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.