Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Today I got a note from NARAL, an outfit I've supported and respected for the last 25 years, never more so than in the early 90s when Randall Terry and Matthew Trewhella and their merry bands of misery-makers targeted Milwaukee's neediest women and Milwaukee's few clinics that [then] offered family planning, contraception and abortions. These nasty, mean-spirited, anti-choice fanatics have been remarkably successful and just because you have choice today, don't count on it being around for your daughters or grand-daughters.

I'm particularly appealing to my California friends because California isn't all coastal. The minute you get into the Sierra Foothills, the Central Valley and Orange County, you're in anti-choice strongholds. Please support NARAL and pro-choice folks who live in areas where they're in the minority. Please read the following and do what you think is right.

And as my darling grand-daughter says, thankth.

"Access to condoms, emergency contraception, the pill, and other safe and effective forms of birth control is simply a matter of basic healthcare for women across this state.

But common sense is under fire. On March 7, NARAL Pro-Choice California will hand-deliver thousands of petitions signed by pro-choice Californians like you to lawmakers demanding:

Expanded family-planning services;
Guaranteed access to doctor prescribed birth control;
Better access to information on reproductive health; and
A renewed commonsense commitment to make sure every women receives the tools she needs to prevent unintended pregnancy.
In preparation for this Day of Action, we have been organizing house parties and petition drives in every county in the state. Your urgent support for this campaign will cover the costs of phone-banking, online outreach, materials preparation and distribution, and grassroots organizing work necessary to make our efforts a resounding success!

We hope yours will be among the thousands of Californian voices heard on March 7, and we urge you to make a generous online donation right now to make this campaign one that sends a powerful message to California lawmakers.


Amy Everitt
State Director"


Visit the web address below to tell your friends about this.

If you received this message from a friend, you can sign up for NARAL Pro-Choice America's Choice Action Network.

If you would like to unsubscribe from NARAL Pro-Choice America's Choice Action Network or update your account settings, please click here.

Monday, February 27, 2006

YAY!!! It's Raining!

Rain is pounding on the kitchen skylight and our excitement is shared; we feel like doing the happy-we-get-to-turn-the-irrigation-off dance. It's nothing like the 68.9" of rain that pounded us last winter but the parched chapparel around us desperately needs water and just like most things in life, there's a fine balance between too much and just the right amount. Too much rain causes excessive growth of everything and it looks green and lush and gorgeous. Trouble is, it doesn't normally rain here between April and November, which causes all this green and lush growth to become dry, yellow and brittle and, well, it's really just like kindling on the mountainsides. Too little rain and that tinder dry stuff is still sitting there ready to burn. Just right amounts of rain create the right balance. So while I love warm, dry February days following by coolish February evenings, I really, really love rain in February.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Ciao Bellas (and Bellos)

Woolfcamp SC (Woolfcamp Santa Cruz), unhosted by the lovely Grace Davis is over, but the spirit and energy of the weekend will live on until our next Woolfcamp gathering, hopefully here in Topanga. Great time, great women. Here's Woolfcamp's very own blog.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Happy Valentine's Day, m'Dear

When I was almost eight months pregnant, living in London, married to a great guy who I hadn't really known all that long, very young (only 20) and oh, did I mention, almost eight months pregnant???, my husband took me out for a special dinner (was it Valentine's...I can't remember) to...drum roll...THE PLAYBOY CLUB in London. Oh yay, The Playboy Club! Could a girl be any luckier. Wow! Beautiful young women in teeny tiny costumes...And Ears! So Perky. Oh look. Fishnet stockings and bunny ears. How cute is that?! What did he expect me to say? What did he expect me to feel? Who knows...I walked out two hours into the humiliation and took a taxi home...without him. Yep, I said something like "Excuse me. I'm just going to the loo." But I left. In a taxi. Without him. And when he arrived home, a couple of hours later, he was obviously confused. I didn't try and explain anything except to tell him that was one stupid idea...The Playboy Club thing.

Today we celebrate 38 Valentine's Days spent together. Yep, he's the best and I'm a lucky woman. Oh...we haven't been back to a Playboy Club since then. Quel surprise!

It's a dark pic, but I like it...guess who got a new toy.

The Shrinking Blogosphere

Here are the nominations for the European Weblog Awards

Get yourself over there and have a look at some great blogs that are sure to become regular reads.

In my meme, I listed some of my favorites from Australia, Oz, New Zealand, The Canary Islands and Portugal.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

The Four Meme (rhymes with theme) Thing

I should have been put-out that my job for today involves Meme(ing) about four things. Hey, thanks Everydaysupergoddess, you are too kind! but I actually am sitting here kind of enjoying the complete waste of time aspect to all of this. While Memeing I am not cooking, cleaning or thinking of doing those things, which is good, since it is Sunday and all.

(Thank you Wikipedia for explaining…The term "meme" ([miːm] in the IPA; rhymes with "theme"), was coined by Richard Dawkins and first came into popular use with the publication of the book The Selfish Gene in (1976). The choice of word was based on a shortening of the Greek "mimeme" (something imitated) to sound similar to gene. )

And now for my Not-so-Famous Fours (if you have never read Enid Blyton, this makes no sense, but if you have read her, just pretend it was fours, not fives, okay. And since it's my Meme and I mentioned Miz Blyton, here's the whole thing about her books…they made you hungry right when you were trying to go to sleep. Sometimes the food she wrote about was very much the food of rationing or just post-rationing Britain as you can read here. "Anne saw some cows pulling at the grass in a meadow as they passed. 'It must be awful to be a cow and eat nothing but tasteless grass,' she called to George. 'Think what a cow misses - never tastes an egg and lettuce sandwich, never eats a chocolate eclair, never has a boiled egg - and can't even drink a glass of ginger-beer! Poor cows!'"

4 Jobs I’ve had

Waitress at Philip’s Crab House, Ocean City, Maryland. Fired on second day of work for saying, “What…are you fucking stupid or something?” to a [stupid] diner who couldn’t be bothered to listen to me the FIVE times I explained how to use the hammer and pick to open a crab all the while balancing an enormous tray (at least 3 foot diameter) on one hand (at shoulder level) that is heaped high with steaming, poisonous Chesapeake Bay crabs. You can’t say that and keep a job. Hey, I learned.

Cub Reporter for The Georgetowner Newspaper in Washington, DC. Oh how I loved this job. I felt SO important and SO very inside the Beltway.

Secretary at Shell BP in London. Was a super temp and had the job for the last four months of my first pregnancy. Lived, lived, lived for the coffee lady who wheeled a coffee and sweet cake laden trolley with our free snacks every morning at 10:30 and then returned with more good stuff and tea at 4 PM.

Admissions Officer, Queen Anne’s School, Caversham, England. Loved coffee and tea in the staff room (morning and afternoon) and school lunches with the girls. Played lacrosse on the staff team in the annual staff vs. THE GIRLS game. We lost by a humiliatingly high margin

4 Movies I Could and Do Watch Over and Over: Can’t limit it to four but will try

Raising Arizona (
Ed: You go right back up there and get me a toddler. I need a baby, Hi. They got more'n they can handle. Hi.I tried to stand up and fly straight, but it wasn't easy with that sumbitch Reagan in the White House ...)

All the rest of the Coen Bros. Flicks, but especially Fargo, The Big Lebowski and O Brother Where art Thou

Anything Christopher Guest touches but especially Best in Show, Waiting for Guffman and Spinal Tap

All Cheesy Musicals. Can’t help it, but I just want to hold a cane and tap dance down stairs all the while singing and smiling.

4 Places I have lived:

Washington, DC. The place where I was born.

Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. While I made some great friends in Geordieland, I knew I didn’t want to stay there.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Moved there from the south of England and wound up spending 20 years. It's a good place to raise your kids, but it also wasn’t that tough to leave, except for the people...that's always rough.

Topanga Canyon, California. As long as the fires and earthquakes keep their distance, oh how I love it here.

4 TV Shows I Love: (this is where I should type, TV, what TV, never watch it…but alas, I love my TV. That being the case, you’d think I’d have a bigger one)

Arrested Development. If you don’t watch it, I guess I have to blame you for its cancellation.

The Office. Loved the UK version from the very first, but have grown to love the US version, now that they’ve found their groove. Please watch it so it doesn’t get cancelled.

The Royle Family. Cash-strapped family in the English midlands who chain smoke and sit around watching telly all day while the butts pile up in their central ashtray. Yeah, I’m pretty high-brow.

Masterpiece Theatre. Pretty much anything with the theme music, Mouret's "First Suite in D," from his second book of Fanfares for Trumpets, Kettledrums, Violins and Oboes first published in Paris, ca. 1729)

4 Favorite Books

Class, by Jilly Cooper. Brits have always been obsessed with class, except those that truly have it (I am one of the obsessed, apparently). VERY, VERY funny (to me).

Enid Blyton books. Favourite childhood author whose books I just loved and included The Noddy Books, Famous Five Series (up until 1958 then I sadly got too old for them), The Adventure Series, Secret Seven Series, Malory Towers series and lots of her long stories that appeared in my Playways Annuals that frequently involved kids eating, having no adult supervision, getting the mumps, stowing away on cruise ships...you know, normal stuff.

The Tortilla Curtain, T.C. Boyle. I pretty much love all his books. He's got this whacky vibe going that I so appreciate.

Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver. Until I read this book, I'd forgotten just how much The Belgian Congo featured in the news and adult conversations from my childhood.

And since it’s my meme and I can go to five, most books by Anne Lamott.

4 Places I Have Vacationed

Cornwall, England (many, many times in charming little cottages but once, our young family of four was stuffed into a caravan on a rainy, windswept cliff. One of our best holidays ever!)

Apalachicola, Florida (St. George Island many times…the birds, the shells, the dolphins, the oysters (so yummy and so cheap) and the sharks!

Florianopolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil (fabulously beautiful part of the world made especially wonderful because of our dear friends who live there. I can attest to the fact that pretty close to ALL Brazilian women get Brazilian waxes! A nation of brave chicks.

Matalascañas, Spain. Our first warm weather holiday when we lived in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Child protective services should have been called in. Himself and I had our hotel room on the ground floor of the hotel and my two children, aged 10 and 5 ½ had a room on the third floor of the hotel. Couldn’t get adjoining rooms and I felt they’d be safer upstairs. I still can’t believe I had so much confidence in my earnest, dear little 10-year old daughter, Jane and equally sweet young boy, Colin.

5 Blogs I Read Every Day:

Granny P



Ova Girl


Of course there are many others that I adore, but I wanted to send anyone who checks out my blog to the above, outside-the-United-States-blogs. I reckon they’re all nothing short of brilliant.

4 Favorite Foods

Greek yoghurt w/frozen blueberries & a teaspoon of demerrara sugar

English sausages

Salt ‘n Vinegar Potato chips/crisps

Dry Roasted, Salted Almonds
(if you had a few hours, I could list my other absolute favorite foods)

4 People I’m Tagging:
with apologies and if you don’t have time, just don’t do it…and don’t feel guilty

Think Butterflies




Saturday, February 11, 2006

A Girlie Valentine's Feast

Yuko and her daughter, Kimiko (I think that’s her name)* flew from Tokyo to LA for one short week to visit Yuko’s good friend Barbie. I’m not allowed to tell the story of how Yuko and Barbie met or anything about their friendship (they’re sure there’s a book in it...I think maybe a movie!) except to say they met in a department store in Tokyo and they’re not gay. Their short week has been filled with many shopping trips (everything so cheap here!), an overnight in Vegas (Mama Mia! and big roulette wheel…I lost shirt off my stomach), the L.A. Flower Mart (we go and it stir dark) and then, as though that wasn’t enough, Barbie organized a Valentine’s Day dinner for women only! Barbie sets a mighty fine table.

She said it would be simple and none of us believed that for minute. As a matter of fact, we were all banking on the fact that it would be suitably complicated and fabulous! Here’s how simple it was…and I KNOW I’m forgetting something.

A fabulous salad to start

Lamb cutlets with a herbed crust**

Asparagus (I swear I think she peeled them)


Mashed potatoes with goat cheese

The dessert was chocolate mousse gently folded into a chocolate crepe! With a dark chocolate heart and a white chocolate arrow and, in case that wasn’t enough, strawberries and whipped cream! YEA!

And then Yuko brought out these beautifully wrapped little things. Yuko said they were sweet and passed them out. All were made from weird stuff like soy paste and soy gum (which closely resembles the end stage of a cold) and um, not really sweet, but my god, the way they were wrapped. I choose the prettiest wrapped one which most resembled snot or that clear, see-through glue we used to use in school surrounded by yellowy brown powder. Don’t blow on it, Yuko warned. She smiled and encouraged me to eat more. You like? Who wants to be rude? How can you say"Yuko, very pretty, love the packaging, but what's with the flavor???"

* Barbie set me straight...her name is Akiko

** We had racks of lamb, not cutlets...sheesh

The Spa Within

So today there’s another shoot going on at my house and the magazine is going to show its readers how to have a true spa experience in their very own home and really, deep down you know it’s a crock, but the whole idea is most appealing. So today it’s all about the beautiful, skinny people with perfect tits and the rather touching thing about them is they’re all very sweet and they actually do eat real food and they’re not throwing up afterwards so I guess it’s genetic? Or…maybe the food they’re given on a shoot (commonly known as Kraft Services no matter who caters) is the only food they ever eat and their refrigerators are as empty as their stomachs generally are. Or maybe they're just sensitive to the fact that my septic tanks need as little stress as is possible. Hard to tell. What I do know is that models drink a lot of coffee while they sit around and wait to be called.

The day is exquisite. It’s one of those magical, Southern California days where you know it’s foggy and cool along the coast (because the mountains opposite my house are shrouded in mist), but here on my ridgeline, the sky is blue, the breeze gentle enough to give the models’ perfect hair a little movement and the air is magically warm. Yes, a perfect February day. My mind screams FEBRUARY? in disbelief, but February it is. Any questions as to why I’m happy not to live in Wisconsin, in February?

I’m being paid today to be the agent for the shoot. Usually, someone handles all the little matters like making sure pads are put under the camera equipment, etc. Truth of the matter is, the agent always asks me if certain things are okay anyway. They need to occasionally use the home phone because there’s no cell phone coverage up here and then there’s a septic tank so there’s the old “If it’s yellow let it mellow…” philosophy when there are 20 extra people in the house. Please septic tanks, stay healthy and functioning. I just ask that the toilet be flushed every other time, for yellow use. So I’m here to answer all their little questions regarding just what is copasetic for this very idiosyncratic house.

Hang on, just need to go and check that the irrigation system is shut down because last year, guess what? It wasn’t! And guess what happened? Well, how about three beautiful, skinny models pretending to eat ice cream cones and the two photographers and the people who hold the light screens and THE EXPENSIVE CAMERAS all getting caught in a water storm. Yep, one sprinkler started up right where they were standing and then they all ran, screaming to another part of the yard and then that sprinkler started and then they just all started running around in circles, screaming and the camera guys were yelling “TURN IT OFF, TURN IT OFF.” I didn’t immediately know where to go to turn it off, but finally found the box. So now I know where both irrigation systems are and I know exactly how to turn it all off.

I also know how to make lemonade from lemons and I suggested as the sprinklers were running and the models were screaming that the photographer should just keep on shooting. The shoot was for Shape Magazine and it was for a summer issue and it was all about being in the yard and having fun and you’ll never guess, but they actually used that shot of the hysterical models running in the sprinkler for the mag. Guess I showed them.

Gotta scoot. Kraft Services just arrived. It’s lunchtime! (Baked fish with a herb crust, salad with a balsamic vinaigrette, rice pilaf, onion tart, chicken with a thai peanut sauce, a flan for dessert with baked apples and home baked chocolate chip cookies.)

Saturday, February 04, 2006


Guess I'm still having posting issues. Lines, invisible text...that sort of thing. Still trying to sort it out. Thanks everyone, for letting me know that now my blogger and I have issues!