Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas 2009

Wow, hard to believe another Christmas has come and gone. I've been thinking that this has been the best Christmas yet, and I haven't received one single present (OK, from my friend KD in Arizona). Lots and lots of time visiting family (all 3 sides) from baking with all the kiddlings in the family to sharing Christmas Day brunch with youngest brother and Christmas dinner with middle brother.

Here's to hoping that you and yours (lightly included) have a wonderful holiday season, or, what's left of it.


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Cooking with Mario Batali

Three times this week, I've dreamed I've been cooking with Mario Batali. There I am in my Chef whites and orange Crocs -but thankfully not in shorts- chopping, dicing, and mincing alongside Mario in the Iron Chef kitchen.

In this latest dream however, I'm grousing about how much I hate chopping, dicing, and mincing. I tell him I'm more of a folding, whipping, and beating kinda gal (as in baking techniques, so get your mind out of the gutter!) He starts lecturing me about how all great Chefs start out doing menial tasks like washing dishes and peeling potatoes and how sometimes we have to do things we will not understand until much later. Pretty wise words from a culinary school dropout who believes that shorts are acceptable attire every day of the year.

But the whole exchange reminded me of the conversation between Daniel-san and Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid:

[Miyagi returns from fishing as Daniel is painting the house] Oh, miss spot.
Daniel: What spot? Hey, how come you didn't tell me you were goin' fishing?
Miyagi: You not here when I go.
Daniel: Well, maybe I wanted to go, you ever think of that?
Miyagi: You karate training.
Daniel: I'm what? I'm bein' your goddamn slave is what I'm bein' here man, now c'mon we made a deal here!
Miyagi: So?
Daniel: So? So, you're supposed to teach and I'm supposed to learn! For 4 days I've been bustin' my ass, and haven't learned a goddamn thing!
Miyagi: You learn plenty.
Daniel: I learn plenty, yeah, I learned how to sand your decks maybe. I washed your car, paint your house, paint your fence. I learn plenty!
Miyagi: Ah, not everything is as seems...

Even in my dream Mario was right: the basic skills (for anything in life) are the most important of all. But ultimately, Mr. Miyagi was right "Man who catch fly with chopsticks accomplish anything."

Friday, November 20, 2009

Pumpkin Shortage Announced

There is a Communist plot to destroy the holidays this year. First a shortage of Eggo waffles and NOW pumpkin puree. What in heaven's name will be next? Cranberries, miniature marshmallows, Campbell's cream of mushroom soup?

I'm going shopping TODAY and will buy every can of pumpkin puree on my grocery store shelf - yes, I have been reduced to hoarding, but Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie? SACRELIGIOUS!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Mammogram Study

I shouldn't be surprised, but this is a new low for the GOP.

Only women's issues hit the political circuit. Abortion, reproductive rights, birth control, and now mammograms are routinely attacked by a group comprised largely of men. Why are women always underrepresented in these matters?

Prostate exams show a remarkably similar efficiency and also carry the "risks" of stress, false positives, and unnecessary biopsies, yet there is no movement to deter men from getting examinations. And just to keep this topic gender neutral, last week I lost a 46 year old male friend to colon cancer, so it would seem logical (to me) that similar studies on the benefits of automatic colonoscopy at 40 is probably worthwhile but that will probably never happen. As usual, the GOP brings nothing to the table except fear mongering.

In this climate, when we are all paying attention to how we can decrease the cost of health care, the only conclusion I can come to is that it's economically motivated. Forty-nine states require insurers to cover screenings for women 40 and older. Medicare also pays for the procedure. So now, a federal committee of so-called medical experts recommends against routine mammograms for women in their 40s, saying it is not worth subjecting some patients to unnecessary biopsies, radiation and stress from false positives. HELLO, of course, there will be false-positives. It is the false-negatives that kill you!

Breast cancer runs in my family (both sides) and I’ve had yearly mammograms for years now. I’ve had to have repeat mammograms and an even an ultrasound because of “something suspicious.” Yes, it was very stressful and made me extremely anxious but finding out that it was a false alarm was so wonderful that it made up for the anxiety. I cannot imagine any woman thinking that it is worse to have stress and anxiety and a repeat mammogram or even a biopsy than delaying treatment for actual breast cancer.

Many on the Right are now screaming that this is prove positive for the Republican assertion that the Democrats' proposed health reforms would lead to reduced care for patients (aka ‘Rationing’). I’m thinking it’s more likely the task force has been swayed by insurance companies that stand to save money if fewer screenings are performed. Bottom line: we simply cannot continue to allow the insurance industry to continue to drive health-care decisions.

Republicans suddenly care about the health care of American Women? Right. When pigs fly!


This is just WRONG. I grew up watching "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" (the one voiced by Mickey Rooney and Bing Crosby) and one of the tenets of that show was that ALL of the letters written by children from all over the world were answered by the North Pole. Christmas is a time of wonder and joy and I have written my fair share of Letters to Santa over the years and was always thrilled beyond belief when I got my personal response from Santa (or one of his Elves). How can we as Americans allow the US Postal Service to continue to take away our culture and traditions just to save a little money? I mean COME ON, the government can bail out all kinds of big business and waste our tax dollars anyway they want but they can’t bail out Santa Claus?

USPS I hope you find lumps of coal in your Christmas stockings this year.

Leggo My Eggo!

OMG, two of the four plants that make Eggo waffles have had an "Interuption in production" (terrorists???) and it will take until the middle of 2010 -next summer- before shelves around the country can be fully restocked.

Now you can laugh, but this is serious!!! Forget about health care reform, the war on terror, the economy, etc., write your congressperson NOW and tell them to do whatever it takes to get those Eggo's back in the stores. The American way of life depends on it.

In order to help my fellow Americans get through this difficult time, here is my own recipe for homemade waffles - the only catch is that you have to have a waffle iron. I know, I know, it's not the frozen, tasteless cardboard you're all used to, but it'll do in this time of great despair.

ItMeCissy's Homemade Waffles
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oil or melted butter
1 3/4 cups milk
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat the waffle maker (spray with non-stick cooking spray).
Beat the eggs with a hand beater in a medium bowl until light and fluffy.
Beat in remaining waffle recipe ingredients, just until smooth (try not to over beat).
Pour batter from a cup or pitcher onto the center of the waffle maker.
Close lid and bake about 5 minutes or until the waffle maker stops steaming.
Serve immediately with lots of butter, maple syrup, fresh fruit, etc.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Minimum Tools Required:

waffle maker (non-stick preferred)
measuring cup and spoons
whisk or hand mixer
medium mixing bowl and spoon

Just doing my part to lessen your misery, somehow, we'll all get through this together.

Monday, November 09, 2009

When I Retire

Now that I am able to see the big 'R' in the light at the end of my tunnel, I find myself wondering what I'm going to do with my life after I retire. Mr. itsme and I have agreed that we want to travel. We've even started looking at travel trailers (since we do not fly) and the rest of my family all have RV's or trailers, so there'd be no shortage of people to "RV with," not that we'd always need them to RV with. I don't think we'll do the boat thing since it's often said that a boat is just a big black hole in the water you throw money into. A friend advises that the best way to have a boat is to have a friend that has a boat. That works for me.

Except for a summer working in retail sales (NO THANK YOU EVER AGAIN) libraries have been my life. Still, I don't want to retire from my University library to work again in a library, probably a public library, for less money. And probably for people less experienced than me. (Sounds snooty, I know). I have a comfortable, non-threatening look about me, kinda like a friendly-faced Golden Retriever without the lolling tongue and wagging tail, although I have been known to drool occasionally.

I love to bake, cook (I read cookbooks for pleasure), entertain, and make guests comfortable in my home (hmmm, sounds a little Geisha-like; alas, I'm over 21, too old to be a Geisha). I'm also the person who when in a store, any store, gets stopped by other shoppers and asked my opinion about which of these measuring cups is better (true story while in Ross Dress for Less) or while in the grocery store a man showed me a recipe he was trying for the first time and needed cannellini beans and did I know about them. Or what wine goes best with beef stew? Stuff like that.

My most recent true story was about 2 weeks ago. I was in the Le Creuset Outlet store looking for a new cork puller, and a man and his son came in looking for a particular kitchen gadget. The store clerk - a mere youngster - didn't know what he was talking about, and since I am also an avid eavesdropper, I excused my busybodyness and told him he needed a mandolin. He wanted to make long shreds of zucchini to substitute for pasta, and since I own two mandolins of my own and make a great sauteed zucchini dish using the same technique, I knew EXACTLY what he needed.
I even told the guy the best store to purchase his mandolin from (and it wasn't the store we were in). Note: I should give credit to Mr. itsme for the zucchini recipe since he was the first in our house to do this.

So, I've narrowed it down to working (part-time because I will be on the road a lot) to a kitchen gadget store like Williams Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, Home Goods, etc. (think of the discounts I'll get) or some kind of specialty food boutique like (I like the word boutique) Harry & David or Rocky Mountain Candy Factory, etc. I think I'd even like being a Food Demonstrator at Costco, at least I could dish (pun intended) with other members about food.

No, wait, I have another idea. I loved the movie 'You've got mail' (even though the grammar usage is horrible in that title), I'll be a Meg Ryan-type and have a bookstore like the "Little Shop Around the Corner" that gets run out of business by the big bad big box book store . . . oh, maybe that's a bad idea afterall.

Well, at least I still have a few years to nail it down.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy Dia de los Muertos!

We passed a local Catholic cemetery this afternoon and it was packed with cars and people. The whole place was alive with color and movement. Family members were sprucing up gravesites, decorating them with flowers - primarily large, bright flowers such as marigolds and chrysanthemums - setting out and enjoying a picnic, and interacting socially with other family and community members who were also gathered at the cemetery. The meals prepared for these picnics are sumptuous, usually featuring meat dishes in spicy sauces, cookies, chocolate, and sugary confections in a variety of animal or skull shapes, as well as a special egg-batter bread called “Pan de Muerto” (Bread of the Dead). Similar to the Mardi Gras’ King Cake, it is considered good luck to be the one who bites into the plastic toy skeleton hidden by the baker in each rounded loaf. It is also traditional to remember the departed by telling stories about them.

I took the time to remember my late older brother Ed who passed away 2 years ago today. Too young to die for sure, and still greatly missed by me. I also remembered my Mom who passed away 2 years ago this January to come. Some might consider 76 ‘young’ but she had been ill for so long and had suffered enough, it was a blessing that she died in her sleep as she had wished. This time of year was her favorite and I am just like her in that way.

If I could tell one story about each of them it would be these, first my brother: one Saturday, husband and I went to my brother’s house for dinner and just hanging out. They (husband & brother) decided to chop some wood for a fire. Pretty soon they came rushing into the house to say that Ed had to go to the ER right away. Husband drives him there. When the Dr asks my brother how so many splinters got embedded into his hand, he replies “we were chopping firewood,” and husband chimes in “with our hands.” Later, my SIL and I learned that a bottle of Jack Daniels was involved in the wood chopping.

For my Mom: she was an enthusiastic Grandmother. During high school, many moons ago, my oldest nephew Richard played the Lead in the school’s production of Cyrano (de Bergerac), huge, ugly nose and all. So while Cyrano is hiding in the bushes feeding words of love to Christian the Nobleman who in turn recites them to the lovely Roxane, Mom gets involved, and with tears in her eyes she unconsciously sobs “Oh Richard!” out loud. My nephew turns beat red and says “Grandma!!!!!!” and the entire audience roared.


Friday, October 09, 2009

Congratulations President Barack Obama

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize to President Obama.

And, of course, the Republican Party is furious.

"The real question Americans are asking is, 'What has President Obama actually accomplished?'" reads a statement from the Republican National Committee. "It is unfortunate that the president's star power has outshined tireless advocates who have made real achievements working towards peace and human rights. One thing is certain -- President Obama won't be receiving any awards from Americans for job creation, fiscal responsibility, or backing up rhetoric with concrete action."

Their conclusion: the Nobel Prize is more burden than benefit for the White House and he should turn the prize down. Our President wins motivation to seek world peace and Republicans jeer. Why am I not surprised? It's bad for the President of the United States of America to speak to our children and encourage them to stay in school and to set goals. It's good for America to lose an Olympic bid, so good in fact, that Republicans applaud and celebrate America's loss. It's bad for the world community to respect our President (Obama), but good for world community to despise our President (Bush). It's bad for everyone when the President of the United States is honored with the most historically prestigious award recognized by both America and our global neighbors.

The prize was awarded "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples;" a progressive holding of the meaning of "peace" if ever there ever was one. Even the Nobel Committee knew there would be criticism for their unanimous selection and stated “... this was primarily an award on his work on and commitment to nuclear disarmament – and his dialogue. Of course there will be criticism, because he hasn’t achieved his goals yet. It will take time, but this is a support.”

The Nobel Peace Prize is a tribute to the President but even more to our country, to all Americans. He was elected to office at a time when respect for this country was at an all-time low and went to work right away to restore our standing in the world. Any American who is not proud today is a Republican!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Today is My Birthday

The Benefits of Being 55 :
(read somewhere while surfing the net)

You realize that the age of 55 is young and not a near death experience.

You don't have to worry about body parts falling because they are already there.

You realize that worrying just takes away your precious time because it doesn't change anything.

You don't allow people to rent space in your head.

You realize that your weaknesses gave you your strengths.

You realize this is "me" time and I have the rest of my life to enjoy it.

You can see the distant horizon clearer than when you were in your twenties.

You can still think like a 25 yr old but now you can apply wisdom.

You understand knowledge is power.

You believe stronger than ever that beauty comes from within.

You can get more attention because the youngins think you need it.

You can use the excuse that you are tired and get away with it.

If you forget something, blame it on the age.

If you make mistakes, blame it on the age.

You realized that turning forty was actually young.

You realize that you are considered a "youngin" by those older than you.

You realize that Franklin Roosevelt had it right when he said "You have nothing to fear but fear itself."

You have the option in many companies and government agencies to retire from working if you chose (YES, today in fact).

You understand what "life is a journey, enjoy the ride" really means.

You search for something more meaningful than money.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

County Fairs

When I share with people that I am an avid supporter of County fairs, I usually get a puzzled look. To me, County fairs celebrate tradition and hardwork in a time when ‘instant gratification’ is a way of life. The Santa Cruz County Fair, in Watsonville, CA is a special event and I’ve been a participant for about 10 years. Not only is it where I live, it’s small and quaint, just the way a County fair should be.

There truly is something for everyone: carnival rides for kids (little & big), farm animals raised by 4-H Clubs from the four surrounding counties that demonstrate skills and talents far fewer kids are interested in these days; it’s a place for local businesses to display their wares and services, and exhibits that showcase locally grown fruits, veggies & flowers to help us better understand the importance of agriculture – and why we must never allow it to disappear. It’s about silly-looking clowns making balloon animals and zipping around in tiny cars or scooters. It’s about the tractor parade. It’s about color guards proudly carrying flags. It’s about all ages coming together to have a good time. It’s about community pride, tradition, and a sense of place. It’s about our agricultural heritage and our urban legacy, mixing new visions with old traditions. The fair is also a celebration of true community and an exemplar of how we can live on this planet sustainably, rationally and harmoniously

Every year I enter some of my baked goods and I try and do something different each year. I won three 1st Place Blue Ribbons and one 2nd Place Red Ribbon this year (it’s all about winning ribbons for me!!!) I took first place with my chocolate chip cookies, my Meyer lemon bundt cake, and my chocolate cupcakes. My banana nut bread netted me the second place ribbon. And I’m already thinking about what I’ll bake for next year.

The County fair is a place to go for a break from the daily grind. Let’s hope it never loses that appeal.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

National Outburst Month

September has been interesting, hasn't it?

First Republican Congressclown Joe Wilson calling the President a liar during the Joint Congressional Address, then Serena Williams threatening bodily injury to a line judge at the U.S. Open, and now Kanye West throwing a hissy and interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech on the MTV Video Music Awards. Just what is up with becoming so overly emotional and downright rude in public? Let me preface that by saying that I believe Serena and Kanye definitely had spontaneous outbursts, but I think ol Joe planned his.

It’s ironic to me that so many people are outraged by what each of them have done. I mean COME ON, we love rude in this country! Don't we? Reality TV is all about the loudest and rudest ‘Bad Asses’ the networks can find. Most people LOVE this stuff which is why network TV is overrun with reality-type programming and also the reason I no longer watch network TV.

Maybe it’s my personal bias but I partly fault the social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter and the rest. We live in an age of total disclosure and total expression, with very little concern for the feelings of others. Being able to comment about others from a distance and with anonymity is the Internet’s hallmark, as well as its poison. Gone is the Golden Rule, the idea that you should treat others how you wish to be treated. I think it all boils down to the three W’s (Wilson, Williams, and West) thinking that because they are successful they can get away with anything. They already know that if they have an outburst in public, there's a certain element of their fan base that expect it, i.e., “that’s just Kanye being Kanye”and will probably love them for it. That’s sad.

Kudos to Beyonce’s parents for raising her right.

Friday, September 11, 2009

September 11, 2001

What I wrote last year, I thought about it and I don't think I can do any better, so I'm re-playing it:

"Life-altering changes. I guess if you live long enough, it probably happens more than once. For me it was the assassinations of JFK, RFK, MLK, Jr., and the Challenger explosion. I will always remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard about or witnessed these events.

The terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 were different.

While I didn’t have any family or friends die that day, I did have a friend, a Nurse, working in Manhattan who lived through the whole nightmare. At the University, we were deeply saddened when we learned that Alumni Jason Dahl, a 1980 Graduate in Aeronautical Engineering, was the Pilot and Captain of the crew of Flight 93, the plane that crashed in a field just outside Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

The overwhelming majority of casualties were ordinary people like you and me, including nationals from over 90 different countries. Let’s never forget that excluding the 19 hijackers, 2,974 people died in the attacks. Another 24 are missing and presumed dead.

Now, seven years have come and gone. In those years we moved on, we put 9/11 aside with all our other memories. Very briefly, we came together as a nation to help and comfort each other when we were all just human beings on common ground.

I hope on this tragic 7th Anniversary, we remember what is still good about our country and the innocent men, women and children who lost their lives. Let’s also remember the Heroes who responded to the emergency and the people who continue to sacrifice every day to help stop conflict around the world."


Wednesday, September 09, 2009


While having my teeth cleaned this morning, my Hygienist and I had a conversation about the meaning of the abundance of nines in the date today. She had the advantage of course since I was on my lying on my back with one of those water-sucker-outers in my mouth, so I couldn't contribute much to the conversation.

Though technically there's nothing special about the symmetrical date, some concerned with the history and meaning of numbers ascribe powerful significance to 09/09/09. Still, many believe that this is the last day in the history of the human race. But at 9am this morning nothing happened, although there is still the possibility that the world could end at precisely 9pm of course, right after President Obama's health care speech. That would be one less thing to worry about.

Today does see the release of a Beatles computer game, as well as the release of their digitally remastered back catalogue (YES!) and the announcement of the new Apple iPod. The new animated feature film, "9," set in a post-apocalyptic world, will open in movie theatres today and American county clerks offer special $99 "09/09/09" wedding prices (wonder how much a divorce costs?) And isn't the number 999 just 666 turned upside down?

In the end, it's probably all a bunch a HOOEY. Some people are very good at looking for meaning and patterns in randomness – it's one of the reasons, some say, humans are such a successful species. But the price is that we see significance in things that aren't there at all.

See ya'll tomorrow. Maybe.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Furlough Friday

I am spending my unpaid day off (the first of 2 this month) making brownies for my nephew's Fire Fighting Academy potluck on Saturday. Adam (my youngest brother's son) is attending a six month program in Monterey to become a Fire Fighter and will graduate on December 15th. Since June he's been spending weekends with us as it's a much shorter distance to Monterey from our house than his in Milpitas. We have enjoyed having (and spoiling) him. Mr. itsme & I take turns making his favorites for dinner each weekend. One weekend Mr. itsme BBQ'd and one time he made fajitas. Last, I made Beef Stroganoff. Tonight I'm making a chicken, artichoke, mushroom bake, served over quinoa.

I whipped up a big ol batch of brownies, loosely adapted from a recipe Ina Garten does, and they are now cooling. I also made a lemon bundt cake filled with fresh strawberries since that is one of the things Watsonville is known for, plus it will be good practice for next weekend when I turn in all my baking entries for the Santa Cruz County Fair (I expect lots of blue ribbons again this year).

Its a beautiful day on the coast of the Monterey Bay. The unusual heat we've been having has thankfully let up. I actually slept last night. I'll probably run some errands and do a little dead-heading in the front yard. Can't wait for Fall and apple & pumpkin season as well as the chillier weather!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Other Interesting Bogs

In my "Other Interesting Blogs" section, please note I've added Saguaro Wanderings. This place is the creation of my new friend James. He is an excellent photographer and wise Sage. Go and read and comment...he needs the traffic!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Another Family Wedding

Saturday one of my nephews got married. It was an outdoor California-style wedding. You all know the kind. My own handsome Mr. itsme officiated (in a black tuxedo no less) and it was a toasty 104 degrees in the shade. In fact, it was so hot, the moisturizer melted off my forehead and ran down into my eyes. Let me tell you, you have not experienced misery until 'Clinque Dramatically Different Moisturizer' seeps into your eyes setting them on fire!

But I digress.

The Bride and Groom have known each other since childhood so this was a highly anticipated wedding in my family. The Bride's, not so much. (I'll save that story for another post). My middle brother and sister-in-law, having reached the ripe old age of 53 and 51 respectively, are anxious to become Grandparents so my brother texted the Newlyweds while they were setting sail for their Honeymoon cruise to Mexico. Tacky. But I was just watching the path of hurricane Jimena that's happening down Mexico way and realized my brother just may get his wish. Their cruise's itinerary has changed and they'll be spending a little more time on least until Wednesday.

Now that it's all over and everyone can breathe again, my sister-in-law emailed me this morning to thank us for all our help and support. She ended with "We have a wonderful family." Yup. I have to agree. God bless us every well as those newest members yet to come.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I'm a New Member of the "10 Year Club"

I had my very first colonoscopy this morning - 4 years later than I should. Everything they say is true: the prep days are the worst, anticipating the day of is worse than the actual procedure, and lots of good drugs, etc. Pam sent me Dave Berry's essay about his and it was funnier than anything (thanks Pam) and mostly true.

While I was pretty much awake and aware -but in absolutely NO PAIN or discomfort at all- I did not opt to view what was going on on-screen. I did get some lovely COLOR pictures afterwards and will send them out with my Christmas cards this year, send me your address if you want one.

The best part? Juice and muffins waiting for me afterwards, my first solid food in 2 days. I ate lots of green jello, lemon-lime gator aide, chicken broth and butterscotch hard candies. Drinking that MoviPrep liquid was horrid but I chased it with gator aide and ice water so as not to gag. Vodka would have been better though.

The BEST BEST PART was knowing I'm OK and polyp and cancer-free. If any of you have been putting off having this procedure, don't delay any longer, if I can do it, anyone can.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Funny People

Mr. Itsme and I went to see 'Funny People' yesterday afternoon. IMHO, the film spends far too many of its 2 hours and 26 minutes joking and obsessing about a very specific part of the male anatomy - kinda like when Eddie Murphy did stand-up and used the word Mother*ucker every 3 seconds - I just stopped listening. The clincher was when I had to look at my watch only an hour in, that’s when I knew it wasn’t working for me. And just when the film started to move toward some kind of meaning, you got nothing but a cheap laugh and the moment was ‘poof’ gone.

The other thing that bothered me was that Adam Sandler’s character wasn’t even likeable; I didn’t feel sorry for him for one single moment, even when we got his terminal diagnosis from the Doctor. He was a jerk before he was ill, and remained a jerk while ill. You’d think someone with so little time left would change his ways a tad. This was one person who could leave this planet forever and would not be missed by anyone.

Despite the movie’s title, ‘Funny People’ is neither funny nor sad. It’s really more like a tragedy when so many (supposedly) funny people can’t make a funny movie. There were lots of cameos by many well-know comedians like Ray Romano, Paul Reiser, & Sarah Silverman to name a few.

I take that back, the movie is sad after all, just not for the right reasons.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Beer Summit

Finally, we have a President the rest of us would like to have a beer with, that all-American (male) bonding gesture. But 'Bud Lite?' I thought they were going to drink beer? (make mine a microbrew please).

I can hear the Press tomorrow "Did he have a head on his beer? Who took the first sip? Did anyone burp? And what did they drink out of? Did they clink their mugs?"

Jeez Louise!

LIGHT BULB just came on: maybe a beer pong tournament with Congress would help round up those Blue Dogs and get the whole healthcare mess resolved?

It could happen!

Sign Seen This Morning

"Some people are always grumbling that roses have thorns. I'm thankful that thorns have roses."


Wednesday, July 08, 2009

"King of Pop" or "Wacko Jacko?"

Definitely the “King of Online Traffic” according to GigaOM that reported the second-largest day in terms of total traffic on its network. Akamai delivered more than 2,185,000 live and on-demand streams in both the Flash and Windows Media formats. While dreadful news for all Michael Jackson fans and music lovers around the world, his death is good for business, apparently.

I'll wager that more people have heard a Michael Jackson record or felt outraged about his private life than know what's going on in Iran. Needing a ticket for the memorial (many who won tickets never planned on attending, just wanted to sell the tickets), the merchandising, the constant media attention. Coming out of the woodwork are people that didn't really care that much, suddenly claiming to be 'big fans.' (Did Michael Jackson REALLY make Magic Johnson a better point guard???)

I never understood Michael Jackson. He spent his entire adult life trying to recapture a childhood (he claimed) he had never known. Why else would he have created “Neverland” and told an interviewer “I am Peter Pan?” I didn’t hate him; nor did I especially admire him. There were too many unanswered questions regarding child molestation. What else is there to think of a grown man sleeping in the same bed with little children? That bizarre picture of him dangling his baby from a hotel balcony still creeps me out. And the plastic surgery that ultimately deformed his face? I actually heard someone say yesterday on one of the news channels that his face was a work of art...yeah, if the artist was Hieronymus Bosch!

I do appreciate the contributions he’s made to the music and dance world. I remember dancing to Off The Wall, Thriller and Bad, and seeing him “moonwalk” for the first time on TV. He was the consummate entertainer and I have no doubt his legacy will be felt in the world forever.

Unfortunately, the media circus is far from over and we will be hearing more of the ugly, sordid details when the toxicology report is made public and the Jackson family begins fighting publicly over custody of his children and his money - I can't wait to hear more of what his doting Father has to say! Death does bring out the best in families doesn't it?

R.I.P. Michael, wherever you are.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Charles Krauthammer

My cousin's husband is a rabid, foaming at the mouth neo-con and yesterday, he sent me this Charles Krauthammer piece he thinks is "interesting" (it's really just itsmecissy bait). Here's my response (sorry for the length):

Dear Cuz,
I, like Charles Krauthammer, am a psychic, who truly understands the depths and motivations of strangers. Thus, I am able to translate this into what it ‘actually means’ – let’s call it polemical hermeneutics: (he won't understand that part)

You wrote:
"A friend went to hear Charles Krauthammer. He listened with 25 others in a closed room. What he says here, is NOT 2nd-hand but 1st. You would do well to read and pass this along to EVERYBODY that loves his country. This is VERY serious for the direction of our country. The ramifications are staggering for us & our children."


A friend went to hear a lunatic conspiracy theorist. He listened with 25 other easily frightened rubes in a closed room so the public couldn't point out the insanity of the speaker's ramblings. What he says here, is NOT 2nd-hand but 1st and still meaningless polemic conjecture. You would do well to read and force it upon EVERYBODY who you know to be a crazy right wing conspiracy nut, or who you'd like to no longer take you seriously. This is VERY serious for the direction of our country because it shows that an increasing number of Americans are divorced from any political reality. The ramifications are staggering for us & our children.

You wrote:
"Last Monday was a profound evening, hearing Dr. Charles Krauthammer speak to the Center for the American Experiment. He is brilliant, intellectual, seasoned & articulate. He is forthright and careful in his analysis, and never resorts to emotions or personal insults. He is NOT a fear monger, nor an extremist in his comments and views. He is a fiscal conservative, and has a Pulitzer Prize for writing. He is a frequent contributor to Fox News and writes weekly for the Washington Post. The entire room was held spellbound during his talk. I have shared this with many of you and several have asked me to summarize his comments, as we are living in uncharted waters economically and internationally. Even 2 Dems at my table agreed with everything he said! If you feel like forwarding this to those who are open minded and have not drunk the Kool-Aid’, feel free."


1.) These two statements contradict each other:
"He is brilliant, intellectual, seasoned & articulate."
"He is a frequent contributor to Fox News..."

2.) "Has a Pulitzer Prize for writing:"
Charles Krauthammer is only wrong in two areas: Foreign Policy & Domestic Policy. He knows little about either. His words are drivel. He hides a lot of facts, or just lies.

3.) Regarding being forthright, careful in his analysis, not extremist or a fear monger: Two people viewing the same event will come away with different interpretations of that event. There is no such thing as completely unbiased reporting, as the initial gathering of facts, followed by decisions regarding which of these facts are worthy of covering in your allotted time, measured against other considerations (such as ratings, for instance) are all influenced by personal interpretation.

4.) And apparently you have to be rich to have not ‘drunk the Kool-Aid:’

A summary of Mr. Krauthammer’s comments:

1. Mr. Obama is a very intellectual, charming individual. He is not to be underestimated. He is a ‘cool customer’ who doesn't show his emotions. It's very hard to know what's ‘behind the mask’. Taking down the Clinton dynasty from a political neophyte was an amazing accomplishment. The Clintons still do not understand what hit them. Obama was in the perfect place at the perfect time.

itsmecissy: If Obama were white and had an Anglo sounding name this would not even be an issue. Unfortunately, Pulitzer Prize-winning writers who do not engage in juvenile name-calling can still be very much into simplistic analysis.

2. Obama has political skills comparable to Reagan and Clinton. He has a way of making you think he's on your side, agreeing with your position, while doing the opposite. Pay no attention to what he SAYS; rather, watch what he DOES!

itsmecissy: Careful Charles, your bias is showing. But that’s OK, bias is good. I have no problem with opinions expressed in newspapers as some others do. I prefer to know exactly where columnists are coming from.

3. Obama has a ruthless quest for power. He did not come to Washington to make something out of himself, but rather to change everything, including dismantling capitalism. He can’t be straightforward on his ambitions, as the public would not go along. He has a heavy hand, and wants to ‘level the playing field’ with income redistribution and punishment to the achievers of society. He would like to model the USA to Great Britain or Canada.

itsmecisssy: Why not just come out & say what you really think? Obama is black and that scares you. Obama (according to many of your cronies) is a socialist and that scares you. Obama will tax you more because you're in the top 5% of earners who should pay more and that makes you angry (hey, you shilled for the Iraq war, you pay for it.) Instead of "dismantling capitalism," read "restoring capitalism to its proper place as an economic concept as opposed to the national religion." And when was capitalism dismantled in Great Britain or Canada?

4. His three main goals are to control ENERGY, PUBLIC EDUCATION, & NATIONAL HEALTHCARE by the Federal government. He doesn't care about the auto or financial services industries, but got them as an early bonus. The cap and trade will add costs to everything and stifle growth. Paying for FREE college education is his goal. Most scary is his healthcare program, because if you make it FREE and add 46,000,000 people to a Medicare-type single-payer system, the costs will go through the roof. The only way to control costs is with massive RATIONING of services, like in Canada. God forbid.

itsmecissy: What ENERGY? America is dependent on foreign oil for all its energy and that foreign oil is dwindling as we speak; the energy crisis has happened already and it’s getting worse! As for FREE PUBLIC EDUCATION and NATIONAL HEATHCARE – Lions, and Tigers, and Bears, OH MY!!! Heaven forbid we should educate and take care of our own Citizenry. Note: please refer to Madame itsmecissy's Interpretation #2 above: Charles Krauthammer is only wrong in two areas: Foreign Policy & Domestic Policy. He knows little about either. Oh, and he lies.

5. He’s surrounded himself with mostly far-left academic types. No one around him has ever even run a candy store. But they’re going to try and run the auto, financial, banking and other industries. This obviously can’t work in the long run. Obama’s not a socialist; rather he's a far-left secular progressive bent on nothing short of revolution. He ran as a moderate, but will govern from the hard left. Again, watch what he does, not what he says.

itsmecissy: I wonder how many people around Charles Krauthammer have ever run a candy store. And what do candy stores have to do with the presidency? Heck, I could run a candy store, but I couldn’t be president! And BTW, aren’t there some Republicans in the Obama Cabinet?

6. Obama doesn’t really see himself as President of the United States, but more as a ruler over the world. He sees himself above it all, trying to orchestrate & coordinate various countries and their agendas. He sees moral equivalency in all cultures. His apology tour in Germany and England was a prime example of how he sees America, as an imperialist nation that has been arrogant, rather than a great noble nation that has at times made errors. This is the first President ever who has chastised our allies and appeased our enemies!

itsmecissy: How can a President want be a "ruler over the world" but is against Imperialism? Face it Charles, the thought of a popular, smart, articulate, and uniting President (who happens to be a Democrat) scares the shit out of Republicans. After the last 8 years of a polar opposite, George W. Bush, who supposedly represented the best of the right wing ideology and, while ‘on his watch,’ this "great noble nation" made GRAVE ERRORS (that he’d never admit to). Yes, I can see why you’re afraid.

7. He’s now handing out goodies. He hopes that the bill (and pain) will not ‘come due’ until after he’s reelected in 2012. He’d like to blame all problems on Bush from the past, and hopefully his successor in the future. He has a huge ego, and Mr. Krauthammer believes he is a narcissist.

itsmecissy: Tsk, tsk, tsk, FOX continues the unethical practice of cutting and pasting video clips and images to fit the stories they create. They are literally MAKING the news and people actually assume it as truth. How scary is that?

8. Republicans are in the wilderness for a while, but will emerge strong. We’re ‘pining’ for another Reagan, but there’ll never be another like him. Krauthammer believes Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty & Bobby Jindahl (except for his terrible speech in February) are the future of the party. Newt Gingrich is brilliant, but has baggage. Sarah Palin is sincere and intelligent, but needs to really be seriously boning up on facts and info if she’s to be a serious candidate in the future. We need to return to the party of lower taxes, smaller government, personal responsibility, strong national defense, and states’ rights.


1.) "Krauthammer believes Mitt Romney, Tim Pawlenty & Bobby Jindahl (except for his terrible speech in February) are the future of the party."

itsmecissy: GOD, I HOPE SO!!!

2.) "Newt Gingrich is brilliant, but has baggage."

And I quote: "If combat means living in a ditch, females have problems living in a ditch for 30 days because they get infections, and they don’t have the upper body strength. I mean, some do, but they’re relatively rare. On the other hand, men are basically piglets, you drop ‘em in a ditch, they roll around in it, it doesn’t matter, y’know? These things are very real. On the other hand, if combat means being on an Aegis cruiser monitoring the movement of twelve ships and their rockets, a female may be again drastically better than a male who gets very, very frustrated sitting in a chair all the time because males are biologically programmed to go out and hunt for giraffes."

itsmecissy: Yeah, Newt Gingrich is brilliant.

3.) "Sarah Palin is sincere & intelligent, but needs to really be seriously boning up on facts and info if she’s to be a serious candidate in the future."

itsmecissy: Intelligent? Intelligent? Some people – like George W. Bush – don’t need to be satirized: you just quote them.

4.) "We need to return to the party of lower taxes, smaller government, personal responsibility, strong national defense, and states' rights."

itsmecissy: You need to be the party of angry white guys who think they’re about to get rich. Last I checked, Charles, you were already there.

9. The current level of spending is irresponsible and outrageous. We’re spending trillions that we don’t have. This could lead to hyper inflation, depression or worse. No country has ever spent themselves into prosperity. The media is giving Obama, Reid and Pelosi a pass because they love their agenda. But eventually the bill will come due and people will realize the huge bailouts didn’t work, nor will the stimulus package. These were trillion-dollar payoffs to Obama’s allies, unions and the Congress to placate the left, so he can get support for #4 above.

Note: please refer to Madame itsmecissy's Interpretation #2 above: Charles Krauthammer is only wrong in two areas: Foreign Policy & Domestic Policy. He knows little about either. And he lies.

10. The election was over in mid-September when Lehman brothers failed. fear and panic swept in, we had an unpopular President, and the war was grinding on indefinitely without a clear outcome. The people are in pain, and the mantra of ‘change’ caused people to act emotionally. Any Dem would have won this election; it was surprising it was as close as it was.

itsmecissy: For too long Charles, you've been able to cloak your extreme views in the guise of thoughtful commentary - no longer is that possible. You and a large number of right-wing water-carriers had your unprincipled butts handed to you on a plate by a disciplined, principled candidate with a positive message of hope for this country. No longer will vile, hateful culture warriors like you have any say in the direction of this country. And that scares you most of all -- the prospect of your utter irrelevance.

Racism is based on ignorance - as has been most of the Republican Party's politics for the past eight years. But the party has also become ignorant of the principles upon which it was founded, and is only now belatedly waking up to the reality, that "you can't fool all the people, all the time." Indeed when your party is run by ignorance-adoring and chronically inept fools, it is difficult to even fool some of the people part of the time.

11. In 2012, if the unemployment rate is over 10%, Republicans will be swept back into power. If it's under 8%, the Dems continue to roll. If it's between 8-10%, it’ll be a dogfight. It’ll all be about the economy.

itsmecissy: BRING IT ON!!!

I hope this gets you really thinking about what's happening in Washington and Congress. There’s a left-wing revolution going on, according to Krauthammer, and he encourages us to keep the faith and join the loyal resistance. The work will be hard, but we’re right on most issues and can reclaim our country, before it's far too late.

itsmecissy TRANSLATION:
I hope this gets you froth mouthed and paranoid about what I'm pretending is happening in Washington and Congress. There's a moderate Democratic government, according to Krauthammer, and he encourages us to keep the faith, spread delusional propaganda, and form a crazed reactionary resistance. The work will be hard, but we're irrationally Far Right Maniacs on most issues and can trick our country into a reactionary response and further social, economic, and military collapse, before it's far too late.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Weekend Musings

Saturday, we went to the 50th birthday party of an ex-neighbor. The party was held in the banquet room of a local Chinese restaurant. We dined on the usual Anglo favorites: egg flower soup, egg foo young, sweet & sour pork, broccoli beef, fried rice, cashew chicken, and beef chow mein (none of which I EVER order and none of which can be found anywhere in China) and were serenaded by The Great Morgani, "Accordionist Extraordinnaire" (he plays everything but 'The Lady of Spain' and 'Metallica.' Don't believe me? Go here

Anyway, I mention this because while watching our friend open her presents, it struck me that I was at a Portuguese birthday party, in a Chinese restaurant, listening to Italian polka-style songs (yes, those kind) and thinking this scene would be complete if only I were wearing plaid madras shorts and a pink polo shirt with black flip-flops.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Christian Fundamentalist Terrorists

Operation Rescue is not Christian organization, it's the new American Taliban. The man who murdered Dr. Tiller was not a Christian following Jesus Christ and Randall Terry is not walking the walk of Christ.

Isn't it strange that these so-called "pro-life" advocates are more concerned with the lives of fetuses than they are of their mothers? Otherwise, why murder a physician who was dedicated to protecting the health and lives of women? And how about his children and wife who are now deprived of a father and a husband?

Yet, these people have the audacity to call themselves "pro-life."

It seems to me everyone has their own ideas when it comes to ending life, whether they are "pro life" or "pro-choice." Everyone has their exceptions to the rule, be it Capital Punishment or War. Believe what you want, don't do what you don't believe in and leave your nose out of others' beliefs. They will be judged and you will be judged by whomever and whatever they believe in, before we die or after. I think we've got enough work to do improving ourselves while living our own lives, than by trying to improve others by interfering in theirs.

I cannot rejoice in Dr. Tiller’s death. He did not die for a cause, he lived for one.

BTW, Joe Biden was right. He said Barack Obama would be tested by terrorists in his first 6 months.

Friday, May 22, 2009


The latest new Web toy I'm playing around with. You really should check it out. Here's the home page

and a 13 minute screencast introduction

Screencast: A Quick Introduction to WolframAlpha by Stephen Wolfram:


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Simpler Times

I was listening to a satellite radio talk show this morning on the drive into work. People were calling in about what they (baby boomers) remembered most growing up. I had tears in my eyes from some of the things people were calling in with. It's amazing the similarities no matter what part of the country they grew up in. Here's a few of mine:

Being home by the time the streetlights came on
Playing in the apricot orchards
Picking bouquets of mustard flowers for Mom

Riding bikes with playing cards rubbing the spokes, attached with a clothespin

Kool aide popsicles

Sitting in from of the TV with a mixing bowl of cereal watching cartoons on Saturday

Captain Kangaroo
The Mickey Mouse Club
“Combat” (with Vic Morrow)
Leave it to Beaver
Sunday drives
Family dinners at Nanny & Pop-Pop’s
Penny candy
Double features at the movies
Red light, Green light, Hide n Seek, Simon Says
Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade
Swanson’s chicken pot pies
Hillbilly bread
TV dinners
Summer road trips
The County Fair
Lemon aide stands
Pet turtles
The Kid’s Table
Root beer floats
Playing Army men
Cowboys & Indians
Home movies
Going to bed when it was still light outside
The Ice Cream man
Doughboy swimming pools
Spaghetti night!
The Woolworth’s lunch counter
Gordo, Able, Miss Baker, Sam, Miss Sam, Goliath & Scatback
New shoes for the first day of school

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I'm a Proud Californian Today

Yesterday voters gave Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the California "Do Nothing" Legislature a swift thwack upside their collective heads by soundly defeating Props 1A-1E. Finally, fed up and no longer willing to “just open your wallet and shut your mouth," 19% of California voters did the right thing and just said NO MORE. Not one more dime, fix it with what you have. We've had to make do with less, now it's YOUR turn.

True, this defeat will now push the California State budget to a $21.3 billion deficit and tens of thousands of teachers, police & firefighters, state employees (including myself) will/may be furloughed or laid off, and money taken (back) from local governments. Public education is going to suffer. Mental health services is going to suffer. All public safety services are going to suffer.

It's gonna hurt BIG TIME folks, and we ain't seen NOTHING yet.

"Tonight we have heard from the voters and I respect the will of the people who are frustrated with the dysfunction in our budget system," the governor said in a statement. "Now we must move forward from this point to begin to address our fiscal crisis with constructive solutions."

Guess you're going to have to start doing the job we're paying you for BIG GUY... and just put a steak over that black eye while you're at it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

What I'm Doing This Weekend

Here's where I'm off to

Lots of good food, wine, the ocean breezes . . . life doesn't get any better than this!

OK, OK, my goal is to get my picture taken with Alton Brown (we're staying in the same hotel) so I'M SURE we'll meet in an elevator - or the bar - at some point.

See ya'll on Monday!!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Falcon Cam

View the next generation of Falcons. This is right across the street, SJ City Hall, from my library. What a joy to watch!!! The pidgeon population declines a little bit each day though . . .

5/1/5/09 UPDATE: the babies were all banded this morning. Mom was flying overhead screeching at the top of her lungs (I went outside to hear it). All is well now.

NOTE: All the babies have fledged so this webcam is gone until April 2010 when we welcome Clara back again.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day 2009

I remember my first Earth Day celebration in high school in April 1970. The entire student body was assembled in our football stadium and told it was a day to reflect on our planet, our environment and what we could do to keep them healthy. At that time many of us were also involved in the Vietnam War protests (called "teach-ins") and saw Earth Day as the same type of protest except on behalf of the environment. At least I did. I was always looking for a good protest back then.

At the grassroots level, Earth Day organizers were able to tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into their environmental cause, thereby forcing the issue onto the political agenda and finally into the national spotlight. Smart cookies, they were.

In the comics section of a local newspaper, “Baby Blues” showed the lighter side of Earth Day:

“It’s weird … Green is good when you’re talking about energy, but not bananas.
A green lifestyle is good, but green water is bad.
Green corporations are good, but green meatloaf will make you sick.
The world is a very complicated place.”

So what did I do for Earth Day today, I went home and watered my roses. I know, pathetic.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Why I Don't Twitter

Since I deal with a lot of students and faculty, I try and keep up with the latest crazes but I definitely don’t have time to add another life-sucking activity like Twitter to my life.

I like what Brian Williams said on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, that he will not use Twitter until he has something “interesting enough” to say in 140 characters or less. Even Beyonce admits that when it comes to Twittering, she just “doesn’t get it” and she’s not on Facebook either. That makes two of us.

I love technology, but I have to draw the line at Twitter.

The official Twitter website says: “Twitter is a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?” Sounds more like a cross between blogging and instant messaging and enabling today’s attention-deficit disorder sufferers doesn't seem a like a particularly good idea to me. What am I doing? It’s 1:30pm on Wednesday, what do you think I’m doing? Does anyone care that I’m sitting at my desk flossing the chicken salad out from between my teeth? Or that I’m on my way to the bathroom for my second bowel movement of the day? (Shall I take a picture as well?)

We are losing the art of conversation by reducing it to abbreviations and emoticons for anyone to read. What about crafting a thank you note or the impact of a well-written sympathy card after a loved one dies. Remember letters? When was the last time you sent one? And I don’t mean a Hallmark card.

Twitter devotees claim that the value of Twitter is in the quality of those you follow. To make it interesting you need to have interesting people to follow. If you don't follow interesting people, it’s just a big pointless waste of time. But do we all really want to be connected to each other in this kind of giant kumbaya?

I guess what I really want to know is: Who in the hell has time for this stuff???

I’ve come to the conclusion that Twitter, or micro-blogging, is for people who want a blog but don't want to blog. Maybe Twitter is the latest manifestation of an undesirable trend. Remember when it was people checking their e-mail 50 times an hour, and phoning you to say, "Did you not get my e-mail? I sent it almost an hour ago." Then it was instant messaging, cell phones, and text messaging, all offering improved opportunities to "be in touch all the time," a fate I'd do almost anything to avoid.

Now it’s "social networks," like Facebook, My Space and Twitter. I suppose there’s value to each of these -although I suspect that the value drops over time- but it seems to me that each “new tool” seems to be taken to sillier (or stupider) extremes than the last one.

I also recognize that it isn’t going away anytime soon. Tell you what, why don’t we all just meet at the Pub and raise a pint or two?

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Susan Boyle Phenomena

I refuse to watch reality shows of any type because of the bad taste they leave in my mouth. Let's not forget that this is television where the letters NBC stand for 'No Butt-ugly Characters' and Cinderella stories don't just happen randomly. Producers seek out the unusual because that's what sells, but a friend sent me a link to the YouTube video of her performance on “Britain’s got Talent.”

I’ll admit, when she first walked onto the stage, I felt sorry for her, not because of the way she looked, but rather that the audience was already snickering and jeering at her before she even opened her mouth. Apparently, they expected her not to be able to sing simply based on her appearance. I was especially upset when I saw one specific woman in the audience rolling her eyes, shaking her head, and laughing -this is the same mentality of people who are now judging overweight people in the airline industry with financial penalties, but that’s ANOTHER blog rant- but it was when I saw that slow, well-known smirk come across Simon Cowell’s face, I knew poor Susan was going to become the butt of some sort of cruel and terrible joke. I didn’t want to watch.

Susan Boyle appears to be a regular person, maybe a neighbor or a co-worker, not a movie star with all the makeup and fancy clothes. She has heart, and it shows. She has kindness, and it shines through her. Her beauty inside and out is what makes her shine with talent. She's got great stage presence. Her face is strong and dramatic, which is an advantageous quality to have, especially in the theater. Susan’s performance was stunning, amazing, breath taking; I even got tears in my eyes (how could you not?) The fact that everyone keeps referring to her as a dumpy, middle-aged woman is bizarre to me. She’s a hero to all of us who aren't a size 0, with perfectly done make up and hair.

I say Congratulations Susan, you GO GIRL!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

New Uses For Old Business Cards

In the spirit of Going Green (it's a slow day), here are a few suggestions:

Cleaning the spaces between your computer keyboard (use the sticky side of a used Post-it to get any crumbs)

Cutting the ends off to make labels for your hanging file folders

Attaching to CD cases to identify them as yours

Luggage tags

Making short grocery lists on the back

Entering "free meal” drawings at your favorite eateries

Makeshift bookmarks (instead of folding the corner of the page down – I HATE THAT!)

Getting that last little bit of chicken salad out of your teeth

Putting personal notes in the lunch bag of someone you love

Fingernail cleaner

Use as a wedge to balance a wobbly table in a restaurant

Noisemakers for your bike (remember clothespining playing cards to the fenders of your bike so they would struck by the spokes on the wheel creating a motorized sound?)


Build a card castle

Shred them to make confetti

Tape them together to make drawer liners

And my personal favorite:

Use as a Tool Of Deception For People You Don't Like. Carry a few old business cards belonging to someone else in your wallet. When you encounter someone you wish you hadn't, hand them one of them as you leave

Thursday, March 26, 2009

We're Heading North, to Oregon

Leaving early to visit a dear Niece and her husband in Beaverton. Have dinner reservations in Portland Saturday night on the waterfront (celebrating the 30th birthday of Niece's husband). Sunday we'll all spend the day in Seattle, one of my most favorite places on this planet. Monday, while the kids are working, the husband and I will scout out coastal property; serious negotiations are currently going on between us to retire there - he DEFINITELY wants to, I'm not so sure.

Problem is, I'm very close to my family, he's not (close to his). I don't want to end up living so far from everyone (except the aforementioned Niece) if ever I am alone again (i.e. husband dies before me). I think it's a reasonable consideration. The deal buster: if I can't live near the ocean (like I do now), I won't move. End of discussion.

I've checked the long-range weather forecast for the area and it'll be raining much of the time we're there, with temps mostly in the mid-40s - ahhhhh, my kind of weather. I think I was a duck in a past life.

See you all Wednesday, take care of each other.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Taking the Long Way Home

I don't remember who it was that said that the journey is more important than the destination but stopping to smell the roses was just what the Dr. ordered today.

I had a dental appt this morning - a little minor oral surgery and crown replacement - and had planned to go into work afterwards. No big deal. But as often happens, things didn't quite turn out that way and I ended up not making it to work . . . which didn't disappoint me in the least.

Anyway, when all was said and done, I decided to take the long way home. It's about a 20 minute drive from Capitola/Santa Cruz (the dentist) to my house via (the Pacific Coast) Highway One, or 45 minutes to an hour via the back roads. Since it was such a beautiful day (about 70 degs) I got me an iced latte at Starbucks (for when the novocaine wore off), opened the sun roof, put on the "Classic Vinyl" station on my XM radio and took a favorite route through apple orchards, commercial rose growing fields, and rows and rows of strawberries. I take this route when I have a lot on my mind or just need to think (this was also a favored drive of my Mom's and I always feel her near when I go this way). There's a llama ranch along this stretch of road too and a dozen or more were sunning themselves near the fence as I passed. How can people make rugs out of these beautiful animals?????

The sunshine, the music, the smell of the acacia trees in bloom was just what I needed. I even stopped at a flower stand and bought a bouquet of wildflowers to bring home. Violet "the Destroyer" will be pleased.

This was my unplanned day off and taking the long way home.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Odds & Ends, This & That

So, today I've made coconut macaroons (husband's fave), fruitcake bars for work (not yo Grannie's fruitcake) and now I'm making corned beef and cabbage. I know, I know, St. Paddy's Day is Tuesday but next Sunday the aforementioned husband is leaving (on business) to Long Beach (Los Angeles) for 4 days so we're having our Tuesday night dinner tonight (will make some Irish soda bread to go with it too - YUM!) We usually make a lamb stew using a few pints of Guinness and have some friends over, but it didn't work out that way this year. Also, the County Fair is coming up and I'm testing new goodies to enter . . .

Hope you are all well, having a wonderful Sunday and are spending it with people you love.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Madoff "deeply sorry and ashamed"

Back in the cowboy days he'd already be hanging from a rope - BASTARD!

My question is: where's the money?
Where did all that money go?
How come no one (in the media, judges, attornies, etc.) is asking THAT question?

Monday, March 09, 2009

"Lane Cake, Scuppernongs and Pickled Pig’s Knuckles"

Since I’ve decided to pretty much boycott watching television in the evenings, except for Leave it To Beaver and M*A*S*H reruns - BUT not before I thank President Obama for finally ending The Chimp’s War on Science by undoing a 2001 Bush directive that banned federal funding for stem cell research - I’ve been spending that time baking and reading more.

Also due to my previously mentioned “foodie tendencies” and my current search for the perfect Lane cake recipe, I stumbled upon a Lesson Plan for teachers recently created by the Southern Food and Beverage Museum in, where else, New Orleans, Louisiana

In the Lesson Plan's Foreword, “To Kill a Mockingbird” is mentioned as “a classic example of a great Southern novel filled with culinary information.” It was then that I remembered Harper Lee’s character Maudie Atkinson and her Lane cake, the one with the alcohol kick so powerful that another character, Scout, remarks "Miss Maudie baked a Lane cake so loaded with shinny it made me tight" (Shinny being a slang term for liquor).

I dug out my copy at home and sure enough, Harper Lee breathed life into her characters with food, in fact 52 foods - all Southern favorites - are mentioned in the book like ambrosia, fried chicken, collards, peach pickles, turnip greens, crackling bread, etc. No wonder I loved this book so much, I was a foodie before I even knew what a foodie was!!!

Basically, a Lane cake is a type of white sponge cake made with egg whites that consists of four layers filled with a mixture of egg yolks, butter, sugar, raisins (sometimes coconut and chopped nuts), and whiskey. The cake is frosted with a boiled, fluffy white frosting made of water, sugar, and whipped egg whites and typically served (in the South) at birthdays, wedding anniversaries, and other special occasions. The recipe was first printed in Emma Rylander Lane's cookbook "Some Good Things to Eat," which she self-published in 1898.

So ya’ll should thank Rush Limpbrain for my foray into the Southern culinary world, if it weren’t for him becoming the Leader of the GOP (couldn't have happened to a nicer guy!) I wouldn’t have turned off the tube and took up reading the book again.

Two guesses what I'm making for dessert at Easter?

Monday, February 23, 2009

Fat Tuesday (Praise the Lord & Pass the King Cake)

OK, so tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. I'm home tonight making a King cake . . . kinda . . . it's actually a lemon bundt cake without the baby inside. It is a lemon cake (with Meyer lemons from my own tree) with a lemony glaze. I'm going to sprinkle it with gold, purple and green sanding sugar and take it to work tomorrow for all to admire, Domestic Goddess that I am.

Don't hate me because I can bake!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Michael Steele: "Work" vs "Job"

STEELE: Well, the difference, the distinction is this. If you got a government contract that’s a fixed period of time it goes away. The work may go away. There’s no guarantee that there’s going to be more work when you’re done with that job.

STEPHANOPOULOS: But we’ve seen millions and millions of jobs going away in the private sector just in the last year.

STEELE: Yes, but they come back though, George. That’s the point. They’ve gone away before and they come back…


By Steele’s definition, a contractor, who bids contract to contract in the private sector, is "making work," it’s not a job because there is an endpoint to the contract, after all, there is no guarantee that there will be another one (is there a guarantee that there will always be a demand for a product in the private sector?)

So, if you have a job building schools, bridges, roads, levees, or anything with money that comes from the Federal Government, you don't have a 'real' job. Isn’t making work *scratching my head* the exact purpose of the stimulus?

Good thing this doesn’t mean that a paycheck isn’t really money.

And I thought Sarah Palin was the worst the Republican Party could come up with.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

I'm a Library Trustee

Last night at the monthly City Council meeting, I was nominated and appointed by my City Council Representative to serve on the city's Library Commission from my District.

Last October I attended a Candidate's Forum (many City Council members were up for re-election) and I was so impressed by the new faces I saw vying for the job - and Lord knows we needed some changes - I was inspired to get more involved in the community where I lived. And since I've worked (most) all my life in libraries I thought it a good fit. So I applied.

My first meeting is February 19th and with the state of financial affairs in this State, keeping libraries a float is going to be a real challenge. I'm up for it.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


God bless us, everyone.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I'm Embarrassed to Admit This

I've lately become OBSESSED with taking online store surveys. You know, the kind that when you eat at a place like Applebee's (it's OK for an after-the-movies-supper) and your waiter comes back with your check and says "Congratulations, you have been spontaneously and randomly chosen to take our online survey and you could win a gift certificate for . . . "

blah, blah, blah. I usually just say thanks, pay my bill and shred the receipt when I get home. Never was a "coupon clipper" either. Too much to keep organized.

But with the price of everything going up so much, I've started paying attention to the fine print at the bottom of my grocery receipt for example. It says, and I quote:

"Win $500 gift card! Take survey monthly at ....... to enter. Thank you for shopping at ......."

OK, so I was thinking: how many people REALLY take these surveys and figured the odds of winning were pretty good. Well, I was wrong about that cuz apparently MILLIONS of peeps have been doing this for years before I caught on to it.


The amazing thing is that now I'm getting emails from the grocery store (yeah, it's a pain sometimes but I just hit the delete key) and this past Wednesday they emailed me a $20 off coupon on a purchase of $100 -which is about what a weekly trip costs me- so I went today and used it. I bought all my usual stuff and some fresh wheat grass for the cats (spoiled rotten animals!) and got the promised $20 off. I'd call this a Good Thing.

BTW, never got anything spontaneous or random from Applebee's yet . . .

Monday, January 12, 2009


My youngest brother just declined my Inauguration Party Evite. Claims he voted for Obama but is "Republican by nature, and attending would be akin to drinking the kool aid..."

My response back: "Couldn't you just not swallow?"

Ahhh, family. Gotta love um.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

A Game For My Inauguration Party on the 24th

The President Barack Obama Quiz (I got 6 out of 10)

1. Where was Barack Obama born?
A. Honolulu, HI
B. Chicago, IL
C. Jakarta, Indonesia
D. Wichita, Kansas2.

2. From what university did Obama earn his law degree in 1991?
A. Yale University
B. Harvard University
C. Columbia University
D. University of Chicago

3. Obama was a lecturer of constitutional law at what law school from 1993 until his election to the U.S. Senate in 2004?
A. Yale University
B. Harvard University
C. Columbia University
D. University of Chicago

4. In what year was Obama first elected to the Illinois State Senate?
A. 1994
B. 1996
C. 1998
D. 2000

5. What republican candidate did Obama defeat in the 2004 United States Senate election in Illinois?
A. Blair Hull
B. Peter Fitzgerald
C. Jack Ryan
D. Alan Keyes

6. In 1992, Obama married whom?
A. Martha Robinson
B. Maria Robinson
C. Michelle Robinson
D. Mary Robinson

7. In 2005, Obama co-sponsored the "Secure America and Orderly Immigration Act" along with what Republican Senator?
A. Sen. John Warner (R-VA)
B. Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY)
C. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN)
D. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ)

8. What was the first electoral contest that Obama won in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary run?
A. Iowa
B. New Hampshire
C. South Carolina
D. Michigan

9. How many states did Barack Obama win on Super Tuesday in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary run?
A. 11
B. 12
C. 13
D. 14

10. Obama says that his alternate career choice would have been:
A. Architect
B. Pastor
C. Doctor
D. Psychologist

Yes, there will be a fabulous prize for the Winner. How'd you do?


A – Honolulu, Hawaii
B – Harvard University
D – University of Chicago
B – 1996
D – Alan Keyes
C – Michelle Robinson
D – Sen John McCain (R-AZ)
A – Iowa
C – 13
A – Architect

10 Best Movies of All Time

A lively lunchtime discussion sparked this post, here are my picks:

1. Gone with the Wind
2. Casablanca
3. Wizard of Oz
4. To Kill a Mockingbird
5. Saving Private Ryan
6. The Godfather
7. Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
8. Fiddler on the Roof
9. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
10. Sound of Music

I know, I Know, I’ve left off Citizen Kane, It’s a Wonderful Life, Rocky, Annie Hall, Midnight Cowboy, Raging Bull, Dr. Zhivago, Lawrence of Arabia, Mary Poppins, Ben Hur, Patton, The Graduate, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Shane, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn . . . and 3 million others!

Of course, lists like this tend to reveal more about the compiler than the merits of the movies, especially when you label them the Best of. What would your list of ten include?

P.S. Lemming, please upgrade to DSL so you can respond (LOL).

Thursday, January 01, 2009


I think.

No resolutions here (can't keep them anyway).

More later.