28 September 2007


Listen closely.

Hear it ?

Tick tock.



That's my biological clock ticking.

I had a very disturbing dream that reminded me of the ticking of the biological clock rather more forcefully than I would have liked.

I was with my parents in Florida (something that hasn't happened for more than 10 years) and they were living in a community that was a floating community. Of boats, sailing ships, houseboats, floating platforms. First off, the 'rents live in Oh-hia-ia, not far away from me. Secondly, this whole floaty community was far too hippy-dippy-artsy-fartsy for my parents to ever live in or consider living in. But it was a dream, so weirdness goes with the territory, right?

I found myself holding a baby, a baby girl, with a pink onesie and pink and white hat on, and she was the most beautiful little Latina, with dark curls and dark eyes, chubby little hands and kicking feet. She wasn't MY baby; she was a baby that my parents had adopted. From Guatemala. My parents who are more of an age and a mindset to retire than to adopt an infant.

I felt an urgent need to protect her (from what, I have no earthly idea, there was nothing scary or threatening in the dream) and to care for her, moving in to a boat a few slips down from my parent's place and taking over the full-time care of the baby. Who never seemed to have a name, incidentally, which you just add to the list of weird things about this dream.

I don't have a maternal bone in my body; never have really wanted to have a child of my own, and I'm not a patient woman. I think I'd make a terrible mother. I have a temper like a house on fire, and hello, I'm a train-wreck at this particular point in my life. I've got no business whatsoever having or trying to adopt a baby.

I woke up very disoriented, and sure that something was missing, something was wrong, until I realized that I don't have a child and it was just a dream. It took me a very long time to settle back in to sleep. I'd like to be able to blame this dream on my sleeping pills, because I tend to have excruciatingly vivid and weird dreams when I take them, but I didn't take the sleeping pill. So this is a creation of my own subconscious. That, perhaps, is what disturbs me most of all.

27 September 2007

It's What's for Dinner

Fall is my favorite time of the year in Oh-hia-ia. We have a lovely few weeks when the days aren't blistering hot but are still warm enough to be without jacket, scarf and hat, the nights are cool and crisp, and we open the doors and windows, turning off the air conditioning and not yet needing the heat.

The harvest begins to come in, and after a summer of abundant strawberries and blueberries, which I miss when they're gone, tomatoes, peppers of every color and heat level, and beans and potatoes and huge bunches of fresh herbs are available at the farmer's market I like to visit on the weekends.

Walking around the farmer's market makes me inspired to create menus of only fresh seasonal things, which is how we should all cook all year round, but that is fairly difficult in this climate. It also makes me miss my sister in New York dreadfully, because she was the person who introduced me to the market and we used to meet there for an early morning breakfast on Sundays and do our shopping together. Going it alone is lots less fun.

Deals abound there; two weeks ago, I took $23, and came home with 4 of my canvas shopping bags full to bursting with celery, cilantro, green beans, cherry hot peppers, ginger, garlic, some late strawberries (from California, I suspect, but the stall owner was reluctant to say that they weren't local) double yolk eggs (they're HUGE), even some local cheese. Last week my mum and I went, and I got more double yolk eggs, an enormous bunch of basil and another of dill, radishes, more green beans, more berries, yellow tomatoes, 10 pounds of baking potatoes for $3, lemons, limes, onion. My fridge is full of possibilities.

My cooking is always low fat and lately I've been trying for lower carb, cutting out pasta almost entirely :( and not making rice at all either. But that does not mean that we don't eat well. Cooking doesn't have to be a miserable chore; I enjoy it very much, especially when I have so many ideas that I end up making entirely too much stuff and have lots of leftovers to play with.

I'm also having far too much fun playing with our digital camera, a small 5 megapixel that a client gave to DH for fixing their computer. So are ya ready for some food porn?

First up as an appetizer is a Caprese salad; tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, salt, pepper, fresh basil and a drizzle of olive oil. I could eat this every day.

Then the green beans. I dump them out on the cutting board, cut the ends off, cut them into manageable chunks, rinse them, and then steam them for a scant few minutes with salt, pepper, slivered almonds and a weee hint of garlic. Baked potatoes as a side with the green beans. Now I know I said I was trying for lower carb and we all know that potatoes are a no-no when it comes to low carb. But, baked, without sour cream and cheese and bacon, they're not so terrible for you. I baked two of them, but we split one, and the second one is in the fridge for another day.Then the main event, tilapia grilled with basil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt, pepper and a very small amount of olive oil. Fish sticks to the grill horribly, so I wrap it in foil packets and it steams inside them. Bonus, your house doesn't smell fishy because they cook outside. Here's how you make the packets, which were inspired by Hugh Carpenter's Fast Fish cookbook. The fish lies diagonally on a square of tinfoil that has been rubbed with olive oil to ensure that the fish doesn't end up plastered to the tinfoil. Fold up the bottom point of the square.Fold in the two sides of the square.Flip the packet over to begin to close it up.

Fold down the remaining flap to seal the packet.Four packets of fishy goodness. I make more than two fillets because tilapia fillets can be small, and they always shrink while cooking, so sometimes they're too small. DH always wants more than one, and I eat the second left over filet for lunch the next day.

I didn't remember to take a picture when they came off the grill, so you will have to just trust me that they were beautiful and yummy. We eat fish at least twice a week, once you get over being afraid of cooking it, it is a wonderful addition to your diet. Lean, and full of good things.

I got over the fear of preparing it by taking a class taught by the aforementioned Hugh Carpenter, where he taught how to select fresh fish from the grocery store, how to cook it, how to season it, and what to avoid. His cookbook, Fast Fish, is a great jumping-off point for the beginner. There are two recipes from the book that I use on a regular basis, but mostly now I use it for inspiration and guidance, not necessarily for a particular recipe.

I never buy fish that the fishmonger has listed as "previously frozen" because it isn't as good. If nothing looks good at the store that day, we're not having fish. I make usually salmon and tilapia, but I'll experiment with other things from time to time. I look for whatever is freshest and least expensive; last week my local mega-mart had Mahi-Mahi, a Hawaiian fish that is wonderful stuff, but they wanted $17.99 a pound for it. No thanks.

Tonight we're having a salad made with leftover salmon, which was grilled with dill, lemon, and olive oil, plus Italian greens made from radish leaves. Yum. The freshness of the veggies right now is so wonderful.

25 September 2007

Contraception Day

It isn't often that I write more than one post in a day. Something has to happen or catch my attention or really piss me off for me to come back to the computer and finish another post. I start more than one a day, usually, but they sit in my queue for a few days until I get them finished.

Today, it is something that has me pissed and feeling confrontational and like I've been left in the dark. I get news feeds from NOW (National Organization for Women), the ACLU, and NARAL, so I'm surprised that this didn't hit my radar screen before the actual day. I heard it on the BBC's World Today, which my local NPR affiliate carries. I love listening to the Beeb. I love to hear the voices of the Brits...mmmm, those accents. But I digress.

I turned the radio on when leaving Pilates, and caught about 15 minutes of the programme. If you're a regular reader, maybe you've been wondering why I haven't been doing Current Events or politics lately, and the answer is that I'm depressed enough without focusing on the constant stream of bad news. Every time I tune in to NPR or CNN, I hear and see things that make me sad and angry, leave me feeling impotent and powerless in the face of a giant patriarchal Republican conspiracy. Now I know that point of view is both radical and a weee bit unfounded, part of my natural paranoia, but I can't help feeling like the bad news from Iraq combined with radical religious right hysteria and the erosion of our civil rights by things like the USA PATRIOT ACT all weigh me down, make my depression worse. Therefore, I haven't been focusing on that so much lately.

But then I'll hear something that snaps me back to a reality that I'm not happy about. Today was World Contraceptive Day, and I didn't even know it. Contraceptives are a woman's issue, solely because no one has bothered to try to invent a male version of The Pill. Don't get me started on that one.

Being raised Catholic, you know that I was taught from an early age that contraceptives of any type are wrong. It goes without saying that I never agreed with that idea, in fact it mystified me from the very first time I ever heard it. I'm not alone in that; many Catholics use every type of contraception available, because no one really wants 21 children. Who can afford that in this day and age? The Church's stance on contraception began when the Church wanted lots of new followers, and when the infant mortality rate for the entire known world was very, very high. Outdated? Yep, you could say that.

I've written before about the things that Pope John Paul II had to say about "appropriate" roles for women; the duality of motherhood and wife should be enough for them, according to his late Holiness's 1988 letter to women. I don't have much use for Benedictine XVI, his writings before he became pontiff as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger are enough to make me hunt for the nearest vomitorium.

The Beeb had 3 people on the program to talk about Contraception Day; one was a Catholic professor, a woman, who opposes any contraception. One was a scientist who has researched contraceptives extensively in developing nations, and one was a spokesperson for a Brit organization called Marie Stopes. The scientist and the Marie Stopes bloke were both well-reasoned and sane. The professor is a whole 'nother story.

The professor started her comments off by noting that she's opposed to contraception not as a Catholic, but as a woman. Contraceptions are bad for women, y'all. Who knew? I always thought that bringing a child into the world should be a reasoned, measured decision, one not undertaken lightly, one that you should make when you are emotionally, physically and financially able to care for another human being. Wow, guess I really missed the boat there. Apparently, I shouldn't use contraceptions because they're unhealthy. Riiiiight.

Turns out that the Church does support one type of contraception: Natural Family Planning. But then again, the Church doesn't allow for sexual intercourse of any type outside of the marriage bed, for the sole purpose of procreation. What does it say about your sexuality if you allow it to be controlled by people who are (theoretically) abstinent their whole lives?

But anyway. I won't let this post become a diatribe about sexuality. I won't let this post become a diatribe about sexuality. I won't let this post become a diatribe about sexuality. Sorry, back to the point.

World Contraception Day is about bringing attention to the fact that many women around the world do not have access to birth control of any sort, even when they want it. Additionally, it calls attention to the fact that by 2050, there will be two billion (that's billion with a B) more people on this planet than there are today. If we don't start paying attention to population control, we're going to out grow the planet before the end of the 21st century. Scary.

Fore o Efter

Before and After

I won't post pictures of myself, or use my real name on this blog, but I will show you pictures of the inside of my home. I crack myself up, anyway.

This is my library. With a bare cement floor, after we ripped the carpeting out. The stuff piled up in front of the fireplace is what ended up on the floor when it was all done.
To the left is my kitchen; behind this picture is our main entrance, or rather the entrance we use the most, from the garage. The curtains are down from the sliding glass door because I painted the woodwork. They're not going back, hahahahaha! I hated them, so we ordered new ones last night.That's the entrance from the garage. See the blue painter's tape everywhere? I hate to paint. Two coats of Killz, a heavy-duty primer, and two coats of the color, an ivory-ish white.

And so it begins! The blue stuff is to protect the wood flooring from moisture damage; it is only 6 mm thick. Tennis shoes and work boots rip it very easily, we discovered that the hard way.
Door to the half bath, showing the underlayment, the wood, and the transition to the bathroom, which will eventually have a little thingamabob over it so the seam doesn't show.More of the underlayment. Eventually, we got smart and only put it down as we needed it, instead of laying it out ahead of time, since it tears so easily.
And we're done! We ended up with a box and a half of the laminate flooring left over, so there is one box to return.
The light you see on the floor is from the skylight, this picture was taken in the late afternoon. I'd like to not have drapes over that sliding glass door at all, but...one, this house is very poorly insulated, and the sliding glass doors hemorrhage heat in the winter-time, and two, DH is a nut about his privacy and does not want anyone to be able to look in.
I can't get over how great it looks. So beautiful!

Here's the stats for the project:
Laminate flooring.....about $360. We used 15 boxes, at $19.99 each, plus three rolls of the underlayment, which were about $25 each.
Tools that DH insisted he needed, including two sawhorses, spacers to make sure that there's enough room for expansion in the floor, and a crowbar-esque tool that you use to make sure the planks are firmly joined together.....roughly $100
Killz, foam brushes to apply it, and painter's tape...$20
We didn't need to buy paint because we painted most of this house before moving in, and I had some left over for the woodwork, so $0 for that.
Curtains, not here yet....$50
Felt protectors for the furniture (when it goes back into the room) so that our chairs and coffee table don't scratch the hell out of the new floor....$10
Time to lay the floor...10 hours, 3 people, numerous "Dammit(s)!" and other swears, two arms pinched in between boards as they were snapped into place (ow!) and one thumb bruised to hell.

New floor, no carpeting which bothers my allergies....priceless.

24 September 2007

Ancient Music

Well, OK, not ancient in the strictest sense. But in the world of pop music, positively ancient; from the early 90s or earlier.

I wrote a post a while back about an old mix tape that I have held on to for a long, long time. I've spent some time listening to it and trying to figure out just who the various bands are. This is a listing as best as I can discover of all of the songs on the tape.

Unfortunately, there are a few that are NOT available from iTunes or any other source I can discover. DH tells me that yes, it is possible to get music from analog tapes to mp3 format, but the gadget guru does not have the needed hardware. Yet.

Without further ado, here's the listing. This has taken forever to dig up all the links and to track down the names of the bands...and I'm not done. There are still two that I can't track down. Which in the age of everything in the whole world available on Google is as irritating as heck. The song title links to the lyrics (usually) and the band title links to the band's website, if they have one, and a fan site if they don't.

  1. Hello~The Beloved
  2. Come Together~Primal Scream
  3. Candleland~Echo & The Bunnymen
  4. All Together Now~The Beatles
  5. Only Tongue Can Tell~Trash Can Sinatras
  6. Scarborough Fair~Simon & Garfunkel
  7. I'm Free~The Soup Dragons
  8. Unknown
  9. That's a lie (remix)~Too Much Joy
  10. Theme from Twin Peaks(no lyrics)~Angelo Badalamenti
  11. Laura Palmer's Theme (no lyrics)~Angelo Badalmenti
  12. Right Here, Right Now~Jesus Jones
  13. Hippychick~Soho
  14. Wicked Game~Chris Isaak
  15. Peek-a-Boo~Siouxsie & The Banshees
  16. Give Peace A Chance~The Peace Choir
  17. Deeper Shade of Soul~Urban Dance Squad
  18. I Saw Red (Acoustic)~Warrant
  19. Put It There~Paul McCartney
  20. Imagine~John Lennon
  21. Waterfall~The Stone Roses
  22. Then~The Charlatans UK
  23. Here Comes The Sun~The Beatles
  24. Elizabeth My Dear~The Stone Roses
As I've said before, just about my favorite song of the bunch is Waterfall by the Stone Roses, but there isn't much I don't like. Track #8, the unknown one, is one that I've spent about 3 hours trying to find the name of the band and the song title. I'm pretty sure it is Britpop, but I've had no luck at all finding any information. The chorus of the song is as follows:

every beat of the heart
brings me closer to the start
takes me further away from you
brings me closer to the truth

If you know who sings this, what the title of the song is, please let me know. It is going to drive me crazy.

If I was super tech-savvy, I'd post a playlist with an MP3 player so you could hear all this ancient music, but I'm not that cool. Plus can you imagine the bandwith that would eat up?

21 September 2007

Crazy busy

DH and I are putting a new floor into a room in our house. As a result, the house is a complete mess (furniture from that one room crammed in every available corner) and there are 1000 small things to be done before we put the floor in. Like today's appointed task: paint the woodwork. Ugh. I hate to paint. Hate it, hate it, hate it.

So since I don't have time to be witty and write a scintillating post, check out Blogger's latest toy, which is a mesmerizing look at the photos people are uploading to their blogs at any given time. A fair warning; this is highly addictive.

Click the play button in the middle of the screen near the bottom, and then also click 'show info' to see where the pictures were posted. Stunning photography, art, pictures of people's kids....an amazing mash-up. It is fascinating, a polyglot of languages and images. Enjoy.

Blogger Play

19 September 2007

Blades of idiocy, not glory.

Once upon a time, I went rollerblading all the time. With my bad-boy trainer R, with my sisters, with friends, even all alone. I used to enjoy it, but with both sisters being far away, the skates have been forgotten in recent years.

DH and I cleaned our garage as part of that whole attic-cleaning madness, and the skates were rediscovered in a box in the garage, which is where they've been since we moved to this house at the end of 2004.

When I woke up today, I hurt too much from a combination of running and Pilate's, so I decided that since today was a rare beautiful day, I'd go out blading instead of running. Which, in hindsight, might have been mistake #1.

I pulled the skates from their box and tried them on. Yes, they still fit, and yes, I had no trouble skating around the library floor, which is currently cement. We ripped out the carpeting and are going to install laminate flooring this weekend. Anyway. No trouble getting around on them.

There are several park trails within walking distance of my home, but I decided that crossing a major road on skates for the first time in 3 years wasn't a bright idea, so instead I hopped in the car and drove to another trail that is closed to vehicular traffic and is paved.

Once the skates were on, and I got into the parking lot successfully from the car, I had no trouble navigating on them. Soon, I had a good rhythm down, with the wheels of the skates going "whirrrr, whirrr" underneath me, the sun shining through in dappled patches on the trail, and the wind in my super-short hair. Lovely. I did about a half mile without a thought.

When I would go out skating with the bad-boy trainer, years and years ago, we would always call out to people we were about to pass, so that we didn't startle them as we flew by, saying things like "Coming up on your right!" or "Passing on your left!" and I still do that, because I don't want to scare the bejebus out of anyone.

I passed a woman and her dog on the left, then careened around her to pass a pair of women on the right, calling out to each of them. As I passed the pair of women, one of them turned to look at me and brushed her arm against mine. Completely unintentionally, I assure you. She didn't reach out to me, just turned in time to see me whiz by. I was startled enough to take my attention off of the skates for one second...and I was down on the ground instantly.

I landed hard on the heel of my left hand and on my left hip, a jarring shock. I was breathless for a second while the woman apologized and agonized over causing my fall. "No worries," I told her, "I haven't been up on these for three years, and I expected to fall at least once. I'm OK." I declined their offer of assistance and managed to get to my feet without falling again. (Amazingly.)

I continued the trail, and managed about 3-1/2 miles, and enjoyed all but about the last half mile. Once back at my car, with the skates off, I realized how sore I was. I've spent most of the rest of the day trying to not put much weight on my left hip as I sit down. I'm going to have a fantastic bruise.

18 September 2007

Another spin around the sun

I had another post written for today, nearly finished, when I returned a call I'd missed on my cel phone. Somehow, even though it was on, clipped to my right hip (as usual) and not on silent, I'd missed a call.

I discovered that a friend has gotten engaged, and as I expressed my congratulations to him, I looked at the sun outside and thought about drama. Life IS drama. Comedy and tragedy, joy and pain, laughter and tears, birth and death, weddings and funerals.

Back in my school days, I had a buddy who referred to our group of friends as 'the eternal soap opera' which, he said, was titled As The Stomach Churns. In my early working days, once out of high school, I often lamented the fact that there was so much drama in my workplaces, which included restaurants, bars, and retail stores. I often was the youngest person working wherever it was, and felt as if I was the most mature person there. Drama frustrated me, and the politics of working made me nuts.

But wherever there is humanity, there is drama. It is an inherent part of our make-up. I still have relatively little patience with it. Having been off and not working for nearly three months, I'd say that is tops on my list of things I've enjoyed about being unemployed. No work drama.

I'm about to apply for a new job, one that will thrust me most firmly back into the rising tides of politics and craziness, and I'm so excited about it. This isn't a reversal of my opinion about workplace craziness, just a change of the status quo that I'm happy about.

I understand better now than I did at 19 why we're constantly in a state of dramatic anticipation; as the years go by and we travel another lap around the sun on this little blue planet of ours, we accumulate friends and new family members, drama rises and falls like the stock market and the tides. To have no drama at all in your life is to not be living.

17 September 2007

Universitiy Forgetfulness

I took a trip to my old University today, requesting transcripts of my time there. I need them for graduate school applications, but I also need one copy for a job I'm applying for. Fortunately, I live in the same town as my alma mater, so a quick phone call to them and I discovered that I could just stop there and pick up transcripts. Cool.

I haven't been on campus for several years, and at that I think the last time I was there, it was for a football game, with a big group of people. I'd forgotten how much of a pain in the ass parking is there. Eventually, I gave up hunting for a parking space on the street and drove into one of the parking decks, where I had to pay a fee to park my car. The price has gone up exponentially since I went to school there. And of course, the offices where I needed to go have all been moved.

Never let it be said that the school is living in the digital age. I had to fill out two paper forms, walk them down the hall, pay another fee, take the receipt and the forms to another building and wait for the transcripts to be printed. Lame; as my sister says, "Double Thumbs Down." They should be able to enter the request digitally and send proof of payment over the University networks as well. I don't mind walking over half of campus to get what I need; it was a rare beautiful day here in Oh-hia-ia, cool, crisp, sunny. The sky was that perfect autumnal blue, and leaves on campus are starting to turn. I enjoyed that part of it. It was the whole bureaucracy thing that bothered me.

When I finally got to the place where they actually print the transcripts, I asked for an unofficial copy in addition to the sealed copy that I had to pay for. I've asked for transcripts before and had them sent to law schools, but I've never bothered to look at them for myself.

Leaving the records office, I sat down at a table in the hallway to page through the approximately 8 pages of information about classes that I took. I thought about the classes listed for my first year, which I did while I was still a senior in high school. I remember all of them, but as I paged through the rest of it, there are bunches of classes that I have no recollection of whatsoever.

I can speak three languages; but my math skills are dismal, so why on earth did I sign up for an upper division mathematics election called "Finite Math?" Business majors were required to take Business Calc; which I did (twice). Then there's the management class called "Human Behavior" that I don't remember at all. In total, about half a dozen classes that I don't remember taking.

I don't think that the University has made any mistakes here, allow me to be clear on that point. I attended University for 5-1/2 years to get my undergraduate degree, and went every single semester of those 5-1/2 years because I loved college and loved the whole university experience. I took oodles of stuff that I didn't need for my degree, accumulating about 100 hours more time than I needed. I have minors in German and Psych, and almost enough hours for a minor in Accounting. So I did take these classes; I just don't remember them.


15 September 2007

Mix Tape

Back in the dark ages, before music was on computers and long before I was aware of the Internet, we made and traded mix tapes. Mix tapes were compilations of music, usually along a particular theme or just songs that you were fond of.

Over the years, from probably the age of 10 until 19, I probably made a hundred or so. I traded them with friends, shared them with school-mates, listened to them for hours at a time. These were the precursors to playlists.

I made them with a dual tape deck, or later, when CDs came along, taped from a CD. In the late 80s, though, I didn't have any CDs or a CD player. A good friend of mine, V, had several players and hundreds of CDs. She made great tapes.

Before I left for Sweden, she made me one that was full of Brit-pop and alternative music. I listened to it on the train, traveling around Sweden, on the bus back and forth on the way to school, at home, while riding my bike.

One of my favorite songs on the tape was by The Stone Roses, a song that I almost felt had been written for me. I identified strongly with the lyrics. But there were many other songs on the tape that I loved.

I liked the tape so much that when I tossed all of the rest of my analog tapes, having either replaced them with CDs or no longer caring about the music on the tapes, I kept that one. When DH and I moved house, the tape came along to our new domicile too. For at least the last 3 years, it has sat on a shelf with about 4 other tapes that survived the purge of old technology.

I'm not sure why, but just the other day a bit of the lyric from that old Stone Roses song popped into my head, and while I could remember that the song had been on the tape V gave me, I could remember neither the name of the song nor the band. I spent some time Googling the lyrics as I recalled them, but couldn't find it. I even looked for the mix tape, but didn't find it.

After a while, I remembered more of the lyric and eventually located the name of the song and the band, and I was satisfied with that, especially when iTunes provided me with the song for $0.99. (It is "Waterfall," from The Stone Roses self-titled album, should your own curiosity overwhelm you.)

Then DH and I watched a few movies last night and I changed the the DVD when one ended. While standing in front of the DVD player, I noticed the shelf of tapes, and sure enough, there was the mix tape from V.

We no longer have a tape player, except in my car, which is a 1999 and has a factory-installed tape player instead of a CD player for some reason. So when we went out today, I slipped the tape into my back pocket and popped it into the player.

The resulting stroll down memory lane made me very happy. As each song came on, I remembered long-forgotten things, including the lyrics to almost every song on the tape. While it is predominantly Brit-pop that I promise you've never heard of, there's also some Simon & Garfunkel, and a few things that were wildly popular at the time. Strangely, although V and I were both into a bit of heavy metal, there's only one song from a metal band, and it is a ballad.

I don't generally write posts of lists, even though I'm a compulsive list-maker, but as I eventually rediscover the names of the bands and the songs on the tape, I will make a list with links to the various band's websites and post it in the interest of fun and archaic music.

I haven't talked to V in more than 7 years. I'm not sure where she is these days. But listening to all that music again has prompted me to try to track her down and see how she's doing.

14 September 2007

This Location has been Relocated.

Sounds like something President Idiot would say, doesn't it? It was on a sign of a bank branch that I saw yesterday, but it made me think of the Idiot in the White House, too. As I listened to his speech and he stumbled over several words, made several grammar errors, I marveled all over again that this man was elected leader of the free world. (Well, he was duly elected the second time around. The first time he was installed in the White House was a mockery of the democratic election process. But I digress.)

I listen to his speeches because I can't bear to look at him. At least hearing his disembodied voice is not as bad as watching him. WhiteHouse.Gov has the audio stream, and what they claim is the text of the speech here, but the text does not match the spoken word at all. I wonder what that's all about.

After watching the CNN special I saw the other day about Islam, I understand a bit better why Iraqis aren't happy that we're there. Hell, I'M not happy that we're there. I think the soldiers need to come home.

But here's a bit of a quote from the speech, with commentary from me in parenthesis:

"Failure in Iraq would be a disaster for the United States. The consequences of failure are clear. Radical Islamic extremists would grow in strength and gain new recruits. (he stumbles two or three times over the word grow, but let's do ignore that for a second.) They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region, and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons. (He STILL mispronounces nuclear! Mrgh!) Our enemies would have a safe haven from which to plan and launch attacks on the American people. On September the 11th, 2001, we saw what a refuge for extremists on the other side of the world could bring to the streets of our own cities. For the safety of our people, America MUST succeed in Iraq.

It is the same, tired, old Republican wheeze about 'defeat them over there or we'll have to defeat them here.' Which, for the record, I don't really believe. I do not believe that we haven't had another attack on 'American soil' (Blessed Mother, how I hate that phrase) because we're fighting wars in two countries. I believe they haven't hit American interests here or abroad again because they're biding their time and trying to brew up something more terrible than September 11th was. I do most emphatically not think that we are safer today than we were on September 10, 2001. After all, what has changed?

The Terror Alert System? Please. More like a hysteria-inducing way of making it look like you're doing something. The Department of Homeland Security? Urgh. Department of the Fatherland, anyone? We needed another large governmental institution? Riiight. Why haven't they found Osama? It is like playing a worldwide game of "Where's Waldo?" The United States has the best technology in the world; why can't they find him? They record *my* telephone conversations with my family overseas and analyze them for terrorist activity. Terrorist activity coming from Sweden. As if. Sweden has been a neutral country for a long, long, long time. We talk about family and work and how much we miss one another. There's ALLL kinds of incriminating information being passed along there. But they can't find one man and his entourage of attendants in the hills in Pakistan.

And let's not talk about how many young soldiers, the average age of which is about 19, have died needlessly. W gets in to that a bit near the end of his speech, urging the people of America to support the troops; I do. I support the young men and women who are serving their country. I don't support the war. There is a very clear difference.

There's just one more thing. The final paragraph of the speech leaves me scratching my head over what the hell he means. Read it for your self, and see if it makes any better sense to you.

...yet times of testing reveal the character of a nation. And throughout our history, Americans have always defied the pessimists and seen our faith in freedom redeemed. Now America is engaged in a new struggle, that will set the course for a new century. We can, and we will prevail. We go forward with trust that the author of liberty will guide us through these trying hours. Thank you, and good night.

I'm not sure what he means at all about 'the author of liberty'. Liberty is NOT a uniquely American concept. I know that; I'm sure you do too. I'm not confident HE knows that. Is he, in some oblique way, referencing God? Or does he mean a particular writer? He's good at obfuscatory, anyway.

I'll leave the annoying grammar mistakes alone; we all know that he can't speak English well. I've resigned myself to the fact that he just sounds like a moron every time he opens his mouth. You'd think there would be an Office of Official Grammar to make sure that he manages to at least sound like English is his first language.

12 September 2007

I only know that I don't know much.

Even though I usually don't watch any TV during the week of September 11th, while I was at the gym yesterday I saw a commercial for a documentary that CNN aired earlier this summer. I had wanted to watch it, but managed to miss all 3 parts of the documentary.

Called "God's Warriors" and reported by Christiane Amanpour, a woman whom I greatly admire, I was very disappointed when I realized I missed the original airing of it. She examined each of the world's 3 major religions, Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. Last night they aired the Islamic portion, and I watched with fascination. I thought from time to time, "This, THIS is when TV is good. Informational, educational...this is what television ought to be."

Do I claim to now understand the Islamic point of view after watching a TV show? No. Of course not. But I learned quite a bit. Enough to know that I still don't understand. One of these days, I am going to read the Koran, in an attempt to further understand this faith, which seems from the outside to be so peaceful.

She spoke to a huge range of people, from extremists to moderates, American Muslims, Iranian Mullahs, Shia, Sunni, women and men. It was fascinating. I was most interested when she was speaking to some women's rights advocates in Iran. A woman who was a judge before the Ayatollahs took over, another woman who is a photographer. I was astonished to learn that 65% of Iran's university students are women. And yet, a woman's testimony in court, and her life, are worth exactly half that of a man's.

I've always wondered why a woman would voluntarily wear a hijab; I've written about this before, and gotten such obnoxious comments that I am turning comments off for this post. I'm writing solely about my opinion, from the perspective of an American woman who believes in gender equality. If you don't agree with me, that's OK, but I'm really not interested in hearing vitriol about my opinion. At least I'm curious about this issue, unlike most Westerners, who write this off as archaic and ignorant behavior. I disagree; and I'd like to understand.

Once, in the past, when I've written about this, one commenter asked me, "Why would you care? How does it impact you? How dare you write about something you have no knowledge of?"

My answer to that is exceedingly simple. I'm curious; I always want to know 'why.' I'm a geek; researching something, reading about it, learning things has always thrilled me. Somewhere out there are the answers to nearly every question.

I doubt I'll ever understand intolerance, racism, sexism, but I do think the answers for 'why' are out there for most questions.

The main reason I wanted to watch this program was because I wanted an answer to the question, "Why do they hate us and our way of life? What has the average Yank done to offend them so horribly?" I don't have an answer yet; but I do now have some other avenues to research to understand better.

11 September 2007


So many places today will be full of mentions of the anniversary of September 11, 2001. I have no desire to rehash the events of the day. I declare a media blackout in my house during the week of the anniversary, because I can't watch those planes crash into the twin towers again. The heartbreaking loss of so many blameless lives. Are we any safer today than we were on September 10, 2001? I don't think so.

Instead, I want to talk about something that I didn't ever think much about before those tragic events. I never thought much about the idea of community growing up; my home community was simply there, nothing to consider.

I didn't go to high school football games, wasn't involved in other community activities. I remember telling my mother once, at about 15 years old, that the only thing our community ever pulled together on was trying to avoid our over-zealous police, who have been known to give speeding tickets to people driving 26 miles an hour in a 25 mile an hour zone. People flash their headlights at one another to warn of the police sitting somewhere up the road.

But when the American flag popped up everywhere on September 12, 2001, I realized that you don't have to be a supporter of your local high school football team to be part of a community. That community is more than where you live.

Watch a group of motorcycle riders sometime; when they pass one another on the road, they wave, or give that little guy head-nod that says, "hey, man" without saying a word. Likewise, boaters wave to one another, as do RV-ers. These are all communities.

Humans are very social creatures; even the most anti-social of us desparately longs to be part of something larger than ourselves, some group that we can claim membership in. We identify ourselves partly by the groups we belong to. Your religion, your nationality, your race, your occupation are all groups that you belong to, part of your identifying characteristics.

Last Tuesday I was writing about nature/nurture. This is part of it as well, the nurture part. Your personality is, I believe, in part determined by the groups that you belong to. The stories that we all tell are a part of who we are. The experiences that we share, whether with friends from school days past or a card club more recent, help to form our opinions and shape our world view.

I've said many times before that I don't like living in Northern Ohio. It isn't that I dislike the community, because I believe that small-town America is pretty much the same no matter what state you live in. What bothers me here is the weather, grey, cloudy, overcast and miserable 90% of the time, and the conservatism, and the mentality of many people who live here, who seem stuck in the 1950s, with the traditional roles so seeming entrenched in the collective psyche, the lack of arts and diversity in this area. Those things, I think, can change from community to community.

Then there are the communities that we belong to in the wired world. And I'm not just talking about the fandom world, either. Last week, I had a question about my iPod, and I posed that question to an Apple forum. I had 3 answers within hours, all basically the same (very workable) solution. I was surprised, people from 2 continents reached out to help me with a relatively minor problem. The web has changed so much for us, but the biggest thing for me has been how we're all more connected to one another through the web, and yet more isolated in our own communities.

My, I'm all over the map today, aren't I? There's just one thing more that is completely unrelated to any of the above; a new side effect I'm experiencing with my meds that is making me feel rather nuts. Remember how I was having thoughts in Swedish and unable to find the English words? That went away, but yesterday I was having trouble remembering the words in either language for some ordinary things, making me worry about what the heck that is, and why it is happening now. I hope it goes away soon.

10 September 2007

There are chores, and then there are CHORES

Doing the laundry. Running errands. Unloading the dishwasher. Running the vacuum cleaner. Daily events, a part of mundane life. We all do them mostly without thinking too much about them. Even though there are only two of us in my household, most of these things need done on a daily basis.

Then there are the things that need done around the house that we don't do frequently. At my house, they tend to be things that I see, and things that drive my obsessive-compulsive self crazy because they aren't done, but they are things that aren't any fun and neither of us wants to do them.

One of those things at our current residence has been to clean the attic. No, I can't see it on a daily basis (Blessed Be!) but it has been much on both of our minds.

Our attic has been crammed full of junk, no wait, really, let's be blunt: it was full of shit, from the day we moved in. Not our shit, either. The former occupant of the house, bless her, exhibits some classic hoarding behaviors. There was also a room inside the house crammed full of her junk...no, wait....there were TWO rooms full of stuff when we started working on the house. Thankfully, I know for a fact that she's computer illiterate, so she won't be reading this anytime soon.

There were things like boxes full of more boxes, bags full of more bags, boxes filled with General Foods International Coffee tins, emptied of their contents, inside the house. Seriously. WTF?! Why would you want those? I'm sure, positive, that there is a method to her madness, but I don't know what it is.

I have only ever been in the attic to put our holiday decorations up there and then remove them annually, so I don't think very often about the fact that it was crammed wall-to-wall, floor to ceiling, with more junk. We simply moved aside the junk we needed to move in order to be able to get our stuff up there and left the rest alone.

Until this past weekend. Our piece of suburban hell has collectively agreed to rent a dumpster, a 30 cubic yard dumpster, in which everyone who pays into it will be allowed to dispose of general junk. DH and I both knew that there were a few salvageable things in that attic, but we've put off going through any of it because it is always either too hot or too cold up there to work. Plus the lights don't function, so you have to drag an extension cord and work-lights up there to be able to see or do anything.

And what did we find in the attic? Unfortunately, not the ticket to riches. There isn't a Monet or Picasso hiding up there, that's for sure. More boxes full of smaller boxes. More bags full of bags. More General Foods International Coffee tins. All empty. (Seriously. W.T.H.? That stuff isn't/wasn't any good at all.) Along with boxes full of styrofoam packing peanuts, (dude, I hate those things) boxes full of tissue paper, bags upon bags of take-out containers, washed and clean, stacked neatly with deli containers, margarine tubs, and boxes full of foam rubber. Empty shoeboxes. Bags full of toiletries from hotels and cruise ships. Pieces and parts of various refrigerators; the only thing missing that you'd need to build a whole fridge is the cabinet itself and the doors.

Everything that can be recycled will be, but a whole lot of it is going into the dumpster. We did find a few pairs of shoes, brand new, which if you know me IRL you know that shoes are an issue for me. But unfortunately, these are all about a size 5-1/2, which I would, sadly, not ever be able to wear.

We managed to go through about half of the attic's contents in just over two hours, the heat up there is a motivating factor to get it done and get the heck outta there. We've found a small amount of salvageable things, which may end up on eBay at some point. We're afraid that the amount of stuff that is currently dumpster-bound is going to fill the dumpster; half of our garage is full of this junk. So we've decided to leave half of the attic as is until we see how much stuff our neighbors are getting rid of. Wouldn't want to hog the dumpster space.

If anything, this has reminded me of how important it is to use the resources at hand wisely. I was talking to environmentally hyper-conscious Babysis the other day, and she asked me, "If we all lived like the lady who used to live in your house, how many landfills do you think we'd need?" Thousands more than what we have is my only answer.

It is really a shame that we're not done up there yet; we still, even with half of the attic being junk that we neither need nor want, have to get OUR junk up there, clearing space in the garage so that we can both breathe when walking through there. It is so cluttered that it makes us both nuts. How do we acquire so much crap? Ugh.

Laundry? Chore. Cleaning the attic? CHORE.

09 September 2007

Take Flight

I had a ride on a motorcycle on Saturday night. My dad is a motorcycle enthusiast, despite having had an accident the year before I was born that nearly left him as an amputee. Fortunately, an amazing orthopedic surgeon put his leg back together, and he bought another bike as soon as he was able.

All my life, there have been rules about riding the motorcycle. Rule #1. Never get on anyone's motorcycle EXCEPT dad's. This was to prevent my sisters and I from getting on the back of some drunk moron's bike, but was really just a temptation to break the rule. And it created a lifelong fascination with all motorcycles for all three of us. Harleys? Yep, like 'em lots. Ducs? Megadittoes. Yamaha, Suzuki, Honda, Indian, choppers, you name it, they fascinate me. The funny thing is that I never have ridden with anyone but my father. DH isn't into bikes, or at least not as much as my gearhead dad.

Rule #2. No motorcycle riding without proper gear. This means eye protection,(shades, glasses, goggles, whatever) jeans, proper shoes, (no sandals!) long sleeves, (no matter how hot it is or isn't) and above all, a helmet. Ohio does not have a helmet law (more's the pity) but I wouldn't feel safe without one. Y'know what they call helmet-less riders in the emergency room? Organ donors.

There was a planned trek to several Ohio wineries with several other bikers, and the plan was for DH and I to follow in the car, because being Ohio, the weather was not forecast to be nice. So we were the back-up plan for those who might not want to ride in the rain.

My parents rode together for about 40 miles of the 100 mile round trip, but my mother's back acted up, so I opted to ride with my dad for about 60 miles. It has been years since I'd been on a bike. I had completely forgotten what it is like.

Wind doesn't whistle in your ears, it thunders. Every bump in the road is telegraphed from the wheels of the bike up the shocks and directly to the rider. Sudden bursts of speed remind you that gravity isn't just a theory, occasionally jolting both driver and passenger a bit. Tandem riders need to be able to communicate nearly wordlessly, leaning as one into a turn, or ducking down lower on the bike to gain some aerodynamic advantage when speed is a necessity, due to unobservant car drivers or just for the thrill of going fast.

Riding a motorcycle is more intimate, somehow, than riding in a car. Intimate in the sense of closer to the road, closer to the environment at large. Smells, from restaurants, from farms, from factories, are all so much more evident than they would ever be inside a vehicle.

I had to resist the urge to spread my arms open wide, letting go of the handles on the side of the bike. Besides being foolish, and dangerous, the feeling that I had that I could take flight from the back of the bike was merely a flight of fancy. My imagination working overtime, as usual.

Somewhere north of sixty miles an hour, it gets difficult to breathe, because the air is thundering past at such a velocity that it becomes hard to inhale. I leaned over to look at the speedometer at one time, and I was stunned to see that it was over 80. Close your eyes, and it feels like you ARE flying.

I've had a couple of rough days, mental-health wise, and rather than get into all that garbage, I would rather tell you about how alive, how awake, and how real I felt on that bike. As if being connected to the road in ways that you never are in a car made me feel like I was touching reality more firmly than I have for a while. Not to mention grateful to be alive.

I've "whited-out" the next paragraph for those readers of mine who get incredibly bored by my constant references to fandom, because I can't resist slipping it into nearly every post. If you want to read it, highlight the text with your mouse. If my SN ranting bores you, feel free to just scroll down and skip it. I won't be offended....hell, I'll never even know.

Even while I was feeling like terra firma was more tangible than ever, I was still thinking here and there about Supernatural. You know that game, six degrees of separation? SN fans joke that there is only one between anything and the show. Motorcycle ride automatically equals SN, y'see. Here's how. We rode mostly over back-country roads, through miles and miles of farmland and wild, open spaces, and I was reminded of several scenes with the Metallicar cruising down empty stretches of old highways, off the beaten path. I even saw a motel that the characters might stay in, a place which boasted on its sign, "Since 1937," with small individual cabins and perhaps the sort of place where two drifters wouldn't be much noticed. I wish I'd been able to take a picture of it.

As we rode along, I was reminded again that the seasons are changing, that fall will be upon us soon. It was hot, but there are leaves that are changing their colors, and mums blooming, both signs to me of the end of summer. And while I love that the nights are getting cooler, and that soon I'll be able to turn off my air conditioning and have the sliding glass doors in my house open, it makes me sad, too, to leave behind the summer. There isn't much time in this part of the world where you can walk outside without a jacket. I despise the extreme heat, and yet I miss it when it is gone. Ah, indecisiveness. I know you well.

If I had been able to take flight from the motorcycle, I would have soared over the farms and small towns, enjoying the wind on my face and the clean air. As it was, I enjoyed myself immensely, even just imagining that I could fly.

Plus, bonus, we stopped at three wineries and sampled some fun, local wines. It astonishes me, over and over again, that not only do grapes grow in Ohio, but folks also manage to make some darn fine wines here. Some not so fine, true, but wine is such a subjective thing that if I like it, you might not. At two of the three wineries, I tasted blueberry wine. Despite my recent love affair with a French blueberry port, I wasn't a fan of blueberry wine. (Really, don't ask. The affair with the port has lasted through several bottles, but always ends badly, when the bottle gets mysteriously emptied. Who drank my port? I always ask. No one seems to know.) Nor was I a fan of an un-oaked Chardonnay, although I did taste a lightly oaked varietal that I liked better.

DH and I didn't find any wines that we needed to take home on this trip, but there are about 100 other Ohio wineries to try, so I'm sure we'll find something we like next time around.

Listening to: Fiona Apple

07 September 2007

When I'm forced to admit my sisters are right, yet again.

I love saying "I told you so." Just love it when I'm right and you're wrong and I'm vindicated. Love it. It must be genetic, because I know that both sisters enjoy doing that as well.

All three of us have eclectic tastes in music. Everything from opera to trip-hop is in my music library. My sisters and I have a few intersecting interests; Dave Matthews Band, U2, O.A.R., the Red Hot Chili Peppers. But we've each developed interests of our own. From time to time, we will each try to get the other two to fall in love with a band that we've discovered.

Case in point? Babysis has been telling me about a musician named Xavier Rudd for about a year. I ignored her, not because she's ever steered me wrong in the past, but because I just didn't bother to go check him out.

Babysis's computer has been here at my house, so I've helped myself to stuff in her iTunes library that I've wanted for a while, from Jay-Z to some Dave Matthews Band stuff that she had and I didn't.

*Warning, geek content to follow!!*

I used an 8 gig thumb drive of DH's to transfer the music files from her computer to mine, and it couldn't have been easier or quicker. I now have far more music on the computer than will fit on my iPod, which will require a reformatting of how the iPod syncs to the computer. I haven't gotten around to that yet. ITunes will do this all by itself, but if it does, IT chooses what will be synced to the iPod, and yes, I'm a control freak and *I* want to choose what goes on the iPod.

*End geek transmission!*

She had 4 of Xavier Rudd's albums on her iTunes, and I decided that I'd copy it all. I'm really glad that I did. He's a one-man band, and I imagine seeing him live is quite the thrill. He plays a steel guitar, sings, plays the didgeridoo, an array of other instruments as well. He's kind of like Jack Johnson, kind of like Ben Harper, kind of like Dave Matthews Band, and yet different from them all as well. I'm loving it.

The first time anything of his came up in random shuffle, as DH and I were both doing computer stuff, he looked up and said, "What the HELL is that?" and I looked at iTunes and informed him it was stuff I'd copied from Babysis's machine while he's fixing it up to send back to Cali for her. "Weird." he remarked. And it is, a bit. This isn't really like anything you've ever heard before. But good. Good!

Right yet again, kiddo! One week's free gloating is yours!

06 September 2007

Add that to the list

of things I don't understand.

The Air Force lost track of a handful of nukes for a brief while. Please explain to me how in the hell we don't have the best technology in the world being used to track our nuclear weapons?

Here's a quote from the online version of Military Times:

“I just can’t imagine how all of this happened,” said Philip Coyle, a senior adviser on nuclear weapons at the Center for Defense Information. “The procedures are so rigid; this is the last thing that’s supposed to happen.”

Well, bright boy, seems to me that if you don't know, how could anyone else?

It will come as no surprise that I'm anti-nuke; I could hardly wear the liberal badge if I was pro, could I?

I'm not going to get into my views on the military today, either, since I get so tired of defending myself when people want to tell me that I'm anti-American because I don't support the war.


And people wonder why I get lost in fandom for days at a time; at least in that world I'm not going to die of radiation poisoning from a nuke that got astray from the military.

05 September 2007


I hate the TV
I hate the TV
I hate the TV
I hate the TV
Y'know that its killing me
Y'know that its killing me
~The Violent Femmes, "I hate the TV," from the Add it Up album.

Yes, televisification is a made-up word. Just like Steven Colbert's "truthiness." I was thinking about that Tuesday while I sat in the doctor's office. By 'televisification' I mean the prevalence of televisions everywhere we go, from restaurants to bars to coffee shops to even the doctor's office.

This particular doc has moved offices since the last time I saw her, and her new office is nice and posh, with a fireplace in the waiting room, and a 45 inch plasma TV. I chose the only seat in the waiting room where you could not see the screen, but unfortunately, you could still hear it. A large sign on the mantle of the fireplace said, "Do Not Touch Controls (on/off/volume) for the Television." Well. Damn. That sucks.

This was my annual exam, so I'm not running in and out of this doctor's office all the time, but when I was annoyed at the noise, I realized that EVERY. SINGLE. DOCTOR. that I see has a TV in the waiting room.

The dentist? TV in the waiting room AND you can watch The View while they clean your teeth. Oh, the joy. I always make the hygienists shut the effing thing off, and they always think that I mean I want to watch another program, at first, until I clarify that no, I want the machine off, not turned to another station.

Dr. H, my family doctor? TV in the waiting room with a sign that says, "Can't hear me? Turn me up!" Arggh!!! They have it tuned to a doctor's office version of CNN Health, which repeats every 10 minutes, after a word from the drug-company-rep sponsors.

Even the shrink's office has a TV in the waiting room. Last time I was there, it was tuned to some Judge Judy-esque sort of program. Ick.

You wouldn't know it if you had started reading this blog in the dawn of 2007, but the truth is that with the sole exception of Supernatural, I despise television. With a passion. I always have. I wasn't allowed to watch much of it as a kid, and eventually, I stopped caring.

The national obsession with sitcoms, reality TV, the soaps, and talk shows makes me nuts. Read a book, FFS! Or a newspaper, or a magazine, or the comics, or.....

A friend told me about gadget that will allow you to turn TVs off surepticiously wherever you go. Called TV-B-Gone, it claims to work anywhere. Well worth the price tag, if you ask me! I've got mine on order.

04 September 2007

While the world is changing us

Making plans to change the world
while the world is changing us

~Dave Matthews, Stay or Leave Some Devil Disc 2

It is that old nature/nurture argument; are we who we are because of genetics and our 'natural' state, or are we who we are due to our environment, our upbringing, those people who had influence on us as we grew into adulthood? Psychology researchers struggle to test this concept; there is no real way to know for sure.

Personally, I think it is a bit of both. I wouldn't be the person I am without the life experiences that I've had, even though some of who I am was decided by my genetics.

My sister was teasing me a bit this weekend about my plans to go back to school and do work for women's advocacy. She patted me on the arm and said, "Not that I don't think you're going to change the world, but sweetie, there's a lot of other things you could do."

Change the world. Say those worlds aloud; savor them. Think about what you would do if you could change just one thing about the whole world. Would you put an end to poverty? Would you cure AIDS? Cancer? Change the way we think and put an end to bigotry? What would your answer have been when you were 17? What is it now?

When I was working for the non-profit, part of my daily duties was to give tours of our facility and explain to community groups what we did there every day. At the end of the tour, I would spend about 15 minutes talking about how the charity got started, how it grew from an idea to a world-wide phenomenon, in the space of about 10 years. The story gave me the chills every time I told it. Three people, with an idea about a change that needed to be made. Average folks, who if you asked them, would tell you that they weren't anyone special. But yet they revolutionized the whole way that the industry we operated in did business, and when it spread beyond the borders of the United States, they did change the world.

The world and our daily life experiences change us, whether we realize it or not, every single day. I was talking this weekend with neighbors of my parents, a married couple who both went to Catholic school from birth through college. It goes nearly without saying that they're on the opposite end of the political spectrum from me, and yet I had to point out to them that their opinions were a lot less conservative than they claimed. They harassed me right back, noting that my stance on English as the official language of the United States is pretty darn conservative. That it is; over the years my point of view on that has shifted from not having an opinion at all to one where I cringe while agreeing with people who I think are on the 'wrong' side of the immigration battle.

That shift of opinion has come about due to life experiences; nurture. If I hadn't had a moment in a Target in Southwest Florida in 2006, I would probably still not care so much. The world changing me, if you will.

I'd still like to change the world. And I still think I can. Is that nature? I think I would have that desire regardless of my upbringing and life experience. So perhaps.

03 September 2007

Wisdom for the ages. Or not.

Seen on t-shirts at a local festival:

I'm out of my mind. Please leave a message.


Did you have an extra bowl of stupid this morning?

both of which entertained the hell out of me.

02 September 2007

Wonder where that comes from.

My sister is visiting from New York City this weekend. She brought a friend, former roommate, and incidentally the woman who inspired me to be a blogger with her. On Saturday, as my sister and her friend prepared to take out the watercraft on the lake where the parents live, my dad was giving them a quick lesson on watercraft operation and safety. The friend had never been on one before. They're a pretty short learning curve, and the girls were off a quick few minutes later.

After they left, my father cleaned up the paraphenailia they'd left behind; long sleeve t-shirts, shoes, a bag with sunscreen in it, and stacked it neatly in a box that is bolted to the dock for that purpose alone.

The rest of us piled into the boat, and as we left the docks, I fussily re-arranged towels, drinks, sunscreen and other things brought on board. Dad teased me about being OCD. Gee, wonder where I get that from?