I miss you Sam!!

I miss you Sam!!
I miss you Sam!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Time Out for a Giggle

Nope, you don't look any thinner from this angle

Is There a Glimmer of Hope?

Financially speaking, this is probably one of the darkest holiday seasons that many of us have seen in a very long time. Everyone is wondering, asking, are things really going to get better, or is this just the beginning of still darker things to come? Bob Herbert has a rather hopeful Op-Ed piece this morning in the NYT. If you are like me these days, you're looking for some "hope" wherever you can find it. The article is worth reading as most of his are. Here is a portion of it.

"Is the end of the war in sight?

I don’t mean Iraq. I’m talking about the war against working people in the U.S. that has taken such a vicious economic toll over the past three decades.

Even as Americans by the thousands sign up for jobless benefits in this horrendous holiday season, or line up to declare bankruptcy, or stand sorrowfully aside as their homes are foreclosed upon, there are some slender reasons to hope.

On Friday, George W. Bush, in the slapstick final weeks of his disastrous presidency, grudgingly announced that, yes, emergency loans would be made available to prevent the collapse of the U.S. auto industry. He looked like a boy who had been forced to eat his spinach, or drink his castor oil.

But the economy is in such an awful state that even the most backward administration of our lifetime recognized that risking the chain reaction of a complete auto industry meltdown was not an option. (The Bush deal is unfairly onerous to auto workers, but the loans will serve as a bridge to the Obama era, when, presumably, a more equitable arrangement could be worked out.)

Mr. Bush’s announcement came a day after it was learned that President-elect Obama had chosen Representative Hilda Solis of California, a fierce advocate of workers, to be his labor secretary. The Obama administration also is committed to moving quickly on an economic stimulus package that could reach $1 trillion over two years."

There have been so many finanacial horror stories in the past few months I have almost given up seeing better times in my life time, and yet, that glimmer of hope always seems to be there. I know, I'm one of those cock-eyed optimists, but I don't want to give up on this country, I don't want to believe there are more people like the idiots on Wall Street, the jerks in the auto industry, the normal assholes in government, than there are good, thoughtful, intelligent and capable people who still have a vision for America. I want to believe we can create jobs again, bring those that have been shipped overseas back to the people who need them here in the United States. Am I just a day dreamer living on false hopes? I hope not.

Christmas Around the World #2

'Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree': Even in its humblest attire, aglow beside a tiny chapel in Germany's Karwendel mountains, a Christmas tree is a wondrous sight

A Christmas tree befitting Tokyo's nighttime neon display is
projected onto the exterior of the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka.

The largest Christmas tree in Europe (more than 230 feet tall) can be found in the Praça do Comércio in Lisbon, Portugal. Thousands of lights adorn the tree, adding to the special enchantment of the city during the holiday season.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Time for More Giggles

The ugly is back in the politics today -- I don't pretend to understand.

So, when I'm puzzled and frustrated I try to find a little humor -- this time tis the season!


1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a
holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit.
In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next
door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's
rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So
drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every
sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an
eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it.
Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think.
It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the
whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it
on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with
gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made
with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why
bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort
to control your eating. The whole point of going to a
Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free.
Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now
and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have
nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which
you'll need after circling the buffet table while
carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet
table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size
of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge.
Have as many as you can before becoming the center of
attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave
them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple,Pumpkin,Pecan. Have a slice of
each. Or if you don't like apple, have two pecan and
one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have
more than one dessert? LaborDay?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded
with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all
cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you
leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't
been paying attention to my advice. Re-read tips; start
over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember
this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave withthe
intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well
preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in
one hand, a glass of red wine in the other, body thoroughly
used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

The Difficult Award

I was given this "award" by Busy Man with a Quiet Mind -- not sure why unless for the same reason it was given to him -- because it's time for a public confession lol! I told him it would take a little time because I, too, will have to try and take a long look at me -- never easy!
Here goes!

1. Like the Busy Man, I find myself frequently using the word "shit" -- when the many day to day frustrations of growing old get to me -- harder to get up and down, to climb stairs, not being able to move at a dead run as I did most of my life and I do hate having to slow down. Consequently, if you were around me very much you'd probably get really tired of hearing the that particular word!

2. I'm not in favor of double standards -- I'm sure that doesn't surprise anyone who knows me!

3. I never thought about having children because as many of you know, I'd been assured it would be impossible. So, even though I was a teacher and loved the kids I taught, I convinced myself early on that I loved them because I didn't have to deal with them 24/7 -- when school was out I was a free woman! Well, of course, I ended up with four kids of my own in spite of what I was told and still consider each one a miracle and the source of more joy than I can put in words.

4. I have another thing in common with my friend -- foolish pride -- another ongoing battle!

5. I didn't have a close relationship with my parents and assumed that was because I was always a big disappointment to them. I've had a difficult time coming to terms with that over the years, saw myself as lacking, being unworthy -- all that other foolish stuff that some of us do to ourselves. But these days when I look at my kids I figure I must have done something right and that I am a good person, even if I have trouble believing it now and then.

6. Also, like my friend, God seems to treat me like a fish -- every time I screw up, he catches me and throws me back in the water. Guess he wants me to swim better too!

7. I don't lie unless the truth would cause someone pain they didn't deserve.

8. I haven't had any really bad things to deal with etc. drinking, drugs etc. but I have had some long battles with depression off and on during my life until I finally recognized and realized who I really was/am.

9. I do believe there is life after death -- my own version, I guess, as I haven't been affiliated with organized religion in many years and have no intention of changing that. I feel each of us has to decide those things for themselves and I have no difficulty respecting other people's beliefs -- just hope they can do the same for me. It is a very personal choice in my eyes.

10. When I have asked people to describe me, the words they have used were/are: committed, loving, generous, dependable, understanding, loyal, funny, quirky, intelligent and devoted. Now, having quoted them, lets hope they all feel as strongly as I do about not lying unless the truth would hurt someone! I'm smiling, of course!

I was going to nominate Lilly for this award, but my friend beat me to her!
So, I nominate:
June of 70 plus and still kicking
Dianne of Forks off the Moment
Joy from Babble On
Deborah of Notes From the Cloud Messenger
Peggy of Musings of Meggie

Christmas Around the World

A friend sent me some remarkable pictures of Christmas around the world. I won't do them all at once, but I thought it would be fun to do a couple each day until Christmas. The ones from here in the states we've all seen, but they're still lovely. The ones from all around the world are really spectacular.

Before the ball drops in Times Square, the Big Apple turns on its
holiday charm with the Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center.

The Capitol Christmas tree in Washington, D.C., is decorated with 3,000
ornaments that are the handiwork of U.S. schoolchildren. Encircling
evergreens in the 'Pathway of Peace' represent the 50 U.S. states.

The world's largest Christmas tree display rises up the slopes of Monte Ingino outside of Gubbio, in Italy's Umbria region. Composed of about 500 lights connected by 40,000 feet of wire, the 'tree' is a modern marvel for an ancient city.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sing with the Seagull!

Blogger Rinkly Rimes has written a marvelous song for the Seagull in the snow picture that I posted earlier today. Stop by and take a look/sing, it's just delightful and I'm so pleased she decided to do it!

Hooray for Rinkly -- the seagull is truly honored! and so am I!

The Funny for the Day

The weather is cold and generally crappy, but I have something here to bring some giggles and grins to brighten your evening or whatever.

Seagulls in the Snow

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Adam and I went down to the harbor this morning to enjoy the snow scene from there. The seagulls looked a little puzzled!

Sky Watch #21

December skies, ever changing, ever moving. I took all of these in less than an hour one afternoon last week. Their beauty never fails to take my breath away.Join us and share your beautiful skies!
Happy Sky Watch!

Countdown to Christmas, Laugh by Laugh

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Evening Giggle #2

Just in case the writing is too small, Santa says, "Damn Contemporary, bullshit architecture!!"

How Corrupt is America?

Thomas Friedman has an excellent OpEd column regarding just how corrupt this country has become. I've avoided writing anything lately about the government, Wall Street and the mess we now find ourselves wallowing in, but he says things very well, I respect his opinion and it is worth reading the entire article. Here is just a piece of it.

"The stranger, a Western businessman, slipped into the chair next to me at an Asia Society lunch here in Hong Kong and asked me a question that I can honestly say I’ve never been asked before: “So, just how corrupt is America?”

His question was occasioned by the arrest of the Wall Street money manager Bernard Madoff on charges of running a Ponzi scheme that bilked investors out of billions of dollars, but it wasn’t only that. It’s the whole bloody mess coming out of Wall Street — the financial center that Hong Kong moneymen had always looked up to. How could it be, they wonder, that such brand names as Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and A.I.G. could turn out to have such feet of clay? Where, they wonder, was our Securities and Exchange Commission and the high standards that we had preached to them all these years?

The Madoff affair is the cherry on top of a national breakdown in financial propriety, regulations and common sense. Which is why we don’t just need a financial bailout; we need an ethical bailout. We need to re-establish the core balance between our markets, ethics and regulations. I don’t want to kill the animal spirits that necessarily drive capitalism — but I don’t want to be eaten by them either."

No,I don't want to be eaten by them either. What I do want to see is some kind of honor, morals -- whatever you want to call it return to the way this country operates, the way it treats it citizens. Is that asking too much? I surely hope not and I hope that with Obama's leadership we will see that "new day" in our country. I think the rest of the world is hoping for that, too.

Runners Up in the Husband of the Year Award

Husband of the year awards

The honorable mention goes to:
The United Kingdom

...followed closely by The United States of America

Cooking Tips from Martha and Maxine

Stuff a miniature marshmallow in the bottom of an ice cream cone to prevent ice cream drips.

Just suck the ice cream out of the bottom of the cone, for Pete's sake! You are probably lying on the couch with your feet up eating it, anyway!

Those are it for now -- more helpful hints later!

We Can Help!

This is a blog that I follow and it only takes $10 to help. His blog address is http://soaringimpulse.blogspot.com/ I don't have a lot of money, but I can do this. I hope you will join me in helping to save the lives of so many.

You can check out this website and donate there. NothingButNets.net

This is the letter posted on Maithri's blog.
My friends,

In the last 24 hours, three thousand children died of an eminently preventable disease....


Another three thousand will die in the next 24 hours, because of the same disease.
I want to talk today about what you and I can do, to help... Its a lot easier than you may think.

Lets start with the basic information we all need to know, (NB: i dont want this to be a lecture on the life cycle of 'plasmodium', or the development of 'merozoites' - i just want to tell you what i think is important for every human being to know about the impact of this disease on humanity) ....

Malaria is caused by a parasite which is spread by a particular species of mosquito (the anopheles mosquito). The disease is often fatal if not treated appropriately and in adequate time.

90% of the million people that die of Malaria each year are little children.

In fact every 30 seconds, a child dies of malaria.

In addition to children, the people most at risk of malaria are those in the poorest areas. People in refugee camps and flood affected areas.

These are breeding grounds for the anopheles mosquito.

Refugees in Sudan, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda who have fled their own countries to escape persecution, violence and war are all at very high risk of contracting malaria.

All it takes is one mosquito bite.

The majority of these stings happen at night while people are fast asleep.

And now for the most important part of this brief discussion.... Malaria IS preventable.

Studies estimate that 70 to 90% of malarial transmissions can be reduced by the use of a simple insecticide impregnated bed net.

The insecticide in the nets kills the mosquitos responsible for transmission of malaria and last for years. Now even if a child plays with the net and it becomes torn in some places, the mosquitos dont enter because of the insecticide....

A mosquito net for a bed.... costs $10.

Think about that for a moment.

The pain of this world runs deep, but often the solutions are far simpler than we might imagine...

I dont see the point in beating our chests and wallowing in sorrow, when we can be part of the solution....I never have.

So, on that note I'm gonna go purchase a couple of these nets right now and read more about how we can all make a difference to the lives of those affected by this disease from these great websites. Maybe I'll see you there ;)



Sometimes the heartache in this world seems like a raging river.

Impossible to overcome.

But I believe that every day we have the choice, to either add one more tear to the flood....

or to pick ourselves up,

and start building a bridge.

Here's to you Bridge builder,

Love the world into change,


What You Miss by Not Going to Church!

Earlier today I mentioned a video that had me laughing so hard and I didn't think I'd be able to post it, but my good friend Rain showed me a way to do it, so take a look at this fun filled goody and enjoy a big laugh.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday

The Evening Giggle

winner of the husband/partner of the year is .........

Ya gotta love the Irish.
The Irish are true romantics. Look, he's even holding her hand.

Okay, Okay, it all makes sense now...

I never looked at it this way before:

Ever notice how all of women's problems start with MEN?
MENtal illness
MENstrual cramps
MENtal breakdown
When we have REAL trouble, it's a

Remember You Don't Stop Laughing Because You Grow Old,
You Grow Old Because You Stop Laughing

The Gift of Today

I have wonderful friends that frequently send me fun or lovely or thoughtful pieces to read. This morning a friend in Rhode Island sent me one of the funniest videos I've ever seen -- unfortunately, I couldn't post that one -- but if I find a way to do it I will. And then she sent me another one that I found so moving and so beautiful that I had to share it. I'm sure some of you have read it, I had seen portions of it before -- it's still a great reminder.

Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room.

One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room's only window.

The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back.

The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation.

Every afternoon, when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window.

The man in the other bed began to live for those one hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside.

The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance.

As the man by the window described all this in exquisite details, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine this picturesque scene.

One warm afternoon, the man by the window described a parade passing by .

Although the other man could not hear the band, he could see it in his minds eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words.

Days, weeks and months passed.

One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep.

She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away.

As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone.

Slowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the real world outside.

He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed.

It faced a blank wall.

The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window.

The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall.

She said, 'Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.'


There is tremendous happiness in making others happy, despite our own situations.

Shared grief is half the sorrow, but happiness when shared, is doubled.

If you want to feel rich, just count all the things you have that money can't buy.

'Today is a gift, that is why it is called The Present .'

Thoughts About Aging -- The Good Side

A friend sent this to me and as I read it, I realized just how much truth there was to it. I have, slowly I'll confess, come to value my life as it is now, as I am now and I thought I'd share some of these thoughts with you.

I would never trade my amazing friends, my wonderful life, my loving family for less gray hair or a flatter belly. As I've aged, I've become kinder to myself, and less critical of myself. I've become my own friend. I don't chide myself for eating that extra cookie, or for not making my bed, or for buying that silly cement gecko that I didn't need, but looks so avante garde on my patio. I am entitled to a treat, to be messy, to be extravagant.

I have seen too many dear friends leave this world too soon; before they understood the great freedom that comes with aging.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 AM and sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the 60 &70's, and if I, at the same time, wish to weep over a lost love ... I will.

I will walk the beach in a swim suit that is stretched over a bulging body, and will dive into the waves with abandon if I choose to, despite the pitying glances from the jet set.

They, too, will get old. I know I am sometimes forgetful.
But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten. And I eventually remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one, or when a child suffers, or even when somebody's beloved pet gets hit by a car? But broken hearts are what give us strength and understanding and compassion. A heart never broken is pristine and sterile and will never know the joy of being imperfect.

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turning gray, and to have my youthful laughs be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed, and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older, it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don't question myself anymore. I've even earned the right to be wrong.

So, to answer your question, I like being old. It has set me free. I like the person I have become. I am not going to live forever, but while I am still here, I will not waste time lamenting what could have been, or worrying about what will be. And I shall eat dessert every single day(if I feel like it).

So, take another look at your life now and see if you can find the same joyous things that I have found in mine. Now, having said that, please know that I can still have a "bad hair day" now and then, times when I have to sit down and re-read all of the above and remind myself of just how much I have to be thankful and grateful for. I hope it works for you, too!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Ruby Tuesday

A ruby red rememberance of summer!
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My World #8

This is a glimpse of my world close to home. As winter deepens, the fog gets thicker, comes earlier and stays later. The parks are shrouded and empty.
Just a few weeks ago there were still boats sailing near the harbor on The Sound.
Now the beaches are deserted, gray and shrouded in fog.
Seems the only colors to be found are in the sunsets and they are all the more magnificent in comparison.
The coming holidays will brighten things for a while, and the snow yesterday was beautiful, but as real winter sets in, we all seem to be wistfully thinking of spring.
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

My Rainbow

This was a fun exercise that I discovered several other bloggers were doing today.
And according to it this is what my rainbow said about me.

"What this says about you: You are a proud person. You appreciate cities, technology, and other great things people have created. Friends count on you for being honest and insightful."

You can find the colors of your rainbow at the site address below and see what you can learn about yourself that you knew or didn't know.

http://spacefem.com/quizzes/rainbow">Find the colors of your rainbow at spacefem.com.

A Too Long Delayed Thank You!

I received this Lemonade reward from Happily Retired Gal several days ago and then had a few computer problems and lost the address, so first of all, I want to apologize for the delay in publicly thanking you and letting you know how much I appreciate your thoughtfulness. It's a great award and I'm sure there are so many more people who deserve it so much more than I do. I would like to acknowledge some of them here now. There is Joy at Babble On, Arija at Garden Delights, Susan at Stony River Farm. There are so many more and it would take pages to list them all. I owe my gratitude to so many of you for your support and encourgement, for finding and reading and commenting on my blog. I'm not big on awards, but I do want to give credit and recognize each and every one of you that regularly come to my blog and leave comments. This award should go to each and every one of you with my thanks! And a particular thank you to Happily Retire Gal!! Hope you all have a wonderful holiday season!

Snow in Seattle

We had a little over three inches of snow last night and while that's nothing compared to what's happening in New England, it's still a lot for us. I took these too early really, but I knew once the sun came out the snow would disappear quickly. And sure enough, the sun is out now. We're supposed to get more snow later today, but we'll see. In the meantime, it's lovely.

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Dolphin in the Sky

It started snowing last night and it is SO cold! I'll have photos a little later, but in the meantime I caught shots of some interesting looking clouds a few days ago. To me, this one looked like a dolphin exploring the sky/water near our house. Obviously, I have a thing about creatures in the skies, in addition to an over active imagination!

Happy Sunday! Eleven days until Christmas Eve! Of course I'm excited! my son with be here in eight days!
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What Can I Say?

What Can I Say?
I'm interested in almost everything. Use to like to travel, but it's too expensive now. I take Tai Chi classes, swim, volunteer in a Jump-start program for pre-schoolers. I'm an avid reader and like nearly everyone these days I follow politics avidly. I'm a former teacher and Special Projects Coordinator for a Telecommunications company, Assistant to the President of a Japanese silicon wafer manufacturing company. Am now enjoying retirement -- most of the time. I have two daughters, one son-in-law and two sons scattered all over the country. No grandchildren.

Portland Time