Thursday, September 25, 2008


I have several drafts of posts that I really want to write, not to mention the drafts of the personal statement that must be finished this weekend... and yet I did not write today.

Just now, as I am procrastinating about going to bed (how can I be the queen of procrastinating even to the point that I don't just go to bed?!) -- I am reading through the blogs that I might have missed earlier today.

As luck would have it, there were some... and this one was speaking directly to me.

It is the perfect ending to my first free day all week... how is an unemployed person so booked up?? Well, today I slept in (AH!), went for a run, ate a lovely lunch, talked to my turtle, went to wine country with a friend to pick up shipments (yum) -- had free ice cream at ColdStone Creamery -- and got a lesson on flirting.

Thanks to Andrea, my day is now complete with inspiration and motivation for tomorrow and Saturday and Sunday.

I hope you all had at least as good a day as mine!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

need a vacuum?

I do... since I only own a swiffer and a very small broom and dust pan (which currently are MIA)... though this vacuum is HUGE and might not fit into my tiny apartment... it's okay, I ALMOST never win anything.

In case you are lucky, here is the link to the giveaway at Mama Kat.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I decide!

Looking for the new tv spot on youtube, I came across this gem...

I am percolating a long post ... it might come out someday, but for now, let me just say, I wish I were this aware when I was this young.

Meet the Thorons!

Monday, September 22, 2008


Have I mentioned that one of my favorite things about vacation is to see WILDLIFE?

Well, it is.

Here are some of the critters I saw and actually got pictures of...

The cutest little lizards I have ever seen... don't ask me why I was obsessed with the smallest!

this one is a little where is waldo/lizard, look carefully, it's there.

more where's lizard:

the most bizarre fly or bee? with a gorgeous red streak:

fabulous snail:

Candid shot of one of the island singers:

Battle scarred fish, I call him The Survivor. A little later, after it got too dark to take photos of the water, a ray came by to say hi as did a starfish... almost like snorkeling, but without having to get my face wet.

We didn't see any of the endangered Puerto Rican Parrots while in the rain forest, but we did see these Monk Parrots... who apparently like to hang out at the Bacardi plant!

Sorry to say that I didn't get close to any of the coquies...maybe next time.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

the impending storm...

Visiting the El Moro in Old San Juan last Saturday... this is what it looked like when we arrived.
The threatening clouds appeared within an hour. We kept ducking inside, and thought the worst would pass while at the fort where we could find cover.

In fact a little rain did fall on us when we were there. Thinking the worst was behind us, we headed out of the fort ... only to see this.

That long walkway is what we had to pass in order to get to town and potentially cover -- and we were starving, it was after 3pm and we hadn't eaten since breakfast. We made it about half way before it started pouring. And then it poured for another 15 minutes... we eventually made it to a building that offered the tiniest bit of protection.

I was just a little upset with myself because just the day before I had bought a little rain poncho to carry in my backpack because we were hiking in the rain forest -- where coincidentally no RAIN fell. [The only day we had NO RAIN.] I took it out of my backpack for our jaunt around Old San Juan as if it were that which was making my bag heavy. Oh well...

A little trolley appeared after we had been standing in the rain and all of us (about 6 or 7 at that time) who were trying to shield ourselves from the rain got on the trolley. Eventually the rain turned into drops here and there and we walked to a restaurant where everything was so good I thought about eating the actual table. Not to mention the hunky waiter who decided that we were his best friends... yum. Did I mention that everything (every one) in Puerto Rico is beautiful? Yeah.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

change is good

I have been considering changing the look of the blog for a while, but I haven't had the time or the energy... not that I have more energy now, but I am procrastinating getting my personal work done, so I decided to take the leap.

I am not really happy with the change yet, maybe it will grow on me?!

Mostly, I want to change the color, so I am studying how to do that...

oh and the font, but that will take more study... we'll see.

In any case, I hear change is good, so I am going to try it.

So, you may see things change daily, that is if you check in daily.

Shameless ploy to get readers? Not sure it can work unless there are already readers...

Happy Saturday, ya'll ... I am off to the farmers to get myself some flowers!

Here are some for you from Puerto Rico:

Friday, September 19, 2008

in the clouds

Woefully, I am the least artistic person I have ever met. So much so that I have all but given up on artistic pursuits... after a week in Puerto Rico, though, I was seriously considering taking up painting.

When I was a child, my fondest desire was to wake up in a room whose walls looked like this:
There seemed to be no end to the beautiful cloud formations.

I wish that I had been smart enough to remember to have the camera with me on the plane ... there were so many outstanding cloud castles.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

unplugged... plugging back in...

So, while I was away, I had little to no internet access... no tv and I didn't bother to read any newspapers.

Surprise, surprise ... the world continued to turn without me watching.

I am struggling a little with how best to catch up and whether or not it is even necessary.

The first day back, sort of, since my return lasted two whole days... I was at a hotel in DC with a business center, and therefore, internet, for at least a half an hour. In that time, I found out a little too much:
-Ike sucker punched Texas
-our economy is crumbling around us
-a commuter train headed for my hometown was in a horrible head on collision with a freight train
-the murder of a local area councilman may have been a case of mistaken identity

Tragedy abounds... and maybe there is some other stuff going on, but I had to stop watching and reading for a while.

What surprised me the most on my trip, with regards to current events, is that I saw precious little enthusiasm for the campaign... one man wearing an Obama shirt in Puerto Rico, one woman wearing an Obama pin in the airport in Denver, and one woman with an Obama bumper sticker on her wheelchair on BART.

[Nothing at Dulles?! Nothing at the hotel in Virginia. And no sign of any support for McCain despite the media's attempts to sell us on his resurgence. Come on the man couldn't fix the economy if his life depended on it.]

I am not saying that bumper stickers and pins are some magical way to bring about the change we need... but some little bit of enthusiasm for our chance to get the bums out of Washington, come on...

So, here are my virtual pins and bumper stickers for the day...

Obama scrapbook

Don't forget to vote... on that note, I am thinking seriously about packing my bag and heading to Nevada to do some campaigning...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

my immediate future

I am so excited about being unemployed ... I have been building lists in my mind of what I will do with my new time off -- unfortunately, I have booked so much to do in that "time off" that I am busy nearly every day... hmmm...

some of the things I will do besides the little vacation...

visit the San Francisco Zoo -- been wanting to see the grizzly bear twins for over a year

take advantage of first TUESDAYS!!

revel in FIRST FRIDAYS -- even if no one wants to go with me

take long walks and/or runs in my favorite place

watch Oprah or Ellen or the Newshour depending on my mood!

drink tea at the Starbucks and people watch -- in the middle of the day

explore my neighborhood (broadly speaking)

take the digital camera on a walk!

Monday, September 15, 2008


Sometime last year, I started following the story of a young woman who disappeared one day after dropping off her kids for a visit with her estranged husband. She left behind a new job, a boyfriend, and a van full of just bought groceries -- not to mention her two kids (who she just so happened to be fighting vigorously for in the divorce) and family and friends. Her husband swore he had nothing to do with it. Her kids went through hell. Her family, friends and boyfriend scoured the hills for her. Lurid details about her life were leaked to the media -- making her disappearance into more of a movie than a tragedy.

This is not really a unique story -- if it were, what would Dateline do?

But it happened right around the corner from me. And marital woes and emotional abuse between people who used to love each other still hits me a little too close to home. So even though I tried to fight it at first, I was sucked in by the time that the trial started.

And I wasn't the only one.

Every day, the local paper had a blog dedicated to the trial --- with a reporter in the courtroom delivering updates via laptop -- typos included. It turns out there were other people following it and blogging it on different sites. Some from the technical community since the husband was a computer something or other -- so technical no matter how many times I have read about it I cannot tell you what he does.

It was fascinating to see the crazy crap the husband did after the murder to make it seem like he wasn't involved which just made him more guilty. His strange behavior made the entire proceeding seem all the more surreal. No body, seriously disturbed alleged murderer, crazy ex-paramour, strange "memories" from the kids... when the defendant's father took the stand, it made you wonder how the alleged murderer had waited so long to become a murderer... at one point the father left the witness box to do one-handed pushups... yeah, there just isn't any scenario where this would be helpful to the defendant. Oh and then there was the crazy tension between the defendant and his lawyer and the judge ... reading the courtroom blog was like watching really slow moving Law and Order with no resolution.

So, he was convicted and traded his wife's body for the chance to vacate the verdict of first degree murder for second degree murder and the chance for parole -- someday. I am sure it was worth it for the family -- who have now sued him for wrongful death, so there won't be anything left for him to come out of jail to.

For us, though, it means we get the transcript of his confession. It is a morbidly fascinating thirty some rambling pages that reinforce all the impressions we formed of the husband. Almost more interesting though is to be on the inside of the lead detective and prosecutors' minds -- the questions they insist on getting answered belies the true closure they seek. I am not sure if they got it, or how you can ... surely in the back of their minds and deep in their hearts, there was still some hope that she was still alive.

Friday, September 12, 2008

new favorites

As part of my Saturday ritual... I walk to the Farmers and pick out some flowers for myself. These lasted the entire week... I should have taken a photo on the day I got them -- all closed up and richly colored. Not that they weren't just as lovely opened -- they are glorious.

This color is really stunning... still working on how to make the camera show it.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

painful memories

I don't think we should let this day go by without remembering.

I wish we could do it without pain, but I am not sure that it is possible.

I am going to let this young man give you an inside look at the pain of losing someone on this day -- as opposed to the rest of us who just lost our sense of security or innocence.

It is short, but you will still need the tissues.


My favorite part:
"Being in certain places, when I'm at a happy time, just somewhere in my mind, he won't get out of there. He's just stuck in my mind. And that makes me a little sadder, where I am."
He still dreams of his grandfather, Frankie said — dreams in which the whole family is together again. And he knows what he would say to his grandfather if he could speak to him.
"I love you," Frankie said, "and there's no other grandfather I'd rather see than you."

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Gone Fishin...

So, this evening I head out on a great trek to Puerto Rico ... it's a free ticket, so it's quite the itinerary... night flight to Chicago -- four or five hours later, weather permitting in the Caribbean, another flight to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

A few days sacrificing for a friend by attending a lawyer's conference at a resort. Yes, folks, this is really a terrific hardship, but I am a good friend, so I am willing to do it.

Next, we will brave the weather to vagabond around the island visiting her friends and relatives and hanging out in her apartment in San Juan.

After eating, drinking, dancing, site seeing and whatever else we can squeeze in ... I will attempt to return to California via Washington DC (free ticket, remember) where I will have to stay over and then back to the Bay.

I have been hording a few posts that I just couldn't manage to either type or finish or publish or whatever to keep you busy while I am away.

Hopefully I have learned something from my last photographic forays and will have some pics to share upon my return.

I don't know about you, but I think this is an excellent way to start my unemployment -- oh yeah, did I mention that my contract ended today and it was not renewed?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Voting Rights Reconsidered

I take the voting rights very seriously -- specifically given that women and people of color were not included in the game for a very long time in this country... however, I have to wonder what we are thinking just about now.

For instance, Obama has been accused of not being specific enough about his policies -- I am one who wanted to hear more specifics earlier ... I am feeling more confident that he is giving us the details we need, but now I begin to see the brilliance of his strategy. First, grab their hearts and souls -- because their brains are dangerously difficult to reach. Just last week, Barack went out among the people and took questions from the audience. I listened to the clip where he was talking about the essential issue of the day, in his opinion not mine: the economy. He took a question from a woman in the audience, who presumably was there because she cares about the outcome of this election -- meaning that she might have considered what is important to our country right now and wants to posit a thoughtful question to the candidate. And what did she ask? She told Barack that she was worried that he wanted to take away her guns. She's lucky I wasn't the one answering her damn question -- because I would have said, Lady, I don't want to take away your guns, I want to lock you in a room with just your guns and hope you do the right thing. Yes. It's not a nice way to feel about your country people, but I am so sick of nearly brainless people masquerading as citizens.

There are duties that are associated with being a citizen -- it isn't just a privilege and the chance to stand under a lovely flag and listen to a purdy song on an olympic stage or having the opportunity to spend all your money on useless things or the freedom to watch hours of mind-numbing reality tv. No, there are duties: to be concerned with our freedom and our future -- beyond simply being afraid of men who are muslim, we actually need to consider our place in the economic horizon, how we maintain our primacy -- if that's possible -- through cultivating skilled/trained citizens who are willing to work hard and contribute to our well being as a country and world citizen. Yup ... all that and much more.

So, I have decided, not unlike another blogger I enjoy reading, think that no one should be allowed to vote this year who hasn't had to deal with some issues on this level. That is to say that they are not allowed to vote if they are stuck in the popularity contest of a middle school student body association president election.

Yes, if you follow my rule, you will have to listen to a show like this interview with Thomas Friedman -- it will take 33 full minutes. Or have to watch two or three weeks of Bill Moyers -- and that will be two or three 45 minute sessions ... the good news is that you can pause and go to the bathroom and yell at the tv and do all the things that you do when you are watching Dancing with the Stars or whatever other drivel you indulge in. You can take notes, you can look up words and concepts that you don't understand -- but you must know something about one issue of merit -- not god-related for those who didn't get that. Feel however you want to feel after you have looked our issues in the face -- I don't care. If you still think the Palin/McCain's ideas for dealing with those issues are the best for our country and yourself (HONESTLY), pull the lever. Just get some facts, first, please.

I will make it exceedingly easy for you:

Bill Moyers on OIL

Bill Moyers on THE WAR

If you must, Bill Moyers on RELIGION

Thomas Friedman with Terri Gross

Thomas Friedman with Tom Brokaw (less than ten minutes)

I could go on, but I won't.

Umm, yeah...

There are days when I long for cable... but I am thankful for friends -- especially blogger friends -- who share the wealth.

Thanks X! [Check her out, LOVE HER!)

This is one of those clips that SHOULD be forwarded to everyone in the United States -- everyone registered to vote, that is. After watching this clip, they can vote for whomever they like best, but they will have to justify that desire with true convictions instead of being two-faced liars

And thanks, Jon, for breaking it down, Jersey-style. I cannot believe that the fellas with the journalism degrees hanging on their office walls don't have the balls to call the pundits on their shit. Perhaps they need to grow some.

Oh, and yeah, I finally broke down and donated to Barack... he may not need my money, and I did just lose my job, but, hell, I do want him to be able to say that after the naming of Palin to the McCain ticket that Barack's donations went up...

Wednesday, September 03, 2008


Disrespect is such a slippery notion -- both for those who feel disrespected as for those who disprespect because it is seemingly very subjective -- do you feel disrespected? was it your intention to disrespect or was it just a sad by product of some action??

Like disrespect, offense is another one of those eye of the beholder issues. Maybe it's like porn, you know it when you feel it?

Well I can say that I feel equally disrespected and offended by John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate.

Oh where to start? You think that because she has ovaries that those disaffected Clinton voters will decide to vote for you -- regardless of her politics? Um... you think that you can sell all the evangelicals that you are serious by putting her on your ticket even though she doesn't believe we need to do anything about the environment? You want us to believe that this is MAVERICK decision making? Try drunken soldier decision making. Maybe pompous ass decision making.

It is disrespectful to all those who ever believed you when you said that you wanted a different kind of politics. It is disrespectful to all women, all people who care about the environment, all people who would like their children to learn about science and not religion in school, etc. And worst of all it is disrespectful to the many QUALIFIED women in your own party.

There are many other women who would have been more interesting and less disrespectful as choices for veep: Meg Whitman, Carly Fiorino, Olympia Snowe, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Libby Dole, and on and on and on... there are EXPERIENCED Republican women out there both from inside and outside the beltway.

I am not the only one who feels this way. Of course, adding any of these other women on the ticket would not have made me change my mind on voting for Obama. It needs to be said because so many who defend the Palin choice would be defending any choice. Biden was not my first choice for veep, either, but it had nothing to do with my decision to vote for Barack...

Here are the issues that I have with Governor Palin:

1) Her politics are just not in line with mine, actually they are, on my points, in direct opposition -- having ovaries and/or children doesn't change the way I feel about her politics, I happen to believe in the existence of green house warming, in the teaching of evolution, that sex education should go BEYOND abstinence only and that women have the right to CHOOSE what should happen with their bodies. And that is just the beginning... we can go to the guns and drilling and the beholden-ness to certain industries... but really, the first four are deal breakers for me, so the rest is just gravy on why I don't like her. There is no way that I would vote for this woman under any circumstances.

2) She is a wolf in sheep's clothing -- she lies (says things that are untrue) about things that relate to ETHICS and MORALS... she presents as one thing and then is another. Yes, that is exactly what politicians do. However, if you are going to campaign as the "other" kind of candidate, the ethical one who has morals and lives by them, then you can't be as slippery as the rest of the bunch. There are the personal lies (eloped because she didn't want her poor, hard-working -- read working class -- teacher parents to pay for her wedding when in fact she was pregnant and "had" to get married), but more importantly there are the political lies. These are not things dredged up from 20 years ago -- she hasn't been in politics that long; listen to this from NPR.

3) I respect all women's right to have a career and a family -- I think it is doable (though challenging at times), and a perfectly acceptable goal. When Governor Palin insisted that she would continue to serve as governor as the mother of a disabled child, I applauded her for finding the strength and for using her personal and professional network to make this possible. When she told the world that her oldest daughter was FIVE MONTHS PREGNANT and about to get married, I wasn't moralistic about it. Things do happen, though the question of abstinence only as a successful strategy did cross my mind. I have to say I can't really see how choosing to put her daughter and son-in-law-to-be in the spotlight along with the rest of her family is the best choice.

What she does with and for her family is absolutely her business and I applaud Barack Obama for saying it will not be dragged into the campaign, however, I am just not convinced that at this time in our country's life is the best time to have as role models the teenage mother, the non-college educated First Man (Dude) who urges kids in high school to consider working in the oil industry instead of going to college, and a vice president who doesn't think that conservation for the sake of the environment is really necessary especially if it might interfere with the free market.

Basically, hate her. And now I hate him too.