Thursday, December 04, 2003

Remember, I want to know who you are. If you stop by, and enjoy, let me know. If you stop by, and hate it...then lie to me (kidding). Just be gentle.
But let me know you're here!

My site stats show me when someone stops by, how long they stay, and so on. I would just like to know who you are : ). So say hi already!

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

Things I’ve Learned

A dumped canister of cornmeal has an uncanny resemblance to plaster dust, this is especially noticeable when it’s all over at least half the kitchen, including the coffee machine and stove top.

However, a dumped container of 12-hour-old coffee grounds bears an even uncann-ier [is there such a word?] resemblance to rodent droppings. Hmm, I’ll take the plaster dust.

Laboratory specimens do not have a “grace period”.

School children still want their parents to bake things for classroom holiday parties. They still forget to ask until the night before.

The grocery store is always fun, especially when you have a full list, half the time, and none of the money.

Cats are such clean little critters. They love a nice clean bed to nap on.

Cats too, have built in alarm clocks. Marvelous things…cats.

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Raise your hand if you’ve never heard of Nate Haasis. Ok, I see some hands, so here’s the deal. Last month, the young Illinois quarterback was playing his last high school football game for the Southeast Spartans, and losing to boot. The thing was that Haasis was close to achieving a passing record; he only needed about 30 yards to reach the CS8 conference record of 5,000 yards passed in a career. At the very end of the game, Haasis’s coach made an agreement with the coach of the opposing team, Cahokia High, to help the senior achieve his record. The Spartans would allow Cahokia to score again, and in turn, Cahokia would not interfere with Haasis’s passing attempts. This agreement, which was not shared with Haasis, allowed him to make a 37 yard pass, insuring him the conference record. Within a few days Nate Haasis realized what had happened, and in a move that earned him World News Tonight’s Person of the Week, wrote to the SC8 director to request that his pass be stricken from the conference record.

Does this imply that the Central State Eight Conference is rotten with corruption? Probably not. Did Nate Haasis make a courageous decision? Damn right, he’s an example of what’s right and good in this world. But his act is not the whole story. Were the coaches wrong? Oh yes. When this first made the news, I was feeling proud of Haasis, and angry with the coaches. But I’ve considered this for a bit, and realized that you have to understand their motivation. What the coaches did was still wrong, no way around it. But it bears attention.

I’ve often felt that, I “just don’t like sports”. And if that were true, then yay for me. I’m entitled to not like sports, just as I’m entitled to not like Elvis. The thing is, though, I do like sports. And I’ve probably known this for a while now, on some level. No, this isn’t’ one of those epiphany moments. Damn if I haven’t actually liked sports for a while now. Yup, even before my own training, before Pats 20 - Rams 17, before Tiger, before Kathy Freeman.

Did it start with Wilma Rudolph? Good Hollywood headlines. Athlete overcomes polio (Polio for God’s sake!) to star in basketball. Black athlete scores against racism. Woman athlete makes good at Olympic track. Yeah, good stuff. It’s emotional you see.

No matter how it started, it was there, my non-dislike of sports. It grew during Spirit Week in High school. Go Red Devils! In College, even more spirit (and spirits too, I must admit). Go Chiefs! Sports were really getting to be fun.

The next few years, it was May. I suppose it should have been March Madness, but for me it was May. May was when you got to watch Bird, McHale and Parrish work their magic against… well… Magic. And what a show. Playoffs were great. The Pistons, the 76er’s the Lakers, and we were winning. More emotion, but this was the crazed, “in your face”, bragging kind of emotion.

I don’t know when things changed, when I began to view sports differently. Was it when I watched an NFL team win a championship game, tears of joy mixing with sweat in the winning end zone? Then watched the tears of frustration of the other team, and then - saw half of those guys make their way over to give heartfelt hugs to the winners? True champions recognize achievement in their opponents and in themselves. Was that what I was witnessing?

As a fan, as a person, I enjoy a good win. But seems as if a more mature attitude towards sports and athleticism has settled in and that old phrase, “Winning isn‘t everything”, makes more sense than ever. Maybe being a parent on the soccer sidelines helps. You cheer for the kid who always gets the goals, and then you cheer yourself hoarse for the one who can barely control the ball, who somehow makes an outstanding pass to the kid who always gets the goals. And then you see the opposing coach high-fiving the poor ball handler who made the outstanding pass to the kid who always gets the goals. And you feel something funny in your chest, and your eyes are blurring. That feeling, that’s what those two Illinois high school coaches were trying to foster. The desire to recognize achievement. That - is what is right and good in this world.

Friday, November 21, 2003


OK. Some governing bodies have done the outrageous and unthinkable. “Them Gays” might get a chance at having their marriage recognized by law. People are frenzied over this. I imagine some have even lost sleep over it, fearing that the country, nay, the world has gone to hell. I would say, ‘gone to pot’, but that’s not the controversy du jour.

This whole issue has so much unpleasant emotion, I can feel it. Like those mystical, clairvoyant Jedi who know by feeling when there is “a great disturbance in the force“, I can really feel the hatred that has been brought to the surface in our collective lives. I sense the waves of panic that this has caused, the recoiling of the righteous. I am as aware of this fear, as I am of the November chill that creeps and settles in my house at night.

I can’t help but think that the imagined threat of gay rights is similar to what citizens have protested against since Civil War days; and privately professed to be open-minded. “Oh I treat my coloreds perfectly fine. I’d never think of mistreating old Sam, why he grooms those horses like they were his children, he runs errands for me all the time, and he knows his place.” “I’d be lost without my Beulah, she polishes like a dream, she’s the best cook in the whole county, she watches out for my girls, and she knows her place.

Yes, that’s it. Knowing one’s place. Never daring to want more. Being ever so grateful for every crumb of privilege. No expectations beyond some empty platitudes of progression. It’s All Good! Diversity in the workplace! Jobs in the Military! Don’t ask, Don’t Tell. That’s right - under no circumstance - don’t ever tell.

How much more ‘telling’ can you get than a public and legal acknowledgement of marriage? I know I am publicly professing to be open-minded and a seeker of equal rights, yet if I’m asked to imagine the perfect family, I close my eyes and see a white man and woman, and 2.5 white children. It’s what I know; it’s what I’m comfortable with. Is that real? Is that right? No, it’s just my comfort zone. I think that’s the problem. Folks feel threatened by what they are not comfortable with. They don’t like to be reminded in such a public way that not everyone thinks, acts, or loves the same.

But how different is it really? Besides the obvious, what else is so different between homo- and hetero-sexual marriages? Both would have love and commitment, trust, all the good things. And, for better or worse; maybe money worries or illness. Same sex marriages would not be spared the real life heartaches. Unless of course, the couples want to make the marriage work. It’s worth considering, that a same sex couple might work harder at the relationship, knowing that the sanctity of marriage is a rare, hard-won privilege.

Do you know how much money is spent in this country in the name of love? I don’t know, but it’s a lot. Valentine’s Day, wedding dresses, champagne, photography, teddy bears, chocolates, flowers. Not just money, but time, effort. We embrace love; we are in love with love. Do you know how much money (and time and effort) is spent in the dissolution of love? Lawyers, private investigators, court time. That part of the fairytale is not as welcome as the thrill of love, but it’s pretty damn acceptable in polite society. I’m not an opponent of divorce. It does happen too often, and too easily, but I believe that it is a necessary practice.

So, I’m all confused and befuddled. What in God’s Good Name is the problem? Oh, wait the Bible says homosexuality is wrong. “Them Gays” are sinners. They and those crazy tree-hugging lawmakers should all burn in hell. Hmm, the Bible says so. The Bible says a lot of things, some pretty good stuff actually. What though, is worth all the alarm? If you feel your neighbor sins, not against you, but against God, or himself, then get out that Bible and pray for him. Some are using God’s Word to prove their point against homosexuality, and I am sure they would be happy to quote me chapter and verse, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc. And I honestly might not have a rebuttal. I don’t’ understand all of what God intends or wants from us, but I do know this: There is no divine plan for intolerance.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Finally! *Whew* I've finally finished my first draft of my chapter for "Life in the United States". I sent my editor the text, even a few days ahead of deadline. I'm hoping there won't be too many revisions needed, but I'm ready to deal with what comes. It's been fun, and I got to throw around phrases like..."Networks sprang from the 1969 orginal four-host configuration to a group of 62 hosts in 1974". and "a truth of the Internet is that sometimes links go bad, and sites can fade away." Or, how about this gem, "directory search tools which work differently, are compiled by humans and more resemble a books Table of Contents..." Ahh yes, literary genious, oui? Sshh, no laughing.

Well, at least it's done, and now I have a couple other leads to follow up on to keep me busy.

That's it for now!

Thursday, October 23, 2003

It's Snowing! It's not even Halloween, and yet there are, HUGE white flakes swirling down, actually starting to cover the grass and coat the trees. Amazing. I'm not one to rush the seasons, but this is pretty cool. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Operating Instructions: Part 1

I am the type of person that likes instant gratification. Is it a product of my socialization in in this era? Or have I always been this way? Somehow, I feel that I actually had patience, Once-Upon-a-Time. But since the memory is pretty fuzzy, I’ll just have to concentrate on the now. The urgent now. The - “why can’t I open this bloody CD wrapping” - now.

My husband and I took on the responsibilities of children and pets - real living things. Creatures need things. Food and drink, clothing, education, healthcare, you know, the works. Most of us get this. You bring home a living thing, even a houseplant, and like…wow, you really have to take care of it. And though childrearing, for example, is a huge responsibility, you deal with it all, sometimes quite well.

All this said, the point I am eventually coming to, is that I already spend a goodly amount of energy on things that need me. Kids, husband, cat, the living things, and then some of the intangibles: Paying bills, calling repair people, just being alive. So, I’d appreciate a little cooperation. I’d like to bring home a purchase that doesn’t need a lot of effort. Something that gives real meaning to the phrase, ’low maintenance’.

I want to buy Tupperware™ that doesn’t need to be soaked in warm water in order to make the stupid lids fit on correctly. I want to have a cell phone that already knows my friends’ phone numbers and doesn’t need me to sit for hours programming all that junk in. I want a frying pan that doesn’t need to be “Seasoned”. What the heck is that all about anyway?

How about getting a perm, that doesn’t need special instructions and special shampoos. What ever happened to “Lather, rinse, repeat“? (OK if it’s that organic stuff that makes everyone a little amorous, like in the commercials). And do you know that my vacuum cleaner has it’s own instructional video? Geeez!

So this finds me worrying about the balance between technological advancements and everyday living. I do love a good gadget, but often feel thwarted by the prep time you need to fully understand how to use the Bowflex™, the gears on my new mountain bike, or even a hairbrush. Yes, I understand that the original question of patience, or lack of it, plays into this. But there are other issues of technology that concern me. More in Part 2.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

"Mystified Pipefitter", is-for now, the winner. Runners up include: hellacious storyboard, and rarified throneroom

And what - you're wondering, are these? New titles for articles? Naw...I've been whacking. Googlewhacking to be precise. You see, it's the middle of the flippin' night here, and I can't sleep. So, I thought I'd Whack. So, if you're among the uninitiated, HERE is a good place to check out the Whacking phenom. As you'll see ...a true "Whack" results in only one hit, where the closest I could get was my personal winner, Mystified Pipefitter. That particular combo produced 4 hits. The runner ups entries produced more, but certainly under 100. Actually I think one of them had 27 hits - still, not bad. Anyway...go have fun!

Thursday, August 14, 2003

Hello All:
It's been, like..forever since I posted last. Summer has been pretty busy. I won't get into the whole, "What I did on my Summer Vacation" thing quiet yet, but what follows is something (IMHO) even more important.
A writing aquaintence of mine is evidently in Baghdad. I'm not sure if he's there as a member of the military, or as a member of the press, I don't even know his real name. He needs to preserve his privacy. What I do know that his accounts of events are true. SO here is a little something from 'the front'.

Further thoughts from Baghdad.

The Rest of the Story

Everything you have heard about this situation is probably true. However, that doesn't mean you have the whole story.

It is true that there are soldiers that want to go home. I think I mentioned that earlier. Actually, that is an understatement. I can say, without reservation, that there is no one I have spoken to so far that has said they would like to stay here.

"What kind of a stupid question is that?" one says when I bring up the topic. "Why would you even ask that?"
"There is no way in Hell I would stay here myself, much less bring my family," says another. "Even if I had my own oil well, I wouldn't stay here."

"I would."

Everyone looks at the one dissenting voice like he just implied that the Pope was a cross-dresser.
"If I had my own oil well? Sure I'd stay here! For about a week out of every year, just to check on my oil well."

Officer, enlisted, civilian, regardless of background or nationality or mission, everyone wants to go back to where they belong. It hums in the background like a generator. It sticks in the back of your thoughts like some kind of radio jingle. It's the 500-pound gorilla. It's DeBergerac's nose. Some people can't help but dwell on it, others avoid the topic, but everyone is aware of it. It is the common thread of life here. And when someone finds out when they are leaving, everyone is glad for them.

Yes, it's true that they are ready to go home.

But there are other things that are true, also. There are people here that turn down the chance to get away for a few days because their team is short handed. There are people that delay their return in order to accomplish the current project.

Everyone has their own ways of making the situation easier. It's not always something heroic. Sometimes there is a box from home, and everyone has good coffee or Grandmother's cookies. DVD's make the rounds to anyone that has a laptop. People share what they can, keep each other informed of what's going on back home, and try to understand when a buddy gets Tent Fever.

Sometimes the measures are a little more extreme. The Army band tours this country, giving concerts to whomever they can gather. Sometimes they ride in the back of a cargo truck, and the opportunistic naps get interrupted by the holes in the roads. Sometimes they ride in a helicopter, and the naps are interrupted by a door gunner occasionally firing at things they can't see in the night. They play fun music, and try to lighten the load of a few, but even the lighter moments have their edge. It's one thing to hear Darryl Worley sing "Have You Forgotten" over the radio, and another thing entirely to sing it along with these troops after reading a list of this week's killed and wounded.

So there is truth in what you hear, but you don't have the whole story. No one does. The whole story is written on the hearts and minds of the ones who are here, both native and visitor.

It's true that there are soldiers dying here. Every day, we here the news of some attack. Someone threw a rock. Someone threw a grenade. Someone fired a shot. Someone fired a rocket. We got one of them. They got one of us.

There is violence in just about every major district of this country. Sometimes it's against the Americans. Sometimes it's against the British. Sometimes it's against the locals. The reasons are numerous. They want the electricity on. They want the water to work. They want the Americans to go away. They want the things that are in that store over there. They want to take that fuel and sell it across the border. They want you to shut up.
There are a wide variety of reasons to kill people. Not a lot of good reasons, though. And every day, the gains and losses in the battle to restore some semblance of order move across the television screens of the world, and the people in front of the televisions of the world decide that it is unfortunate.

Yes, it's true that people are being killed here.

But there are other things that are true, also. Progress is being made. It isn't as fast as anyone would like, but progress, always either a tortoise or a hare, never gets made at a comfortable speed. Water starts flowing in one area, but not in another until later, but it is beginning to flow. Lights are available in some, but not all, areas of a city, but the darkness is being pushed back. Hospitals are opening up again, after replacing the supplies that were looted and the windows that were broken. Stores are opening. Police are starting to stop criminals. And here, in Baghdad, there are people who will sit in front of their televisions tonight and hear about someone shooting or robbing someone in YOUR city, and they will decide that it is unfortunate.

More to follow


Thursday, June 05, 2003

My husband, an admirer of boxer “Irish” Micky Ward, suggested I write something about him, and his impending retirement. Now I only had paid fleeting attention to Ward’s career, due to the fact that he’s a neighbor of sorts, a native hero of Lowell’s Acre. Though I have personally been training in karate for the last five years, I’ve had little interest in boxing. OK, I’m not a huge sports fan anyway, but one would think that over time, I’d have developed some sort of interest in the events of the ring, but this wasn’t the case. So I wasn’t quite sure how to proceed. But as I researched and read accounts of his fights, I began to learn a few things about boxing in general, and Micky Ward specifically.

Though Micky Ward has thoroughly proven himself to be a champion, (38W, 11L, 27KO’s) his success didn’t come from a natural boxing talent, but from continuous hard work. His opponent in his final fight will be Arturo “Thunder” Gatti, a boxer who, though younger and faster than Ward, is said to be much the same. Humble, respectful, and incredibly hard working. I know from experience that it can be frustrating to train with someone who seems to be so much better than I at a particular technique, but overall, I‘ve learned to let it go. Better to focus on smaller signs of improvement. But it still amazes me that from childhood on, someone like Ward and even Gatti can push themselves, even if their initial skill was shaky.

Perhaps in May 2002, it was that kind of drive that gave Arturo Gatti the power to get up after receiving the wrath of Ward’s brutal left body punch in the ninth round of their first fight. Micky Ward won that night. The following November, the two fought a rematch, and then it was Ward who needed that drive. In the third round, he took a right hit to his ear, which resulted in a punctured eardrum. His equilibrium was lost for the rest of the fight, but he kept going the full ten, and didn’t make things easy for Gatti who ended up winning fight #2. It’s interesting to note that both bouts were won by decision.

I mentioned Ward’s mighty left hook, which leads most to believe he’s a southpaw. But no, he’s right handed. He had severely injured his right hand a few years before, and had to then rely on his left. You could say that his left was strengthened by default. I know though, that it’s not that easy. When anyone, athlete or otherwise suffers a somewhat serious injury, it’s natural to want to just stop the activity that caused the injury in the first place. As the owner of two knee braces; one ankle brace; and one wrist brace, I have a small idea of what Ward puts himself through.

Part of my training is sparring. This is the closest I come to boxing, with the exception being that I can kick my opponent as well. But like many women in Martial Arts, I don’t particularly enjoy sparring. I know I’ve improved, but there is so much to remember: Keep your guard up - move your feet - breathe - keep your guard up - try combinations - and keep your guard up! I suppose, had I been watching boxing more often, I’d get some pointers. I know I’ll be watching Saturday night and I’ll be sending out a prayer, “Bail ó Dhia ort” - “The blessing of God on you”. And one more - ‘Keep your guard up Micky’.

Thursday, May 29, 2003

A Day in MY Life

Click Here Before Reading
(But only if you're very talented at keeping two things open at once - I can't seem to do it. Gotta find a midi to play right'll get the gist of it)

Got report cards today, Oh boy
but these lucky kids, they got good grades

They ask for Ice Cream, want it bad
Well I had no dough -
So we couldn't go.

They settle down with PS2
They didn't notice, that I cleaned the floor
A mess was made, it's just my luck

They'd seen my look before
But they weren't really sure
If they really were going to be Dead D--u-c-k---s!!!

I got some bills today, ohh crap.
Amex,Visa, and Victoria's too,
My closet's crowded, this I know

And nothing fits me right
can only go out at night

I'd love to r--u--nn a--wa----yyy!

Wake up - get out of bed
trip on a toy, fall on my head

Find my way downstairs,
but no clean cups

And looking up, I see that kids are late.

Lunches, coats, baseball caps
make the bus in seconds flat

Crawl back upstairs, to clean or sleep?
The phone rings, a telemarketer creep


I read the news today, Oh no,
Four thousand potholes up on 18th street

And though the holes are rather small
The Town will count them all

No one really knows how long it'll take
but they'll have a ball!

I'd love to vol---un--teer!!!
I recently wrote about cleaning, and realized I’d have to do some Spring Cleaning here on the computer as well. I started going through my favorites/book-mark folder, and must admit I lost count of what’s in there. I know I don’t need all of that! So, with your indulgence, I’ll weed it out.

Well the site Images from Japan is from a 2nd grade project this year, guess that can get the heave-ho, the big “D”. Hmm, what else? Well, the Reagan Home page (Yes, that Reagan) came in pretty handy when I was writing about the Columbia shuttle, but I don’t need to save it. OK, that gets deleted too. Ooh, what’s this - that Mad Cow thing, that was pretty funny. Vulgar but funny. Gotta save it for when I need a giggle.

Well, no surprise there’s a few Martial Art sites, like the one done by Jaz, the Hawaiian Jujitsu stylist that I met in Sacramento. His site is (or was) a kick -- no pun intended! I guess he’s into music pretty heavily as he runs a recording studio somewhere on the Big Island. But the site seems to be unavailable, so it’s getting dumped too. A few other M/A sites are more for research for an article I want to write. They should stay, at least to remind me that of that back burner project

Ooh… Jackpot! My entire stockpile of neato cool writing sites. No, none of them should go, absolutely not. Hmm, well this eZine rejected me; do I really want that reminder? Ditto for this next one, and then those other folks never got back to me; damn this is depressing! *Sigh*. OK, next on the list...I know this site is neat, it’s got all these cool jobs listed, and all I need to do is send a resume and some clips. Problem is, the resume is a little … out of date, *mumble* from 1994.

Moving on - let’s see, what’s left in this very mixed bag of tricks. Need to keep my translation site, that’s proven invaluable. Ooh, this next one is great. It’s a collection of urban legends and Internet hoaxes. Talk about invaluable! I don’t know how many times, my well-meaning but misguided friends email me these…I don’t know what you call them…things. These emails that involve either promised $ from Bill Gates, pen pal pleas from a dying boy in Botswana, and the scares of viruses that require you to ditch your whole operating system, just to stamp out a little worm. I guess it’s the modern version of ‘Daddy get the axe - there’s a fly on Baby’s head’.

Rounding out the collection are some Holocaust sites; more research for yet another back burner writing project. Man I better get a bigger stove, I need a lot more back burners! OR -- shudder -- start working. Oh that IS scary, time for a break. Wonder what’s on TV? Ah, but no worries, I got TV Guide Online saved right here!

Thursday, May 08, 2003's been a while since I posted. Had a mean cold, that triggered some other nasty things, but I'm finally feeling better. In the midst of that, life keeps moving, and pretty fast too - whether I want it to or not. As they say, Time waits for no man, nor for this woman either. Baseball season has started in earnest, and the youngest here is a "rookie". His first time, and he's really enjoying it. I must admit that despite schedules (2 kids with assorted activites: karate, scouts, baseball, MCAS tutorials, church fellowship) and weird dinner hours; It's been fun to get out and see people again. Nothing bonds you more than swatting bugs and cheering for your kids together. That and the combined "No!s", in the response to ..."Can we pleeease go to the ice cream truck?"

This baseball season has also given me the opporunity to see more of Dracut. I thought I knew where all the athletic fields were, from soccer days. Of course, baseball is different, and in searching the 5 year old map of the town's fields, I started to feel lost again. Rowe 1? AND Rowe 2? Hovey? What is Hovey? Ahh, now I see, if the "Rowe's" were only described as being.'kinda near field 1 1/2 (another fun name), then I'd have a clue. Or, if I was told, "near ...'The Rock' ". Everyone knows where "The Rock" is. (near the Ice Cream Truck) And Hovey...yes, that mysterious ball field across from Hannaford's. I never knew who played there, I thought it was some sort of exclusive league. And...*drumroll*...they have bleachers. Or so I'm told. I missed last Saturday's game. To me, it's like..going to the show...the big time... oooohhhhhh Hovey. Parking looks tough though. *Sigh*. Anyway, that's it for now, see you at the fields.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.

“If you give a Mouse a cookie, chances are he’ll want some milk to go with it.” That is the beginning of the great children’s book written by Laura Joffe Numeroff and illustrated by Felicia Bond. (They are also the creators of “If You Give a Moose a Muffin”, “If You Give a Pig a Pancake”, and “If You Take a Mouse to School). I fell in love with these books, mostly because the illustrations are SO darn adorable. The stories are sweet and simple, the basic premise being that one thing will always lead to another. I find myself saying repeating this story title, almost mantra-like, because I see it play out so often, especially when doing stuff around the house. Matter of fact, it’s now known as the Mouse-A-Cookie Theorem. Family members hear that, and they are forewarned of opening up a can of worms. Or can of mice, as it were.

If you give yourself a chore, chances are you’ll end up with four. Yes, at least four chores somehow evolve out of that first one. Well, especially in a house like mine, where the term “anal-retentive” is foreign. Instead we use words like “lived-in”, or just plain “cluttered”. So, it goes something like this. I decide to put out some Easter/Spring decorations. Chore #1. I first want to dust off the mantle and bookcases. Chore #2. Remove everything from mantle and tops of bookcases. Chore #3. Wipe down everything that I removed from mantle and bookcases. Chore #4. Actually dust the mantle and bookcases. Chore #5. Decide that all candle holders need to have old wax scraped off, and new candles in fresh pastels be put in place instead of dusty, grimy fall/winter colored candles. Now this is chore #6 (and 7?), and I’m nowhere near ready to put out the Easter stuff yet, and I’m sneezing up a storm. Next, put away remaining Christmas decorations. Umm, I hadn’t realized it had actually turned spring already, and that’s #8. I’m tired!

The same mantra is heard during home renovations. Well, that, and “those dirty rotten %*$@ contractors”. We have wanted to finish off our basement for eons now, and drew up some great plans, oh, a few years ago. Last year, while still trying to decide on a contractor, or ‘do-it-ourselves’, we went ahead and picked out a beautiful French door for a new entryway into the basement. When the installer came to take measurements, he noticed some aberrations in the foundation. Turns out these are cracks, and the foundation has started to crumble. But first we have to jack up the house to repair the foundation. *Sigh*. Well, I know the basement is already a step ahead, what with the shiny new copper piping that we had to install while in the middle of renovating our 2nd floor bathroom a few years back. But please, let’s not open up that chapter in our Home Project Scrapbook. Let’s just say, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, among other things.

And so it goes. One project begets another, and another, rather like that annoying hair product commercial, with the clone models repeating, “…and they told two friends, and so on, and so on…” As tiring as this all seems, that’s pretty much the way things do work. Life doesn’t happen in an orderly fashion, there’s chaos, clutter, confusion, false starts, recriminations and yes, wailing and gnashing of teeth. But there’s also the beauty of the random and accidental. Wildflowers, giggles in church, unexpected hugs and double rainbows. And sometimes, a mouse comes to call, so you better have a cookie ready -- and the milk.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

Somewhere In Heaven

He was born in 1949 and died in 2001. He died from Evil. He did not ask for it, his military days were in the past. He had flown transport planes for the Air Force, sometimes carrying bodies of our soldiers back home from Viet Nam. He did come home -- to Dracut -- became a farmer and American Airlines pilot.

He was born on December 7, 1981, and died in 2003. He died from Evil. He did not ask for it, but he was ready for the risk. He worked on Army Black Hawk helicopters, loved it, but wanted to come home one day, also to Dracut, most likely to become a police officer.

Somewhere in Heaven, Army Specialist Mathew Boule has been met with open arms by Captain John Ogonowski.

Friday, April 04, 2003

"...Early morning, April 4
Shot rings out in the Memphis sky
Free at last, they took your life
They could not take your pride..."
(Pride in the Name of Love. 1984, by U2, from The Unforgettable Fire)

Well, it wasn't early morning, it was about 6:00pm, but 35 years ago today, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was killed on the balcony of his Memphis hotel room. The shooter was later identified as James Earl Ray. Let's take time to think of Dr. King's non violent approach to difficult situations, even while we still support our President, and the path he follows in this Most Difficult Situation in Iraq.

Tuesday, March 25, 2003

FYI: For those of you who are emailing me, and not getting responses, it's because I'm having a temporary email glitch. When you rely on email more and more, you don't need glitches, but in the light of world events, it dosn't seem like such a problem. *sigh*. So, on that note, please keep positive thoughts, prayers, and energy going for all, especially our Allied Forces, and those awaiting liberation in Iraq.

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Tonight starts the Dracut High School Scholarship Telethon!

Wednesday, March 05, 2003

Shame on Michael Newdow. He may be a peach of a guy, but I have to say I’m disappointed in him, and people like him. If you don’t know, last year Michael Newdow brought a suit against the United States, the United States Congress, the State of California, two school districts; and their officials. And what was the reason? What was the injury? His daughter had to be exposed to the Pledge of Allegiance. Yeah, that 15 second little thing we say at the start of school.

So, what is it about the Pledge that was so grievous to Mr. Newdow? Yeah, the “under God” part. Mr. Newdow is an atheist. And that is his God given right. No pun intended. Seriously, he has the right to not believe, to not recite. He has the right to teach his children his beliefs as well. So, this is why he has brought suit. In an interview a CNN correspondent, he said that he “has the right to bring up my daughter without God being imposed into her life by her school teachers”. Imposed? God is now an imposition? OK, OK, it’s the Christian in me to sneak that in. But even if I were to be all totally politically correct, and keep my personal beliefs out of it, I’m still astounded.

I’m trying to put myself in his place. Trying to think of something offensive that my children might be exposed to on a daily basis. Something that they can block out if possible. Or something they can say by rote, and not even understand. Get the point? Children are taught the Pledge of Allegiance, and they barely know what they are pledging to. Same way they are taught prayers, that they might not comprehend yet. As they mature, they’ll decide if they truly will want to pledge allegiance to their country and their God.

And what of Mr. Newdow’s daughter? Ah, here’s the thing. She’s not an atheist. She is being brought up by her mother, as a Christian. Evidently, her dad, Michael Newdow, is challenging the custody of her mother, Sandy Banning. They are not married. You can draw your own conclusions here.

Mr. Newdow also wants to change our currency too. No more, “In God We Trust”. With the exception of Native American beliefs, this country was founded on Christian principles. The idea of God is not new, not by a long shot. Should God and State be mixed? I don’t know if I even care any more, but I guess the law says no. OK, if you want to get technical, perhaps the Pledge of Allegiance does the unthinkable. But for almost 60 years, we’ve been saying “…One Nation, under God…”. Why is this now such a problem? Especially now. We need God more than ever, and by God, we need Allah and Buddha too. We need Mother Earth, Elijah, and Moses. We need Gandhi and Mother Theresa. Anything, anyone - that will inspire all the peoples of all the nations to watch out for one another, care for each other instead of tying up the judicial system with lawsuits about a 15 second pledge that doesn’t hurt anyone.

Friday, February 28, 2003

Attention Readers:

Of course I know you're out there. All 4 of you. I'm dying to say, "I Know Who You Are" -(And I Saw What You Did - good movie) But I can't claim that! So, let me get to know you. See that small notation down there, under the archives list? it says, email me. Please do!

Thursday, February 27, 2003

Farewell Mr. Rogers, thanks for everything. May you rest in Peace. (1928 - 2003)

Wednesday, February 26, 2003

One of My Idols You'll notice he's using Blogger, just like me!
Something to try when you're bored
As I write, it's 2 degrees! I'm sorry, but I'm going to have to complain to someone. I'm so weary of this cold. If it's not cold, it's freezing rain. If it's not freezing rain, it's a foot of snow coming down. *sigh*. Getting damn tired of this.

Oh well, enough whining, time to wake up a 2nd grader for school. Good day!

Tuesday, February 25, 2003

What fun, shopping is. I could write page after page on the wonders of shopping. I suppose it might be a bit estrogen-fueled, but I know plenty of men that enjoy a good shopping fix as much as women. And I know women that hate shopping too. Anyway, I digress.

One of the distracters of the whole experience, is those damn retailers. Well, not just any retailer. I guess I’m thinking more of the grocery store, drugstore type of set up. What bugs me is the rush. No, not the mental rush you get when you find a bargain, more the rushing of the ‘seasons’. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I see shelves crammed with red and pink heart adorned items - the week after Christmas!

The business of retail, is that. A business. I guess if they sell seasonal items, they have to have a seasonal section, and that section must be filled at all times with something, appropriate or not. It’s good to think ahead. I get that. But it reaches a point where it is all so silly. For example, the local grocery store is now festooned with shiny green garland, and emerald shamrocks. Don’t get me wrong, I’m mostly Irish, and I love St. Patrick’s Day, but it seems a little forced to me. How much can you build up this holiday, in a grocery store? Sure, you’ll want your brisket, some carrots, cabbage, and of course, potatoes. Beer and Jameson’s, are more Irish staples, and available 3 stores away. But that’s about it, and why the fuss? The owners of this grocery chain, are Greek to boot. So, if we’re going to get all snazzy for holidays, I wouldn’t mind seeing blue and white decorations on Greek Independence Day. For that matter, why not blue, white and red, on Bastille Day. That is, when the French are no longer on the merde list. Or some jammin’ reggae in the P.A. on Bob Marley’s Birthday. Now that’s shopping! Yah mon!

Monday, February 10, 2003

I was reading the insert that came with my new wrist brace, and came across an interesting medical condition, “Gamekeepers’ Thumb”. Uh huh, that’s right. Evidently, there must be some sort of occupational hazard relating to the keeping of game, and not what one would ordinarily consider. At first guess, I’d imagine being bitten by a wild ostrich or butted in the head by an angry ewe to be the normal injuries of game keeping. Well dear reader, I’m about to enlighten you.

According to an article written by Dr. Matthew Hannibal, MD; and Dr. Daniel Roger, MD; Gamekeeper’s thumb harks back to the 50’s. The article, published on the eMedicine web site states the following: “ as the gamekeepers sacrificed the rabbits by breaking their necks between the ground and their thumbs and index fingers. The thumb would be injured as a result of the valgus force on an abducted metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joint. The ulnar collateral injury would result in instability accompanied by pain and weakness of the pinch grasp.”

Amazing. Wondering if I too, was a sufferer of Gamekeeper’s Thumb, I mulled over my activity of the last few months. First, I started with the way I killed rabbits. Had I been following in the tradition of those great Scotsmen of yore?, or did I just slit their little throats with those newfangled knife thingies. AH HA! Caught you! Trick question! I never killed a rabbit in my life! Ever! How could I look into those sweet little eyes and cap them? I don’t kill much of anything, not counting a few brain cells now and then. Yes, I’ve killed my share of bugs, usually out of the sight of my youngest son, who takes the stance that, “we’ve got to help him find his family”.

So, as I come back to reality, I do wonder how my wrist came to be so tender and sore. I’ve been told that sleeping the wrong way can produce tendonitis type issues. OK there’s the connection. We all count sheep, right? I bet, as I fall asleep, I’m counting sheep, goats, llamas, and… wabbits. Pesky one’s at that. AND, I bet I’m using my THUMB to count. I’m sure if I set up a video cam at night, it’ll film me jabbing the air with my left thumb, as I count. Mystery solved.

I guess I should mention that the article continues on to say that skiers sometimes suffer from the same injury. So - there I was in Valdez, Alaska, at the World Extreme Skiing Championship, waiting my turn …well, that’s a story for another day.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Soon, it will be February, and another Sweeps month is upon us. Ah, fresh episodes of our favorite shows. My husband and I are getting quite hooked on "24". Marie a killer? Who knew? Now, this is good TV. Very visceral stuff. That bathroom turned abattoir--shiver.

I have mentioned before, that I'm not fond of reality TV. Or, to put it more accurately, when I see a promo ad for a new show of that genre, I gag. Actually it's more of a full-body-dry-heave to quote Seinfeld. And the inevitable comments, OhmyGod that's so stupid! Or - Do they have absolutely NO pride? The premise's for these shows seem to get more and more bizarre. But no one seems to notice! So, this is why - when I was catching up on my Important Reading in TV Guide, I came across the article on the new Survivor season set in the Amazon. Since the start of this show, they have tried to at least be demographically correct. More than one gender, age group, sexual preference, race. So, when I see a mention of someone my age or older in these episodes, I take heart that all is not lost to the hard body/soft brain types running rampant in most reality TV. Course, I don't think someone older has won the big purse yet. Sigh.

But if I did that, joined one of those crews - it wouldn't be to win a gazillion dollars. Monetary compensation, of course, would be awesome, but I am not competitive enough to try for the big prize. Frankly, who needs the aggravation. I'd like to do it, just to see if I could keep up. Unfortunately I'm too vain to want the world to see me in that hot weather attire. If they set Survivor in a shopping mall, I'm there. I'd be a good team mate too, remember - I don't care about winning. So, I'd save my team-mates places in the check out lines or I'd advice them on the right accessories for a new dress or suit. An immunity challenge would be to find the best and legal parking spots closest to the main entrance. No problem. Get a delicious AND nutritious meal in the Food Court for under $5.00. Yes, I can do that. As I think about this, I realize I could probably do Amazing Race too. I don't think I've watched much of the show, but I get the gist of it. It's like a huge scavenger hunt around the world. Cool! No worries about getting alligator blood out of my sports bra. I'd just have to be able to read a subway map in another language. Easy! —eˆÕ ! Facile! Einfach!

And what makes things real anyway. In my way of thinking, once you add a camera and/or mic to the mix, it ceases to be real. I do believe that in some of those situations the contestants might begin to forget that they are being observed, and might get a little more honest and open than they initially intended. But real? If you think about it, it all starts to get a little... "if a tree falls in the woods" type rhetoric. You can even extend it to all those nature shows. Those gazelles running for their lives from the lion, would they really look so ...urgent, yet elegant, if the cams weren't running? I don't bloody think so.

-- Keeping it real in Dracut

Sunday, January 05, 2003

Is it safe? (quick, what line is that from?) Anyway, the question still remains. Is it safe? Do I dare sneak back and post some more stuff after the prophecy of my last entry of Dec 7th? If you havn't read that one, go ahead, I'll wait. Ok, you back? Good, here we go.

After the threat of angry readers' retribution dies down, I'm thinking about this whole thing. Wondering what awesome power I must yield. I ask for a White Christmas, and what do we get... A VERY WHITE Christmas. A good 12" of White. [Disclaimer - the author realizes that she's not the only one who wished for snow, but for now, play along] So, what else could I wish for. Well, I was hankering for a new library and police station and...voila! Ok so I'm joking around, but isn't it fun to imagine something like that? To be able to wish for things, and have them come true? And not just stop at 3 wishes, that's for hacks. This should have to go on for quite a while. But as Cliff Robertson says in his role as Spiderman's Uncle Ben, "With great power, comes great reponsibility"

So, the fantasy wishing is almost the same as "What would I do if I won the Lottery?". I would like to hear what other's think. Let's cook up some good wishes for the new year.