Saturday, December 29, 2007

Fifty Reasons

Every now and then I find a nice piece of writing among my stuff. This was one I wrote for my friend and massage therapist extraordinaire Jim upon the occasion of his 50th birthday. I had a present for him, I had it wrapped, and I couldn't find it, so I wrote this list for him. (I found the gift before the party — it was in the trunk of my car! — but I read the list to him anyway.)

Fifty Reasons
Why I Don’t Have the Birthday Present I’d Gotten for You

The dog ate it.

The dog buried it.

I put it away where it belonged, but I have no idea where that is.

Two words: Alien Kleptomaniacs

The tooth fairy came by and, failing to find any teeth under the pillow, she took your present.

We’re using it to prop up one corner of the house.

Santa’s reindeer needed a last-minute snack.

Homeland Security flushed it down a toilet.

I think we used it on those door-to-door evangelists (you know – to beat them senseless).

Colonel Sanders thought it contained his secret recipe, so he sent his spies to get it when we weren’t looking.

Someone said that if you throw it just right it will come back to you. I tried that but it hasn’t come back yet. Maybe it’s taking the scenic route.

It spontaneously burst into flame when I put it next to a Stephen King novel.

Um…. check my blog. It might be there.

The National Enquirer offered me $100,000 for it, but I refused. Then they took it from me anyway.

It’s with all of odd socks and gloves that get sucked up in the washing machine.

Angelina Jolie adopted it.

Paris Hilton took it with her to make her jail time pass smoothly.

I think it got sealed in with my in-laws’ ashes. I’ll let you know where you can go and visit it.

Cap’n Jack Sparrow said it was part of his treasure, so he confiscated it. (Hey, I was at knife-point, man!)

It might be in the Ronald Reagan National Library, but I don’t exactly recall where.

I needed it to patch a flat tire.

We were bench-pressing it at the gym and things got a little out of hand.

OK, you know how someone says, “When you wish upon a star…”? Well I wished I knew where it was, but nothing has come of it. Must be the wrong star.

The cats used it in protest of a dirty litter box.

I’ve found it to be really good for massaging that funny little space under my butt – but then it broke.

See that burger on your plate? I’ll bet that’s it. I don’t care if Ed is saying that it’s lamb. I know better.

I still haven’t had that rendezvous with Deep Throat. I’ll get it then. Probably later this week. It’s a little unpredictable.

My mom has been using it to clean her dentures. It’s kind of ragged right now.

The cleaners lost it.

Martha Stewart said it wasn’t wrapped properly. She’s making the paper for it right now, and then she’s growing the flowers that will adorn the top of the box.

I think it’s in the mail.

Maybe we packed it up with some of Ed’s mom’s stuff.

I can’t tell you – it’s covered by the National Secrets Act.

AARP is lobbying against it.

The ACLU is lobbying for it.

The Supreme Court isn’t in session yet.

What present?

It was good karma but bad dogma.

The priest had to bless it. Then it got soaked with holy water. The incense didn’t do it any good either.

It checked into rehab.

It has a 12-step meeting tonight.

Um…. I haven’t checked with its parole officer lately, so maybe that’s not a good sign.

It’s getting Botox injections. It’ll be good when the swelling goes down.

The paparazzi chased it into a tunnel in Paris. No one has seen it since, although there is a popular theory of a mafia hit and cover-up.

If you just fill out all of the proper forms and show your Medicare certificate, I’m sure we can get right on it.

Are you sure it’s your birthday today? I’m just sayin’ . . .

Harry Potter’s owl flew off with it.

I think I cleaned the house so well that I can’t find it. Which just goes to show it’s no use cleaning house.

Maybe it’s in the closet.

Look, when I’m done with it, I’ll send it to you, OK?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Nobody Wins in This Battle

Here's a news items from USAToday:

Priests come to blows inside Church of the Nativity

Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests had a rumble today inside Bethlehem's Church of the Nativity, in a dispute over how to clean the church after Christmas

AFP says the priests came to blows -- and in some cases even attacked each other with broomsticks and iron rods -- after the Greeks allegedly started cleaning a part of the church controlled by the Armenians. The church, built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born, is shared by various branches of Christianity -- each of which controls a slice of the building.

(and here's my favorite part . . .)

Palestinian police had to be called in to break up the battle, and two of them were among the seven people reportedly hurt.

That's right, folks: Muslims had to stop the Christians from fighting over who owns Jesus.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

In honor of those who finished their Christmas cards . . .

A woman goes to the post office to buy stamps for her Christmas cards. She says to the clerk, "May I have 50 Christmas stamps?"

The clerk asks, "What denomination?"

The woman says, "Lord help us. Has it come to this? Give me 6 Catholic, 12 Presbyterian, 10 Lutheran, and 22 Baptist."

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Monday, November 26, 2007

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

In honor of my "coming out" tomorrow . . .

Hampshire Constabulary Advertise on City Bus

This was sent to me by Roger in the U.K. Apparently the Hampshire police didn't take into account the positioning of the tailpipe on the bus.

Monday, October 29, 2007


Well, I completely blew off any ideas of cleaning this weekend prior to going in for surgery on Wednesday. I spent most of Saturday with my mom, and then I slept on Sunday afternoon (after church and prior to taking my sister Mary to dinner). Also, I went to bed last night at 10:30 p.m., but I'm still tired today.

I wanted to clean out the laundry room. I wanted to clean up the bedroom. I wanted to get all of the laundry done and put away. I wanted the bedroom cleared out of crap so that I could come home from the hospital and just rest without having to worry about what might be underfoot if I got up from bed to use the bathroom.


Wednesday can't quite come soon enough for me. I really want this done. I want to be in the recovery part. I'm not looking forward to waking up with pain and grogginess and all of the rest of the crap that comes from having an operation. And I'm not looking forward to all of the last-minute requests for things to get done before I'm gone.

I have Jim B. (massage therapist extraordinaire) scheduled to come on Tuesday evening to give me a massage. I'm having lunch on Tuesday with some friends.

Whatever. I'm tired. I'd rather be in bed!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Another Meme

1. What time did you get up this morning? 6:00

2. Diamonds or pearls? I can't have both????

3. What was the last film you saw at the movies?
I think the last one we saw was Stardust, and it was hilarious.

4. What is your favorite TV show?

5. What do you usually have for breakfast?
An Egg McMuffin

6. What is your middle name?
Jesus. (Every time my dad was mad at me he'd say, "Judith, Jesus!")

7. What food do you dislike?

8. What is your favorite CD?
Paul Simon's "Graceland"

9. What kind of car do you drive?
Pontiac Grand Am

10. Favorite sandwich?
Fried Egg

11. What characteristics do you despise?
Arrogance and (conversely, I suppose) helplessness

12. Favorite item of clothing?
My jeans.

13. If you could go anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would you go?
All over Europe and the UK.

14. What color is your bathroom?

15. Favorite brand of clothing?
If it fits, it's my favorite.

16. Where would you retire?

17. Favorite movie?

18. Favorite Sport to watch?
Women's gymnastics

19. Furthest place you are sending this?
Wherever the web reaches

20. Who do you expect to send this back to you?
It doesn't matter.

21. Person you expect to send it back first?

22. Favorite saying?
"The question you never ask always has an answer of No."

23. When is your birthday?
In June.

24. Are you a morning person or a night person?
I'm an afternoon-evening person.

25. What is your shoe size?
On a good day, 9-1/2 wide.

26. Pets?
Charka, Scratch, Nip, and Tuck.

27. What did you want to be when you were little?

28. What are you today?

29. What is your favorite candy?
Starburst (original)

30. What is your favorite flower?
All of them.

31. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to?

32. Who would you most like to meet, either living or dead?
Jane Austen

33. What are you listening to right now?
The rattle of the heating / AC unit in my office.

34. What was the last thing you ate?

36. Do you believe in Angels?
Yes. In fact, I'm so busy that I have a rotating shift of three to look after me.

37. If you were a crayon, what color would you be?
Whatever freakin' color I need at the moment.

38. What is your pet peeve?
I have several, including political slander (instead of talking about real issues), slow drivers, and being late.

39. Last person you spoke to on the phone?
My wonderful friend Lorna.

41. Favorite soft drink?
Diet Pepsi.

42. Favorite restaurant?
Alas, it is no more, but my favorite was and probably will be the Nebraska Beef Company.

43. Hair Color?
Unsettled. Sort of blonde, sort of brown, and bits of grey creeping in.

44. Siblings?

45. Favorite day of the year?

46. What was your favorite toy as a child?
A doll

47. Summer or Winter?

48. Hugs or kisses?
Screw that, I want torrid sex!

49. Chocolate or Vanilla?
And caramel with pecans and raspberries.

50. Do you want your friends to e-mail you back?

51. When was the last time you cried?

52. What is under your bed?
Carpet and dust.

53. Who is the friend you've had longest?
Debra in Canada. We've been penpals since 1973.

54. What did you do last night?
Knit, watched television, knit, watched television, played on the computer, read, slept.

55. Favorite smell?
Whatever my husband is cooking.

56. What are you afraid of?
Nuclear holocaust

57. How many keys on your key ring?

58. How many years at your current job?
More than 5

59. Favorite day of the week?

60. How many towns have you lived in?

61. Do you make friends easily?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Time for something silly

How many Christians does it take to change a light bulb?

Charismatics: Only one. Hands already in the air.

Pentecostals: Ten. One to change the bulb, and nine to pray against the spirit of darkness.

Presbyterians: None. Lights will go on and off at predestined times.

Roman Catholic: None. Candles only and they must be made from bee's wax and preblessed by a Bishop totally in communion with Rome at the time of the blessing.

Baptists: At least 15. One to change the light bulb, and three committees to approve the change and decide who brings the potato salad.

Episcopalians: Eight. One to call the electrician, and seven to say how much they liked the old one better.

Church of God: Might be changed next year if light bulbs are included in next year's budget, included in next year's goals, and the church board has a vision that they even need light bulbs.

Mormons: Five. One man to change the bulb, and four wives to tell him how to do it.

Unity: We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a light bulb. However, if in your own journey you have found that light bulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your personal relationship with your light bulb, and present it next month at our annual light bulb Sunday service, in which we will explore a number of light bulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.

Unitarian: Undetermined. "Our only dogmatic belief is that we are all free to disagree. In Unitarianism the significance of change takes precedence over the both the light bulb and the number of congregates needed to implement its change. We are currently accepting poems and meditations dealing with this subject to be published in an anthology to be used at our annual meeting of Unitarian ministers and those who fail to see a need for them."

United Methodists: Undetermined. Whether your light is bright, dull, or completely out, you are loved -- you can be a light bulb, turnip bulb,or tulip bulb. Churchwide lighting service is planned for Sunday. Bring bulb of your choice and a covered dish.

Nazarene: Six. One woman to replace the bulb while five men review church lighting policy.

Lutherans (Missouri Synod): None. We don't believe in change.

Lutherans (all others): We agree with the Roman Catholic statement but lovingly suggest ecumenical discussions concerning the status of the bishop.

Amish: What's a light bulb?

Jehovah's Witnesses: None. The lights are on but no one's home.


How many Californians does it take to change a lightbulb? None. Californians can't afford the electricity.

How many aging hippies does it take to change a lightbulb? Wow, man, like, I can't do this counting thing, but the experience is, like, way out there, you know?

How many computer programmers does it take to change a lightbulb? None. Lightbulbs are a hardware problem.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Ooops! It was October 4th!

"next to of course god america i
love you land of the pilgrims' and so forth oh
say can you see by the dawn's early my
country 'tis of centuries come and go
and are no more what of it we should worry
in every language even deafanddumb
thy sons acclaim your glorious name by gorry
by jingo by gee by gosh by gum
why talk of beauty what could be more beaut-
iful than these heroic happy dead
who rushed like lions to the roaring slaughter
they did not stop to think they died instead
then shall the voice of liberty be mute?"

He spoke. And drank rapidly a glass of water

-- e. e. cummings

Seriously. I heard it announced on the radio that today was National Poetry Day, but the official web site states that it was October 4th. Of course, that's a UK web site, but, really, shouldn't the land of the Bard be the one that determines the date? Anyway, I posted a real poem above, one of my favorites (considering all of the patriotic blather I'm subjected to).

I'd heard it was National Poetry Day

Here goes . . .

Roses are red;
Violets are blue.
Not all poetry
Has to rhyme.

I don't know where I picked up that bit of doggerel, but I love it!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

My Dream Home

Your home is a

Magic Muse's Stronghold

Your master bedroom has a bedside table with a pad for writing down late-night inspirations.

Your home also includes a gallery of your favorite works -- the originals, of course.

And, you have a pet -- a cat named "Vincent".

Below is a snippet of the blueprints:

Find YOUR Dream House!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Five Things I am Thankful For (3)

Today I am thankful for . . .

  1. Remembering to use the "numbered list" function of my blog. Better coding, better formatting, and less frustration.
  2. Cool weather. A cold front came through last night. It brought some rain, but now it is sunny and perfect for walking.
  3. Living in this area where the air is clear and sky is wide open.
  4. The Old Chapel in Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire (UK), and all of its denizens who share laughs with me on a regular basis.
  5. An easy day when I can remember good friends and enjoy the outdoors.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Five Things I am Thankful For (2)

Sorry, but i got very busy this past weekend. Here are five more things:

1. Charka dog, especially in the morning. She is usually stretched out on the floor in the livingroom when I get up. As soon as she sees me her tail starts wagging and her eyes light up. I go to pet her and she rolls over on her side so that I can get her belly (along with scratching her nose and ears).

2. Cool mornings. The weather has been pleasantly cool in the mornings, and the air has been fragrant with grass cuttings, moist earth, and various natural scents of wood and herbs and whatever else is growing, blooming, or dying this time of year.

3. PBS. I watched the first installment of the latest Ken Burns documentary, "The War," last night. It's done very well. A lot of my other favorite programs (Waking the Dead, Silent Witness, Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Waiting for God, etc.) are on PBS.

4. BBC television. They make most of my favorite programs on PBS!

5. My husband, Ed. ('nuff said)

Friday, September 21, 2007

Five Things I am Thankful For (First Post)

This is the first entry of what I hope will be many. It's an exercise for my mind. I should be adding to it every day. Here goes. . .

  1. The Bulletin Bloopers (see below) that my friend Richard sent to me. They make me laugh.
  2. My friend Richard. He makes me laugh. He also gets me out for a walk.
  3. My friend Amy. She laughs at these with me. Pretty soon we're crying because we're laughing so hard.
  4. Email. It makes it possible to share silliness.
  5. Trish. She gave me great insight today (again!).

Bulletin Bloopers

My favorites are 6, 8, 17, and 25. :)

1. The Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.

2. Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B.S. is done.

3. The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday morning.

4. Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.

5. The pastor will preach his farewell message, after which the choir will sing, "Break Forth Into Joy."

6. A songfest was hell at the Methodist church Wednesday.

7. Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our church and community.

8. The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The Congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.

9. Thursday night Potluck Supper. Prayer and medication to follow.

10. The rosebud on the alter this morning is to announce the birth of David, the sin of Rev. and Mrs. Adams.

11. Tuesday at 4 PM there will be an ice cream social. All ladies giving milk will please come early.

12. A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.

13. At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be "What Is Hell?" Come early and listen to our choir practice.

14. Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use the large double door at the side entrance.

15. Mrs. Johnson will be entering the hospital this week for testes.

16. Please join us as we show our support for Amy and Alan who are preparing for the girth of their first child.

17. The Lutheran Men's group will meet at 6 PM. Steak, mashed potatoes, green beans, bread and dessert will be served for a nominal feel.

18. The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new tithing campaign slogan last Sunday: "I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours."

19. Our next song is "Angles We Have Heard Get High."

20. Don't let worry kill you, let the church help.

21. For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.

22. This being Easter Sunday, we will ask Mrs. Lewis to come forward and lay an egg on the altar.

23. The service will close with Little Drops of Water. One of the ladies will start quietly and the rest of the congregation will join in.

24. Eight new choir robes are currently needed, due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.

25. The senior choir invites any member of the congregation who enjoys sinning to join the choir.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Old, Fat Gal and the Hypertension Blues

I've been monitoring my blood pressure and it hasn't been good. My doctor has tried to comfort me by reminding me that this is likely genetic and that I'd still have it even if I were at an ideal weight.

My current goal is to drink at least 32 oz of water per day (it's a staring point) and to remember to breathe.

I think it would feel a lot better to beat the crap out of some people and then p*ss on them, but I beleive that would end up being counter-productive.

I'll see my doctor soon and start the great trial-and-error with the anti-hypertensive meds. I shall attempt to remain calm by meditating on the question, "Just WTF is the Manley Pants Project?"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The Great Galveston Getaway!

It was a whirlwind of a week! It started on Tuesday with me feeling sick and trying to figure out how I would get myself well in order to leave on Thursday. In the middle we had scorching heat and sweltering humidity, but we also had a lot of fun. It ended up with delays on the flight home due to thunderstorms in Omaha.

Read on . . .

Tuesday and Wednesay, August 7 - 8

On Tuesday I left work around noon because I wasn’t feeling well. Short version: I ended up in a local E.R. with an outrageous migraine. Although my blood pressure had spiked to 210 over 100-something, they did a CT scan of my head and said everything was normal. (Are they sure that was my head they were looking at?) I was told to rest. I went home and slept.

On Wednesday I took time off from both of my jobs and puttered around. I had a massage in the afternoon. And then, feeling fully relaxed and in control of my life, I got out the sewing machine and made a last-minute fix to the dress I’d be wearing to my nephew’s wedding. (It was really an easy fix, but, good grief!) Then the pet-sitter pooped out on us – missed her appointment to meet with us and wasn’t answering her phone. In the end, a great neighbor from across the street stepped in at the last minute to handle the dog and cats while we were away.

Thursday, August 9

All flights came and went without delays. The only hitch was that I couldn’t remember the rental car company where I had a reservation for us! While Ed retrieved our bag, I called all of the rental car companies located at Houston International Airport. None of them had a reservation listed for us either. (Hmmm….. coincidence?) Not to worry, we rented a car and all was well. Ed navigated and I drove. We hit some bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-45 as we turned off for Galveston, but it didn’t last terribly long.

We checked in to the hotel (left) without any problems.

We walked over to Landry’s (above) where Ed had oysters and crab; I had shrimp scampi.

We got to see this gentleman performing in the plaza in front of a nearby restaurant / entertainment area for families. It was right between Landry's and our hotel.

And then we went up to our room and went to bed.

Friday, August 10

We met my sister Mary and her younger son, Sean Patrick, for breakfast at the IHOP. Ross (the groom-to-be) joined us, too, which was a treat. Afterward, Ross went off to do some “guy stuff” with his best men. Mary’s husband Tom joined us and the rest of us went for a bit of a drive. Tom went to med school in Galveston, so he knew the island like the back of his hand. He drove us around some lovely historic homes.

Then we went to Seawolf Park on Pelican Island to see a WWII submarine, the Cavalla as well as a WWII ship, the USS Stewart.

That's Mary as seen through a hatch in the Cavalla. Quarters were small!

Who's brilliant idea was it to put all of these interesting dials and levers and knobs on a submarine, and then . . .

. . . tell us not to touch them????

Here's Ed and Sean Patrick on the USS Stewart.

It also had these cool guns (and I'm convinced I need one at the office).

Then we toured the Bishop’s Palace (left)which was lovely except that the guy who was our “guide” on the first floor was a curmudgeon.

After that we went to lunch at Mario’s (right) where we were joined by Tom’s sister Maureen and her husband Ben.

It had been so hot that morning (100º+) that we called off the rest of our plans in order to rest up. Actually, Ed rested and I tried out the pool at the hotel. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t much to really brag about.

When things had cooled off some, Ed and I drove over to an “Old Market” area called The Strand. It had some fun buildings

And you could play a grand game of chess if you were so inclined.

We had supper at Fisherman’s Wharf on Pier 22.

Saturday, August 11

In the morning we went back to Pier 22 to tour the 1877 sailing ship, the Elissa.

Part of the fun was getting to walk all over the ship as a crew of volunteers were on board and learning how to work on it.

Yes, that's them: sanding away in a nice little row. By the way, the hour is about 10:45 a.m. and the temp is already in the 90s (F). Oh, it's fun to be a sailor!

At left, they are learning how to deal with the canvas sails. The people behind the mast are the learners, standing on a rope and learning to secure the sails after rolling them up like big canvas blini. The people in front of the mast are teaching. Luckily, they get to learn this at just a few inches off the ground (as opposed to their ancestors who learned it by climbing up the freakin' rigging and learning while the ship was at sea).

And there's Ed (at right), my sailor-boy-wannabe. :)

We stopped briefly into the Texas Seaport Museum which contains, among other things, the Galveston Immigration Database. That's where we found what we believed was the record of my maternal grandmother's immigration in 1905. (Turned out we were wrong. She came in through Ellis Island in 1913. Long story.)

And then we took a harbor tour (gotta love those ship yards) where we also got to see dolphins! No, I didn't get photos! They were too fast!

Here's me with Vandy, our captain.

After that, we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding.

The wedding was held at Moody Memorial Methodist Church (say that one three times fast and see if you don't get a jaw sprain!) and was very nice.

Unfortunately, my photos of the ceremony sucked.

Sunday, August 12

We drove back to Houston International Airport, returned the car, and awaited our flight to Dallas/Ft Worth airport. That’s when the delays began. We boarded the jet at the appropriate time, then we sat there for an hour (in the sweltering heat) because there was a problem with the APU (Auxiliary Power Unit – the one that supplied the air conditioning) that had to be fixed. After we were finally in the air, we had to circle south of Omaha because thunderstorms and lightening were in the air (and it was a bad one, as folks in the area know). At last the pilot had to divert to Kansas City International airport to refuel, by which time the storms had cleared out of Omaha. We were finally on the ground around 8:00 p.m., about 2 hours later than scheduled. But, it was the only delay for the whole trip, so that wasn’t really so bad. (I can say that now.)

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

In Praise of Neighbors

We were all set to leave for our trip to Galveston, Texas, when the pet-sitter we'd hired pooped out on us. The pet-sitter was supposed to show up at 8:30 p.m. to got over everything. At 9:00 p.m. we'd given up and started frantic phone calls to any kennels that would answer. The one we did get to answer said that, as Charka dog wasn't up on her shots (we're a month overdue), they would require a 48-hour waiting period before taking her.

Ed came up with the idea of asking Jessica, a neighbor across the street. She said "Yes" without batting an eye! The previous people who'd lived in that house would've done the same for us, so there must be something special about that house -- it only attracts good people!

So, we're dreaming of all of the kind things we can do for Jessica to show our gratitude (she doesn't want payment). While we're doing that, would everyone reading this please just offer up a nice prayer of thanks for such a wonderful neighbor? May all good things come her way because of her selfless kindness!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Fake Chocolate Chip Cookies

To make up for yesterday's diatribe, here's an amusing anecdote from one of my sisters:

My grandson thought we should make some of those "fake" chocolate chip cookies. When I queried him, he said: "You know those cookies that look like they have chocolate chips in them but they are really raisins."

Sunday, August 05, 2007

I am Pro-Responsibility

While in the locker room of the gym this morning I couldn't help but to overhear the heated comments on a news program that was playing on the television mounted in the room. It was the usual blather from political hopefuls who were taking jabs at each other on the question of whether or not they were "Pro-Life."

I've had enough of the Pro-Life / Pro-Choice rhethoric. I would like to propose a sensible middle ground: Pro-Responsibility.

This means both the man and the woman accept responsibility for their choices and their actions.
This means they both act responsibly long before there is any possibility of conception.

Acting responsibly means not allowing sexual intercourse to be a substitute for self-esteem.

It means both parties are responsible for using appropriate and effective birth control if they choose to engage in sexual intercourse and prefer not to have a pregnancy as a result.

It means means that the choice to become pregnant is followed by acting responsibly during pregnancy (e.g., eating appropriately, getting proper medical care, not doing drugs or drinking alcohol).

It means that the choice to be a parent is followed by acting responsibly for raising the child to become a valued and productive member of society.

It still allows for a woman to choose to have an abortion if she is not ready to act responsibly as a parent.

It also allows for a woman to choose to give her child up for adoption.

And ultimately it allows for both men and women to choose abstinence or other appropriate methods of birth control.

It seems that the self-designated "Pro-Lifers" believe that the self-designated "Pro-Choicers" are "Pro-Death." Somehow the Pro-Lifers get so wrapped up in their anti-abortion campaigns and rhetoric that they forget about the number of children born into harsh circumstances: Children born with fetal alcoholism, children born into squalor, children born into a financially stable yet dysfunctional family — None of these is the "life" that so many "Pro-Lifers" ever consider.

Unfortunately, I haven't met too many "Pro-Choicers" who have much to brag about, either. They get so focused on a woman's right to choose abortion that they forget about a woman's right to choose to not have sex in the first place, to say nothing of a man's responsibility to choose to use birth control. They also forget about a woman's right to choose to bring a pregnancy to term.

The problems of single-parenthood, random sexual intercourse, teenage pregnancy, welfare mothers, at-risk children, crack-addicted babies, child abuse, and everything else will not be solved by protests at abortion clinics or by legislation for or against abortion. The problems are bigger than any slogan or sound bite.

I think the best place we can begin is to start with finding middle ground in the concept of Responsibility: Responsible choices, Responsible actions, and Responsible in the outcomes.

Of course, if you want responsible adults, you have to start by creating responsible teens. And if you want responsible teens then you have to start by creating responsible children.

Yes, we're certainly starting behind the mark on this one, but we have to start somewhere. And if we start now, we might have this battle against irresponsible choices and lack of accountability solved in about 6 generations.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

This is what Love is. . .

I ate something last night for supper that hated me. It waited until I'd been in bed for about 30 minutes before it began its assault on my gastro-intestinal system. It started with a niggling kind of nausea, then mushroomed into a threateningly unstable mass of cramps and near-hurling. (This probably wouldn't have been so bad if I weren't of the firm belief that no one over the age of 12 should have to vomit.) I moaned. I groaned. I sucked down Pepto-Bismol. I was prone. I was prostrate. I was on my elbows and knees on the bed with my face into the pillow and my eschrichtius robustus abdomen dangling in the middle so as not to cause undue pressure.

After about an hour or so the pain subsided and I was able to curl up on my side of the bed normally to sleep.

And then, just before 5:00 a.m. I was awakened by the internal three-alarm terrorism-in-the-gut warning that signals the time to jump out of bed and run to the bathroom before it could expulso inappropriately. While I sat this out, I heard the alarm ring and ring and ring and ring.

My husband didn't once complain. He asked if there was anything he could do to help. He wasn't cranky in the morning. He offered sympathy and comforting words. I was not beautiful. I was not charming. I was nothing in the least that could be considered desirable, certainly nothing like the bewitching woman he met on a bus tour sixteen years ago or the laughing bride fifteen years ago or the beautiful woman he sees now and then when I dress up for something special.

This is what love is.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Getting to Know You Meme

OK, this one is going around on email. If you want to copy it for your own email or blog, be my guest. Please don't send it to people who really don't care to receive such things.

I've heard it was Judy Garland, who was in The Wizard of Oz around the time I was born.

Last week over something stupid.



Not unless you count the dog, 3 cats, and the husband.







Honey-Nut Cheerios


I know I am strong.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie

Their faces.


None of your freakin' business!

My maternal grandmother.


Khaki/tan trousers and dark brown shoes.

Pop Tarts

People around my office talking.

Any color I need at the moment.

Bread baking, carnations, clean laundry.

A clerk at the County Treasurer's Office.

Angie and Jules are wonderful people. I also like the people who are reading this (well, the ones I know).

Women's gymnastics.




Flat Iron Steak.

Happy endings.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.

Dark Pink.



Chocolate Walnut Brownie from Nebraska Beef Company (sadly, now closed).

No idea.

No idea.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows for the 2nd time.


A Miss Marple Mystery.

"Dinner's Ready!"


I've been out of my mind several times. Geographically, Amsterdam is farthest, I think.

Graphics, singing, sewing, knitting, and probably a few other things.

The state of perfect nothingness (aka Iowa)

No need to answer back unless you'd like to.

Harry Potter and the Disappearing Month

There I was, posting away, when all of a sudden the month slipped away from me. I know I was caught up somewhat in the frenzy for the seventh and final Harry Potter book. I was finishing up the fifth book (Order of the Phoenix) late on Friday night. Then at 9:00 a.m. on the 21st my copy of Deathly Hallows arrived and there was no way on this green earth I was going to wait until I'd finished the sixth Harry Potter book before starting on this long-awaited tome. Thus, I answered the door (my copy was delivered via UPS) in my pyjamas and a bathrobe, then promptly went back to bed and started reading.

I loved it.

I laughed. I cried (well, not really). I loved it.

I had seen one spoiler site earlier that stated Percy Weasley died almost right away in this book. It didn't take much reading to discover this spoiler site had been a crock of dragon sh*t. Still, I was on pins and needles the whole time in wondering what would happen next. Ask my husband: I was either gasping, "No!" or hooting with laughter.

Memorable Moments (highlight this area to read -- I don't want to spoil it for those who haven't finished it yet):

Fred and George, having taken the polyjuice potion so that they would be Harry's double, exclaiming, "We're identical!"

The Weasley twins recalling their Uncle Bilius who would get drunk and start pulling flowers from his arse.

Kreacher hitting Mundungus Fletcher on the head with the saucepan and then suggesting perhaps one more for good measure. Harry (or was it Ron?) explains that they need "Dung" to be sober, but they'll call on Kreacher if needed again.

Hermione wrapping Ron in a fervid embrace and Harry having to say, "Um, excuse me, but there's a war going on . . . "

Dumbledore telling Harry, "Yes, it's all in your head, but that doesn't make it less real." (or something close to that)

Molly Weasley shouting at Bellatrix, "YOU B!TCH!"

Professor McGonagall leading a squadron on enchanted desks down a hall and yelling, "Charge!"

And, was I the only woman on the planet who had to put the book down for a while when Lupin announced he was a father? That man is so hot ..... !

And I loved the epilogue. I loved that Harry lived, that Harry and Ginny married and had children, that one of them was named Albus Severus (for two great headmasters). I loved that some kids were staring at Harry, but his own kids didn't know why. I loved that Lupin and Tonks' son Teddy was snogging Victoire (the oldest child of Bill and Fleur Weasley). I loved that Ron and Hermione had married and had children, that Ron was even learning to drive by Muggle rules! (OK, he had to use the Confundus charm, but we'll let it go.)

As I said, I loved it.

So, after reading the book (I finished it on Saturday night) I sat down with all of the predictions that friends had made on the HPANA thread (you have to create an account there to look at it). While my husband was reading the book, I was compiling the predictions (we were mostly wrong) and posting them. I was also talking with my friends on HPANA and emailing my Harry Potter friends and, oh, yes, I was showing up for work in there somewhere!

So, this month has basically gone quickly, what with moving Ed's mom's stuff into our place, seeing the 5th Harry Potter film, awaiting the 7th Harry Potter book, and trying to get some laundry done in the meantime.

Yes, other stuff has been going on (my friend Miriam broke her wrist, Ed had an interview but nothing came of it, the stationery shop will be moving, I've had computer problems at home), but my brain is too freakin' fried to cope with it all. Besides, it's not all that interesting.

Friday, July 13, 2007


That's an irrational fear of Friday the 13th (the date, not the films -- which were enough to send anyone screaming from the theaters, not because they were frightening but because they were frighteningly bad, but that's another story).

According to an item in USA Today, this phobia affects approximately 21 million people in the USA (although the source for this statistic isn't sharing his/her data).

Personally, I'd not have known it was "Friday the 13th" until someone or something (such as an article in USA Today) pointed it out. In my mind, today is not a bad luck day. It's the 13th of the month.

And, as it turns out, the 13th of July is also the wedding anniversary of one of my sisters and her husband, and to them I wish all happiness and good health.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

This was an enjoyable film, certainly of the quality of all of the ones that preceded it, if not better simply because a lot of the younger actors have gotten better at acting. I can understand why some reviewers criticized it as choppy. Had I not been familiar with the book, I'd have felt forced uncomfortably from one event to the next in at least the first half or two-thirds of the film. The last section, starting from the scene with the fireworks, I think, hung together very well.

I've read an article from that is a Q&A with Michael Goldenberg, the writer who adapted this book for the screen. I can certainly sympathize with the problems of adapting the story from the page (a medium which is nearly limitless for story telling) to the screen (a medium which is primarily visual and therefore has certain limitations for story telling). I don't think he was as successful with the last few minutes of this film, however. Harry is merely walking with his friends to catch the Hogwarts Express back to London and he remarks that the friendship he has with Ron, Hermione, et al., is what makes him different from Voldemort. I think this story needed that little bit of a twinkle-in-the-eye ending, the kind that the book gave us when Mad-Eye Moody, Tonks, and Lupin (with the Weasleys and the Grangers standing nearby, no doubt) told the Dursleys that they (the Dursleys) had better treat Harry well. I was looking forward to Mad-Eye tipping his hat so that his funky eye would wink at Uncle Vernon. To me, that would have been the ultimate show of friendship -- we'll stand up for you against the people who should love you but don't.

I sincerely hope there are extended versions of these films offered eventually on DVD. I'm talking about the kind where the deleted scenes are fully integrated with the film. It would be nice to see a fuller story.

And, as I've often said, it would be nice to see these books adapted into a more detailed form such as a television mini-series. I'm thinking of the great work that was done with the 6-hour Pride & Prejudice, which told that story and conveyed the manners of the period in great depth. Yes, it would be a huge undertaking, but I'm sure it would pay billions in revenues!

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

"Anerkannt rings im Land. . ."

Belle Miriam Silverman, a.k.a. Beverly Sills
May 25, 1929 – July 2, 2007

Monday, July 02, 2007

Atlantis Space Shuttle at Offutt

The Atlantis Space Shuttle landed (on the back of a NASA 747) at Offutt AFB yesterday. It was a stopover on its way back to Florida. Bad flying weather south of us caused the overnight detour.

It took off this morning around 8:00 a.m. One of my co-workers got this picture and shared it with all of us.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Topless Car Wash -- One of my favorites

Something about June?

It's odd that a number of the blogs I usually check seem to have had a post sometime around June 23 - 26 and then no more. Are we all on break?

This is the first weekend when I've been pretty much free. Not completely free -- I had to go into my full-time job on Saturday to make up some time I missed due to being with my DH on Thursday -- but pretty much free. We even went to see a movie on Saturday, the new Die Hard film (which could easily have been titled, "If it moves, blow it up").

This morning I went to the pool and did 30 minutes of water aerobics with my friend Richard, then went back to sleep when I got home. It was communion Sunday at my church, and I'm just not comfortable with that yet. ("Do we all eat this now? How long do I have to hold onto this? Can't we just do it like the Catholics and eat it when it's handed to us? Can we have real wine next time?") And I slept a lot today. I've been so tired, and it's no wonder.

Our house is full of boxes and stuff. I'm not looking forward to the work ahead of us.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Check out the KFYS Club Blog

OK you knitters who keep coming over here -- check out the KFYS Club Blog (find the link at right) for a cool YouTube video about men who knit!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Wrap. Pack. Seal. Lift. Repeat.

I've spent a total of 14.5 hours this past week in sorting and packing items in my mother-in-law's apartment. Some of the stuff goes to charities. Some of it goes to Ed's sister in Florida. Some of it goes to us. Some of it gets tossed.

The majority of stuff for Ed's sister will have to be professionally packed and shipped. She had set aside some other things that I packed yesterday into four boxes.

The stuff for us isn't going but 2 miles (the distance between the apartment and our house), but we've got about 6 big boxes (18 x 18 x 24) of stuff just because we're still packing it with bubble wrap and such to keep it padded. I never knew one person could have so much crystal, silver, and copper!

Items for donation so far comprise 4 of the big boxes, but we haven't started in on the kitchen yet. Plus there are books.

And this doesn't count the furniture. Yesterday we helped my SIL Deb's daughter and fiance load up some glass and chrome tables. Five of them were end tables, so they were manageable. The six was a huge coffee table and the pane of glass for it was so freakin' heavy that it took 3 of us to transport it.

My shoulders hurt. I hurt.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

In Memoriam

Anne Ross Brodnicki
February 21, 1922 — June 7, 2007

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Danish Food Network — Cooking with James!

My younger brother hamming it up in a community parade this weekend. Here's what his wife (my SIL Deb) wrote to us about it:

"I thought you might get a kick out of seeing these pictures of James in our Tivoli Fest Parade this weekend. (Notice his chef hat and apron - he borrowed it from my step dad Virgil). He was featured on the float by Marne Elk Horn Telephone Company. The theme of Tivoli Fest this year was A Taste of Denmark. Their float was entitled Cooking with James. ... James had rigged up a lap top computer on the float and it was playing music by James Brown, I Feel Good!

"He did great! And the rest of the Marne Elk Horn Tele. crew was walking alongside handing out bags of muffins to the crowd, which from what people said, was a hit. They didn't win first place but they were still great. The girls at the office always come up with something cute. James said he thinks he'll be safe for another 8 years now and can go back to driving the pickup again pulling the float like he's done in years past.

"It was raining hard early in the morning and James was sure hoping the parade would be canceled. We lucked out though and the weather turned out great by 11:00 and it was perfect for both Sat. and Sun. We had pretty good crowds too. ... I'm hoping I can get my new Danish chef to cook more at home now. This morning he even cooked me eggs for breakfast!"

Friday, May 25, 2007

15th Anniversary

My DH and I celebrated our 15th Wedding Anniversary last night with some folks. The actual date of the anniversary was Wednesday, but the pastor couldn't make it until last night so we held it then.

My DH cooked up a feast: cheese puffs and two cheesecakes (one chocolate, one plain); in addition we had cheese and crackers and some veggie dip. There were fresh veggies and fresh fruit, as well as wine and soft drinks.

Sorry, but we didn't have the wherewithall to remember to get everyone together when all of us were in the same room. (Blame it on the wine. Or the cheesecake. Not sure.)

Anyway, seated: Lorna (knitting friend, on left) and Richard (walking pal, on right)
Standing (from left): Me, James (massage therapist par excellance), and Miriam (knitting friend). And that's Charka dog on the floor.

Behind the camera: Ed.

Not pictured: Helen (who used to work with me at Bozell advertising), Winston (the pastor), Louise and Wayne (Village Stationery owners), and a whole lot of people who just couldn't make it.

We'd originally invited a lot of people who'd been at our wedding 15 years ago, plus a few dear friends we've made since then. As it turned out, only one friend from 15 years ago could make it! We'd have done better to have held the party over at Sit and Knit at my favorite yarn shop so that more friends could have participated!

Well, that's just how it goes.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Another Silly Dream

I don't know where I come up with these dreams I have, but they are kind of funny. And most of the time they seem like stories I'm trying to write while I'm asleep.

So, in the dream I had before I woke this morning, I had stumbled into the filiming of a television commercial. I believe it was for a specific brand of cycling shorts. Honest.

Somehow I'd gotten myself into this commercial that featured (brace yourself) Arnold Schwarzenegger and some other actress (whose name and face were unrecognizable in the dream). Arnold was supposed to be some sort of great bicyclist, but he didn't have the right shorts to wear. I was the character who was to point out that didn't didn't have the right shorts. Then this other actress was supposed to come in (like some sort of rescuing angel) to give him the shorts he needed.

And it was all done in a quasi-opera style.

(Note: Do you remember when there was a cereal commercial that was done in opera style? I'll never forget the actor singing ruefully, "No more Rice Krispies!" to the tune of "Vesta la giubba" -- the well-known aria from Pagliacci.)

But it was being sung in Spanish, not Italian.

When it came to my cue to sing something like, "He has the wrong shorts," I decided to ad lib by adding that, in having the wrong shorts, Arnold also looked very ugly and foolish.

Cut to the end of shooting the commercial. The people who are with me (presumably an agent of some sort) are scared because they think I've upset everyone, but they just want to get me out of there before anyone starts screaming at me.

We are walking down a street and talking about it. I'm defending myself saying that it just came into my head and seemed to be the right thing to do. They're still shaking their heads. (My agent and some guy who I think was my publicist, and some gal who was a kind of friend or hanger-on.)

Next, we stop into a little cafe. The agent comes in grudgingly. This is the sort of cafe where only the stars hang out. They are getting manicures and facials along with their salads. Honest! So, we are standing in the doorway not being noticed until the guy who was my publicist says something to the maitre d' that I'm the person who made this latest commercial very famous.

Oh, all of a sudden we're being seated and the chef is offering me all sorts of amazing food (lobster this and linguini that). I tell him that I just like some soup, but that my friends might like something to eat. This chef goes off in a huff because none of us want his rich food.

While we're sitting there and eating, the actress who was to have been the rescuing angel of that commercial sort of slinks in. Apparently her career is on a downhill slide and my upstaging of her has sealed the deal. She is practically persona non grata at this point.

And then it gets weirder: A kind of wall comes up from the floor to partition off the restaurant so that some actors can attend some kind of anonymous self-help/therapy group. It's a therapy group for actors who are having problems with their careers and/or their self-image and whatever else. And Arnold is one of those attending.

Then I woke up.

I have no idea what it means (if anything at all), but it was fun!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Only in the U.S. drugstores make the sick walk all the way to the back of the store to get their prescriptions while healthy people can uy cigarettes at the front. people order double cheeseburgers, large fries, and a diet coke. banks leave both doors open and then chain the pens to the counters. we leave cars worth thousands of dollars in the driveway and put our useless junk in the garage. we buy hot dogs in packages of ten and buns in packages of eight. we use the word 'politics' to describe the process so well: 'Poli' in Latin meaning 'many' and 'tics' meaning 'bloodsucking creatures'. we have drive-up ATMs with Braille lettering.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Perhaps You Should Adjust Your Television (by tuning into a different program)

From an article in the The New York Times:

" is troubling that even in escapist fantasies, today’s heroines have to be weak, needy and oversexed to be liked by women and desired by men."

While is article is mainly about the television program Grey's Anatomy (a show I don't watch), it is also about the image of women in prime-time. I'm sorely depressed that this show is so popular if, indeed, it portrays women as it does.

I struggle so much with my own self-image. Now I understand some of what I'm struggling against.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

StoryCorps for Mother's Day

The StoryCorps booth is in Omaha until the beginning of June. We took my mother-in-law, Anne, today to do an interview about her life growing up in Brooklyn and about living in Nurnberg after WWII. This is a picture of Anne with her son (my DH) Ed.

And this is Lena (left), the recording technician with StoryCorps, talking with Anne before we started. It turned out that Lena, too, had grown up in Brooklyn, so they had a lot to talk about.

It was a very positive experience, and I encourage everyone to check out the StoryCorps site to see whether it will be in your neighborhood any time soon. They were great to deal with, and we have a wonderful CD of the interview, about 30 minutes in all.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Low Self Esteem among Paris Hilton Fans

From a news item on the USA Today web site about Paris Hilton appealing the judge's ruling that she go to prison. Apparently about 900 people have signed a petition that contains, among other things, the justification for a pardon on the grounds that Miss Hilton provides

". . . beauty and excitement to (most of) our otherwise mundane lives."

Had I known beauty and excitement are the new terms for "slutty and wreckless," I'd have hired my own publicist long ago! Of course, I'd have had to work at the "slutty" part.

Good grief, for the first time in her life someone says "No" to this child and she throws a hissy fit. And her fans are behind her on this one!

Did anyone read the article about her sentencing? My heavens, even this girl's mother was in la-la land! Here's a quote from that story:

As a city prosecutor said during closing arguments that Hilton deserved jail time, Hilton's mother, Kathy, laughed. When the judge ruled, Kathy Hilton then blurted out: "May I have your autograph?"

The mother then went on to say of the sentence (45 days in county jail):

"... This is pathetic and disgusting, a waste of taxpayer money with all this nonsense. This is a joke."

I shudder to think what this says about parenting in our society, to say nothing of proper self-esteem and the cult of celebrity. God, save me from this nonsense!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Still Fighting

OK, I still have this crud. I'm feeling better, but I'm not quite 100% yet. I think that the recent spate of rain has brought out the pollen (flowers and trees are blooming left and right), so my allergies are getting mixed in with the crud. But I'm hanging in there.

Monday, April 30, 2007

On Quarters Today (again!)

For the past three weeks or so my husband has been fighting some kind of nasty cold virus. I, on the other hand, have been in excellent health.

Until Saturday night. It hit me like the proverbial ton of bricks. It started as a little bit of a sore throat around 8 pm, then came on strong around 11 pm. I considered going to a local clinic on Sunday morning, but the last time I went they basically said, "Live with it," and didn't give me anything to fight it. So, I stayed home, in bed, and felt miserable all day: Headache, body aches, sore throat, swollen glands, hard to swallow, nasty yellow gunk from my nose. . . you get the idea.

I'll be seeing my own doctor today at 1:40 p.m. My husband went in last Friday and they finally gave him an antibiotic. Lo and behold, he's feeling a whole lot better today and was able to go to work. I'm hoping my dr. will be convinced of the connection and prescribe an antibiotic for me. Every time I've had some kind of infection (URI, strep throat) it has felt like this. I know what I have. Gimme the drugs, dammit!

As I write, the orange tabby (Tucker cat) is entertaining me with his Rambo-on-a-wad-of-paper shtick. If there were an Academy Awards for cats, Tucker would win paws down!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007


I seem to be fighting some kind of bug again. On Wednesday, after I went home, I was up after an hour with diarrhea and nauseousnous (sp?), then slept until about 1:00 p.m. and went to my afternoon job. I was fine for the rest of the day.

On Friday I started to get one of my sinus migraines -- whether from a change in the weather or because I'd been cutting up some dusty boxes, I don't know -- but I went home early from my afternoon job, slept for about an hour, then woke up with a worse headache and feeling sick to my stomach again really badly. (If you vomit up the Pepto-Bismol, should you take more?) I couldn't eat until about 10:00 p.m., and then just a hard-boiled egg.

I had a bit of the headache this morning, but all of my drugs shooed it away and I basically felt fine, but very tired. Then the diarrhea came again. I wonder what in the world is going on?

Anyway, I'm finishing up some knitting projects and all seems to be well on that end. Also, I've been devouring some of Ian Rankin's books, the Inspector Rebus series. These are police procedurals set in and around Edinburgh. Rankin writes well, develops his characters admirably, and tells a great story. It's been putting me in mind of writing again.

Well, when I get the time again. LOL!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Oh, Gawd, I'm So Tired!

The dog barked at 12:45 a.m. And then again at 1:30 a.m. And then at 2:15 a.m. I finally gave up trying to sleep and came into the office. I'm having coffee, but I know I'll just toss and turn at my desk all day.

I've been busy, but there just hasn't been anything to write.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The 100 Books Memo

From Minnie's Blog /jb

Bold the ones you've read.
Italicize the ones you want to read.
Leave Blank the ones you aren't interested in.

1. The DaVinci Code (Dan Brown)
2. Pride and Prejudice (Jane Austen)

3. To Kill A Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
4. Gone With The Wind (Margaret Mitchell)
5. The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (Tolkien)
6. The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (Tolkien)
7. The Lord of the Rings: Two Towers (Tolkien)
8. Anne of Green Gables (L.M. Montgomery)
9. Outlander (Diana Gabaldon)
10. A Fine Balance (Rohinton Mistry)
11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Rowling)
12. Angels and Demons (Dan Brown)
13. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Rowling)

14. A Prayer for Owen Meany (John Irving)
15. Memoirs of a Geisha (Arthur Golden)
16. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (Rowling)
17. Fall on Your Knees (Ann-Marie MacDonald)
18. The Stand (Stephen King)
19. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (Rowling)
20. Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte)
21. The Hobbit (Tolkien)
22. The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger)
23. Little Women (Louisa May Alcott)
24. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
25. Life of Pi (Yann Martel)
26. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (Douglas Adams)
27. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
28. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (C. S. Lewis)
29. East of Eden (John Steinbeck)
30. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Albom)
31. Dune (Frank Herbert)
32. The Notebook (Nicholas Sparks)
33. Atlas Shrugged (Ayn Rand)
34. 1984 (Orwell)
35. The Mists of Avalon (Marion Zimmer Bradley)
36. The Pillars of the Earth (Ken Follett)
37. The Power of One (Bryce Courtenay)
38. I Know This Much is True (Wally Lamb)
39. The Red Tent (Anita Diamant)
40. The Alchemist (Paulo Coelho)
41. The Clan of the Cave Bear (Jean M. Auel)
42. The Kite Runner (Khaled Hosseini)
43. Confessions of a Shopaholic (Sophie Kinsella)
44. The Five People You Meet In Heaven (Mitch Albom)
45. The Bible
46. Anna Karenina (Tolstoy)
47. The Count of Monte Cristo (Alexandre Dumas)
48. Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt)
49. The Grapes of Wrath (John Steinbeck)
50. She’s Come Undone (Wally Lamb)
51. The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)
52. A Tale of Two Cities (Dickens)
53. Ender’s Game (Orson Scott Card)
54. Great Expectations (Dickens)
55. The Great Gatsby (Fitzgerald)
56. The Stone Angel (Margaret Laurence)
57. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (Rowling)
58. The Thorn Birds (Colleen McCullough)
59. The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood)
60. The Time Traveller’s Wife (Audrew Niffenegger)
61. Crime and Punishment (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
62. The Fountainhead (Ayn Rand)
63. War and Peace (Tolstoy)
64. Interview With The Vampire (Anne Rice)
65. Fifth Business (Robertson Davis)
66. One Hundred Years Of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
67. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (Ann Brashares)
68. Catch-22 (Joseph Heller)
69. Les Miserables (Hugo)
70. The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupery)
71. Bridget Jones’ Diary (Fielding)
72. Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez)
73. Shogun (James Clavell)
74. The English Patient (Michael Ondaatje)
75. The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett)
76. The Summer Tree (Guy Gavriel Kay)
77. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Betty Smith)
78. The World According to Garp (John Irving)
79. The Diviners (Margaret Laurence)
80. Charlotte's Web (E.B. White)
81. Not Wanted On The Voyage (Timothy Findley)
82. Of Mice And Men (Steinbeck)
83. Rebecca (Daphne DuMaurier)
84. Wizard’s First Rule (Terry Goodkind)
85. Emma (Jane Austen)
86. Watership Down(Richard Adams)
87. Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
88. The Stone Diaries (Carol Shields)
89. Blindness (Jose Saramago)
90. Kane and Abel (Jeffrey Archer)
91. In The Skin Of A Lion (Ondaatje)
92. Lord of the Flies (Golding)
93. The Good Earth (Pearl S. Buck)
94. The Secret Life of Bees (Sue Monk Kidd)
95. The Bourne Identity (Robert Ludlum)
96. The Outsiders (S.E. Hinton)
97. White Oleander (Janet Fitch)
98. A Woman of Substance (Barbara Taylor Bradford)
99. The Celestine Prophecy (James Redfield)
100. Ulysses (James Joyce)

OK, I obviously suck at this one. If it were my husband doing this meme, nearly everything would be in Bold Face!

Monday, March 26, 2007

It takes some people 50 years to learn these truths . . .

This was sent to me via email. I rather like it! /jb

1. The badness of a movie is directly proportional to the number of helicopters in it.

2. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight-saving time.

3. You should never say anything to a woman that even remotely suggests you think she's pregnant unless you can see an actual baby emerging from her at that moment.

4. The one thing that unites all human beings, regardless of age, gender, religion, economic status or ethnic background, is that, deep down inside, we ALL believe that we are above-average drivers.

5. There comes a time when you should stop expecting other people to make a big deal about your birthday. That time is: age 11.

6. There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness." (And any knitter will tell you that's true.)

7. People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.

8. If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be "meetings."

9. The main accomplishment of almost all organized protests is to annoy people who are not in them.

10. If there really is a God who created the entire universe with all of its glories, and he decides to deliver a message to humanity, he will NOT use as his messenger a person on cable TV with a bad hairstyle or in some cases, really bad make-up too.

11. You should not confuse your career with your life.

12. A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter/janitor, is not a nice person.

13. No matter what happens, somebody will find a way to take it too seriously.

14. When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy.

15. Your true friends love you, anyway.

16. Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Erin is Back! Hooray!

The Titanium Rose was back at knitting last night. It was terrific to see her again after such a long absence. She's using a sunlamp to treat her SAD and it's making a huge difference for her. Here's to healing! Here's to feeling better! Here's to friends rejoining the circle! Yiipppppppeeeeee!!!!!!!

Monday, March 19, 2007

A Meme of Firsts

OK, this meme actually has a cohesive theme!

1. When did you first utter a curse word/obscenity?
I am given to understand from reliable eye-witnesses that it was when I was a child (perhaps 3 or 4) and I repeated a word my dad said. The first instance I remember on my own was when I said a word (well, I thought it was a single word) that rhymed with "bucket," but I don't remember how old I was -- probably 9 or 10. I said it to some kids who were playing nearby. I thought it was a way of saying they were cool.

2. ... and when was the first time you said it and actually knew what it meant?
I remember being in a fit of anger and releasing a torrent of swear words on my sister Denise when I was in the 9th grade. My parents were shocked.

3. What do you say when you first wake up in the morning?

4. What's the first thing you do when you arrive at school/your job?
Usually I lock the car and walk up the hill to my office. :) Once I'm there, I'm usually turning on the lights.

5. When, where, and with whom was your first "real" kiss?
Oh, dear, it was a boy named Barry (yuck!) who was a few years older than me. I think I was in the summer between 4th and 5th grade (so, 10 - 11 years old). It was in a shed in the back of a neighbor's lot.

6. On whom did you have your first crush (not counting television & film stars)?
Oh, besides Michael Landon (as Little Joe on Bonanza) and Davy Jones (of The Monkees)

7. What is one of the first television programs you remember watching? Captain Kangaroo!

8. What was your first pet and what was his/her name? Other than my grandmother's Manchester Terrier (named "Snoopy"), I remember an orange and white tabby named "Peanut Butter."

9. Which is the first birthday you can remember celebrating, and how did you celebrate it?
There are pictures of me sitting next to birthday cakes at various birthdays when I was smaller, but the first one I really remember was when I turned six and my mom and older sisters arranged a party for me.

10. What was the name of your first friend (real or imaginary)?
Donna. She lived just a few houses away.

11. Where did you first go to school?
St. Boniface in Westphalia, Iowa.

12. What is the first family vacation or other outing you can remember taking?
We went on a trip that took us to Atchison, Kansas, and then to a zoo, and then to West Bend. I was six or seven.

13. How old were you when you went to your first funeral, and whose funeral was it?
I as 13 or 14 and it was the funeral of one of my maternal uncles.

14. What is the first visit to a doctor or dentist or optometrist that you remember? How old were you? What were the circumstances?
I know I went to the doctor several times, but the first one I really remember was going to a dentist who pulled some of my front teeth to make room for the ones that were growing in. I think I was five or six years old.

15. How old were you when you first got a mobile phone?
About age 35.

16. .... when you first used email?
I as in my late 20s. We had an electronic messaging system called PROFS. It was very complicated, but it worked. I didn't use it much.

17. .... when you first used accessed the World Wide Web?
Um....I think I was 32.

18. Who were the major candidates for president in the first year you were eligible to vote?
Carter and Reagan.

19. What was the first car or truck you drove?
Some kind of four-dour sedan that my brother-in-law Ron had. He let me drive around in a field.

20. What was the name of your first school teacher?
Sister Cordula