Thursday, September 27, 2007

Thirteen "Conveniences" That Still Amaze Me
(in no order and with no plan... rumination est moi)

1. Washing machine. I just walked by mine and stopped to ponder. Wow... I'm not pounding clothes on rocks. Amazing. (sometimes I forget these mundane machines...)

2. iPod. Never in my wildest dreams did I envision owning one of these little creatures. Now I own two. And I'm eyeing that new iTouch.... oooh baby baby. I use both of mine all the time. I could write off a new one. I play music in class while my students write. Hmmmm.....

3. Bose noise-reduction headphones. Hellloooo... jet noise. Gone. And more. Love 'em.

4. Potato peeler. Simple, easy, beats a knife (at least in my book).

5. Computer. Too obvious? Okay, we do have to confront pros/cons, but I love mine. Two, again. Laptop and desk model. Mac! Ease, simplicity, elegance.

6. Hot shower and/or bath. Which really means that I am amazed at my hot water heater. No lugging pails to the stove, huh? Oh, I suppose I could have said "indoor plumbing," but I never knew a world without indoor toilets. Now, I do love a bidet, but don't have one. The joys of travel in Italy and France.

7. Pantyhose. Changed. Every woman's. Life. I am old enough to remember garter belts and nylon hose (runs!) and nail polish (stop runs!).

8. PopTop Cans. Remember all those can openers -- several in every gadget drawer in the house? Then, remember the tabs that you could make into a chain (and slice open your foot at the beach?).... convenience, thy name is aluminum. (probably the cause of cancer, huh?)

9. Sewing machine. I use mine. A lot. I think sewing is making a comeback, but more on the craft front.

10. T.V, Radio, and Electricity. I'm condensing because my mind ran them all together. I don't have t.v. hooked up to cable, but I do love the flat screen and movies. No world without electricity... think about that.

11. Mail. I love mailing and getting mail. People bitch about the cost of stamps. Oh well, isn't it fun to get a package? Or send a package and get a thank you back. I also love post cards. And long newsy letters beat email any day. I include UPS and FedEx and that leads to catalogs and internet ordering... oh my.

12. Cell phone. Eeeek. Never thought I'd say that either. But... way back, over 12 years ago, I was in a study and they gave me a mobile phone. The first time I whipped out that baby and called a parent during class... I was sold. Here's this little scamp, disturbing my class, so I take him outside, ask him his mom's number, call, introduce myself and hand the phone to him, to explain. The entire class, and by word-o-mouth the whole school, sat awestruck. I ruled! Now the phone rarely rings but I do feel "in touch" with the world.

13. Microwave. Although I must say, I think this convenience has changed the world in more negative ways than we might realize. (families don't sit down and eat any more, do they?) Still, how many times a day do I zap something? Coffee cold? Zap. Need chicken stock? Zap. Defrost that? Zap.

I am sure I've left a zillion conveniences in the dust of my morning coffee haze.
What say you?
Conveniences you notice, don't notice, or those without which you would perish?
Inquiring minds want to know.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Another GREAT clip.
Watch and LEARN.
And if you live in CA, get your ass off the chair and DO SOMETHING. NOW!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Another MUST SEE: Keith Olbermann's Courage

Bush, hiding behind Petraeus, has crossed the line, and Keith explains via history and common sense, as well as The United States' Constitution.
Will somebody listen?
Thank goodness I have GREAT representation: two Senators and a Congressman from Vermont, all of whom are steadfast and true. What will become of us, since we seem to have lost our way -- lost a focus on our humanity and the values that have made us a beacon in the world. Sad days seem to mount in a heap.
This is another video that all must watch and learn!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

1. Missing work. Now we are talking about being truly sick and not "calling in sick" for an excuse to miss work. The plus side of being sick is not feeling guilty. The downside is actually feeling horrible if you're in the middle of a project that needs your tender loving care and feeding.

2. Sleeping. Lately, I have found myself strapped to a menopausal insomnia gurney careening out-0f-control through the corridors of my previously-excellent health. That said, the use of cold meds to induce sleep comes at a price. While (a) I love the extra sleep, I have found (b) I've lost part of my day -- the best part. I work best early in the morning. I feel like I've now lost a week of good writing time. But I feel a bit more rested, despite some residual grogginess. What price to pay? We shall see.

3. Thinking. A lot like a wall has been erected between my mind and anything on the desk. This is good because I'm getting a break, and bad because all I'm doing is flopping on a couch and listening to movies with a book proped on my lap for decoration. I can't even sneak some work into the equation. I suppose it's all about rest, but I get restless.

4. Kindness. This is hard for me, but I get to accept other people's kindness and help. I suppose being sick is a good excuse to allow myself to be pampered. I don't mean get a pedicure (which I did get on my way home the day I began to come down with the malady). No, I mean I had to call a colleague (thank you Drennan) and ask for help. I rarely do this and need to find myself in this position more often because, let's face it, I'd do anything for others and rarely reciprocate by "allowing" them to help moi. So, find the plus and minus in that -- all rolled into one, I'd say.

5. Remote control. Okay, I'm in charge of the video flow. Plus = I like getting my way. Minus = mmmm.... can't really think of one. Oh, okay -- some day if Steve is sick, I'll have to watch The Shining about 12 times. Ick.

6. Food. The "up" side of being sick is that food is mostly disgusting, so perhaps I could lose weight or being quite able to stay on my WW points, right? The "down" side is that the food which does appeal seems to be the soft, mushy, comfort food we all adore and which adds delightful carb and fat points to the diet. For example, ice cream and sherbet are almost a prescription when I get a sore throat. Pride allows me to point out that I DID NOT go straight to the market and buy rainbow sherbet, even though Steve was not home. No! I made fat free, sugar free chocolate pudding and ate the whole thing by myself. That wasn't too bad. And at the end of the week, mostly inclusive of my sickout, I had lost one pound.

7. Meds. I can't live with 'em, can't live without 'em. I didn't go to the doctor for this disgusting cold/cough/sore throat. I figured nothing would come of it and didn't want to add more antibiotics to my system. I hate taking medication. On the other hand, Tylenol and I have a love/hate relationship, too. Again, I don't like to medicate. But... I do like to finally get some sleep. We have a truce. I downed all the liquid Tylenol cold medication (night time), and attempted to hack and sneeze my way through the daytime.

8. Beverages. Plus side, aren't we happy we have such a range of choices? Minus side, my daily mainstay, coffee, didn't make the cut. I fell back to the tea position. The plus side is that tea ( properly sealed is always available and still flavorful for the most part. The minus side is reading the labels -- green tea does have caffeine! Orange juice supposedly has the good Vitamin "C" but I couldn't ease it past my sore throat. Lately, my big love in the soda department (where I've cut back to almost nothing) is Black Cherry Citrus Fresca. Who'da thought Fresca would make a comeback? Well, this one tastes refreshing, but does nothing for the cold.... except...

9. Peeing. Could we NOT have to drink so much? Because then all we do is GET UP in the middle of the night to pee. About six times. Just getting back to comfy and then up again. I suppose that's the good news and the bad news, too.

10. Relationship. I love Steve, but when I'm sick, I'm a grump. Then I feel guilty. I get up and make the bed even though I would really like to crawl back in and cover my head. Or leave the bed unmade so I could go back if I needed. And it seems, when I do need him, he's taken a powder to give me some space so I can rest. But I can't blame him, 'cuz who wants to be around a coughing, sneezing, runny-nosed whiner? Lucky for him, he arrived at the end of the beginning of the bad stuff. I hope he doesn't catch this crap. I'm in for it if he does.

11. Spending money. Well, staying home is a two-edged sword. I didn't go out and spend any money. In fact, I didn't even drive and spend gas dollars. But... during those bursts of energy produced by the aforementioned cold meds, I wandered aimlessly (remember the block on real thinking?) through the internet and perhaps bought something (I can't remember exactly) that I will regret when it arrives. Ebay thy name is sickbay.

12. Pets. Nothing too minus on this score. My darling Casou seems to understand that I am needy and gives me more love than I can handle. Then again, just when I'm comfy and not peeing my brains out, he has to go. And I can only put that off for so long without those big beautiful eyes making me guilty for the extra little nap while he needed respite.

13. The Return. Yes, eventually I will return to what passes as "normal." The good news is that I can leave the house and celebrate my good health. The bad news is that I'll have to face all that work, food, relationship, control issues, and the rest of the list on real terms. The fuzz will depart my brain and I'll have to call my mother and reconnect . I've missed real conversations and news. I'll have to read up on the latest events. Correct and read all those freshman compositions I've stashed aside. I'll have to go down to the garden and weed. I'll have to swap the impatients for mums. I'll have to cook. I'll have to... Oh, maybe I can eek out another week of being sick?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

No, not a noun. An adjective. As in "I am sick." And not ironic, either.
Just plain sick with temperature, cough, scratchy/sore throat, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes. The works. I can't remember the last time I climbed into bed and let myself experience... SICKNESS. Noun, that.

I gave my class the day off. I can't see myself driving a car at 6:30 a.m. and/or getting "enthused" when I can't seem to string a set of words together without coughing into a fit.

Oy! Hope this leaves as fast as it arrived.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

13 Movies I Watch Over & Over & Over...
especially on rainy days and while I'm doin' other stuff...

In no particular order (and with many, many in spaces 14-25)

1. Field of Dreams - (People will come, Ray! ... and have a cathartic cry, Ray!)
2. American Dreamer - (all romance writers know this one! Rebecca Ryan rules!)
3. Avanti! -- (where Prego isn't a sauce)
4. The Great Race -- (Push the button, Max!)
5. Finian's Rainbow -- (a darned good sing-a-long)
6. Camelot - (Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave, Franco Nero -- dazzling the eyes)
7. Dances With Wolves - (I have a "thing" for buffalo)
8. The Wizard of Oz - (dare ya not to sing-a-long)
9. Beauty and the Beast - (another fine score for housework)
10. American Graffiti - (okay, okay...I'm on a roll with background music)
11. Return to Me - (shucks, just plain silly, but Minnie and David need to be on somebody's list)
12. Summer Magic - (Hayley Mills grows up and finds a fella)
13. Love Actually -- (and we all have a good cry and go about our business....)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

I'd like to first remind EVERYONE, that we once listened intently, trusting this honest, military man. Do you REALLLLLLLY think he was holding live anthrax? Hmmm. That should have been our first hint of the coming disaster. How many "credible" men have pimped themselves for this corrupt administration? And how many sons and daughters have perished in body and spirit to a pantheon of lies? Shame, shame, shame.
And... my lifetime will not see the end of this debacle.
Nor yours.
We are sunk in the Middle East forever -- tied with this albatross.
Think again, if you trust anything from these who brought you this mess.

Last night, while fixing dinner, I listened on NPR to the Petraeus and Sidekick testimony.
Listening brings me a completely different take than watching t.v.
I find it more revealing. No telegenics to mess the mind. Still, the lies and spin were elevated to new lows. Glad I couldn't see if they said all that crap with a straight face. Don't know how they could.
When will the madness end? Who will find the backbone to stand up to this insanity?
Well, below is one out-take that seemed to make sense.
I don't know Rep. Wexler, of Florida, but maybe he's found some spine?
Here's to you, sir!

Crooks and Liars » Rep. Wexler: Gen. Petraeus testimony eerily similar to Westmoreland and Vietnam
Wexler: I vehemently opposed the surge when the president announced that last winter and instead I call for troops be withdrawn. In your testimony today you claim that the surge is working and you need more time. With all respect General, among unbiased nonpartisan expert consensus is far. The surge has failed based on most parameters. In truth, war related deaths have doubled in Iraq in 2007 compared to last year. Tragically, it is my understanding that seven more American troops have died while we’ve been talking today. Cherry picking statistics or selectively massaging information will not change the basic truth.

And please understand Gen. P., I do not question your credibility. You are a true patriot. I admire your service to our nation, but I do question your facts. And it is my patriotic duty to represent my constituents and ask you. question you about your argument that the surge in troops be expended until next summer, especially when your testimony stating that the dramatic reduction in sectarian death is opposite from the National intelligence estimate the Government accounting office and several other non-biased non- partisan reports.

I am skeptical General, more importantly the American people are skeptical because four years ago very credible people while in uniform and not in uniform came before this Congress and sold us a bill of goods that turned out to be false. And that’s why we went to war based on false pretense to begin with.

This testimony today is eerily similar to the testimony the American people heard on April twenty eighth nineteen sixty seven from General William Westmoreland, when he told the American people–America was making progress in Vietnam.

General you say we’re making progress in Iraq but the Iraqi parliament simply left Baghdad and shut down operations last month. You say were making progress but the nonpartisan GAO office concluded that the Iraqi government has failed to meet a fifteen of the eighteen political economic and security benchmarks that Congress mandated. You say we’re making top progress? War related deaths have doubled. An ABC/BBC poll recently said that seventy percent of Iraqis say the surge has worsened their lives. Iraqis say the surge is not working.

I will conclude my comments General and give you a chance to respond but there’s one more thing if I may. We’ve heard a lot today about America’s credibility. President Bush recently stated we should not have withdrawn our troops in Vietnam because of the great damage to America’s credibility. General, there are fifty eight thousand one hundred ninety five names etched into the Vietnam war Memorial. Twenty years from now when we build the Iraq war memorial on the National Mall, how many more men and women will have been sacrificed to protect our so called credibility? How many more names will be added to the wall before we admit it is time to leave?

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Thirteen To Do Today

1. Take Casou, my darling Coton de Tulear, to the groomers. After a summer of fun and road trips in his very own carseat, the little boy is a sponge of mats. I'll be lucky to pick him up at 5 and probably will pay dearly for my undue diligence.

2. Meditate. I'm using a great podcast found on iTunes. Free. My creativity increases when I return to my practice. It's fall and I'm cleanin' my own house, metaphorically, of course.

3. Download, to my iPod, the latest book I bought on Let's see...that would be The Quest, by Wilbur Smith. I'm a sucker for adventure in Egypt.

4. 30 minutes on the treadmill. Hence, #3. HEY! I'm starting again.

5. Stay on my points for WW. As in #4, I'm starting again. After taking the summer off to eat my way across the country on that Road Trip (yes, I'll have the fries, thank you very much). I gained 20 pounds and now must face the piper, rather the scale, plus my pants are verrrrry tight and I gave away all my larger sizes when I lost that 40 pounds. I. Can. Do. It..... Again.

6. Read Oedipus Rex. This is for the Western Lit class I'm teaching. First time in ages. Actually gotta read the books. Well, it could be worse. How? Hmm. Well, I could have had to actually PAY for the books. Ha!

7. Write Quiz for Oedipus Rex.
What? You thought I'd let those kids off the hook? No way. If I gotta read, they gotta read. And a quiz seems to place a fire under their sophomore posteriors. Muuuuuuaaaaaawww.

8. Load of laundry. The weather here is heating up, so I can still hang the clothes on the line. Mmmmmm! Love that fresh air smell!

9. Make and send birthday card for Geoff. OMG! He's gonna be 33 on Sept 9. No way he can be that old if I am only 17. I believe in MAGIC!

10. Celebrate (sort of) the One Year Anniversary of Steve's Heartattack. ...Or as I like to call it... Our First Wake Up Call. Yes, a year has passed. He's in great shape and seems to have weathered all the ups and downs of rehab, mediations, and tumbles onto his face. Bravo to my husband! What a guy!

11. Play with my new doll, Agnes Dreary. Here:

12. Get to bed by 11pm. Insomnia be damned. I get up at 5:45 a.m. since school started and I'm suffering from sinus headaches with the change in seasons. Soooo, I really need the extra sleep. Please.

13. AND....... Write 2000 words in my Cheesy Christmas Story. I pledged this many words for the latest RWU Challenge. I've got 1800 words to go by midnight. Ya think ? No sweat!

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day 2007. One of my students actually asked me, "What is Labor Day all about?"
That should put a dent in recent chirpings about the return of unions. I don't think so. To these kids, labor unions are for coal miners and any auto workers still manning assembly lines, even if next to robots.
Is Jerry Lewis still manning the telethon?
I refuse to have t.v. in the house, so I miss these little cultural moments.

A word about my digression into the Thursday Thirteen. Members of my writing group want to promote books and thus schmoozed me into their club. I didn't take the whole exercise too seriously. And I might have jumped into TMIville. Not sure I can sustain the silliness into the autumn. Autumn moves me to serious writing. Well, autumn should move me into serious something. Apple pies and pumpkins; clearing out the garden; finally starting that compost pit.

But, I don't write serious fiction. That's not what I meant. I play with crafty dialogue and yearn to create fictional heroines who are quite able to crack lines akin to Rosalind Russell's in His Girl Friday. Singlehandedly, I plan to bring back the forties -- the movies, not real life. I've sort of become used to open heart surgery, computers, and frost free refrigerators. I like my men equal and my coffee with cream, and I enjoy a good backless gown when I'm thin.

However, I'm still wondering about unions and what they can do for the little person. I'm hoping that we get smart about wages, safety, and health care. I'd much rather spend the wealth on living wages and health insurance for all workers than spending all those billions on a war we had no business to start in the first place. But that's another story.