Sunday, December 31, 2006

Auld Lang Syne or Something Like That

A Merry Little Christmas

So tonight we say good-by to 2006, with all its good and bad moments, and look forward to a brand spanking new year. I want to wish everyone health and prosperity in 2007. We've all worked very hard this past year, and I think we deserve to be handsomely rewarded, don't you?

From the postings I've seen around, it looks like you all had great Christmases, even if some of you suffered from Santa Claus saturation (Tink!). I've been thinking about my holiday, and I must say I had a really nice and quiet one. It was just my mom and me, for the first time without my dad. There was a bittersweetness to the day, as I found myself missing him at the oddest moments. But we raised a glass to him at dinner, and listened to some of his favorite Bill Cosby CDs in his memory. I think he would have been pleased...

...but this post isn't meant to be totally sad...

I was also thinking about all the LITTLE things that make a holiday and its traditions so special. One of my favorites is something my mom started years ago - so long ago I can't remember when. Anyway, she started writing clues on our gift cards that would give hints as to the packages contents. Some of them are very simple, such as the "Ah sew!" on my little portable Janome sewing machine this year (which I should mention is a Hello Kitty machine! One of my favorites!). Some are more complicated, such as, "Santa says looks as though things are going to 'pot' this Christmas." That was for my new Faberware stock pot. Then there's "By the pricking of my thumbs, something purple this way comes. (Sorry Will)," on my purple leather gloves. I find I look forward to reading the tags and then trying to guess what's in the package as much as I look forward to actually opening the present!

Then...we ALL started getting into the act in our family! Now every present we exchange comes with a little hint. If there isn't a hint, it just wouldn't seem right. Sometimes, when I'm running behind on my package-wrapping, it means I have to do all my tags at the last minute, and coming up with something clever can be quite the challenge. But I wouldn't have it any other way! My best work this Christmas? The tag said, "Ah, the tales I will spin for you...cherchez l'enfant, alert the Secret Service, suspect everyone, but do it all in the pink!"

I'm not going to tell you what was in the package though - YOU have to leave a comment and make a guess!!

Meanwhile, I wish all the wonderful bloggy friends I've made this past year a very Happy New Year! I'll see you soon, and hopefully more often, in 2007.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Have Yourself a Merry Little...

Meme...I know, I know. My last post was a meme too, but this is a really neat one. It helped me really think of all the wonderful things that make Christmas so special to me. I got this from Heather...

1.Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate? Egg nog – cuz I can put it IN my hot chocolate, and IN my coffee!
2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Oh they have to be wrapped. It prolongs the suspense that way.

3. Colored lights or white on tree/house ? Colored on the house, white and blue icicles and retro colored big lights on my deck. With a pink ball of lights in the middle. I’m such a kid about the lights at Christmastime!
4. Do you hang mistletoe? No – no one here to kiss!
5. When do you put your decorations up? Before, during, and after Christmas! Some stay up all year…
6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? The German dish we have for dinner, called rouladen.
7. Favorite holiday memory as a child? Sitting around the fire and listening to “A Child’s Christmas in Wales” by Dylan Thomas
8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? Whaddya mean, “the truth”?

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? When I was a kid we opened one gift from our Grandma on Christmas Eve, but now we wait until Christmas Day.
10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree? Tons of little lights, then ornaments – I love glass ones in different shapes, and I have lots of little colored iridescent glass balls, then a big long ribbon for the garland.

11. Snow… love it or dread it? I love it when it first falls, and I can look out on a winter fairyland. If I have to drive in it – not so much!
12. Do you know how to ice skate? I did…once…
13. Do you remember your favorite gift? There have been so many…my Tammy doll when I was about ten, my Madame Alexander doll for my “last doll” when I was twelve, my silver charm bracelet…
14. What’s the most important thing about the holidays for you? Time with my family, and enjoying all our traditions
15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? YES!! (I’ll second Heather’s sentiments here!)
16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? We hang a papier mache Santa in his sleigh from the ceiling, and Santa leaves little presents in there that we open after dinner on Boxing Day. That’s where my bracelet was…Santa leaves us the neatest things in his sleigh!
17. What tops your tree? A white teddy bear that’s an angel bear with wings and a halo that I made him.
18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving? Giving - I love the feeling I get when I see someone I love open something I found or made that is "just perfect" (Again, I’m going to leave Heather’s answer…because it’s just exactly how I feel!)
19. Favorite Christmas Song? “I’ll Stop the Calvary” by the Cory Band.
20. Favorite Flavor of Candy Canes? Are there chocolate ones? everyone out there in Blogland, have a very Merry Christmas, and enjoy your family and friends and all the wonderful things that are this time of year.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

It Just Gets Weirder...

Snow out my window

...the weather and me, that is! Contrary to popular belief, I am still around. Nope, I didn't get frozen in the deep freeze, get buried in the snow, drowned in the drenching rains, or get blown away by the hurricane winds - all of which we have had here in the Pacific Northwest in the last month. Crazy weather I tell ya - just crazy!

Anywhoo...Miss Heather tagged me awhile ago with this Six Weird Things About Me meme, so here are a few (well six anyway) weird things:

1) I absolutely LOVE a cold glass of buttermilk. I've loved it since I was a kid, and when I lived in California and could get Knudsen's real churned buttermilk, I thought I was in heaven!

2) When I leave the house, I have to check three things and make sure they are off or unplugged: The iron, the thermostat, and the stove. If I can't remember if I checked them, I have to open the door, turn off the alarm, and check them again.

3) I could give Heather a run for the money when it comes to "Friends." Every night, we get two reruns here, and I watch them every night. I can tell you what the next line will be on most of the shows.

4) I love to eat slices of lemons and limes. Yummmm!

5) Tailgaters make me absolutely nuts. Worse still is when I look in my rearview mirror and see some young thing yakking on her cell phone and following me wayyy too close!

6) If a movie gets too much hype in the press, I absolutely refuse to go see it, I'm so sick of hearing about it. Hence, I have never seen ET, Titanic, or Lord of the Anything. Probably never will, either.

7) Like Tink, I can read and write backwards. In my senior year in high school, I signed everyone's annuals backwards. When they said, "Thanks!" and then closed their annuals, I always said, "Aren't you going to read it?" Then I watched their faces as they tried to decipher my writing!

Did I say six? How about seven!

I don't know if there's anyone left to tag if you haven't yet told us six weird things about yourself, I tag you.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

I Rocked the Vote - Did You?

On my way home from work I did what millions of other citizens across this country did today. I stopped at my polling place and cast my vote. Now as I watch the election results during the breaks in "Dancing With the Stars," I'm thinking about what the freedom to vote means to me:

1. In the voting booth, my voice carries exactly the same weight as every other citizen's. It doesn't matter who I am or my station in life, my vote speaks just as loudly as the CEO's or the janitor's vote, the college student's or the senior citizen's vote.

2. For many citizens, including me as a woman, the freedom to vote comes as the result of many hard-won victories. I have many people who came before me to thank for this freedom.

3. If I don't like the way things are being run, I can express my opinion with my vote. I might not always get the result I want, but at least I know I put in my two cents' worth.

4. Last, but not least, my vote earned me the right to praise or condemn the people in office. Or at least I can do so and nobody can say, "Yeah, but you didn't vote!"

The only thing is, I didn't get a sticker from the nice ladies at the polling place, but hey - I still feel good that I exercised my freedom and added my vote to the tally.

So...I voted! Did you?

This just in: Here in Washington, the campaign to get people to vote was so successful, they ran out of ballots in many precincts! They had to give voters a ballot in Chinese and a sample ballot in English so people could tell who they were voting for. We might have had record rains and floods here this past week, but it didn't keep people from voting!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Let's Go Arting!

I think everyone else who has a blog and who is going to ArtFest has already posted about how excited they are about it. I'm every bit as excited, believe me - I'm just being slow these days! I really did have a post all typed up a couple of weeks ago, but Blogger ate it somehow, honest! Actually, I think what really happened is I fell asleep after I wrote the post, but before I could save it. Then I woke up and turned off my laptop without saving anything. Sheesh! That was kinda I have to see if I can remember what I wrote.

So - anyway, I am going to ArtFest in March, and I'm getting more jazzed by the day about it. It's going to be a fun extended weekend of making art and meeting all kinds of mixed-media artists. I'm feeling a bit intimidated, since I'm pretty new at all this. But when
Heather came to Seattle for ArtFiberFest and I went to meet her there, it all looked like so much fun. So when she told me ArtFest was coming and that we should go, I decided to jump right in. When I got my confirmation packet and saw that I got all three of my first choices for workshops, I was just so ecstatic!

Let's see...I'm taking a class on making paper transparent with resin, a class where we'll be making metal charms for a bracelet, and a wonderful journaling class in which we'll be turning a vintage ledger into a journal with all kinds of altered pages.

The best part is, Heather and I will be roomies in the dorm there, and we ended up taking all the same classes. I think we're in trouble here sleepwise. The last time we got together at a beading retreat, we did far more laughing and beading than sleeping! Everyone said that I looked really rested when I got back, so it must be true what they say about laughter...

In the meantime between now and March, I'm working on putting together the supplies I'll need for classes. Thank goodness we'll be driving, because there's going to be a lot of things I'll need to take. Heather and I will be going up together, and you know how much stuff an artist can haul around, let alone two!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Swapping Beaded Faces

Swaps are just the best thing ever! This is the beaded face pin I did for the Second Annual Beaded Face Pin Swap that Mamarox' hosted. We could make as many face pins as we wanted to swap, but this year I only got one finished in time. It's actually the first beaded embroidery project I've done. Most of the other beading I have been doing is beadweaving or stringing. Anyway - I had so much fun doing this pin, I'm already working on another one. Sewing on ultrasuede is the best! In exchange for my pin, I got this darling pin from Lora K. I just love it!

Next year, I'm going to start early on my pins and make a bunch of them. They sure are addictive!

PS - My friend Heather made the face cabachon for me. It's one of several she sent me to bead.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

...So Is It Tomorrow Already?

'cuz it seems to me I promised something about tickets...

Oh yeah - I got tickets! To "So You Think You Can Dance!" I never thought I would though - I kept checking Ticketmaster and the scalper sites, but Ticketmaster never had any, and I wasn't about to pay any scalper three times the ticket face value. But, I remember what Rebecca said about them sometimes having tickets available the day of the show. The day of the show I checked Ticketmaster again, and lo and behold they actually had some! Well, since I was working just around the corner from the theatre, my friend and I ran right down there on our lunch break. Sure enough - they had tickets! Not only that, but they were three - yes three rows back on the left side inside aisle.

The seats were great; the show absolutely wonderful. We were about thirty feet from the speakers, and we could see the sweat fly on that stage. The thing I loved was Seattle was the first city on the tour, so the dancers were all fresh, the show lively and new. I suspect that by the time they get to the tour's end, they will have cut some of the dances and polished things up a bit...but to get to see the dancers when they were fresh off the TV show was the best ever!

There are some amazing talents in that group, and I hope that we see more of each one of the dancers in the future as they each pursue their dreams... They have a lot to offer the world of dance.

Oh and PS - Benji and Travis? Twice as cute in person! All those screaming teens at the show sure thought so too!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

I Got Tickets!!!

I'm so excited I just had to post that I got tickets!! But I'm too tired to write any more, so you'll just have to stay tuned for more tomorrow...

Friday, September 01, 2006

Becoming a Gym Rat!

Oooh...ow...Yee-ahh! Why oh why do my calves and the backs of my thighs hurt so much?! Oh yeah - I started up at the gym this last week! Yay me!

Well, we got a great corporate rate, and the gym has a location downtown right around the corner from where I'll be working in a couple of weeks, and one a few minutes away from where I live. So I figured why not? I need the exercise, that's for sure. Plus, they threw in a free session with a trainer every month. Can't beat that now can I?

I tell you what - they don't waste any time or take any chances that you won't use that membership! As I was filling out the paperwork with one rep at a special signup session at work, the other rep was on the phone making an appointment for me with the trainer. No prostinating or coming up with excuses - I was at that gym the next week!

And danged if I didn't totally luck out with my trainer...I must have got the cutest guy in the whole place! Tall, blonde, blue eyes, and a great smile - somehow training with K just makes working out seem so easy. I'm only somewhat ashamed to say I actually flirted with him a bit. Ooooh - and it turns out that when you first start out, you get three sessions with the trainer! Niiice - three hours with K!

So - my friend K got me off to a great start, setting me up with a workout and mapping out my goals. I know how much I need to lose . Now I just gotta stay motivated and get my cardio in better shape. I might not become the gym rat that Jay is, but I hope to develop some good habits. Maybe I'll take a Pilates or Yoga class or, wait - how about a Hip Hop class?? Hey! It could happen!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Rant and a Rave


Two tickets. Two little ol' tickets. That's all I want, so I can take my mum to see the So You Think You Can Dance tour when it comes to Seattle next month. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have been watching the TV show religiously every week, and I so wanted to see the dancers in person. It's the ONLY reality show I'll watch...well, that and Dancing With the Stars...

Anyhoo - I totally misjudged how quickly that show would sell out, and it was three hours after the tickets went on sale that I called Tickemaster. SOLD OUT! Damn...I waited too long! Later I found out that they sold out in about ten minutes in most places.

Now I am searching on the 'net, and looking at these awful scalper sites. I can't find any tickets for less than THREE times the face value! All's I can do is look at the prices and get sick and mad all at once. It's so unfair to people on a budget who just want to go to see a show! These sites should be illegal. My only hope is that they don't sell these outrageously priced tickets and they're left with nothing. Either that, or maybe they'll drop the prices drastically as the event date gets nearer? Is there any hope for that??

OK - Rant over...



I just got the coolest tool ever for doing my art projects! I had plans for an art project that involved seven eyelets on each of 40 pieces. Whew. That's a whole lotta eyelets to pound and smash! So, I got myself a Crop-A-Dile, by We R Memory Keepers. I tell you what - that thing totally lives up to its press! You can use it to punch two hole sizes, and to set several sizes of eyelets and snaps. I was working on my project one evening and chatting away to my friend Heather, and suddenly I was finished. She couldn't believe how quickly I got all those little eyelets set. The last time I set eyelets that small, it took forever, and my ears were ringing from the sound of the metal hammer hitting the metal setter! I enthusiastically recommend this tool to everyone who sews and sets snaps or who does things such as cards and scrapbooks and mixed media projects. Worth every penny, I tell ya!

PS - Maybe I'll post a picture of the project I was working on...when I get it done...

Sunday, August 13, 2006

A Halcyon August Day

Every once in awhile the perfect day just happens. Yesterday was one of those days, from sunup until well after sunset...

Over a year ago, I joined the committee to plan our high school reunion. What a great decision that turned out to be! Over the months as we worked on the festivities, we had more fun and became faster friends than any of us had ever been in school. The actual reunion was last August, but we still find excuses to get together at least once a month. Any excuse will do - we just want to see each other and to laugh and enjoy each others' company. Yesterday was just such a get-together. Sort of a picnic, sort of a mini-reunion, whatever it was, we didn't need an official name for it.

My day started in the kitchen as I made my coffee, then got to work making a blackberry pie. I haven't baked in quite awhile, and I forgot how much I enjoy it. I love the process of getting out the cookbook and gathering the ingredients, then putting them together to produce something good to eat. It's even more enjoyable when I'm making something to share with my friends. The best part about this pie though, is that the blackberries were free. I picked them Friday evening outside my apartment. The crop this year is just wonderful; that pie smelled so good as it was baking!

With the pie finished and other chores out of the way, I headed off to the private beach for the picnic. It was a perfect Seattle summer day. Warm, sunny, with a bit of a breeze to keep things cool. People started trickling in, and we soon had a group of about 30 people. It was so good to see everyone again! Hugs and laughs and conversation abounded all afternoon and evening long. There was lots of good food, and I was pleasantly surprised (and secretly very pleased) to see my pie disappear quickly. I was lucky I even got a piece so I could find out if it was any good!

I think one of the best parts of the day was the bonfire. We roasted (or burned) lots of marshmallows. I had forgotten how good those things taste. One of our classmates brought his guitar and serenaded us with a beautiful rendition of the Eagles' "Hotel California," one of my very favorite songs...the "Hell Freezes Over" version of course! As I looked around at all my friends and their families, I realized that I was feeling more relaxed and at ease than I had in a very long time. There is just something so cathartic about sitting on the waterfront and breathing in all that fresh air and soaking in all that sunshine, and sharing it all with people who have become such good friends...

...the evening had to finally come to an end, and everyone started gathering up their families and their belongings and sharing hugs all around. Then they were all gone except for three of us. Well, somebody had to stay and make sure the fire went out! None of us wanted the evening to end though, so we kept adding to the fire. It was just so warm and crackly and comforting, and the company and the stories were so enjoyable and funny. Even the security guard who stopped by added to the evening. It turns out he graduated ten years before we did, but boy did he remember all of the teachers from back then! He kept the three of us entertained for awhile, then he moved on up the beach.

At long last we decided to let the fire burn down to hot embers, and then with a huge steaming sizzle we dumped a bucket of ice water on the flames. We gathered up the last of the items left behind, and climbed into our cars for the drive home. It was then that I realized it was after two o'clock in the morning - and I still didn't want to go home...

...last night I slept better than I have in a long, long time.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Pass the Ketchup, Please...

...but not the Heinz! I have found a ketchup that tastes like the ketchup I remember as a child. The other day I bought a bottle of Trader Joe's organic ketchup, and I will never buy Heinz again! I have a half-full bottle of the stuff in my fridge, but I doubt I'll use it up...

First of all, although I know this doesn't always guarantee a better product, Trader Joe's ketchup is organic. Secondly, just compare the ingredients:

Trader Joes:
Organic tomato puree, organic sugar, salt, organic white vinegar, organic onion powder, organic spices.

Tomato concentrate made from red ripe tomatoes, distilled vinegar, high fructose corn syrup, corn syrup*, salt, spice, onion powder, natural flavoring.

*Not JUST high fructose corn syrup, but more corn syrup as well!

Third, looking at the appearance of each ketchup:

Trader Joe's is thick, and dark red like vine-ripened tomatoes, while Heinz' is watery and thin, and a lighter more orangey red color like the tomatoes that go to the store green and then ripen on the shelf.

Fourth is the most important comparison, and that's taste:

Heinz is sharp, sweet, and a tad metallic even. The vinegar bites, and the texture is just like it looks...bland and smooth.

The first thing I taste with the Trader Joe's ketchup is...tomato! It's tangy, spicey and tomatoey. There's actually a pureed tomatoes. When I pour it out on the spoon, it doesn't spread out in a weak watery puddle. It pours out in a thick dark red blob.

So there you have it - my first taste comparison. I'm happy to have found one more way to eliminate high fructose corn syrup from my diet, and it's nice to be able to do so in such a tasty pass the fries, please!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Drowsing in the Afternoon...

I still have not shaken this virus from hell. Yesterday I got some antibiotics, so everyone cross your fingers that they do the trick and shake this thing loose! I would not wish my last week on my worst enemy, I swear.

So anyway...that's how come this next part is happening...I am lying here on my couch, in the middle of the day, and I have slowly become aware of the wonderful quiet drowsy feeling I used to have in the middle of a sick afternoon as a kid. You know the one...there's no one talking, the TV isn't on, and there aren't any cars flying by. All I can hear is my ears buzzing a little bit, and (right now, anyway), the click of my laptop keyboard. Every once in awhile a two-seater drones overhead, bound for the local municipal airport, just like they did when I was young. There's nothing but this...peace, settling all around me like a warm blanket drawn up by my mother's cool hand. If I close my eyes, I can smell the yellow forsythia blooming outside my bedroom window...

I realize how very rare this quiet is for me. I live in a busy city, riding the rattling screeching bus every day to work. More often than not, when cars do roll by, the passenger is blaring his megawatt SuperGhettoBlaster stereo system. (I must admit, they're all very quiet right now though!) The little boy upstairs is running and jumping and DROPPING things above me. The maintenance crew is out blowing that one last stubborn leaf of this past fall all over the parking lot...

Oops, sorry - I didn't mean to disturb all this drowsy and comforting peace...Now all I need is a warm kitty curled up next to me...last I heard from her, she was gently snoring by the front door!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Down...But Not Out

I'm sure all two of my blog visitors are wondering where I am, so I thought I'd at least let you know I'm alive. Not well, though. I am fighting the vilest virus I've ever come across! It's a huge sinus infection that's invaded my eyes so they look like they're melting. This thing is just nasty! It all started on Sunday when I was out on a garden walk in the hot sun.

So - I do have more interesting and fun things to post, but it won't be for a few days I'm afraid. My head has to stop spinning, and my ear has to stop buzzing first! Right now it's hard for me to tell which end is up...

More coming later, I promise!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Laughter the Best...You Know!

A true English cottage garden I'm so amazed at and grateful to my mum for the way she has dealt with the medical crises in her life. She always manages to find the humor in the situation, and to handle things with grace and deportment. I know that the laughter she brought to my father's bedside helped his healing process immensely. Through the prostate and heart surgeries, mum always had my father, the staff, and me smiling. Even when the cancer took over my father's life, she helped us smile through our tears. We even had the funeral director laughing when we went to make those final arrangements!

Now my father is gone, and Mum is facing a health crisis of her own. Last week she had to have a laser treatment in her eye. The dye they inject makes a person extremely photosensitive and subject to severe sunburn, so the doctor advised my mum to cover herself up completely against any ultriviolet rays. She called me when the procedure was finished, and I picked her up at the doctor's office. We left the building with my Mum dressed in a long-sleeved white cotton blouse, a batik sarong wrapped around her head, white cotton gloves, and Ray-Ban sunglasses a la Tom Cruise in "Top Gun." I was wearing the wide-brimmed straw hat I had brought for her, with my new big crystal-studded sunglasses.

Dressed in our skirts and sandles, we must have made quite a pair. I know Mum was feeling rather self-conscious, considering it was well over 80 degrees outside! She started laughing, and I couldn't help but join in. All the way to the parking garage, we made jokes about her being the "Mad woman of Shiloh," and how it looked like I was helping her escape from an embassy somewhere! Too funny!

I know my mother is scared. The prognosis for her eyesight doesn't appear to be very good, but she is maintaining her sense of humor. For me, that's extremely reassuring, because I know as long as she can laugh about things and see the funny side of a situation, she's going to be all right. The two of us will muddle through this ever-changing dynamic of an elder parent and daughter and changing health, and we'll be able to do it with grace and dignity.


Reading and commenting on blogs and watching Gilmore Girls at the same time is an exercise in confusion and lots of words floating around in my head!

Still loving "So You Think You Can Dance," but that Jaymz (what guy really spells his name like that?) has really got to go! Benji and Donyelle, on the other hand, just keep getting better and better!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Dancing Fool

season2_dance_picAsk anyone who knows me, and they will tell you how much I despise reality shows. I simply cannot stand watching people make fools of themselves just for the sake of a few hours of public exposure. And don't get me started on the inane dialogs on these shows! Unscripted conversation is usually sooo uninteresting.

So...I thought I would get away with not having to get hooked on any of these shows. Then, they had to go and make the dance competition shows...and I am hopelessly addicted! First there was "Dancing With the Stars" last year, followed by "So You Think You Can Dance"Then another season of "Stars," and now, "So You Think..." is back. I love this show! I love watching how a person who specializes in one style of dance tackles an entirely different style. I love seeing them get better as the weeks advance. Well, watching dancing in general just makes me happy!

If you, like me, think that reality shows are a waste of television airtime, check out "So You Think You Can Dance." I don't have any favorites yet, since they just started competing tonight, but there are several outstanding dancers in the crowd! Wow - would that I could move like that! We'll talk later about who should win...unless you already have your own ideas!

A Meme and Some Randomnesses

Oh wow - I got tagged by two people, so here I go with my very first meme. It's a cool one too...I actually learned a bit of history! So thanks Heather and Jay! Here goes:

1. Go to Wikipedia.
2. In the Search box, type your birth month and day (but not year).
3. List three events that happened on your birthday.
4. List two important birthdays and one interesting death.
5. One holiday or observance (if any).

I chose three from three different areas of history: American, music, and technology.

•1877 - Chief Joseph surrenders his Nez Perce band to General Nelson A. Miles.
•1962 - The Beatles release their first hit, "Love Me Do," in Britain.
•1991 - The first official version of the Linux kernel, version 0.02, is released.

•1958 - Bernie Mac, American actor and comedian
•1962 - Michael Andretti, American race car driver (who did great at Indy this year, even if he didn't win!)

•2004 - Rodney Dangerfield, American comedian (b. 1921)

International World Teachers' Day (personally I think teachers deserve a whole week, but a day is a good beginning!)

Now for some randomnesses:

1. Wandering through Salvation Army the other day, I came across a rack of donated underpants. I mean...who gives their old used underwear to the Salvation Army? And who would buy it??

2. Overheard on the bus, from guy entertaining the entire bus with his scintillating phone conversation: "Oh yeah, they had the street all blocked off for a couple of hours. A window on the 40th floor cracked and they were afraid the glass would fall." Then I realized that he was talking about the building we're moving to in a few months! Eek!

3. I'm a relative newcomer to the corporate world, and I am quickly realizing that the number of meetings is directly proportional to the amount of work that must be done to meet deadlines. No wonder people in this country take less vacations than anywhere else!

Oh! I almost forgot - I guess I need to tag someone...let's see...I tag Denise and Mike.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A Conversation on the Bus

Warning: Strong opinions ahead!

I was on the bus this morning talking to “M,” with whom I frequently ride, and a friend of his. We were talking about this and that, and somehow the subject came around to door-to-door missionaries, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Scientologists.

We discussed Scientology and the fact that the group was founded by a man who wrote science fiction. Good science fiction, mind you, but still – science fiction. Someone mentioned that Scientology actually was started as a grand experiment, apparently never meant to become a religion. I asked the guys if they had ever visited the Scientology Web site and looked at the glossary. I told them that personally I find it all to be a bunch of bunk.

“M” then said that one day a woman and her daughter came to his door, and as he was feeling “chatty,” he engaged them in an hour-long discussion about the precepts of their particular religion. They brought up point after point, and “M” found the flaw in each one. They never once lost their tempers or got frustrated, and after an hour the mother said, “Well, you have a nice day,” and they took their leave. We laughed about an imagined comment that the daughter might have made to her mother as they left.

At this point, a young woman sitting nearby interrupted us and said, “Excuse me, but this is a public bus, and you might want to be careful about what you say. You never know who’s listening, and you might be offending someone.” To which I replied, “Well, the last time I looked this was a free country, and I have the right to express myself freely.” She persisted with her statement, adding that a relative of hers is a Jehovah’s Witness, and she’s a very nice person, and she really believes in her religion. To which we replied that we never said that Jehovah’s Witnesses aren’t nice people. Again, we were vaguely threatened with “You should be careful.” Our conversation was quickly squelched when it became obvious that pressing our right to free speech with this young woman would be to no avail. Shortly after that we changed the subject to general pleasantries about the traffic. Did I just say “pleasantries” about traffic? Well, the traffic was hardly pleasant, as we were crawling into town, but we had moved to a “safe” topic anyway…

Excuse me?! Since when did avoiding the risk of offending someone trump a person’s right to free speech?? When did the fact that I happen to disagree with these particular beliefs mean that I shouldn’t be able to express that opinion because I might offend someone? Never once in our conversation did we attack anyone for belonging to these particular groups. Not once did “M” say that the people who came to his door were stupid or ignorant or ugly for believing what they do or for wanting to share their beliefs. We NEVER said that these believers aren’t nice people! Heck, I grew up in a religious group considered by many to be a “cult,” so I’ve been on the receiving end of many religious discussions. Offended by these discussions? No. Motivated to defend my beliefs? Yes.

I know that we all want to be nice and considerate of our fellow man, but I also believe that we should cling tenaciously to our freedoms. Giving those freedoms up for the sake of being “politically correct,” or because we might “offend” someone flies directly in the face of the intentions of those who framed our Bill of Rights. I will fiercely defend a person’s freedom to believe whatever they choose to believe. They have a right to express their beliefs to whomever they choose. By the same token, I have the right to express my own opinions about what I personally believe. I’ll be respectful, but I’ll be expressive, remembering these words from William Cowper, British poet:

Discourse may want an animated "No"
To brush the surface, and to make it flow;
But still remember, if you mean to please,
To press your point with modesty and ease.

Whew! This was an intense topic; but I felt it was an important one, and if I didn’t express it here, it would bother me for days. Now I have it off my chest, I do feel much, much better. I am also interested in hearing how you guys out there feel. Are we, in striving to avoid offense, in danger of breaking down meaningful discourse? I’m sure there are other questions I should put forth here, but it’s after midnight and I’m very sleepy, so I must post this and head to bed.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

They Always Know...

...where to find the love. This is Peaches, my mum's cat. A picture of pure, satisfied bliss that belies the cockiness this little cat possesses.

Peaches wasn't her cat once. He lived somewhere around the corner, but he loved to visit my parents and "help" my mum as she gardened. Helping consisted of sitting on the backs of her legs as she knelt and weeded, or climbing up onto her back. He also had to carefully inspect every hole that she dug...making sure the depth was correct, I suppose.

Peaches wasn't even Peaches once either. He was Wiley. One day when he was visiting my mum, his owner came by and saw him in the garden. "Wiley! There you are!" he exclaimed. Pleasantries and explanations were exchanged, and the owner trotted off home, leaving Wiley/Peaches to keep mum company. Another time the daughter came and plucked him off the fence and carted him home. He always came back. Apparently his real home was full of other pets and kids, and just too darn noisy for one little white and orange kitty to handle. So he spent his days hunting and playing in mum's English cottage garden on the corner.

One eventful day, Peaches officially moved in. There was a knock at the door, and there stood Peaches and his owner. Or rather, there stood the owner with Peaches in his arms. When my dad opened the door, the owner said, "We have to move, and we know that Wiley is happier here with you. So we want you to have him." So my dad naturally said, "Sure - we'll take him!" The little wily cat has been there ever since. He rules the roost like a little banty rooster, and everyone in the neighborhood knows him. We, of course, love him to pieces!

The name Peaches? Well, mum didn't really intend for that to be his name, but she called him that as a nickname, thinking that he was a she. Of course the name stuck, as names will do. Only now it's Peaches LaRue, just like a little gangster. Fitting, isn't it?

Before I forget...Many happy returns of the day, Mum!

Monday, May 29, 2006


These lilies were over five feet tall!
Today was a quiet Memorial Day, spent with my mum and keeping my dad close in little ways throughout the day...laughing over the joke he would have loved ...realizing that he would have loved the fish and chips at Ivar's ...shaking our heads at how he put together the papers my mum would need when he passed away, but forgot to show to her ...laughing at finally finding the strongbox keys he so carefully hid and then failed to tell mum where they were ....seeing the folded flag behind his urn and remembering he was a Korean War vet ...sniffing the beautiful irises in mum's garden and remembering how much he loved to watch the buds until they bloomed. Mum called him her "Iris Voyeur." Every day he would go out first thing in the morning to check the buds and then report to her about every one that had bloomed. Sometimes she'd even catch him out in the garden with a flashlight in the evening, checking he buds!

Each little thing remembered today - so like my dad, and so helpful at bringing him closer. It is those little things that make up remembrances of those we love. I pray you found many little ways to remember the veterans who have blessed your lives.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Anticipation... looking forward to seeing a faraway friend in less than a month. My friend Heather is coming for the Art Fiber Fest in four weeks! I cannot wait to see her, as it has been over a year and a half since we last saw each other. Heather and I met online and we became friends online. When we first met in November 2004 at a Bead Art retreat, we knew instantly who the other one was. What a wonderfully funny time we had at that retreat! Since then, we talk to each other and watch our favorite TV shows via Instant Messenger at least twice or three times a week. It has been a wonderful and inspiring and supportive friendship. Getting to spend some time together while she is here will mean so much to me...

And - and - I get to meet Joleen, because she's coming to AFF too! Heather and Joleen are partners in crime, and the editors and creators of Portals. Portals is an art zine, full of ideas and inspiring articles by all kinds of artists. The second edition is coming soon. Which reminds me...I better go order mine...

...and then I better get cracking on this mess of an apartment I call home. Let's see...where to start?? AGH! Would that I were wealthy and had a "staff" to help me clean. As it is, all I have is Annie, and she ain't helping much!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

I Have a Secret...

I was going to blog about my stooopid car today, but I just get too bummed whenever I think about it. Instead, I thought I'd share a little secret....

I realized the other day that I really love being helpful to people. I was thinking about this as I walked to the bus stop this morning, and I believe I've discovered the secret to paying it forward. It's not about getting any recognition, nor is it about getting anything back from the person I've helped. For me, it's simply that wonderful warm glow that comes when I just made someone else's day a wee bit brighter. It's kind of like a hug I give myself!

I don't even have to do anything huge, like giving away money. The simplest things that make someone's life easier can be so wonderful. Flagging down a school bus for the little girl desperately chasing after it... Picking up an item that someone doesn't even realize they dropped and handing it to them... How cool is that? Perhaps these are one of those "best things in life" that are free!

Now Sassy's Mum says...Sayings from my English mother that really need to be written down somewhere!

Well, my dear...needs must when the old man drives! (one of my personal favorites)

Monday, May 22, 2006

UFOs* (No, Not the Flying Kind!)

Hellebore rock *Unfinished objects

I'm one of those creative types who have lots of projects in various stages of completion. Some I am anxious about finishing as soon as possible, and some I wonder if I will ever complete. Perhaps this head full of ideas is some type of ADD; I seem to be so easily distracted by bright and sparkly things. I get excited about an idea, and I must explore it immediately. I have never been one who could finish one thing at a time! That's too organized and efficient for me!

So - my question is, if I share a UFO (unfinished object) here on my blog, will it give me more incentive to complete it? Will it make me feel responsible to my audience (assuming I eventually have one) to have something to show for myself? Or will I come to resent the thing as it stares back at me each time I look at it...unfinished, incomplete, laughing at my inability to see the thing through...

Hmmm...I'll have to try it and see what happens! I'd also love to know if anyone else has any thoughts about this idea. For now, however, I'll show you a picture of one of my completed projects. This is actually a rock, which I covered with peyote-stitched beads. Then I made the hellebore flower for the top. The rock now resides in a silver artist's home, in a shrine of precious objects. I traded him for a beautiful silver and lampwork glass necklace. It was my first trade, and I felt so flattered that someone would think so much of my little piece that they would want to trade with me!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hey, It's Me!

OK - after much procrastinating, and much nagging by my online friends (you know who you are!), I am finally taking the plunge and joining the blogging crowd. I don't know if I have anything momentous to say, but I often have random thoughts that it would be nice to put down somewhere. I am also a prolific beader, and I dabble a lot in mixed media projects. If it's OK with everyone, I will share my results, as I am often very pleased with what I made! I also like to take pictures with my digital camera, especially of gardens and flowers.

In my other life, I am a technical writer. Now, being adept at technical writing does not necessarily mean I am a great creative writer, but perhaps blogging on a fairly regular basis will help me polish my skills...we shall see, eh?

So - here goes... these are lillies in my mum's garden, just one of the many she has planted. Aren't they lovely? Later this week, I will try to get a picture of some of her peonies that just bloomed...they are just beautiful!