Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Si se puede!

Today is the birthday of Cesar Chavez, an honorable person who fought for social justice and the rights of farm workers.

A leader, an organizer, a human being, a hero, a learner, an activist.


Prayer of the Farm Workers' Struggle

Show me the suffering of the most miserable;
So I will know my people's plight.

Free me to pray for others;
For you are present in every person.

Help me to take responsibility for my own life;
So that I can be free at last.

Grant me courage to serve others;
For in service there is true life.

Give me honesty and patience;
So that I can work with other workers.

Bring forth song and celebration;
So that the spirit will be alive among us.

Let the spirit flourish and grow;
So we will never tire of the struggle.

Let us remember those who have died for justice;
For they have given us life.

Help us love even those who hate us;
So we can change the world.

Written by Cesar E. Chavez, UFW Founder (1927-1993)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Ugly tchotchke of the week

Behold the glory of
"Santa's Ultimate Tootsie Roll Musical Motion Workshop."

This caught my eye for a few reasons. First, its sheer...tackiness. Second, the creepy look on Santa's face as he clutches an oversize tootsie roll. Third, the fact that this particular tchotchke is available for purchase now. In March. Not December, when one might consider any Christmas themed item to be worth snapping up.

It moves! It plays a medley of 8 favorite holiday songs! And it's "shown smaller than its impressive actual size of about 11 inches high. FREE AC adapter included!"

It doesn't get any better, people. Just 5 installments of $24.99 each.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Where's my laurel wreath?

Today I ran 2 miles without stopping.

Also without puking, busting a gut, or embarrassing myself in front of the neighborhood.

Good times

In the past week, TH and I have spent time with several good friends. We met up with old theater pals, we had some friends over for pizza and Guitar Hero, and I met the BFFs for dinner and cocktails.

Chicago deep dish pizza with our theater buddies.

I don't have a lot of prolific wisdom to spout about friendships, and the importance of staying connected, and all that, but I will say that all these get-togethers have fed my soul. People are not meant to stay home and watch TV (every night).

Guitar Hero with the Jones family.

Sooner or later the texting and emails are no substitute for laughter, shared experiences, and making memories. And pigging out, drinking delicious alcoholic beverages, and laughter.

A Venetian sunset with my BFFs - Asti, pineapple, and grenadine. Goes great with gossip.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

To the girl who desires clean soles.

Dear precious one -

You are lovely. Your feet are lovely. I understand how, after dancing across the floors, your soles require refreshment. However. Please do not wash your feet in the sink of the women's locker room.

All my best,

a page from her book

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Let her eat cake!

If there's anything better than homemade chocolate cake, I don't know what it is.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009


  • Vivid, lucid dreams have been filling my nights this week. Rare is the night where I don't dream in some way, if only to be left with a sense of ...something. But lately, the dreams have been real and strange, and I haven't begun to pick them apart for deeper meaning. Yet. That challenge awaits.
  • Whip-my-butt-into-shape has stepped it up. I've moved to an 8-5-8 interval: 8 minutes (approx. 3/4 mile) jogging, 5 minutes walking (approx. 1/2 mile), 8 minutes jogging. For anyone keeping track, the last interval was 5-3-5-3-5. Same distance - more jogging. Surprisingly do-able, but still breathtaking.
  • Leadership and service are on my mind, thanks to a great talk by Maya Soetoro-Ng. She suggests that we need to find new ways of creating connection and community, now that our world is globalized. She suggests that empathy is crucial to this new world, that dignity and discussion should be emphasized. She encourages non-violence in both the traditional, King-Gandhi ways, and in more holistic ways, such as considering what we eat, what we buy, what music we listen to, what we say, what jokes we tell. She says that non-violence takes courage and often begins with one personal act. Do I have the courage to be completely non-violent, in every aspect of my life? Challenging thought.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Complete Lack of Intelligent Information

This story about how the Pope says condoms are not helpful in stopping the spread of AIDS in Africa has me flabbergasted.

"The Vatican encourages sexual abstinence to fight the spread of the disease." I mean, yeah, abstinence is usually a really great way to a) not impregnate, and b) not spread STDs. However, I think that most of us understand that people are not always going to be abstinent. Nor should we expect that everyone be.

And this anti-condom view completely disregards women whose husbands are dallying on the side, then coming home and "spreading the love." Who is looking out for those women? And what about their children, who are exposed to HIV in utero? Doesn't the Vatican care about them? What about responsibility to others?

I would like the Vatican to show me RESEARCH that indicates that using condoms "increase" the problem of AIDS. Can they? No, because that research DOES NOT EXIST.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

From scratch

Tonight's baking adventure is brought to you by "Cookie Madness," a great baking blog.

Mayan chocolate cookies - chocolate, with cinnamon and a touch of cayenne pepper (not enough, IMHO). Oh, my. So delicious. Almost brownie-like texture, and the melty chocolate chips just add to the sinful goodness.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Book Reviews

Three of my favorites from recent reads:

  • The House at Riverton, by Kate Morton. A little mystery, a little bit of "Gosford-Park-ian" upstairs/downstairs classism, and a lot about relationships. Great read - full of interesting characters, a good story line, and inter-generational connections.
  • The Red Leather Diary: Reclaiming a Life Through the Pages of a Lost Journal, by Lily Koppel. Koppel, a writer for the New York Times, comes upon a dumpster full of trunks and boxes cleared out of her New York apartment building's storage area. One of the treasures she finds within the castoff trunks is a red leather diary. Its author, Florence, came of age in New York during the 20's and 30's. Lily finds Florence and pieces her past together into this delightful little book. What a fun trip, to see the world through Florence's bright, longing eyes.
  • The Dance of the Dissident Daughter, by Sue Monk Kidd. This book is the story of Kidd's journey "from Christian tradition to the Sacred Feminine." As soon as this book was in my hands, I knew I had to read it. I've been exploring women's history, myths and symbols, feminism and faith, and wrestling with the Church's patriarchy for the past few years. I think it's something I will continue to struggle with, to come to uneasy and easy truces with. I found Kidd's journey to be familiar, inspiring, and soul-baring.

So what next? A biography of Houdini, or "The Shack?" Or something entirely different?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lincoln's Watch

It's like "National Treasure!" Only it's not on the back of the Declaration of Independence. And it's not a clue to a treasure. And Nicholas Cage isn't involved.
OK, so it's totally different. But it's still cool!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I'm just sayin'.

When women get too skinny, their heads start looking big in comparison to their bodies. It's not attractive.

Reflections on 36

Another birthday has come and gone. That was fast. Last year I made several reflections on things I wanted to do in the next few years. A quick review:

1. Keep working at my current job. I have no big plans for new work or big promotions - I think I'd like to keep tinkering at my job and get better at it.
2. Travel more. We're looking at Galapagos in 2010, maybe Europe again in 2011.
3. Learn another language. Spanish, French, or ASL (American Sign Language) come to mind.

4. Think things through before taking action or speaking.
5. Maybe start running or swimming regularly. Maybe.
6. Clear out the clutter of my life: books, clothes, STUFF. On a regular basis. Once every 6 months. Hmm.
7. Get outside more.
8. Eat vegetables at every lunch and dinner.
9. Utilize the public library more than amazon.com
10. Sing every day, even if it's only in the shower.
11. Eliminate road rage from my driving experiences.

I'm happy with where I'm at. The few goals that I haven't met from this list - 2. Travel more, 3. Learn another language, 9. Utilize the public library, and 10. Sing every day, are still goals I'd like to meet. The others are ongoing goals, and I'm pleased to have made a good start on them.

Other goals I have for the next part of my life:
  • Shop less. I spend far too much money on clothes, shoes, etc. In fact, shopping has been such a pull for me that I gave it up for Lent. It's been hard. But I have big hopes that this will change my habits. It worked last year with my limit on purchasing books.
  • Be more open-hearted. My service as a Deacon at my church has shown me how my heart has shrunk a little. Also, at work, I sometimes slip into assumptions about people and their behavior, rather than seeing each as an individual with individual stories and needs.
  • Clean out the garage. Yep, this summer, it's time to take some trips to Goodwill.
  • TH and I would like to start taking some day-hikes around our area. This will be good exercise, get us outside more. (Not to mention getting us away from shopping.)

I hope that the next year finds me in good health, with a balance between self and others, spirit and body, and faith and pragmatism.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dessert (Or, Bake Night Bust, II)

I'm in the mood for cupcakes (well, really, who isn't?). But I'm not in the mood for "from-scratch" cake-making, because, let's face it, I'm lazy (well, really, who isn't?) and we've already determined that Martha doesn't live at my house.

Ingredients for life.

Light, luscious, cupcake batter.

Light, luscious cupcakes and some cake.

OMG, I'm that woman. In the PAM commercial. But I sprayed the baking pan!

Oh well. Homemade chocolate chip icing will hide that crater in the center of the cake. Right?

I must be losing my touch. And somehow, I keep singing "Beautiful Disaster."


I love nothing better for dinner than fresh pasta. I sauteed up some spinach in olive oil, with shallots and garlic, and salt and pepper. I loved it - but the spinach still tasted a little bitter to me. How do I fix that?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Well, that was fast.

I'm a little sheepish to see that it's been over a week since I've blogged, and I don't have a good excuse (like being on vacation, or being computer-less) to explain it... Time just got away from me. Hopefully things will even back out this week.

Just in time for Lent.

So. Lent. Encompassing the time from Ash Wednesday (Feb. 25) to Easter. Time for reflection, sacrifice, contemplation. Upon reflection, I've decided to sacrifice this year: I'm giving up shopping for clothes, shoes, accessories, etc. I'm allowing myself to buy books and/or cd's, but in a very limited way, and in my mind, that doesn't count as shopping. Shopping is the mall, cute outfits, good deals, a new pair of shoes that I don't need, a cute new Spring-y purse. Shopping is the rush from that perfect necklace to go with that amazing dress. Shopping is throwing down the credit card. Shopping is not necessary but will be hard for me to do without. Thus the contemplation.

Just in time for my birthday.

So. My birthday is Wednesday. It's a not a major one, but I'm thinking about where I am and where I want to be; the progress I've made and the lapses that held me back. Wondering what this year will hold, and superstitiously trying not to be overly optimistic (as if my optimism brings on negative events).

Just in time for whatever comes next.

So. Whatever comes next? Work, play, hobbies, books, baking, paying bills, thinking too much, and trying to stay connected to those I love. These are the things which ultimately, lead to time getting away from me. What about you?