Tuesday, December 30, 2003

What To Write When You Have Nothing To Say (but still want to let people know you are OK)

I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say. I have nothing to say.

But...it's OK because I am just suffering from a post Christmas hangover due to; too much traveling, too much food, too much drink, and too much noise. This makes me too tired to write.

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

It's Christmas Eve!

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yuletide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos.

Everybody knows
a turkey and some mistletoe
Help to make the season bright
Tiny tots with their eyes all aglow
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.

They know that Santa's on his way
He's loaded lots of toys
and goodies on his sleigh
And every mother's child is gonna spy
To see if reindeer
really know how to fly.

And so
I'm offering this simple phrase
To kids from one to ninety-two
Although it's been said
many times, many ways
Merry Christmas to you.

The Christmas Song, written by Mel Torme

(I will be a little busy tomorrow so, "A very Merry Christmas to everyone and may all your Christmas dreams come true.")

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

Passion (Part II)

passion: the state or capacity of being acted on by external agents or forces; the emotions as distinguished from reason; intense, driving, or overmastering feeling; an outbreak of anger; ardent affection; a strong liking for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept; an object of desire or deep interest.
-Webster's New Collegiate Dictionary

When I say that passion is the cause of most of the trouble in the world I mean the kind of passion that surrounds a belief which has been warped by hatred for anyone who does not share that belief. That kind of passion is why those men flew two aircraft into the World Trade Center towers. That kind of passion is why a man who believes life is sarced can kill and main others by bombing a Planned Parenthood clinic. That kind of passion is why a man will kill his wife or girlfriend when she leaves him and then himself. That kind of passion is a loss of self to a belief and that kind of passionate belief seems to be egocentric. A perceived attack on the belief is seen as a personal attack on the person who holds the belief.

Why does passionate belief seem to turn into passionate hatred? Philosopher Eric Hoffer wrote, "Passionate hatred can give meaning and purpose to an empty life." Is that why people slide down that slippery slope to hatred so easily? Could it be that before they found their passion their lives had no meaning or purpose? It is as if once passion walks in the front door, compassion scurries out the back.

My niece was visiting two weekends ago and while she was here we drove around town looking at the Christmas lights. Five of the houses had crosses laid out in lights. I told my niece I didn't understand why someone would put a symbol of Jesus' death up at Christmas. She went back to school and talked about this in one of her classes the next week. Some of the kids were offended by what she said and replied that it was OK to put a cross up because it was a symbol of Christianity. My niece said no, it shouldn't be put up because it was a symbol of Easter. The kids who were upset by what she had said were now upset because she would not change her mind. As my niece was leaving the room at the end of class one boy said to her, "I thought you were OK but now I know you're not." My niece was now an enemy because she did not believe what he believed. Can hate be far behind?

That is why passion frightens me and that is why what I heard at that "Shepherds Party" upset me. The people there were sincere in their belief in Jesus but I get the feeling that they are standing mighty close to the edge of that slippery slope that leads down to passionate hatred.

But...but I also envy the fact that they believed in something. Belief is like a warm blanket wrapped around you on a cold winter morning. It makes you feel all safe and content. I remember how safe and content I felt as a child when I still believed that my parents could and would protect and take care of me. I remember how safe and content I felt when I still believed that Santa was winging his way around the world on the way to my house and that in the morning I would wake up and find presents for my brother, sisters, and myself waiting under the Christmas tree. The people at the party have their religion to give them that warm blanket feeling. Me, I'm too leary of passion to wrap that blanket around me.

I do believe in a supreme being but I do not trust organized religions. Organized religions are just a bunch of little clubs and clubs are formed in order to exclude other people. Of course religions don't call themselves clubs, they call themselves churches. So far I have heard, that only Catholics go to heaven, that only Mormons go to heaven, that only Jehovah Witness go to heaven, that Catholics aren't real Christians, that the Mormons aren't a religion but a cult, same as the Jehovah Witness. I won't even mention the things I have hear about Muslims and Jews. Sorry, if you don't belong to our club (church) and believe as we do you are excluded from joining us in heaven. As Groucho Marx once said, "I don't want to belong to a club that would accept me as a member."

But...but I still envy those people wrapped in their warm blankets. So, I need to find my own warm blanket. I do believe there is something beyond this world waiting for us after we die but I don't think I need to become a member of any organized religion to get there. I just need trust. Trust in the belief that there is a meaning and purpose to my life even though I am not sure what that meaning and purpose is. Trust in my belief that if I keep following the path that my life has been leading me down, I will find my purpose. Belief in this is my blanket. Trusting this belief is what keeps the blanket warm.

Monday, December 22, 2003

Passion (Part I)

I went to what I thought was a Christmas party Saturday night. The person who invited me called it a “Shepherds’ Party” and said there would be music, some readings from the bible (the story of Jesus’ birth), and then a light supper. Oh yes, and people would come dressed up like shepherds but that my husband and I did not have to do that if we didn’t want to. At first I wanted to say no but since I usually shy away from anything new I decided this time I would just jump in and said yes.

It wasn’t until my husband and I walked into a large room full of people (the majority of them dressed like shepherds in simple robes with ropes tied around their middles, Arab type head coverings, and sandals) sitting in chairs placed against three of the walls, each person holding a small candle, that I started thinking that coming to this thing might have been a bad idea. My husband and I had been given two small candles when we first came in and we each held one as we sat down in the last two empty chairs. As we sat down a man my husband knew ask him where his shepherd clothes were. My husband replied, “The Sheriff confiscated them after that sheep incident.” Fortunately, the man laughed. Everyone’s attention then turned to the other end of the room where a large Christmas tree stood in one corner with life size statues of Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, and two kneeling shepherds standing beside it. Mary, Joseph, and the shepherds were arranged around baby Jesus in his manger. In front of the tree stood a harp and two music stands.

The daughter of our hostess got up and went over to the harp and started playing. She played two pieces, neither one familiar to me, and they both sounded beautiful. After she finished a women (dressed as a shepherd) got up and sang a hymn about Jesus, again unfamiliar to me, to a recording of a chorus singing the same song. Then a young man (dressed as a shepherd) got up, lit his candle and touched it to the candle of the person sitting next to him and that person lit the candle of the person next to her and in that way all the candles everyone held were lit. When all the candles were burning the young man started reading lines from the bible. He read the story that told of the prophecy of the coming of Jesus. When he finished another woman (dressed as an angel) got up and did an interpretive dance to a recording of another song about Jesus.

That is when I realized we had been invited to a Christmas Pageant, the kind of amateur production that you used to see in grade school or in smaller churches. I wondered what my husband was thinking about this and later he said 30% of his thoughts were on memories of this kind of thing from his childhood while the other 70% of his brain was thinking, “Kill me, kill me now.” Which was interesting, since 30% of my thoughts were focused on the thought, “What have I gotten the two of us into?,” while the other 70% of my brain was thinking, “Kill me, kill me now.”

As I sat there feeling caught and cynical about the whole thing I thought, why? Why am I so threatened by all this? These are just people who want to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ and the beginning of their religion. They are doing it in what I, in my cynical view of religion, think is an over-the-top sappy way but who am I to judge? I decided to relax and go with the flow.

After the young man’s reading, another older man got up and sang another song about Jesus, again not familiar to me, again to a recording of a chorus singing the same song. When he finished the young man stood up again and read the story of Jesus’ birth in Bethlehem and the arrival of the three kings. Right before he started reading three men in the audience got up and left the room only to return after the young man stopped talking to reenact the arrival of the three kings bearing gifts for the Christ child. They walked across the room and placed their gifts in front of the statue of baby Jesus in the manger and then left.

At this time the most enjoyable thing for me that evening happened. The hostess’ daughter played the harp again, along with her young son who played the violin. They played two pieces together, one being Angles We Have Heard On High, and the sound of the harp and violin blended together beautifully. Next, the boy played Away In The Manger, which was my favorite Christmas song when I was a child. After that, the young man got up again and finished his readings with the story of Herod’s search for the Christ child and Joseph and Mary’s flight to Egypt. Then the woman dressed as an angel did an interpretive dance about this story. The entertainment ended with the other woman singing another song I have never heard, which I think was called Emanuel. At the end she amused me by calling out, “Everyone join in,” and I was surprised when almost everyone did.

Finally, it was over and I was surprised to learn it wasn’t as painful as I thought it would be. In fact it was kind of sweet in all its awkwardness. I admired these people for being brave enough and comfortable enough to show how much they believed in their religion. Then everything got weird. Our hostess asked us to take turns standing up to tell everyone what we were blessed with and what we were giving back to Jesus to show that we were thankful that he gave it to us.

It started with a person about six seats away from me. He stood up with a lit candle and said how he was blessed and what he was giving back to Jesus in return. Then he handed the lit candle to the person sitting next to him and that person started talking. I was so freaked out by this charge from our hostess that I did not hear what people were saying until the man sitting two seats away from me started talking. He said he was blessed with a new life since he took Jesus into his heart 30 years before and he was giving this new life back to Jesus. He then passed the candle on to the woman sitting next to me. Crap, I’m next. What do I say? That I don’t want to play? That this is to weird for me? That I'll pass?

The woman next to me passed me the candle and in a trance I stood up and with my eyes focused only on the candle flame I heard myself say, “I give back the joy and wonder that Christmas brings to me.” Then I sat down and quickly passed the candle to my husband. He stood, said, “Peace on earth,” and sat down. The man always does better under pressure than me.

Now that I was no longer under pressure I sat and listened to the other people in the room speak. As I listened I got more and more uncomfortable with what I was hearing. More people giving their life to Jesus, people giving their souls to Jesus, one person gave his body, while another gave her grandchildren. These people were giving what they loved the most to Jesus; their own lives, their souls, their bodies, even other people. And their faces were glowing as they did it-it was damn creepy. At first I thought they were saying these things because they loved Jesus and what he represents. Then it hit me. These people didn’t love Jesus the way a child loves his or her father; they were in love with Jesus. They were passionate in their belief and passion has always scared me. It is the cause of most of the trouble in the world.

Friday, December 19, 2003

Feed The Birds

In my yard I have two bird feeders that I fill with black sunflower seeds and a birdbath that I keep heated in the winter. The is also a non-pear producing pear tree decorated with small berries like Christmas ornaments. This morning when I look out at the yard it was overflowing with bird life. I stood and watched in amazement.

There were two Flickers drinking from the bird bath, five Cedar Waxwings plucking berries from the pear tree, at least 20 sparrows on the ground eating sunflower seeds, a blackbird feeding at one of the bird feeders while two starlings fed at the other one. Also feeding in the tree were more starlings, more sparrows, two female flicker, six robins, and a number of House Finches. On the back wall sat two Blue Jays, heads cocked in examination of all that was going on. Clutching tightly to the branch of a large Cottonwood tree across the alley sat a very fat squirrel nervously watching everything. He is fat because my husband over feeds him and I think he is worried that the birds were going to eat all the sunflower seeds before he gets to them.

The birds were in constant motion moving from tree to feeders to birdbath and back. I have never seen anything like this before. It is like one of them found the food and he or she told another bird, who told another bird,who told another bird until the information spread to every bird in the area. I can hear a symphony of bird titters and cheeps through the closed kitchen window. I watch for as long as I can, knowing that they could be gone in an instant only to show up again later.

Thursday, December 18, 2003

Hurry Christmas, Hurry Fast

Christmas, Christmas time is near
Time for toys and time for cheer
We've been good, but we can't last
Hurry Christmas, hurry fast
Want a plane that loops the loop
Me, I want a hula hoop
We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don't be late.

Want a plane that loops the loop
I still want a hula hoop
We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don't be late.
We can hardly stand the wait
Please Christmas, don't be late.

The Chipmunk Song written by Ross Bagdasarian
Photo, Christmas Time, taken by my sister

Tuesday, December 16, 2003

Google Me

Last three Google searches that lead to Santiago Dreaming:
1. "Santiago" -check.
2. "How hard is it to walk the camino de santiago" -check.
3. "Clyde runs after her, and as he does a big cloud passes through the scene" -WTF?

Monday, December 15, 2003

Saddam Hussein's Capture

Why doesn't this make me feel better? I was surprised when I heard but did not feel anything would change because of it. This analysis in the New York Times explains why the news did not affect me very much. This mess is not going to end anytime soon.

Update: But then again maybe it will if Whiskey Bar is right.

Angels In America


An angel is a belief with wings and arms that can carry you.
-"Hannah Pitt" in Angels In America

I watched the second part of Angels In America last night and am still trying to absorb it, which is why I cannot seem to write anything about it. I plan on watching it again next month when HBO shows both parts in a marathon six hour presentation. If you would like to read a couple of reviews, each with a different take on what the movie is about, go here and to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The St. Louis Post review also has a link to a short summary of the plot.

Friday, December 12, 2003

I See The Moon

I see the moon
And the moon see me,
God bless the moon,
And God bless me.

Children's nursery rhyme, author unknown
Photo, Moon In Ice Water, taken by my sister

Thursday, December 11, 2003

To George W Bush


Look out how you use proud words.
When you let proud words go, it is not
easy to call them back.
They wear long boots, hard boots;
they walk off proud; they can't
hear you calling--
Look how you use proud words.
Carl Sandburg

Mr. President, it is time to stop fighting the whole world. Time to stop thinking only America knows what is right for the world. Time to stop being spiteful. Time to stop being judgmental. Time to stop thinking the prideful thought that only America knows what is best for the world.

Wednesday, December 10, 2003


What do you think? After seeing Blue Witch's new layout I decide to turn down the volume on my text. BW's page is a lot easier on the eyes and that got me thinking about my page. Mine (to me) was hard to read, so I've muted the color some and think it is now easier to look at.
(Eyeballs give a big sigh of relief)

Monday, December 08, 2003

Random Thoughts

I have been on a new diet, well, not a diet but I have made some changes in what I eat. I was tired of feeling listless and groggy in the morning so I decided to see if it had anything to do with what I was eating. For two weeks I ate nothing but meat (chicken, beef, fish), salads, and certain kinds of vegetables. No carbs, sugars, caffeine, or grains. After a week I woke up in the morning feeling awake and rested. I also notice I no longer felt like my mind was racing all the time. After the two weeks were up I slowly added other foods back in one at a time. I found I am intolerant of wheat (no more breads,pasta, or cereals) certain carbs like white potatoes, sweet potatoes (yams), and peas. I am also lactose intolerant but have a hard time not drinking milk in the winter because I love hot cocoa. I have tried replacement milks like lactose-free milk (yuck, taste like condensed milk) and soy milk(yuck, taste like yuck) in cereal but not in cocoa. So last week I tried hot cocoa made with soy milk. Not bad, it gave the cocoa a malted chocolate taste. I think if I add a little peppermint schnapps to it, it will be even better.

Last week I took Emma to the Vet for her wound check and to have her hips X-rayed to see if she has hip dysplasia This is something that may show up in Brittanies around the age of two and Emma is close enough to that age to have her hips checked. She is fine and the x-rays will be used as a base line if there are any problems in the future. Dogs have to be sedated in order for the X-rays to be taken and when we got back home she was still a little doped up. Her pupils looked like basketballs. After a nap she woke up hungry and I fed her but she was still hungry so I gave her more food. She ate that up and came to me begging for more with an urgently I had never see before. That's when I realize she was suffering from the drug munchies. My poor little dog was a stoner dude. Far out!

Last night I watched the first part of "Angels In America" , the film version of the Pulitzer Prize winning play. Magical. I have been wanting to see the play for ten years and I signed up for HBO (movie channel) this month just so I could see it. Part two is next Sunday.

At Amazon.com customers can write reviews on the book, movies, and CD's that Amazon sell. Sometimes I read the reviews and sometimes I don't. I was looking for a Christmas present for my niece last week and found a "....For Dummies" book about The Lord of the Rings called, The Origins of Tolkien's Middle-earth For Dummies. There is one review by misterb1020. I read it and thought, "Is this person nuts?", then I went and looked at all the reviews misterb1020 had written and saw that he was goofing on people. All of his reviews were tongue in cheek. In a review about a 5-disc DVD player he gave the product a bad review because he was disappointed by the fact that you could only watch one movie at a time. Three out of 63 people found his review helpful. That means 60 people were annoyed by his review so badly they took the time to click the not-helpful button. Good job misterb1020!

Added caminolinks to my Camino Links. Caminolinks is a site out of the UK that lists Camino pages that are in English. Has a good "tips for the trip" page, too.

I am thinking of getting rid of the Enetation comments because I am very happy with how Haloscan is doing. At first I was hesitant about doing this because I will lose all the comments that are there. Then I thought comments are really like conversations and not all conversations should or would be "saved" forever, even if they could be, so why should comments on blogs be saved forever? What do you think about it?

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Enlightenment Is A Gamble


Coincidences are spiritual puns
-G. K. Chesterton

Time to cash in your chips
Put your ideas and beliefs on the table
See who has the bigger hand
You or the mystery that pervades you

Time to scrape the mind's shit
Off your shoes
Undo the laces
That hold your prison together
And dangle your toes into emptiness

Once you've put everything
On the table
Once all your currency is gone
And your pockets are full of air
All you've got left to gamble with
Is yourself

Go ahead, climb up onto the velvet top
Of the highest stakes table
Place yourself as the bet
Look God in the eyes
And finally
For once in your life

Photographer unknown
Author unknown

Wednesday, December 03, 2003

Someone To Watch Over Me

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.
- Albert Einstein

Five years ago my husband and I were returning home from a trip to Alburquerque, New Mexico. It is a 10-hour drive so we planned to stop about half way and spend the night at Colorado Springs. We reached the Springs about 6:00 PM and stopped at a restaurant for dinner. This was in the summer so it was still light out and would stay that way for a couple of more hours. At dinner we talked about how we were only about four hours from home, how we still felt good, and how nice it would be to sleep in our own bed that night. That's when we decide we would just keep driving and not spend the night there. So, after dinner we got back in the car and started driving to Limon, Colorado, where we jumped onto I-70.

By the time we reached Limon it was dark and I (the driver) was more tired than I expected to be at that point but knowing I would be sleeping in my own bed that night kept me going. An hour later my husband fell asleep and I drove on with that disconnected, alone feeling I always have when I am driving at night. There is something about driving in the dark surrounded by a cocoon of steel that makes me feel isolated from the rest of the world. The only connection I had with the outside world was the radio. Since we were pretty much in the middle of nowhere radio stations were few and far between and the ones I could find would fade out after a bit.

It was now about 10:00 PM on a Sunday night and there were not many cars on the road. So, I'm traveling along, listening to the station drift in and out on the radio when I decide to find another station. I glance down at the radio and start pushing buttons. I did not realize how long I had my mind and eyes focused on the radio until I saw a blinking red light in the passenger side view mirror out of the corner of my eye, and then saw the red and white blinking lights streaking across the dashboard. Crap, I had a cop car behind me. The second I saw the light I looked up and out the front windshield. My car was heading off the highway at a 25-degree angle. The right front wheel was over the white line designating the edge of the road and about a quarter of the front of the car was in the breakdown lane. "Shitshitshitshitshit!" I could not believe it, I was driving off the highway with a cop car right behind me and I was doing it while speeding. I was in deep, deep, doo-doo.

At this point my mind kind of split in two. Part of it was freaking out, not believing this was happening, while the other part was calmly steering the car back to the highway. I can't explain how fear can coexist with utter calm. I just know that I did such a smooth job of getting the car back onto the highway that I did not wake up my husband. Once I was back on the highway I felt a great sense of relief, which only lasted about a second as I thought about the cop behind me.

I looked in the rear view mirror and saw- nothing. No cop car, no flashing lights, nothing. I looked in my side view mirror-nothing. I looked in the passenger side view mirror again-nothing. I looked behind me over my right shoulder-nothing. I looked over my left shoulder-nothing. I swivelled my head and looked all around me-nothing. No cop car, no other cars, and no lights on or off the highway -nothing.

Now my heart was pounding and I swore out loud, waking up my husband. He asked me what was wrong and I explained what had happened.
"Are you sure you didn't see the reflection from something else?"
"Look around, Honey, there is nothing out here."
He then asked why I did not wake him up sooner. I said I was a little busy at the time and besides, if he had been awake none of this would have happened because he would have been the one to notice I was driving off the highway. He reluctantly agreed with me.

Monday, December 01, 2003

For Antonio

I did not realize today is World AIDS Day until I read about it at Blue Witch's blog. A friend of mine, Antonio Lopez, died of AIDS in 1987 and today, while looking through old photos, I found a Polaroid that he took of me. I first met Antonio one summer when my mother and I spent a weekend at his place on Fire Island. We went to the tea dance the first afternoon we got there and the place was a sea of men. It was there that I heard the first whispered rumors about a disease that was killing gay men. Now, I think about all the men who were there that day and wonder who is still alive. I have not thought of Antonio in years but when I do I remember a sweet, talented man who loved his daughter very much. He was a good man who did not deserve to die so young.

BW also mentions the Aids Memorial Quilt. Antonio is represented by one of the squares in block 00070.

You are getting sleepy, very, very, sleepy

A very belated Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrated. I am surprised by how long it has been since I last blogged. I can only blame the trypthophan coursing through my veins from all the turkey I have eaten in the last five days. You see, I have eaten two Thanksgiving dinners (one on Thanksgiving Day and one yesterday) and I feel as stuffed as that noble bird when it is prepared for the oven. The second turkey was the one I ordered for the Thanksgiving dinner that my husband and I planned for ourselves before we were invited up to my father-in-law's house. Since it was a fresh turkey my sister pointed out that it would be silly to freeze it and I agreed so, two big turkey dinners in the space of three days. We had left over turkey for lunch and will have more leftover turkey for dinner tonight but before then I have to go take a nap. I hope to get back to you sometime this week.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

crimson the color

crimson is the color
of a dream:

beam from fierce ball of fire
pierces the frigid darkness of the universe....

distant planets with no name
flicker and blink red and blue
in deep vast space...

Lines from Evangelina Vigil-Pinon poem, crimson the color
Photo, Early Frost, taken by my sister

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Random Thoughts

We have had trouble staying connected to the Internet for the last couple of days. This morning I had to reconnect about every 30 seconds. This afternoon the phone company came out and ran the second phone line we ordered just for the Internet. They also replaced the old line for the phone and now everything is working fine.

Yesterday I was going to use for my quote, "You can pick your nose but you can't pick your family," but I thought it was a little tacky.

Blogger Forum says that Blogger realizes that they have been doing a bad job of communicating with their customers since they were bought by Google. They have hired Biz Stone to help rectify the problem and will be informing their users by e-mail some time in the future. So, why am I not reading this on Blogger's homepage?

My husband and I have reached the point where we have decided to disconnect the satellite TV dish again. The overload of programs about the 40th anniversary of JFK's assassination pushed me over the edge. In addition, if I never hear the names Michael Jackson, Kobe Bryant,or Scott Peterson again, I will live a content life. If I never watch a newscast slanted toward the government about our military presence in Iran again, I will, again, live a content life. When our contract expires at the end of January we will not renew it.

Monday, November 24, 2003

It's A Family Affair

Blood's thicker than mud
-Sly And The Family Stone

Thanksgiving is Thursday and my husband and I were planning on spending it at home this year but our plans have changed. My husband's stepmother called us out of the blue on Saturday to invite us to Thanksgiving dinner. We have not seen her in over two years and have not talked to her in about one. The reason we have not seen her in two years is because the last time we visited she became very angry with me for not saying hello to her the minute we got to the house. I apologized but she was in such a rage she was shaking and repeatedly told me what a disgusting horrible person I was. My father-in-law finally stepped in and told her to stop. My husband had been on the receiving end of her rage before but this was the last straw for him and we left 10 minutes later. After that she got in to the habit of calling us up on the phone when my father-in-law wasn't at home to harangue us about our (in her mind) hatred of her. To say we were surprised to be invited to dinner would be putting it mildly.

We now know one of the reasons for her past behavior is that she was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's. She is doing better in some ways now but there are times where she thinks what she believes to be true is the truth. So after telling her I would have to check to see if we had any other plans and saying I would call her back I hung up. Then my husband called and talked with his father and found out it was true, we were being invited for Thanksgiving. I was hesitant about going but my father-in-law is now in his early 80's and my husband realizes that the amount of time he has left to spend with his father is burning away fast. Of course he wants to see his father as much as possible so, I knew we had to go.

I then found out my sister's plan to fly to Virginia with her fiance to meet her future in-laws this Thanksgiving fell though due to work related stuff and that she would be staying in Denver; her fiance would still be going to see his family. My husband invited her to come with us and I was very happy when she said yes. So, the new plan is to drive to Denver Wednesday and spend the night at my sister's house and then on Thursday we drive to my father-in-laws house for Thanksgiving dinner.

The things we do for the people we love and the things the people who love us do for us.

Friday, November 21, 2003


Ain't life grand?
-Warren Beatty in Bonnie and Clyde

Things are getting back to normal here. Emma is doing better. Her wounds are healing amazingly well. My husband has been applying a product called Gordon's EMT Gel once a day and it sure looks like it is helping. The gel is supposed to promote rapid healing and judging by the way Emma's wounds look after just three days, I'd say it works.

I still have to follow her around the yard when she goes out for a potty break (just to make sure she does not lay down on the ground), which is something she does not like. Each time I take her out she semi-trots around the yard glancing back at me every now and then with a questioning look. Ahh, the life of a dog owner.

Oh, by the way, I think my flu shot worked. The glands in my neck are swollen, I have a nagging headache, and my muscles and joints feel achey.

Thursday, November 20, 2003


We saw leaves go to glory,
Then almost migratory
Go part way down the lane,
And then to end the story
Get beaten down and pasted
In one wild day of rain.

We heard " 'Tis Over" roaring.
A year of leaves was wasted.
Oh, we made a boast of storing,
Of saving and keeping,
But only by ignoring
The waste of moments sleeping,
The waste of pleasure weeping,
By denying and ignoring
The waste of nations warring.

Poem, November, written by Robert Frost.
Photo, Chapel And Fall Leaves, taken by my sister.

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

But I Don't Want To Be The Mommy

This is a day I would not want to live through again. This morning I was vacuuming the living room carpet when I noticed blood on one of the pads where the dogs sleep. Neither one was acting like anything was wrong but I know Emma is kind of tough so she could have cut a pad on one of her paws when my husband took her and Kate hunting earlier and not be showing any pain. I could see Emma lying on the ground in the front yard so I opened the front door and called her over to me. When she came she walked like she was hurting a little so I was pretty sure it was one of her pads. I picked up each paw and check the pads but could not find anything so I started running my hands over her body. When I felt around her chest I found an area that was wet and I leaned down to take a look, “OH, GOD!” There was a hole about the size of a silver dollar down near where her chest met her belly. I was so shocked by the image of that hole that it did not stick in my brain but kind of hit the surface and skittered off into the ether. I am still not sure what it really looked like. I was just afraid that what ever she ran into had punctured either a lung or her belly.

At this point the adrenaline kicked in and I was in controlled panic mode. My husband was out running errands and I wanted to get a hold of him but I did not know the number of the retail store that he had just left for minutes earlier. A neighbor knew the number so I hurried across the street, told her what had happened, got the number, called the store but was told my husband had just left. My neighbor asked me where he was headed next and I told her the post office so she ran to her car and went to find him. I went back to my house and called Emma’s vet. Her vet is in a town about an hour and a half away from us but three days a week she works at a satellite office in a town only 30 minutes away. Today was one of the days that she would be working in the closer town. When the Vet Tech answered I told her what was going on and she said the vet was on her way to the satellite office and would be there in about 45 minutes to an hour. I said we were on the way and that we would wait if we got there before her. Then went out to get a bed ready for Emma in the car.

While I was doing this my neighbor came back saying she could not find my husband. I asked her to look at Emma because I was not sure if I was over reacting or not. Maybe Emma wasn’t hurt as badly as I thought she was. Emma was walking around acting like nothing was wrong and even wagged her tail at my neighbor. My neighbor bent down to look at Emma’s chest but could not see anything so I reached under Emma’s front legs and lifted her into the air a bit. Now my neighbor could see the damage and she blurted out, “OH, GOD!” That was it- I wasn’t waiting any longer. I asked my neighbor to tell my husband where I had gone, put Emma in the car, and headed for the vet’s office.

During the drive I kept checking Emma out in the rear view mirror. I could tell she was uncomfortable because she would not lie down on the seat but sat up even though she was very sleepy. She would try to lie down but after about 30 seconds would sit up again. Once when I look at her I was shocked to see the damage to her body was greater than I thought. I could see a thick line of blood that started near her sternum and continued down to where I had seen the hole. I started crying, afraid she was seriously hurt and thinking the reason she wasn’t showing any pain was because she was in shock. I knew there was a vet in a town north of us and I wondered if I should go there instead of to Emma’s vet. This doctor was only about twenty minutes away. I was racing east and knew I would have to make a decision quickly because the turn to the town up north was only a few miles ahead of me. I didn’t know what to do. What if he wasn’t there? What if something happened to Emma before I got her to her own vet? I was panicking. What should I do? I was getting closer to the turn off. I had to make up my mind but I couldn’t decide. What, what should I do?

I decided to ask my mother. Maybe she could help me. So I asked out loud, “Mom, should turn up here?” I heard a voice in my head distinctly say, “No.” I drove past the turn off but about a mile later I was sure I had made the wrong decision. I asked my mother another question, “Should I keep going straight?’” I heard the word yes in my head but I was still worried about Emma and still not sure if I was making the right decision by driving on so I asked, “Is Emma going to be alright?” The answer came as quick and clear as the other two times, “Yes.” At that moment my anxiety level dropped from panic to worried and I was able to relax and just concentrate on my driving.

When I reached the vet’s office I was relieved to find the open sign on the door and gently carried Emma inside. I put her down and she started trotting around the office with her tail wagging. I lead her into the exam room and lifted her up to the table where the doctor examined her, “Well, that’s not too bad, we will just sew it up and she will be good as new.”

“It’s not bad? It looks bad to me.”

She ran her hand down Emma’s back and said, “No, for a dog this is like a cat scratch is to us. She only ripped the skin, which is why she not in a lot of pain. She hasn’t done any muscle damage and doesn’t have a puncture wound. I’ve seen dogs ripped open from here,” pointing to Emma’s left flank, “to here,” drawing a line with her finger across Emma’s body to her left shoulder, “and be OK. Call about two o’clock to make sure, but I’m sure you can come back later this afternoon and take her home.”

The sense of relief I felt was almost overwhelming and I lightly leaned my head on Emma’s body to keep from dropping to the floor. The drive home was a breeze.

My husband was the one who went to pick her up and I heard him drive into the garage as I was typing this so I stopped and hurried upstairs to see how Emma was doing. She was awake and sitting up looking out of the backseat window like a queen reviewing her troops. Kate was as excited to see her as I and, after I opened the car door, rushed over to Emma with her tail wagging. Emma was a still a little groggy from the anesthetic but could walk. When I saw where she was stitched up I was surprised by how small an area it covered. The row of seven stitches is only about three to four inches long but then I realized what I had looked at was a gapping open wound with the skin pulled apart and hanging loose. She is now sleeping off the affect of the anesthetic and we expect a quick and complete recovery.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Random Thoughts

I got a flu shot this morning. I hope it works.

I am reading The Mercury Thirteen:The Untold Story of Thirteen American Women And The Dream Of Space Flight. Back in the early sixties thirteen women were picked to train as astronauts and all did as well or better than the men. The program was aborted when Vice President Lyndon Johnson wrote across a report about their training, "Lets Stop This Now!" Which is why you have not heard of them until today.

If you look on the sidebar between the Haloscan and the Blogger button you will see a tiny circular button the represents Blogger Forum, a website for bloggers using Blogspot. You may want to check it out.

I still have not received a reply from Taco John's about the e-mail I sent them. I guess I can quit holding my breath.

Living in a small town is interesting. The first thing I learned when I moved here is not to badmouth anyone in town to anyone else from town. Since everyone seems to be related to everyone else by blood or marriage it only gets you in trouble. The town has what they call a "river walk," a mile long trail along side a creek that runs through town. It a great place to walk, jog, or take your dogs for a run.

The trail crosses private lands with the permission of the land owners and has been there since before my husband and I moved here nine years ago. One of the land owners maintains the trail from end to end and people enjoy and appreciate having it there. Now things have changed. The owner of one piece of land died and the land passed onto his son. Now, the son has a lot of animosity toward his family and the people of the town. In fact it is so bad, he dropped his family name and moved away years ago. His feelings have not changed about his family or the town and when he inherited the land he had no trespassing signs put up at either end of the trail where it cuts through his property. That did not keep people from using the trail so this week he had a barbed wire spite fence erected. I was dismayed when I saw it and then felt pity for the man. You have to feel mighty unloved and bitter to do something like that.

Monday, November 17, 2003

Isn't Romantic?

Love, love will keep us together
-The Captain and Tennille

In early Fall of the year we got married my husband and I went camping up in the Routt National Forest in northern Colorado. I remember how beautiful a day it was, with a clear sky of metallic baby blue, no clouds, and warm, but with a crispness to the air. After we reached the border of the park we drove for about another 45 minutes over winding dirt roads to a trail head, parked, and started walking.

After walking about six miles we found a camp site and set up our tent, spread out our sleeping bags, and then collected wood to start a fire. While my husband got the fire started I wandered a little away and stood watching him. As I stood there I glanced around at the pine trees, the sky, and the mountains in the distance. God, it was beautiful and I realized one of the reasons it was so beautiful is because it was so quiet. The only sounds were the wind and creaking of the branches as the wind slipped though the trees. Then it struck me that we were miles and miles away from any other living person right then.

That thought made me smile and I looked at my husband as he stood up from the fire and started walking over to him. When I reached him I leaned into his body, put my arms around him, gazed up at his face and said, "You know, we are so all alone here we can do anything we want."
He had put his arms around me when I leaned in to him and after I said this he looked confused for a second and then his face lit up and he said excitedly, "I know! Let's plot the overthrow of the government!"

Moral of Story: Never expect a man with a college degree in Engineering and a Masters degree in Physics to think romantically.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

The rent is due

I just finished writting the post below and now I am going back to bed. It is that time of month.

Friday, November 14, 2003

Home Of The Free Project

Went to Denver Thursday and got back late Friday afternoon. I went in to attended the opening of a new photo exhibit at the Colorado History Museum last night. The exhibit is made up of regional winners of the Home of the Free Project sponsored by Washington Mutual. Washington Mutual gave seventh and eighth graders from the Denver area digital cameras, put them together with local photojournalists and sent them out to shoot pictures of government workers. Each school that participated then picked 15 of their photos and sent them in for regional judging.

The winning photos are the ones on display at the museum. I was surprised by the quality of the photos taken by a group of 12 and 13 year olds. These kids have "a good eye" and you can tell they thought out their photos before shooting . Most of them were there for the opening and they were all very excited to see their photos up on the wall. They deserve to be proud.

These photos will be submitted for national judging alone with photos from students in New York City and Chicago. The one winning team from each city will then go to Washington DC for the opening of the national exhibit. A lot of excited talk from the kids about that.

The Rocky Mountain News had an article about the Denver project and Washington Mutual's website has posted all the winning photos.

(And, yes, my niece was one of the participants.)

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Oh Lord, Won't You Buy Me A Mercedes Benz

I listened to my Janis Joplin's Greatest Hits CD on Monday and now I can't get her singing this out of my head. Maybe if I write the lyrics down here the "song that will not stop playing in your head curse" will pass on to someone else. So, here goes:

Oh Lord,
won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
My friends all drive Porsches,
I must make amends.
Worked hard all my lifetime,
no help from my friends,
So Lord, won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?

Oh Lord,
won’t you buy me a color TV ?
Dialing For Dollars is trying to find me.
I wait for delivery
each day until three,
So oh Lord,
won’t you buy me a color TV ?

Oh Lord,
won’t you buy me a night on the town ?
I’m counting on you, Lord,
please don’t let me down.
Prove that you love me and buy the next round,
Oh Lord,
won’t you buy me a night on the town ?

Oh Lord,
won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?
My friends all drive Porsches,
I must make amends,
Worked hard all my lifetime,
no help from my friends,
So oh Lord,
won’t you buy me a Mercedes Benz ?

That’s it!

Ladies and Gentlemen, give it up for the late, great, Janis Joplin!

Monday, November 10, 2003

Testing out Haloscan comments on my blog now. I think I may switch over to it from Enetation because it is faster and people say not so problem prone. It's the one on the right.

Conversations With a Bottom Feeder

Comments are a problem some times. It is extremely frustrating when they don't work correctly. Now we have something more aggravating to deal with- Comment Spam. For those of you who have not heard of this it is exactly what you thing it is, unwanted advertisements showing up in your comments box. Over at Reading and Writing, Joseph Duemer has written about his battle with comment spam. You can find two of his entries about this scourge here and here.

Sunday, November 09, 2003

To Be Or Not To Be

I appear to have lost the will to blog
-Blue Witch
Next month will be the first anniversary of my blog and for a while there I was not sure if I this blog was going to make it until then. Like Blue Witch I seemed to have lost the will to write. If you look at a couple of my last post you will see that one is a photo of a cat’s butt and another is a list of the music CDs I own. If my blog was entertainment that’s sort of on the level of making shadow puppets on the wall with your hands in the beam of a flashlight- not that much effort needed to do either one. Well, shadow puppets are a lot harder to do when you think about it.

I started this blog in order to write about my walk across Spain. I see now it was something I had to do. Something that had to be written. Something that, in a lot of ways, was written without my help. It flowed out of me without effort sometimes. I would sit down, start typing, and watch as lines of words appeared across my monitor screen. The aftermath of the walk was a little harder but I still felt pushed to write it all down. But after that, I don’t know, the need wasn’t there anymore. At the same time I liked the process of writing and I did not want to stop but felt I had nothing more to say.

So, for the last few months I have been stumbling around trying to figure out just what I wanted to say. Trying to figure out why I am doing this. Trying to figure out if I even enjoy doing this. Well, I do enjoy doing this, which is the reason why I am doing it, but what is it I want to say?

Nothing profound, I just want to tell stories. The stories of my life. I realize that each time I write about something that has haunted me from my past, the act of writing it down seems to make the ghost vanish. I see that each time I pretend the ghost is not there it tries harder and harder to get my attention and the more energy I have to use to ignore. But if I turn around, “see” the ghost, and tell it, “Look, I know you are there and I’m not afraid of you anymore,” it leaves. The sense of relief after this is amazing. I feel lighter and not under so much pressure. The past can be very heavy if you try to carry it with you all the time. I’m going to try and drop as much of it as possible.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

Addicted To Music

My personal hobbies are reading, listening to music, and silence
-Edith Sitwell
I was looking through my CD collection this weekend and was surprised by the variety in the types of music that I listen to:

Individual Artists
Alanis Morissette
Bola Sete
Cherish The Ladies
Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen
Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions
Dave Brubeck
Duke Ellington
Edith Piaf
Ella Fizgerald
George Gershwin
Gloria Estafan
How's Bayou
Janis Joplin
Jimi Hendrix
John Mayer
Kid Creole & The Coconuts
Manhattan Transfer
Nat King Cole
Ottmar Liebert & Luna Negra
Pat Benatar
Peter Tosh
Rosemary Clooney
Sarah Vaughan
Sly & The Family Stone
The Brian Setzer Orchestra
The Stray Cats

A Cellarful Of Motown
Atlantic Soul Classics
Celtic Music For Flute & Whistle
Disco Party
50's Rock & Roll
Great Ladies of Jazz
Jazz For A Rainy Afternoon
Jazz For The Quiet Times
Latin American Folklore Favorites
Melting Pot:Global Sounds From ARC Music
New Wave
1960's R&B Classics
Priceless Jazz Collection Sampler
70 Ounces Of Rock & Gold
Snoopy's Jazz Classiks On Toys
The Blue Note Jazz Profile Series
The Fabulous Swing Collection

Boys On The Side
Cooley High
Corrina, Corrina
Eve's Bayou
Kissing Jessica Stein
The Mambo Kings

What does this list tell me? First, I do not have enough Reggae (only one- Peter Tosh). Second, that I have just the right number of Country (BR4-59). Third, you only need one Enya. And, last, that I have been buying mostly collections and soundtracks the last couple of years.

Now this isn't my total music collection, I have cassettes and records too. I play the CD's because I can put six CD's in my CD player and then listen to uninterrupted music for hours. I usually don't listen to one album at a time. I'd much rather put the CD's into the player, hit random play, and let the player bounce from CD to CD and track to track. This ability is why I have been buying collections and soundtracks. I like knowing that what I am going to be listening to next may be totally different than what was just playing.

Monday, November 03, 2003

Next to a circus there ain't nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit
-Kin Hubbard

Random Thoughts

I saw Boy George on VH1’s series about the 80’s last week. Does anyone else think that he is channeling Jackie Coogan as Uncle Fester on the old TV show ‘The Adams Family'?

The odds of a person getting hit by lightning once in the same year are 1 in 280,000. During the making of Mel Gibson’s movie, ‘The Passion of Christ,’ two people were hit by lightning. The guy playing Jesus once and the assistant director twice. What are the odds of that happening? I’m sure the increase is exponential and does not simply double with each strike. So, would that put the odds in the millions or billions? If you were old Mel would you take this as some sort of sign that God is not happy with what you are doing?

Halloween is over which means the retail stores will have people removing the Halloween product while other employees follow behind replacing it with the Christmas stuff before the shelves have a chance to cool off. Some stores have had Christmas goods out since the beginning of September. It used to be, the Christmas shopping season did not start until the day after Thanksgiving. Not only are the stores rushing Christmas some people also push the season by putting up Christmas trees in mid-November, So, by the time Christmas gets here they are already sick of it and have the tree out on the curb for trash pickup the day after. By New Year’s Eve there is not a trace of Christmas anywhere. Me, they can push Christmas all they want, I know the season does not start until after Santa shows up at the end of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I will start my Christmas shopping then. I will be putting up my tree on Christmas Eve like I always do and it will stay up until after “Little Christmas” on January the sixth. You can push the season but you can’t push me.

Friday, October 31, 2003

Come with me
All Hallow's night
We'll frighten everyone in sight...


Happy Halloween Everyone

Note: No cats were injured in the making of this costume

Thursday, October 30, 2003

...and things that go bump in the night

of ghoulies and ghosties

Cannot let Halloween pass with out at least one true ghost story.

Years ago my mother and I took a scenic drive through New England. One stop was the village of Concord in Massachusetts. We liked Concord so much we stayed three nights and two day at the historic Concord Inn. The first night we slept there I woke up in the middle of the night wondering why my mother was sitting at the foot of my bed. I remember what a struggle it was for me to wake up. I felt like I was drowning in sleep and fighting my way back up to consciousness. When I finally awoke enough to look at the end of my bed I could see no one but I had the distinct feeling that someone was sitting there. I was confused and looked over to my mother’s bed expecting it to be empty and was surprised to see her form bundled up in the bedding. The second I realized she was still in her bed, whatever was sitting at the end of my bed disappeared. The next morning I said nothing to my mother because I did not want to frighten her.

The next night I again woke up but this time because I had the feeling someone was standing at the head of my bed and staring down at me. Again I had to struggle to wake up and as I did I could feel whomever standing there turn and walk away from the bed and into the bathroom. When I was fully awake I looked over at my mother’s bed and saw that she was asleep in it. I then got up to check to see if anyone was in the bathroom but, I can’t explain this, when I got closer to the bathroom I knew no one was in there so I turned and walked across the room to the door to the hallway. As I passed my mother’s bed I woke her up and she asked me what I was doing. I said checking to see that the room door was locked. It was and I went back to bed and slept though the rest of the night.

The next day at lunch I told my mother that I thought our room was haunted and she surprised me by saying she knew. How? Because she woke up that first night and saw something sitting on the end of my bed. Why didn’t she tell me? Because she did not want to frighten me. Her instincts were right, after hearing this I was very, very frighten. The whole thing was creeping me out. We had eaten dinner at the hotel dining room the last two nights and had become friendly with our server so we decided to ask her if the hotel was known to be haunted the next time we saw her.

When we got back to the hotel around four in the afternoon, I looked into the dining room on my way up to my room and saw our server setting up the room for dinner. I went over to her and, after a little small talk, asked her if the hotel was haunted. She hesitated and then said yes, the daughter of the man who built the hotel supposedly haunted the bridal suite.
“Where is the bridal suite?”
"Right above your room."
I looked at her stunned and say, “Well, she’s dropping down to visit me,”
I told her what was happening and then went up to my room to get ready for dinner.

By the time we returned to the dining room the story of my encounter with the hotel ghost had spread to the other dinners and I was asked many questions about what I had seen. I was hesitant to talk about it because the more I talked about it the more anxious I got. By the time I went to bed that night I was a wreck and lay in bed silently asking the ghost not to visit me that night because she was scaring the bejesus out of me. She must have been listening because she did not visit and I slept through the night.

Monday, October 27, 2003


I wonder if other dogs think poodles are members of a weird religious cult
-Rita Rudner

And They Call It Puppy Love

I’ve been watching The Ellen Degeneres Show week day mornings. Well, recording it and watching it later. I hate to sit through commercials anymore. I watch mostly because I love her monologues. Listening to her is like having a friend invite you for a drive around the block in their car. You take off and the next thing you know you are driving down a street you’ve never been on before, making turns onto other roads from a direction you never expected, and, seemingly, meandering around with no direction. Right when you think you are lost, you pull up in front of your own house, delighted with the ride you have just taken.

Anyway, in the first weeks of the show she talked about her new puppy and started a contest to give the puppy a name. A week later she had a list of the top five names suggested by her audience. On the list was the name Lucy. When I heard that I groaned. The next step was for the audience to pick either this name or one of the other four names on the list. When the wining name, Lucy, was announced I started yelling at the television, “NO, NO, NOT THAT ONE, YOU FOOLS!”

Ok, lets talk about dog names. The first mistake humans make is using a Baby Names book to find names for their dogs. Baby Names books list names for babies, what they mean, and where they came from. For instance, under Lucy in a Baby Names book it says Lucy means “bringer of light.” How sweet, not a bad name for a baby. But that is the meaning if you are naming a human baby. If you are naming a puppy you should use a Puppy Names book because human names have a different meaning in dog world. In a Puppy Names book, Lucy means something like (how can I put this nicely) “airhead, duffus, goofball,” take your pick. Every dog named Lucy that I have ever met has been all of the above.

Lucys are sweet but they chew everything they can get their paws on. Lucy’s are balls of way to much energy. Lucy’s cannot walk up the stairs without tripping. Lucy’s never listen to you. Lucy’s think you are just playing when you scold them. If you let a Lucy off leash they will take off running until they are out of sight. Lucy’s are everything a puppy should be but the problem is they never out grow being puppies.

My friend has a dog he named Lucy who was suppose to be a bird hunting dog; a dog that finds the bird and then points it, keeping the bird frozen until the hunter gets there to shoot it. This Lucy would find the bird, point it for a couple of seconds the pounce because she like to watch the bird fly away.

I have another friend with a dog named Lucy who, when he took her on a run, leaped out of the truck and made a made dash across a field and disappeared. Three days later my friend got a call from a man in Denver (180 miles away) saying he had Lucy. She didn’t run all the way to Denver, she only ran about 40 miles before she caught a ride.

Other Lucys I have met have been just as big of a pain, in a loving way, as the others. So, when we got our second dog I knew enough not to name her Lucy. Instead I named her Emma. If you look in a Baby Names book it says Emma means “healer of the universe.” If you look in a Puppy Names book it says, “See Lucy.”

Emma is the sort of dog that if she had been our first dog we would never have got another one. When we brought her home we did not know we were getting the devil dog from hell. The first thing we found out was if you put your hand anywhere near her it was like putting your hand in a box of snapping turtles. After one week I saw the inside of Emma’s mouth more times that I had ever seen the inside of our dog Kate’s mouth in seven years. The second thing we found out was any time you put her in her kennel she turned into the “Taz,” the cartoon Tasmanian devil. She would race around bouncing off the walls of the kennel making it knock and rock. If you told her to stop and be quiet she would just bark at you, “You’re not the boss of me!” You’re not the boss of me!”

That puppy had a mind of her own. One thing we tried to teach her was she had her own bowl of dog food and Kate had her own bowl too. Each was to eat out of her own bowl only. Emma liked to eat out of Kate’s bowl, even after she learned she was not supposed to do this. One day I caught her eating out of Kate’s bowl and she took off running though the house. She ran out of the kitchen, into the bedroom, through the living/dining area, and back into the kitchen on her way to the basement. As she passed Kate’s bowl (without seeming to slow down) she grabbed another mouth full of food and then raced down the steps to the basement. This was the kind of thing that would make me want to beat her but at the same time want to laugh.

One day I told her to stop doing something and she stood there looking me straight in the eye barking, “You’re not the boss of me!” So I grabbed her, squatted over her and held her down on the ground. She struggled to get up but I said no. She barked at me to let her up but I said no. She struggled some more but I said no. She got angry and barked furiously at me to let her up. I quietly said no. This went on for 15 minutes and then she stopped moving and started to cry. I let her up and she trotted ten steps away from me and turned facing me as she sat down. She sat there looking at me with a baleful expression on her face and then got up and came over to me and sat between my legs, not looking at me. I petted her and quietly talked to her and told her she was a good dog. She leaned against me and then looked up and me and licked my face. I cuddled her some more and after a bit she went into her kennel and went to sleep.

I would like to say after this things got better but they didn’t change that much. Emma still tried to be in charge. Emma still did things that made me want to beat her and at the same time want to laugh. But now that she is older, 22 months, she seems to be out growing the Lucy behavior. She is a loving, funny animal who I would not trade for any other dog.

Emma at one year old on a cold December day

Wednesday, October 22, 2003


It is quality rather than quantity that matters
Seneca (5 BC - 65 AD),

Zen and the art of clothes shopping

"Bud" Neusteter died this week. His family owned Neusteter’s clothing store in Denver on the corner of 16th and Stout back when downtown Denver was the place to shop. I remember walking through the big brass revolving door at the entrance with my mother and past the sales clerks (always dressed in black) to the elevators at the back of the stores. While waiting for the elevator to arrive I would examine the murals depicting fashionable women painted on the walls. The place was elegant and every time I went in I knew I was entering a “grownup store.” No messing around, these people where serious about what went on in there. The grownup business of buying and selling quality clothing.

My mother always shopped there, even when we were not doing well money-wise, which was most of the time. My mother was smart and always said that if you buy cheap you pay more in the long run because cheap never lasted long. She would hit all the large department stores, Neusteter’s, May D&F, I Magnin’s, The Denver Dry, on the days they were having sales. She was definitely into the Zen of shopping. She never went with the idea that she had to buy something. She was willing to wait if what she wanted wasn’t at a price she was willing to pay. If the article of clothing wasn’t there the next time she came in, well then, she wasn’t meant to be the one to buy it.

My mother had the knack of finding the greatest things on sale. I don’t care how many women had been through the racks or piles of clothes first; she could walk in, stick her hand somewhere in the pile or rack of clothes and find something that everyone else missed. A designer jacket, originally $200 for $21.95, a hand beaded blouse for $7.50. It was like she was being rewarded for her Zen like philosophy of shopping. People would marvel at the bargains she could find. “Something is not a bargain just because it’s cheap,” she would say, “it is only a bargain if the quality is good.” That is why she could shop at Neusteter’s one day and Goodwill the next. If you are willing to look, you can find quality things at a good price anywhere.

Monday, October 20, 2003


Made a couple of changes to the sidebar. I removed Iraq Today because they are making it "subscription only" on the stories I seem to want to read. I've added a new blog, Fly in the Honey. A blog that Rune, at Queen of Cups, mentioned on her site. Great blog, well written, check it out. And finally, I've added a new section called, "Just For Fun," a list of sites I visit for (what else?) fun.

Sunday, October 19, 2003


Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are
Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

"There were siven Dimmycrats in Hinsdale County...ya et five of them..."

We have a guest blogger today, my 13 year old niece. She doesn't know she is blogging today but has been sending me e-mails all weekend and I would like to share them with you. It seems she has just found out about that Colorado anti-hero Alfred E. Packer and his deeds. She was so inspired by this story that she has been writing songs about it all weekend. Here are the e-mails she sent me.

First e-mail: Subject- It's me.

This is a true story. It happened in the 1800's anyway I wrote the lyrics myself! Tell me if you like it!

The Packer Bunch (to the tune of Brady bunch)

Here's the story of a guy named Packer

Who wanted to go up to Breckenridge

He brought along some men who were miners too

In hopes of finding gold

Here’s the story of their long journey

And how they got to an Indian camp

Then they decided to brave a blizzard

Of snow and ice and cold

Eventually they all got hungry

And there was only so much food to eat

So Packer killed them all and ate them up

And that’s the way that they became the Packer Bunch!

The end

Second e-mail:Subject-Song 2

The Trial

Packer: Please don't hang me, I'm not a bad man
Living with myself is hard to stand
It just was hard to live without food
and Humphries leg looked mighty good
I didn't kill them I'm not bad
It was Bell and now he's dead
I actually killed Bell, yes it's true
He was coming at me so I shot him good
Hit him right square in the head (taps head)
And wouldn't you know it now he's dead.

Jury: He doens't seem like such a bad guy
Packer: I'm not
Procecusion(interviening with new tune): He is!, he killed his fellow men
Are you going to let him kill again
Make sure he pays for murder
Jury(talking): Come to think of it, Youre right
Proc.: I'm right?
Jury: You're right
(Song picks up again to original tune)Judge our sentence is death penalty
We can not let this man run free
He could kill and eat our kids
Judge( speaking now): What do you say to that Packer
Packer: Aww ****!
Judge: You shall be hanged till your Dead! Dead! Dead!

Third e-mail: Subject-Songs part 3

Super Duper De do

Humphries: I’m hungry

Swan: I’m cold

Miller: I can’t believe we went through all this just to get some gold

(beat picks up)Packer: Don’t worry Don’t frown

Turn that sad face upside down

I’ll climb on top of the mountain

And everything ‘ll be Super Duper Dee do.

Miners: He’ll climb to the top of that hill

Packer: I’ll see how close we are to the next town

Miners(except swan who’s not moving) He’ll see how close we are

Packer: Now how is that for everybody

Humphries: That’s great

Noon: That’s good

Miller: That’s super

Miners: Super duper Dee Do

(Humphries nudges Swan beat continues awkwardly)

Noon: Swan this is you line. Swan?

(music comes to an abrupt halt)

Noon: He’s dead.

Packer: Well um okay lets wrap up this song and I’ll be on my way to the hill. Bell you can fill in for Swan. We were on Super Duper Dee Do. (music starts up again)

Bell: That’s sure a great solution. It’s Super Duper Dee do!

Miners: Super Duper Dee do!

Packer (not singing): Now don’t go eating each other while I’m gone. Ya hear?

(every one laughs even though it’s not meant as a joke)

Thank You

Packer: Snow is falling steadily

Miners: We can’t find a warm place to sleep

Chief Ouray (talking): You sleep here.

Humphries: Thank (barbershop quartet)

Noon: Thank

Miller: Thank

All miners: You (beat picks up)

Packer :( spirit fingers) we just want to thank you

Bell: For the hospitality

Miners: Dum dum dum

Packer: We just want to thank you

Noon: For letting us stay

Miners: Dum Dum Dum

Packer: We just want to thank you

Humphries: For every thing

Miners: Woo

Packer: Anyway we’d just like to say

Thank you, thank you every day.

Chief Ouray: You stop sing or I have squaw slit throats.

Packer: Geez some ones a negative Nancy!

To my niece:
Thank you, sweetie, you are very talented.

Saturday, October 18, 2003


The wise man is he who knows the relative value of things
William Ralph Inge

Gotta Go, Gotta Go, Gotta Go, Go, Go

I just got back from the town 36 miles to the south of me. That’s 72 miles roundtrip.

(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)

I just drove there yesterday. Seventy-two miles, roundtrip.

(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)

I told my husband I was going because I forgot to pick up a few things when I was there yesterday, which is true, but there was nothing that I need right away. I just wanted to drive. Just needed to get in my car and drive.

(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)

Get in my car and drive that straight black-ribbon of highway and watch as it rolls under my car and spools out behind me. Drive and watch the grain elevators shrink in my rear view mirror as I race away from them. Drive and watch as a translucent half moon rushes to keep up with me. Drive under a cloudless blue sky that hovers over me like a large inverted cup.

(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)

As I drive I pass any moving vehicle that is traveling less that five miles an hour over the speed limit.
Crap, I am behind a minivan in the No Passing Zone. I watch as the solid yellow line on my side of the road ends and is replaced by the dash-dash-dash yellow line that means it is safe to pass.

(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)


I drive into the Wal-Mart parking lot. Hurry in. Shop quickly. Hurry out. Drive over to Mickey D’s. Wolf down a cheeseburger, fries, and a Coke.

(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)


(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)


(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)


Because I’ve got those little town blues.

(Gotta, go, gotta go, gotta, go, go, go)

Because I am tired of being surrounded by small town people who know the price of everything but the value of nothing.

On the drive home I pass only once, a slow moving farm truck.

Thursday, October 16, 2003


Vanity is the quicksand of reason
George Sands
Just finished catching up on the blogs I read. At Rashunda's site she had this link, Awful Plastic Surgery, and I hate to admit I spent a half hour there. The shame, the shame.

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

Stories Of My Birth

He not busy being born is busy dying
-Bob Dylan

My story. I was born dying. I came into this world weighing three pounds- two ounces and then dropped down to two pounds-eleven ounces. I was starving to death. My mother’s placenta was rotting away so I had not been getting enough nourishment in the womb. I was put into an incubator and stayed there for the next three-weeks, trying to decide if I wanted to stay in this world or not.

My mother’s story. She was back in her hospital room after giving birth to me when one of the nurses who helped in the delivery came in and while patting her hand, said, “ It’s ok, Mrs. Shannon, I baptized the baby for you.” My mother thought that was a strange thing for her to do but did not think anything more about it. Then a few minutes later the other nurse who had helped with the delivery came in, took my mother’s hand, and said, “It’s ok, Mrs. Shannon, I baptized the baby for you.” Now my mother was a little concerned, but she was still a little groggy after giving birth so what the nurse had said did not upset her too much. Next, her doctor came in and took her hand saying, “It’s ok, Jeannie, I did an emergency baptism on the baby.” At that point my mother realized something was wrong. She was 23 years old.

My father’s story. My father was in the Navy on a ship floating off the coast of Korea when he got a message that his wife had given birth to a baby girl who weighed three pounds-two ounces. My father went down to the ship’s galley and asked the cook to show him a three pound ham because he want to see how big a three pound baby would be. He was 25 years old.

These stories about my birth always make me smile. I don’t know why.

Tuesday, October 14, 2003

Opportunities are usually disguised as hard work, so most people don't recognize them
Ann Landers
Here is an e-mail I sent this morning:

"I am writing to you because I have a question. I was in Denver last weekend and stopped at the new Taco John’s on 58 Ave. near 1-25 for lunch. I have not been in a Taco John’s for years and did not expect too much. The first thing I noticed was how clean the building was. The second thing I noticed was that the prices were higher than at Taco Bell. Then I ordered two tacos and found them to be tastier than Taco Bell’s tacos. At that point I did not mind the higher price because the service was excellent. I decided to eat at Taco John’s instead of Taco Bell from now on.

Yesterday I was in _____ and suggested to my husband that we stop for lunch at the new Taco John’s on Highway ____and he agreed. We were driving down Highway ___ and could see Taco John’s when we got about a city block away. We turned into the parking lot, which had only two vehicles parked in it, parked, got out, and went inside. The first thing I noticed was there was no one behind the counter. The second thing I notice was the older couple standing in front of the counter looking at the menu. The third thing I noticed was that I could hear a couple of employees taking in the rear and when I looked back there I could see the lower half of one employee beyond the food assembling equipment. We waited for a couple of minutes for someone to come to the counter but nothing happened. Standing there I remembered when we came down the street to the restaurant I did not see any one turn into the parking lot and when we got to the parking lot no one was getting out of any of the vehicles to go inside. So I figured the couple in front of us had been there a few minutes before we got there. Where the heck were the employees? I got angry and loudly asked, “Can we get some service up here?” I was looking at the employee who’s lower body I could see as I said this and I did not see him react to what I said, he and whoever he was talking to were too deeply involved in there conversation to hear me. My husband was annoyed by this and said we should just leave, so we did, going across the street to the McDonalds.

I don’t understand what happened at the Taco John’s in _____. I live in the area and I know this is a brand new restaurant. I also know there is a Wendy’s, a Subway, and a McDonalds across the street and a Dairy Queen on the other side of a gas station next to your building. I know the _____ restaurant is not doing that great, the parking lot was almost empty while Wendy’s and McDonalds were full. I know that the Taco John’s is on the “wrong “ side of the street from the Interstate. By which I mean, when you come off the highway Taco John’s is on the left side of the street. You have to pass by the McDonalds and the Wendy’s on the right to get to Taco John’s. These are all fast food restaurants like Taco John’s and the last thing you want to happen is for people to walk out of the restaurant mad enough to say they are never coming back. This was my husband’s plan but I decide to write to you instead. All because of that great lunch I had in Denver.

All fast food restaurants are the same. I mean you serve fast food. The only thing you can do to distinguish your restaurant from the others is have better service. People are not going to see the food is also better until they try it and if the service is bad they are never going to try the food. So, my question is, which restaurant are you? If it the one in Denver then I will tell other people how good Taco John’s is and how I am going to eat there from now on. If it is the _____ restaurant then I am never going to eat in your restaurants again and will tell people why.


I am tired of bad customer service in this country. Part of the problem is employees who think they are doing the people they work for a favor by being there at all. What happened to the concept of doing a job well just because you are suppose to do a job that way? People seem to think that the amount of effort they put into a job is related to how much they are being paid. A minimum wage job deserves minimum effort. What happened to pride in your work? What happened to taking pride in yourself for a job well done?

Bad customer service is not just the fault of the employees, it can also be the fault of the management. I am waiting to see how Taco John's responds to my letter.

Monday, October 13, 2003

Yeaaa, it rained. :)
But just enough to clear the air and settle the dust. :(
Good morning, everyone. Still windy here and the temp is in the 40's (F). The weather service is predicting rain today. Something we need badly as we are at "near drought conditions." I was talking to a friend last week and he said that right now we need a lot of rain because the sub-moisture is gone. Which means when you dig into the soil you do not hit moist earth under the dry top. He had been digging four foot deep post holes and the soil was powdery dry to the bottom. Please rain, please rain, please rain.

Friday, October 10, 2003

Got to write fast

Big, big, wind + old, old telephone lines = sporadic internet connection.
So I will just steal something from Easy Bake Coven's blog to keep you amused.
A link to Spiders on drugs.

Thursday, October 09, 2003

We have a couple of surveys going on in Blogland today. One at Blue Witch's site to find out what the most common star signs of bloggers are and whether or not bloggers keep diaries. Over at Coopblog, Elsie is doing a quick sex survey. Be brave- go do it. Scroll down a bit on both sites to find the surveys.
Left Over Camino Story

A one point, during a windy/rainy day in the Pyrenees, I was walking up a steep slope to where J an B were waiting for me. J was watching me with the kind of a smile on his face that a parent gives to his child when she is doing something that is sweet in its stupidity. As I walked up the slope the wind whipped my rain poncho around and in between my legs, making it difficult to walk. When I finally stumbled to the top of the slope J reached down and tied together the two ends of the poncho hanging down on the left side of my body. Then he walked around to the other side of me and reached down to tie those two ends together, too. When he finished I just stood there staring at him.

When I was four my father took a job down in South America. He flew down first and then a little later my mother flew down with my brother, sisters, and I. At that time flying was still a special way to travel and I remember wearing one of my best dresses, white dress socks, and a shiny pair of Mary Janes. I also remember how the horsehair stuffing in the seat poked through the fabric causing the back of my stretched out legs to itch. Each row of the aircraft was made up of four seats, two on each side of the aisle. I was in an aisle seat next to a very large man wearing a suit and tie. Who knows how big he really was since all grown-ups looked like giants to me at that age.

This was when airlines still served their meals on real china and gave everyone silverware and cloth napkins. My tray included a drinking glass of milk and the man sitting next to me got a cup of coffee. I started eating my food as he was pouring cream into his coffee from a small pitcher. He then picked up two sugar packs from his tray, looked down at me, and asked if I wanted to try something delicious. I nodded yes and he tore open the sugar packets, poured them into my glass, picked up his spoon and stirred the sugar into my milk. Then he picked up my glass and handed it to me. I took a sip.

My taste buds reacted like a pinball machine that had just rung up enough points for an extra game, “Ding!, Ding!, Ding!, Ding!.” This was the most wonderful thing I had ever tasted. It was better that soda pop. It was better than ice cream. How did he think to put sugar in milk? He must be the smartest man in the world. I stared up at him in awe, grateful he had shared this secret with me. I felt the same thing as I stood there looking at J after he tied the ends of my poncho together.

Wednesday, October 08, 2003


Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business
- Tom Robbins
Welcome to the Hotel California

Arnold won! What were they thinking? Good thing he can never be president of the country. If I were Bush, I'd start worrying. I think this is a sign that the two party system in this country is dying. Right now both parties are just two sides of the same coin. Their first loyalty is to their own parties. How many times have I heard Bush referred to as "the Republican President," as if he only represents his political party and not our country. We look like fools to the rest of the world already, and Arnold wining doesn't help.

Tuesday, October 07, 2003


Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures
-Henry Ward Beecher
I did my morning walk through the fog. Fog is rare here, we get it maybe three times a year. This morning I noticed for the first time that when it gets foggy like this, it's like walking in a Turner painting. Then I realized that Turner painted what he saw and was not being creative when he did his landscapes with that haze over everything. Since I grew up in an area where the humidity never got above 30%, everything was always in sharp focus. Turner's work had a dream like quality for me, but this morning I could see what Turner saw and it was beautiful.
Finally rested enough to feel like writing something today. Those short trips to Denver always exhaust me. The turn around is too quick. The emotional roller coaster wasn't easy either. Arie's funeral was bittersweet. I reconnected with people I haven't seen in years while never forgetting the reason we were all there. The funeral was a celebration of Arie's life which meant lots of loving stories about Arie, singing, and laughter. It was long, three hours, but that's what happens when a bunch of politicians are allowed to get up in front of people and talk. Since it was Arie they were talking about, some just could not be brief. A lot of love in that church. My sister and I did very well until the casket rolled by us at the end then we lost it and cried. Arie will be missed.

Thursday, October 02, 2003

I am leaving for Denver this afternoon. Arie Taylor's funeral is tomorrow morning. I won't be writing anything more until next Monday. Have a good weekend everyone.
My horoscope today.
Others can run their lives on lies if that's what makes them happy. Honesty works for you. You might make a name for yourself by being so open in such a secretive environment. You might also make a nuisance of yourself by constantly breaking some kind of social contract. And if a candid observation ruins your credibility, perhaps it's best that you're no longer involved. You work so well alone, anyway. Instead of holding your breath for an apology, just forget that anybody owes you one.
- By Astrology.com

I love the synchronitic quality of my life. :)

Wednesday, October 01, 2003


Children begin by loving their parents; as they grow older they judge them; sometimes they forgive them
-Oscar Wilde
What we know about our parents is based on the stories they have told us or the stories we have heard about them. The week before last, when I got back from Denver, there was a large manila envelope waiting for me. It was addressed to my father. Why am I getting mail addressed to a man dead 30 years? Then I looked at the return address and see that it was from National Personnel Records Center in St. Louis, Missouri. Last April I had written them asking for copies of all of my father’s military records, so long ago I had forgotten about it. Finally, they are here.

I sent away for this information because I realized I actually know very little about my father and almost nothing about his time in the Navy. With my mother’s passing there is no one left who could tell me anything about him. I sent away for these records thinking maybe the Navy could.

I sat down and pulled out a stack of about 100 pages of copies and started going through them. The first page was a copy of his Notice of Separation from the Navy at the end of WWII. It said that he entered the Navy in 1942 (at the age of 16) but he had lied about his date of birth to get in- something I already knew. Two things surprise me, first, that he only finished the 8th grade and, second, that he was an apprentice cobbler before he enlisted. I flip through more pages and find another surprise; my father worked for his father, my grandfather, for a year before he enlisted. I had been told my grandfather had left his family and disappeared when my father was very young.

As I flip through the pages I keep seeing my father’s signature and this fascinates me. For some reason this makes him seem more real than I every thought of him before. Then I find a copy of his fingerprints and he seems even more real, a person now, not just a memory. I keep flipping. Another big surprise, a form that shows my father living at the same address as my grandfather and grandmother. So, not only did my father work for his father, but also my grandparents were still living together when my father went into the Navy. Why did my grandmother lie about this?

I see these pages are not in any logical order. I find separation forms jumping back and forth in time. Reenlistment forms doing the same thing. A Descriptive List that show at age 22 he was 5ft 10 inches tall and then one at age 20 saying he was 5ft 8 inches tall. Leave records, rating marks records, transfer records, summary of service records, and then one form stops me dead. A Report of Beneficiaries dated 1946 showing my father as being married. I thought he and my mother got married in 1948. Then I look at the name- it is not my mother’s. What? He was married before my mother? I stop reading and call my sister up and tell her what I have in front of me, and what I have just learned. We both have the same question.

Our father walked out on us for good when I was 13 years old. We only saw him once after that when I was 16. He stayed for a day bringing my sisters and I tiny gold miraculous metals blessed by the Pope, my brother a large portable short-wave radio, and my mother a check for $200 that bounced higher than a Super Ball when she tried to cash it. After that we never saw him again. At this point my mother seriously started to look for him to get the child support he owed for his five children. She had the help of the Colorado Governor’s Office and five years later found him. When the courts told him he owed child support he denied having any children or being married to my mother. Then he changed his story and said he was the father of my two younger sisters but not the father of my brother, my older sister, or me (very strange since my sister and I were born in Naval Hospitals and our brother was born in the hospital our father was born in), he still insisted he was never married to my mother. The reason for these bizarre statements became clear when my mother found out my father had remarried. The only thing is, he never divorced my mother. My grandmother always insisted my father was never married to my mother and now my sister and I wonder if she was telling the truth when she said this because she knew my father had been married before, and she knew he never divorced what we now know was his first wife.

My sister ask me if there is anything about our mother in all these papers I have and I quickly turn the pages looking for my mother’s name. I find two forms, one a reenlistment form (no date) that shows my mother as his next of kin and his wife. It also says she was living at the same address as my grandmother. Poor Mom. The other form is dated June of 1950 and is a certified statement in which my father swears that my mother is his wife, that they got married 6-2-48 in Charleston, Mass, and that he had one child, my older sister. Why did he have to sign this? Was his first wife making some sort of claim? Was this the Navy’s way of clearing the whole thing up?

My sister and I are surprised to find out our father was married before but not that he may have been married already when he married our mother. We already knew Dad was a bigamist, we just never suspected he may have been a bigamist more than once.

It’s funny, with all the things I have learned, the information that touches me the most is that, on one form, he listed his leisure time activities as reading and sports, and that he played the saxophone. I always thought I got my love of reading from my mother and here my father says he enjoyed reading too. That he played the saxophone makes me think of my sister who plays the clarinet. I never thought my father contributed any thing to my siblings or me and I find out he passed on his love of reading and his musical talent.

So, the story of my father’s life changes, does knowing this change me? No, I am still who I am. My father is not who I thought he was though, but that doesn‘t matter either. Last week Blue Witch and I pinged in and out of the start of a conversation about time travel. I asked if we would we want to visit the past if we found out what we remembered was not really the way it was. We never got to an answer. Our lives are made up of stories and so is our past. It is only when we cannot let go of these stories that they can cause us pain.