Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Kitchen Update

Slowly but surely, step by step.  Under counter lighting half done, glass inserts in cabinets over the peninsula installed,  new counter top finished and ready for pick up,  new spice rack up,  tin panels for wall behind the sink here, and roll out rack for baking pans and other big flat things installed in cabinet beside stove.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Blue Monday

But I've got to get my rest
'Cause Monday is a mess

-Fats Domino's Blue Monday

(Photo of sleeping puppy taken off the Internet)

It was a long weekend, people.  Please come back tomorrow.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Kitchen Update

AHHH!  Now it's spilling outside the house.  We just got done painting the stucco around the base of the house and the stone cap on the wall that surrounds the porch.  Will start painting the trim in the kitchen tomorrow and I'm thinking about painting the trim in the living room-dinning room.  Will it never end?

Monday, June 21, 2010

Our Mothers, Ourselves

Healing in a matter of time, but it is sometimes also a matter of opportunity.

I have been reading a series of young-adult fiction books about Enola Holmes, Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes younger sister. The books start with the disappearance of their mother and fourteen-year-old Enola running away to London to search for her. Enola is also running away to escape being sent by her older brothers to a girls boarding school to become a proper lady. Enola has her brothers intelligence, the money her mother hid away for her, and courage. When she gets to London she becomes a detective just like her brother. The books are about her cases and her attempts to stay hidden from her brothers. She does get help from her mother with whom she communicates with through cryptic messages they both leave in the agony columns of the London newspapers. In what I think is the last book in the series she gets one last message from her mother who has died by then in the form of a letter. When I started reading what Enola's mother wrote I  was reading a letter from one character in the book to another but by the end I saw it could also be a letter from my mother to me. have always been wise beyond your years, so I hope you will be able to see that one cannot be a mother without first being a person; family, husband, and children should not be allowed, as is so often the case, to steal a woman's selfhood and her dreams. I consider that, if I were not true to myself, then all the mothering I could give you would have been false. I cannot be other than who I am, but perhaps I should not have been a mother. Such being the case, I find it no surprise that your brothers are both bachelors; perhaps you, also, will decline to beget children, and perhaps that would be for the best.

...I try to look at what I have done from your point of view and I realize I have surely caused you pain. Very likely you have wondered about my feelings for you as a mother. I myself have questioned whether I have given you all of the nurture that I could. Thankfully, the answer is yes I loved you as well as I am able, being the person I am. The paradox is that a different mother would likely have given you warmer love. But if you were the daughter of a different mother, then you would not be Enola. daughter of whom I am justifiably proud, I write this to you because I owe you truth.

...I intentionally include no date. I desire no anniversary remembrance of my death.

It has been said that we "live on" in the memories of those we leave behind. With no desire to live on in any sense of the phrase, but trusting that you will not think too badly of me.

Your mother,...

Then Enola writes, Truly I owed a great deal to my mother as she hoped, I did not think too badly of her. By being herself, Suffragist and troublemaker Eudoria Holmes, she had given me the courage of her example, to be myself: Enola.

By this time I was silently crying. I see now that by being herself my mother gave me not only the courage to be myself but also the freedom to do so.  Such a gift.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Another Reason Why I Watch Television News Less And Less

News reader on CNN's Headline News: (Said in a voice registering disbelieve) "Grizzly that killed a man still on the loose!"

My husband: "I was so sure he would turn himself in."

Friday, June 18, 2010

Uh-Oh, Don't Eat Spaghetti O's

Fifteen million pounds of Campbell's Spaghetti O's has been recalled by the company  due to "under-processing."  In English that means they canned it before it was completely cooked. This would be fine if so many people did not eat them cold right out of the can.  I'll  just write one more word, "Yuck."

The Nose Knows

(Photo of Little Sally Pumpkinhead taken by my sister Maura.)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Kitchen Update

Yesterday was plumbing day. My husband hooked up the new sink and dishwasher and got them working. Plumbing the sink was a couple of hours late for me as I unthinkingly emptied the water that I was using to warm my cup up for my morning tea into it before the lines were connected. Had a small water mess to clean up.

We did not think about or even that the chaos of construction was going to affect the dogs but it did. They, like children, know when yours thoughts are not focused on them. Duke moped around looking like he lost his last best friend and Little Sally Pumpkinhead was acting out so badly my husband started calling her Rosemary's puppy.

FYI- I never thought I would be so relieved to have my stove back in my kitchen.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Mary Had A Baby

You do realize that according to Luke 1:27 through 1:35 Jesus' mother, Mary, became an unwed pregnant teenager when he was conceived, don't you? Why is that thought considered sacrilegious? And none of that that, "Well, she wasn't really since, at that time, a contract to be married (a.k.a an engagement) was just the same as being married." spin.

Just giving you a reason not to be so judgmental and holier that thou toward unwed teen mothers. Instead think of another unwed teenager mother and open your heart and show a little kindness.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The 64th Tony Awards

The theatuh, the theatuh
What's happened to the theatuh

-Choreography written by Irving Berlin

I watched The Tony Awards Sunday night and I have one question. When did Broadway Theater become all flash and no substance? In a way it mirrors what has happened to Time Square; the soul has been removed from both of them. I tried to like the show, I really did, but after Denzel Washington got up to accept his Tony and then joked about not knowing who actually gave them out (The American Theater Wing) and listening to Catherine Zeta Jones massacre the song Send In The Clowns from A Little Night Music right before she won a Tony in the Best Performance By A Leading Actress In a Musical category I had enough. I'm so disappointed.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Kitchen Update

Out, damn cabinets!

Dry wall in and new cabinets going up as I write. Big sigh of relief from me.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

There Are No Coincidences

 I just learned that yesterday was Jacques Cousteau's 100th birthday. In honor of of that, the song John Denver wrote about Cousteau's boat The Calypso.

To sail on a dream on a crystal clear ocean,
To ride on the crest of a wild raging storm.
To work in the service of life and the living,
In search of the answers of questions unknown.
To be part of the movement and part of the growing,
Part of beginning to understand

Aye, Calypso, the places you've been to,
The things that you've shown us,
The stories you tell
Aye Calypso, I sing to your spirit,
The men who have served you so long and so well

Hi dee ay-ee ooo doo-dle oh
Oo do do do do do doo-dle ay yee
Doo-dle ay ee

Like the dolphin who guides you, you bring us beside you
To light up the darkness and show us the way
For though we are strangers in your silent world
To live on the land we must learn from the sea
To be true as the tide and free as a wind swell
Joyful and loving in letting it be

Aye, Calypso, the places you've been to,
The things that you've shown us,
The stories you tell
Aye, Calypso, I sing to your spirit,
The men who have served you so long and so well

Hi dee ay-ee ooo doo-dle oh
Oo do do do do do doo-dle ay yee
Doo-dle ay ee

He dee Ay-ee
Hi dee oh ooo
Hi dee ayee
Hi dee oh ooo

How BP Would React To A Coffee Spill

Friday, June 11, 2010

Smoke And Mirrors

Yesterday while waiting in line at the grocery store I picked up a box of donuts off a display near the check-out counter and started reading the ingredients. Hydrogenated oils were no longer listed but there was something called fractionated palm kernel oils in the list. I wondered if this was just another name for hydrogenated oils and started searching Google. I found out fractionated oil is not the same as hydrogenated oil but it is just as bad for you. So, remember, the so called food industry's main objective isn't selling quality food. The food industry's main objective is expanding the shelf life of their products so they can make more money.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Who Is The Most Out Of Touch With Reality?

From England's newspaper The Telegraph this morning:

Boris Johnson,the Mayor of London, this morning became the most senior UK politician to defend BP, saying "anti-British rhetoric" levelled at the company was a matter of "national concern" and that the oil giant was paying "a very, very heavy price" for what had been an accident.

"I would like to see a bit of cool heads rather than endlessly buck-passing and name-calling," he said. "When you consider the huge exposure of British pension funds to BP it starts to become a matter of national concern if a great British company is being continually beaten up on the airwaves."

(Read full article here.)

So Boris Johnson thinks the BP spill was just an accident and that BP is being picked on unfairly. Hey, Johnson! Are you a cousin of BP chief executive Tony (I Just Want My Life Back) Hayward? You must be since both of you have a knack for saying stupid things.

This spill wasn't an accident. It was the result of incompetence, stupidity, greed, arrogance, and a lack of regard for basic drilling safety. Don't believe it? Take a look at The Associate Press' report on BP's oil spill response plan submitted to the US government in 2009. Below are just some of the errors AP found in this report:

1."Claim- BP 'has the capability to respond a worst-case discharge of oil.'
Reality- Six weeks after the rig explosion, BP has not stopped leaking oil."

2. "Claim- BP could marshal more than enough boats to scoop up all the oil before it reached shore.
Reality- Oil reached shore within weeks of spill."

3. "Claim- BP said its response could skim, suck up or otherwise remove 20 million gallons of oil each day from the water.
Reality- That is about how much leaked the first six weeks of the spill; the slick now covers over 3,3000 square miles."

4. "Claim- Only a 21 percent chance of oil reaching Louisiana coast within a month of a spill.
Reality- An oily sheen reached the Mississippi Delta
nine days after the April 20 rig explosion."

5. "Claim- BP's site plan regarding birds, sea turtles or endangered marine mammals claimed 'no adverse impact.'
Reality- More than 400 oiled birds have been treated, while dozens have been found dead and covered in crude."

6. Claim- Professor Peter Lutz is listed as a national wildlife expert.
Reality- He died in 2005."

7. Claim- Under heading 'Sensitive biological resources", the plan list marine mammals including walruses, sea otters, sea lions, and seals.
Reality- None live anywhere near the gulf."

If that doesn't show BP's capricious attitude toward the impact of a major oil spill in the gulf, well, I don't now what does. It also has all the earmarks of a report put together from bits of other Response Plans which makes me think our government's Minerals Management Service has a hand in this. I can just see the agency telling BP to throw something together and submit it just so BP could start drilling right away. And that "get the oil at all cost" and "greed is good" corporate culture the oil industry subscribes to is the reason why this happened in the first.

So, Mr. Boris Johnson, instead blaming the messengers for bringing the news and outcome of BP's arrogance, blame BP, blame Tony Hayward, blame BP's board, blame yourself and all the other government officials. You are the ones who didn't care what BP did as long as the stock kept rising and the dividend checks came in. Your citizens will be suffering monetarily for your greed almost as long as our citizens will be paying for the ecological disaster that greed produced. And don't think that I think we had nothing to do with this; I think the Congressional Hearings will show that our own government policies toward offshore oil drilling were just as culpable.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

War, Huh, Yeah!

What is it good for?
Absolutely nothing!

-Edwin Starr

The cost of keeping troops in Iraq since 2001 is reaching 730 billion dollars while the cost of the war in Afghanistan is over 276 billion dollars. That means the US government has spent over 1 trillion dollars-let me repeat that number- 1 trillion dollars to fight a war that seems never ending at this point and has not made the world any safer.

Why aren't more people screaming about this the way they did about the perceived $940 billion dollar cost of the health care reform bill?

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Kitchen Update

Missing: one frightened little girl. Name: Bettina Miller. Description: six years of age, average height and build, light brown hair, quite pretty. Last seen being tucked into bed by her mother a few hours ago. Last heard--aye, there's the rub, as Hamlet put it. For Bettina Miller can be heard quite clearly, despite the rather curious fact that she can't be seen at all. Present location? Let's say for the moment--in the Twilight Zone.
-Rod Serling, Little Girl Lost

Got back last Sunday from a nice 10 day trip that included stays in Denver, Walden, and Fort Collins, CO. It is always good to go back home to Colorado. While we were gone our contractor retextured and painted the kitchen walls. When I walked back into the house and saw what he had done I was very pleased. You could not tell that a cabinet had once hung from the wall above where the refrigerator sits. Something else was different but I did realize what it was until after my husband had talked to our contractor.

When we first moved into our house we had to replace the kitchen stove and I was somewhere else on the day this happened. Fast forward to last week when we moved the stove out of the kitchen so the walls could be painted. Imagine my surprise when I saw a 12 inch backward L-shaped hole in the wall that had been hidden by the stove. It seems the hole had been there since we moved in and my husband had decided it wasn't worth fixing since once the stove was in place no one would see it. When I discovered the hole I wanted it fix because it creeped me out.

As a child I had seen that Twilight Zone episode where the little girl fell out of bed and rolled through the wall into another dimension. From that moment on the sight of a house wall with a hole in it made me uncomfortable. My husband still insisted it didn't need to be fixed because it was covered by the stove. Since no one would know it was there why waste the money fixing it? I knew he was worried about the cost of the kitchen upgrade (it was costing more than he expected) so I let it go and promised myself I would try not to think about the hole in the wall when I used the stove or after I went to bed at night.

I had done such a good job of not thinking about the hole in the wall that I had not even noticed it had been fixed when we got back home. We had not asked the contractor to fix the hole but we has not asked him to not fix the hole either. Since he isn't the type of guy who would leave a hole in a wall he was painting he repaired it first. And he did such a good job the wall looked as if there had never been a hole there in the first place. I must admit I slept better on Sunday night than I did the nights after I discovered the hole. Funny how the mind works.

Monday, June 07, 2010

How To Keep Weight Off Permanently!





Friday, June 04, 2010

Stop The Presses!

"History never looks like history when you are living through it."-John W. Gardner

I was walking down the sidewalk on 6th Avenue in New York City heading uptown during rush hour and being jostled by the throngs of people who shared the pavement with me. It was May 13 in 1981 and I was headed to my sister's apartment. I remember being in a hurry to get there but not the reason why. I was across from Radio City Music Hall and just passing by a news stand when I glanced down at a stack of newspapers and saw part a headline that read OPE SHOT. I could not see the rest of the paper since it was covered by a big rectangular steel bar the newsie was using to keep the papers from being blown away by the wind.

I stopped dead and stood rooted to the sidewalk as people hurriedly brushed by me. What I had just read stunned and dumbfounded me. I though, "My God! Who in their right mind would shoot Bob Hope?

Then someone reached down to grab one of the papers and I could see the complete headline:

This was also shocking news but, in a way, less shocking than the idea of someone shooting Bob Hope. With all the religious turmoil in the world the fact that someone tried to kill the leader of the Catholic Church was all too plausible but killing a comedian? No one's jokes are that bad.

UPDATE 6/4/10: This post may seem to be in bad taste with the shootings that happened in England two days ago but I have been on vacation for the last week and only learned of the deaths this morning. This post was written a week ago and set up to publish today. My thoughts and prayers are with the families and victims today.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

"I Dreamed This"

See, what you have to ask yourself is what kind of person are you? Are you the kind that sees signs, that sees miracles? Or do you believe that people just get lucky? Or, look at the question this way: Is it possible that there are no coincidences?
-Mel Gibson as Graham Hess in the movie Signs

I watched the movie Signs (2002) yesterday morning and it got me thinking since it talks about, among other things, predestination, signs, miracles, and dreams. If you have not seen the movie and plan to, stop reading-there be spoilers ahead.

I'm definitely a person who believes there are no coincidences in life and who sees signs but I don't believe in predestination in the religious sense; the belief that God guides the lives of everyone who is destined to be saved. At one point in the movie something happens that makes the lead character, Graham Hess, a lapsed Episcopal priest, believe that his son has been born with asthma so he would be protected when exposed to poison later in life.

Is his son's asthma a gift from God which will save him later because that's what God wants to happen? No, the idea that our lives are directed by a God who is a puppet master pulling the strings of only some of his puppets is an idea that springs from man's egotistical need to be seen as unique and worthy of special treatment. I believe that our lives are directed by the choices we make and that sometimes God steps in to protect us from some of the more foolish ones and that this "stepping in" is what we call a miracle.

So, the miracle is not the boy having asthma, the miracle is he doesn't have his inhaler when he needs it. This is a child who earlier in the film is shown pulling his inhaler out of his pocket and using it which means he is conscientious about keeping it with him. In the basement he doesn't have it. How can that be? It must be God protecting him from a foolish decision.

Are prophetic dreams a sign that God is directing our lives? There is one scene in the movie which I really identified with and that is when the little girl, while watching something play-out in front of her eyes, says, "I dreamed this."
Been there, done that, and had that look on my face. I've dreamed about conversations, houses my family ended up living in and when I got older, jobs I ended up doing. Evidence of Predestination because I am one of the chosen ones who will be saved? No, just glimpses of where my or other people's (my parents) choices were leading me.

God may not direct our lives but I am positive that God sometimes gives us a helping hand.

(For a scientific explanation of Predetermination you might want to read,Signs (2002) and the Predetermination of Destiny, which brings up Freud's theory of psychic determinism.)

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

All Of That Time In Heaven To Spend...

One of my favorite singing groups is The Roches, three sisters (Maggie, Terri, and Suzzy) who produce beautiful music. I bought their first album, The Roches, back in 1979 on a whim and never regretted the money I spent on it. Not only do they sing like angels:

Maggie wrote one of the most haunting songs I've ever heard:

(words & music by Margaret A Roche)

One in Louisiana
one who travels around
one of 'em mainly stays in heart-throb town

I am not their main concern
they are lonely too
I am just an arrow passing through

When they look into my eyes
I know what to do

I make sure the words I say are true

When they send me off at dawn
pay the driver my fare
they know I am goin' down somewhere

O the married men
the married men
never would have had a good time again
if it wasn't for the married men

One says he'll come after me
another one'll drop me a line
one says all o' my agony is in my mind

They know what is wrong with me
none of 'em wants my hand
soloin' in my traveling wedding band

O the married men
the married men
makes me feel like a girl again
to run with the married men

One of 'ems got a little boy
other one he's got two
one of 'ems wife is one week overdue

I know these girls they don't like me
but I am just like them
pickin' a crazy apple off a stem

Givin' it to the married men
the married men
all o' that time in hell to spend
for kissin' the married men

All of that time in Heaven to spend listening to the Roche sisters.

( You can find other videos of the Roche sister's television appearances here including a performance of their version of The Married Men from Soundstage.)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Up From The Ground Came A Bubblin' Crude

Oil that is, black gold, Texas tea.
-The Beverly Hillbillies theme song

I haven't commented on the ecological disaster which is happening off the Louisiana coast since I am not knowledgeable enough to form an opinion. I would like to quote an expert who knows a little about off shore drilling and the oil business in general. This man was a petroleum engineer for over twenty years and the fact that he is my husband should not give you any reason to dismiss what he has to say.

"I am flabbergasted...stunned....shocked...and befuddled by what has happened...because I can't understand why it didn't happen sooner."