Thursday, December 29, 2005

Christmas Past

When children are very small they do not remember things that happen from year to year too well. Each Christmas is a new experience to them for at least the first four or five years of their lives. I had forgotten this fact until my niece came over to my house at Christmas when she was three-years-old. At the time her mother was a Jehovah's Witness which, as you know, meant my sister did not celebrate Christmas.

When my niece first saw my tree that year she stopped dead in her tracks and just stared at it in wonder. It was seven feet tall and must have seem huge to her. From her point of view it must have been an impressive tree what with all the tinsel, ornaments, and colored lights I had put on it. She stood in front of it with her head tilted back and eyes opened wide. She stayed where she was for a minute and then noticed the nativity scene I had set-up under the tree and squatted down to examine Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, the donkey, the lamb, the shepherd carrying the baby lamb, and the three wise men. Those must have been more interesting than the tree because she studied them all very carefully.

After a bit she turned her head to look up at me and then turned back to the figurines. Without taking her eyes off the small grouping under the tree she slowly got up and started inching backward toward me. When her back pressed against my leg she reached her hand around to grab my pant leg and asked, "Aunt Colleen, can I play with your Jehovah toys?"

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Happy Holiday

Happy holiday, happy holiday
While the merry bells keep ringing
May your ev'ry wish come true

Happy holiday, happy holiday
May the calendar keep bringing
Happy holidays to you

Guess what I got for Christmas?

Hint: Go to Friday, December 16th, and click on link.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

On The First Day Of Christmas...

It is also the begining of Chanukah.

Happy Chanukah

I have a little dreidel
I made it out of clay
And when it's dry and ready
Then, dreidel I shall play.

Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel
I made it out of clay
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel
Now dreidel we shall play.

It has a lovely body
With legs so short and thin
And when it gets all tired
It drops and then I win.

My dreidel is so playful
It loves to dance and spin
A happy game of dreidel

Come play, now let's begin.
I made it out of clay
And when it's dry and ready
Then, dreidel I shall play.

Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel
I made it out of clay
Oh, dreidel, dreidel, dreidel
Now dreidel we shall play.

It has a lovely body
With legs so short and thin
And when it gets all tired
It drops and then I win

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Let your heart be light
From now on
our troubles will be out of sight

Have yourself a merry little Christmas
Make the Yule-tide gay
From now on
our troubles will be miles away

Here we are as in olden days
Happy golden days of yore
Faithful friends who are dear to us
Gather near to us once more

Through the years
We all will be together
If the Fates allow
Hang a shining star upon the highest bough.
And have yourself
A merry little Christmas now

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Time And Tide...

wait for no man.
-English proverb

Or woman. I just realized that Tuesday, December 20th was the third anniversary of my blog. ("I've be doing this that long?") Today I scanned my archives and am surprised my the number of different things I wrote about over these last three years; politics, news, weather, family, friends, people, growing up in Denver, memes, vacations, books, and my trip to Spain. There is more variety there than I thought. I also discovered a few things I wrote about that I did not finish or did not update in future posts. I owe you stories about:

1. How my dog Duke is settling in and what Emma has to do with it.
2. The rest of "All My Children Do The Best They Can."
3. What happened to the dogs that were living across the alley from me.
4. And one more angel story.
5. What happened to Lisa and rest of her Hurricane Katrina story.*

I will try to get these done after the holidays.

* Later Addition

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Free Day

I am doing my pre-Christmas house cleaning today. So no real post just pictures and a question. When did U.S. postage stamps start looking like stickers for a kid's sticker book?

(Left to right, top to bottom: 1953 Studebaker Starliner, 1955 Ford Thunderbird, 1954 Kaiser Darrin, 1953 Chevrolet Corvette, 1955 Ford Thunderbird, 1952 Nash Healey, 1953 Chevrolet Corvette, 1953 Studebaker Starliner, and large 1953 Chevrolet Corvette)

Note:Go to the Postal Service site and click on any one of the stamps to see a larger photo.

Monday, December 19, 2005

It's Meme Time

What time did you get up this morning?

Seven o'clock, when the morning siren went off. No, when the dogs next door started barking when the morning siren went off.

Diamonds or pearls?

I know diamonds are a girl's best friend but after reading an article in National Geographic about how diamonds are mined, I'll say pearls.

What was the last film you saw at the cinema?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

What is your favourite TV show?

I guess that would be the ones I record; Cold Case, CSI, and ER.

What do you usually have for breakfast?


Favourite cuisine?


What food do you dislike?

Brussels sprouts and cauliflower, yuck!

What is your favourite CD at the moment?

Holiday Legends: Merry Christmas, Baby

Morning or night person?

Well, I love early morning but I hate getting up for it. What does that tell you?

Favourite sandwich?

Tuna salad on toast with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and mayo.

What characteristic do you despise?

In what, a car? If so, the way they pollute.

Favourite item of clothing?

Depends on the weather. Right now it is my goosedown parka.

If you could go anywhere in the world on vacation, where would it be?


What colour is your bathroom?

White with white accents.

Favourite brand of clothing?

I don't have one but I always buy Levi jeans.

Where would you retire to?

My plan is to travel the world living in a different major city each year.

What was your most memorable birthday?

Either the year I got a tattoo or the year I jumped out of an airplane.

Favourite sport to watch?

American football when they are playing outside and it is either snowing or raining or very windy or very cold. I like those guys to earn their money.

When is your birthday?

June 9th.

What is your shoe size?

A seven in America and a 37 1/2 in Europe.


No, thank you, I already have two.

Any new and exciting news you'd like to share with us?

Can't think of anything right now.

What did you want to be when you were little?

Bigger. I was the smallest kid in all my classes until I reached junior high school.

What is your favourite flower?

The sunflower.

What date on the calendar you are looking forward to?

January 20th, 2009, when Bush will no longer be president.

One word to describe the person who you snaffled this from?


Saturday, December 17, 2005

Do Not Seek Death

Death will find you.
-Dag Hammarskjold

Today is the anniversary of my father's death. I would not be thinking about it if my younger sister had not called yesterday and asked me what date our father had died. I could not remember and said it had to be sometime soon because I did remember that his body had been found on our older sister's birthday.

My father spent his life running away from things. He ran away from home and joined the Navy at sixteen. He ran away (went AWOL) many, many times while in the Navy. He ran away from his first wife. He ran away from is second wife, my mother. He ran away from us, his children. He ran away from his third family after it became apparent that he had never divorced my mother before remarrying again. Then finally, at the age of 46, he ran away from life.

That was not his first attempt at suicide, just the last. My first memory is linked to one of his attempts. It's not a conscious memory and I did not know it was there until my sister told me this story that our mother had told her.

When my mother was pregnant with my brother she and my father were living with my father's mother. One day my father was arguing with his mother and lost it. He struck both her and my mother and then forced them out of the house. My mother managed to grab my older sister and me on the way out. She and my grandmother stood outside the house listening to the sound of glass breaking. Over my grandmother's objections my mother went to the house next door and called the police. When the police arrived and entered the house they found it empty with every mirror broken. It seems my father had put his fist through them all before running away. They started searching for my father and found him lying in a nearby field. He had tried to kill himself.

As my sister told me this story I could feel my body tense up and my heart beat faster. I felt light headed and a sense of dread, anxiety, sorrow, and confusion washed over me. I thought, "Oh, God, I remember this," but the memory wasn't in my brain. It was in my body. I tried to think how old I would have been when this happened and, depending on how far alone my mother was in her pregnancy, I realized I could not have been more than eighteen-months-old.

There were many attempts after that but only a few stick in my memory. I remember walking home from school one day at the age of ten and seeing an ambulance parked in front of my house. The ambulance attendants were carrying a gurney with my father on it down the front steps. I knew in an instant what was happening and slowed down to a crawl, hoping my father and the ambulance would be gone before I reached home. The next memory was three years later. My father decide to try and kill himself while my mother was in the hospital having surgery. I remember saying to the policeman putting my brother, sisters, and me into a squadcar to take us to a foster home, "No, you don't understand. I can take care of them." I was the one who did not understand. There was no way that they were going to leave three children ages eleven, eight, and two in the care of their thirteen-year-old sister.

In all the attempts before the last one my father always made sure someone was around to find him before it was to late. On the day he died he checked into a room with a kitchenette in a cheap motel somewhere in Los Angeles, far away from his home near Seattle, Washington. Inside that room he got drunk, took pills, and turned on the oven gas. His body was found two days later.

When I heard my father was dead I said,"Good. He can't hurt anyone, including himself, any more," but now, I feel sorry for the poor son-of-a-bitch. Nobody deserves to die the way he did- spiritually lost, forgotten, and all alone.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Books I Have Read More Than Once (7)

Cherry Ames Nursing series by Helen Wells and Julie Tatham

I remember going to the Goodwill store that used to be in an old warehouse on the corner of Blake Street and Park Avenue in lower downtown Denver with my mother to shop. One day I found a book with the title, Cherry Ames Senior Nurse. On the title page were the words:
This book, while produced under wartime conditions, in full compliance with government regulations for the conservation of paper and other essential materials, is COMPLETE AND UNABRIDGED

The pages were yellow and the book had the musty, dirty smell that only very old books get but I decided I wanted to read it and asked my mother if she would buy it for me. Since it was only a quarter she said yes.

When I finished reading the book I knew I wanted to read the other books in the series. I was interested in medicine and the archaic world that Cherry lived in fascinated me. I read most of the Cherry Ames books; some were good, some were just so-so. It wasn't until later that I found out that the ones I found to be so-so were written by Julie Tatham.

I used the cover from Cherry Ames Department Store Nurse here because it is a good example of what I mean about the archaic world Cherry lives in. What department store has a nurse on duty these days? What nurse would be caught dead in that uniform today? You just know she is wearing white stockings and shoes with it.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

When I Am An Old Woman I Shall Wear Purple

With a red hat which doesn't go and doesn't suit me
-Jenny Joseph

I don't know whether or not you have heard of the poem When I Am Old, but a lot of woman have and it has touched them deeply. The poem is one woman's musings about how she will live her life when she is old and has reached the "I don't give a damn, I'm doing what I want" stage of her life. This poem has struck a cord with so many women over the age of 50 that a club called The Redhat Society (aka Red Hatters) has been formed with chapters all over the world.

My dog Kate is old. In people years she is about 65 and when I look closely at her face I can see that the white fur of age on her muzzle is creeping up her cheeks and getting closer to her eyes. She is slightly deaf and her eyes are starting to cloud over with the beginning signs of cataracts. She has a hard time getting to her feet after hunting hard and wakes up kind of stiff each morning. She moves a little slower now and her favorite pass time when not hunting is lying on an old pink and purple comforter just inside the garage door watching the squirrels run up and down the telephone pole that stands just on the other side of the alley wall.

She also seems not to listen very well anymore and at first I thought it was because of her slight hearing loss. One day on a walk she found something frozen and what she thought was tasty in an alley and rushed over to pick it up and chew on it. I made her drop it and come back to me and we continue on our way. The next day, on another walk, Kate was walking sedately beside as we headed back home when she suddenly took off down the sidewalk and ran into the street. I chased after her yelling at her to stop but she kept running and disappeared between two houses. I ran after her and just when I reached the first house she came racing back out and stopped in the middle of the street. She had something in her mouth and dropped part of it on the ground. It was that tasty frozen thing she had found in the alley the day before. I again told her no and made her spit out the rest and we continued home. I was shocked and surprised that she ran off like that, she had never done anything like this in her life.

Now I see the problem is her attitude. She has reached the "I don't give a damn, I'm doing what I want" stage of her life. Is there a doggie chapter of the Red Hatters?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Can You Skate?

"Oh, just a little." Clunk, clunk,clunk...CRASH, clunk,clunk,clunk.
-Sonja Henie in all her movies.

Writing about John Lennon's death got me thinking about that apartment my sister lived in on West 53th Street. I remember when she moved into the building it was not completely finished. Some of the apartments where still being worked on and all the hallway floors were cement because no carpeting had been put down yet. One Sunday we took a tour of the building and noticed that most of the unoccupied apartments on the upper floors were unlocked so we decided to check them out. We walked through a few looking at how they were laid-out, what the views were, how many bedrooms they had, and how big they were.

Note: This was the beginning of the Eighties and roller skating was very big. My sister and I both had skates and every once in a while we would put them on and skate over to Central Park. This was before inline skates. The ones we had were like figure skates with four skateboard wheels on them. The kind of skates that you lace up. The kind that always made your feet go numb if you laced them tight enough to feel secure in them.

While we were walking around we also noticed that all the apartments had nice, new wood floors. Nice, new, smooth wood floors. Nice, new, smooth wood floors in every empty room of every empty apartment. Nice, new, smooth wood floors that we knew would be great to skate on.

We went back to my sister's apartment, put our skates on, and then took the elevator to the top floor. We started at the south end of the building on each floor. We would put our ear to the door of an apartment and if we did not her any noise coming from inside we would quietly turn the doornob and push the door open. If the apartment was unoccupied, and most were, we skated inside and through all the rooms including the bathrooms. When we closed the door to the last apartment on a floor we would skate back to the elevator and ride down to the next floor. We skated our way through and down the building. When we reached the basement we skated around the laundry room. Then we rode the elevator back up to my sister's apartment and called it a day.

(Ah, to be young and stupid again.)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Books I Have Read More Than Once (6)

The First Third by Neal Cassady and On The Road by Jack Kerouac

The First Third, back cover:

Before he died in Mexico in 1968, just four days short of his 44th birthday, Neal Cassady had written the jacket blurb for this book: "Seldom has there been a story of a man so balled up. No doubt many reader will not believe the veracity of the author, but I assure these doubting Thomases that every incident, as such, is true..."

I read this book before I read On The Road. When I bought the book I thought of it as just a book about growing-up in Denver. I had no idea that Neal Cassady was a cult figure and one of the main characters in Jack Kerouac's book. Cassady spent most of his younger childhood in lower downtown Denver living with his father on Larimer Street; which at the time was Denver's skidrow. Most of that area had been torn down in a major urban renewal project when I was a kid but enough remained that I could follow young Neal as he made his mad dash through the streets of Denver.

On The Road, back cover:

"Jack Kerouac's On the Road was the Huckleberry Finn of the mid-twentieth century. Kerouac substituted the road for the river, the fast car for the slow raft, the hipster in search of freedom for the black slave in search of freedom....While Huck and Jim were floating down America's mile-wide aorta, while Sal Paradise and Dean Moriaarty were roaring across America's heart, they were helping to change the course of American prose."
-Aaron Latham, The New York Time Book Review

On The Road is a strange book for me. I've read it about four times but I can not give you a summary of the basic storyline because I don't really remember it. I can only repeat a line from the movie Animal House,"Road trip." For me Jack Kerouac is like Ernest Hemingway, someone I am told is a great writer but who's works mostly leave me cold. I think I keep rereading On The Road hoping that someday I will stumble across the reason why Kerouac is held in such reverence.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Books I Have Read More Than Once (5)

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

This is the story of the Battle of Gettysburg told from the viewpoints of Robert E. Lee and James Longstreet and some of the other men who fought there.

Stephen Crane once said that he wrote The Red Badge Of Courage because reading the cold history was not enough; he wanted to know what it was like to be there, what the weather was like, what men's faces looked like. In order to live it he had to write it. This book was written for much the same reason
-Michael Shaara

The cover of this copy of the book has a quote from General H. Norman Schwarzkopf:"The best and most realistic historical novel about war I have ever read." Well, I could not say if it is or is not the most realistic historical novel about war but I can say it is one of the most realistic historical novels I've ever read. Before reading this novel I read a few non-fiction books about the Battle of Gettysburg so I understood why this battle is considered the turning point of the American Civil War. It wasn't until after I read this book that I understood why one person has called that battle "America's Armageddon."

Friday, December 09, 2005

Books I Have Read More Than Once (4)

The Catcher In The Rye by J.D. Salinger and Shoeless Joe by W. P. Kinsella

The Catcher In The Rye, back cover:
This is one of the most remarkable books published in years. It is the story of sixteen-year-old Holden Caulfield, who wants desperately to find himself, but who goes underground in New York for forth-eight hours when he is overwhelmed by the perplexing circumstances of his life.

I first read The Catcher In The Rye when I was in the eighth grade. I was so caught up in the book I started reading it at school. I would read it at lunch and squeeze a page or two in while waiting for each one of my seven classes to start. It's funny how a book changes as you change. When I first read the book at thirteen I thought Holden was so cool and mature. When I read it again in my twenties I thought he was an obnoxious, pretentious, little twerp. I reread it again about five years ago and felt only pity for this lost young man trying to find his way in an adult world that had let him down.

Shoeless Joe, front flap of book:
One summer evening while sitting on his porch, Ray hears the disembodied voice of a baseball announcer saying, "If you build it, he will come." "He," Ray somehow knows is Shoeless Joe Jackson, his hero, who was thrown out of profession baseball as a result of the 1919 "Black Sox" scandal. "It" is a baseball stadium, to be built in Ray's cornfield. He builds the stadium and anxiously awaits Shoeless Joe's appearance.

But Ray's adventures have just begun. Next, the voice tells him to "ease his pain," and he knows the pain is that of J.D. Salinger, the famous reclusive author.

Shoeless Joe is a beautifully written and descriptive book. Each time I read it I wonder just who the voice is talking about when he says, "If you build it, he will come." Is he talking about Shoeless Joe, J.D. Salinger, or someone else? When the voice tells Ray to "ease his pain," again I wonder, is he talking about Shoeless Joe, J.D. Salinger, or someone else? Is it possible the voice means Ray himself?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Beautiful, Beautiful Boy

Today is the 25th anniversary of the death of John Lennon. I had forgotten this until I visited Blue Witch's blog this morning. Her entry today is about John Lennon's death and tells where she was and how she felt when she heard he had been murdered. She then asked her readers if they remembered what they were doing on that day. I started to add my comment to the others when I realized it was turning into a novel so I decided to move my reply over here to my own blog.

I was going to school in New York and staying with my sister at her apartment on West 53 Street and 8th Avenue when John Lennon died. My sister's apartment was on the westside of the building facing 9th Avenue and up high. I remember that we were always hearing the wail of a police car or an ambulance siren whenever one raced to Roosevelt Hospital up on West 59th Street and 10 Avenue. In fact, the sound of sirens was such a part of living in the apartment, I quickly got to the point where the sound of them failed to register in my conscious mind.

I heard about the shooting from the television soon after John Lennon was shot and then, not much later, the news of his death. The news reports were being done from outside of Roosevelt Hospital and as I watched I knew I had probably heard the siren of the police car that brought him there but that, as usually, the sound of it had not gotten past my subconscious mind. I remember being shocked by the news that John Lennon had died but at the same time I felt removed from it.

The next day I heard that people were gathering in front of the Dakota apartment building and toyed with the idea of going up there myself but in the end decided not to because it didn't feel like the right thing to do. Years later I read an article on John Lennon's death and in it Yoko Ono said one of the hardest thing for her in the days after her husband's murder was hearing the sound of his voice floating up from the radios being played loudly by the people gathered in the street below.

In the early Eighties cable television was fairly new and some channels just transmitted blue screens with text scrolling down it. For sound they tapped into some radio station's broadcast. The night following Lennon's death I had the TV on one of those channels while reading and I heard the announcer say that the next song was being played in memory of John Lennon. That was the first time I ever heard Beautiful, Beautiful Boy and as Lennon's voice filled the room I felt an overwhelming sense of lost and sadness. At the end of the song I heard John Lennon whisper, "Goodnight, Sean, see you in the morning," and my heart shattered. At that moment I knew if John Lennon wasn't safe in this world then none of us were, and I broke down into deep heart wrenching sobs; grieving my loss, a little boy's loss, and the world's loss.

Close your eyes, have no fear,
The monster's gone, he's on the run,
And your daddy's here.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy.

Before you go to sleep, say a little prayer,
Every day, in every way
It's getting better and better.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy.

Out on the ocean, sailing away,
I can hardly wait to see you come of age
But I guess we'll both just have to be patient.
'Cause it's a long way to go,
A hard row to hoe,
Yes, it's a long way to go but in the meantime.

Before you cross the street, take my hand,
Life is what happens to you
While you're busy making other plans.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy.
Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy.

Before you go to sleep, say a little prayer,
Every day, in every way
It's getting better and better.

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy.
Darling, darling, darling, darling, Sean.

Good night, Sean,
See you in the morning.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Books I Have Read More Than Once (3)

Brian Wildsmith's Mother Goose: A collection of nursery rhymes
Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner,
Eating a Christmas pie;
He put in his thumb,
And pulled out a plum,
And said, What a good boy am I!

I don't know how many times I read this book to my niece when she was just a small fry. She enjoyed the rhymes and we both enjoyed the art work that Mr. Wildsmith created to illustrate them.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Book I Have Read More Than Once (2)

Seeing is Believing:How Hollywood taught us to stop worrying and love the Fifties by Peter Biskind

From back cover:
Reading Biskind's book is like putting on 3-D glasses: we see a different and exhilarating image of movies we thought we knew. A fascinating and incisive analysis of how the political and social ideas of the Eisenhower-Stevenson decade were reflected in movies audiences thought of as merely entertainments.
-Aljean Harmetz, author and Hollywood correspondent for The New York Times

That's just what I was going to write! I'm the kind of person who always watches DVD's twice, once to see the movie and a second time to see it with the audio commentary track on. Reading this book is like doing the same thing in print.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Books I've Read More Than Once

Time And Again:An illustrated novel by Jack Finney

Einstein's theory of time was that we are like people in a boat drifting along a winding river. We see the present, but the past and the future are hidden around the curves. Still, they are there. How would it be if one could step out of the boat and walk back around the bend to the past? This is what Si Morley does in Time and Again.
-front flap

This is my second copy of the book. I lost the first copy when I gave it to one of the pilots at Pioneer Airways. He was doing an overnight and realized he had nothing to read. Soon after this the airline went under and I never got the book back. I found this copy at the Old Algonquin Bookstore out on East Colfax. The author John Dunning owned the store and when I brought the book up to the counter to pay for it he told me that Time And Again was the only book by another author that he wished he had written himself.

I have always been fascinated by the concept of time travel. Finney's premise is that Einstein is right, we can step out of the boat and on to the shore. The only thing keeping us in the present is the billions of invisible threads of fact that bind us to "now." Cut these threads and time travel is possible. Simon Morley goes back to 1882 New York City and becomes involved in something he doesn't really understand until it's almost to late.

It's a wonderful book. Each time I read it I get lost in the past that Finney has recreated. It may be time to read it again.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Mekka Lekka Hi, Mekka Hiney Ho

-Jambi, the Genie on Pee-wee's Playhouse.

This has been a long, long week. Driving home from Denver was nerve racking because of the high winds. When we stopped at Limon, Co to walk the dogs my husband overheard some truckers say they thought the highway was going to be closed again because it was getting too dangerous to drive. They were wrong. Even though the trip home took a lot longer because of the winds we made it safely.

When we did reach town we found very little snow but signs that a storm had been through the area. The most interesting aftermath was the four inch wide snow/ice stripe down the northside of any telephone pole, street light, or tree that was in the direct path of the 30 to 50 mile-an-hour winds. We also learned that at least 200 people where stranded in town for the two days that the highways were closed. They put them up in the high school gym and in homes throughout town. The storm closed our schools and most business but the grocery store was opened so people could get food and the movie theater ran the movie Chicken Little to give people something to do while they waited for the highway to open.

Yesterday I worked all day at the library and had one of those "woooo" moments. A woman walked in and handed me one of our children's book and ask if it was over due. I flipped it open and saw it was stamped December 13th and told her this, wondering why she even asked. Looking kind of confused she said fine and then walked away. I closed the book and glanced down at the cover as I started to toss it into the book drop and froze with the book in my hand.

Last year, right after my brother-in-law's parents were killed, I told the story of opening a children's book and seeing the name of my brother-in-law's mother typed inside. Yesterday the same thing happened, only her name (really the author's name) was written across the front of the book. You may think this is not too strange since I do work at a library and I do check books in and out and you would be right except for two things. First, I am a substitute librarian and only work about 30 days spread though out the year. Second, we have about 500 children's books and most of those books are checked-out on Tuesdays and Thursdays during Story Hour. The way the four and five year olds pick out their books is to run over to stacks and just grab two book from somewhere off the shelves and then bring them over to the counter to be stamped. All the books checked out on Story Hour day usually come back in the following Tuesday or Thursday. So the chances of me being there when a book with my sister's mother-in-law's name on it is checked out or in are very slim. Maybe she was just saying hello.

Oh, and about Jambi the Genie- I had a disturbing dream the other night that I cannot remember much of except that Jambi was in it and protecting me. In the dream I did not realize it was Jambi until right before I woke up because, unlike in the show, he had a body and was not just a head in a box. I wonder what the heck that was all about.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Still On The Road

A quick update. I expected to be home by now but a blizzard across the Eastern Colorado/Western Kansas plains has interrupted my travel plans. All roads out in that area were closed yesterday afternoon due to blowing snow. (that's bad) The TV news stations here in Denver had the usual story out of Limon, Colorado showing the truckers and holiday travelers stranded there. (that's amusing since it is not me) Interstate 70 is finally open from Denver all the way to the Kansas/Missouri boarder (that's good) but all of the roads intersecting with I-70 to about the center of Kansas are still closed.(that's bad) If they are not opened by noon Denver time we will be spending another day here. (that's good because if we do my sister and I will go see RENT)

Monday, November 21, 2005

Busy as A Bee

Busy as a beaver.

Busy as a cat on a hot tin roof.

Busy as a buzz saw in a pine knot.

Busy as a cross-eyed boy at a three-ring circus.

Busy as a one-armed paper hanger.

Busy as a three-headed cat at a fish market.

Busy as a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.

Busy as the piper's little finger (not).

Busier than a cat covering poop on a marble floor.

Me, the last few days and it's not going to end until after Thanksgiving.
Wishing all who celebrate, a Happy Thanksgiving Day.
I will be back next week.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"I'm Looking For A Book, I Don't Remember The Title But I Think It's A Blue Book."

-said to me by a customer when I worked at Doubleday Bookstore

I worked at the library today and fielded a lot of phone calls from people asking if we had a specific book. One conversation went like this:

Me: "Public Library, this is Colleen."

Shaky voice on phone: "I'm wondering if you have this book. It's called Wicca For Dummies. I'm sure it's about making candles. Can you get it for me?"

Me: (silence) I am trying to think of a way to tell this old lady that the book she is asking for is not about making candles but about the Wiccan religion.

Non-shaky voice on phone: "Colleen, it's me," then laughter.

It's my sister. I start laughing too. She got me.

Friday, November 11, 2005

And I Almost Forgot This..

Kansas education board backs doubting Darwinism. As usually, cartoonist Mike Keefe of the Denver Post expressed my feelings exactly.

The Weather's Changing

The clouds collect until there's no sky.
-Philip Levine


Whenever I bruise my muscles by overwork I find I am a little sore the next day but that the real pain doesn't hit until another day later. I see the same thing happens when I "bruise" my brain. I could not stay asleep last night and keep waking up with my mind racing and images of what had happened down on the river playing over and over in my head. Yesterday was a day spent reading or talking about the accident.

First, our weekly paper came out a day early with a big photo of the overturned sprayer plastered across the front page and me misquoted in the article. A lot of people wanted to talk to me about it- not the quote, the accident. Second, it turns out that the police did not make up a report (just some notes) or take pictures of the accident scene so the insurance people for the CO-OP (owner of the sprayer and Gary's employer) and the man driving the truck wanted to talk to me. I did not want to talk to them as I do not trust insurance companies but after finding out the police did not have a report I make two copies of my blog entry and gave one to each side. One of them wanted me to sign the copy I gave to him but I refused. I really do not want to help these guys but I know both the man in the truck and the man at the CO-OP who asked me if I would be willing to talk to their insurance people. If there had been a full police report I would have stayed out of it.

The sprayer is still in the river and what was left in the holding tank has been pumped out. The thing is, something did leak into the river. I saw it when I climbed up to the roadway after the accident. I ask someone what it was and they said it was an unknown chemical. Which means it was either a herbicide, insecticide, or a fertilizer. Later the CO-OP said the tank did not leak and what people saw in the river was liquid soap that is used in the spray arms. We did find out that the tank contained two very powerful herbicides called Roundup and Atrozine. I don't know what leaked into the river but those two things kill anything they touch so we will find out soon enough.

Gary Brown's funeral is next week and at first I thought I would go but now I am not sure. The farther I get away from the accident emotionally the less connected I feel to him. As I said before, I did not know Gary or any of his family and so I don't think I really belong there.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


This morning I found out Gary Brown had died in the helicopter on the way to Denver. People I have talked to are still reeling from this because no one thought he was hurt that badly. One of the firefighters who at been at the scene was stunned when he heard Gary had died because he had been talking to the man right up to the moment they put him into the ambulance. He was confidant that Gary would be OK. What none of us knew at the time is that Gary was bleeding internally as he lay in the cab. He had been given two units of blood at our small hospital before being airlifted out but they were racing against time. It was around 10:00 in the morning when he went off the bridge and the Flight For Life helicopter did not get to our town until 1:00 in the afternoon. The trip back to Denver would have taken about an hour and a half. All that time turned out to be time that Gary did not have.

I did not really think about what living out here in this little town meant before today. I do know we do not have to worry about crime here, as my husband says, it's not that we don't have crime it's just that we know who's doing it. We don't have to worry about air pollution or traffic jams either. We can be in the country just by walking five minutes when we step out our front door. We can keep the windows open at night in the summer, don't have to worry about noise or someone sneaking in. But now I see that any kind of serious accident, one that I would survive if I was in a big city, could kill me here.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Small Town Life

I walked my dogs down at the River Walk this morning and was on my way back to my truck when I heard someone yelling for help. Moments before, just when I had reached the spot on the trail were I could see the parking area, I had watched through the trees as something big came around the bend in the road above me heading toward the small bridge that crosses the river. (The road out of town climbs as it reaches the bridge and the parking area for the River Walk is just below where the bridge starts.) I was annoyed when I saw how fast this thing was moving because everyone seems to come around that bend at an unsafe speed. This is dangerous because there are trees on the south side of the road that block your view of the bridge.

When I saw this vehicle coming I looked around for my dogs to make sure they were not up on or near the road. Out of the corner of my eye I caught a blur of motion up on the road near the bridge and heard the crash of metal on metal. It was the same kind of noise that a big empty trailer makes when it bounces up in the air and slams back down after hitting a bump. Next there was this long pause of absolute silence and for some reason I found that more disconcerting than the loud crash.

I again looked around for my dogs and found them sniffing around the trees surrounding the parking area. I then glanced back up to the road and saw a white truck pulling a flatbed trailer with a load of hay bales piled on it stopped on the south side of the road and just east of the bridge. A man riding a bike was heading in the direction of the bridge. For a second I thought maybe the truck had almost hit the man on the bicycle. By that time I had reached my truck and starting calling my dogs. I heard the sound of running feet up on the road and saw the man who I thought was riding a bike race back from the bridge and down the side road that leads to the parking area. He was shouting for help. He got half way down the side road and then turned around and started running back up to the main road. I yelled out to him and he stopped, turned around, and ran back down to the parking area asking for help and saying he or it was in the river. I turned and started running toward the river and stopped short when I saw what was there.

A sprayer had gone off the bridge and was now lying on its right side in and across the water. I could hear someone screaming inside the wreckage. It took me a few seconds to understand what I was actually seeing. Something about those huge tires looming in the air above me seemed alien in a way. As I stood there wondering what to do I heard the man who ran down from the road say they had already called the police.

I turned around and ran back to the parking lot and quickly put my dogs in their kennel and then raced back to the river bank. I could still hear the man screaming so I knew he was alive but I was worried that the cab was submerged in the water and that he was in danger of drowning. I wasn't sure how I was going to get across the river without wading into it but then noticed that the rig had taken all of the bridge guardrail with it as it went over and a long section of it stretched across from my side of the river to the sprayer. I used the guardrail as a balance beam and carefully walked across it to the other bank.

I made my way through the brush and around the sprayer arm to the cab and found the driver. He had been throw out of his seat and now lay on his back across what was left of the cab, his head and shoulder propped up on what had been the passenger side roof. The shape of the cab had been so distorted by the impact with the ground that it looked like both seats were now jammed toward the driver's side of the cab. He was badly hurt and in pain. He wasn't wearing a seatbelt when he went off the bridge but seeing how the dashboard of the cab was now about six inches away from the driver's seat this probably kept him from loosing his legs.

He had a smear of blood on his forehead and a bloody scrape on his left ear. He told me that his shoulder was killing him, that his right leg was numb, and that his hip hurt. He was trying to get up but I told him not to move. Help was coming and I would stay there until it arrived. I spent my time with him keeping him still, talking to him, and picking broken bits of the windshield off his face and out of his ears. I also put my hat, the one I am wearing in the photo below, over his face to keep more pieces of glass and other debris from falling onto his face. It seem to take forever but help finally arrived and I got out of the way as the fire department and the paramedics tended to him. It took about 20-30 minutes to remove him from the cab.

From what he and the men in the truck told me, something like this happened. The man in the sprayer, the one I thought was traveling too fast, came around the bend just when the men in the truck pulling the bales of hay were on the bridge. The man in the sprayer said he had no brakes and "there wasn't enough room for both of us there." The man driving the truck steered as far to the right as he could and the sprayer started passing him but then the driver side spray arm caught on two of the bales of hay, pulling them off the trailer. The driver of the truck watched in the side view mirror as the sprayer hit the guardrail and then fall off the bridge.

They airlifted the poor man in the sprayer to Denver Swedish Hospital and say his condition is serious. He has a broken clavicle, broken ribs, a dislocated hip and right knee, and maybe a punctured lung.

While typing the above sentence my phone rang and when I answered it I learned the man in the sprayer, Gary Brown, had died.

I feel like I should have done more but I am also glad I was there when he needed me.

I really did think he was going to make it.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Life In The Big City

The flier said 10 p.m. sharp, but by 10 p.m. sharp last Friday, only a handful of pillow fighters had taken up positions on opposite sides of 13th Avenue at Washington Street, in front of Wax Trax. The trash-talking had begun in earnest, though, as the north-siders and south-siders prepared for battle. "They're just scared on the other side," said a man in a houndstooth jumpsuit who later identified himself as Wham-O the Magnificent. "Your mama was like, 'Oh, don't get hit by a pillow,'" he yelled across the street.

His taunt wasn't enough to deter the pillow-armed troops that were suddenly descending on the corner...

(the rest of the story)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I'm Home

And, God, I'm tired- emotionally, mentally, and physically.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Writing Love Letters In The Sand

Our mother and daughter reunion is winding down. Although our mother was not with us in body she definitely was with us in spirit. Sunday we sat around our sister's dining room table and wrote poems to her and then read what we had written out loud to each other. It was very healing, and sharing our poems seems to have brought us closer together.

Mom was like a bear because she was politically driven.
She is the color of the changing leaves in autumn,
She is like the wind as she breezes in.
She is the sound of the explosion of a cannon,
She smelled like the perfume smell of Liz Taylor,
She was as cold as ice.
She tasted like sweet coffee; lots of milk and sugar.
She was the daughter of struggle,
I wish I had been with her when she died.

My mother is like a humming bird,
flitting from one flower to another without staying long at any one.
My mother is the color of the undersides of storm clouds,
reflecting brilliant white one second and then swiftly changing to black the next.
My mother is like an earthquake who's ground I did not stand on securely. I never knew when that ground would crumble beneath me.
My mother is the sound of waves on the beach,
sometimes crashing over me and threatening to drown me;
other times gently massaging my toes.
My mother will always be the smell of Coty's Emeraude,
who's scent still brings back the feeling of pride I had whenever I saw her dressed to the nines.
My mother is the feeling of sadness and loss of a life lived in fear and regret.
My mother is like the texture of a rock smoothed by years of being tumbled over the sandy bottom of a raging river.
My mother is like the taste of cotton candy
who's flavor would disappear just as it was dissolved by the warmth of the inside of my mouth.
My mother is the daughter of Athena who's wisdom she was not able to pass on to her own daughters.
My mother is like the Langston Hughes poem "A Dream Deferred,"
A raisin in the sun,
Gone and never to return.

Mom was a wounded dog under the porch, survival it's only instinct.
She was the color of ink spreading thru the holy water
as an innocent catholic school girl runs giggling down the hallway.
She was the snow falling silently under the empty corner street light.
She was the ringing telephone nobody answers.
She was the smell of dirty ironed clothes and hairspray.
The taste of turkey TV dinners for Thanksgiving.
She was the daughter of broken hearts and the mother of unbroken daughters.
She was a dream I had as a child that took me decades to wake up from.
She was an emerald, brilliant, flawed, a tragic mess of perfection.

Mom is an ostrich,
too scared to see the world close around her. It's safer to hide.
Mom is brown, the complex mixture of colors and experiences overlapping.
Mom is the wind. Capable of moving things, changing them, bending them to her will. Yet you can't touch her.
Mom is hunger, always wanting more, but not quiet able to get her fill.
Mom is the sound of righteousness-
"Say it loud-we all should be proud."
Mom is the smell of coffee, hair spray, cigarettes, and Dippity-do. The smell of safeness to a sleeping child.
Mom is smooth like Teflon. Impenetrable on the surface but very delicate and easily hurt.
Mom is the taste of spices!
Complex, spicy, smooth, exotic, and never plain.
Mom is the daughter of her shame. Born in a time of blame;
an umbrella she could never step out from under.
Mom is the mother of love. Always there.
Always open. Always caring. Always proud. Always love.

Friday, October 28, 2005

It's A Family Affair

I am in Denver right now. My older sister flew in from Ohio, my younger sister flew in from The Netherlands and I drove in from Kansas. We are all staying at our baby sister's house. Not sure when I will get a chance to blog next so if I don't write anything, it's not that I forgot all about you it's just that I am too busy.

And on a technical note- I can't seem to open up my comments on this computer and so there are no replies to some of the comments left on entries. It's not that I am ignoring you it's just that I can't reply right now. Hopefully, we can fix that before I go home.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

It Only Takes One Person, Doing One Small Thing, To Change The Word

Rosa Parks died Monday at the age of ninety-two.

Read the NY Times Obituary here.

Read about the Montgomery Bus Boycott here.

Monday, October 24, 2005


I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.

Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, – but the best is lost.

The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.

Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

-Edna St. Vincent Millay

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Busy As A Bee

This bathroom project had turned out to be more labor intensive that I expected. I have spend the last three days on nothing else. Today we will finally get this section of the project finished and have a carpenter come in to do the next step sometime within the next two weeks. I have reached the point where I just want this over but at the same time I am looking at other things to do-like paint the back stairwell. Does it never end?

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Weekend Blog Surfing

Widescreen Museum
Cinerama, CinemaScope, Vistavision, Todd-AO, Superscope, Ultra Panavision, Cinemiracle, Super Panavision, Technirama and more.

The Hamster Wheel
Stomping out disease and learning new tricks.
I'm a surgical resident going through a 5 year training program in New Orleans

Boot Sale Sounds
A music blog , mainly featuring records and tapes found at boot sales, charity shops and flea markets. Mainly comedy, novelty and odd items that are hard to catagorise.

Find A Human

How to get past the automatic answering machines and talk to a real person at some of the nation's larger companies. (USA only)

The Museum of Broadcast Communications
Our mission is to collect, preserve, and present historic and contemporary radio and television content as well as educate, inform, and entertain through our archives, public programs, screenings, exhibits, publications and online access to our resources.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Musically, I Prefer...

Bob Dylan's, All I Really Want To Do, to Cher's version.

Santana's, Black Magic Woman, to Fleetwood Mac's.

Linda Ronstadt's, Blue Bayou, to Roy Orbison's.

Ted Hawkins', Corrina, Corrina, to Big Joe Turner's.

Mamma Cass', Dedicated To The One I Love, to The Shirelles'.

Lena Horne's, 'Deed I Do, to Ella Fitzgerald's.

Wynonna Judd's, Don't Be Cruel, to Elvis'.

Aaron Neville's, Everybody Plays The Fool, to the Main Ingredient's.

Astrud Gilberto's, Fly Me To The Moon, to Frank Sinatra's.

The Beach Boys', I Can Hear Music, to The Ronettes'.

Bob Marley's, I Shot The Sheriff, to Eric Clapton's.

Ray Charles', Georgia On My Mind, to Lawrence Welk's.
(just checking to see if you are still reading)

Ivie Anderson's, It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing, to Ella

Ella Fitzgerald's, Just A-sittin' And A-rockin'', to Rosemary Clooney's.

The Doors', Light My Fire, to Jose Feliciano's.

Janis Joplin's, Me And Bobby McGee, to Kris Kristofferson's.

The Marvelettes', Please Mr. Postman, to The Beatles'.

Wanda Jackson's, Riot In Cell Block #9, to The Coasters'.

Big Joe Turner's, Shake Rattle And Roll, to Bill Haley and the

Snoopy's, Take Five, to Dave Brubeck's.

Rosemary Clooney's, This Ole House, to Brian Setzer's.

Joe Cocker's, With A Little Help From My Friends, to The Beatles'.

The Supremes', You Can't Hurry Love, to Phil Collins'.

Aretha Franklin's, You Make Me Feel (Like A Natural Woman), to Carol King's.

Frank Sinatra's, Nice 'n' Easy, to anyone else's- every time.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Always Happy To Support The Arts

I spent the morning applying paint striper to the bathroom door, window and trim. While I waited for the stripper to do its stuff I took a walk around town. (OK, I really walked up to the highway to get a Coke and a snack.) On the way back home I ran across a little girl of about seven years old standing on the sidewalk in front of her house waving a piece of paper in the air. She seemed to be waving it at me so I walked over to see what was going on. As I got closer she hurried over to me and held the paper up to my face. It was a crayon-colored drawing of a girl torn out of a coloring book. Lying on the sidewalk behind her were three more torn colored pages held down by small plastic chair. Handing the drawing to me the little girl asked if I wanted to buy it for a dollar. I told her I was sorry but I didn't have a dollar then reached in my jeans pocket and found two quarters and one dime. I asked if sixty cents was enough and the little girl nodded.

While we were negotiating her little sister (about four-years-old) ran over to see what was going on, heard my offer of sixty cents, and asked if she could have some (money) too. I turned to her big sister and asked if it was OK to pay only fifty cents for the drawing and give the dime to her sister. She quickly nodded her head again and I gave her the money and she passed the dime on to her sister. As I walked away with my new piece of art both little girls raced around the side of their house to where their mother and older sister were sitting. When I got a couple of houses away I looked back and saw three girls standing on the front porch. The artist was pointing me out to her older sister while their baby sister excitedly danced around them. I have a feeling that the older sister had scoffed at her younger sister's enterprise and wanted a look at the person (fool) who actually paid real money for her little sister's artwork.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Sweet Soul Music

The words that enlighten the soul are more precious than jewels.
-Hazrat Inayat Khan

No post today. I'd rather send you to two post written by other people this week. Both opened my heart in a way I did not expect.

First, Hands Like These, written by Kathryn over at A Mindful Life.

Then, Mistakes Were Made, written by Mary over at Fly In The Honey.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Individuality- American Style


is a Kansas State automobile license plate.

If you want to be a little different you can purchased what is know as a vanity plate.

If you were in the military you can pick one of these:

If not, something like this:

Or you can pick a plate that boosts your college or university- but only if it is a Kansas state college or university of course.

Now, getting these vanity plates cost extra money and (since Kansas only requires a plate on the rear of all vehicles) most people put their own plate on the front of their car or truck.

They show pride in the type of truck they drive:

The schools their children go too:

Their jobs:

They take extra pride in their state:

And in who they love:

Sometimes, they will even give you their philosophy on life:

One thing about Americans- we like to be different. As long as we are all doing it in the same way.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

The Results Have Been Tabulated

The winner of this year's Who Sent My Husband The Best Birthday Card? contest is:

(And you thought getting older was the only thing we had to worry about.)

Monday, October 10, 2005

It's Raining, It's Pouring

And don't it feel good? The farmers need it badly. (Happy Dance)

And now for something completely different....

1. Kiddie Records Weekly: Classics From The Golden Age.
"For two full years, Basic Hip Digital Oddio will be featuring weekly stories and songs from the golden age of children's records, a period which ran from the mid 1940s into the early 1950s. This era produced a wealth of classics, headed by Capitol's Record-Readers and the RCA Victor Little Nipper series. Each one of these recordings has been carefully transferred from the original 78s and encoded to MP3 format for you to download and enjoy."

2. If Charlie Parker Was A Gunslinger, There'd Be A Whole Lot of Dead Copycats: Cultural and Personal Observations by Tom Sutpen and Stephen Cooke.
"It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." -- Walker Evans

3. Missing In Action: The Woman Behind Televison's Golden Age.
"Missing in Action" is the untold story of the unsung women who helped to invent television in post-war New York. They were television's first directors, producers, writers, and PAs; but no one knows who they are today. This documentary turns the spotlight on these behind-the-scenes pioneers, toppling stale ideas of 1950’s Woman and of Television’s Golden Age.

4. Japan Window. Photoblog of Andy Gray an American living in Tokyo, Japan.

Friday, October 07, 2005

How To Clean Your Glasses

1. Go to sink and turn on water.

2. Rinse lenses under a stream of very warm water.

3. Gently wash both sides of your lenses with a mild soap using your fingertips.

4. Rinse lenses again and be sure to remove all traces of soap.

5. Turn down the water until you have a slow steady stream of water without any air bubbles in it.

6. Holding glasses perpendicular to water stream and, starting at either end of your glasses, slowly move the lenses through the stream of water. The water should spill over the edge of the lens frame and wet both sides of the lens at the same time. It may take you a few times to find out what angle to hold the glasses at in order to accomplish this but when you find the right angle the water just sheets off the lens.

7. Still holding the glasses perpendicular take a clean cloth or paper napkin and dry the frame around both lenses or if you do not have a frame dry the edges of your lenses.

8. If there are drops of water on the face of your lenses (and there usually are) carefully blot them off with your clean cloth or paper napkin.

The trick to cleaning your glasses is to never to wipe them dry. My sister taught me this method of cleaning glasses and I thank her.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Islam Explained

I am reading a book (Islam Explained) written by a man after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. He wrote the book for his children and all children after hearing his own repeating ignorant remarks made by other people about Islam and Muslims. In the tradition of "good things come in small packages" the book is short in length but not short in content.

Some things I have learned:

Why the men who flew the planes were not real Muslims-
Allah, like the god of the Jews and the Christians, forbids killing yourself, which we call suicide. And He forbids killing other people. So those men who got on airplanes, who killed the pilots with a knife, and then flew the planes into the skyscraper in New York- those men don't understand the Muslim religion, and they are fanatics.

What really awaits them after death-
...someone who kills himself by burning will repeat this act eternally in hell. Anyone who throws himself from a building will throw himself for infinity. This is horrible! This is true if one is a believer.

A good description of what a fanatic is-
It's somebody who thinks he's always right and wants to be the most powerful. If you don't agree with him, he becomes very wicked.

What the word Islam means-
submission to peace

What the Angel Gabriel said to the prophet Muhammad-
He told him that there was one God, all-powerful and very merciful. He told him that we must be faithful to the word of God, that we must believe in His message, that there is another life after death, that man will be judged by his action, and that every member of the human race will have to testify about what he has done during his life, that good and just men will be rewarded by going to heaven and that the others, the bad men, the unbelievers, the criminals, will be judged and sent to hell. He told him that we must do good and avoid evil, that men must be well behaved and believers, and that above all we should not worship stones and believe that there are other gods than God.

Why this is the same as what Christians are taught-
...before Muhammad's religion, there were two other religions, Judaism and Christianity. Both of them worship a single God. They, too, had prophets: Moses and Jesus. The Jews, the Christians, and the Muslims were to form "a single community of the believers." Islam came to join these two religions. They are called the monotheistic religion, or the religions of the Book. The book of the Jews is the Torah; the book of the Christian, the Bible; and that of the Muslims, the Koran
Why if we have the same God the Jews and Muslims in the Middle East are at war-
You're mixing things up. The Muslims and the Jews are fighting over the same land, but it is not a war of religion. Islam recognizes the prophets of the Jews and the Christians.

The Muslims owe their prophet Muhammad, God's messenger, their worship and love. They owe the same respect to Moses and Jesus. Don't forget that Islam appeared about six centuries after Jesus. Thus it is the most recent monotheistic religion in human history.

I am only half-way through this book and I am astonished by how little I knew about the Islamic religion. I see now that as long as we (humankind) focus on the differences between our religions and not the similarities, nothing will change. The fanatics will keep killing others and themselves in the name of religion.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

I Think I Am Ready To Dump Microsoft

My computer has been running slow for awhile but yesterday it was operating at snail pace. I tried to print a photo my sister sent me and Microsoft Photo Printing Wizard opened up. In that file were 646 photos- one of them the photo I was trying to print. The rest I recognized as being from my blog, other blogs, and photos e-mailed to me. The majority of the photos were p0rn.

Now, how do you remove photos you don't want in the Photo Printing Wizard file? You could go to the Microsoft Help section on your computer but it will tell you nothing. You could go to the Microsoft website but it will tell you nothing and make it difficult for you to find out this out. You could try to find a person to answer your question at Microsoft but that will cost you $35 with no guarantee that your question will be answered. My husband found the answer at an unofficial support site, deleted the photos, and then added a program called ccleaner to hopefully keep it from happening again.

Anyway, this experience had made me realize just how bad Microsoft's Operating System really is, how useless Microsoft's product support is, and how Microsoft's last priority seems to be its customers. I know some of you use other OS's and I would be very grateful if you would drop a note in my comments box telling which one you use and what you think of it.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig

Note: There is no such thing as "minor surgery."

My sister is doing well but still is not completely healed. She is doing well enough for my dogs, my husband, and me to return home yesterday afternoon. My dogs are glad to be home, my husband is glad to be home and glad to be sleeping in my own bed.

Will write again after I catch-up on everyone's blog.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Be Back Soon

My sister had an emergency appendectomy Thursday night and is doing fine. I am now in Denver, been here since yesterday, and will be here for the next seven to ten days. Will blog when and if I get a chance. Everyone take care.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

I Love Lucy

I Love Lucy and she loves me,
We're as happy as two can be,
sometimes we quarrel but then again
How we love making up again.

Lucy kisses like no one can,
She's my missus and I'm her man;
And life is heaven you see
Cause I Love Lucy
Yes I Love Lucy
and Lucy loves me

I watched American Masters: Lucille Ball:Finding Lucy on PBS this morning. I always forget how funny she really was until I see an episode of the show again. Now I understand what "timeless comedy" means- she makes me laugh no matter how many times I watch. Funny lady.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


D. W. Griffith (1924)

Performer(s): Neil Hamilton, Erville Alderson, Carol Dempster, Lionel Barrymore.

Summary: Torn between his revolutionary political beliefs and his love for the daughter of a Virginia Tory, Nathan Holden struggles with his fellow patriots for independence. But at the crossroads of this path to freedom stands Captain Walter Butler. A murderous redcoat, Butler ravages the fledgling colonies with a band of barbaric Mohawks
-description from the University of Vermont library catalog

I saw a bit of this movie when I was 13 years old. It was in seventh grade American History and we were studying the American Revolution. One day our teacher showed us an short film showing a battle between American and British soldiers. Every few seconds the film would pop as a repair splice went through the projector. The film had no sound and scratched-up images that flickered and had a jerky quality to them. The black-and-white color kept fading in and out but you could still see that what we were watching was a battle of some sort. I was very confused by this piece of film and wondered where it had come from since our teacher had not told us anything about it before starting the projector.

This film looked so old and was in such bad shape I thought that maybe it was actual footage of a battle from the American Revolution. I had seen photos from the American Civil War and film of World War I and World War II. I had also seen film of the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Why couldn't it be possible that I was watching a piece of film shot during the American Revolution? It looked real enough and the soldiers were wearing the right uniforms. Still, part of me knew this could not be possible but I never asked my teacher about it because I was afraid he would laugh at me. It wasn't until years later, when I saw a television program about D. W. Griffith, that I understood what I had seen that day was a clip from his movie America.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Whot The Hail Is That?

That is a Big Stinky Flytrap set up in our backyard. I am showing you this because drD over at Big n Juicy is asking his readers what they like and don't like about Autumn. My least favorite thing about it is in the photo above; the end-of-summer-beginning-of-autumn fly round-up. At this time of year the flies seem to know Winter is coming and they go into a reproduction frenzy. This photo shows three days worth of fly or about 12,000 flies. How do I know there are about 12,000 flies in there? I'm married to an engineer.

How To Figure Out Number Of Flies
1. Using basic math principles figure out the Area of the inside of the glass jar(30.7 square inches).

2. Measure the Height of the fly column and then multiply that number by the Area to get the volume of flies (107 cubic inches).

3. Take a small measuring cup and dip out 1/8 cup of flies. Pour into a small pan and divide flies into groups of ten and count (200 flies per 1/8 cup).

5. Basic math again: (107 cubic inches/ 231 cubic inches per gal) x (4 quarts/gal) x (2 pints/quart) x (2 cups/pint) x (200 flies/one-eighth cup ) = 11,850 flies.

I am looking forward to the first freeze and the end of all this.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Girl From Ipanema


Tall and tan and young and lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, each one she passes goes - ah

When she walks, she's like a samba
That swings so cool and sways so gentle
That when she passes, each one she passes goes - ooh

(Ooh) But I watch her so sadly
How can I tell her I love her
Yes I would give my heart gladly
But each day, when she walks to the sea
She looks straight ahead, not at me

Tall, (and) tan, (and) young, (and) lovely
The girl from Ipanema goes walking
And when she passes, I smile - but she doesn't see (doesn't see)
(She just doesn't see, she never sees me,...)

I've always loved this song and I remember being intrigued by it the first time I heard it on the radio. I did not understand at the time but I think I liked it because it is so sophisticatedly simple; like Cole Porter and Burt Bacharach/Hal David songs. I caught the end of a program about the story behind the song on LinkTV this morning and was surprised to see some different lyrics than the ones above:

Ah! If she only knew that when she passes by
the world is smiling,
filling up with grace
and turns more beautiful
because of love

So I googled the song and found the English translation of the original words:

Look, what a most beautiful thing there
moreover full of grace
and she, this girl that comes and goes
with this sweet swinging gait, along the way to the sea. . . .

The girl with this golden body from the Ipanema sun
Her swinging gait is more than a poem
and the most beautiful thing that I ever saw go by

Ah! why am I so alone?
Ah! why is everything so sad?
Ah! the beauty that is there!
The beauty that is not just mine . . .
that is also passing by alone.

Ah! if she only knew that when she passes by
the world is smiling
filling up with grace
and turns more beautiful
because of love
because of love
because of love

The Girl From Ipanema is a Brazilian style of music called Bossa Nova and it came out after the Bossa Nova fad in the United States had ended.

Of course some people didn't get what the music was all about. I remember another song I would hear on Oldies weekends called Blame It On The Bossa Nova written by Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil and by recorded by Eddie Gorme:

I was at a dance when he caught my eye
Standin' all alone lookin' sad and shy
We began to dance, swaying' to and fro
And soon I knew I'd never let him go

Blame it on the bossa nova with its magic spell
Blame it on the bossa nova that he did so well
Oh, it all began with just one little dance
But then it ended up a big romance
Blame it on the bossa nova
The dance of love

(Now was it the moon?)
No, no, the bossa nova
(Or the stars above?)
No, no, the bossa nova
(Now was it the tune?)
Yeah, yeah, the bossa nova
(The dance of love)

[Instrumental organ]

Now I'm glad to say I'm his bride to be
And we're gonna raise a family
And when our kids ask how it came about
I'm gonna say to them without a doubt

Blame it on the bossa nova with its magic spell
Blame it on the bossa nova that he did so well
Oh, it all began with just one little dance
But then it ended up a big romance
Blame it on the bossa nova
The dance of love

(Now was it the moon?)
No, no, the bossa nova
(Or the stars above?)
No, no, the bossa nova
(Now was it the tune? )
Yeah, yeah, the bossa nova
(The dance of love)

(Now was it the moon?)
No, no, the bossa nova
(Or the stars above ?)


Blame It On The Bossa Nova was released in 1963. Catchy little tune but it probably signaled the end of the Bossa Nova fad in the United States until The Girl From Ipanema was released a year later.

You can find sound clips of both the English version recorded by Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto and the Joao Gilberto version sung in Portuguese here.

Friday, September 16, 2005

The Wind

I saw you toss the kites on high
And blow the birds about the sky;
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies' skirts across the grass--
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

I saw the different things you did,
But always you yourself you hid.
I felt you push, I heard you call,
I could not see yourself at all--
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

O you that are so strong and cold,
O blower, are you young or old?
Are you a beast of field and tree,
Or just a stronger child than me?
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Life Journey

If we do not know our own history, we are doomed to live it as though it were our private fate.
-Hannah Arendt

I have just finished reading Jane Fonda's autobiography, My Life So Far. It is the story of her journey though life in a search for herself. It ends with these words:

Every earned line on my skin and scar on my heart-I can own them now. I can affirm every imperfection as my share of our mutual, flawed, fragile humanity.

Each story and individual, each metamorphosis-they live in me now, and celebrate being here, being useful.

Deep in my blood, brain, heart, and soul-they've all come back to live in me.

And, finally, so have I

I only hope I feel the same way when I reach sixty-seven. Wonderful book.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Small Town Life

If I have any beliefs about immortality, it is that certain dogs I have known will go to heaven, and very, very few persons.
-James Thurber

Across the alley from me is an old church who's main floor has been turned into an art studio by a man in town. In the basement he is operating an art framing business. In back of the church is a house that used to be the home of the church pastor and is now used for storage by the man who has the art studio and owns the property.

About two weeks ago I was walking by the property when I heard the sound of puppies barking. I was surprised to see that a fence had been built between the church and the house. I walked up to it and discovered not only was there a fence but that the fence formed one wall of a large dog pen. In the pen were seven Labrador Retriever puppies. All were jumping up and down, all were wagging their tails, and all were barking. Also inside the pen were two large empty metal feeding bowls, one very large watering trough, two old chewed-up sneakers, and about one hundred plastic ties. The ties had been in bunches of twenty but the puppies had broken some of them open and scattered them on the ground. I was worried about the puppies eating the ties so I went into the pen to pick them up.

The second I stepped inside I was jumped on by seven frantic puppies wanting attention. I petted any and all I could reach and then pushed them away while I tried to pick up the ties. It took about twenty minutes and for the first fifteen minutes the puppies jumped on me and barked for attention. After I was finished I squatted down and petted puppies. That set off another round of jumping and barking but after a few minutes they settled down again and stopped going crazy whenever I touched them. One just want some human contact and sat down between my legs and leaned against me. When I left it set off another round of jumping and barking.

Later that day I saw the owner's car parked next to the church and went over to talk to him. He told me he was raising the puppies to sell as dock dogs. Dock dogs are dogs that compete by jumping off a dock into water. The dog that makes the longest jump wins.

Now let me tell you all the things wrong with this idea of his. First, he is the most disorganized man I have every met. He is the one who left the ties in the pen. Second, he doesn't know what he is doing. This you can tell by the third and fourth things; the puppies were already ten and one-half weeks old and he was trying to sell them on the Internet. Responsible breeders already have buyers lined up before they produce puppies.

It is now two week later and the poor puppies are still there. I'm not sure what to do. They are past the age of real puppies and are now almost twice as large as they were when I first saw them. We have a law in this town that each household can only have three dogs. I am tired of the barking and I am tired of the smell of dog poop drifting over into my yard. Like I said before he is not that responsible and so is not good about cleaning the pen. I could turn him in but then what would happen to the puppies? My husband said we should turn him in since that might keep him from doing this again but I'm not so sure.