Saturday, 29 December 2007

Made it to Houston!

After driving for two days, we made it to Houston! Saw Min and the family briefly - had a great meal at a Mexican restaurant and we are getting ready to take a quick exploratory trip around Houston before heading to Dry Cleaning Aunt's place.

Monday, 24 December 2007

A cold, cold world

My husband tends to be more open minded than I about most things - he's always ready to send $29.95 to Ron Popeel for the newest invention and when the Bach Flowers person says to put vinegar under your tongue to cure elephantiasis, he's ready to try it out.

Not me! I want DRUGS!

More than 20 years ago when I was living in Germany I found a cold remedy at the pharmacy that worked beautifully. No sniffles no cough and the whole thing was over in just a couple of days. It was great! I've been looking for that Eldorado ever since.

So when I caught this eensy weensy little cold and then it turned like a werewolf at full moon into a not so tiny but monstrous thing, I was ready to continue the search. Surely in 20 years science had come up with some clinically proven boon to alleviate at least the symptoms of sufferers of the common cold! (Yes, I know that no one yet has cured the common cold).

So, I insisted my husband drive me through the throngs of frustrated gift-buyers to the drug store to take a look at the newest offerings. Holy Canoli, Batman! There were only about a thousand products lined up and down across a whole aisle!Well, let the work begin! I only had one requirement - new modern product - well, okay that and no acetaminophen. I immediately threw out anything with Pseudofed (sick!) in it as that stuff has never done anything for me. I vetoed all the new improved versions of all the old standbys and then got down to the 854 products that were left. I even had to enlist the help of my husband for this part (and maybe that was my fatal error).

By the time we had weeded through all those medications and eliminated those containing tylenol, we were down to one brand:

It sounded good. Of course it was more expensive than I wanted to pay for an experiment, but all those TV drug ads had had their effect on me and it sounded so much like those marvelous medications that cure ED, COPD and FXSTD that I felt sure this was the one.

I got it home and eagerly picked up the package - oh my word! What was that on the bottom corner?! It couldn't be, but it was:

Homeopathic! NOOOOOOOOOO! I'd gotten some ancient, old wives' tale, phony-baloney, snake-oil remedy!! (And of course I didn't even know about the lawsuit for anosmia then!!) What was I going to do!! It was two days before Christmas eve and we had already slogged through the crowds and cars and dis-spirited people to get these pills. I couldn't face going back. I just couldn't!! "Oh, go on, give it a try!" said my eternally optimistic husband. So I read the instructions and took the dive (er...pill).

Well, all I can say is that stuff works great!! I've had less congestion and almost no coughing and usually my body likes to host a cold for around two weeks. I've been able to think and get things done and even if the cold does last two weeks, it is a relatively minor discomfort compared to two days ago. I guess those old wives knew a thing or two!

Friday, 21 December 2007

Belated Well-wishing

Who would have thought this bloke would still be around!? I can't believe I forgot to congratulate him on birthday number 64 on December 18. Here's to the guy that keeps the Stones rolling along!! Stay away from those palm trees!

Thursday, 20 December 2007

This is what I feel like today.

I have one of those inconvenient teensy tiny little colds - that make you feel bad for feeling bad because it isn't really all that bad. Sore throat slight fatigue and no real excuse for goldbricking! Is that something I can complain about?

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Colossal News

I come from a family of artists! My mother is an amazing painter. My sister is a writer and noted blogger and her children too are following in the family footsteps. One of my sister's children is an animator-to-be (currently in college) and her other is a gifted guitarist. The latter, a son, has just entered his garage band, Colossal, in Fitzgerald's Battle of the Bands where they beat out older, more experienced and slicker bands to be the top band of the night. They will continue on to the finals in early Spring! Check them out at their My Space page and listen to a bit of their song, Fallen here.

Rock on!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Colleges Taking the Hit

A friend of mine (Scott Johnson) pointed out a recent New York Times article, which noted the following:

"You would be hard pressed to find five admissions officers or five professors or five marketing experts that could guarantee you 100 new, paying male students in one year," said Shenandoah's athletic director, John Hill. "But you can hire five football coaches and they can do it. In fact, they can find you 200 if you want. Those boys just want to play."

""When you recruit a halfback, you get a few of his male friends, maybe his sister and his sister's boyfriend, too," said JoAnne Boyle, president of Seton Hill University. "

“Officials at small colleges say that adding football raises campus morale and alumni contributions and gives an institution exposure in local or statewide media. But the biggest attraction remains football's ability to bring in male applicants.”

"Heck, guys who play football just like to hit somebody, and the guys not playing like to watch the guys who are hitting each other," said Trey Kern, who was raised in Winchester near Shenandoah ..."

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Talk to the Hand

Rats! All 600 Walmarts have sold out of the Talking Jesus action figure. If you are desparate, Amazon has a couple of vendors who have inflated the price and still seem to have some available. If you are not particular you could order a Pope John Paul II or better yet, Moses from the same company (among others).

Lest you think the company Timecapsule toys that distributes these dolls for toymaker "Messengers of Faith" is altruistic in spreading the true word to the world, you will be relieved to know that they also carry Ben Franklin, a scrawny little Winston Churchill and oh yeah, there is this secular savior of the Western World:

Sunday, 9 December 2007

The Eternity of What Needs to Be Done

Eternity is a mere moment, just long enough for a joke. Hermann Hesse

In this time of stress right before the holidays this may be a good thing to remember.

Happy Birthday to my Sister Min!

Thursday, 6 December 2007

Habaeus Corpus

What a sad comment we make to the world by imprisoning people in Guantanamo and then not allowing them to have a fair trial. We call them detainees and they have been detained for as much as six years without even knowing what evidence is being held against them.This means they can not mount a defence and perhaps it doesn't matter, for there is no real provision for finding them innocent. Just another trial if the results aren't what the government would like. Surely we can do better than this in a country that prides itself on fairness and democratic action.

Wednesday, 5 December 2007

Beautiful Old memory

One of my favorite pictures from my first trip to Japan.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

It's SO Cold!!

I'm thinking Spring!!

Saturday, 1 December 2007


Seen on a car outside the co-op:

This is what I have been spending my time on:

This seems to be what I do best - Make interesting sheets of colors without any real purpose:

Friday, 30 November 2007

Practicing a New Trick

Willowtree over at A Dingo Ate My Barbie taught us this trick to click on a picture and make it download another one. (His is much cleverer, but might be offensive to some readers.) Mine doesn't seem to work quite right as when I click, it downliads the second picture in a file onto my computer (which I think is completely weird and can not logically explain. Here is the picture

Here is a second try.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Chicks For Free

This is a reply to Jenny's post today on the Mama Drama blog "hosted" by the Houston Chronicle. Her issue is (in light of the recent writer's strike in Hollywood) why bloggers are generally also not compensated for their work.

This is an issue that is very near to my heart, so when I sat down to write a response, I found that I could not contain myself to a three or four sentence response. I certainly want to note that I have no desire to malign the many very talented men bloggersout there. (Men in fields traditionally dominated by women suffer the same financial disadvantages as women and also frequently have to deal with image issues that can make their lives uncomfortable. Think of the historic views of male nurses, and dancers).

When thinking about the problem of unpaid blogging, the first thing I wonder is, how many of these unpaid bloggers out in the blogosphere are women. Our society has a tendency to not value the work of women. Painters and sculptors (who have mostly been men throughout the history of our culture (never mind why for now)) are revered amongst artists, film editors, needleworkers, lace crocheters and quilters have a history of being ignored.

Women express their creativity in many ways and almost always there are many who pursue their interests without even thinking about getting paid, because they love doing so, and our society (be it due to market forces, supply and demand or whatever) tends to be reluctant to value women's work financially.

As a Middle Eastern dancer and teacher of dance, I see the same problem daily. There are so many dancers out there that restaurants, conferences and even friends are able to pay next to nothing for performances and anyone with a few lessons has started providing belly dance classes to others. (Me included). There are a lot of us out there, so the supply is large and it exceeds demand. The value sinks.

Part of what I find interesting is this whole (in my opinion masculine) idea that something is only valuable when it has a monetary value. I like to resist that belief. I like to think of art as having intrinsic value beyond financial defintions. I want to regard teaching crafts, being creative, dancing as a way of being part of a community and sharing and I like to work with other people who value those acitivities.

On the other hand it is inherently unfair for a big corporation to pay some people for work and ignore another group of workers (whom they could very easily pay) simply because they can. I wonder what it is about our society that values some "work" and not other and values these things in only one term - money. I wonder why we have become so dollar obsessed, that we can not allow for other things to have worth unless we are a hobbyist in the same field. I wonder if the Mama Drama blog at the Chronicle were a popular blog on business practices and skills (or on sports) run by men (and don't forget mothering is a job requiring skill, hard labor and intelligence), if the Chronicle would be more willing to pay its writers.

I suppose it really doesn't matter. As long as we are imprisoned by this particular part of capitalist philosophy which suggests that when supply exceeds demand the relative value of something is worthless. Unfortunately this means regardless of how talented or skilled the individual might be the value is still the same. We have lived in a hyper matierialist age for a long time now. Perhaps it is time to find some other values to compete with the almighty dollar. Its val;ue is going fown the tubes now anyway, maybe American Ingenuity, Creativity, Sincerity, Generosity and Self Reliance are values we can once again embrace.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Univinvited Guests

I heard my dog barking this afternoon and when I checked it out, I found we had company.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

's cold

Well, I need to look at this picture, because when I got up this morning it was 5 degrees. The world is an amazing place - it can go from barren ice field to green and lush in a matter of months! A truly marvelous feat!

C(elsius) Change

Thanksgiving was a pleasant day - mostly overcast with just a little bit of sun in the afternoon. I managed to get out for a walk to look for the wild turkeys (no, not the bottle I have hidden in the shed!) On my walk, I took this shot of the back of our house. Today is also sunny, but we got into the single digits last night and snow is on the way. I wince in a bit of unwilling belief, I guess winter is really here.

Sunday, 25 November 2007

Fresh Start

I thought this was a pretty sight in the Co-op the other day!

Doing the PC Thing

That's Polymer Clay for the uninformed. So here is what I spent my day doing (after I went to Micheal's and spent a bundle on spacer beads and tools for working with polymer).

I've discovered I'm much more interested in making beads than in making jewelry.(And I have to admit I could have bought some really nice jewelry for what I paid for beads today - but of course I have enough beads and clay for many, many more pieces, so I guess if I don't get bored, it will eventually have been a worthwhile investment.)

One interesting little experiment involved layering and then cutting and then rolling to get stripes. That was kind of fun.

Another experiment involved canes - doing beads with little color spots inside. The green necklace with the series of round beads surprisingly actually looks better on a neck than on a table! (And I got the clasp twisted and had a really hard time getting it off. I was afraid I was going to have to sleep in it, because I did not want to wake up my husband for help getting it untangled.)

Another experiment involved printing a design with the inkjet printer and then transferring it to a bead. Blue ink did not work at all, and black seemed to work to some degree. The yellow bead has a printer pattern on it.

The blue necklace unfortunately turned out to be a bit too busy, so I will have to try again with thse beads and see if I can make a better setting for the marble blue beads.

All in all, I feel like I have accomplished something today even if I don't know exactly what.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Favorite Restroom

Do you all have a favorite lavatory? You know the one at that restaurant you go to where it isn't really the food that keeps you coming back? Or at that hotel that you've never stayed at, but had to make an emergency stop in that one time? Here's mine.

This is the restroom at Fujiya (and I do come back for the food! It's really good, but I like the lavatory too.) The lighting around the mirrors is fiber optics, so the colors change slowly and run down the length of the mirrors. If I'm really good maybe my spousal unit will let me go there for dinner tomorrow. There's a Georgia O'Keefe show at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts and wouldn't that go great with Sushi?

Look What I Bought!

Look what I bought at the hardware store yesterday!

Do you know what it is? Here's a better look:


Well, okay, I only bought the bottom part - I made the top part. Hooray for Sculpey!! I don't know if it will withstand our horrible colds - but I thought I would give it a try!! Now I need to varnish it!

Why was I doing that? Well, I kind of told Michael's I would offer a class in making jewelry from Sculpey when I've never done it before - so I thought I had better try to figure it out!! Here is what I did:

I stole shamelessly from the real jewelry artist Nikki. (Her link doesn't seem to be working at the moment). She sold me some beautiful pieces (necklace and earrings featured at the bottom left of my picture above. Also see my August 7th post for more images of her work.) Hers are the pretty ones in the picture!! She is obviously much better at this than I - she has round beads and beautiful shapes in her work - mine are lopsided and weird - but at least I've got the general idea. My lace beads did not turn out - so I will have to work on them again.

I said I wasn't going to do anything much for Thanksgiving - well - here is the meal.

I forgot to make the soup, so maybe that is okay! It wasn't beautiful, but it tasted pretty good.

And I cooked for a crowd - so we'll be in gravy for a few days!!

Thursday, 22 November 2007


Are you kidding!? Post a blog every day for the month of November?! Well, okay, since I just found out about it and it is the 22nd, I might be able to do that!! Allright - here goes

My car - The Insurance company is threatening to "Total" it even though there is no major damage and right now the estimate is 3600$. (I have a 1000$ deductible so that seems way unlikely to me and I do not want to lose my darling forrester!) I'm sure it will all work out in the end, but in the mean time... I'm off to go start the cooking - This year it is only my husband and myself (and I'm not someone who really enjoys tradition - although tomorrow I want to post about what I am thankful for.)

Today we will have a fairly simple meal - but home cooked - maybe some squash soup, some turnip greens, relish and some pie - no turkey - but some other main dish. Whoops I forgot to get potatoes I guess it will be sweet potatoes instead.

Have a nice day all those with or without Thanksgiving and I'm thinking of ChrisB and her celebration with her daughter Sam (the fantastic cook) and hoping she enjoys our American customs! Of course she will with a daughter that knows food that well, how can she not?!

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Living the Wildlife and Killing it

Well, here are the pictures of my car. Of course I did not sleep all night thinking about the deer. (I saw it yesterday in the ditch, but did not go up and look at it close).

You can see some of the deer hair in the headlight housing.

I was down stairs watering the plants this morning when I heard the dog bark and I looked out into his kennel to see about 25 (or more) turkeys within a few feet of the wire. Of course my camera was upstairs and by the time i had gotten to it, the turkeys were running away, but I did get this one shot of a few of them.