Sunday, November 30, 2008


It's cold and rainy in Boston tonight so I took a bath. Then I thought "why not go nuts and see if we have any vanilla vodka for a tasty nightcap?" We don't have vanilla vodka but we do have half-and-half, some cheap-o brandy from the 1990s and some creme de cacao. It's Brandy Alexander time!

It tastes like lighter-fluid ice cream but it'll do.

Bonsoir IBloPoMo! Adieu!

Do I Know You?

I've been running into good people in the world lately.

Today on the T two alterna-teenagers got on at the Hynes stop. Watching them through the window I could tell that they didn't know each other but I thought they'd make a good couple. One was a tall, very slim girl with stick-straight white blonde hair and cool purple velcro high tops (much like a pair I had in the '80s) The other was a tall guy with dyed red hair. The girl got on first and headed past one open seat for the seat next to me. When she got there she noticed that someone had spilled a diet Coke on the seat (they left the can there too) In the mean time the boy got on and started to go for the seat the girl had passed by. She backed up, not seeing him, to take the first seat. He noticed her backing up and with a sincerely gallant hand gesture, offered her the seat. It took two seconds but it was really sweet. They didn't ever speak to each other.

Lately I've been thinking about the really great people that I know there are in the world who I haven't met yet. I have great friends, old and new, but due to all of our travels I don't see them as much as I'd like to. My life is really fun and interesting. Sometimes I get to do really cool things. Sometimes though I wish I had an active social circle. I don't think I'm in one place long enough or at regular enough intervals to make that happen right now. Who knows what the future will bring?

With all the ugliness and with all of the horrible things that are going on in the world right now it's nice to feel optimistic about something. I am optimistic that I will be able to interact with interesting people who I like more frequently soon.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Wild Clouds

An amazing Florida sky. Yes, I took that photo myself.

I should mention that I made fish cakes on arugula beds last night for dinner. I didn't want you to think I haven't been making things lately. In fact I'm knitting a gift for someone right now. They probably don't read this blog but just in case...

Why, if I'm a vegetarian, did I eat fish? Because Marc caught it months ago and I didn't want it to have died in vain. Marc, you ichthycidal maniac!

Now I'm going to go make some vegetarian spaghetti and tomato sauce.

Friday, November 28, 2008

After Thanksgiving

Here we have a photo of Pete with some very nonchalant wild turkeys that he and Marc discovered wandering around the grounds of Brookline High School on Thanksgiving day. You heard me. Well, read me. Brookline has a fair number of trees and small parks for a rather urban area but I wouldn't have thought it could sustain a flock of wild turkeys. There they are though.

When Pete and Marc returned from their walk they made Thanksgiving dinner.

We had striped bass that Marc (or our friend Ben) caught, spinach, green beans and baked potatoes. I shouldn't say this but my favorite thing was the potato. It almost like a little ball of glue. I LOVE gluey food. What a freak.

We also had a store bought pumpkin pie.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Three More Days

I'm sorry. I probably won't even win a prize. I don't really care about that though. I just apologize for the poor content of the last few posts, including this one.

Heck, everybody's probably too busy today to even read blogs. I know I am!

So hug your families (especially if you're having a fight) and pet your pets (although I consider pets family) for me.

Now I'm going to clean off the dining room table so we can sit down at it and have a meal.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

No Luck Today

So you know how I said I hoped I'd be able to post better content today? Well no dice. Sorry. My fret list is way too long.

Tomorrow's Thanksgiving. Well Happy Thanksgiving everyone and safe travels if you're making any.

Happy Pie!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Okay, we're back in Brookline, we've got beers and there's a formerly frozen pizza in the oven.

Fay had a great time at Ruff Life. She's full of business and not in the least bit P.O.'d that we left her there.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll be in a position to write better content.

Off to glug 'n' chew...

Monday, November 24, 2008

Six Days To Go

Is IBloPoMo over yet? No? Okay, here goes:

Today Pete and I went looking for vultures to photograph. I have an "artistic vision."

Unfortunately the vultures were uncooperative today. But while we were looking for them we came across a few Great Blue Herons and one otter. I've never seen an otter before.

When we got back to the house Marnee told us the story of a friend of hers who'd had a run-in with an otter. Aparrently this woman was walking her small dog when an otter started to chase them. She scooped up her dog and started running. The otter chased her and bit her eight times while she tried to run away. Finally she wedged herself between the screen door and front door of somebody's house. For some reason at that point the otter backed off.

Otters always look so cute and playful on T.V. The one we saw today was cute and not the least bit interested in us. It was chomping loudly on a cruchy fish and lolling around on the grass. Who would think they'd go all homicidal all of a sudden?

As for my "artistic vision," I have one more day to execute it. We're going back north tomorrow afternoon. Then we'll see how Fay enjoyed her stay at Ruff Life.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

One Of My Best Purchases

This is me and Marnee, my mother-in-law, in their kitchen. The pajamas I'm wearing are one of the best things I've ever bought.

I got them two summers ago when Fay was first becoming incontinent. I'd have to take her out in Brookline at three or four o'clock in the morning and I didn't want to have to put on real clothes. I didn't want to go out in obvious pajamas either - Brookline's pretty urban after all and the neighbors already think I'm odd. I think these almost look like clothes.

I also really like the colors and pattern of the top. It's goldfish and waterlilies.

Saturday, November 22, 2008


Well, I'm in Florida. It was very sudden.

Fay started to feel better yesterday. Dr. Reuhlmann saw her at 1:00, exammined her, tested her kidneys and gave her a clean bill of health. Fay had developed a U.T.I. and Dr. R thought that maybe the antibiotics hadn't kicked in yet and Fay was feeling bad from that. So by 2:30 I had an O.K. to go to FL.

I called my mother-in-law to let her know and she said "get in the car. I'm booking you on the 6:15 flight out of Providence."

So that's what happened. I tossed everything in the car and went down to Ruff Life where I dropped Fay off. Before I knew it I was on a plane. Definitely not what I had expected to happen. It's a good thing I'd packed the day before yesterday.

The report from Ruff Life is that Fay's doing great, making doggie friends and having a really fun time. Phew!

And now all of a sudden I'm on vacation.


Friday, November 21, 2008

So Far Today

I put him up there again because people seem to like having him there. He has nothing to do with this post though.

So, so far today hasn't gone all that well. it stared at 4:30 this morning when Fay scrambled off the end of the bed. We sleep on a futon so the fall wasn't far but she was definitely not feeling herself. By 6:00 we were at the vet for an emergency visit. We're back home now and I don't think it's life threatening but we still don't really know what's bothering her. It might have something to do with her bladder/kidneys.

The complication is that Pete and I were supposed to go visit his parents for early Thanksgiving today. We were going to leave here at 8 AM, drop her at Ruff Life for the weekend and catch a noon flight from Providence. Now I'm still home and Pete's gone to the airport. I should probably call and cancel my ticket come to think of it.

The fun stuff continues...

10:30 AM

Okay, the flight's cancelled. On with the story.

So I was sitting in the dog emergency waiting area at the vet where they had the news on T.V. A story came on about a fourteen year old girl who survived for four months on an artificial heart while waiting for a second heart transplant. They showed footage of her walking in a hospital hallway while attached to a panoply of medical devices and using the artificial heart. She also had a number of staff helping her and her equipment move down the hall. I almost burst into tears. God, the agony for her and her family. I didn't cry though because I didn't want to have to explain to the emergency vet that I wasn't crying about my dog. I would have been crying about my dog too, and about some other things as well but that's too long an explanation to give a stranger at six AM.

The girl is doing well now, she's received her latest heart transplant which seems to be working fine. Hopefully that will pretty much be the end of that chapter for her.

I don't know about T.V.s in hospital waiting rooms. It's hard to find programming that doesn't make the wait worse. Yesterday it was the economic wrap up in the waiting room (yes, Fay and I were at the vet yesterday too) The Dow's in the toilet, everybody's getting laid off and what's going to happen with the Automobile industry? Yesterday it made me laugh but not in a good way - and it didn't make the wait any better.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Short 'n' Cranky

Ah, the fun that was today!

Maybe I'll tell you about it tomorrow. Probably not though. It wasn't interesting, just stressful.

There you go IBloPoMo.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Little Random

Photo number one:

This was apparently sent by me to me from "Men's Health," some weird little daily digest newslettery thing, subject line: RE:ja.Doctor Phyllis. Fishy much? If I hold my cursor over one of the many links in this digest, like how to follow Daniel Craig's workout (and NO I AM NOT CLICKING THE LINK!!!!) a little window pops up and shows where the link goes. Each one goes somewhere different, like "http://www." Oh great, I just got another one from myself. XOXOXO Love it. And I can't label it as spam since it appears that I sent it to myself.

The copy claims that "James Bond always gets the women. And while part of that is his charm and swagger, the way his muscles fill out a tux is what the ladies first notice about him." I don't know. Maybe it's unwomanly of me but that kind of muscle doesn't really do it for me. They look a bit overinflated. Not my thing. I won't deny that Daniel Craig is easy on the eyes but it's not because of the muscles.

Almost entirely unrelated:

I like mummies and bog people! No, not for ogling or dating etc. Gross. They're just fascinating. This is the mummy known as the Loulan Beauty who is on display at a museum in Urumqi, China (photo by Giles Sabrie) Mummies and bog people look just like us except for their mysterious accoutrements the meanings of which we can only guess. So cool! So many things to think about! What were their lives like? How did they die? What's the significance of that tattoo? Why does her hat look like that?

It's as if I have all the time in the world to think about random junk like this and then tell you about it.

I Can Do It, Infinity!

I just realized something a little disappointing.

I was finding some comfort in trying to understand what's going on with the economy. Trying to understand something can be a distancing technique: something that you're thinking objectively about has less emotional impact than something you're just "going through." That's fine if it helps you "get through."

What I just realized is that it doesn't necessarily lead to a solution to the problem. It took me long enough to notice! Maybe I can understand what's going on with the economy but I can't predict what's going to come crashing down next or what that thing's going to take down with it. I certainly don't know how to turn the situation around or even slow its progress. Thankfully that's not my job and I know there are people with more training and experience and it's their job. But I like to figure things out! I tend to think that if I work at something I can figure out what best to do. It doesn't always happen that way.

It's kind of funny really. I have a feeling that I've been "solving" problems all my life by just thinking about them. In fact they've been developing and concluding and having their ripple effects with no help or hindrance from me - I haven't done anything to affect their outcomes at all! I just felt like I'd done something positive because I thought about it.

What's more, it wouldn't surprise me if at some point in my thinking process I got distracted and started working on some other, fresher problem without even noticing. Ha!

Maybe I just like thinking about problems and I don't really care if I solve them. Is there any value in that? Is it because I feel from the start that I won't be able to do anything about a problem so I might as well get some entertainment from it? Maybe it's a product of my education: when studying texts or artworks you tease out their elements but there's no problem to solve. I can blame the system! Or maybe that's why I'm better at English and art than I am at math - I'm not really interested in a solution, I just like thinking about the problem.

I wonder if this is a problem I ought to try to solve? Maybe I should think about it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

All The Details About Fay's Health

If you had glanced in the window of Fay's examination room this morning you would have seen three medical personnel crouched on the floor over a small dog, heads down in full concentration, bodies tense with effort. You would have thought, "Wow, something dire is going on in there. I hope everything's okay."

It was her toenails. They needed trimming. She's the Tasmanian Devil about her toenails. That was the least serious treatment she got today.

Fay is in fact doing really well. Once she recovered from the problems she was having this summer her condition improved dramatically. She could stand up on all four legs again. Not for any useful length of time but she could do it. We had a nice period from late August to late October when she was feeling great and functioning well. She was still dragging her back legs and still incontinent but after the hell that was July that's nothing.

She's still doing pretty well, just having the slightest hint of a setback in that she became unable to urinate on her own. Because of this we increased her prednisone dosage and I learned how to squeeze her. It's all wrong but squeezing her is actually fun and she doesn't mind. She makes these grunty groany noises while you're doing it and afterwards she's grateful. Everybody wants to squeeze her anyway. Now it's useful.

These days she's able to urinate on her own again and we've lowered the pred. dosage a bit. I think she's lost a tiny bit of strength in her back legs since the pred. went up. I'm hoping she'll regain some strength now that her pred.'s lower again because I think I heard that prednisone can cause some muscle atrophy. I might be making that up. She could easily be weaker from her disease.

So all told today she had her weight checked, her temperature taken, her reflexes tested, a CBC, her skin checked, her urine sampled (they use a needle stuck through her abdomen into her bladder to do that - it's standard) her toenails trimmed, she got a rabies shot and the first of four Cytarabine shots she's going to get over the next forty-eight hours. The most horrifying looking thing (and the most difficult) was the toenails.

Now I need to do something really nice for Doctor Reuhlmann and her assistant, Jim. They have been really good to us.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Koigu Mitts

It snowed last night - heck - today too. Just flurries. But still it's a good thing I made myself these fingerless mitts. I designed the pattern myself and knitted them out of Koigu KPPPM.

I was inspired to make them back in late June when I was staying with my brother and his girlfriend in Las Vegas while my dad was in the hospital there. Sarah is an avid knitter too and their guest room is where she keeps her stash. That's dangerous when I'm the guest. She had a pair of stockinette mitts that she'd made from Koigu that kept catching my eye.

Those Koigu colors are so subtle and complex and I think they look so beautiful when they're just plain knit. But I also thought this particular color scheme would look good with a cable too.

I chose this cable pattern because to me it symbolizes an interweaving of diverse ideas, sort of a play of different thoughts mixing and mingling with each other in a somewhat orderly fashion. The pattern is a little complex but still symmetrical.

If you look closely you might be able to see that the mitts themselves aren't strictly symmetrical (and that the first photo is a composite) I made them up as I went along starting with the left one. I made some changes in the design on the second, right, one. If I were to make more of these I know I'd make even more changes. I'm not perfectionistic enough to frog and reknit the first two drafts though.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Veronica's Out Late

Not that this is interesting at all but it is IBloPoMo and I have to post something. Plus it's windy out today and I can't count on the power staying on.

Here is a lovely stalk of late veronica that is in full bloom right now despite the fact that everything else in the garden is pretty much done for the year including every other part of this plant.

Last night at ten PM it was actually sixty degrees out here and i even heard a frog chirping away. When I took Fay out at six this morning it was fifty degrees out. When Pete got up at around nine it was down to forty. Ah, the weather in New England. I'm thinking that frog went back to bed.

Resume and cover letter? Artist's statement? I don't know what you're talking about.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Bento Boxes

Jenn wanted to know what my bento box looked like. Well here it is:

And here it is open.

It's hard to see in the photos but there's a little bit of iridescent glitter in the cherry blossoms. I got it on J-List, a site that features all kinds of interesting Japanese products including porn of course. On the homepage you tell them whether you're over eighteen or not and/or if you want to see "adult images" or not. I went with adult and was introduced to images of people with unusual body parts doing things you don't see every day. Mostly (but not all) cartoons. The world of ideas keeps getting bigger and bigger. Don't get me wrong, should you go to J-List you wouldn't be bombarded with porn, it's just easy to stumble on in the adult pages.

Woo! Lots of noisy gun shots outside today! People don't wait around once rifle season opens.

I also couldn't resist this bento box:

You can imagine why:

And you can also tell which one I'll be using the most - the bigger one. I'm a hungry girl. I've got a lot of important eating to do.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Country Life At The Twilight Of The Year

Things are cooling off in Vermont. It happens to be an unseasonably toasty fifty degrees out right now. That and the moths out flying around got me thinking about salamanders.

There was a kind of salamander I'd never seen before hanging around the entry to our house last week. It looked kind of like a baby snake but with legs. About three inches long and narrow like a worm but with something of a head and, like I said before, legs. I hadn't ever seen a salamander in the fall so this one was new to me. It looks very different from a spotted salamander. We used to have a spotted salamander who lived near our front door and who would come out in the spring when it rained. When we put the patio in a few years ago one of the guys who was doing the stonework found it standing there looking at him. Michaela was there at the time so she told him to put it in the woods. I haven't seen it since. I hope it found a better home.

The frogs have all gone into hibernation and of course the crickets are done for the year. The snakes are probably all asleep by now too. To be honest, it's getting a little lonely. I miss all the creatures who eat bugs.

We used to have a bat who weekended in our barn. At least that's what the bat expert thought - the guy we hired to get the bat out. It was just one bat so he thought it would come to our barn once in a while for a night or two here and there. If we were using our barn as a barn that wouldn't be a big deal but since it's our studio spaces and Pete's clients sleep there we couldn't have a batty guest flying around. And that bat would fly around at night when the clients were there. So we hired an expert to find out where the bat was coming out and going in and attach one-way doors so it could go out but not get back in. It took him several months and five or so visits but we haven't seen bat poop on the floor since maybe September. I'm hoping that means that the bat guy was successful and not that our bat has succumbed to the bat fungus that's going around. I have a very large soft spot in my heart for bats and I'm very worried about them these days.

Unfortunately cluster fly season has begun. It's the time of year when the bugs head indoors. Now on a sunny day when I head to my studio I'll find dozens of flies buzzing at my windows from the inside. Yuck. At night when we go to bed it's not unusual to have to evict four or five flies. They make a lot of noise buzzing around and bouncing off the ceiling. I really don't miss them at all in the summer when they want to live outdoors.

The mice seem mostly content to stay outside so far this year. Soon it will get colder though and we'll have to stay on top of the traps in the basement. We've learned from experience that you can't be lenient with the mice. If you're not careful they'll have an orgy in your pillow and then where will you be? I'll tell you where: you'll be waking up in a pile of mice poop and fly parts. Nasty. Nonetheless anti-mouse warfare is pretty unpleasant for pacifists like me and Pete.

The bees and the dragonflies are asleep, the butterflies and hummingbirds have gone south. I have to admire the persistence of the moths. We've had a few frosts so I can't imagine what they're eating these days. Soon they'll be gone too. Things will get very quiet. At least we'll still have the owls for company.

My Lunch Looks Nothing Like Hello Kitty

Here's a shot of the first bento box lunch I've ever made. Washoku-wise (balance of colors, flavors, cooking methods and textures) it needs work. Obviously I'll also need some more bento accessories (hint, hint, Christmas and my birthday are coming) However it was a really delicious lunch, just left-overs from last night's dinner.

Last night I made Zucchini Köfte with Beet-Bulgur Pilaf from a recipe I got on I didn't have bulgur so I used giant cous-cous which saved me almost ten minutes of cooking time. The beet cous-cous was a bit bland that night, just as the reviewers had warned. It was much tastier cold for lunch today. The colors are pretty much unbeatable (like how I didn't say "unbeetable?") The only thing I really wished I had was a couple of orange slices for dessert but I don't live at the grocery store.

I took my bento to run errands today in Keene, NH. On the way I passed a jeep with a dead stag tied across its hood. I guess it's deer season in NH. I heard on the radio that rifle hunting season starts in Vermont tomorrow. Time to start sporting our orange hats.

Thursday, November 13, 2008


I want to revise what I think is going on in this photo.

Now I think it looks like G.W. is telling Barack a dirty joke under his breath and Barack is thinking "I only have to put up with this guy for a few more hours."

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


There are some great jobs coming out of the current economic crash. Not a lot of them but...

Consider the Planet Money team. I wouldn't mind being one of them right now. As horrible as this crash is and will continue to be, it's also really fascinating. Those Planet Money folks get to research every aspect of the crash. They're traveling the world finding out how the economy is affecting people of all economic levels. Planet Money is finding out about arcane financial products, what they really are, how they came to be and how they're causing domino-effect destruction in markets all over the world. Then the team boils down all the information and figures out how to explain it to us in an entertaining and understandable fashion. What a great job to have!

Then there are the lucky visionaries who are going to revolutionize the auto industry. That's going to be the job of a lifetime for somebody. To paraphrase a surfer dude I used to know, it'll be heavy but it'll be killer. Heads are going to have to roll, old, dead wood will have to be removed. But think of the opportunities for new designs, new concepts, new systems, better vehicles! It might even produce more interesting jobs for the workers who build vehicles.

Again, it's painful to have to change and move into the future but it can also be really exciting. We're being forced out of our self-indulgent ruts (Working in a dying industry may not feel self-indulgent but if you know your industry's dying and you stick around because you already know how to do the job and you can't be bothered to learn a new skill, that's pretty self-indulgent) If we're lucky, creative and keep our eyes open there are good pieces of pie to be had.

We're all going to have to learn to be flexible and try something new. I think that's very exciting. Like training for a marathon, it's going to be a lot of work but look what we'll be able to do afterward.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Something I Don't Get

I'm not sure why but the return of this perfectly reasonable 1980's boot is giving me the heebie jeebies. They're very practical, they're comfortable, I loved them back in 1980-whatever. You can even get many styles in purple which was my dearest wish twenty years ago. Now they just give me the creeps.

Maybe it's insuppressible memories of the annoying girls with giant hair who also wore those boots? Not that there's anything wrong with giant hair. I don't know. Maybe I'll figure it out sometime down the line. I don't think I'll be succumbing to the charms of a pair of them any time soon though. I already did that.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Pictures - A Lot Of Red And Brown

I have a feeling that Laura bush wore this dress as a form of protest. It looks to me like she really didn't want to look her best.

Look how it clashes with Michelle Obama's dress. That color combo only looks good in a Jonathan Adler pillow. I don't know how they plan these photo ops as far as color coordination goes. Maybe she didn't know that Ms. Obama would wear red. But she had to know that that is one homely and unflattering dress. While I'm at it, were all her good bras in the laundry for today's historic occasion?

If you look at google images you can see that Ms. Bush does know how to dress to impress and she's chosen not to do so here.

While the concept of the above photo pleases me greatly - the transfer of power from G.W. Bush to Barack Obama - the aesthetics of the following photos are more pleasing to me:

Photo by Mark Baker, AP

Photo by Daniel Munoz, Reuters

It's Monifa, the three-week-old baby pygmy hippopotamus who lives at the Taronga Zoo in Sydney, Australia. I hope she has some other kids to play with. Babies need to play. Pete and I saw a baby pygmy hippopotamus at the National Zoo in Washington D.C. back around 1991. It was zipping around in a big swimming pool like an adorable poo. So cute.

I swiped all of these photos from Here's another one I just spotted:

George looks SO relieved and now Barack looks like "Holy crap, what have I got myself into?" Remember how terrified George looked when he first took the job on?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! Another One!

My friend Debbie sent me this via Facebook a couple of weeks ago. I just got around to watching it.

Random Mayhem

One holiday season several years ago I was walking around some mall with my friend Chris McCoy. You know how malls are decorated at holiday time: clusters of giant ornaments suspended from every possible location. While going down an escalator in an atrium with a very high ceiling we were suddenly both struck by the same image seemingly out of nowhere. Chris started to chuckle and he said, "I'm imagining those ornaments crashing down and crushing everyone under them!" He said it but I was thinking it too. I have no idea why. We hadn't been talking about anything like catastrophe as far as I can remember.

That moment has stuck with me to the point that whenever I see any sort of large decorative object suspended somewhere I can't help but imagine it resting atop a small pile of crushed and bloodied corpses.


My thanks to everyone who wrote to tell me how much lamer their Halloween was than mine. I really appreciate it!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Two Good Things

Eggplant Dengaku style! I made it for dinner last night. It's flanked by four onigiri. I'm looking forward to having some of those on my drive back to Boston today.

And the coolest spiral notebook I've ever seen:

It's pretty, it's got a nifty zipper pocket in the back:

It's got five sections separated by paper pocket dividers and clear plastic pockets of various capacities: business card, postcard and full page sized.

There's lined paper, unlined paper and the piece de resistance - graph paper:

Will I use it all? Probably not but it's so pretty. I got it at Borders but I can't tell what company made it. Sorry about the cruddy photos.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Don't Get Me Wrong

I said back on Nov. 5th that I think it's beautiful that we elected a black President.

I didn't vote for Obama because he is black. I voted for him because I thought he was the best candidate. He's prudent, insightful, cool-headed, rational, extremely intelligent and compassionate. I agree with most, though not all, of his stands on the issues. I believe he will bring healing and progress to our country. The fact that he's black is extra special icing on the cake. I would have voted for him if he was white or Asian or Latino or female or whatever.

Because he and his family are black we're going to see a lot more black faces in every level of American society. People who don't know any better will begin to find blackness just as normal as anything else it's possible to be. People who have been marginalized because of their appearance will begin to be evaluated by who they are and what they can really do. That is beautiful.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Quick One On Prop. 8

Proposition 8 is plain discrimination.

You know who makes laws based on religious principles? THE TALIBAN. If they're wrong to do it how can it be right for Christians to do it? It's wrong to force your religious views on other adults who are entitled to their own beliefs.

Gay marriage is coming. It's the future, a matter of time.

To all the gay people who want to get married: Massachusetts still respects you.

A Pile Of Battery Corpses

I finally made it back up to Vermont yesterday evening.

Last night as I was wrapping things up to head up to bed the power went out. Fishing a Maglite out of the junk drawer I thought, "huh, the weather's fine. Did the out of control wisteria finally yank the power line down?"

I twisted the Maglite on and the light showed pathetically pale and orange. New battery time. It worked well enough to get me to the other room to find the bag of knitting where I keep my Pak-Lite*. That lit up nice and strong.

I went and looked out the front door and saw nothing but blackness everywhere (except for the tiny salamander crawling around our entryway floor - I hope it's not living in one of Pete's boots) My neighbors' lights were out too. In the back of my mind a faint vision stirred of a little yellow postcard from the power company. Scheduled maintenance? I should have read that more carefully.

Flash lights work great (if the batteries are fresh) but for some things, like carrying your dog up to bed, you need hands. I went to the next room to look for candles. No luck there - all burnt to stubs. Add candles to the shopping list. We keep a couple of head lamps in the junk drawer so that was my next stop. Headlamp number one: another dying battery. Headlamp number two: success!

Next hurdle: is there enough water in the pipes for me to be able to brush my teeth? The answer is yes.

Finally I climbed into bed with my headlamp on and read a little of "Washoku: Recipes From The Japanese Home Kitchen," by Elizabeth Andoh. It's a very comprehensive study of traditional Japanese cuisine beautifully presented in an almost coffee table book style. Who would think that reading about desiccated fish could feel so luxurious?

When I woke up this morning at 6:30 the power was still off. I took Fay out, then fed her. Just as I was reaching for the french press to make my coffee the lights (and the heat) came back on. Thanks CVPS!

Now I know we're not really prepared for winter snowstorms. Gotta re-stock the alternative light sources.

*A Pak-Lite is just a nine volt battery that has a little plastic cap fitted with two very bright LED bulbs on it. It's tiny but bright. It fits easily in a jeans pocket. You should get one. Or get one for the dude in your life. Or get more than one. Pete gave me (and my brother and father) the Super Glow Gift Pack for Christmas a couple of years ago. My dad liked it so much I think he bought himself a carton of them.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Onion Does It Again

Here's what The Onion says:

WASHINGTON—African-American man Barack Obama, 47, was given the least-desirable job in the entire country Tuesday when he was elected president of the United States of America. In his new high-stress, low-reward position, Obama will be charged with such tasks as completely overhauling the nation's broken-down economy, repairing the crumbling infrastructure, and generally having to please more than 300 million Americans and cater to their every whim on a daily basis. As part of his duties, the black man will have to spend four to eight years cleaning up the messes other people left behind. The job comes with such intense scrutiny and so certain a guarantee of failure that only one other person even bothered applying for it. Said scholar and activist Mark L. Denton, "It just goes to show you that, in this country, a black man still can't catch a break."

Thanks Jill!

It's A Whole New World

But we've still got to eat. I mean, it's not that new.

I'm forty-two years old and it finally occurred to me that you could reheat left-over fries and have them as home fries for breakfast. I put truffle salt all over everything so I had truffled eggs and truffle fries.

After voting yesterday I felt so giddy that I went on a book buying spree at three different bookstores. I got a couple of Japanese cookbooks, some knitting/crochet books, a few novels and the best notebook I've ever seen. I almost forgot that I had to take Pete to the airport so he could go to New Orleans and record a horn section.

As the election results rolled in I hid out from T.V. news and its constant rain of hyped-up speculation by watching as many crime dramas as I could find: C.S.I. and whatever BBC crime shows were on P.B.S. Periodically I'd go check on my laptop to see what was really happening. It was SO exciting to watch those states turn blue! New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Virginia, FLORIDA! It's so nice to know that the majority of Americans are somewhat rational. We took the high road in so many ways. Finally.

I am overjoyed that we have a black President of the United States. It's a quantum leap for black culture in the U.S. I can't wait to see black intelligentsia take it's rightful place in American culture at large. That is the most beautiful thing to me.

No matter what though Obama's going to have a tough time if he's going to make the changes that need to be made. We know that change is necessary but the bottom line is people don't like change. I hope he has the strength to move forward with his plans and I hope that we the public have the stomach to put up with the hardships and readjustments that change requires. The truth is that there is no option. Are we going to be proactive and face the problems confronting us or are we going to turn our backs on the choices we've made and let the results bite us in the ass? Whatever happens Obama's going to get a lot of blame.

Last night at around midnight Marc and I split a bottle of champagne, made some buffalo popcorn (popcorn with Red Hot sauce in the butter) and watched some of The Simpsons Movie. I can't wait to hear what Pete did in New Orleans.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

The Biggest Loser I've Encountered Today So Far

There was a girl on the phone behind me on line to vote this morning. She was telling the person on the other end that she'd given herself an hour to vote and if that wasn't good enough then too bad. About five minutes further into the conversation I heard her say "This is ridiculous! I'm out of here!" She hadn't been there ten minutes yet. So much for her hour.

She would in fact have had to wait an hour and a half if she'd been determined to vote. But you know what? She was still being asinine.

So you have to wait a friggin' measly hour and a half! So what?! That's nothing. There are people in the country going through much worse than that to be able to vote. There are people who will go through worse and still not have their vote counted. That idiotic girl just threw her opportunity in the gutter.

I don't know, maybe she'll try again later today after she gets to work and starts bragging about how she left because the line was "too long" and nobody thinks she's cool. I can dream.

I'm dreaming about a lot of things today.

We've got it really good here. For the most part we aren't threatened with weapons, threats and/or death when we try to vote. There are too many places on the planet where people are faced with those things.

The G.D. least any of us can do is SHOW UP!!!!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Our Latest Brush With Fame

Pete, my dad and I were having dinner at The Whaling Bar at La Valencia Hotel in La Jolla last Tuesday night. I really don't understand why that place isn't packed every night. Maybe it's too old-fashioned or Eastern for Californians?

I LOVE that place. I'd so be a regular there if I lived in La Jolla. You know - it's all red inside with leather banquettes and dark wood. The dining area around the corner from the bar area has a fireplace flanked by life-sized ceramic cheetahs. There's all kinds of antique-y whaling implements and art-work on the walls and the staff is excellent. It's the place to go to get your Manhattan or gin Martini. They'll wheel up a cart and flambee you some Crepes Suzette or Cherries Jubilee at the end of your meal if you like. Not exactly a budget-friendly spot but I could stop in for a Manhattan a few nights a week if I lived there.

Okay, I'm off the subject which was our brush with fame.

So we're sitting in our booth in the dining area when all of a sudden some kind of alien vessel pulls up outside. All you can see through the restaurant's window is aluminum clapboards and round portholes. "What the heck is that?" we all declare. So does a waitress in the back of the room. Our waiter, also in the back of the room, answers her, "That's Neil Young's tour bus."

"Who is Neil Young?" replies the waitress who is probably twenty years old. Never mind that.

Pete, star-struck, gets up to go outside and look. I get up too but what I want to know is how that aluminum pod can be a tour bus. It turns out that it only appears to be alien if you can only see the middle. The back of the bus looks like a bus. It really does have clapboards too. Anyway, out comes Neil and family looking a little bit tired. They head in to the hotel.

Back at our table the waiter tells us that the Young family might be eating in the bar later and points to the table set up by the fireplace for a good-sized group. We tried to eat slower but we weren't slow enough. That was it for that particular brush with fame.

So now I'll tell you that if you're ever in La Jolla and can swing it La Valencia is a fantastic place to stay. It opened in 1926 and has a definite family feeling. It doesn't feel corporate at all. The pace there is slow, I believe because they want you to take your time and enjoy yourself. My New York relatives didn't like it much. It was schmancy enough for them (maybe) but I think they like their service more "Yes Sir! Right Away Sir!" snappy. I find the service there gracious rather than obsequious and that's what I prefer.

Ain't I something? Getting service! What I mean is, they act like people there, not service automatons. Some people like service automatons, I like people.

I also like lunch so I'm off!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Halloween Is Over But I'm Still Scared

I'm listening to Weekend Edition Sunday with Liane Hansen. They're talking about polls and exit polls and their predictive accuracy.

WE GOT SO BURNED IN 2004 AND 2000!!!!!! I'M SO SCARED!!!!!

Come to think of it, while I'm listening to the radio I'm also reading an article in the Washington Post, "Failure Is An Option", about how best to get over a loss or failure.

The last paragraph from the article and the one I found the most helpful is a quote from Pat Williams of Chattanooga, Tennessee:

"Regardless of who wins, there will still be rich, there will still be poor, there will still be homelessness, there will still be cancer. Think about who really controls your destiny."

He pauses for effect.

"You do."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

IBloPoMo Entry Number One

That was probably my lamest Halloween ever.

I love Halloween but I can never seem to plan ahead for it. This year was the worst. I didn't even carve a pumpkin. Pete went out at dusk and searched the town for Jack O' Lantern material and came up empty. I was considering painting a cardboard box orange, cutting out a face and putting a candle in it. Pete thought that would be a fire hazard. Finally he found the last rejected plastic electric Jack O' Lantern at Walgreens. MIraculously we had a round or two of Trick Or Treaters before he got back with it, before we had any decorations up.

Our neighborhood gets TONS of kids on Halloween. We always run out of candy. This is in spite of the fact that I often see gangs of kids passing our house by. My theory on this is that our yard is unkempt and our aluminum siding is really old and cruddy looking. We look less prosperous than most of our neighbors (yes, we're that house on the block) so some of the kids think we're weirdos and don't want to risk our candy. Theoretically that would mean more candy for me but in reality it doesn't matter. Even though we're the rejects we still run out of candy (They're right about the weirdo thing but we still have great candy)

I was going to lame out on a costume this year but Marc, who had a monk's costume complete with tonsure wig, egged me on. I managed to cobble together a rather sad Disco Diva outfit: long pink wig with iridescent strands, glitter on my face and hot pink lip gloss, an awesome silk-esque poncho, pants, gold platform sandals and sunglasses. That was a serious comedown for me. It drives me nuts when girls (not little girls but girls, say sixteen or over) go the cute/sexy route. It just seems like such cop out: "I'm gonna be a cat (so I can wear a leotard and ears and the boys will think I'm hot)" Maybe that makes me a no fun sourpuss. I prefer scary for Halloween. But this year the best I could manage was Disco Diva. If I'd thought about it some more maybe I could have been an O.D.'d Disco Diva. That's okay. All I did was hand out candy to kids and I wouldn't want to have to tell them (and their parents) what I was. I got a lot of compliments as it was from the girl Trick Or Treaters. The other bummer thing about my costume was that as someone who dreamed of being a disco diva back in 1978 I know how inaccurate my costume was. The wig was all wrong and I should have been wearing gold stretch pants and a tube top under my poncho.

Fay got a lot of compliments too.

The final nail in my Lamest Halloween Ever coffin was that I went to bed at 9 while the Trick Or Treaters were still coming and going. I was still pooped from our red-eye.

Well there's always next year.