Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Elizabeth Edwards

Not only a brave woman who has battled cancer for over 6 years, Elizabeth Edwards is the model of grace and humility as well as unimaginable humor. Her end-of-life decision to spend her final days in her own home shows me that there is such a thing as a peaceful death, and that we can reach closure with our loved ones. I hope she is enjoying her house full of family and friends and that they are telling stories, looking at old photos and having as many laughs as tears.

Elizabeth, I never knew you but thank you for your courage, grace and dignity.

NOTE: Just found out that while I was writing this Elizabeth passed away peacefully surrounded by love.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Count Me Truly Thankful

As we enter the week of the Thanksgiving holiday, it is time again to remind myself of all I have to be thankful. This is my favorite time of the year when we are immersed in the season of fall, filled with its warm palette of reds, golds and yellows...even though it is currently raining cats & dogs!

Thanksgiving always means a feast with the family: turkey (deep fried at my house), cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, Mom’s dressing, gravy, pumpkin pie, the whole nine yards. I prefer to stay at home by the wood stove with a good football game on TV but this year the younger generation is taking over and we’ll be spending Thanksgiving at my niece’s in Beaverton, Oregon. She texted me numerous times yesterday to make sure I was bringing my famous homemade cranberry sauce and dessert (she doesn’t know I spent most of yesterday baking cookies, pumpkin bread, persimmon cake, etc., for the journey) And the wine, we always bring the wine. This year we’re taking local wine from the Alfaro family vineyards in Corralitos, CA, just a few short miles from our house. A superb Pinot Noir has been selected to accompany the bird. Friday night, we are looking forward to dinner at Salvadore Molly's in Portland, an interesting "pirate" themed restaurant we've been wanting to try. I'll have to Yelp! that experience.

I am thankful for the little things in life, the fact that the people I love are healthy and we are so close to each other. I am blessed to have people surrounding me who believe in me, and show me everyday how much they love me. I am thankful to have a roof over my head and a job, when many people today are not so lucky.

May this holiday season be a time to reflect, laugh and give! May the spirit of thankfulness and giving carry far beyond this holiday weekend into the lives of those you love!

Happy Thanksgiving! Even you bob.

Friday, November 05, 2010

May You Live in Interesting Times

I find it interesting that as soon as the Republicans get into power -only in the House- and at a time when people are frustrated about the economy, they immediately focus on health care and tax cuts for the rich.

Here's what's going to happen:

1) The GOP will overreach (they can't help themselves) and alienate their base with their preoccupation with grabbing power but NOT tending to the nation's business. McConnell's comments about the goal being to make sure Obama is a one-term President is the best example.
2) The internal implosion between the establishment republicans and the tea partiers (classic oil and water). Boehner does not have a plan for handling them; we'll see his face more often a shade of red than (phoney tan) orange.
3) The GOP will drive moderates and independents back to the democrats during this term by their displayed extremism and lack of accomplishments, just in time for the 2012 election. Obama will be re-elected, no problem.
4) The GOP is politically incapable of meeting their stated objectives regarding the budget deficits becasue these are the same characters and the same party that created it!
5) The democrats should be looking forward this cycle of endless and baseless "investigations" of the Obama administration, as promised by psycho Michelle Bachman, and instead of exposing any wrong doing, it will reveal to the American public the pettiness and wasteful political pursuits of the GOP, just like Ken Starr and Whitewater got Clinton reelected by comfortable margins.

My prediction: 6 months from now we'll see polls showing that the Republicans are more unpopular than the Democrats. Guess I’m not really that worried.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

From the West Wing (still applies today)

" Because I'm tired of working for candidates who make me think that I should be embarrassed to believe what I believe, Sam! I'm tired of getting them elected! We all need some therapy, because somebody came along and said, "'Liberal' means soft on crime, soft on drugs, soft on Communism, soft on defense, and we're gonna tax you back to the Stone Age because people shouldn't have to go to work if they don't want to!" And instead of saying, "Well, excuse me, you right-wing, reactionary, xenophobic, homophobic, anti-education, anti-choice, pro-gun, Leave It To Beaver trip back to the Fifties...!", we cowered in the corner, and said, "Please. Don't. Hurt. Me." No more. I really don't care who's right, who's wrong. We're both right. We're both wrong. "

Scary ain't it?

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Good-bye GAS!

Or Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger as he is so fondly known by many here in the Golden State. With him in the driver's seat as our 38th Governor, California has become a shining example of the wrong economic plan and is a failed state where the rich are enjoying a tax free life while the poor are bottoming out with the economy. The Governor does not believe in higher taxes to the rich and therein lies the major problem. While campaigning, Arnold promised a “Hummer in every driveway” (he promised a lot things that he in no way delivered).

I agree with Democratic speaker of the California Assembly, Karen Bass, when she said “He’s an action hero, and he wants to approach political office that way. He wants to be the Terminator. We have to be careful he doesn’t terminate California.” Amen, Karen!

All in all, actors do not make good governors and this guy should never have run for the office. Thank God, he isn't eligible to run for President.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The County Fair Verdict Is In

Let me start by saying that I didn't do as well as I'd hoped or as well as I have in previous years but the competition was fierce this year (remember Clara & Aunt Bee and the pickles?) and that makes me happy beyond belief. This means that despite hard economic times, more people are coming to the Fair; more people are coming back to the old-fashioned ideas and notions of a real County Fair. When times are as trying as they are, people understand that comfort -like comfort food- lies somewhere between the present and the past. And while the fair changes a little bit every year, it really doesn’t change that much, which is a reminder about timeless verities about how our food comes to our tables, and about the countless community groups that come together each year to bring the best of something — collectibles, giant pumpkins, chickens, orchids - to display.

Here's how I did:

1) First Place: pumpkin bread
2) Second Place: ginger cookies (the judges must have liked them because I entered 6 and there were only 3 left on the plate!)
3) Third Place: chocolate cupcakes (Best of Show two years ago)
4) Honorable Mention: banana walnut bundt cake (too many nuts?)
5) Honorable Mention: Buckeyes (peanut butter ganache dipped in chocolate)
6) No Award: chocolate chip cookies (got first place last year, guess I shouldn't have tweaked the recipe)

There’s something reassuring about prize-winning flowers and vegetables, kids’ 4-H raised animals, the tractor parade, corn dogs & cotton candy, carnies, racing dogs and pig kissing that keeps me coming back year after year.

Talk about finding America, it's all at the Fair.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

"Burn a Koran Day"

I thought it was a rumor that a certain segment of our society never left the Dark Ages, but Pastor Terry Jones is living proof (I've taken down the link to the video).

Sadly, this is less a news story than an unfortunate act by a few small-minded and ignorant individuals. The only reason it is a news story, and thereby a hazard to our troops is because the media has allowed the message to be hijacked by this group, who is in no way representative of the majority of Americans, or the majority of Christians.

Under-educated, filled with Fox propaganda, or influenced by the perversion of a 2000 year old religion of "a cross in one hand and a sword in the other" mentality. If intolerance, hate, exclusion, racism, violence, or inciting violence is Christianity, then Gandhi was right. This extremist preacher and his followers do as much for the polarization and division of our world as the extremists they condemn.

The media is just giving them what they want by feeding their flames with publicity and the Jerry Springers of the future have an endless supply of guests.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

A New California Conundrum

One of our local Bay Area newspapers is drumming up a campaign to create an Official California State Sandwich. So, being the food groupie that I am, I started to research other official state sandwiches and was suprised with what I found. The most (obviously) notable sandwiches are the Philly cheesesteak (thanks largely to Pat & Geno) and the Louisana Po-boy (pretty much thanks to Emeril Lagasse).

Apparently, Ohio boasts about its Carle's Bratwurst. Massachussetts' folks love their Fluffernutter's. Iowans have their "Loose Meat" (thanks Roseanne) and Nebraska has an interesting sandwich called a Runza. Kinda like a pirogi (to me) only in the shape of a twinkie. Even a state in Mexico has an Official Sandwich, Vera Cruz's Pambazo.

Now, if all that sandwich making talk hasn't gotten your mouth watering, here's my idea for a state sandwich fit for California, the California BLAT: Toasted San Francisco sourdough bread, spread with a Gilroy garlic and Castroville artichoke aioli, Freedom Meat Lockers (Freedom, CA) applewood-smoked bacon, topped with sliced Hass avocadoes (originally born in a backyard in La Habra Heights), Watsonville heirloom tomatoes and butter lettuce, served with a side of grilled San Joaquin Valley Black Mission figs & Harley Farms (Pescadero) goat cheese balls, drizzled with honey.

Man, oh man, that's what I'm talking about! I think I'm submitting this as my entry, what do you think?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Welcome Home Troops!

President Obama has taken a major step toward concluding one of GW Bush’s wars, just as he pledged to do before he ever took office. While it’s not “Mission Accomplished” and 50,000 will remain to advise, assist, train, and equip Iraqi Security Forces, it is a time to honor the 5,640 who made the ultimate sacrifice; the almost 40,000 who have been wounded; and to salute those who have come back. Let’s hope our country now does the right thing by taking care of them the way they deserve.

While not the same homecoming my late older brother Ed received when returning from Viet Nam in the mid-1960’s, I know he would have wanted this for those returning from Iraq today.

Welcome home, it must feel awesome to be back!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

This Mosque Thing

I can understand the emotional aspect of the whole thing, even though, once given all of the facts about the actual location, it all seems like much ado about nothing. The mosque is not at Ground Zero, it's at an abandoned Burlington Coat Factory building two blocks down the street. Since when is the Burlington Coat Factory sacred?

Note: for those of us who do not live in or are familiar with NYC, understand that this is a controversy created by the NY Post - Rupert Murdoch - who should be arrested and deported for sedition.

To believe that building a religious center is an "insult" or a "victory monument" is to believe that those who perpetrated 9/11 represent the entire Muslim religion. There will be no domes, there will be no calls to prayer, it is going to be a cultural center. There are mosques everywhere in this country, and people worship there peacefully.

All people of the Muslim faith are no more terrorists than all white males of the Catholic church are pedophiles. The monsters that flew the planes on 9/11 are the exception, not the rule, just like those good ole Christians who kill doctors and bomb clinics, or tie people of color to the back of a truck and drag them down the road are not indicative of all white people. 9/11 was not an attack by Muslims or the Nation of Islam, but an attack by terrorists on all of humanity, including Muslims.

Religion has got its hands on the throat of America and is choking the life out of every issue: cultural center in NY, gay rights, abortion, supporting candidates who are inferior but say enough Bible speak to get elected and so on. The problem isn't Islam, the problem is ALL religion and the nuts who follow them.

The GOP always has to run on fear: fear of gays, of Muslims, flag burning, and of minorities, particularly our black President. They are smart enough to know that their base is generally under educated, overly religious and abundantly armed, and nothing gets them more riled than fear. What the GOP does not think about is the future. Most Republican leaders will be dead in twenty years so they really don't care what happens. Do they not see that the majority of Americans no longer look like Mitch McConnell, the white-haired grump or old Grandpa Angry Pants, John McCain?

In the end, you can't educate people who are proud of their ignorance. How miserable must their lives be to choose hate over tolerance. In theory all of NYC is Ground Zero then. And DC. And Pennsylvania.

Sadly, the only one laughing at us is Osama Bin Laden.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Recipe Testing

One of my biggest dreams is to someday open my own bakery and to get so good at one thing that Bobby Flay shows up and challenges me to a "Throw-down." At the rate he loses every season, I figure I've got it made in the New York shade!

I started entering my baked goods in our local County Fair more than ten years ago. I've gotten first place in many categories (2nd, 3rd & Honorable Mention too), including, cookies, cakes, cupcakes, candy confections (English toffee, peanut brittle), quick breads, and even one Best of Show for my chocolate cake (always a favorite of my Dad's). This means I beat out everyone in that category, including the entry awarded First Place.

Truth be told, I'm a sucker for the winning ribbons. They don't all have to be first place ribbons and I collect them like some collect Beenie Babies, the more the merrier - and I have lots to be merry about. I keep them in a special box and take them out for inspiration every once in a while and also to show them off.

This year I'm trying some new things: ginger cookies, Buckeyes, lemon bundt cake, banana nut bread, chocolate cupcakes (Best of Show 2008), and my first place winner from 2009: chocolate chip cookies (I'm tweaking the recipe this year). I'm also making a never been done item called Cake Pops. I was inspired by a baking blog called Bakerella and mine will be gingerbread cake balls enrobed in creamy white icing, eaten like a lollipop. Kinda like a round petite four on a stick. I wasn't sure if it qualified as cake or a dipped confection so went ahead and entered it as "Any Other, please specify" except I didn't specify.

Anywho, the Santa Cruz County Fair is September 14-19 and I have to have my entries in by Saturday, September 11th for judging on the 12th. We always go the first night so I won't know how many ribbons I've won until then.

So that's what I've been up to lately.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Oh Say Can You See!

Our neighborhood party starts at 3pm and I wanted to wish you all a Happy 4th of July! The weather here on the coast is cool and breezy so Mr. itsme has the fire pit all ready to light for the weenies (family) coming from Silicon Valley. There are John Phillips Sousa songs on satellite radio and we have fireworks and S'mores when it gets dark. All that's missing is a fly-over by the Blue Angels!

We're BBQing chicken, roasting corn; neighbors are bringing green salad, watermelon, garlic bread and roast asparagus. I made Cake pops (another post) for dessert. My sister in Las Vegas texted and said it's 98 degs and she's making homemade vanilla ice cream for their neighborhood party (my sister is the cake decorator) by the pool.

Life is good. This is what it's all about. So God bless America and all that jazz, Cha-cha-cha.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Is This Color Better?

UPDATE: I think I'll keep the blue for a while. Beige, brown, whatever is so boring!

Beige rather than the pink? I'll admit, it's easier on the old eyeballs. Gotta keep my 'followers' happy.

Spent a wonderful day at my house baking with three co-workers (it's rare that one is lucky enough to have co-workers you like enough to become friends). We had an excellent lunch in the backyard; watched some birds, listened to the fountain, and had a few laughs. This is what life is about.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Changes beginning July 2, 2010

TAAA-DAAAA, wadda ya think? Too pink?

Growing up I hated the color pink. Always associated it with June Cleaver-types and being "girlie," and I was NEVER a girlie-girl. If my Mom had let me, I would have slept in my cowboy hat & boots (yes, red ones, thank you for asking) when I was 6; however, she drew the line at wearing my toy cap gun and holster to bed. Seems the older I get, the more the color grows on me. I'm not talking Pepto Bismol pink, more a dusty rose. The color of the lower half of my diningroom, below the white chair rail. Yeah, so I'll try this out for a while. Change is good.

Guess I'm reacting to all the changes going on around me at work and home these days. At work -and I've always made it a policy not to talk about work- I've had to say goodbye to a few co-workers due to layoffs and/or reassignments. One person in my dept actually went "out the door" and a few others are still on campus, just in different locations. So, I've shed a few private tears in the ladies room in the last few days. Our Union has been fairly successful bargaining to mitigate more layoffs, but it's still hard when people who are like family, leave.

On the homefront, solar attic fans are being installed today. At the end of the month we're starting a guest bathroom remodel and putting in a new sliding glass door in the aforementioned half dusty rose pink diningroom. Wednesday, we ordered the new bathroom vanity, mirror and toilet (already have the new shower stall and picked out the new flooring). We've been through this before but I already can't wait til it's over!

Well, happy Friday!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Changes beginning July, 1, 2010

To name a few:

1) The Commonwealth of Virginia is set to increase the speed limit to 70 mph for certain sections of its highways on July 1st, 2010

2) The Governor of Florida created an Amnesty Program that runs from July 1, 2010 to September 30, 2010 so that eligible taxpayers may satisfy their state tax liabilities and avoid criminal prosecution and penalties

3) Lebron James signs with the Miami Heat!!!

4) “Ace of Cakes” (Food Network Season 9) opens with the 100th episode of the series

5) Bridge tolls, including the Golden Gate Bridge, go up all over the SF Bay Area (CA) today. Metro fares in LA also go up today

6) Poker laws change in Florida today

7) Changes in Russian customs legislation goes into effect today to reflect the new reality of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan

8) Montana begins regulating Massage Therapists today and if ever a group needed regulating it’s them

9) Free WiFi at all U.S. Starbucks stores starting today

10) IUP (Indiana University of Pennsylvania) shuts down it’s old Central Webserver (aka “blue & yellow” server) because it’s no longer needed. R.I.P.

11) Starting today, overdraft fees require consumer consent...there goes my free checking!!!

How would you guys know any of this stuff if it weren't for me???????

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

June 9, 1972

The day of my graduation from High School. We were the 100th class to graduate and the first time in 100 years it rained. No class before ours had ever had to graduate in the auditorium of a (rival) Junior High school. A few years later, our High School was closed and remaining students merged with the rival High School. Glad I was long gone by then. Imagine having to call your hated rival high school your own?

After all these years, I'm not bitter! I'm not, I'm not, I'm not!

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Tipper & Al Call it Quits

I am in shock. 40 years of marriage and kaboom, just like that, it's over? This was a solid together couple if ever there was one, real role models, so-to-speak. I mean, if it can happen to THEM it can happen to ANYONE now.

"They" say there was no infidelity, but time and the National Enquirer will tell. Was it that pesky "empty-nest" syndrome? Suddenly, one day the kids are gone and one of them turns to the other and says "Who the HELL are you?" Or worse "Who the HELL am I?" Parenthood is a powerful identity (personally, I wouldn't know) and when your kids are grown and gone, you have to find a new reason to get up and face each other every morning. They weathered so much: Al's deployment to Viet Nam, raising a family of 4, almost losing one of those children in a car accident, a Vice Presidency, a Presidential campaign, and then a Nobel Peace Prize. Still, the experts claim that if couples don't evolve together over the years, opposites no longer attract and opposites become just . . . opposites. To me, this translates simply as "You're no longer a priority in my life."

It's not uncommon I guess. They did "beat the odds" by staying together as long as they did. But still, it's depressing. It's almost like there's no point in getting married at all anymore.

Thank goodness, Bill & Hill are still together!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Diaspora vs Facebook

While listening to a local radio station's "Tech Guy" show, the host, Leo LaPorte was discussing the current hub-bub about Facebook and was urging Facebook users to quit Facebook. He mentioned a new social network I think is worth following. The video of the three "nerds" explaining the whole thing is a little tedious -they are all barely 20 years old after all- but I'm betting this is going to be major competition for Facebook, of which I can PROUDLY say I have never joined and no intention of joining. OK, I'll admit here, I recently created an account so that I could officially quit (which I did last Thursday) but it takes two weeks for your account to be completely deleted. Seems the gods at Facebook want you to take two weeks to think it over. But I digress.

Apparently, Facebook's CEO Mark Zuckerberg made a statement that most people have gotten comfortable with the lack of privacy on the Web and that basically, like it or not, this is the new social norm, so we should all pretty much get used to it. This has so outraged some Facebookers that May 31st has been officially declared "Quit Facebook" day. (I emailed my family members with this challenge and got, as expected, fairly hostile responses). Personally, I thik this is exciting, kinda like a Civil War on the Internet!

Anyway, besides the new Diaspora social network, there are other social networks out there, about 9 I can count, that care about your privacy. Just remember, you heard it here first.

Monday, May 17, 2010

What the Cluck - the Response

"Thank you for your email to Susan G. Komen for the Cure(r). We do appreciate you taking the time to tell us how you feel about our partnership with KFC. You should know that our partnership with KFC is designed at the core to educate millions of people we might not otherwise reach with breast health information - outreach that we consider critical to our mission to save lives and end breast cancer. We are reaching people with life-saving messages through KFC's 5,300 restaurants (about 900 of them in communities not yet served by a Komen Affiliate), with information in the store, on the buckets and in advertising directing consumers to KFC's bucketsforthecure.com website, with links to www.komen.org.

Second, this partnership is helping generate millions in funding - a goal of $8.5 million to be raised in six weeks - to further the nearly $1.5 billion in research and community programs that Komen has already spent over the past 30 years - programs that are literally saving people's lives through better treatments, early detection and advocacy at the federal and state levels. Because of partners like this, our $500 million in research funding has paid enormous dividends - 98 percent five-year survival rates for cancers that haven't spread from the breast and better and more effective treatments for late-stage breast cancer patients, Further, these partnerships have enabled us to invest $900 million in our communities, providing financial and medical support for women, particularly low-income women, who desperately need help gaining access to the medical care system.

Some ask what we are doing in terms of prevention. About 10 percent - or $50
million - of our research budget over the years has gone to prevention research. We'll invest another $20 million of our $55-$60 million research grant program to prevention, and continue funding programs that educate women about their risks.

We recognize that this partnership brings up a conversation about obesity and health related to cancer. Our partnership highlights the healthy options at KFC - grilled chicken and vegetables, for example. Ultimately, the decision to maintain a well-balanced diet lies in the hands of the consumer. KFC provides tools to make those choices, by providing a healthier choice menu at its restaurants and advice on its website on how consumers can limit fat and calorie consumption in its products.

We hope that you will take a moment to visit the bucketsforthecure.com website to learn more about the partnership and see the stories of hope, education and empowerment being shared there. We appreciate your concern and thank you for sharing it with us.

Very truly yours,

Margo K. Lucero
Director, Global Corporate Relations
5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 250 | Dallas, TX 72544
1-877 GO KOMEN | www.komen.org"

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
All I can say is SHAME ON YOU Ms. LUCERO, what a buncha double-speak CRAP!!!

What the Cluck?

I KNEW we lived in a bizzaro world but this takes the cake. "Buckets for the Cure" they call it, brought to you by the greedy bastards who gave us the new Double Down sandwich, and a whopping 50 cents will be donated to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for every pink bucket of fried chicken sold. Fried chicken? To cure breast cancer?

Seems to me the Susan G. Komen people forgot that their primary value is women’s health and have now failed to understand that this value does not fit with KFC. The Colonel going pink? That’s absurd. Who's next the Marlboro Man?

Go here and stop the Pinkwashing!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Cancelled Wedding

Mr. itsme was to officiate next Saturday at the wedding of the son of an old high school friend of mine. We've known Jason since before he was born. He and Joanna were coming to our house this afternoon to go over last minute details about the ceremony when Jason called to say Joanna had "cold feet" and they were cancelling the wedding.

It takes a lot of courage to call off a wedding, especially one week before you're supposed to get married. I sure don't envy them telling both sets of parents and any other family members coming from out of town or far away. Then there's the gifts to return, vendors to call: reception hall, caterer, photographer, DJ, bakery, etc., gives me the willies just thinking about it.

Still, I'm glad they both listened to their gut feeling that something was wrong and understood that calling it off was an option. I think it took real honesty and incredible maturity to be really true to what they knew deep down.

I wish them well and hope they find happiness in the future.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spatchcocking your Chicken

Ah HA, I KNEW that would get your attention!

Now that you're here, let me tell you about a new roasting method I tried last night. The technique is called spatchcocking - basically splitting and flattening your bird - that produces perfectly roasted poultry (I used cornish hens) in less time than a whole one. I think the real secret is roasting at a high temperature. (Good thing I have a self-cleaning oven).

All you have to do is put your chicken breastside down on your cutting board and starting at the thigh end, cut along one side of the backbone with chicken shears, then turn the chicken around, and cut along the other side. Flip the chicken over and open it like a book. Press down firmly on the breastbone to flatten. Place on a roasting pan and season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper (and anything else you fancy). I drizzled some olive oil over mine and popped some peeled garlic gloves along side and roasted at 500 degs for about 30 minutes (an instant-read thermometer should read 165 degs when inserted in the thickest part of the thigh).

Here's a link to a how-to video if you're interested. It was truly delish!!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


My late Dad, a great artist in his own right -and who taught me to wield a paintbrush before I could hold a pencil- always told me that without angst, the artist could not create. Without angst and a reason to bemoan, we would all be well off, middle class, boring, fashion conscious, media guzzling, consumeristic, uncaring dullards with nothing to complain about at parties.

He was right.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Keep the Memories, Get Rid of the Stuff!

I am finding that I like getting rid of things. I like it even more when my things find new homes with people who will love them. And if the person is someone I love, that’s pretty much perfect.

I have a pretty easy time weeding out clothes, for instance. If I don't like it, don't wear it, whatever - out it goes. I have gotten rid of a few toxic friends but now I’m having trouble finding people I can trust. (Making friends gets so much harder as you get older don’t you think?) One thing I can’t get rid of is my books, especially my cookbooks. And pictures, I can’t get rid of those. Fortunately, we have put most of ours on CD’s and I upload everything to my Flickr and our Costco photo account.

I'm not talking about going minimalist here, I'm just talking about freeing myself so that I can focus on what REALLY matters and making (more) room in my life for the things I love doing the most. Besides, having more 'stuff' doesn't make me a happier person - and in a society driven by consumption, it can be hard to realize this truth.

Monday, April 19, 2010

George Washington is a Felon!

I am crushed! Our own George Washington, some say the literal Father of our Country, owes over $300,000 in overdue library fines. According to the UK Guardian old George checked out two volumes from the New York Society Library in 1789 and never returned them. What kind of example is that? Would it have delayed his crossing the Delaware that much?

I'm so Raven!

Recently got into a discussion about animal spirit guides, or totems (all in fun of course). Come to find out based on all my birth information: whose House the moon was in, what Sign was rising, day and time of birth, my shoe size, etc., according to the Tlingit Indigenous People of the Pacific Northwest Coast, I am a Raven.

It's kinda ironic since I hate to fly (in planes, not on my broom) and generally detest roadkill of any kind. Still, I do feel an eery kinship to the largest songbird in North America. Because of its jet-black color, it is associated with the night and the Earth and has been granted great power - TOWANDA! The Raven teaches the importance of being still and observing quietly until we can see both sides of the light. Must be why I'm such a good birder; I have keen eyesight and more patience than anyone else I know (I'm also a champion Bop-a-Mole player).

The Raven also brings new things, new places, new ideas, and rebirth. Raven helps the worthy, but loves to trick the unsuspecting (BOY, DO I) and is as full of mischief as she is wonderful. Master trickster - I LIKE IT! Raven symbolizes the home of our ancestors, our personal stories and imprinted memories. Raven is distinctly earthy, and feminine (but I do use deodorant). Ravens are prophets, spell-casters, and messengers. Raven offers knowledge of the world to the people for safe keeping. I am infamous for being able to keep a secret. Forever, if need be.

I've got it: create a calm environment, play soothing music, light a fire, grab some chocolate and indulge! I can SO do that.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Insurance Reform Passes

I finally got my wish. I now have a president who has learned how to lead, finally admitting that no common ground with today's Republicans is possible, and once and for all revealed as the true obstructionists that they are. In spite of all the threats, outright lies, misinformation, and fear mongering (and all the unnecessary and redundant posturing by the "sanctity of life"), it IS a "first step."

True, it will not yet stop the outrageous behaviors of insurance companies. As long as health care is for-profit, insurance companies will continue doing what they please. It is essentially a slap in the face to women, for reasons that go far beyond reproductive rights. It will still leave millions uninsured, and it’s still unclear how millions more will afford the insurance coverage they're now going to be required to buy. But these things can AND WILL be worked out over time.

There are immediate benefits, to name a few:

1) My neighbor's eight year old autistic son will now qualify for his parents' health care plan (apparently being born with autism is a "pre-existing" condition)
2) It will lower seniors' prescription drug prices by beginning to close the "donut hole" (too bad my Mom didn't live long enough to see that one)
3) Requires plans to cover an enrollee's dependent children until age 26
4) Offer tax credits to small businesses to purchase coverage
5) Prohibit dropping people from coverage when they get sick in all individual plans (cancer came back a third time? Sorry, three strikes and you're out!)

Yes, there is much more work to be done and plenty of people, organizations, and corporations will figure out how to exploit it, but it's a start. The income disparity in America has never been greater and it is time the people who have helped tilt the system in their favor start paying for some of America’s problems.
The door is now open, and hopefully, in the coming years, it will morph into something with a public option - or better yet, single payer.

And John McCain vows to keep fighting.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

RV Virgins No More

It's fitting that we return from our first RV trip on Valentine's Day. Yes, we took the plunge and bought a 21 foot Travel Trailer last month. This was our Maiden Voyage and boy, did we ever have a blast! I can say this NOW that I'm home, freshly showered & shampooed, wearing clean jammies and working on my 2nd healthy-sized glass of Rogue Vineyards (Columbia Valley, Washington) Chardonnay. Mr itsme has a Tuscan-style tri-tip (white wine & rosemary) on the BBQ and I'm steamming fresh carrots & broccoli. Can life get any better than this? Only in California right? Holy Cow, it's 71 degs at 5:40pm. Don't hate me because I'm not shoveling snow!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

Friday, February 05, 2010

New Family Addition

Brandon James Edwin born tonight, 7:45pm. 7lbs, 15oz, 21 inches. I'm in awe! My late Brother Ed's 5th Grandchild and 2nd Grandson. He would have been so happy. Mom, Dad, and Sisters Allysa & Jordan are doing well.

Welcome to the world little Brandon!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

State of the Union Address 2010

Dear President Obama,

Tonight, I want to hear you talk about 3 things: jobs, economic security and health care reform.

I want to hear about the steps you will take in saving American jobs from outsourcing. Each job we lose everyday is a job lost. You said during your campaign that you would stop the outsourcing of jobs to cheaper countries like India, but you aren’t talking about that anymore. How about some tax credits for small businesses that stay in the USA? How about helping students pay off college debt and really cracking down on Wall Street? How about a stimulus package for everyday Americans? I am tired of the empty rhetoric, your obsession for Republican love and approval, and this stupid “freeze” gimmick. I want to hear you challenge the left and right wing of the House and Senate to write and pass laws that will work for ALL Americans.

You need to forcefully and decisively charge the Democrats to pass a healthcare bill that includes a strong public option. Remind them of the mandated majority that swept them to victory in the first place because in 2012 they might not be so lucky.

And finally, Mr. President, I hope you realize you need to lead and to fight for the promises you made in your campaign. The American People elected a Democrat and you have to start listening to the American People.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Face of Ignorance

Pat Robertson is a fraud, an uneducated charlatan and snake oil salesman who has neither heart nor soul. He peddles hate and calls it religion while wearing his $1,000 suits and living in his $16 million mansion. Just when I thought religion and religious people couldn't be more comical for the ignorant things they believe, this whack-job opens his mouth. He is the poster child of the conservative movement in this country.

It is hard to believe that people actually believe his garbage. His insane comment about the victims of earthquake-ravaged Haiti as being "cursed" because of a "pact to the devil" is yet another classic example of why our Founding Fathers wrote into our Constitution the separation of church and state. If religious fanatics like this man were elected to high office, he'd be burning witches in front of the US Capital building!

Unless I'm wrong, I thought that one of the main tenets of the christian faith was to love thy neighbor and treat others like you'd want to be treated. Why then, would Pat Robertson say such a heinous thing about Haiti at a time when tens of thousands of people are dying from a natural disaster? If he were a Christian he might be more concerned with the human suffering than assigning meaningless moral blame. He is a sadistic money-maker who will say any outlandish foolishness to start a controversy to get attention.

Then again, his comments are not a big surprise. Reverend Robertson is a delusional, hypocritical, religious parasite who is completely out of line and showing nothing short of complete insensitivity. We have been listening to this type of garbage from the far right far too long. (Unfortunately, we will have to listen to one more idiot now that Fox news has added their new commentator to their lineup).

So send your relief money for Haiti to the Red Cross, UNICEF, etc., and don't send to any so-called Christian relief organizations. Chances are it will end up in the pocket of someone like Pat Robertson, who when he dies, will become fodder for worms, just like the rest of us.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Happy New Year . . . and Don't Look Back

I don't make New Year's resolutions anymore. I do, however, like to believe that at the beginning of a new year -and with 2010, a new decade- that I can wipe the slate clean and make a fresh start. I've finally come to that point in my life when I realize what matters, what never did, and what always will.

This year I will focus on letting go of things (like making resolutions) that deflect my attention from the really important things. What a person pursues in life depends on what she values. My values, basic tastes and preferences determine my priorities and the way I occupy myself and spend my time.

This year I will educate, agitate, and organize, but not necessarily in that order.