is Reale

L. stopped by my cubicle and told me every time she saw her boss his face was red and he was angry. She was avoiding him as she did her work.

She also told me that she was afraid he would try something since he knew where she lived. I told her that he must be afraid to get caught and wouldn't dare.

"No, Mis T..., this is reale..Hewould not do this himself, he could hire some one to hurt me."

Just in case I didn't get it... I live in middle-class white America where if someone wants to f.... you sideways you hire a bigger dick called a lawyer! Not always an option in that other America.

The Next Installment

L. was here today at work. It seems that she and her union boss and her boss-boss were meeting on the third floor of the building. She was there for quite a while. She is pretty distraught, but she is now temporarily back at work.

I got more of the story. It appeared she had gone down to the garage to talk to her husband as he was flying out to El Salvador since his mother had a heart attack and passed on. He was trying to coordinate stuff. When the boss saw her, he waited until her husband left, and then approached her about not being on the job and that he would have to fire her. She responded that he could take 15 minutes off her salary as she had an emergency. His response was that he would ignore everything if she just joined him in his car! .. which of course, she refused.

She has no witnesses to all of this. Although she has been telling me for quite a while that this boss has been harassing her. I guess she is talking to a lawyer--maybe one provided by her union--but she needs a letter from someone else that states this guy is harassing her. There were no witnesses. What can she do? While he may have harassed other women (although there are few) on the job, they are not going to risk their minimum wage jobs by coming forward, I am sure.

This is the real world that I don't have to face each day.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

The saga continues

Sent out an email to all of my colleagues at work today and 90% either wanted to sign a letter of recommendation or write their own for L. They are also collecting some money. Everyone was so shocked that she got fired...but it appears since she had the day shift, someone higher up had a relative that needed the day shift. I am watching the quality of cleaning VERY closely.

Spent my lunch hour surfing the Internet for cleaning jobs and cleaning companies that might have some benefits. I was supposed to give her the signed letters and info today, but she had to leave my house to pick up her son at school before I got home.

I will meet with her on Saturday. Right now her only employment is cleaning my house and the apartment of another person. I hope she finds some type of work with the holidays so close and the job market so poor, I have misgivings.

Monday, November 15, 2004

I have this friend....

I took a long weekend holiday this last week by taking Friday off after the Veterans Day holiday. So today was my first day back at work in a while.

We have this lovely gal from El Salvador who cleans the restrooms and all the offices on our floor. We got to be good friends as I help her with learning English (and she tried to help me with my Spanish) during the times she comes by my cubicle. She also became friends with many of the other people on the floor. After a few months she asked if I knew anyone who needed their house cleaned. I do! Since I have moved into this rental unit I am not nearly so motivated to keep it clean and my 25 year old son moving in pretty much put out any residue of anal retentive cleaning I had left. (I have yet to see the carpet in his room.) So, she has been cleaning my house on a regular basis for a number of months.

It is great for me and I think good for her.

Well, today, when she didn't come by, I asked our Secretary what was up with L. The Secretary then told me that she had been fired on Wednesday last! L. has had a lot of problems with the management of this cleaning firm over the months. The manager has been sexually insulting to her, they use her as a slave on holidays to clean the company owners huge house with no extra pay, etc. Our staff have gone to bat for her, making it clear that we felt she was excellent in her work. But now that my boss is out with surgery, they have gone in for the kill behind our back. I am just very, very sick about this. Her husband works construction as a temp and has no health insurance. Her 5-year-old son is hearing impaired and needs good health care and good educational support. She has a 16 year old daughter and mother back in El Salvador that she sends money to....This is just a nightmare.

I have to find her phone number (somewhere in my files) and call her. There must be something I can do to help....ugh.

I hate it when someone who is hard working, honest, and reliable as she is, gets this treatment. There are so many assholes out there who get away by doing no work. The secretary thinks they have probably replaced her with a relative that needed a job. I am sick, sick, sick about this.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Old Friends

I am sitting here today waiting for an old friend to join me for breakfast with her husband. She and hubby have been touring the U.S. from Colorado. They came out to N.C. to visit their daughter and son-in-law who are in school (at least the daughter is working on a Master's Degree in graphic arts.) They are on their way up the East Coast to tour some more of the U.S. before heading back home. Both are retired although they run a small art studio in Colorado.

I haven't seen this gal in about 10 years. We shared an apartment in Colorado Springs when I was in my first year of teaching right out of college. We taught at different schools, but this was our first real time on our own in a city far away from parents and making real money. We met another friend from somewhere in the South (a beautiful blonde with tremendous poise and charm as only Southern ladies have) and all three of us took snow skiing lessons together. We hung out together on Fridays at the local Mexican restaurant and bar and we had fun on the weekends. We took off one spring on a five day camping trip...just two girls. It was great.

Such fun days, and as I look back I see that I was so very young and naive. I was dating a smartass cadet from the Airforce Academy (actually told me how to dress when I met him at the Academy). He was a Senior and therefore could have a Mustang car which he really thought made him so hot. Too bad that I could never appreciate that type of thing! Anyway, after we drifted apart he dated and married my friends sister. They are still together, I think. I'll have to ask when she gets here.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

The Other Side of the Looking Glass

I spend too much of my time worrying about my hair color. It is graying, but not in the striking Heloise or Cruella DeVil way. More in the way of dirty herringbone. So I dye it. I dye it myself until I am sick of the work and then I make an appointment to get a professional dye job.

I have been without a regular hairdresser since my favorite gal from Iran retired over two years ago. Therefore, I go from place to place looking for a home. In desperation yesterday, I went back to the high end salon my daughter chose for her wedding a few years back.

This is really high end--customers in tight jeans including those in their 60's---everyone with botox smiles., little four-year-olds dressed like Brittany Spears, etc. It is also expensive. I always feel like Cinderella's step sister in these places. I can barely afford them, and I feel like such a hypocrite when surrounded by all these dames that clearly relish in all this attention. I also feel like a hypocrite, because I know it should all be about getting old gracefully.

I decided to get the dye and highlight and cut. Came to over $200.00. I am so NOT worth that much for such a temporary fix in this aging process. But, I also hate not looking my best. Took three women and three hours and I do look much better. At least this will get me through an upcoming wedding and the holidays.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Here is a appears to be a white feathery fungus...yuck.

This swan-like gourd was purchased for a fall centerpiece on my breakfast table. He/she has started growing feathers!

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Small stuff

Slept in (8:00 is late for me since I usually get up a 5:00) on a late Saturday morning . Hubby is on travel in Japan and my son who lives with us and works the night shift got in late and is still sleeping.

What luxury to do what I want when I want! I did step aerobics for about 25 minutes and then some stretching. I should have done 30 minutes more but the spirit was not with me. Then I filled the tub with hot water and took a long luxurious bath with salts and creams and perfumes etc. Oooooo. Never thought when I was the mother of two toddlers that I would ever see these days again.

I have to drop off a gift of Godiva chocolates for my boss today. She is recuperating from cancer surgery and the prognosis looks very good, but she will not be back at work for weeks.

Noticed something funny as I was drying off in the bathroom. My husband left a sticky note on his mirror to run an errand when he returns. Good idea the note, but he started with his name "J.,...remember to" Why would you put your name on a note to yourself? He is one strange guy!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Just one day please, and make it frozen.

I was posting to another blog and trying to remember an anecdote from Andrew Tobias. I couldn't remember if I spelled his name correctly and decided to Google him and found his home page. Of course as we all do, I got distracted and started reading his archive.

He was talking about something called "AndyDay" as described below:

"But what I really would like is simply to have an eighth day in every week when you all were frozen. No newspapers, no magazines, no e-mail or junk mail or mail mail or phone calls—just a chance to catch up."

Gee one whole day when everyone was frozen except me. What would I do? What would I do? I don't think catching up would be on my agenda. OK, I am going to wipe this smile off my face and go make a cup of tea.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Isn't that special?

We were ever so polite to each other at work today. The winners and losers seemed to carry this 'best manners' behavior. Everyone was smiling (the Democrats had a vanilla smile and the Republicans had a slightly guilty smile as if they were sorry they had gently rear-ended you at the stop sign.) Maybe this bodes well for our country.

"Excuse me, but did you get my email rush, just asking." "Hey, can I help with that seminar on Friday? I have some free time" "Has anybody heard how L. survived her medical procedure?" "Is that screen saver your granddaughter? How cute!" All the same small talk, yet it seemed so scripted.

Well, he does get the chance now to clean up this mess. I keep getting this weird feeling he hoped that he would lose...I don't think he wants four more years. Really, I don't. Of course that feeling doesn't extend to the 'folks' who actually run this country.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Your privilege and your responsibility

The US of A is the greatest place on this earth. Please vote. Please offer someone a ride so they can vote.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Material girl

Over the past year I have become more and more aware of "U-Store" units. They are popping up everywhere--within 2 to 3 miles of each other. Is this a reflection of all those divorced people who don't want to give up their stuff when they lose their homes? Is this due to those homeless folks who still can afford a rental unit for the stuff that reflects their life? I know that some of this storage is for people with hobbies or equipment for their jobs. Maybe this is a reflection of how many young men and women are now overseas in the "war" and storing stuff till they return. I think most likely it reflects the fact that we have too too too much stuff in our lives and our lives are disrupted too often. My brother married a few years ago (for the first time in his 50's), and of course, he had a ton of stuff from his home and melded with her home they are now storing a home's worth of furniture. The problem is that the furniture is depreciating while the cost of storing it is not.

When we sold our house and moved into this rental, we used a u-store for a few months until we sold, gave away or threw away a lot of stuff. Then we cleaned out the rental garage and stored what didn't need climate control in the garage and then put the rest of the stuff in boxes in the basement. We are now moving into year two of our rental house and haven't even opened these boxes once.

I read a book called "Simplify Your Life" by Elaine St. James. It is one of those Hallmark type books that you read in the bathroom. One of the author's suggestions to begin uncluttering your life is to pack some items in a box that you haven't used in a long while. Label the box with the date. After a year, if you haven't been looking for anything or used anything in the box, throw it away! Don't open it, just toss it. It makes a lot of sense to me. (Actually why not auction it off?) The u-store manager told me that is what they do when people fall behind on their rent of the storage unit. He opens the door, lets people look at what is inside, andt hen takes bids.

When I move to this new house (if we can ever find a design we can afford) I hope to try to live more Zen. Open spaces, useful activities, and less catalog purchasing. Of course today it is more Internet purchasing, since you can buy ANYTHING you want over the net.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

I'm back...yawn...

Got in at 6:30 this morning on the red eye. Boarded last night at 11:00 PM and since the flight was a little over 4 hours, I was a zombie at the airport trying to find my car. Sun wasn't up yet here on the East coast. I had a late dinner on the waterfront last night with colleagues and probably drank a little too much wine.

Weather in Seattle was very similar to here actually. Nice and sunny there with a little rain, but the nights were much colder there. It was below 40 in the morning and we were in the 50's here before the sun showed its head.

About 30 people attended the meeting, all with professional and good things to say about the whole program. I would love to see those who are prejudiced against government bureaucrats attend just one of these meetings to see how professional and intelligent government workers actually are! These people are passionate about their research and their programs, but they are also realistic and many are quite inventive in stretching budgets. But, realism also takes us to the place where we fully understand this program is going to end with a whimper if we have to face another year of cuts. I don't want to get into too much detail...but I do feel American citizens will regret not funding this type of program in the future---as they will find with all the cuts in sciences we are getting. Research and education money creates a citizenry that can think outside the box when it comes to conflict. (Sort of the opposite side of the brain from the Ann Coulter baseball bat thinking.)

Toured the Pike Market on the waterfront and saw the space needle. It was my first time there. The flower stalls were wonderful and cheap and the 'tossing of the fish' was fun and very New York I thought. Saw the first Starbucks--but it only had one small sign to let you know. Bought a glass turtle to add to my collection and went in to some of the more 'interesting' stores with a friend who is a little edgier than I am.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Off to Seattle

I am catching a 7:30 AM flight to Seattle tomorrow. I have grown tired of business travel and am glad that I do it only a few times a year these days. This meeting is to introduce new people to my program and to justify my existence.

Our program funding is being cut and I may be doing something different in a year or so. I am lucky in that I have a federal it doesn't involve loss of income...just loss of pride.

I get so tired of energizing an audience!

Saturday, October 23, 2004

"A place to pray and meditate and to experience peace of mind as well as of body."

Took this picture in front of El Santuario de Chimayo, the Lourdes of America which is north of Sante Fe NM. Never found any woodcarved popsicles inside... I did buy a rusted tin cross which was made from the roof of the older chapel. Never one to short change my chances in this cosmic world.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Back home

Wedding was low key and intimate. Bride and groom exchanged heartfelt personal vows. Everyone cried...made some of the old timers remember why they got married!

New Mexico is a hotbed of political activity due to its support for both Presidential candidates. I hestitated watching any television because the political ads were so scathing and irritating--on both sides. Everyone I talked to in N.M. was sick of the whole thing.

Had breakfast at a local Starbucks and John Kerry's sister Peggy Kerry was next to us. Chatted with her for a brief time. She looked upbeat but also tired. She was on crutches due to a fall and damaged knee the week before.

Took a tour of a Native American village and our guide said that Hillary Clinton had been there just a few days before and ended up donating $75,000 to their cultural center building. These politicos are EVERYWHERE. I am guessing that we are NOT going to know who won on November 3rd.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Going to a Wedding

We are flying out at 6:00 this evening and heading West to attend my (step) nephew's wedding. We have never met him, although we have met his younger brother and we were lucky enough to meet up with his lovely bride-to-be in Italy a few years ago. We spent a few days touring with her. She is one of those generous spirits with a community service drive. This spirit shows in her smile.

I will get to see all my brothers and sisters again, but it will be somewhat rushed as they are leaving the day after the wedding. Last time it was rushed because they were remodeling the bathroom to my parents' house. I wonder when our lives will ever slow down to just visit! They all live within 30-40 minutes of each other so get together for holidays, long weekends, etc. I am still the black sheep living so far away. I am also the oldest so I have that "leader" image to live down. I mean when some are in diapers and you are 13, of course you are going to be telling them what to do! (Do I sound wistful?) Actually, I think they were relieved when I took over at my sister funeral.

I get back for just a few days at work on Wednesday and then the following Monday I have a business trip to Seattle. I really find myself wanting to just be a homebody more and more these days. Looking forward to part-time work in a year or so as I wind down to retirement. There is a whole creative side to my life that I have had to put on the shelf. I feel the 'me' time is coming soon.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Happy scary Halloween! I have always enjoyed Halloween, making the costumes, scaring the kids and eating all the candy they don't eat. I haven't even started to decorate the house and I am gone all weekend at a wedding. Maybe next week. I still need to buy candy! The picture above was a lovely old barn I took on a hike on Sunday. I tweaked with the software and it looks spooky, no?

Friday, October 08, 2004

Do I still live in America?

My husband was listening to NPR this morning as we are getting a late start on our day. He said there was a news report about President Bush's crew screening high school students (at their own school!) who came to hear him talk. Those who had Kerry buttons, etc. were turned away...some in tears. I haven't been able to find this on the NPR site...but will keep looking.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

Halloween Art/Decoration/whateva!!

My co-evolved Halloween decoration...or is this a joint work of art?


I just read the "My world and Welcome to It" blog (the javascript doesn't seem to be working so it can be found at:

Anyway, one of the blogs was about the surprising suicide of someone in the community and then a response from someone else outside the blog about that death as it related to their very personal experience. This 'outside' person was surfing looking for a recipe!

This all just got me thinking about co-evolution of man and things. I have just finished reading Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan about the co-evolution of man and plants. The author takes apples, tulips, marijuana and potatoes and makes some very interesting conclusions based on how a plant might look at us and how we evolved.

This becomes even more interesting when I think about man and the co-evolution with the Internet. From the above observation on the blog it seems to contradict the image of everyone sitting at home lurking and instead brings strangers with common views, experiences, etc together. But is this in a very superficial way? Or are there more intimate connections going on and a sharing of ideas more in depth than we can imagine...or hope for? And does this mean a paradigm shift in our co-evolution?

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Such a lovely time of the year!

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

You get what you pay for?

Our secretary is out recovering from surgery, and prior to her departure, her poor health left us with a backlog of filing and clerical work. We have contracted through a temp agency for someone at a low clerical salary. The contract is for three weeks and the work consists primarily of filing and sorting a years’ back-log of materials. While it is not an easy initial job, once the process is understood, it is a straight-forward job. The woman we have recently hired for the temporary work ‘drifts’ in between 8:30 and 9:30 each morning and clearly has the energy of a slug. She doesn’t move from the chair at her desk except to go to lunch and after three days I have only seen her open one file drawer…the one that she can reach without getting up from her chair! This is frequently the quality of worker we get in the government when we hire clerical temp support. Wouldn’t it have been cheaper to just hire some graduate student or even an unemployed PhD. and pay them their going rate? The work would have been done in a few days and certainly with accuracy and probably cost the same as the three weeks wages we are putting out. And all we had to allow was some time for serious networking for the professional. Tell me why this wouldn’t work!

Friday, September 24, 2004

You don't have mail.

I really like getting mail, email, all types of communication, except for the phone calls. Weird, I think. Most people don't respond to my emails as often or as fast as I would like.

I am trying to touch base with my sister's kids by email. They are teenagers and live on the opposite coast, so I can't see them as much as I would like to. My sister died of cancer two years ago and they are going through something I never had to. I want to be there for them, but while I occasionally get polite emails back, I can wait forever for a response. I wonder if it is because I remind them of their mother and then of her death?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Let’s keep Tiger Woods happy whatever we do!

Imagine hiking in the beautiful Cascade mountains and all you see for miles is a lawn that looks like a golf course. Beautiful, no? Monsanto’s bent grass which is resistant to Roundup (also a Monsanto product) has been identified as far away as 13 miles from the test farm in Oregon.

All of you golfers notwithstanding—do we have our priorities straight here?

Monday, September 20, 2004

Critical Thinking- Lesson One

I am the type of person who reads two or three books at one time and also squeezes in a bunch of magazines and newspapers...but I have finally started Browne and Keeley's "Asking the Right Questions," which I wrote about in a prior blog.

My first skill to learn will concern being dispassionate. 'Emotional involvement should not be the primary basis for accepting or rejecting a position.' Unfortunately, the issues, ideas and problems that most deserve critical thinking - as I see it- are those for which we have some passion. This is going to be a difficult lesson...but I will work on it.

I think I will start with the issue of determining race. Since I am corresponding with another blogger who is researching this very issue, I will have something to work with.

Friday, September 17, 2004

Who moved the earth?

Discover magazine has an interesting mini-article about the processes of geologic reformation based on natural activities and human activities. Geomorphologist Roger Hooke of the University of Maine estimates that people shift up to 45,000 tons of earths dry surface each year! Over the last 5,000 years we have moved the equivalent of a mountain rainge 13,000 feet high and 60 miles long!!!

We really don't live in harmony with nature--do we?

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Keeping an eye on the eye

According to an Associated Press writer:

“Marc Oliver, 38, rode out the storm with his family in Mobile. Oliver boarded up his windows of his brick home and spent the night with his wife, 7-year-old son and brother-in-law, Robert Driver, moving from room to room as the winds shifted.

"The good lord was looking out for us," Driver said.”

And further down the story…

“Two people were killed and more than 200 homes were damaged when at least five tornadoes roared through Florida's Bay County. Five people were killed when another tornado struck homes in Blountstown, Fla., and an 8-year-old girl died after being crushed by a tree that fell onto her mobile home in Milton, Fla. Her parents were unharmed.”

I guess ‘the good lord’ can’t keep his eye on everyone and everything…

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

It is pre-determined which candidate I will vote for!

I cannot deny my destiny....according to an article by Mr. Brooks:

" Ruling Class War "(subscription?)


Published: September 11, 2004 in the New York Times

There are two sorts of people in the information-age elite, spreadsheet people and paragraph people. Spreadsheet people work with numbers, wear loafers and support Republicans. Paragraph people work with prose, don't shine their shoes as often as they should and back Democrats.

C.E.O.'s are classic spreadsheet people. According to a sample gathered by PoliticalMoneyLine in July, the number of C.E.O.'s donating funds to Bush's campaign is five times the number donating to Kerry's.

Professors, on the other hand, are classic paragraph people and lean Democratic. Eleven academics gave to the Kerry campaign for every 1 who gave to Bush's. Actors like paragraphs, too, albeit short ones. Almost 18 actors gave to Kerry for every 1 who gave to Bush. For self-described authors, the ratio was about 36 to 1. Among journalists, there were 93 Kerry donors for every Bush donor. For librarians, who must like Faulknerian, sprawling paragraphs, the ratio of Kerry to Bush donations was a whopping 223 to 1.

Laura Bush has a lot of work to do in shoring up her base.

Data from the Center for Responsive Politics allows us to probe the emerging class alignments, but the pattern is the same. Number people and word people are moving apart.

Accountants, whose relationship with numbers verges on the erotic, are now heavily Republican. Back in the early 1990's, accountants gave mostly to Democrats, but now they give twice as much to the party of Lincoln. Similarly, in the early 1990's, bankers gave equally to the two parties. Now they give mostly to Republicans, though one notices that employees at big banks, like Citigroup and Bank of America, are more likely to give to Democrats.

But lawyers - people who didn't realize that they wanted to be novelists until their student loan burdens were already too heavy - are shifting the other way. This year, lawyers gave about $81 million to Democrats and about $31 million to Republicans.

Media types are Democratic, of course, but one is dismayed to learn that two-thirds of employee donations at Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation went to Democrats. Whatever happened to company loyalty?

If you look at the big Kerry donors, you realize that the days of the starving intellectual are over. University of California employees make up the single biggest block of Kerry donors and Harvard employees are second, topping folks from Goldman Sachs and others in the supposedly sell-out/big-money professions.

Academics have had such an impact on the Democratic donor base because there is less intellectual diversity in academia than in any other profession. All but 1 percent of the campaign donations made by employees of William & Mary College went to Democrats. In the Harvard crowd, Democrats got 96 percent of the dollars. At M.I.T., it was 94 percent. Yale is a beacon of freethinking by comparison; 8 percent of its employee donations went to Republicans.

It should be noted there are some professions that span the spreadsheet-people/paragraph-people divide. For example, lobbyists give equally to both parties. (Could it possibly be that lobbyists don't have principles?) And casino people split their giving, with employees at Harrah's giving mostly to Democrats and employees at MGM Mirage giving mostly to Republicans.

Why have the class alignments shaken out as they have? There are a couple of theories. First there is the intellectual affiliation theory. Numerate people take comfort in the false clarity that numbers imply, and so also admire Bush's speaking style. Paragraph people, meanwhile, relate to the postmodern, post-Cartesian, deconstructionist, co-directional ambiguity of Kerry's Iraq policy.

I subscribe, however, to the mondo-neo-Marxist theory of information-age class conflict. According to this view, people who majored in liberal arts subjects like English and history naturally loathe people who majored in econ, business and the other "hard" fields. This loathing turns political in adult life and explains just about everything you need to know about political conflict today.

It should be added that not everybody fits predictably into the political camp indicated by a profession. I myself am thinking of founding the Class Traitors Association, made up of conservative writers, liberal accountants and other people so filled with self-loathing that they ally politically with social and cultural rivals.

Class traitors of the word, Unite! You have nothing to lose but your friends - and a world to gain!

Blogging my way through New York City

I find this site kind of spooky. " A map of the city that shows where the bloggers are, organized by subway stop. Find out who's blogging in your neighborhood!" NYC bloggers
It lists the bloggers location as well as the actual link to the blog site. People have to submit the form to get on this I the only one that this makes nervous? At least they do no give out the emails.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Comment from a former girlie-man

Keven (whomever he is...says it so much better than I.)

"If we want leaders with strong convictions and nothing else, we should elect only college sophomores who are halfway through reading The Fountainhead."

Second-class customers

I subscribe to a magazine called 'Budget Travel.' Erik Torkells, the editor, wrote an interesting article in the October 2004 issue about getting a good deal from Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, etc. He said that a comment from a sales person from an upscale New York hotel at a conference indicated that her upscale hotel treats customers who book through a third-party website worse than the other guests who pay full fare! Erik had heard rumors of this but, since he couldn't verify, he ignored them.

Well, it appears they are somewhat true. He went on to say that if we are going to be treated as second-class customers they should let us know in advance. I tend to agree. Today's budget customer might be tomorrow's travel maven for a company or someone who moves in big circles but likes to budget when traveling on their own.

Why, in these times, would anyone treat any customer any differently than any other? VERY shortsighted.

Monday, September 13, 2004

"The Legacy System from Hell that holds civilization hostage."

The Long Now has a good discussion about the future and preservation of our heritage. This whole discussion in the news this week about the minute reasons that the 'discovered' memos in GWB's military file are or are not valid may be discussions that we won't even have in the future.

A thousand years from now, we may not be able to resurrect anything of historical significance about our presidential candidates much less determine the validity...

Saturday, September 11, 2004

Blog demographics

I just surfed a bunch of blog sites and am slowly getting an idea about this new wave of communication. Lots of blogs from Asia, lots of blogs from hormone driven young people globally, lots of blogs from gays folks who like to communicate, some blogs from people with problems and than smatterings of other blogger demographics. Of course there were a few weird sites and some pornography...if that gets to be too large a percentage maybe Blogger is going to have to do something.

I found a subject index to blogs when I googled "blog sites" and marked a few of the baby boomer generational ones. I also found some younger blogs that have some very interesting things to say and I bookmarked those as well. This whole phenomenon is really nice in that it allows us old folks to be 'dogs' on the web and participate in conversations that are not normally part of our life events.

I found a few conservative bloggers but most seemed to be liberal--which in itself is interesting. What does that tell me about the two groups--liberal and conservative? One likes to communicate and one doesn't? One is more lonely than the other and doesn't have people to listen to its ideas and uses the anonymous technology? One group has a life and the other doesn't? One group likes technology and its change and the other doesn't? Interesting....

I miss the dog

As we enter fall and the crisp weather that makes me want to be outside more, I find that I miss our old dog who passed away a number of years ago. We are in transition in terms of where we live the next year or so and, as a result, cannot have a dog.

Dogs are the best tranquilizer because they are happy all the time and they never hold a grudge (unless you are a mean S.O.B.) They also make you get out of the house and exercise. If you work with them, they become better than human because they can read your mind and really observe your body language and unlike most of the people you spend time with, they actually want to please you.

They also keep you in touch with the fact that you, like them, are a biological animal. Maybe I will visit my friend next week who has some golden lab puppies and just play with them!

Let's see... if Bush was a dog what type would he be? If Kerry was a dog...?

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

back from the 40th reunion

Yes, it was like chelation therapy--or what I think that might have been like. Yes it was like eating your broccoli...good for you, but not good.

Everyone is so much older and more haggard than the reunion 10 years ago. Many look like recovering alchoholics. Some are. Others are just hard working dudes that life kept throwing curves and they are tired. We sat and renewed old memories, but it wasn't as funny as the 30th. I did not graduate with happy people--except for a few.

The ex-boyfriend is really still nice--but wanted to take me on ANOTHER tour of the house. This house is now remodeled and worth at least 1.5 million. I mean two gourmet kitchens--when you don't cook! WHY does he still think he needs to impress me! What big hole in his life is not getting filled? His wife is a stepford type--but without the sweet smile.

Did get to play with some grandchildren that people brought and little ones always mean there can be a brighter tomorrow.

Kept meeting liberals the whole trip. My son has a theory about that...will fill that in later.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Wegrets, ugrets, all god's children got grets.

Well, just got off the phone with my ex-boyfriend (remember this was decades ago--so he is really an EX.) Anyway, most of my past friends think he is a dork and actually he is still kind of cute in a dorky way. We got to talking about philosophy and class old people do...and he said when I get there he wanted to tell me about some seminar he was dragged to by his wife that was really fun and funny and meaningful about people and their pasts. I can hardly wait...ugh!

This little spontaneous suggestion was because I said that I really didn't look forward to class reunions because I never looked back. I was afraid what I was running from would catch up. Also, I had lots of regrets in my life (who doesn't--if they say they have no regrets they are liars) and since I couldn't change things the regrets weren't really useful to me.

Oh well, I am packing my camouflage outfits and I am leaving on a jet plane (yes a song from my youth) and will be arriving in Colorado tomorrow afternoon. Should be an really interesting Labor Day weekend!

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Two ships that pass in the night.

The intro to this snippet is an anecdote about a boat trip I took this weekend with an old friend who is 'up there' in the FDA hierarchy. During our conversation, he mentioned that the "problem with education these days is students are not given enough education on critical thinking skills." (Anyone who saw the speeches by those cute Bush daughters would certainly agree with that.) So, that statement motivated me to check Amazon for used books on critical thinking skills--I sure could use a review!

Got home tonight and didn't see that package I expected in the mail, and went to the front porch to see if it had been dropped off. Nope, not there. I mentioned to dear hubby that I was expecting some books on critical thinking skills. He looked blank and then looked out at the porch and said he was expecting a package also. A package with oyster nets in it! (He is an office scientist -- not an oysterman.)

Are these ships drifting apart???


For those of you who are still undecided about this presidential election, you must get down off that fence before you fall and hurt yourself. It is really fairly simple...ask yourself the following questions.

Is the world black and white or sometimes gray?
Is the road straight or sometimes curvy?
Is there only good and evil in this world or something that is marked 'other?'
Is a quick decision better than a thought process that may make you change your mind?
Does violence lead to more violence or end violence? (If it ends violence--when exactly does that occur?)
Is change good or bad or both?
Does God pick sides when watching mankind and its wars?
and finally
Does your feminine side ever embarrass you or is it your masculine side?

Now go forth and vote!

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Petrified Forest

I am really old and getting older. I can not bare to watch the TV shows that are so popular today. I am not writing about the 'reality' shows, I am writing about those monotonous, saccharin, shows of love and sex and heartbreak and new love and new sex and more heartbreak. These plots used to be left to afternoon soaps where bored housewives could get some escape from housework and diapers and baby babel.

Young attractive people look at each and stumble through primitive dialogue as if they were just learning to talk. They are introspective to the point of disappearing! No one ever seems to have a good day for the entire day.

It is no wonder that the twenty-somethings think a job is just a paycheck and that they are marking time until something big and meaningful happens in their lives. Watching too much of this stuff can petrify any developing brain.

Friday, August 27, 2004

The house on the hill

Well, I just got back from the architects to pick up the revised blueprints for the retirement home. I have 7 copies in my hot little hands! 6 for the 6 contractors to bid on and one for us to dream and drool over.

This house has come about in a round peg square hole way. The lot that we finally found that met our needs and which we could afford was so narrow that the house could not be wider than 50 feet. That may sound wide enough but most pre-done plans don't even come close to this width. Pre-done or off-the-shelf has its problems, but we can't afford original work, so I spent months looking through magazines, the web and talking to people.

I finally found some plans on the Internet and purchased them with the authority to change to meet needs and codes. We have a friend who is an architect and he has been doing the tweaking for us. The house itself is "French country" and sort of looks like a New Orleans style with a cute front courtyard. Not at all the style of house I ever thought I would build...I am sort of a cape code type. Anyway, as we have spent the last year going over the floor plans and thinking about lifestyle, this house has grown on me. I am allowing myself to get a little excited now, as we send out the bid packages tomorrow.

Only a little excited because there is still the unknown issue of costs and all the headaches and compromises ahead. But for now I will pretend it is a straight road ahead.

My husband has already made friends with the neighbors at the new building site and is using their dock to hang some oyster cages. Why he is culturing these oysters, lord only knows...seems to be giving our neighbor something to fill time with though. I don't think I would eat any oysters cultured in these waters.

To blog or not to blog isn't even the question.

Found this article with lots of links on blogging. Some good quotes below:

Blogging: “… never have so many people written so much to be read by so few.” By KATIE HAFNER

"By Jupiter Research's estimate, only 4 percent of online users read blogs."

Ms. Quint has grown more understanding of his reasons, if not entirely sympathetic. "The Web's illusion of immortality is sometimes more attractive than actual cash," she said.

"I was trying to record all thoughts and speculations I deemed interesting," he said. "Sort of creating a digital alter ego. The obsession came from trying to capture as much as possible of the good stuff in my head in as high fidelity as possible."

Check out the article here for more on the above taken from footnotes at this site.

What happens when this blogsite is 'abandoned'?

Just one casual mistake and a lot of information can be lost. Two Ralph Waldo Emerson collections dating to the 1860s and other out-of-print gems are among the items a team of volunteers found while salvaging thousands of books from the former East St. Louis library that had been abandoned when the library moved.

Read all about it here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

The Class Reunion (we all dread.)

Talk about your milestones! I graduated from high school a loooong time ago. Last month I got invited to my 40th high school reunion. My class has these once a decade and I have made it to two of them. It was short notice and I really didn’t want to go since I will have to buy a plane ticket—most of the rest still live within driving distance. Some of us have died, some of us have cancer, one is getting out of jail, one is a “recovering” alcoholic (the genius of the class), and most of the rest are divorced. My class size was only 15!! I guess we were pretty dysfunctional. It was a small farming community with not much money and I guess this is what you get 4 decades later.

My best girlfriend (who is normal) and my ex-boyfriend (who is wealthy) from that time called begging me to come. Clearly when there are so few of us, each addition makes for a better party.

I am just so far away from that time and culture in my life. I know in my heart I will probably have a good time, but right now I cannot imagine what we will talk about. The “good old days” were about basketball games and “necking.” The biggest topic for my generation right now is this divisive election—don’t want to there.

Agenda: The first night is at a bar with the two old coaches watching a video tape of the game that sent the graduating class to the state basketball tournament. (A jock fest.) Then the next night is at a fancy French restaurant…been there and done that. And the next day is an afternoon picnic at my ex-boyfriend’s fancy house. It is going to be a long afternoon.

I love photography and this would be an appropriate time for me to bring my digital, so maybe that will help pass the time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

They're having a baby!

Well, it is still a secret, but my daughter informed us this past weekend, that she and her husband are now pregnant--they have been trying only since April--so they are lucky people. She calls 'it' Spec because that is what is looks like on the sonogram. Talk about your cliché milestone--this is the first grandchild for me and H.

When you get old you see very clearly how times have changed. When I was pregnant the sonogram was done only during the last trimester and for very specific reasons. There was some concern it could harm the fetus. Now she is getting them about every two weeks and then once a month! I hope these medical types know what they are doing.

While I am very excited, I am also well aware that this is going to bring a whole new dynamic to the family ring. She has agreed to raise the child Catholic and H. and I are not Catholics and actually pretty suspicious of all the mandates and rules surrounding the religion. (Let's hope that the baby is not wheat intolerant! Another Catholic issue.) I know that a decade from now this little one may ask why H. and I don't go to church and particularly why we don't go to Mass. I am not afraid of how or what I will say--I will welcome any honest discussion. But I hope that the others involved will not get all hyper about my response. My daughter D.'s in-laws are really nice people and actually seem relieved that we are not openly anti-Catholic. I guess Catholics have to defend themselves more often these days.

I actually ran Bible school at the local Methodist Church in the good old days, wanting to expose my children to Christianity so that they can make there own decisions in life. Now my son is an atheist like his father and my daughter believes in God--but doesn't seem to have any clear boundaries on who this God is. Me, I think I am drifting toward Buddhism.

Monday, August 23, 2004


I was thinking how contradictory it is to say you are not a joiner and then join a blog site...Although joining a blog site is not exactly like joining a club or society. It is virtual in everyway. You can be you or someone else. Others can be themselves or someone else. You can have a conversation with just yourself or others, but you have no control over this. It is not like walking across a room and introducing yourself. Blogging is also not the same as volunteering to be on the committee. Others do not have a vested interest in your presence or lack thereof. Although there still is 'group think.'

The only time I joined things in the past was because I had children and I had a vested interest in their involvement in the activity. Sometimes I was a leader and sometimes just a workerbee. But I never really felt I belonged in any of it.

Now that I am approaching retirement and will have more free time, I am thinking that I should put energy toward some of the causes that I believe in. We'll see.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

So thus the beginning.

Each life has milestones, some of which have become cliches. In this fastpaced society, I now realize that my milestones arrive more slowly and appear to have a mellow aura about them. I am looking forward to that pace. I have always been a hurry-up and correct it later type and probably always well be. But, I am now pushing 60 and enjoying the lack of deadlines and seriousness of my decisions.

Actually, it is more my lack of seriousness in approaching decisions these days. I do have many serious decisions to make. When am I going to retire? How am I going to approach the economic decisions for this retirement? How am I going to allocate the remaining hours, days, years of my life?

I am in the earliest process of building the (cliche) retirement/dream home. Something I never thought I would be able to do. Something that has come about due to living a little frugally and also due to living overseas almost a decade of my life, where my living expenses were paid by my employer.

I am married to a mellow guy who doesn't care much about the house--only that it is comfortable, is engineered for use of natural resources as much as possible, and is near the water so that he can fish! It is all of these.

So this site will be about that project as well as my pet peeves, my beliefs and my concerns about the world I live in. Large menu--hope that it can be digested!