Saturday, March 31, 2007

Wisteria on Melrose

On Thursday evening, Kelly and I were driving home from shopping - what else? - when we passed this sight. Kelly asked incredulously, "Is that a wisteria tree?"

"No, Sweetie," I said, "take a closer look." But I just had to bring my camera back to get a photo for my "album"...and, inspired by Pam (a far better plant photographer than I), a macro shot.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Anointed by Joan

I've been anointed by the famous Joan! Well, actually she only spilled her cup of tea on me yesterday at lunch, but I've been milking it. I too was so glad it wasn't iced or boiling it was, I was walking bowlegged for an hour. Heheh.

Whenever I try to leave a comment on her blog, I always get an error message that tells me if I want to try re-posting my comment, I should simply cut and paste the message as it shows below the error message. This morning, this was the message I was told to cut and paste. manga sex [url=]manga sex[/url] hentai porn [url=]hentai porn[/url] ebony porn [url=]ebony porn[/url]

Hey Joan, what kind of outfit are you running here? Girl, I am going to tease you about this one today! :)

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Culture of Fear: Red, Orange....

My daughter brought to my attention an excellent article by Zbigniew Brzezinski, National Security Advisor for President Carter, in Sunday’s Washington Post, “Terrorized by 'War on Terror': How a Three-Word Mantra Has Undermined America”.

Mr. Brzezinski says "...fear-mongering, reinforced by security entrepreneurs, the mass media and the entertainment industry, generates its own momentum. The terror entrepreneurs, usually described as experts on terrorism, are necessarily engaged in competition to justify their existence. Hence their task is to convince the public that it faces new threats. That puts a premium on the presentation of credible scenarios of ever-more-horrifying acts of violence, sometimes even with blueprints for their implementation."

An article well worth the reading time, asking the question, ”Where is the U.S. leader ready to say, ‘Enough of this hysteria, stop this paranoia’?”.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Lauren the Birthday Girl and the Little Weasel

Yesterday was the party for LaLa's 7th birthday. As usual, there were lots of kids running around and having a great time. My favorite part was having Patrick sit on my lap with his bankie and B at the end of the evening, sucking his thumb and watching Parent Trap - oblivious to the rest of the world.

(This photo doesn't do LaLa's eyelashes justice. They are to die for!)

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Poor barn is dead .... or is it?

On Thursday Jennie wrote:

“The barn is down.

The ranch that witnessed history through the eyes of one of Missoula's oldest families is now ready for 104 homes. But, like my mother taught me--don't ever give up. I still have hope that it will go back up; if not on it's original 1865 spot, then at the very least, next door on the 40-acre conservation easement parcel where the original brick home sits.”

"Bloggers are Thinkers"

So I found this link for xkcd over at Pam's blog, and just had to copy the current comic for Kathie. You see, Kathie told me about a month ago that bloggers are thinkers. (I was so flattered!) And right now I'm thinking that in fifty years when Kelly is 70 and Jessie is 78, they'll both be talking about how their mother and AK were blogging fools!

You'll probably have to go to the source to be able to read the writing in the comic strip. It's worth the trip. (Uh oh - that rhymed. Wonder if I'm having a relapse of limerick-itis...)

Thanks, Pam!

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Through the Happy Glass(es)

Kelly speeding by on her Trikke, and
Sam My Man looking weirded out...
as usual.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Happy Glasses

My kids think I'm a kibble or two short of a full bowl, but I just love my happy glasses. I got them at WalMart for ten bucks. They don't make me look like Jackie O or Sophia Loren, but no sunglasses are going to do that for me anyway. What I like about them is that they're polarized in such a way that when I turn my head a certain angle in the springtime, I see bright pink azaleas and intensely yellow forsythias under trees laden with pale yellow-green baby leaves against a deep, deep blue sky. Just driving down the street makes me smile. The coating's starting to peel off the frames, but I can't give them up.

I wonder if there's a lens like that for my camera...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

With a Shield on her Arm....

Last weekend I was in Missoula, Montana, making one of those frequent trips to see the grandbaby. My elder daughter - would she cringe at that description? - is a city planner for the city.

Missoula is the city where The River Runs Through It - yes, from the book and movie of the same name. Indeed, this photo was taken downtown. It has names like Hellgate High School, and the University of Montaners call themselves Grizzlies.

Jennie may have felt California cities were beyond planning when she left Berkeley for Missoula. Now she works with a people who didn’t have a speed limit until recently, when threatened by the federal government to take away their highway funds. Not that Montanans are into speeding. They just feel the individual is best qualified to determine the best speed for the conditions of the moment.

Ted Kaczinski wrote his Manifesto on runaway technology and industrialism in the woods of Montana. Not that Montanans would support his methods. They just feel he made some interesting points.
While I was visiting, the issue for debate was whether these historical buildings from the late 1800s could be torn down to make way for a development.

The original farm acreage has been subdivided among descendants, the barn sitting on property just across the fence from the original homestead and more modern family homes. Two sets of cousins taking opposite sides, the city planning office, lawyers, and the developer are involved in court battles over whether the barn can be torn down for the housing development. In fact, when I went to check out the site, the roof of the barn had been taken off the day before. To his credit, the owner of the demolition company was taking the time to take it apart piece by piece, labeling so it could be reconstructed on another piece of the farmland rather than destroying the buildings should the situation be resolved to preserve the buildings. He didn’t have to do that, but that’s how Montanans are, I guess. The developer was from Idaho, and that always makes for interesting interactions. When I left, the city and a set of cousins were still going to court to stop the tear down. Well, it's even more complicated than that, having to do with county and city jurisdiction and permits.

My daughter is in the middle of it all. She e-mailed me this week to say she had been called the Che Guevara of the planning office. She said she didn’t know much about Che but she thought that would make me a proud mama.

Damn right I am.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Jorge Drexler: Dos Besos y Un Abrzo (Two Kisses and a Hug)

How often do we get to reach out and touch one of our heroes? Jorge Drexler, an Uruguayan (OK now, how many of you know where Uruguay is located in South America?) singer-musician-poetic songwriter played this week at an intimate venue in San Diego on his tour of Europe, the US, and South America, already receiving glowing reviews in the LA Times and NY Times among others. I counted myself lucky to be there to hear his unique and beautiful music. Even more lucky to meet and talk with him after the show where he greeted every woman with two kisses and bid goodbye with a hug.

Well known in Europe and Latin America, Jorge is just catching on in the United States after winning an Academy Award two years ago for the best original song, the first Oscar to go to a Spanish language song, Al Otro Lado del Rio (To the Other Side of the River) from Motorcycle Diaries. More on that story later.

His current tour coincides with the release of his most recent album, 12 Segundos de Oscuridad (12 Seconds of Darkness) - already a best seller in Europe - whose title song was inspired by a lighthouse in a small town on Uruguay’s Cape Polonio where he had retreated to escape the demands of post-Oscar success and the break-up of his marriage. 12 Seconds refers to the darkness between beams of light needed for sailors to navigate, and in our lives the need to have darkness between light, to have patience rather than attempt to escape uncertainty, doubt and restlessness as we look for our path.

For our evening, Jorge sang accompanied only by his guitar and yes, believe it or not, his laptop computer. Amazing what these techno-pop artists can do. He talked with the crowd between songs explaining, for example, the meaning behind Hermana Duda (Sister Doubt), that doubt can be better than self-confidence as it leaves the mind more open.

Midway through the evening he set down his guitar and explained his next song would be a capella, that one evening about two years ago and one and a half hours north of San Diego he sang this song a capella - no mention that this was the Oscars night - and, finding he liked the song better this way, he has sung it only a capella since.

The song was Al Otro Lado del Rio, the Academy Award winner, and we all knew the story behind the a capella. Although acclaimed in Europe and South America, Jorge Drexler was an unknown in the US when the song, composed and sung in the movie by Drexler, was nominated for an Oscar in 2005. With Drexler an unknown, Antonio Banderas and Carlos Santana were asked to perform Al Otro Lado del Rio amid protest and petitions from the Latin music industry. Gael Garcia Bernal, who played young Che Guavara in the movie, stayed away from the ceremonies in protest. Jorge handled the snub with graciousness, but when his name was called as the Oscar winner he used his ninety seconds to sing verses of the song a capella. Continuing to sing this song, his most famous, a capella has been his protest.

With men such as Jorge Drexler in the world, I think I could change my Men Like War thought to Most Men Like War.

Videos of four songs from the most recent albums, Eco and 12 Segundos de Oscuridad, can be watched at his official web site

Monday, March 12, 2007

Haikus from Kelly

I'm cleaning my office at home today. It's quite a project - I started yesterday and got so involved that I had to ask Pennie if I could take today off to finish!

What usually takes me so long is all the distractions..."I'd forgotten all about this!" or "Wasn't she cute?" or "Hm, wonder what I can use this for now". The treasures I found today are below, written originally by Kelly back in 2004 when she was a senior at Bishop England.

worker bees lay their nests
they work all day
and come home to crazy kids

dogs are super cool
they come in all forms
Kel really wants one today

Mustangs are even cooler
yes, they sure are
please get one for Kelly

Poor kid. She's still waiting for the dog and the Mustang. Hopefully, the crazy kids never materialize (kids - yes, crazy ones - no).

Beer haiku blog

Clicking on the links to blogs other people list in their sidebars usually lands me on something fun. I think I got to this one indirectly from Janet's blog.

The haikus are cute, even if they are about beer (ick - I can't stand the taste of it)! Some of them are even Kelly-quality.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

A class in the "Causes and Prevention of War"?

Ever dreamed of taking classes at MIT? You can, for free, online. Well, not for credit, of course, but by the end of this year, the contents of all 1800 of MIT's classes will be online. I was particularly intrigued by the handout for "Causes and Prevention of War". (You and I would like this class, Kath.)

Go here to see the courses that are available. From the Astronomy link, I found this very cool site - Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Isn't the Internet amazing?

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Deal Me In

Kelly was tagged by Sonnjea to do an iPod shuffle kind of game. Interestingly, neither of them has an iPod. (Kelly does have a fake iPod that I bought for her last birthday, but it only holds 60 songs. How was I to know 60 songs wouldn't be enough?)

In fact, the only person that I know who has an iPod is Kathie, and she doesn't have a clue how to do an iPod shuffle. Go figure.

Now Kelly has suggested I do an iPod shuffle and I guess if Kelly and Sonnjea can fake it, I can too. So here's my imaginary iPod shuffle playlist:

You're No Good - Linda Ronstadt
Mandolin Wind - Rod Stewart
Sultans of Swing - Dire Straits
When Doves Cry - Prince, formerly known as The Artist Formerly Known as Prince
Gimme Shelter - Rolling Stones
Wah Wah - George Harrison
I'm Just a Singer in a Rock and Roll Band - Moody Blues
Suffragette City - David Bowie
Streets of Philadelphia - Bruce Springsteen
Wicked Game - Chris Isaak

Weird evening, this. After work, while walking out to the mailbox I noticed a quarter on the ground. Usually I find pennies.

Shortly after, I found a $20 bill hanging out of a Wachovia ATM. (I gotta call Wachovia tomorrow and turn it in or my karma'll go right down the toilet. A quarter's one thing, but a twenty? I'm not messing with that one.)

Then the nice server at Andolini's gave me a drink for free. Whoo hoo! Where's the roulette wheel when we need one, Kath?

Saturday, March 03, 2007

It's that Girl Scout cookies time of year again

Heather and Sonnjea (and one other blogger I can't remember) wrote recently about Girl Scout cookies. I have to admit I had a run-in with a box of Samoas last week. It was a short-lived run-in - the Samoas lasted almost a day on my desk, with me eating most of them of course. :{

Speaking of sweets...this recipe, adapted from Recipe Goldmine, was served at our hospital board's retreat last weekend. I hear it's to die for. Someone cook it up for me, ok?

Blueberry Cream French Toast Casserole (serves 8)
1 loaf challah, cut into cubes (or Texas toast or egg bread)
8 ounces cream cheese, slightly softened and cut into cubes
1½ cups fresh blueberries, tossed lightly with flour (I'm told the flour tossing is optional)
8 large eggs
1½ cups milk
¾ cup maple syrup
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Coat a 13”x9”x2” baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Layer one half of the bread cubes in the baking dish. Scatter the cream cheese cubes over the bread and cover with the blueberries, then cover the blueberries with the remaining bread. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon.

Mix the remaining ingredients and pour over the bread. Press the bread with a spatula to help soak up the mixture. Cover and refrigerate overnight, then bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes.

Call me when you've got it ready and I'll come right over!