Thursday, December 30, 2004

Travel Notes 2

It is 12:30 AM as I type this. I was asleep but the sound of firecrackers exploding has awaken me. Tomorrow is New Year's Eve and the Dutch celebrate it by shooting off fireworks. The younger Dutch celebrate by shooting off fireworks as soon as they can get out of the house. This round of firecrackers sounds like the work of one person or group of people. I am sure tomorrow night will be louder.

Speaking of Amsterdam, which I wasn't, I like this town. But since I am a fan of big cities that is not surprising. Since I got here I have been to the town center, visited the Amersterdam Historical Museum, perused the books at Waterstone's English Bookstore, walked my sister's dog about five different times around the neighborhood she lives in, seen two movies, gone to a Christmas party at my sister's language teacher's apartment, met my brother-in-law's family, gone out to dinner with my sister, brother-in-law and his three children, played two games of Skip-Bo with the children, and read numerous magazines in bed because my sleep cycle is still so out of wack.

I have just finished re-reading the above paragraph and see I have the writing nuggets for my next several blog entries. Keep checking back. If I don't see you tomorrow, Happy New Year to you all and may this new year turn out to be the one you did not know you've been waiting for.

(the time stamp is going to read 6:25PM but it is really past 2:00AM)

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Travel Notes

Hello world, I am in the Netherlands and having a good time. After three days I no longer have that cotton candy-head feeling and am starting to focus on my new surroundings. It does feel a little strange to write about what I am doing after reading in the newspapers about the tidal wave in Southeast Asia. When I picked up the paper and read the headline in my fuzzy brain state I thought, "Is this real?"

Anyway, I think I will wait a couple of more days before posting anything else. Bigger things happening in the world right now.

(BTW, is something wrong with Blogger? I don't have the little icons for adding links and photos, spellcheck, or anything else. Could it be they are not there because I am using a Mac to write this?)

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Christmas, Christmas Time Is Here

Got caught up in the last minute Christmas rush today. We leave for my father-in-law's house tomorrow morning and I still have not packed for my flight on Christmas Day. This will be my last entry until after Christmas and I want to leave you with two stories that show in some hearts the Christmas Spirit still beats.

My dear people,you can't pray to God and reject the ones he loves the most.
-Father Woody

A beautiful gesture

Our reason is clear as we spread Christmas cheer

Sneaky Kris Krugerrands

A Very Merry Christmas to everyone.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Jukebox Jury

Well, I am done downloading songs into my MP3 player. I am embarrassed to report that I have 937 songs in my portable jukebox. Yes, 937 tunes and I must admit that I did not download every track on each CD that I copied. It was easier that I thought it would be and I only had one CD that would not transfer. I e-mailed Rio and they send me suggestions on how to fix the problem.

One of the things the player does is separated songs into different categories called Genre. I have 51 different categories under Genre. You can't see me but I am shaking my head in disgust at this. Some of the more creative categories are; Alternative Country, Baroque, Blues Rock, Caribbean, Cool/West Coast Jazz, Fussion, General Alternative, General Unclassifiable (My favorite one, they couldn't come up with one more classification?), Indian subcontinent, and Swing Revival.

There are 8 other general categories besides the two listed above, each with the word General in front of it; Blues, Celtic, Classical, Country, Folk, Hip Hop, Holiday, Jazz, New Age, Pop, R&B, Reggae, Rock, and Soundtrack.

The remaining categories are: Accoustic Pop, Big Band Swing, Christmas, Classic Rock, Disco, Film Soundtrack, Folk-Rock, French, Funk, Hard Rock, Jazz, Jazz Vocals, Latin Pop, Latin Rock, Motown, New Wave, Pop Vocals, Progressive Rock, Psychedelic Rock, Ragtime, Rock & Roll, Rockabilly, Soft Rock, Soul, Traditional Country, and Zydeco/Cajun.

When I get back from Amsterdam I am going to drop as many categories as I can and move the songs listed into other categories. I guess the easiest thing to do is use the General categories but I am not sure if that is the way to go, I kind of like that Cool/West Coast Jazz category. If it was your MP3 player, which classifications would you keep and which would you drop? Or would you combined some like the Zydeco/Cajun category?

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


The scientific theory I like best is that the rings of Saturn are composed entirely of lost airline luggage.
-Mark Russell

I remember the first time I saw the planet Saturn through a powerful telescope. It was at the University of Denver's Chamberlin Observatory . The observatory was build in 1890 and houses a refractor type scope that measures 28 feet long and has a 20 inch wide lens. The observatory is used for research and learning but on Tuesdays and Thursdays the university holds Public Nights when everyone who wants to is invited to look through the scope.

When I first stepped into the dome room I was surprised by the size of the scope. It loomed over us as we walked over to the wooden ladders that lead up to the observation platform. The ladders are connected together by the platform set between them. The whole thing leans against a railing that runs around the inside of the dome about 12 feet off the ground. This allows the platform to be moved around the telescope without getting in its way.

The night I went the main event was Saturn, in fact, it was the only event because of the number of people that had showed up. We took turns climbing up the ladders, stepping on the platform, looking through the scope, and then climbing back down the ladders. When it was my turn I carefully climbed up my ladder and stepped onto the platform and then peered through the eyepiece. I was surprised by what I saw. First, I did not expect the view of Saturn to be so sharp and clear and, second, I did not expect Saturn to be black and white. I had forgot that amount of light coming through a scope is not the amount your eyes need to see color. As I stood there looking at a tiny perfect Saturn I thought how cold space looked. I also thought how dead Saturn looked. And I thought that the view was so clear it looked like someone had pasted a small black and white picture of Saturn on the lens.

When my time was up I climbed back down the ladder. Right behind me and next in line to climb up and look through the scope was a ten-year-old girl who had come with her father. I watched her as she slowly climb up the ladder and stepped onto the platform. She stood there looking thorough the scope for her allotted time and then slowly climbed back down to where her father waited. When she reached the floor and stepped off the ladder her father asked her if she had seen Saturn. She nodded. He then asked her what it looked like. She looked thoughtful for a moment and answered, "It looked like someone had pasted a picture of Saturn at the end of the telescope."
I started laughing and blurted out,"That's what I thought!"

My first look at Saturn though a telescope was such a trill for me that, even though I have seen it many times since then, I still get that same thrill each time I look at it through an eyepiece.

(Thanks to Blue Witch for writing about her birthday present- that lead to this post.)

Monday, December 20, 2004

Spam spam spam spam. Lovely spam! Wonderful spam!

-Monty Python

Dear Spammers,

You seem to be operating under the misconception that I can help you. I am sorry but I cannot.

I do not want to buy a faux Rolex watch no matter how cheap it is or how much it looks like the original.

I do not want to look at photos of naked women. Or men for that matter. If I do want to look at either one I have a mirror and a husband. I also do not want to talk to any naked men or women, again I have a mirror and a husband.

I am not in the need of pain killers, weight loss pills, valium, or "natural male enhancements." Although I am curious about that phrase "natural male enhancement." Isn't that an oxymoron when used to describe a chemical helper?

I do not want to buy any, Super Cheaap Softwares!. I will not do business with anyone who cannot use a spellchecker.

I cannot help you get your money out of your country. Why don't you contact all the other people from the other countries who seem to have a problem getting their money out of their countries? Maybe they can help you.

And I cannot have won your lottery as I did not enter it. You will just have to give the money to someone else.

Colleen Shannon

Friday, December 17, 2004

"I Want To Be Like Mike"

- Gatorade advertising campaign with Michael Jordon

Waldo McBurney is 102 years old and lives in Quinter, Kansas. He has been a beekeeper since the age of 24, a runner since the age of 68, a competitive runner since the age of 74, and holds several world records in the Senior Olympics and the World Masters. He stopped running when he turned 100 and now only walks- one mile each day. He has just published his autobiography, "My First 100 Years:A Look Back from the Finish Line.

I don't want to be like Mike. I want to be like Waldo.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

The Moooon

Well! I've often seen a cat without a grin," thought Alice; "but a grin without a cat! It's the most curious thing I ever saw in all my life!
-Alice talking about the Cheshire cat in Alice In Wonderland

Closing up the house for the night. When I went out to shut the garage door I glanced up and saw the waxing crescent moon glowing in a pitch black sky, looking just like a grin without a cat.


The human race is faced with a cruel choice: work or daytime television.

Spent the day working at the library. Why is doing practically nothing all day so tiring?

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

To iPOD Or Not To iPOD?

I don't want to belong to any club that will accept me as a member.
-Groucho Marx


Now, before I read Colin's post, They need our help, on Monday Dec, 13th and before I read both 17 things which I love about my beautiful, bouncing new iPod. and 16 things which piss me off about my beautiful, bouncing new iPod at troubled diva, I decided against a iPod.

The day before I made up my mind to even buy a MP3 player I watched a story on CBS Sunday Morning about iPods. These things are so popular one college here in the good old USA has given everyone in this year's freshman class his or her own iPod. How is that for marketing? The reporter called it, "The invasion of the POD PEOPLE." Seems you're not hip unless you have one. After seeing that story I decided not to get one, not because I think there is anything wrong with them, but because I feel the same way Groucho does.

I bought a Rio Carbon 5. I am now in the process of downloading my entire CD collection into it. My blog posts may be very short the next few days.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

The Revolution Starts...Now

Steve Earle hosts his own show on Air America that airs each Sunday at 9PM Central. The show is called The Revolution Starts Now and is a mixture of politics and music. Each week Steve has a different guest. Steve asks each guest to bring in five or six songs of their choosing.
-from the website

The best part is you can listen to his show anytime on the Internet at The site has an archive of past shows and the list of past guests include:
John Sayles
Janeane Garofalo
Marshall Crenshaw
Al Franken
Emmylou Harris
Adian Quinn
Pattie Smith

What I find interesting is not the politics, Earle is on my side of the fence politically, but what songs each guest chose to bring with them.

Monday, December 13, 2004

It's Monday Already?

Where did last week go and how did I let it get away from me? My only excuse is I have been busy.

I drove to Denver on Thursday to spend time with my sister and niece before they went off to Virginia for Christmas and to finish my Christmas shopping. I also drove up to Boulder to have lunch with Tania, one of the women who walked the Camino with me. It was good to see her. We both can not believe it has been three years since we did the walk. Sometimes it seems like yesterday. She told me she will be heading home to Mexico for the holidays. I swear during my stay I drove as many miles (just driving around metro Denver) as I did on the drive from home to Denver.

One thing I missed by being in Denver was the male Downy Woodpecker who tried to set up housekeeping in the rafters of our garage. My husband said he spent most of Thursday afternoon trying to get him out of there. He tried throwing a pie tin at him but that didn't work. He tried throwing a Frisbee at him but that didn't work. He tried climbing on a ladder and waving a janitor type push broom at him but that didn't work either. Then he remembered he had a handout about getting rid of woodpeckers and pulled that out to read. One of the ideas listed sounded plausible to him so he went and purchased a large silver helium filled balloon with a long ribbon attached to it. He brought it home, used a Magic Marker to draw two big eyes on it,let it float up into the rafters and then bounced it around by the ribbon while crooning, "Whooo,whooo,whoooo." The bird is supposed to think the balloon is a owl and get frightened enough to leave. My husband must be good at owl noises because he said the bird quickly left. I was laughing as he told me this and I wish I had been there to see it.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Ten Things I Had To Do Only Once To Know I Never Wanted To Do Them Again

Pull a cat's tail.

Step on a log instead of over it while hiking.

Get drunk enough to throw-up.

Absentmindedly play with a stapler while talking on the phone.
(I stapled my own thumb)

Wait until the night before a term paper was due before writing it.

Drive with the cruise control on in bad weather.

Hold on to a burning firecracker to long.

Use the oven to dry out a pair of wet boots.

Put motor oil in the car with the engine running.

Walk across Spain.
(Well, maybe that one I will do again)

And you?

Monday, December 06, 2004

Boxing Day

(According to the Department Of Canadian Heritage)

The day after Christmas, the Feast of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, is better known as Boxing Day. The term may come from the opening of church poor boxes that day; maybe from the earthenware boxes with which boy apprentices collected money at the doors of their masters' clients.

Nowadays, we often see, in certain families, gifts (boxes) given to those who provide services throughout the year.

Boxing Day is also celebrated in The Netherlands and I am happy to write that I will be in Amsterdam this Boxing Day. I'm going to visit my sister.

Friday, December 03, 2004


Rolling waves of green winter wheat
to the horizon
silence and solitude
broken by the screech of a red-tail hawk
making lazy circles
in the endless blue above

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Answers To Three Questions From My Sister

1. What's your favorite childhood memory?

I was going to be flip and say anytime no one got hit but I decided against that. So I will pick Thanksgiving Day when I was eleven. We were living at Fort Logan. It had snowed the night before and was still snowing when we got up that morning. Mom was in the kitchen getting the turkey ready and we kids were in the living room wrapped in blankets and watching the Macy's parade on TV. I remember feeling safe listening to Mom banging pots around in the kitchen and watching the snow falling outside the window.

After the parade was over we kids got dressed and went out into the falling snow and walked around on the post parade grounds. The snow was deep enough to make it difficult to walk. When we reached the middle of the parade grounds the snow was falling so thick that when we looked around we couldn't see the houses beyond the pine trees surrounding the open field we were standing in. For some reason that made me feel so at peace. Just the four of us in the middle of all that white.

2. What was your favorite song in 1968?

Humm, that's a hard one. I went to a website that listed the top 100 songs from 1968 and picked four songs that made me smile just thinking about them. They are:

Hey Jude-The Beatles
And anytime you feel the pain,
Hey Jude refrain,
Don’t carry the world upon your shoulders.
For well you know that it’s a fool,
Who plays it cool,
By making his world a little colder.

Stoned Soul Picnic-Fifth Dimension
Can you surry, can you picnic?
Can you surry, can you picnic?
Surry down to a stoned soul picnic
Surry down to a stoned soul picnic

Grazing In The Grass-Hugh Masekela
(The Friends Of Distinction recorded it later with lyrics)
Everything here is so clear, you can see it
And everything here is so real, you can feel it
And it's real, so real, so real, so real, so real, so real
Can you dig it

Ain't nothing Like The Real Thing -Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
So glad we've got the real thing, Baby
So glad we've got the real thing
Ain't nothing like the real thing, Baby
Ain't nothing like the real thing

3. What thing in the Jetsons that you thought was really futuristic and cool,in fact came true?

Got to be that big old flat screen TV on the wall. What hasn't come true and what I really, really thought was cool and what I really, really wanted was that space car. It would be like having your own airplane-just get in and take off.

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Still Not Fit To Live With

So I am busy cleaning house today.

Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Home Is Where The Heart Is

In a real dark night of the soul it is always three o'clock in the morning.
--F. Scott Fitzgerald

Maybe it's because I spent Thanksgiving Day alone. Or maybe it's because I talked to my brother and two of my sisters over Thanksgiving and felt how much I miss them. Or maybe it's because I watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade for the first time in I don't know how many years. Or maybe it's because one of my sister's lives so far way. Or maybe it's because we bought a Christmas tree yesterday. Or maybe it's because of what happened to my brother-in-law's family. Or maybe it's because Christmas is coming. I don't know.

I do know that I am homesick. I want to move back to Denver. I miss it.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Meme Time

Stolen from Queen Of Cups:

(A) First, recommend to me:
1. a movie
2. a book
3. a musical artist, song, or album

(B) I want everyone who reads this to ask me three questions, no more, no less. Ask me anything you want.

(C) Then I want you to go to your blog/journal, copy and paste this allowing your friends to ask you anything & say that you stole it from me.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

The Coca-Cola Test

One of the joys of childhood is knowing you can stay home when you are sick. I remember that sometimes sickness came on fast. I would go to bed feeling fine and the next morning wake up ill. Some mornings I would wake up not really sick just feeling icky enough to not want to go to school. Then there were days when I would wake up not sure if I was sick or if I just didn't want to go to school. I was never sure which it was but my mother always knew. She also knew when I was faking illness to get out of going to school that day.

Whenever I woke up and told her I didn't feel well enough to go to school she would sit on my bed and put a hand on my forehead to see if I had a fever. If I did I was kept home. If I didn't she knew this didn't necessarily mean I wasn't ill since I could be at the just-getting-sick-stage and not have a fever yet. The only way to tell was by giving me the Coca-Cola test.

It was a long time before I figured out the Coca-Cola test. I just thought my mother was like "the great and powerful Oz," from The Wonderfu Wizard Of Oz. The Coca-Cola test was simple, so simple I didn't even realize I was being tested. My mother would ask, in a very sympathetic voice, "Do you think a Coca-Cola would make you feel better?"

If I answered no, I stayed home. If I answered yes, in a half-hour I was on my way to school. What I did not realize but my mother did, is that I never want Coca-Cola when I am sick. What I want is Ginger-ale or Seven-Up.

I have been feeling icky for the past three or four day but not sure if I was coming down with something. Yesterday I craved a nice ice-cold can of Coca-Cola but when I had it in my hand I realized I didn't really want it. What I did want was a Ginger-ale.

I think I'm sick.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Camera Obscura

-A darkened enclosure where light passes through a lens pinhole and an upside-down image is seen on the opposite surface.

The Morning News has a gallery of photos from Abelardo Morell's book, Camera Obscura. Morell created these pictures by first blacking out the windows in several rooms and then putting a pinprick size hole in the covering. He then photographed the rooms and the upside down images of the outside world projected onto the walls. The photos he created are both eerie and beautiful.

Monday, November 22, 2004

About That Election...

Sorry Everybody

Apologies Accepted

Kill The Messenger

Via Easy Bake Coven I found Kevin Sites's blog. Sites is the photographer who took the video of a Marine killing an unarmed Iraqi. Here, in an open letter to the Marines in the 3rd Battalion, 1st Regiment, Sites explains why he did not destroy the tape.

Whatta You Got For A Hungry Man?

Yesterday my husband took the dogs bird hunting then came home and had a late lunch of cold pheasant, cranberry sauce, and green beans. At 6:00PM I walked into the kitchen and found him popping corn on the stove. On the counter sat a shotglass filled with a clear liquid and next to it an open pint of peppermint schnapps. I was surprised by the schnapps because he is not a big drinker.
"Is that what you're eating for dinner, popcorn and peppermint schnapps?"
He nodded and said,"I bet no one else in the whole world is having the same dinner."
I think that was a safe bet.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Stamp Art

Nine of the ten basic cloud genera are pictured on this stamp pane and arranged according to altitude. The prefixes "cirro" and "alto" distinguish high- and middle- altitude clouds, respectively. Nimbostratus, a dark, featureless cloud marked by falling rain or snow, is not shown.
-United States Postal Service

Thursday, November 18, 2004

Drifting Along With The Tumbling Tumbleweeds

See them tumbling down
Pledging their love to the ground
Lonely but free I'll be found
Drifting along with the tumbling tumbleweeds.

-The Sons Of The Pioneers

Woke up to a cloudy, dreary, rainy day this morning. Just the kind of day to curl up on the couch with a good book and ignore the rest of the world. And, since I don't want to leave you without anything to read, I direct you to this story in today's Denver Post; Tumbleweeds may soak up toxics. Who would have thought tumbleweeds could be useful.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Margaret Hassan's Murder And Killing Of Wounded Man By An American Marine In Iraq

I don't have the words to express how I am feeling about these two news items. I will let others express them for me.

Cowards are cruel, but the brave
Love mercy, and delight to save.

-John Gay

The quality of mercy is not strain'd.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath.
It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.

-William Shakespeare

The test of courage comes when we are in the minority; the test of tolerance comes when we are in the majority.
-Ralph W. Sockman

Once lead these people into war, and they'll forget there ever was such a thing as tolerance ... the spirit of ruthless brutality will enter into the very fiber of our national life.
-Woodrow Wilson

Never, never, never believe any war will be smooth and easy, or that anyone who embarks on the strange voyage can measure the tides and hurricanes he will encounter. The statesman who yields to war fever must realize that once the signal is given, he is no longer the master of policy but the slave of unforeseeable and uncontrollable events.
-Sir Winston Churchill

One is left with the horrible feeling now that war settles nothing; that to win a war is as disastrous as to lose one.
-Agatha Christie

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Grain Elevators

This is a photo of the grain elevators at the CO-OP on the edge of town.

And why am I showing you this?

So I can tell you this. These elevators hold up to 1,340,000 bushels of grain and right now they are almost full. Two of the biggest problems with storing grain are mold and insects. To keep both from developing the grain has to be dried, this is done by cooling the grain. The grain is cooled by using large fans that draw outside air into the elevators and through the grain. Once the elevators reach the correct temperatures the fans shut down. This should be happening at any time now.

And why am I telling you this?

So I can also tell you this. These fans sound like vacuum cleaners without the high pitched squeak. They are also loud. These fans are so loud that I can hear the rumble and hum of them in my house even with the doors and windows closed. At night the noise reverberates though out the house.

And why am I telling you this?

So I can tell you this story. When my father was in the Navy on one ship he worked in the engine room. He slept in a bunk that was connected to the wall that was on the other side of the engines. When he got in bed the noise made the bunk vibrate. He said at first he could not sleep because of the thumping of the engines but after awhile he managed to sleep through the noise. Then one day when he was sleeping he found himself sitting straight up in bed with his heart pounding and fear racing through is veins. He sat there wondering what the hell was wrong. Then he realized it was dead quiet, the engines had stopped.

And why am I telling you this?

So I can tell you this. The fans have been running since the middle of October. I have reached the not hearing the noise stage and am worried the fans will stop in the middle of the night.

Monday, November 15, 2004

Harry Mellon Rhoads

It was cold, wet, and windy this weekend so I spent most of it perusing the Denver Public Library photography collection. The DPL has put over 100,000 photos from both its Western History Department and from the Colorado Historical Society Collection online. It's a little overwhelming and I decide to limit my browsing to the Harry Mellon Rhoads Collection.

Harry Rhoads was a newspaper photographer whose work is spread over a time period from 1900 to his retirement in 1968. Harry's collection of 5,200 glass plates and film negatives covers everything from his family to crime, disasters, famous people, and women, lots and lots of women. Twenty-five hundred of these photos are online.

I found the aerial views fascinating. One of City Park (Rh-298) taken in the 1930's shows nothing but open land, with farms scattered here and there, north of 26th Avenue. Another shows what will become Lowry Airfield when it was the Phipps Sanatorium (Rh-4533). It is surround by miles of open plain. I found the crime photos fascinating too, but in a different way. The 1937 photo of a dead police officer (Rh-1227). A haunting one of a women jumping off a bridge (Rh-5508). I wondered why she jumped and how the photographer got so close. A photo of a man after he committed suicide by lying down on the railroad track and waiting for a train(Rh-982). That one you will have to find for yourself.

There is a photo of Cherry Creek at 7th Avenue and Broadway (Rh-418) during the 1933 flood showing a wave cresting at least five feet about the cement walls lining the creek and rushing toward the Broadway bridge. There is beautiful photo of the state capitol building taken in the winter (Rh-5824).

Some photo's give you a little Denver history, like the one titled,"Klan Member at Klan Day At The Races At Overland Park" (Rh-460). In the 1920's the Klu Klux Klan had political control of the state with the governor, the secretary of state, one member of the Supreme Court, seven judges in Denver District Court, and the majority of the members of the state House and Senate affiliated with the Klan. The fact that there could even be a Klan Day shows the power they held.

There are many more photos in the library collection and I plan to examine as many as I can. I love Denver, history, and photography. I've found my own little bit of heaven right here on the Internet.

Saturday, November 13, 2004

I'm Your Puppet

I can't believe I am going to write the following sentence. I forgot to blog yesterday. Who would of thought? So, to make up, a short post today.

I watched GW's press conference with Tony Blair yesterday and was amazed when Blair ended it with this statement:

..."we're not fighting the war against terrorism because we are an ally of the United States; we are an ally of the United States because we believe in fighting this war against terrorism. We share the same objectives. We share the same values. And we look back over our own history in the last half century or more, we -- both of us in different ways, the United States and Britain, have a cause to be thankful for this alliance and this partnership, and I should -- we -- I believe we should be thankful that it is as strong as it is today. And as long as I remain prime minister of our country, it will carry on being strong, not because that's in the interests of America simply or in the interests of the international community, but because I believe passionately it is in the interests of Britain."

You then heard Bush say, "Good job."
Blair turned toward him beaming, shook his hand and said, "Thank you."

I bet that went over big in Britain.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Veteran's Day

This is my father who served in both World War II and the Korean War. Today, the anniversary of the day World War I ended, we honor all men and women who have served in the Armed Forces.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004


Not to see Elitch's is not to see Denver.
-advertising slogan for Elitch Gardens

When I was a kid all summers began at Elitch Gardens amusement park over on Tennyson Street and 38th Avenue. The first day we could make it after school was out for the summer we would head to Elitch's with our report cards in our hand. Report cards got you two things- free entrance to the park and free ride tickets. The number of tickets you received was based on your grades. Four tickets for each A, three tickets for each B and two tickets for each C. Failing (F) a class or just squeaking by with a D got you nothing. With eight classes you could get anywhere from 2 to 32 tickets.

After we received our string of tickets we would toss our report cards into the first trash can we passed and race through the picnic groves on our way to the center of the park. The crash of steel wheels on metal surfaces, squeals of delight and fright from other patrons, music and game noise from the Arcade mingled with the smell of popcorn, tacos, french fries, funnel cakes, cotton candy and grilling hamburgers and hot dogs. The sounds, sights and smell were a sensory overload and always made me slightly nauseous when I first stepped into the center of the park.

Next came the most agonizing part, deciding how to spend our tickets. Rides cost any where from one ticket to five tickets. You had to balance quantity with quality. The Game Arcade was always out since I never understood the thrill of gambling. The Mr Twister and the Wildcat roller coasters were off limits because the one time I rode one (Mr Twister) I spent the whole time with my eyes closed tightly, hands gripping the seat bar hard enough to leave prints, begging God to make it stop. But that still left a lot of rides to pick from: the Ferris Wheel, the Carousel, the Octopus, the Tilt-a-Whirl, the Wild Mouse, the Airplane ride, and many, many others. I loved it.

The best time I had at Elitch's was on the carousel. It was during one warm summer night before the park changed from individual tickets to an all inclusive pass. My sister, her boyfriend and I hit the park about a half hour before closing time. We wanted to ride Mr Twister (I had outgrown my fear) and hurried in and bought tickets but we were to late, they had just closed the ride. Most of the rides were closed and we raced around trying to get on the other rides that were still operating before they shut the park down for the night. Finally, we reached the point where the only ride open that we had not been on was the carousel.

The carousel was added to the park in 1928 and it took three master carvers three year to build. It had 64 colorfully painted horses (44 that went up and down and 20 stationary ones) and two Roman-style chariots. The wooden walls surrounding the machinery in the center were made up of 18 panels, each containing a large framed beveled mirror. The ceiling was painted sky blue with clouds and birds floating around and hundreds of bare light bulbs hung from the carousel roof support beams. When that thing was in motion is was magical.

We headed over to the carousel and gave the attendant all our remaining tickets and told him to keep the ride going until they ran out and climbed on board. We had the ride to ourselves. I don't know how long we circled around and around but it was long enough to get bored with riding one horse up and down. We started walking round the carousel trying to keep the machinery house between ourselves and the attendant. Then we got back on the horses and started riding them standing up. We expected the attendant to yell at us but he didn't seem to care. That's when I noticed the horses were spaced close enough so that, if you want to, you could walk from one to another. I wanted to.

When I was hidden from the attendant's view I stepped over to another horse, rode it around to the back of the carousel and when I was hidden from the attendant's view again, stepped over to another one. My sister and her boyfriend followed suit and we then discovered we could step from one horse to another quickly enough to keep the machinery house between us and the attendant. I don't know what the attendant thought when we disappeared from view for awhile but I do know we disappeared long enough to walk on each one of the 64 horses.

They tore the old Elitch's down in 1994 and build a new park now called Six Flaggs Elitch Gardens in lower downtown. The old park lost its charm for me when they switched to the "one price covers all rides" pass. Before that innovation people were more relaxed about going to the park but after the pass was introduced they were more frantic and in a hurry. It was as if they thought they had to get on all the rides they could in one visit or they weren't getting their money worth. It just wasn't enjoyable anymore.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004


If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It's a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it's time to reflect on what's come before.
-Mitchell Burgess, Northern Exposure

Friday, November 05, 2004

Where Or When

-by Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart

when you're awake
the things you think
come from the dreams you dream

thought has wings,
and lots of things
are seldom what they seem

sometimes you think you've lived before
all that you live today
things you do come back to you
as though they knew the way

oh, the tricks your mind can play

it seems we stood and talked like this before
we looked at each other in the same way then
but I can't remember where or when

the clothes you're wearing and the clothes you wore
the smile you are smiling you were smiling then
but I can't remember where or when

some things that happen for the first time
seem to be happening again

and so it seems that we have met before
and laughed before
and loved before
but who knows where or when

Soft words for a soft day.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

The Fifth Book Of Peace

I can't study war no more.
-Save The Country by Laura Nyro

I have just discovered a new author. Well, she's not really new I've just never read her before. Her name is Maxine Hong Kingston and the book is The Fifth Book Of Peace. It begins with her desperate attempt to save the manuscript of her other book, The Fourth Book Of Peace, before her house is destroyed in the California wildfires of 1991. She manages to reach her neighborhood and, standing in the middle of what is left of a firestorm, gazes around until she spots a pole with the flag attached to it still flying. As she stares at this she realizes that the only reason she can see the pole from where she now stands is because her house no longer blocks the view. Her home and her manuscript have both been destroyed. The first three Books of Peace were supposedly written in China's distant past. All were considered dangerous by the powers that be. All were destroyed by fire.

It has been a lyrical read and I am now in the middle of the Earth segment of the book. But last night my mind kept going back to the beginning of the re-created Fourth Book. In the first paragraph she writes down Lew Welch's poem, "Chicago."

You can't fix it and you can't make it go away.
I don't know what you're going to do about it,
But I know what I'm going to do about. I'm just
going to walk away from it. Maybe
A small part of it will die if I'm not around

feeding it anymore.

To Welch 'it' represented the violence at the Democratic Convention of 1968 in Chicago and also the Viet Nam War. I'm not sure what 'it' is to me. Then this morning I read in my horoscope, Try to remember that the person who gets in your face may be looking for answers, not for a fight. And things begin to make sense.

The last two weeks I have found myself very sensitive to any stories about violence. (Not that big of a surprise considering what has happened.) It's like buying a new car; from the moment you drive off the lot it seems that all you see are all the other cars out there just like yours. I'm seeing stories about car crashes, murders, rapes, bombings, hate crimes, words of anger and intolerance. Each occurrence of violence I read about inflicts a tiny cut on my psyche like the blade of a small penknife.

Then yesterday I gave vent to my own self-righteous anger about the outcome of the election but I forgot what a miracle yesterday really was. We had an election in this country and although almost half of people who voted did not agree that the right man was chosen to lead this country for the next four years, today we did not wake up to find there had been a military coup during the night.

Today I am tired. Tired of my anger and everyone else's. The anger in this country has been palatable. The intolerance for the other person's political belief has been a little frightening. Anger and intolerance lead to violence. That is what 'it' means for me, anger and intolerance. So, I'm not going to feed that anger and intolerance anymore. I'm going to walk away and maybe a small part of it will die. And the next time someone gets in my face I will try to remember they may be looking for answers and not a fight.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

"America Has Spoken"

-George W Bush

And it has said, "We don't give a sh@t."

One hundred twenty million people voted yesterday. That sounds like a lot but that number represents only 60% of the eligible voters in this country. Only one out of every ten voters between the ages of 18-34 made it to the polls. One out of every ten. Who said political apathy is dead in this country?

We (America) deserve what is coming during the next four years. To the rest of the world I offer my sincerest apology.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Election Day

What are you doing here looking for something to read? Go Vote!

Monday, November 01, 2004

What's the difference between the Vietnam War and the Iraq War?

A. George W. Bush had a plan to get out of the Vietnam War.

Tomorrow is Election Day. Do you know where your polling booth is?

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Doggie Update

Laughter is the best medicine.

Emma is doing great. The swelling has gone down and we can put her collar back on her. Her throat is still saggy but all the edema lumps have gone. She can bark again (something I did not notice she could not do until she started again three days ago) and is playing big time with her cousins. I can't believe a week ago we were afraid we might loose her.

On the cousin side, my husband sent the following message to our niece.

Subject: report from Kamp Kansas

Just a quick doggie report:
The coyote bait (a.k.a. "Paris" and "Hilton") are still with us. They have been on so many long walks that there are just bloody stumps where their feet used to be. They saw their first cow today. Paris's eyes got as big as softballs and she started shaking, for she had never seen such a big dog. Hilton of course wanted to attack immediately. I got them calmed down, so they are now O.K. with cows. They were completely befuddled when encountering a large weed in the path, but now know how to go around or over. They are, however, a little embarrassed about getting beat up by the jackrabbit. Enough for today. Uncle "Bob"

My niece sent this message in reply.

Thats very funny. Paris is a little wimp.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

You Are What You Eat

If I were on a diet I would have officially fallen off of it the last couple of days. Yesterday I got a migraine and slammed down four 12oz Cokes between the hours of 4:00PM and 9:00PM. I also ate dinner which consisted of two small baked potatoes with lots of butter, two servings of greenbeans, a side of cranberry sauce, and two 4oz. servings of poultry. This was on top of what I ate an hour before dinner. I cannot for the life of me remember what that was. The scary thing is, I slept like a baby.

This morning I was still having trouble with my Name Nouns and getting a pain like someone was sticking an ice pick into my brain just to the right of top center on my head every time I bent over. I had another 12 oz. coke and then had a cheese burger and a Sarsparilla. Later I said, "What the hell," and had a nice early dinner of a half a bowl of cream cheese clam dip, with Ruffles,"R R R Ruffles Have Ridges!" brand potato chips, and a 20oz. Coke.

I now feel like a Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon and (with apologies to e) very, very, bloated. I can, however, bend over with no problem and am no longer having trouble with Nouns.

"Crap. Its what's for dinner."

Friday, October 29, 2004

A Fist In The Face

An emotional shock is like a fist in the face. It causes the mind to reel away from it and reverberates though out the body. I've been doing well with the shock of what has happened- in the daytime. It is not until night when I am drifting off that I am shocked awake by an image exploding in my mind's eye based on something I have either read or been told about the incident. All hope of sleep disappears for at least an hour. A vivid imagination can be a curse sometimes.

This morning I read about yesterday's funeral in the newspaper. It sounded wonderful the way a "good" funeral can be, a mixture of tears and laughter, and a church overflowing with people sharing their respect and love for the ones who are now gone. When I reached this sentence in the newspaper, An enlarged, black-and-white photograph rested on the altar at the front of the church. It was a picture of (them) on their wedding day, holding hands and laughing, smiling bright-eyed in the camera, the achingly bittersweet image in conjured up causes something inside me to crumble. I started sobbing, longer and harder than I did when I first heard the news.

I am grateful for that.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

More Angel Whisperings and Two Goodbyes

When things like this happen, sometimes I'm not sure what the message is. I have been walking my dogs at the cemetery for ten years now, for such a long time that I no longer notice the grave markers. Last night I walked through a section of the cemetery I don't usually walk in and stopped to give one of my sister's dogs a quick pat. When I looked up it was right at a name chiseled into a large tombstone. The name was that of my brother-in-law's dead brother.

Today is the funeral for my brother-in-law's parents.

If I Knew Today

If I knew that today would be the last time I'd see you, I would hug you tight and pray the Lord be the keeper of your soul. If I knew that this would be the last time you pass through this door, I'd embrace you, kiss you, and call you back for one more. If I knew that this would be the last time I would hear your voice, I'd take hold of each word to be able to hear it over and over again. If I knew this is the last time I see you, I'd tell you I love you, and would not just assume foolishly you know it already
-Gabriel Garcia Marquez
( Via Kathryn over at A Mindful Life)

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

These Broken Wings Won't Fly

I'm tired but my body won't relax. I want to relax but my thoughts won't stop racing. My stomach is jumpy, my nerves are jangly, my head aches, and my eyes burn. I want to curl up into a ball and drift away in sleep to avoid what has happened. I want it not to be true. I want these familiar feeling to go away.

Sunday morning my sister called and told me her husband's parents and grandmother had been killed by his brother. An hour later she called back to say the police had killed the brother.

How do I write about this? I feel I shouldn't because it is private but violence is never private. I feel I shouldn't because it would be disrespectful but to whom?

I wouldn't be writing this at all if an angel hadn't whispered in my ear this morning. I was checking books in at the library and when I flipped open one book there, printed on the library check-out card holder, was my brother-in-law's mother's first and last name. I wanted to cry as I stared at it but at the same time I felt like a warm blanket had been wrapped around me. I hope sometime in the future, after they get past the horror of this, my brother-in-law and his family are wrapped in the same blanket .

Snake Bite Update

Emma is home and looking like she has mumps. Actually, she looks like one of those dogs in the photos that are popular right now. The ones that are distorted to make the dogs look like they have huge snouts. Big snout, little head and body. She is still weak but has a healthy appetite. Sleep is the number one priority for her right now. She should be back to her old self in a week or two.

Monday, October 25, 2004

In 1814 We Took A Little Trip, Along With Colonel Jackson Down The Mighty Mississip

I don't get no respect.
-Rodney Dangerfield

If you had asked me a week ago what I knew about the War of 1812 I could of told you the following:

1. It was a little war that fit in between the end of the American Revolution and the start of the American Civil War.
2. It was between the USA and the British.
3. The British burned down the White House.
4. Two songs were written about it, The Spangled Banner and The Battle Of New Orleans.

After watching a two hour program, First Invasion: The War Of 1812, on the History Channel, I now see it was the war that gave the USA its identity as a country. Before that American was the Rodney Dangerfield in European politics. Thirty years after the American Revolution the British still occupied American territories along the Great Lakes. They were supporting Indian raids against Americans in the West and hurting American commercial interests by interfering with American trade with the rest of Europe. America was spoiling for a war and only need one more insult from Britain to explode. Britain gave it to them.

At the same time the British were dinking around in America they were mired in a war with France. Britain claimed the right to board any American merchant ship and remove any British sailors found on board. They would sometimes take American citizens. America, as a neutral country, was outraged by this practice and, to preserve American's "honor", war was declared against Great Britain on June 18, 1812.

Ok, we have this little country with no standing army and no navy to speak of declare war against Britain. What is the first thing they do after that? Invade Canada hoping to push the British out of American territory and picking up a little extra territory for itself. It doesn't work and the Americans are chased out of Canada. The British retaliate by setting up a blockade along the Eastern Seaboard that disrupts American trade and its livelihood. New England talks about seceding from the Union and making a deal with the British.

By 1814 Britain's war with France is over and she sends some of those troops and supplies to America. The British plan to attack from Canada across Lake Champlain and down the Hudson River in order to cut New England off from the rest of the country. They also plan to attack New Orleans, and Washington DC.

The attack against Washington DC proceeds on August 24, 1814. When the untested American soldiers meet up with the British troops they panic and turn and run like "sheep being chased by dogs" and the British march into Washington and set it ablaze. That night the glow from the fires can be seen from 50 miles away. Then a miracle occurs. From out of nowhere a storm comes up and torrential rains fall, putting out the fires. Winds pick up and a tornado races through the middle of Washington. The weather does what the American soldiers could not, killing many British soldiers and scattering the rest.

On September 11, 1814 the British fleet is destroyed in a battle on Lake Champlain with what ships left returning to Canada. The British now turn their attention to Baltimore. The American government had given private citizens the authority to attack British merchant ships. This was done because the government had so few ships of its own. A number of these "privateers" are based in Baltimore. Defending Baltimore is Fort McHenry standing at the entrance to the harbor. The officer in charge, Maj. George Armstead, asks merchants to sink their own ships to create an artificial reef. This will keep the British ships from entering the harbor. The merchants comply knowing if the British take Baltimore they will loose more than just their ships.

Armstead also commissioned a flag for the fort "... so large that the British will have no difficulty in seeing it from a distance..." The flag measures 30 by 42 feet with the stars measuring two feet across from star point to star point.

When the British ships start the bombing of Fort McHenry at 7;00AM on the 13th of September, Francis Scott Key was on one of the British ships trying to secure the release of a friend. He was not allowed to leave until the bombing stopped nearly 25 hours later. He watched the attack all through the night, knowing that as long as the British continued shelling the fort the Americans had not surrendered. Then in the early morning hours the shelling stopped. Had the fort fallen?

What Key did not know was that during the shelling Fort McHenry had failed to return fire. This was because the British ships were out of range of the fort cannons. The British decided this lack of response was due to the fact the fort could not respond and had moved several of their ships closer to the fort. When the ships sailed into the range of his guns Armstead opened fire, turning the ships into Swiss cheese.

Key peered into the morning twilight and was relieved to see the flag Armstead had commissioned still flying. The British had abandoned the attack. Key started writing down the words to a poem he would call The Defense of Fort McHenry on the back of an letter he had in his pocket. The opening words were:

Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thro' the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watch'd, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof thro' the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

Later the poem is set to music and the title changed to The Star Spangled Banner. In 1931 by act of Congress it became the American National Anthem.

On December 24, 1814 the Treaty of Ghent was signed in Belgium ending the war between America and Britain. Unfortunately, this news would not reach America for another six weeks and the Battle of New Orleans began on January 8, 1815. Again the British underestimate the Americans and, again, the British were beaten soundly. The British still had not learned that it was madness to march smartly, in nice even rows, toward men positioned behind a barricade while wearing bright red uniforms and white belts that criss-crossed your chest. It gives a man something to aim at.

Now, when I was a kid I would hear Johnny Horton's version of The Battle Of New Orleans on the radio during "oldies" weekends. I have since found out that Horton's recording is a shorter version of the original song. The original song was written by a school teacher in the 1940's as a way of teaching his history class about the battle.

Instead of describing the battle myself I am going to let Jimmy Driftwood's song do it for me. I will tell you that Colonel Andrew "Old Hickory" Jackson, seventh president of the United States, was in command of the American troops while Sir Edward Pakenham, brother-in-law of the Duke of Wellington, was in command of the British troops.

Battle Of New Orleans
Well,in 1814 we took a little trip
Along with Colonel Jackson down the mighty Mississip
We took a little bacon and we took a little beans
And we met the bloody British in the town of New Orleans

We fired our guns and the British kept a comin'
There wasn't nigh as many as there was a while ago
We fired once more and they began a running
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Well, I seed Marse Jackson come a-walkin' down the street
And a-talkin' to a pirate by the name of Jean Lafitte;
He gave Jean a drink that he brung from Tennessee,
And the pirate said he'd help us drive the British to the sea.

Well, the French told Andrew, "You had better run
For Pakenham's a comin' with a bullet in his gun."
Old Hickory said he didn't give a damn
He's a-gonna whup the britches off of Colonel Pakenham.

Well, we looked down the river and we seed the British come
And there must have been a hundred of them beating on the drum
They stepped so high and they made their bugles ring
While we stood behind our cotton bales and didn't say a thing

Old Hickory said we could take em by surprise
If we didn't fire a musket till we looked em in the eyes
We held our fire till we seed their face well
Then we opened up our squirrel guns and really gave em well..

Well, they ran through the briars and they ran through the brambles
And they ran through the bushes where a rabbit couldn't go
They ran so fast the hounds couldn't catch em
Down the Mississippi to the Gulf of Mexico

Well, we fired our cannons till the barrels melted down
So we grabbed an alligator and we fought another round
We filled his head with minie balls and powdered his behind
And when we touched the powder off, the 'gator lost his mind

They lost their pants and their pretty shiny coats
And their tails was all a-showin' like a bunch of billy goats.
They ran down the river with their tongues a-hanging out
And they said they got a lickin', which there wasn't any doubt.

Well, we marched back to town in our dirty ragged pants
And we danced all night with the pretty girls from France;
We couldn't understand 'em, but they had the sweetest charms
And we understood 'em better when we got 'em in our arms.

Well, the guide who brung the British from the sea
Come a-limping into camp just as sick as he could be,
He said the dying words of Colonel Pakenham
Was, "You better quit your foolin' with your cousin Uncle Sam."

Well, we'll march back home, but we'll never be content
Till we make Old Hick'ry the people's president.
And every time we think about the bacon and the beans
We'll think about the fun we had way down in New Orleans.

Copyright Warden Music Co., Inc

The Ghent Treaty did not resolve the issues that started the war but the war did do two things. It gave Canada and the United States a sense of pride in themselves and their countries as both of them had successfully defended themselves against foreign invaders.

And that, my children, is your history lesson for the day.

Click here for more information.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Broken Wings

-Dougie MacLean

A tall tree
Turn and face the west
O we're running with the wind
A high clifftop
We're waiting with the rest
For this journey to begin

These broken wings won't fly
These broken wings won't fly
These broken wings won't fly at all

And O how we laugh
But maybe we should crawl
And ask to be excused
We shout loudly
Have answers to it all
O but we have been refused

These broken wings won't fly
These broken wings won't fly
These broken wings won't fly at all

Girl child
You're dancing with the stream
Growing with the silver trees
Your young questions
You ask me what it means
O but I am not at ease

These broken wings won't fly
These broken wings won't fly
These broken wings won't fly at all

(For my brother-in-law)


Sometimes I think having a dog is almost as hard as being a parent. Yesterday I was walking to the garage to get some tools to start painting the front porch when I spotted Emma sitting under the Lilac bush staring intently at something on the ground. I walk over to see what it was and when I got closer I could see that see that she was breathing hard and drooling from the left side of her mouth. I squatted down next to her and was alarmed to see part of her face, near the jawline, swollen.

My husband had just brought her back from a run and, after examining her himself, he was sure she had been bitten by a rattlesnake. We quickly called the Vet, got some children's liquid Benydryl down her throat, and drove her to the Vet's office. By the time we got there the entire left side of Emma's face, staring above her eye and extending all the way down the left side of her neck, was swollen. The Vet injected a strong anti-inflammatory directly into a vein in her leg to help reduce the swelling quicker than the Benydryl could.

The good news is she is going to be OK. The Vet said that at this time of year (Fall) rattlesnakes are not producing as much venom as they usually do so Emma did not get hit with a full dose of poison. The bad news is that we had to leave her at the Vet's office until Monday so he could give her the injections she needs to keep the swelling under control.

Friday, October 22, 2004

Sixteen Things To Do In Denver (While Dog And House Sitting For Ten Days)

1. Go to dinner at Maggiano's Little Italy.

2. Attend your sister's wedding at Sanctuary Golf Course.

3. Go to dinner at Rock Bottom.

4. On the way to the airport to drop your sister and her husband off for their honeymoon flight, stop at Borders Bookstore so they can pick up some beach reading. While there pick up a copy of The Tao Of Chess for yourself.

5. Attend your niece's junior varsity softball game.
(Note: they won.)

6. Every morning drive your niece to school and stop at Starbucks on your way home for a hot chocolate (nothing better than hot chocolate made with steamed milk). Marvel at the fact that although Starbucks calls itself a coffee shop it only serves three real coffee drinks; the rest of its menu consist of fu-fu drinks with coffee in them.

7. Visit the Barnes and Noble Bookstore on South Colorado and pick up a copy of Denver's Elitch Gardens. Read it while waiting for your niece's softball team to finish with their team photos.

8. Every morning take the dogs for their run at Cherry Creek State Park and every evening take them to one of the city dog parks.

9. Peruse the metaphysical bookstores on East Colfax Ave., Spiritways, Isis Books, and Herbs & Arts. Buy a copy of Astrology for Beginners to see if you can use it to figure out the Astrology chart you had done two years ago.

10. Go out to dinner again with a family friend. Eat at Papa D's.
(Note: Papa D's used to be called Angie's- same restaurant, different name.)

11. Take niece to a 11:30PM showing of Team America at the Denver Film Festival. Prepare to be amused.

12. Spend the morning walking around the Cherry Creek area and the Tattered Cover Bookstore. Be amazed by the fact you walk out of Tattered without buying one book.

13. Rent two DVD's, Saved and Super Size Me. Prepare to be amused.

14. Take niece to the Unique Thrift Store (per her request) to search for a skirt to finish her Homecoming Dance outfit. While browsing the store find a new paperback edition of The Stars by H. A. Rey and a hardback edition of House Of Spirits by Isabel Allende, each only 80 cents. Buy both because you can't pass up a deal like that.

15. Go to dinner at a friend's house and eat a wonderfully prepared grilled salmon.

16. Pick-up sister and brother-in-law from airport and later be taken to Outback Steakhouse as a "thank you for all you help" gesture.
(Note: Waiter, talking to my brother-in-law, said earlier in the week he had a couple come in who said they had been to a wedding at the Sanctuary Golf Course the weekend before. My sister tells him that was their wedding and asked if he remembered who the couple were, "Uhh...table thirteen?")

Wednesday, October 20, 2004


A quick story to share with you. My sister was married the weekend before last and she had the wedding rehearsal dinner the Friday before that at a Denver restaurant call Maggiano's Little Italy. It's one of many across the country. The dinner was held in one of the private banquet rooms. The restaurant is decorated with hundreds of old black and white photos of individual people, families, and large groups. My husband was examining the photos in our private dining room and found a photo of the Wichita Choir and Orchestra taken at Wichita, Kansas in 1933. His grandfather was a member of the orchestra at that time and although my husband could not tell which member of the brass section was his grandfather (the photo was taken from a distance and all the faces were blurry), he knew his grandfather was in the photo. So, here we were in a restaurant we had never been in before, in one of six private banquet rooms, looking at a photo that had his grandfather in it. What are the odds of that happening?

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Thursday, October 07, 2004

Walking In Rhythm, Moving In Sound

I have been walking two miles a day for the last two weeks. I seem to need this right now and I feel antsy when I don't walk. Today on my walk I smelled the sea. I live in Kansas. Having the scent of an ocean breeze waft into your nostrils is not normal. At first I thought, "Can this be?" I stopped and took a deep breath and inhaled the aroma of salt, sand, sea air, and a hint of decaying seaweed. I don't know were it came from or how it got here but the smell sent my spirit soaring.

I have also had songs playing in my head for the last two weeks and I now realize they usually match the emotional state I am in at the time. What the song Who Shot Sam says about my emotional state I cannot begin to guess.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

AGGGGGHHHH! It didn't work! I just caught myself humming that song.

Make It Stop

I've had songs playing in my head all week. Don't know why, I'm not a songs playing in my head kind of person. I do know that during my walk the same thing happened. Songs played in my head everyday. I've had this one playing since last night- went to sleep with it and woke-up with it. I think I even dreamed about it. I'm hoping that if I post the lyrics here it will stop.

(Darrell Edwards - Ray Jackson - George Jones)

Well, I met Sammy Samson down in New Orleans
He had a lot of money and a big limousine
He took us honky-tonkin' on a Saturday night
We met Silly Milly, everything was all right
Her eyes started rollin', we should a-went a-bowlin'
Wham-bam, who shot Sam,


Well, Sam and Silly Milly, about a quarter to four
Was rompin' and a-stompin' on the hardwood floor
Along came Flirty Mirty bargin' in on the fun
Silly Milly got jealous and she pulled out a gun
Tables started crashin', forty-four's a-flashin'
Wham-bam, who shot Sam,


Well, the police, fire chief, highway patrol
Knockin' down the front door with a big long pole
Sammy was a lyin' on the cold-cold floor
Shot through the middle with a forty-four
Milly was a-cryin', Sam was surely dyin'
Wham-bam, who shot Sam,


Well, they took Silly Milly to the jail downtown
Booked Silly Milly for a-shootin' old Sam
The judge he gave her twenty, Milly said that's a lot
You shouldn't give me nothing, he was already half shot
A-drinkin' white lightnin' started all the fightin'
Wham-bam, who shot Sam,


Well, the police, fire chief, highway patrol
Knockin' down the front door with a big long pole
Sammy was a lyin' on the cold-cold floor
Shot through the middle with a forty-four
Milly was a-cryin', Sam was surely dyin'
Wham-bam, who shot Sam,


Monday, October 04, 2004

I got them steadily depressin’, low down mind messin’
Working at the car wash blues.

Stupid Warning Labels

No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American people
-H. L. Mencken.

Collapsible baby stroller:
Remove child before folding

Toilet-bowl brush:
Do not use orally

Do not use snowblower on roof

Do not attempt to stop chain with hands

Hair dryer:
Do not use in the shower

Container of underarm deodorant:
Caution: Do not spray in eyes

Microwave oven:
Do not use for drying pets

6x10 inch inflatable picture frame:
Not to be used as a personal flotation device

Automobile cardboard sunshield:
Do not drive with sunshield in place

You just know some of these warnings are there because someone once tried to do what the warning now tells you not to do. Want proof? Go find "Stumpy" and ask him about the chainsaw.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

If You Were One Of The Seven Dwarfs, Which One Would You Be?

Right now I am Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy, and Dopey. For the last two weeks I have pretty much felt this way. I don't know what the problem is, I just know I am having trouble focusing. I have three drafts saved on Blogger with only the titles filled in because I am not sure how to start writing them. I have three books that I have started and am not reading anymore. I have taken to recording my favorite TV shows so I can fast forward though them when I do watch them. And I am having time slips.

Time slips, for me, are when you are doing something and all of a sudden you realize you are not at the point in the action that you think you should be. Clear? For example, when my husband and I run the dogs up at the cemetery we make three loops around the road that circle the grounds. The other day we were walking and I wasn't sure how many loops we had walked. I didn't even know how I had reached the point where we were at that instant. I remember starting to walk and then, like a rubber band snapping, I was jerked to where I now stood. I asked my husband how many times we had walked around cemetery and he looked at me strangely and said we were still on the first loop.

I've had that snap happen when walking to the post office. I remembered leaving my house and then, snap, I was walking in the alley when I felt as if I should already be at the post office building. I've had it happen while driving home from the grocery store. I got in my truck and the next thing I knew I was a block away while my body and mind thought I should be pulling up in front of my house. In a way it is like being in a dream. Then I remembered.

At this time three years ago I was in Spain walking the Camino. At this time three years ago I was having the same dream-like disconnect with time. What is going on? Am I having some sort of flash back? Am I suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome? How long will this feeling of disconnect last? I don't know but I do know that right now blogging is not high on my list of things to do. This could change tomorrow or it could last until the end of October. It was at the end of October that I finished my Camino walk. I'm not saying I am going to stop blogging again but I know it won't be as frequent for a little bit. Keep checking back.

(BTW, the names of the seven dwarfs are, Doc, Grumpy, Sleepy, Sneezy, Happy, Dopey, and Bashful.)

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


That indolent but agreeable condition of doing nothing.
-Pliny The younger

Laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.
-Jules Renard

Ambition is a poor excuse for not having sense enough to be lazy.
-Edgar Bergen (Charlie McCarthy)

Well, this is my state of mind right now. I think I'll go lie down for awhile until the feeling passes.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Show Us Your Skyline

Got this idea from Stu Savory's Blog by way of Easy Bake Coven. Stu is trying to start a new blog meme and is asking everyone to put a photo of the skyline in their neck of the woods on their blog. After you have posted drop Stu a line and he will link to you.

My view was taken on top of the hill were the town cemetery is located. The tallest thing in the photo (left of center) is the water tower. The water tower is right across the street from the high school. A couple of years ago the town had the water tower repainted. There are several companies that do water tower painting and each one of them uses a certain color for the roofs of the towers they paint. The company the town officials pick to do the repainting uses the color red. Now our high school's colors are green and white. Red is one of the school colors of our school's arch rival. When the tower was finished and people looked up and saw that new red roof they went ballistic. Why it was an insult- to the school, the football team, the students, and the town. So the town officials quickly called around until they found someone who could repaint the roof. He climbed up the tower and repainted the roof green. The roof is not the same shade of green as the high school's green but that seems to be alright with the town. They are just happy the roof is no longer red.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Where The Wind Comes Sweepin' Down The Plain

And the wavin' wheat can sure smell sweet
When the wind comes right behind the rain.

-Oklahoma,written by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein

Hello from Denver. Make the drive here Friday for another dress fitting in preparation for my sister's wedding next month and am still here. I was planning on going home yesterday but my husband called and told me he thought it would be a good idea if I stayed another day because the Weather Service was forecasting winds from the south gusting up to 60 mph/96.5kmph on the plains.

Now, I want you all to stop reading and go find a map of the USA. Go on, I'll wait.........Got your map? See how empty the land is between the Gulf of Mexico and the Canadian border? This means winds coming from the South have nothing to slow them down as they race to Canada. That makes driving...interesting. On a two-lane highway, frightening. On a two-lane highway that is laid out between plowed fields, terrifying.

First, your car can be blown into the oncoming traffic or an oncoming car or truck can be blown into you. Second, you can drive into a dirt storm created by the wind picking up a lot of the top soil in the fields. This dirt is traveling so fast it is like driving through a sandblaster. I once foolishly drove through a wall of dirt that rose to a height of about 1,000 feet and at least ten miles wide. I was lucky because it was only about 50 feet thick so I drove out of it quickly.

The last thing to fear is the herds of wild tumbleweeds. They can be anywhere from dodgeballs to beachballs or larger in size. They travel in packs of 20 to 30 in number. As you drive you can see them off in the distance tumbling quickly across the fields, racing toward the highway. When they reach the road they throw themselves onto the blacktop and skidder across it to the other side in their mad dash to Canada. Even when the road drops in between two berms the tumbleweeds keep coming, not even pausing as they fling themselves off the top of the berm in a suicidal plunge to the tarmac below. As they hit the asphalt they bounce high off the road and into wall of the berm on the other side, only to be tangled up in the mass of tumbleweeds that have made the jump before them.

This can be exciting to watch but since they are tumbling blind they sometimes cross the road so close to the front end of your car you end up smashing into them and they then get caught in the under carriage of the car body. Or they slam into the side of the car with a loud, "Thunk," and disintegrate. Later, when you reach home, you'll find sections of broken tumbleweeds wedged between the front grill and the radiator. Smaller pieces, from when the weeds slammed into the side of your car, will fall out of the cracks in the doors. All in all, the experience is pretty exhausting.

Since the wind is still blowing I am staying another day. Hopefully, I can drive home tomorrow.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Pop Quiz

True Or False?

A mixture of aspirin and Coca-Cola will get you high.

(Everyone will be graded on the curve.)


Wednesday, September 15, 2004


The reward of a thing well done, is to have done it.
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

All work done mindfully rounds us out, helps complete us as persons.
-Marsha Sinetar

There is no substitute for hard work.
-Thomas Edison

Nothing is really work unless you would rather be doing something else.
-J.M. Barrie

Having once decided to achieve a certain task, achieve it at all cost of tedium and distaste. The gain in self-confidence of having accomplished a tiresome labor is immense.
-Thomas Arnold Bennett

I am now half way through Step Two on my porch project and feel good about both that and what I am accomplishing-It's a nice feeling. But, my, my, is it tiring me out.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Never Start Something You Can't Finish

Never start something you don't want to finish.

I am still at step one of my porch resurfacing project..... I am in home improvement hell.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Pop Culture

Elvis died in the Army.
- John Lennon on Elvis Presley's death

The beginning stages of this is what I have been doing all day. It is one of the summer projects I had hoped to get done by the end of August. What I did all afternoon yesterday is one of the reasons why I am behind. Every now and then I like to type a topic into Google and see where it takes me. Yesterday I typed in "pop culture" and these are some of the sites I visited and/or learned something from:

1.The False Advertising Gallery. Click on "view contents" and then the word "oil" in column one and the word "clean" in column five for two of my favorite ads.

2. Do you ever think about an actor you haven't seen in awhile and wonder where they are? I found this article about the 1970's show Get Christy Love and was saddened to read that the star, Teresa Graves, had died in a house fire back in 2002 at the fifty-four. Get Christ Love was on for one season and I only saw a couple of episodes but I do remember her from Laugh-In.

3. Confused by some of the things mentioned in the songs recorded by The Beatles? How To Speak Beatlish can help you.

4. Want to see a photo of the first IBM Portable Computer? (click on IBM5100 in Timeline) It weighed 55 pounds and cost just this side of $20,000. At that weight and price I bet it wasn't flying off the shelves.

5. Evidence that people collect everything including TV Tickets. You know, the tickets that the networks hand out so they will have an audience for their life shows. Did you know you could have seen the Beatles or Elvis for free at one time?
(Scroll down to the bottom of the TV Tickets page to see proof.)

6. For my readers in Britain. Did you know that a pilot for an American version of Red Dwarf was filmed? It was called Red Dwarf USA (Again scroll down to the bottom of the linked page). It didn't work out. In fact, it didn't work out twice.

Now, about that John Lennon quote at the top of the page. I bought three new CD's last week and have been playing them almost constantly. They are, Wanda Jackson's Queen Of Rockabilly , Very Best of Ray Charles, and Elvis 56.

Wanda Jackson is a country/western singer who, back in the 1950's, got interested in Rock and Roll. Thank God for that. Man, is she good. She is so good that back then she was know as "the female Elvis." If you don't believe me just listen to her versions of Riot In Cellblock #9 and Money Honey.

As you know Ray Charles died last June. I had forgotten this until I walked into the music section of Barnes and Noble. Copies of Very Best Of Ray Charles were the first thing you saw as you entered the store. I felt the pain again as I remembered he was gone. I love this man's voice and think he and Hoagy Carmichael (the man who wrote the music) recorded the best versions of Georgia On My Mind. Great CD.

I've never been a Elvis fan and never could understand why people thought he was so great. The Elvis I knew was the one from his movies and the guy with no taste in the white jumpsuit. Then I picked up Elvis 56 and saw the light. All recordings were made in 1956 the year he was picked up by RCA. This is Elvis rougher than he was later in life. The later stuff, after the army, doesn't compare. Lennon's remark now makes sense.

Bonus link
Hey, Elsie, this is for you.

Friday, September 10, 2004

What's In The Salad?

-B. Kliban

I knew I was right about the Carrots and Raisins (aka Carrots and Rabbit Turds) salad they served in the lunchroom cafeteria at school!

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Dog Day


My dog Emma is very good at finding other animals on her daily runs. She has found snakes, turkeys, deer, mice, squirrels, badgers, fish, frogs, turtles, and lizards. Yesterday, she found an abandoned puppy. My husband said she was barking at a yucca bush and he, worried that she had found a snake, rushed over to keep her from being bit. When he got about two steps away from the bush he saw a black and white terrier puppy laying on the ground under the bush. The second the dog saw him it ran over to him with its tail wagging. My husband put the puppy and our dogs in the truck and drove around, stopping at all the farmhouses he could see from the spot where he found the dog. He asked anyone he met if the dog belonged to them. No. One of the farmers did say a lot of dogs were abandoned where my husband found the puppy.

We took the puppy to an animal shelter run by a woman who lives in the town 30 miles south of us. We had heard good things about her. She told us she would find the puppy a nice home and that she was very careful about who she gave dogs too. But first she would deworm him and give him the shots she was sure he hadn't had yet. We estimated his age at 11 weeks. I felt good about leaving the puppy with her.

On the way back home we stopped to look at a newly built adobe-style house just outside our town. When we turned into the driveway we saw someone spraying the ground with a garden hose at some outbuildings about 50 yards from the house and drove over to him. As we got closer I was dismayed to see the buildings housed dogs, lots and lots of dogs. It was a puppy mill. The woman who lived in the house told us she bred the puppies to sell in Denver.

On the evening news they ran a story about a company in California that is going to clone cats and dogs. Starting at $50,000 for cats (more for dogs) you can have your pet copied. The company is calling itself Pet Savings and Clone.

These stories tell us disturbing things about both our society and our views on animals. Right now I cannot face this. I just wanted to write these stories down and get them out of my head.

Monday, September 06, 2004

Suffer The Little Children

School standoff in Russia ends; at least 250 killed

-Rocky Mountain News, Saturday, September 4, 2004

Grief, blame in Russia
Death in school siege top 350; angry Putin rips security services

-Rocky Mountain News, Sunday, September 5, 2004

Russia buries victims of school hostage horror
Search on for 180 missing

-Rocky Mountain News, Monday, September 6, 2004

The genocidal war against the people of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria and the criminal-terrorist policy of the Kremlin regime are the detonator for destabilization in the entire Caucasus and in Russia itself. The countless crimes against humanity, committed by Russia on Caucasian soil, are making possible desperate, inhuman reciprocal steps, like today's action by people who have lost their senses because of grief and losses, because of cynicism and injustice.
-Umar Khanbiyev, General Representative of the President of the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria

Man aggresses not only out of frustration and fear but out of joy, plenitude, love of life. Men kill lavishly out of the sublime joy of heroic triumph over evil... Most men will not usually kill unless it is under the banner of some kind of fight against evil...I think it is time for social scientists to catch up with Hitler as a psychologist, and to realize that men will do anything for heroic belonging to a victorious cause if they are persuaded about the legitimacy of that cause.
-Ernest Becker, Escape from Evil

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Baby, I'm Back! *

See you in September
See you when the summer's through...
Will I see you in September
Or lose you
To a summer love?

-See You In September by S. Wayne and S. Edward sung by The Tempos

Well, did everyone have a good summer? I did, thank you. Staying away from the blogging community wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. There were times I wanted to check other people's blogs or write about something that had happened in the world on my own blog but each time I managed to grab the thought by the throat and wrestle it into submission. The closer I got to the end of my time-out the harder it became but now the waiting is over and I'm back.

I've been mulling over how to jump back into this blogging thing and I thought I would begin by writing about some of the things I would have written about if I had been blogging this summer. But I also want to catch up on all the other blogs I usually read and I know that doing both will take some time so here is the plan. This week I spend my time reading blogs and next week I start writing again. So instead of my thoughts on the things that happened while I was gone I have found other thoughts that reflect mine and have linked to them. In no particular order:

1. In July the Democratic National Convention put on the same old high school pep rally as usual("We're going to win! We're going to win!"), only they had more money to spend than most high schools do.(The Republican convention is going on as I type-same show-different cast.) The most interesting part of the Democratic convention was the speech by Illinois State Senator Barack Obama. He started talking and it was "I Had A Dream" time. This is what a speech should be; one that gives you hope and touches your soul.

2. Ronald Reagan died.

3. The amazing Julia Child died.

4. Fay Wray died. For those of you too young to know, she was in the original King Kong.

5. The opening and closing ceremonies of the Olympics were wonderful. Just the way we (USA) would have done it if we (USA) had taste. The television coverage of it here was a different story.

6.(Sigh) George Bush. Just a couple of things here, not going to go over the same-old-same-old stuff.

First, from the "Civil Rights? You Don't Need No Stinking Civil Rights!" file.

Next, Michael Moore released a tape of Bush's nominee for head of the CIA, Porter Goss, talking about how he is unqualified to work for the CIA.

7. Only saw one new movie this summer but I seem to have had a good reason.

The Bad Review Revue at Defective Yeti :
June here and here.
July here.
August here, here and, here.

Finally, this quote from Anchorman director Adam McKay about actor Will Ferrell, "Will's a master at playing mediocre American men, quys who aren't as great as they think they are, like George W. Bush."

Tuesday, June 01, 2004


All I ever wanted
Had to get away

-Go Go's

After a lot of thought I have decide to stop blogging for the summer. Saturday I pulled the postponement card out of the tarot deck again. I have big project that I have been meaning to do but I realize now that I have been sidetracked by blogging. Reading other people's blogs and writing my own is taking up more of my time than I was willing to admit. I think the only way I can get what I want to do done is by not blogging for awhile. And the only way I am going to stop blogging is by quitting cold turkey. Seen you all at the end of summer or at the end of my project- which ever comes first.

Have a great summer everyone.

Remember,the blogs listed in the sidebar are worth a read too. Check them out.

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Chainbloging: "a sky full of stars"

I grew up in Denver, Colorado not thinking about how the sky looked. It was just there, blue in the daytime and black at night. People from out of state would always talk about the sky. They would marvel at how bright the sunlight was and how blue the sky. At night they would stare in wonder at the heavens and say something about how the stars looked close enough to touch. It wasn't until my husband and I moved to Florida that I understood what people were talking about.

My husband got a job in Tampa and we made the trip to our new home by car. We were almost at the end of our long drive when we stopped at a restaurant in Jacksonville for a late dinner. As I got out of the car I looked up at the night sky and froze. Something was wrong with it. It wasn't black enough and it wasn't deep enough. I also noticed there weren't enough stars in this strange sky and the stars that were there were farther away than they should have been. Also, they didn't look right, they looked as if they were underwater. Then I understood.

I was looking at stars that were now a mile farther away from me than they had been in Denver. I was also looking at them through an atmosphere that was more dense and humid that skies above Denver. "My" stars looked like flicks of white paint on a board painted jet black. These stars were smaller flicks of white paint on black velvet.

I never did get used to that velvet night sky. When we moved back to Denver a year later I was happy. That first night back in Denver I looked up at a sky full of stars close enough to touch and I knew I was home.

This is part of a chain of posts linked together by word association. The previous link in the chain was here. If you want to write another link here's what to do: Find a word, phrase or theme from this post to inspire your own and go and write it. It's that simple. Try not to write something that's similar to this post. That way the subject of the posts along the chain will vary. E.g. if I write about going to the doctor's, then don't talk about the last time you were ill, instead describe how you used to play Doctors and Nurses with the girl next door. Get the idea? Your post can be in any style you want. Copy this paragraph and tack it onto the end of your post, updating the link to point here, then leave a comment here that points to your new post.