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!