Wednesday, August 30

California here I come!

Due to a highly anticipated road trip, I've been perusing books and sites featuring California history. Here are a few fun sites I've come across:

Women of the Gold Rush

Ghost Towns
Haunted California

And places I still need to visit:
Winchester Mystery House
I mean, come on! I gotta get a picture here, right?
Roadside attractions, oh my!
More road trips. Yea!

Monday, August 28

So cool yet completely unnerving

Type in your address here and check out the value of your home. (Note: values are about a year or so out of date but still fun to check out). Click "see home details" for a satellite bird's eye view of your home and neighborhood.

Click here for a look at "famous homes".

It's super-cool, but I can't help but think this might come in handy for "the bad guys" as W would say. Sorta creepy huh?

What sign are you?

This is, by far, my favorite horoscope.

Thank God I'm not a Gemini.


Sunday, August 27

Best print ad EVER!

After my last post, I intended to write something upbeat and light to counter that yucky picture. The LA Times has foiled my plan. I don't want this to become a dark blog but, dammit, I could resist mentioning the following:

If you've grown up in So Cal, then odds are, you've heard of the Black Dahlia. If you haven't, I can tell you it's one of the most notorious and ghoulish unsolved murders in LA history. I won't go into the details but, if you're interested, there's plenty of 'em out there online.

This morning, I opened the LA Times to find the all time best print ad ever. The LA Times dipped into their archives and reprinted some of their stories about the case to promote the upcoming Brian DePalma film. You can bet I'll be reading every line. I know Betty was no saint but... poor Betty.

Saturday, August 26

More nature than I can stomach

-20 minutes ago-

Mom (from the kitchen): God dammit!
Me (to Dad): Ooh! You're in trou-ble!
Dad: What?!
Mom: What is this in the freezer?!
Dad: It's a sandpiper.
Me: (Whispering) You can count on a "God Dammit!" when you leave dead birds in the freezer.
Dad: *sigh*

Maybe I should explain. My Dad is a birder, that's an extreme bird watcher to you and me. He has been into bird watching for about 45 years. Dad has many friends in scientific fields including a friend at the Museum of Natural science. When he finds a good specimen (aka: a dead bird in good shape that has, apparently, died of natural causes) he freezes it and gives it to his friend for study. This same friend used to be a Professor at my college. I think the biggest fight I ever got into with my Dad was when he wanted me to carry a frozen Cooper's hawk, in my back pack, to school, to give to his friend. I refused. He couldn't understand what my problem was. Needless to say, it was just too gross.

Once, when my parents were first married, my mom was looking through the fridge for a sweet treat and found a promising looking packet of something in foil. She carefully opened it, hoping to find some chocolate cake, and instead found a dead bird staring back at her. She, naturally, screamed and dropped the bird in horror thinking she'd married a maniac. The verdict is still out on that count. She calls it her "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane" moment. We've, sadly, become accustomed to finding frozen birds next to our Lean Cuisine meals. The upside is that it's a great appetite suppressant.

Where the Wild Things Are

Last night I was at a friends house when I got a call from mom. She was calling to say, as if the bear incident last weekend wasn't enough, my dad had noticed movement out on the back patio. The same patio I had been standing grilling chicken on 45 minutes earlier. Dad went out to investigate what was making the plants move and discovered a 4 foot long rattle snake. Being the nature lover that he is, dad chose to not harm the snake and just move him. He did so by taking the hose and washing him into the lower yard.

About 30 minutes later mom and dad were still talking about the snake when a fox casually trotted by to take a sip of water we have out for the birds.

What is going on?! I've seen all of these critters in and around the yard before. I've seen rabid coyotes, dying buck, deer dining on our acorns as well as extremely healthy mountain lions, raccoons, opossum and skunks. I've seen 'em all, but never so much action in one week.

As promised, here are pix of the bear prints left on our wall. If I have a chance, I'll take a picture of the dinosaur that is bound to show up this afternoon.

Thursday, August 24

My genius mom

So, we've seen:
Frontier House
1900 House
Manor House
and Texas Ranch House

Well, dear ol' mom has a great concept for a new reality show:

Donner Party House (or Donner House Party!)

Now that's must see tv!

Wednesday, August 23

Is it over yet?

Fall happens to be my favorite season and it can never get here fast enough. Late August is typically when I really start to jones for autumn. Here are a few ways I'm preparing to ring in the new season (and maybe even imagine it's already here):

  • Started having hot tea and one of these every morning, in lieu of my yogurt & berries
  • Searching for new soup recipes. My favorite is butternut squash!
  • Looking for new crafty ways to spend those (hopefully) rainy afternoons. (I just might do this one...don't make me!)
  • Compiling a reading list (one that I will never complete but, because I enjoy the list-making process so much, it really doesn't matter).
  • Looking for new cool weather clothes/shoes
  • Checking out ideas for an evening class. I almost miss the back-to-school action.
  • Deciding which movies are my Must Sees
  • Checking in here every so often to see if it will ever rain again in my neighborhood.
  • I'm not necessarily a big football fan, but I do like to hear these guys doing their thing, in the background, as I do much of the above.
  • And, of course, there are some MAJOR decisions to be made.

What are you doing to get ready for Fall?

Monday, August 21

Grease is the word!

I had a great weekend. I got to catch up on my sleep and that always makes me happy. Best of all, I went to a Grease Sing-a-long with a fun group who were actually willing to sing. I also discovered my gay husband knows every "Rama-lama-ding-dong" in "We go Together"! I mean really, who knows that for God's sake?! Even with the words spelled out on screen I can't sing it all. Needless to say, I was terribly impressed. Equally impressive was Shandon's niece quoting Seinfeld ("But I don't want to be a pirate!") for our pre-show entertainment.

The time really flew by. I highly recommend getting friends together for a sing-a-long as often as you can stand. Shandon suggested Saturday Night Fever as a potential sing-a-long. While not technically a musical, we all know those songs so I like the idea. Sing-a-long organizers, take note!

Because the event was at The Egyptian, on Hollywood Blvd., we couldn't resist a stop at a famous souvenir shop. How depressing it turned out to be! I did, however, enjoy the fake ID card I found for Vito Corleone. It listed his stats as follows: "Height: Short, Weight: Stalky, Eyes: Cold". I should have bought it just to put up here. Oh well.

Whenever I go to Hollywood I end up feeling so bad for the tourists there. I hate that they go home thinking they've seen California after an afternoon looking down at the "Walk of Fame" and fitting their hands into the prints in front of the Chinese theater. (Not to be a germphobe but can you imagine the yuck on those handprints?! It's an alarming thought.) Contrary to the disturbing news that Erik Estrada is slated to receive a star on the walk of fame, Hollywood, and So Cal in general, actually have many cultural and historic sites to visit. Hollywood, in particular, has a fascinating history but, like so many other famous destinations, the history is lost in the hub bub. *sigh* I can't help but look at the out-of-towners and think "Oh dear, you had some money to spend on a nice trip and you came here?" Of course, the area is getting a decent makeover. It will inevitably end up being a generic Times Square sort of re-do, but a clean up is definitely in order.

Another thought: I wonder how many tourists the Scientologists nab by having such primo real estate in two locations on Hollywood Blvd.? Do you think they landed there looking for runaways or something? Maybe they figured it was sin central down there and they could help? Hmmm, I wonder how/when they got that land and why? Does anyone out there know the fun facts here? (By the way, if my blog suddenly disappears or is know who to blame!)

In the interest of fair and balanced blogging, I give you the anti-Sceintology site.

Oh oh!! Speaking of "religion", have I ever mentioned this fun site? It takes about 15 mintes to take the quiz. You will probably not be terribly surprised by the results, but it's a good time anyway. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 19

Holy shit!

The police department just called and said "We're calling to let you know there is a bear in your front yard. Thank you for staying indoors."

A minute later Dad then yelled "Holly shit he's in the pool!" He was apparently relaxing on the steps of the pool with his arms up on the pavement just leaning back. He might as well have a beer in his paw! He heard the yelling and ran...

He is RIGHT NOW on the side of the yard and I can now hear him rattling the gate.

*minutes later*

The cops have told us the bear's cub is up in our oak tree. He is most likely a she. I assume she will be hanging around as long as the cub sticks around.

We had a similar situation a couple of years ago. The neighbor ran over and said "There's a bear in your back yard!" My mother promptly ran out back.

I'm sad to report my dad had the same reaction. I had to yell at him to stay indoors.

How did I come from two obvious maniacs?!

*minutes later*

I just saw her. HOLY SHIT is right. She's HUGE!

I hear a fire engine. Why would they be sending fire engines with alarms?

Gotta run... Will update later. I can still hear her pacing around trying to figure out how to get back to her cub. God, it's just like Grizzly Man...


The cops pulled away from our house and appeared to be waiting for mama bear to reappear for her cub. There was then some commotion and we heard the cops call out "Is she still in the pool?" We invited them in the house and told them that she seemed to be out back trying to get back to the cub. Dad then suggested they just leave the bears alone. They're up here all the time and leave as soon as people show up. Dad was right. Then the cops went out back, Dad turned the lights on for them. They took one look at the yard and commented "Hey, I think I've been here before looking for bears." Hmm, that's comforting, especially since nobody has ever mentioned this to us. Whatever. They told us they had watched the bear hop our neighbor's gate then jump into our back yard. Guess, she decided to take a quick dip before going back for her cub. They apparently leave cubs up trees to protect them. Still, not much of a mom if you ask me. They then told us they saw one run away. They weren't sure if it was the cub or mama bear. Either way, I hope the late night walkers are ok out there.

The cops left with their tranq guns and I don't hear the bear anymore. Never did see the fire engines so I'm not sure what that was all about.

Lessons learned:
  • Having a bear look right at you through plate glass is unnerving.
  • Hearing a bear outside your window while you're blogging is just as bad.
  • Bears are beautiful but BIG and not an animal I care to get to know much better.
I won't be playing these tonight but perhaps you'd like to take a listen.

Crafty Inspiration

Before the Great Bear Incident of Summer '06, I was happily working on this blog. Now that the bear has had her picnic and left, here is the finished blog:

As mentioned, I've been snooping around online looking for inspiration and future project ideas. So far, I've decided I'd like to give the following a try:
Folks are making cool stuff out there!! The blogs on alone are very inspiring. The only problem is that there seem to be so many crafts and so little time.

Here are some other fun sites I found:

Laying Low

I spent the day "puttering around the house" as mom would say. I got up early and did lots of laundry, tossed a bunch of magazines, cruised around online for more craft inspiration and discovered a new favorite show: Feasting on Asphalt.

I've always dreamed of driving cross country but have, so far, lacked the time and money. I will do it before I die though. This show does it just right, with four rules:
  • There will be no travel on major interstates
  • There will be no eating at major chain restaurants
  • If they can’t locate food or lodging, they will fend for themselves via camping, and most importantly
  • There will be no whining
Alton Brown, and friends, spend a month riding cross country interviewing locals and sampling "road side" favorites. As is his style, Alton does lots of research and explains myths, traditions and how this stuff came into being. I like cooking shows as well as travel shows so this is a fun way enjoy both. Check it out.

Friday, August 18

Eww, eww, ewwwwwwww!

Well I'm awake now! I've been happily poking around online for crafty inspiration and stumbled upon someone who is making felt from her cat's hair. EWWWWWW!!! I think I'm scarred for life.

Have I mentioned my profound dislike of cats? I'm allergic to them and my last boyfriend had FOUR cats when we met. Ultimately it a was a deal breaker. Let's just say I wasn't impressed.

Pardon me now while I go get sick...

Good to be home

I forgot my camera but I did take a couple of shots with my phone. One is flying out of New York and the other is from my seat at lunch yesterday. We went to a place called BLT that I plan to visit again. The silhouettes belong to my co-workers. That "wall" behind them was open to the street. Because we had such beautiful weather (mid 80's, no humidity) I loved the open air table we were seated at. I mostly like this shot because it shows the perpetual scaffolding that is everywhere in NYC.

Today's flight was MUCH better than my last. I requested a seat in the back. I know, shocking right? I'm not sure if there is some unfortunate Rosa Parks association but, for some reason, the seats in the back of the plane are the last to fill up. I don't happen to mind the back of the plane. My attitude was rewarded with an empty row of seats all to myself. Yea! The only hiccup came as we were landing. I looked out the window and noticed about a dozen fire engine's with red lights flashing lined up on the tarmac. I don't think I've ever had that kind of welcome before and frankly it alarmed me. I later found out some nitwits had smuggled beverages on an outgoing flight. Said nitwits were apparently discovered on the runway and the plane was promptly turned around for inspection. How mad would you be if your flight was delayed two hours because of some idiots caffeine addiction?!

So, now I'm home and completely exhausted. I'm trying to stay up until at least 9:30. Its gonna be tough!

Thursday, August 17

Spam, Spam, Spam, Spam Spaaaaaaaam!

I just saw Spamalot and holy crap is that one funny show! Trooper and Shandon, you MUST see it when it flies into town. It is, naturally, completely absurd and silly so you can't help but laugh your butt off. It's pretty much everyone's favorite scenes and songs from Monty Python's The Holy Grail and Life of Brian all strung together. It's sort of like a musical "Monty Python's Greatest Hits" with lots of fun new songs. I loved it!

Had a great day otherwise as well. Had a fun breakfast (egg white/vegetable frittata...amazing) with a client then got back to my room long enough to check emails and get a call from a co-worker telling me to meet everyone down the street for lunch. Ok! No problem here! I then had a fantastic lunch (Lobster salad). (What is it with these New Yorkers? They really know how to eat. I've yet to taste one bad bite here. Amazing!) We then rushed over a few blocks to set up for a big fat meeting that has plagued us for the past two weeks. It went very well and seems to have been worth the effort. We packed up all of our stuff and slapped Fed Ex slips on everything with 10 minutes to spare to change clothes and brush teeth for dinner and the show. Phew! It's been a busy day but one I'd relive any time. Great time.

I still love NY but it's time to come home. Wish me luck at the airport security lines!

Wednesday, August 16

A New York Minute

Today I stepped into the cleanest cab in NYC with perhaps that best looking cabbie ever. What the hell?! I'm always so fascinated with these guys because they are inevitably immigrants and I figure they must have a great story to tell. I always ask lots of questions. Today's hottie was from Egypt and he was beautiful. (Trust me when I tell you this is highly unusual. The hottie aspect, not necessarily the Egyptian part.) I asked why he came to the US. He said "For a better life". He explained that he has been here for eight years but that he goes back to Egypt every three months. He says he's been able to make enough money to buy a new car and a new house in Cairo. He had recently married but said his wife didn't want to move here. She is convinced that life would be difficult in the US if/when another "bad thing" happens here. I told him I was sorry she felt that way but that I understood. We talked about current events and how upsetting it all is. Let's just say he was not impressed with Bush. He did, however, say he always goes back and tells everyone that Americans aren't what they think. I thanked him for sticking up for us.

Yesterday, I hopped in a cab with a nice man from Africa. I noticed he had a pair of well worn baby sneakers hanging from his rear view mirror. I'm in the habit of making up stories about strangers. I'd made up several about the shoes when I finally couldn't take it anymore. As I was stepping out of the cab I asked "Who's shoes are those?" The cabbie beamed and said "My little boy's." He went on to say "He's going to be six years old this weekend. He wants to go to Chuckie Cheese." I gave him and extra big tip and told him to have fun with his birthday boy. I don't know when I last saw a man light up like that when he spoke of his child. It was so sweet.

These are my favorite moments in New York. I don't know of anywhere else in the US where it seems every country on earth is represented. Due to the age of the place, I also find myself wondering about the man who built the fabulous stone wall I pass in Central Park or the craftsman who worked on that amazing awning or brownstone. I love it. Now I just need to take the time to write down some of the stories I make up. This place is a writer's paradise. No wonder so many flock here.

Tuesday, August 15

Why, oh why, oh Wyatt?

I've met the devil and his name is Wyatt. He is two years old and he sat behind me from LA to New York.

I had high hopes of this elusive sleep thing, I hear can happen on planes, but Wyatt had other plans. He kicked my seat the entire flight except the 1 hour he slept. He was also fond of screaming and crying as though he were being stabbed. Don't get me wrong, I don't expect two-year-olds to be still and quiet for 5 hours, but when, after 45 minutes of the kicking, I turned to his parents and said "He's kicking my chair", I was surprised by their reaction. I hated to state the obvious but they seemed truly oblivious to their up and coming little kick boxer. I should also note that I said it as sympathetically as humanly possible. Dad responded with "There's nothing I can do." Mom nodded in agreement. I was stunned. I will never understand parents who don't even consider correcting their children. Actually, I don't blame Wyatt, how is he supposed to know kicking chairs for hours on end is annoying? His parents never corrected him, never uttered a "Shh" a "stop kicing" or a even a "quiet please"...nothing. It was unbelievable! All I ask parents is to at least try to explain how to be considerate when the frequent opportunites arise. I wish I could time travel/fast forward and watch them struggle with 17 year old, punk ass Wyatt. I'd like to take this time to thank those idiots for putting yet another inconsiderate human being into our world.

The good news is that I'm now in my hotel room and feeling much better. I didn't sleep much last night because I put off the packing process to make time to put fun new stuff on my iPod. I paid the price today. I am SO tired. I'm now waiting for room service (Turkey Burger... yum!). I then plan to take a hot shower (this room is freezing) and sleep the sleep of angels.

Greetings from New York!

Monday, August 14

Generation whuuuhhhhhht?

One of our Assistants has decided it's entirely appropriate to work with her iPod on at all times. When did this become acceptable? She happens to do a LOT of copying for us, so I understand standing at a copier for an hour a day might be a situation improved upon by enjoying an iPod. I do not understand why it needs to be attached to her skull the remaining hours of her work day.

First, it was people talking on cell phones during movies, now this? What's going on? Oh, and yesterday while in a Mac Store two kids on skateboards came zooming in and were speaking SO LOUDLY I eventually said "Why are we yelling?!" They were too self involved to hear me. The friend who happened to be with me deadpanned "Invest in hearing aids. That generation is screwed."

Sunday, August 13

Sunday: Goofing around online

Most people who know me, know me as proud a wing-nut liberal. God knows these past 6 years have been rough on those like me. Today, I rediscovered a site that, on one hand, angered me but also helped me laugh at some of what's been going on. Laughing has become quite an effective defense mechanism since Dubya and team took office. Here are a few moments I told people about but some of you may have missed:

Mr. Cheney
(I saw this live and wish I could thank this guy personally. Wherever you are Mr. Man, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for saying what I had been shouting at the television during those terrible days.)
Why can't journalists behave like this more often?

And here is one I heard of, but never saw until today:
Take that! So great..

And, of course, here are a few of the recent moments that have made us all so damn proud:
Frat Boy

Here are some of the remarkable videos being uploaded from soldiers. They include touching tributes to friends lost as well as some pieces that offer a soldiers POV. I can't help but think what past wars would look like now had those soldiers had digital video cameras.

And on a lighter note:

Take a look at this one-take wonder from an Iraqi war zone. I guess this could be considered evidence of what they say about war; that it's 95% wait-and-see-time and 5% crap-your-pants time. I can't even begin to imagine the planning and rehearsing that went into this. But hey, if it makes you happy and helps pass the time, more power to ya boys!!! Unfortunately, I fear this is the only "war" footage our buddies in the White House have shown Dubya...which, of course, might explain his optimism about how things are going in Iraq. (This is what it is, apparently, goofing on.)

God bless America and the internet.

*stepping off soap box now.*

Gangsta Granny?

It's official, I'm not yet a granny! I didn't get sleepy 'til around 10:30 pm, and that was with cocktails in me. Drinking usually makes me sleepy so I did quite well. Actually, I did better than well, I won the whole pot at Girl's Poker Night! Woo hoo!!!

Our cocktail was The Penny. It's named after a friend of the hostess and I believe it should be sweeping the nation. The Penny is Bacardi Limon, cranberry juice and a splash of 7-up. It's delightful!

When we first arrived, our hostess whipped out a crazy looking aluminum case (shown above). I took one look and, in horror, said "Oh no, you're not gonna play jazz flute are you?!" Thank God it was only a poker chip case. Hey, it was my first poker night. Leamee alone!!

There was much drinking and trash talk for a bunch of rookie players. Our hostess was extraordinarily patient with us but I'd be surprised if she could take another evening like that. More than once she had to shout "Ladies! It's just a game!!"

Lessons learned from our first Girl's Poker Night:
  • You can talk drunk people into playing ridiculous hands.
  • The Penny rocks!
  • Luck is fun!
  • Lauren Hill sounds good after so many years.
  • Red Vines make fun straws for champagne
And my favorite line of the night: "Ok ladies, I'm taking Betty Ford home now."

Saturday, August 12

Get down, Granny!

My race to granny-dom continues but the transition is not complete. Today, after lunch with my gay husband (my good friend who is not my husband but happens to be gay), I was handed a long awaited mix CD. I asked him to make a mix for me to work out to. People, I'm here to tell you that if you need an energetic mix, go to your gay husband. Those boys can really throw it down! I listened to the CD on the way home and had a blast. Here's the granny part, on the way home I stopped at both a cross stitch and a quilting store. I tore into the quilting store parking lot with Madonna's "Sorry" blasting. I'm pretty sure I'm the first person to ever "tear" into that parking lot playing anything much less a Madonna remix. I don't care who you are or what music you like, you simply must shake your hips and bob your head when that song is playing. If you happened to be on any So Cal freeway today and saw a woman shaking, bobbing and waving her hands around shouting "WOOOOOOOO!", that was me.

It's a bipolar experience to go from expecting leather clad male dancers and a descending disco ball to magically appear in your car to the silence of a granny meeting place like a quilting store. They are possibly the kindest shop keepers on earth but remixes are not known in them thar parts. They will soon though, I suspect they all have gay husbands but just don't know it yet. In fact, there is one male sales clerk in that store who makes my gaydar fly off the chart whenever I see him. I mean come on, it's a quilting shop for God's sake.

Tonight I'm going to Girl's Poker Night. We'll know how deep I've sunk into the Granny pool soon. If I'm too tired to continure after 9:00 pm, I'll know the damage has been done and if I need this yet.

Friday, August 11

Chatty Cathy hits 100

According to, this is my 100th post. Wow, that was fast. Somebody tell me to shut up already! I won't, but you can always ask.

I'd like to dedicate #100 to my still-fun high school classmates I had dinner with last night. It's amazing that so much time can pass but the good ones stay the same in all the right ways. Together we are married, single, conservative, liberal, educated, funny, well traveled, out-of-staters and we still manage to have a blast together. I chalk it up to knowing what everyone at the table looked like in braces, feathered hair and terrible fashion. How embarrassing!

Most of us went our separate ways after high school and lost track of each other. We re-connected for our last reunion and have stayed in touch ever since. We all agree that our small get togethers are MUCH more fun than the official reunions. It looks like we'll be getting together once a year now. Yea!! About 6 of the local girls get together for dinner once a month. It's another grand tradition that I highly recommend.

And speaking of old friends, today is Katherine Hepburn day on TCM. You still have a chance to watch/Tivo Long Day's Journey Into Night if you hurry.

Tuesday, August 8

Lighten up, Francis

I work with a Project Manager who tends to get a little "sweaty" about everything she works on. In fact, she's pretty damn rude at every opportunity. Well, she is currently working on a big meeting that is apparently over booked. A recent email exchange went something like this:

Colleague: I need one more spot for the client.
Sweaty: Why do they need an additional spot? We're over booked as it is.
C: It's for an interpreter.
S: Why do they need an interpreter? They should have thought of this when they RSVP'd. They didn't need an interpreter last year.
C: It's for their deaf intern.
S: ...
C: ...
S: Ok, I'll make room.

I love it!!! This is a person who assumes every person who calls/approaches her is going to be a pain in the ass. Last week, I gave some samples to her entire group as a thank you. Everyone was very appreciative. When I got to her door I could see she was on the phone. She looked at me and said "What?!" I held up the gift and said "I just wanted to thank you for all of your hard work." HA! Take that crabby pants!!!

And speaking of crabby, here's my new favorite crabby site.

Monday, August 7

Lawd have mercy!

So, I've noticed Little Miss is channeling Hattie McDaniel. Well, really a combination of Hattie McDaniel and Sally O'Malley (Molly Shannon's SNL character who claims "I like to kick...and I'm 50!") Lately she's been answering questions in a sort of low gruff tone with a southern twang. It's bizarre.

While cleaning up before departing yesterday I heard my sis-in-law say "Where's Fight Puppy"? Fight Puppy?! What the hell is "Fight Puppy"? "Does she have some sort of plush fight club going on in her pink palace of a bedroom?" I asked. She just shrugged and said "I don't know, that's just what she calls him". I later asked Little Miss why she called her adorable stuffed dog "Fight Puppy" and with that Hattie/Sally accent she replied "'Cause he's my pup!" I really wish I could provide a recording here because it's not to be believed. The kid is four years old. I asked her brother who she was imitating. He too, just shrugged and said "That's just her. She's weird." Well said little man, well said.

Saturday, August 5


Maybe I'm not becoming a shut-in granny. Maybe I'm just becoming more zen. "Shut in" is funnier but "zen" sounds mature in all the right ways. Yeah, I think Ill go with "zen".

Best kick off to a weekend ever

I've had an incredibly hectic week. I worked hard and all, but sheesh was this an annoying week. I was supposed to go to an after work party but I was just too beat. I decided to get a jump on traffic and just head on home.

When I eventually got home, I had a little dinner and sat down to watch (well, really listen) to some tv and work on my latest cross stitch project. I know, I know..."what up granny"? Hey, I am what I am.

I flipped through the shows/movies my Tivo had recorded and settled on To Kill a Mockingbird. I love this movie. It's one of those that I'll pretty much watch whenever it's on. I love it's gently profound story and pace. It always leaves me wanting to be a better person and, of course, hoping to settle down with Atticus Finch. It also has an incredibly calming effect on me. More specifically, I think Gregory Peck has a calming effect on me.

Next, I flipped to Bill Moyers on Faith and Reason. Have you seen it? It's a wonderfully thought provoking set of interviews. Tonight Mr. Moyers spoke with Pema Chodron. Wow! Now that's one cool buddhist nun. If you have a chance to catch this chat you really should. ( I also loved the talk with Margaret Atwood.) Again, I was left wanting to be a better person and maybe even a bit more patient and *gasp* even less annoyed all of the time. Granted, I'm a long way off but it's a nice thought.

Now I'm listening to Lyle Lovett on Austin City Limits and life is good.

I'm looking forward to a great weekend. Hope you have one too!

Friday, August 4

Your father's a Communist

With all the Fidel Castro news these days it's reminding me of my dad's trip to Cuba. Yes, he went to Cuba and yes it was legal. Americans are allowed to visit Cuba under one of two purposes: for humanitarian or sceinentific reasons. My dad went for sceinentific reasons. The US let him go if he returned with what I called "the boondoggle book report". He genuinely did research but his dream trip was "all expenses paid" because he led the trip of other researchers/scientists (thus the "Boondoggle" title). I never read his report but I suppose I should some day. Anyway, Dad got to see the Bay of Pigs and the cave that Che Guevara hunkered down in. Pretty cool stuff if you ask me. Unfortunately, daddio isn't big on touristy pictures. He came back with mostly wildlife pix with very few sites or people in them...BOR-ING! He did come back with one picture I LOVE. It's my dad with his arm around and ancient, woman cigar maker. They are each smoking freshly rolled cigars with expressions of bliss on their faces.

He loved Cuba and swears the place will be party central once embargos are dropped. He fell in love with the people and says the architecture is stunning. His exact words were "Someone just needs to dock a tanker of paint and resurface everything and it's good as new!" He also mentioned what everyone else speaks of; the absolute feeling of time having stopped there in the 60's and what a bizarre feeling that is. He said Cuban music fills the air and you just sit back, smoke a cigar and enjoy the incredible people.

I, being a selfish wench, REALLY wanted souvenirs. Dad pointed out that they don't have much there and nothing is wasted so there's not much in the way of Cuban chochtkies. Dammit! He did mention a flea market with some "cool stuff" but, alas, he brought none of it home for yours truly. Curses!!! I'm doing my best to train him to "think of me" when he's in these exotic locales. So far I've had little luck.

When Dad got back from his trip, I called to make sure he had made it home safely. My Mom answered the phone with "WELL, your father's a Communist!". I could hear dad in the background yelling "I AM NOT!". I asked what happened and mom said "I don't know but suddenly your dad likes the idea." Dad wrestled the phone from my giggling mother and said "Look, all I said was that Communism works in a new country for about the first three months. It helps get things organized. Then human nature and takes over and Capitalism takes the lead." He was also impressed with the Cuban literacy rate. It was apparently very low when Castro took over, and is now about 99%. I see his point. My only problem now is that every time I see or hear of Fidel I think "WELL, your father's a Communist!"

My favorite euphemism, in regards to Castro, is the US governments stance of waiting for the "biological solution" to Castro. In other words "We'll just wait for the old guy to die." How's that for throwing in the towel?