I miss you Sam!!

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

Saturday, January 17, 2009

And To Wind Down This Saturday

Remember the Saturday night bath -- even if you need help!

And sleep well, my friends.

I have a friend who lives in Rhode Island and one who lives here in Seattle and they both send me the most incredible photos! I wish I could claim them! WOW! But I can share them with you.

Ever Wonder ...

Why the sun lightens our hair, but darkens our skin?
Why women can't put on mascara with their mouth closed?
Why don't you ever see the headline 'Psychic Wins Lottery'?
Why is 'abbreviated' such a long word?
Why is it that doctors call what they do 'practice'?
Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor, and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
Why isn't there mouse-flavored cat food?
Why didn't Noah swat those two mosquitoes?
Why do they sterilize the needle for lethal injections?
You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don't they make the whole plane out of that stuff?!
Why don't sheep shrink when it rains?
Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?
If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?
If flying is so safe, why do they call the airport the terminal?

Shadow Shot Sunday

Posted by Picasa

It has been so gray here for the past couple of weeks that you couldn't find a shadow with a microscope, so I looked back a bit. My Christmas Cactus was so eager for Christmas that it bloomed in November! And, we actually had some sun in November. If you click on the picture you can better see not just the shadows, but the reflection caught in the window. Enjoy your day! Click on the camera icon and share your shadows!

Thoughts for the Day

Believe in yourself.


Laugh with friends.

Give lots of kisses.

Friday, January 16, 2009

More Tricks With Photos

Posted by Picasa

A Long Look Back - The Interview

Rob, of Inukshuk Adventure, posted Out of Africa – The Interview, the other day and I was intrigued, not only by the interview, but with the idea of accepting an invitation to be interviewed myself. I did have to pause before accepting because I wasn’t really sure just how much I was willing to or wanted to talk about myself. I finally decided to do it and take a look at why I was hesitating in the first place. If anyone else would like to participate in this little exercise, it’s actually fun and the instructions are at the end of this post.

I know your day job is blogging these days, but what kept you out of trouble before the internet?
Actually nothing has kept me totally out of trouble! However, I have been involved in things that left me with less time for the trouble bug. I went to college right after graduating from high school. I had only been 17 for two weeks and had not a clue as to what I wanted to do with my life – besides have fun. Nevertheless, I went for a year and a half, before deciding that I was wasting my parents’ money, my time and I wasn’t having that much fun anyway – during that period of my life having fun was definitely a major priority.

Later, when I was living in Los Angeles, California and working at a hospital I ran into a nun that I had known in Texas. She was the Principal of a small Catholic school in Montebello, California. The school was frightfully overcrowded, they couldn’t afford to pay a decent salary and she was trying to talk me into teaching! I kept telling her that I didn’t even like kids, let alone to do it for less money than I was making. But she kept at it, saying that she just had a feeling it would be a good match and she promised that if I was really unhappy teaching she would let me out of the contract. By then I was curious and thought, what the hell???

It turned out to be a life-changing experience. I had fifty-five advanced 5th graders! I guarantee you that I studied a lot harder than any of them had to and had no time for trouble, but at the end of the six week period, you couldn’t have run me off. I loved the kids and they loved me, their parents were unbelievably supportive and helpful. And I finally knew what I wanted to do with my life, I had a goal and I was determined to return to college.

A year later I returned to the University of North Texas and got my degree. I returned to teaching, got married and had four kids in five years – that alone will keep you out of trouble – at least for a while.

You, like me have moved around a bit and are now living somewhere that’s not where you started out. Would you care to share your route map?As you’ve probably guessed, I ‘m originally from Texas and except for some time in California – Los Angeles and San Diego, I pretty much stayed put until my kid’s Dad, who was in the Air Force, returned from Vietnam. We were then stationed in Europe for three years. We lived in Germany for a year and a half, then Madrid, Spain for another year and a half. We returned to the states and went to Great Falls, Montana. We all stayed there even after my husband retired, until 1983 when we separated. I lived in Salt Lake City for a year before the kids and I all returned to Dallas in 1985. The kids and I stayed in Dallas until 1992 when I moved to Portland, Oregon where my youngest daughter, was dancing with the Oregon Ballet Company. She had developed stress fractures in her feet and was going to have to give up ballet and she was in a very low and hurtful place and I felt she needed my support. She later returned to California where she had been living for a while before coming to Oregon. In the meantime, I had fallen in love with Oregon and had taken a job as the assistant to the president of a Japanese company, Komatsu. The company got caught up in the Japanese financial disaster (sound familiar?) and had to shut down. By then I was 67 and decided it was time to retire. I moved to San Miguel de Allende in Mexico where I lived for a year before returning to Texas for a year. After that I moved back to Portland where I lived until my youngest son decided I needed a keeper and moved me to Seattle where I’ve been for nearly two years.

What drew you to blogging and what do you enjoy about the blogs you visit?Actually, I wasn’t drawn to blogging, I kind of got pushed into it by a friend about seven months ago when I was visiting her in Portland. She saw right away that I was not in a good space. As much as I love my kids, living with them had never been a viable option in my mind. But with the economy definitely heading for trouble – the signs were already there, I didn’t feel that I had a lot of choice. Plus he isn't married, doesn't plan to be, and at the time he had just bought a house, had a dog and was traveling a lot. He had built a lovely space for me and I did feel that I could be of help. Nevertheless, it wasn’t what I had planned on in my late years and I felt a very black cloud hanging over me. So, half-heartedly, I promised to give blogging a try when I returned to Seattle. And I did and it was the best thing that could have possibly happened to me. It has made such a difference in my life and I can truly say I wake up excited every morning and go to bed reluctantly. I’ve made friends around the world that fill my life with that joy and pleasure. I love blogs where the owners share their lives – good and bad, ups and downs, the things they love, the things they do, their experiences. And I have become one picture-taking nut! Plus, with blogging I have a place to share them.

What would be your must have item to take to a desert island?
Oh, there would have to be two – a laptop and a camera! Otherwise I’m staying in Seattle!

What’s your favourite inspirational saying or your life mantra?
See all things, all people, the world, through the eyes of love and compassion. I do have to admit that these days, seeing some things in this way is not particularly easy, but it's a goal.

If anybody else would care to join in the fun, here are your instructions:
1.Leave me a comment saying, “Interview me.”
2.I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pose the questions).
3.You will update your blog with the answers to the questions and let me know when you have posted it, so I can link it.
4.4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5.When others comment asking to be interviewed, you will ask them five questions.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

A Young Heroine

Several weeks ago I learned of a wonderful program from Maithri of The Soaring Impulse. For ten dollars I could provide a bed net to help save a child’s life in Africa, to help prevent a child from dying of Malaria. Yesterday I learned about an amazing young girl named Katherine Commale, who by her 6th birthday had raised over $10,000 for Nothing But Nets and now, just two years later, she has raised more than $85,000 to send bed nets to Africa – that’s 8500 bed nets! She has done it all by giving presentations at churches and local schools and creating holiday gift certificates. For her efforts, Katherine has been recognized by The New York Times, CNN, President Clinton and thousands of people across the nation for the work that she does. You can learn more about Katherine’s impressive efforts here. .

Like everyone else these days, I don't have a lot of extra money to spare, but I can give $10 to such a worthy cause with the hope of saving a child’s life. I just wanted to share this wonderful story of an incredible young girl and what she has accomplished. Hopefully, the more people who learn of this program, the more children we can save.

Sky Watch #23

Happy Sky Watch! Click on the icon and share your skies with us!

Posted by Picasa

The Cat in the Hat on Aging

Just in case you weren't feeling too old today.
The people who are starting college this fall were born in 1989.
They are too young to remember the space shuttle blowing up.
Their lifetime has always included AIDS.
The CD was introduced two years before they were born.
They have always had an answering machine.
They have always had cable..
Jay Leno has always been on the Tonight Show.
Popcorn has always been microwaved.
They never took a swim and thought about Jaws.
They don't know who Mork was or where he was from.
They never heard: 'Where's the Beef?', 'I'd walk a mile for a Camel ', or 'de plane Boss, de plane'.
McDonald's never came in Styrofoam containers.
They don't have a clue how to use a typewriter.
Pass this on to the other old fogies on your list.
Notice the larger type?
That's for those of us who have trouble reading.
P.S. Save the earth. It's the only planet with chocolate.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

A Different Take on a President

No, this isn't about President-elect Obama or, joyfully, outgoing President Bush, but it is an interesting look back to another "unlikely" president. It not only shows the difference in presidents, but an incredible difference in the times -- then and now. Or maybe it is just incredible to me because I have lived through both eras.

HARRY S. TRUMAN(1884-1972), 33d president of the United States. Most Americans in the 1950s did not expect that Harry Truman would become one of their most highly regarded presidents. By 1952, just before he announced his decision not to run again, only 25% of the people thought he was doing a good job. Within a decade, however, most American historians regarded him as one of the nation's greatest presidents. To be sure, a "revisionist view developed that attacked his record at home and abroad, picturing him as ineffective in some areas, oppressive in others, and as the architect of the Cold War. Yet the favorable appraisal seemed to be the dominant American view.

Harry Truman was a different kind of President. He probably made as many important decisions regarding our nation's history as any of the other 42 Presidents. However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House. Historians have written the only asset he had when he died was the house he lived in, which was in Independence Missouri. On top of that, his wife inherited the house from her Mother.

When he retired from office in 1952, his income was a U.S. Army pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year. Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and
personally licking them, granted him an 'allowance' and, later, a retroactive
pension of $25,000 per year.

After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves. There were no Secret Service following them. When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating, 'You don't want me. You want the office of the President, and that doesn't belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it's not for sale.'

Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was preparing to award him the
Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing, 'I don't
consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any award,
Congressional or otherwise.' He never owned his own home and as president he
paid for all of his own travel expenses and food.

Modern politicians have found a new level of success in cashing in on the Presidency, resulting in untold wealth. Today, many in Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits of their offices. Political offices are now for sale.

Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed, 'My choices early in life
were either to be a piano player in a whore house or a politician. And to tell
the truth, there's hardly any difference.'

He was known for telling it like it was.

Wordless Wednesday

Posted by Picasa

Beautiful skies -- one of my favorite things.

Visit Wordless Wednesday's site

Talk About a Train Wreck!

Oh, yeah, makes perfect sense to me!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The Dreaded T-Word

We’re being warned these days of huge budget deficits for years to come – even by President-elect Obama. The economy is in a precipitous downturn and no one, right or left, is advocating tax increases that would jeopardize a recovery. Bob Herbert, Op-Ed Columnist for the New York Times wrote in his column this morning that we are spending money as fast as we can on TARP and the proposed stimulus program plus the overhaul of the way we pay for health care. Even China is getting antsy and has been prompted to keep more of its money at home. Not good news for U.S. borrowers. Let’s face it, sooner or later we’re going to have to face the dreaded T-word – taxes.

However, according to Mr. Herbert, there’s a good idea out there that takes its cue from Willie Sutton. Why not go where the money is?

Dean Baker, an economist, is a strong advocate of a financial transaction tax. This would impose a small fee – perhaps 0.25 percent on the sale or transfer of stocks, bonds, and other financial assets, including the seemingly endless variety of exotic financial instruments that have been in the news so much lately.

Baker says that the fees would raise a ton of money, perhaps $100 billion or more annually. I think the government sorely needs that kind of money.

Herbert also brings up another intriguing element – while the fees would be a trivial expense for what the general public tends to think of as ordinary traders, that is people investing in stocks, bonds or other assets for some reasonable period of time – they would amount to a much heavier lift for speculators, the folks who bring a manic quality to the markets and who treat it like a casino.

Also according to Baker, “For the typical person holding stock, who is planning to hold it for a long period of time, paying a quarter of one percent on a trade is just not that big a deal.”

The beauty of the transfer tax; it tends to curb at least some speculation. “It’s a progressive tax,” Baker said, “that discourages nonproductive activity.”

The rampant irresponsibility of the Bush years by the White House, Congress and the general public when it comes to matters of finance, the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were placed on credit cards and off the books. Their ultimate overall costs will be in the trillions. And yet, incredibly, Bush and Congress cut taxes in wartime! I have to agree with Herbert; that is totally insane!

The only remedy for fending off the Great Depression II has been deficit spending on a scale that’s over the moon. And baby boomers about ready to retire? Maybe all these deficits will just disappear; maybe a more prosperous future generation will just happily clean up the mess we left for them. But if none of that is true just maybe we should start looking for some other answers. A stock transfer tax just might not be a bad place to start.

A Correction

I just found out this evening that Maya Angelou did not write the poem I posted last night. It was written by Pamela Redmond Satran in 1997. Maithri let me know -- seems it has been going around as Angelous for sometime. I looked Satran up on the web and sure enough she has written a post to that effect. So, I just wanted to set it straight -- I didn't know until tonight. My thanks to Maithri.

Official Announcement:

The government today announced that it is changing its emblem from an Eagle to a CONDOM because it more accurately reflects the government's political stance.

A condom allows for inflation, halts production, destroys the next generation, protects a bunch of pricks, and gives you a sense of security while you're actually being screwed!
Damn, it just doesn't get more accurate than that

Okay, okay, but I've been pretty nice and proper for a couple of days now and that's about my limit! Besides, even if the truth hurts, we really should take a look at it and we might as well get a laugh, because crying ain't gonna help!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Maya Angelou's Best Poem Ever

enough money within her control to move out
and rent a place of her own,
even if she never wants to or needs to...

something perfect to wear if the employer,
or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...

a youth she's content to leave behind....

a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to
retelling it in her old age....

a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...

one friend who always makes her laugh... and one who lets her cry...

a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...

eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems,
and a recipe for a meal,
that will make her guests feel honored...

a feeling of control over her destiny...

how to fall in love without losing herself..

how to quit a job,
break up with a lover,
and confront a friend without;
ruining the friendship....

when to try harder... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...

that she can't change the length of her calves,
the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents..

that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...

what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

how to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...

whom she can trust,
whom she can't,
and why she shouldn't take it personally...

where to go...
be it to her best friend's kitchen table..
or a charming Inn in the woods...
when her soul needs soothing...

What she can and can't accomplish in a day...
a month...and a year...




Ruby Tuesday

Since it is gray world time in Seattle I had to really search for something Ruby Red and then I remembered my favorite place, a fun time and RED peppers! Happy Ruby Tuesday! Thanks to The Teacher for hosting!
Posted by Picasa

My World #11

(Just an added note, I'm still having computer problems and for some reason have been unable to leave comments on some sites, not all????)
A couple hours drive and a short ferry ride from Seattle will get you to Orcas Island one of the San Juan Islands. It's one of the stunningly beautiful places in My World! The photograph I use for my header was taken among the San Juan Islands.

Orcas Island is slightly larger, but less populous, than neighboring San Juan Island. Orcas is shaped like a pair of saddlebags, separated by fjord-like East Sound, with Massacre Bay on the south side, and tiny Skull Island just off the coast. At the northern end of the island is the village of Eastsound, the largest town on Orcas and the second largest in San Juan County. In 1989 the Lummi Nation regained a village and burial site on Orcas Island's Madrona Point near Eastsound, and now operates it as Madrona Point Park, a private preserve characterized by hundreds of twisting madrona trees sprouting from the rocky shoreline. There are daily commercial flights to and from Orcas Island Airport in Eastsound, as well as seasonal seaplane flights to different locations on the island, including Rosario, West Sound and Deer Harbor.

Posted by Picasa

Monochrome Monday

Posted by Picasa

Snow covered beach, gray cold water, frosted tree, empty benches!

Cheney's Innocent??

Everyone is getting ready for the big day now just days away. Everyone is either talking or writing about the horror that was or the hope to be. Maureen Dowd had her usual sharp tongue look in the OpEd section in the NYT this morning have to admit I enjoyed these opening remarks about Cheney in particular.

"In the past week, I’ve twice been close enough to Dick Cheney to kick him in the shins.

I didn’t. It’s probably a federal crime of some sort. But a girl can fantasize. I did, however, assume the Stay-away-from-me-you’ve-got-cooties stance that Jimmy Carter used when posing with Bill Clinton at the presidents’ powwow in the Oval.

The first time was Tuesday, when Cheney left the ceremony where he gave the oath of office to senators. The senators seemed thrilled, especially Joe Biden, who was getting sworn in for just two weeks and was excitedly showing off a family Bible the size of a Buick. But I thought it gave the ceremony a satirical edge to have the lawless Vice presiding over lawmakers swearing to support and defend the Constitution that he soiled and defiled — right in the heart of the legislative branch he worked to diminish."

Cheney does indeed seem to be denying he had anything to do with Dubya's decisions, that he most definitely didn't manipulate him, that it was Bush's administration all the way. At a going away party for Fox's Brit Hume, Cheney, Wolfie and Rummy, all three, were holding court and appeared blissfully unrepentant about the chaos they’ve unleashed on the world. Hey, they weren't the president, it was all Bushie's doings. I wonder if there are really people who believe that?

Asked by People magazine what moments from the last eight years he revisited most often, W. talked passionately about the pitch he threw out at the World Series in 2001: “I never felt that anxious any other time during my presidency, curiously enough.” Yep, sounds about right to me!

I guess the only thing I can hope for at this time is that we can move forward after the 20th, but it isn't going to be easy or as quick as anyone would like. The legacy the Bush/Cheney administration has left us is one that has all but destroyed this country and everything we would like to believe we stand for.

January 20th can't get here too fast for me!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

My Way

It seems that there is one song that has been my theme song, one that followed me through the latter stages of my life, and that is that “fist in the air”, Frank Sinatra version of Paul Anka’s song, “My Way”. I recently had a new introduction to the song when I found it on Darlene’s HodgePodge several weeks ago. She had a video of the group Il Divo singing "My Way" and my love affair with the song started all over again.

This morning I was surprised to find an article written by Bono entitled, “Notes from the Chairman”. It’s a great article and suddenly “My Way” began to have a whole new meaning, seemingly designed for all of us who are facing the many difficulties that this new year holds – wherever we live. I would strongly urge you to read the entire article, but I’m including an excerpt.

Notes From the Chairman
Once upon a couple of weeks ago ...
I’m in a crush in a Dublin pub around New Year’s. Glasses clinking clicking, clashing crashing in Gaelic revelry: swinging doors, sweethearts falling in and out of the season’s blessings, family feuds subsumed or resumed. Malt joy and ginger despair are all in the queue to be served on this, the quarter-of-a-millennium mark since Arthur Guinness first put velvety blackness in a pint glass.
Interesting mood. The new Irish money has been gambled and lost; the Celtic Tiger’s tail is between its legs as builders and bankers laugh uneasy and hard at the last year, and swallow uneasy and hard at the new. There’s a voice on the speakers that wakes everyone out of the moment: it’s Frank Sinatra singing “My Way.” His ode to defiance is four decades old this year and everyone sings along for a lifetime of reasons. I am struck by the one quality his voice lacks: Sentimentality.
Is this knotted fist of a voice a clue to the next year? In the mist of uncertainty in your business life, your love life, your life life, why is Sinatra’s voice such a foghorn — such confidence in nervous times allowing you romance but knocking your rose-tinted glasses off your nose, if you get too carried away.

A call to believability.

A voice that says, “Don’t lie to me now.”

That says, “Baby, if there’s someone else, tell me now.”

Fabulous, not fabulist. Honesty to hang your hat on.
As the year rolls over (and with it many carousers), the emotion in the room tussles between hope and fear, expectation and trepidation. Wherever you end up, his voice takes you by the hand.

As a communicator, hitting the notes is only part of the story, of course.

Singers, more than other musicians, depend on what they know — as opposed to what they don’t want to know about the world. While there is a danger in this — the loss of naïveté, for instance, which holds its own certain power — interpretive skills generally gain in the course of a life well abused.

Want an example? Here’s an example. Take two of the versions of Sinatra singing “My Way.”

The first was recorded in 1969 when the Chairman of the Board said to Paul Anka, who wrote the song for him: “I’m quitting the business. I’m sick of it. I’m getting the hell out.” In this reading, the song is a boast — more kiss-off than send-off — embodying all the machismo a man can muster about the mistakes he’s made on the way from here to everywhere.

In the later recording, Frank is 78. The Nelson Riddle arrangement is the same, the words and melody are exactly the same, but this time the song has become a heart-stopping, heartbreaking song of defeat. The singer’s hubris is out the door. (This singer, i.e. me, is in a puddle.) The song has become an apology.

To what end? Duality, complexity. I was lucky to duet with a man who understood duality, who had the talent to hear two opposing ideas in a single song, and the wisdom to know which side to reveal at which moment.

This is our moment. What do we hear?

In the pub, on the occasion of this new year, as the room rises in a deafening chorus — “I did it my way” — I and this full house of Irish rabble-rousers hear in this staple of the American songbook both sides of the singer and the song, hubris and humility, blue eyes and red.

Just reading this article, listening to the song one more time and the tears were running down my cheeks and my eyes were definitely "red". And that's okay, because the passion is still there, I haven't rolled over and for one more time I'm doing it all My Way!

Shadow Shot Sunday #34

Posted by Picasa

We haven't had any sun in so long I had to look back to summer for a picture to post! Ah, I am longing for the sun to reappear!
Check my side bar for the Shadow Shot Sunday icon and click to join us and share your shadows.

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