Sunday, December 28, 2008

New hobby

Or, I won't quit my day job...

Or, or, sometimes I am woefully over-confident.

Santa brought me a knitting book and some basic knitting starter tools. Here is what took me an hour and a half to create.

Does it get easier? Will my stitches look better (at some point)? And in the meantime, any suggestions for donating/recycling my crappy first efforts at a scarf, if I ever finish?

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht,

Alles schläft; einsam wacht

Nur das traute hochheilige Paar.

Holder Knabe im lockigen Haar,

Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

Schlaf in himmlischer Ruh!

(The original lyrics of the song Stille Nacht were written in German by the Austrian priest Father Josef Mohr and the melody was composed by the Austrian headmaster Franz Xaver Gruber.)

O Holy Night! The stars are brightly shining,

It is the night of the dear Saviour's birth.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining.

Till He appeared and the Soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the angel voices!

O night divine, the night when Christ was born;

O night, O Holy Night , O night divine!

Truly He taught us to love one another,

His law is love and His gospel is peace.

Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.

And in his name all oppression shall cease.

Sweet hymns of joy in grateful chorus raise we,

With all our hearts we praise His holy name.

Christ is the Lord! O praise His name for ever!

His power and glory ever more proclaim!

His power and glory ever more proclaim!

(The words and lyrics of the old carol 'O Holy Night' were written by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure in 1847. The music for the poem was composed by Adolphe Charles Adams. It was translated into English by John Sullivan Dwight (1812-1893).)

It's in every one of us
To be wise
Find your heart
Open up both your eyes
We can all know everything
Without ever knowing why
It's in every one of us
By and by

(sung by John Denver (and The Muppets) from the album, John Denver and The Muppets: A Christmas Together. Lyrics by D. Pomeranz )


I'm off work for the next week, and I really need a break. Still, I find it really hard to unwind and relax. How can this be? I've been looking forward to this week since August. It's been the carrot in front of me for the whole semester. My entire being has yearned for this. And when it's finally come, I have to tell myself to relax. I have to resist filling my days with errands and household chores. I'm so stuck in my rut that I feel uneasy if I'm not doing, doing, doing.

How do I break this habit? How can I unwind and let the unending chore list alone? Where does this need to stay occupied come from?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas is about giving...

...So today I gave myself the day off! No shoulds, no ought-tos, just what I wanted to do. Which turned out to be pretty productive, and I still have most of the afternoon and all evening to kick back.

After running out to Target for the umpteenth time (and LAST, I swear it), I wrapped presents. But because I'm an organizational weirdo and can't do just one task at a time, I had to sort out the boxes of paper, wrap, and bows. With the result that it looks like a Hallmark store threw up in my guest room.

After a short break (fortified by lunch and some See's candy), I moved on to baking.

The two cookies I must make each year are honey shortbread and springerles. The honey shortbread is a recipe I found years ago in a holiday cookie magazine. I tried it once, and my family went nuts over it. It's so easy, it almost doesn't count. Butter, honey, vanilla, and flour. Done. The springerles are a legacy from my Grandma Frances. When Grandma sent us the Christmas package every year, there would be a box of springerles in there. These are easily my favorite cookies, but I only make them for Christmas. They are anise-flavored and very crunchy. Yummy. My mom managed to snag Grandma's hand-carved springerle board and got the recipe from her (orally, of course) before she passed away. And now I carry on the tradition.

Baking must be accompanied by music. It was time to whip out the John Denver and the Muppets cd. Which reminds me of my childhood, and always makes me sentimental (which means laughter and tears).

And now, being done with my tasks, I plan to relax with a good book and some hot cocoa. Aaahhhh.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Deep breath

Holy cow. I've been so freakin' busy - concerts, parties, work (finals week), and trying to hold it all together. But now, all that's left on the agenda is baking and wrapping presents.

That'll be tomorrow.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ramblings on Hope

Since this summer, I've felt alternately discouraged, anxious, depressed, worried, and uncertain. Since the holiday season has begun, I have felt hope. Hope is such an interesting and enigmatic phenomenon. A very little bit (the proverbial "mustard seed") is enough to counter all the cynicism and pessimism in the world. A tiny spark of light can illuminate a roomy space.

Lately I've been more attuned to hope in my heart and in the world around me. I don't know what belief system you subscribe to; regardless of your spirituality, I think you may recognize what I'm discussing. It's a coming-together, a synchronicity, a blessing, a one-ness, an acknowledgement of a higher power, an enlightenment. For me, I feel like God has answered a prayer that was so deeply tied to my psyche, so important to my state of being, that I didn't even recognize it was there. It was an emptiness, a tiredness, at a deep soul level. Slowly, surely, this emptiness is being filled. I've been noticing more kindness, more goodness, more light. I am comforted. I am hopeful.

And the light goes on shining in the dark; it is not overcome by the dark. -- John 1:5

This time of year is full of references to light. The winter solstice approaches - the time when the earth tilts, and the days lengthen, and the light increases. Hannukah is a festival of lights. The celebration of light is one of the best parts of Christmas for me, and I'm glad the early Christians borrowed the pagan customs. The importance of light to life is primal. The way that Jesus, light of the world, comes to us in the guiding light of the star, is such a great narrative echo of God's decree to "let there be light."

This mystery, this connection, of light and hope - how strong the light of a single candle is, how tenuous hope is - thrills me to my very core. It's how Christmas is real to me this year. It's what makes me feel connected to humans and Christians across the ages. Hope is real, and more powerful than despair. And now I know this for myself. And I hope you feel it too!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

It's beginning to look...

...a lot like CHRISTMAS!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

My head is about to explode...I think.

My dad sent me this article on how scientists have manipulated the brain's perceptions of its physical self. It's tripping me out.

"In one experiment, the team fitted the head of a mannequin with two cameras connected to two small screens placed in front of volunteers' eyes, so that they had the same view as the mannequin. When the mannequin's camera eyes and a participant's head were directed downwards, the participant saw the mannequin's body where the person would normally have seen their own body. The researchers created the illusion of body-swapping by touching the stomach of both the mannequin and the volunteer with sticks. The person saw the mannequin's stomach being touched while feeling (but not seeing) a similar sensation on their own stomach. As a result, the person developed a strong belief that the mannequin's body was actually their own."

This is very weird, sci-fi stuff. And yet, it's also fascinating how the mind can be tricked.

Dinner with friends

Good friends Emily and Darin are visiting from France! We met them for dinner last night, and to get caught up on what's new.
Emily is sporting a beautiful, expanded belly! Their little boy is due in March.
Jen, Em, and Darin grinning after stuffing themselves with Mexican food.

It's always good to see Emily on her visits back to the US. And this time, we got to see her "TH," Darin! They're gonna be great parents. Cliff and I will just have to go back to France and visit, after the little one is born. We're good friends, like that.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I'm just sayin'.

It really chaps my hide when smokers throw their cigarette butts (still lit) out of their car windows. A trifecta of illegal, and disrespectful, and dangerous.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

In the News

Reading the newspaper is a mixed bag for me. Some days I don't even look at the "hard news" because I know I'll be depressed by it. Some days I comb the paper for positive stories (which can be hard to find).

Today's mixed bag:
  • DNA test seeks kids' sports niche. A company in Colorado is offering a DNA test for $149 that claims it can identify athletic potential based on the presence of a certain gene. Of all the ridiculous applications of genetic testing! Not to mention waste of money. And what about interest? What if a child is genetically good at strength sports, but would rather be a chef? The ability to excel is more than just genetics.
  • Stampede at Wal-Mart results in death. This is sad on so many levels. A temporary worker, hired to help out at Wal-Mart for Black Friday, was thrown to the floor and trampled by early-bird shoppers. Mobs scare me.
  • More and more Americans are volunteering to fill the needs of communities. This makes me so happy, and so hopeful, in ways I have trouble articulating.
  • The annual Run to Feed the Hungry raised about $750,000 for the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services. There were over 28,000 runners (at least 4,000 more than last year). I was encouraged by the sheer numbers, by the positive attitudes of those competing, and the fun atmosphere. I didn't see any tantrums, littering, poor sportsmanship, or other negativity. Amazing, in a group that size. Just enough to restore my hope in humanity.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

Thanksgiving, after all, is a word of action. ~W.J. Cameron

Thanksgiving was never meant to be shut up in a single day. ~Robert Caspar Lintner

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,

Praise Him, all creatures here below,

Praise Him, above, ye heavenly hosts,

Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. - Traditional Doxology (song of thanks)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm thankful it's 2008.

From, some information about eating in the 1600's.

Seventeenth Century Table Manners:
The pilgrims didn't use forks; they ate with spoons, knives, and their fingers. They wiped their hands on large cloth napkins which they also used to pick up hot morsels of food. Salt would have been on the table at the harvest feast, and people would have sprinkled it on their food. Pepper, however, was something that they used for cooking but wasn't available on the table.

In the seventeenth century, a person's social standing determined what he or she ate. The best food was placed next to the most important people. People didn't tend to sample everything that was on the table (as we do today), they just ate what was closest to them.

More Meat, Less Vegetables
Our modern Thanksgiving repast is centered around the turkey, but that certainly wasn't the case at the pilgrims's feasts. Their meals included many different meats. Vegetable dishes, one of the main components of our modern celebration, didn't really play a large part in the feast mentality of the seventeenth century. Depending on the time of year, many vegetables weren't available to the colonists.

The pilgrims probably didn't have pies or anything sweet at the harvest feast. They had brought some sugar with them on the Mayflower but by the time of the feast, the supply had dwindled. Also, they didn't have an oven so pies and cakes and breads were not possible at all. The food that was eaten at the harvest feast would have seemed fatty by 1990's standards, but it was probably more healthy for the pilgrims than it would be for people today. The colonists were more active and needed more protein. Heart attack was the least of their worries. They were more concerned about the plague and pox.

Surprisingly Spicy Cooking
People tend to think of English food as bland, but, in fact, the pilgrims used many spices, including cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, pepper, and dried fruit, in sauces for meats. In the seventeenth century, cooks did not use proportions or talk about teaspoons and tablespoons. Instead, they just improvised. The best way to cook things in the seventeenth century was to roast them. Among the pilgrims, someone was assigned to sit for hours at a time and turn the spit to make sure the meat was evenly done.

Dinner for Breakfast: Pilgrim Meals:
The biggest meal of the day for the colonists was eaten at noon and it was called noonmeat or dinner. The housewives would spend part of their morning cooking that meal. Supper was a smaller meal that they had at the end of the day. Breakfast tended to be leftovers from the previous day's noonmeat.

In a pilgrim household, the adults sat down to eat and the children and servants waited on them. The foods that the colonists and Wampanoag Indians ate were very similar, but their eating patterns were different. While the colonists had set eating patterns—breakfast, dinner, and supper—the Wampanoags tended to eat when they were hungry and to have pots cooking throughout the day.

Source: Kathleen Curtin, Food Historian at Plimoth Plantation

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pumpkin scones

My latest fun in the kitchen! A new pumpkin scone recipe. I'm not sure if I'll use this recipe again. The scones came together a little crumbly, and they seem to be of the "shortbread/flaky" variety, rather than the "biscuit/cakey" variety that I prefer. Interestingly, there was not a lot of sugar to this recipe. So I added my own glaze on the top - butter, brown sugar, pumpkin pie spice, and a little heavy cream. That should help.

We'll see what my coworkers think tomorrow!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I'm thankful for DESSERT

I went online at lunch today to find a recipe for Thanksgiving dessert. It's just going to be TH and me this year (for the first time EVAH!! No driving, hallelujah AMEN) - so we're planning our perfect Turkey-Day meal. I will be making gingerbread for dessert and I found a super easy recipe that sounds delicious. It will also make nice leftovers for day-after-Thanksgiving breakfast.

But in the search, I also found a few other desserts that I really want to try. How do sweet potato cookies with pecans and orange glaze sound? Uh-huh. Or how about sweet potato Bundt cake with brown-sugar glaze? Yeah. And since I've been making scones all year, how about pumpkin scones? Mmmm-mm-MMM. There will be some bake night fun in my future.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I'm just sayin'.

Sometimes I forget how important it is to me (personally) to be physically active.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Autumn Flavor

One of the best parts of Autumn is seasonal ice cream: Pumpkin flavor, from Dreyer's. I grew up in the neighborhood of the Dreyer's factory, and going to their ice cream parlor was always a treat and something that still pops up in my dreams and memories of childhood.

It's not November without pumpkin ice cream!

Thoughts to Ponder

From Thomas Moore, Care of the Soul:
"This is the 'goal' of the soul path - to feel existence; not to overcome life's struggles and anxieites, but to know life first hand, to exist fully in context. ... [T]he only thing to do is to be where you are at this moment, sometimes looking about in the full light of consciousness, other times standing comfortably in the deep shadows of mystery and the unknown. ... It is probably not quite correct to speak of the soul's path. It is more a meandering and wandering. The soul path is marked by neurotic tendencies as well as by high ideals, by ignorance as well as by knowledge, and by daily incarnated life as well as by high levels of consciousness. ... The soul becomes greater and deeper through the living out of messes and the gaps...To the soul, this is the 'negative way' of the mystics, an opening into divinity only made possible by giving up the pursuit of perfection."

What does it mean to be in the moment? How does the pursuit of perfection help us, and how does it hinder us?

Friday, November 14, 2008

Another Historic Moment

Congratulations to Four-star General Anne Dunwoody! The first woman four-star general in the US Army.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Operation Whip-My-Butt-Into-Shape Update

I finally stepped up the workouts today - I've moved into Week 2 of the Couch to 5K plan. In reality, this is week three? Four?* But I haven't felt strong enough or ready to move forward. Today I felt strong, limber, and smooth. I loved my workout. The only thing is, they've closed the track at work. So I had to run on the bike trail. I thought this would be a problem, until I noticed how much more interesting it is to run on a trail than on a track. The scenery on the bike trail is beautiful this time of year. And I actually felt like I was going somewhere, instead of hamster-wheelin'. On the other hand, the track is much more friendly to my feet. Crunchy asphalt is a little dangerous.

All things considered, today was a great workout.

*I had to scroll back to old posts...but I started on October 15.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Calm after the Storm

So, last week was the election, the results of which are still percolating in my mind, and the minds of many of my friends. Not just the results for President, mind my state there were several propositions that garnered support, dissent, and a firestorm of opinions. Probably the most notable of these was Proposition 8. Proposition 8 proposed that language be added to amend the California State Constitution to indicate that marriage is only recognized between a man and a woman. (This is in response to a court decision that ruled that a proposition enacted in 2000 was unconstitutional.) It passed (meaning the majority of people in CA voted to restrict marriage to traditional, heterosexual unions).

Let me indicate right now that this blog post is not going to discuss this proposition, or which side is right or wrong. There are many other places on the internet where that debate can, will, and does take place. What I am trying to do here is sort through what happened last week in another forum, and my thoughts about it. If you want a debate, go make the space for one.

An interesting thing happened when I posted a statement on my facebook page, regarding Prop 8. Many of my friends responded passionately, and a huge discussion ensued. I learned a lot. I hope my friends learned a lot. You see, my friends are a diverse political continuum from conservative to liberal; they are a tossed salad of faiths and religious (or not) walks. Each of them came at this issue with a slightly different perspective. It was both scary and an honor for me to "host" the conversation.

What I'm processing for myself are the following:

1. It was a bold step for me to invite a discussion that would surely become contentious.
I am not someone who invites conflict. I value harmony, sometimes to the point of disregarding my own feelings. Even as I write about this third-person discussion, I am tense in my shoulders. I feel my heart beating faster. This response is interesting to me. Where does this "fear" of debate come from? So knowing this about myself, I don't think I'm bragging to say that I'm proud that I opened up the can of worms, in spite of my fears. I'm proud to have mediated a conversation where there was so much disagreement. I feel like that was a big step for me in my growth. I think that this really brought home this quote: The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer answers. -- M. Scott Peck

2. It was interesting to see people on either side of the issue eschew hatred, then display hatred.
At least, that is what I observed.

3. Is the act of discussion and debate truly valuable? Or do people just entrench themselves deeper in their opinions?
For myself, I didn't change my opinions, but the debate did change my understanding of the issues and why people voted the way they say they did. It was profound to watch my friends struggle to express their values.

What do you think? Does debate help?

Friday, November 7, 2008

Women I admire - Alice Walker

Alice Walker is amazing. This is a beautiful letter.

An Open Letter to Barack Obama
Nov 5 2008
Dear Brother Obama:
You have no idea really, of how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think you know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you deliver the torch so many others before you carried, year after year, decade after decade, century after century, only to be struck down before igniting the flame of justice and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for you are of a different time, and, indeed, because of all the relay runners before you, North America is a different place. It is really only to say: Well done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and of the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, stamina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope, previously only sung about.

I would advise you to remember that you did not create the disaster that the world is experiencing, and you alone are not responsible for bringing the world back to balance. A primary responsibility that you do have, however, is to cultivate happiness in your own life. To make a schedule that permits sufficient time of rest and play with your gorgeous wife and lovely daughters. And so on. One gathers that your family is large. We are used to seeing men in the White House soon become juiceless and as white-haired as the building; we notice their wives and children looking strained and stressed. They soon have smiles so lacking in joy that they remind us of scissors. This is no way to lead. Nor does your family deserve this fate. One way of thinking about all this is: It is so bad now that there is no excuse not to relax. From your happy, relaxed state, you can model real success, which is all that so many people in the world really want. They may buy endless cars and houses and furs and gobble up all the attention and space they can manage, or barely manage, but this is because it is not yet clear to them that success is truly an inside job. That it is within the reach of almost everyone.

I would further advise you not to take on other people's enemies. Most damage that others do to us is out of fear, humiliation and pain. Those feelings occur in all of us, not just in those of us who profess a certain religious or racial devotion. We must learn actually not to have enemies, but only confused adversaries who are ourselves in disguise. It is understood by all that you are commander in chief of the United States and are sworn to protect our beloved country; this we understand, completely. However, as my mother used to say, quoting a Bible with which I often fought, "hate the sin, but love the sinner." There must be no more crushing of whole communities, no more torture, no more dehumanizing as a means of ruling a people's spirit. This has already happened to people of color, poor people, women, children. We see where this leads, where it has led.

A good model of how to "work with the enemy" internally is presented by the Dalai Lama, in his endless caretaking of his soul as he confronts the Chinese government that invaded Tibet. Because, finally, it is the soul that must be preserved, if one is to remain a credible leader. All else might be lost; but when the soul dies, the connection to earth, to peoples, to animals, to rivers, to mountain ranges, purple and majestic, also dies. And your smile, with which we watch you do gracious battle with unjust characterizations, distortions and lies, is that expression of healthy self-worth, spirit and soul, that, kept happy and free and relaxed, can find an answering smile in all of us, lighting our way, and brightening the world.

We are the ones we have been waiting for.

In Peace and Joy,
Alice Walker

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bake Night Returns!

November has arrived, bringing refreshingly cooler weather, darker evenings, and BAKE NIGHT!!! Oh yeah, and some election or something....

It's been a roller coaster week, and I'm tired. I've got lots of reflections on the major events of this week, and I'll get to those in a later post. Tonight is about a quiet evening.

OK, so they're not from scratch, but they taste good.

Snickerdoodles. Just the name makes me smile.

This was an impulse buy, and I think it's meant to be holiday music. But I find it infinitely soothing right now. The versions of "Dona Nobis Pacem" are really speaking to me right now. Also, James Taylor singing the Beatles' "Here Comes the Sun" in 3-3 time is genius.

Have a lovely evening and a good weekend!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008

Weekend on the Coast

Back from another glorious weekend on the "Mendonoma" coast, outside of Gualala CA.

Beautiful area. If you go, be sure to visit my favorite indie bookstore, Four-Eyed Frog Books. This place is fantastic and, while small, has a great book selection. We also lucked into a sale - 50% off hardbacks, 40% off paperbacks. Woo-hoo! Also in Gualala, a shout-out to the ladies at Cafe Lala. Warm cafe, fast service, and good fresh food. Not to mention home-made blackberry pie. And, to finish out my advertisements (I always like to plug local businesses), rent from Coasting Home. The houses are lovely, and so is the staff.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

I've got the BLAHS


I'm having the worst time staying focused at work (ahem), staying motivated to get stuff done around the house, thinking about one activity at a time. The only things keeping me going are my running plan, my yoga, and the book I'm reading.

Meanwhile, everything else is blah....blah....blah....

I sure hope you are doing better than me!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

I'm just sayin'.

I don't generally care for country or country-flavored music, but I love Carrie Underwood's song "Before He Cheats."

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Word can be Mightier than the Sword

Or, Terrorism does not have to be fought with violence.

Or, or, there is redemption even for those who are responsible for horrific acts.

Or, or, or (OK, last one - can't help myself) - the POWER OF COMMUNITY cannot be underestimated.

This extremely interesting article caught my interest today. In it, reporter Warren Strobel describes how Indonesia is fighting the "war on terror." One would think it would be something important for Americans to know, how the world is fighting terror. Especially since this is apparently a crucial issue for many of us, particularly in this election season. Hey, maybe we could all take a unified approach!

But I digress. This article describes Nasir Abbas, a former Islamic militant. He taught the men who went on to instigate the Bali resort bombings, which this article describes as one of the world's deadliest terrorist attacks since 9/11. But this man has since changed his life. According to Strobel, Abbas is an alumnus of a government effort to "fight terrorism by persuasion. Indonesian authorities try to 'deradicalize' militants, debating religion with them and reconnecting them with their families instead of relying on high-tech weapons and harsh interrogation techniques that have characterized President Bush's approach since 9/11....'Because terrorism is an ideologically motivated crime, it is not possible to stop it using mere physical operations,' said Ansyaad Mbai, head of the counter-terrorism Coordinating Desk. 'Based on our experience, the harder we hit them with military force, the more radical they become.' "

Is this not mind-blowing to you? Is this not a great thing to have learned? I am flabbergasted and in awe, at the same time.

However, Strobel also points out that this system is not 100% effective. There are still some terrorists who are unrepentant. And (of course!) it is an underfunded program. But does this mean we should throw the baby out with the bathwater? Not in my book. I fully believe in the power of debating, respect for others, rebuilding community, and working for peace in a peaceful way. I wish the USA believed in these things too.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Operation Whip-My-Butt-Into-Shape Update

So I went running today, for Day 4 of the plan. I decided to continue with the Week 1 workout (even though technically speaking, I should be on Week 2). I don't want to move forward too fast and hurt myself. It's not like I'm actually training for anything...just trying to be in better physical shape.

Anyway. Today was totally different than Monday's torture. The jogging was smoother, my body felt more coordinated, and I didn't feel like I was going to cramp up during the walking intervals. Right up until the heat made my head pound and my stomach start churning. Which was why, 4 minutes short of the full 20-minute workout, I stopped.

But! No shin splints, no hamstring trouble, and no ankle twinges. Hooray! What was different? Well, I had a longer warmup. I also lengthened my stride and jogged a little faster (which feels more normal, as I tend to walk fast normally), and I forgot to bring socks. I don't really know if the sock thing played a part, but it's possible. I felt like my shoes were part of my foot.

So Friday is Day 5 and we'll see how it goes then. Meanwhile, my legs are getting stronger, my abs are getting definition, and my ass is looking pretty good, if you can believe TH.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

It DOES exist!!

OMG - Guess what I saw today?!

Yes, ladies and gentleman - it is not an urban myth. The awesomeness of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile is TRUE.

Running Updates

Yesterday was Day Three of the Couch to 5K plan. I'm still having trouble finding my stride in the jogging intervals. It feels awkward. And yesterday I had some minor problems with my ankle and hamstring. Not to mention the shin splints that come and go throughout the activity, but that I don't feel after I'm done or the next day.

Am I too out of shape for this? Or am I just trying to do too much, too soon? Or is it just a matter of stretching more before and after the workout? I wish I could figure it out.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Ugly Tchotchke of the Week

Yup - it's time for Jesus.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Operation: Whip-My-Butt-Into-Shape Steps it Up

Day 1 of the running plan - delayed by an ankle strain - commenced today. I made it through, but here were my thoughts:

This is good, I can do this.

OK, ready.

First jogging interval:
Wait...what is this, now?

First walking interval:
20 minutes? Piece of cake!

Fifth jogging interval:
That's it, I'm quitting.

Fifth walking interval:
Come on, you big whiner, GO GO GO!

Seventh jogging interval:
OK, getting my rhythm back.

Seventh walking interval:
How will I possibly do this for only a WEEK?! And then I have to INCREASE my JOG TIME?! Those trainers are NUTS! This SUCKS!

Tenth jogging interval:
It's over? How can it be over?

Sitting at my desk:
I don't think I can get up. My thighs are locked into position. I'll have to wheel myself around in my desk chair now.

Looking forward to Day 2 on Friday! 'Cause I'm masochistic like that!


My current worrywart, stress-bucket, Drama Queen mind-bending dilemma:

A) Do I feel guilty over the money I spent on a makeover?


B) Do I feel justified, because it cheered me up enormously, and I feel like myself again after a couple of difficult months?

What would you feel? Be honest.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Apple Hill

Fall means Apple Hill. I love this place - orchards, mountain air, apple doughnuts - what's not to love?

Monday, October 13, 2008




Sunday, October 12, 2008

Ugly Tchotchke of the Week

I couldn't decide, so here are three for your votes:

Which is the worst?


Just a couple of thoughts and quotes that got me thinking, today.

From Thomas Moore's Care of the Soul:
"Mythology is not the same as myth. Mythology is a collection of stories that attempt to portray the myths, the deep patterns, that we live in our ordinary lives. ... Mythology teaches us how to imagine more profoundly than sociological or psychological categories allow. ... By reading mythology, we learn how to think more deeply and imagistically. ... The depth of myth is one of its characteristics that make it a useful means for bringing soul into life."

From my church's Corporate Confession of Sin this morning:
O God, we acknowledge that sometimes it is easier to love You than our neighbor. We come to our worship and say our prayers and sing our hymns and sometimes that can be more comfortable to us than attending to the needs of others, especially those who are "high maintenance" or unappreciative. Open our minds to Your truth, O God, our hearts to Your Spirit and our actions to Your leading. Forgive us when we hide our eyes to the suffering of others or close our ears to the weeping of the world to concentrate on our own smaller concerns where life seems more manageable. Forgive us if we push away people who ask tough questions of us, or close off our life as your church into what feels like a safe haven.

It's a lot for me to think about.

Friday, October 10, 2008

I'm just sayin'.

I love Autumn, but my sinuses do not appreciate this wind.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

See? I told you!

As promised!! Pictures from last weekend's nesting orgy.
This picture highlights a few changes. From top to bottom: 1. Three plates hanging above the bookcase. 2. Small lamp on sofa table behind sofa. 3. Children's books moved to kid's corner, in dining room area, and photo albums stored on bottom shelf. 4. New rug from Cost Plus!!

Changes to breakfast corner. From left to right: 1. Screen moved to half wall. 2. Plant moved from downstairs accent table, to ledge behind screen. 3. Pictures (which will go to the framer by this weekend) hung. 4. You can barely see it there in the right hand corner - kitty tower moved from near the windows. 5. Also, not in photo - lamp moved from corner to sofa.

Ah. The masterpiece. The culmination of my evil plan. The DINING ROOM. (duh-duh-DUUUUMMMMMM.)

The buffet you see was split up into three parts (gotta love IKEA): the middle part, a dresser, was in the guest room. The two side cabinets were in Cliff's Man Cave. All three have now come back together in the dining room. The lantern light moved from the floor to the buffet. The art moved from the left wall to this wall - two other dancers flank the windows on the right wall (which I didn't take pictures of because one of them is still boarded up from the fire - being replaced starting tomorrow). And, of course, our beautiful table is covered in crap at the moment. But that will change soon.

I also need to hang a piece of painted cloth my parents brought back from Africa. I bought a curtain rod and some curtain clips, and that will go up on the left wall. Pictures to follow.

So, lots of work done. I'm so happy with the results, and I can't wait to show it all off during the holidays!


Super busy this week. Will get to pictures of the redecorating madness, soon! I promise.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Fall Cleaning

I don't know what inspired me, but I've spent the last couple of days in a major clean-up, purge, overhaul on the insides of our house. Perhaps it's feathering the nest, getting ready for the winter. Perhaps it's in recognition of our one-year anniversary in our house. Perhaps it's just because I get restless and can't sit down and RELAX. Whatever the reason, I had a burst of inspiration and so I'm redecorating using mostly my own stuff. Move this dresser down here, switch that side table with this one, move the screen over here, hang these pictures here....and there it is...a whole new look. The only new piece is a rug from Cost Plus (purchased on sale!!). I have to say, this new look is a lot less cluttered. Ahhhhh.

The biggest part of the project by far is the dining room. When we moved, I didn't have a clue as to what type of buffet or shelves or bookcases or cabinets I wanted. So everything has just been hanging out in boxes. Last week, it struck me that I could use furniture that I already have, and save a bunch of money, time, and hassle. I love those lightbulb moments. As I was sorting and purging today, getting ready for the furniture to be moved into place, I found things that I didn't know I had. I noticed I have an excess of certain scrapbooking supplies, no doubt because I hadn't unpacked all the way. I even have a brand new album, waiting to be filled. I didn't even know it was there. Hmm. And I have waaaaayyyy more paper than I need, so I'm putting together a package for my nieces to play with when they visit.

Now, I just need to take some trips to Goodwill with some of the excess stuff, and we'll be all set. Just in time for the Holiday season, too! By the way, I'm not posting pictures till it's done. The before mess, especially in the dining room, has been a thorn in my side since the move and I don't want to have this permanent record of it. You'll just have to wait to see the after.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Friday Night TV

I love Fridays, and I love to watch TV on Friday nights. My ultimate, all-time-favorite, guilty pleasure show is "What Not to Wear." Stacy and Clinton are my peeps. I wish I could pop them in my pocket and take them shopping with me. But in the meantime, I love watching them throw out people's nasty clothes, talking them into trying more stylish choices, and tossing out their dry, witty repartee. I love watching the fashion victims' meltdowns, their resistance to Nick's hair suggestions, and the look on their faces when they finally see how beautiful they are - how beautiful they've been all along.

I've just recently started watching "Say Yes to the Dress." It's about a New York Bridal Salon, and the many different bride-to-be's who come in to try on dresses. I love beautiful dresses, so this would seem to be a natural for me. But I've seen so many truly awful wedding shows, and have watched "My Super Sweet 16" too many times...I thought this would be like those awful girls, all grown up and now planning over-the-top wedddings with the budget of a third-world country. So I was a little skittish. Suffice it to say - this show is now a new guilty pleasure for me. Yes, it has the bridezillas; the princesses, buying $15,000 gowns; but it also has lots of normal, sweet women who just want to look special.

So I'm parked in front of the TV, and ready for tonight! Bring on the dresses! Bring on Stacy and Clinton!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Beware the Stomach Virus!

After spending all weekend, and all day today in bed, I can say with certainty - don't get this stomach virus thingy. It is not pretty.

I am feeling better, though still a little tired. Back to work tomorrow, I'm thinking.

And yes, TH has been taking excellent care of me. He's the best.

Take care of yourselves and stay healthy!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Grrrrl Power??

I'm all for women, I think that's clear. I love being a part of history, and watching women change and shape the world. That's pretty awesome, considering that it hasn't been 100 years yet since we finally got our right to vote legislated.

But I just have to say it or I'm gonna explode. I didn't vote for Hillary automatically because she was a woman; so McCain choosing Palin as a running-mate is not automatically getting him my vote either. It's about the ISSUES, know, things like: the war in Iraq? Poverty? Crime? Constitutional rights? Health Care? Our economy? Our personal freedoms?

Yoo hoo, politicians. Pay attention now: I AM NOT STUPID. I can think about complexities. When I ask you for leadership of my COUNTRY, an influential and powerful Western nation, with big big problems that need solutions, do not give me a hockey mom who I can relate to. I don't want to relate to her. I don't want to relate to my president. I don't vote for someone who is "just like me." If I wanted that, I would be running a campaign for apagefromherbook! I want to know what the candidates, what Palin stands for. I want to see how she handles tough questions. I want to know her experience. And I don't mean the beauty pageant experience. I want her to be exposed to the media, the vultures, and the pundits, just as much as any man would be. But I don't want those questions to be about her parenting (unless you also ask McCain and Obama and Biden the same questions). I want questions about foreign policy, about budgets, about health care, about the war, about abortion, about the death penalty. I want to see her inconsistencies. I want to see her strengths. I want a clear view of her humanity. Then, at least I know I'll be able to make an informed decision.

By choosing Governor Palin, I believe McCain and his advisors are basically telling me there aren't ANY women out there more qualified to be VP than she. Which I find extremely hard to believe. And which tells me a few other things: they are pandering to women voters, they are playing politics instead of seriously considering what's best for this country, and they are insulting me. As a citizen, yes, but also as a woman.

Palin Rorshach Test, Cagle Cartoons

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ugly Tchotchke of the Week, it's....ahhh.....well..... I don't know what to say.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Day Off

It has been such a hellish week, and TH is out of town visiting his kids, and I just needed to escape. So I drove up to gold country - Grass Valley, to be exact. After my breakfast of fresh coffee and croissant, I hopped in the car and drove on up the hill.


Lunch at a little Italian cafe. Ravioli with pesto, and a cherry Italian soda. Yum, yum.

Then, on to Empire Mine State Historic Park. This is a pretty interesting place. There are about 367 miles worth of tunnels under here. I walked carefully.

The entrance to the Main Shaft - you can go in, and walk down a flight of stairs to see the track.

It's a widdle schpooky.

You can also visit the mine owner's "cottage." Isn't it beautiful? There was a wedding scheduled there for this evening.

The weather was perfect, and I feel lighter at heart. I'm so glad I didn't spend all day inside!