Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Live Mega Doppler 7000 HD

We've only lived in Southern California for five years and while I've always been a bit of a weather whore, the distinct lack of real weather out here has turned me into somewhat of an alarmist, much like our favored weatherman, Dallas Raines (shut up, I'm serious, I'm sure he was born with that name). I could watch Johnny Mountain (another real weatherman name) on NBC, but Dallas is my barometer of choice. Every day is treated like an audition for an action movie as he athletically leaps across the blue weather screen, his lean form holding poses for unnaturally long seconds. On each show he sports a different suit and strangely hued tie, somewhat in the style of Miami Vice meets the brave new millenium. So when the freezing temperatures bombed the southland a couple of weeks ago, assuming that I would have known what was imminent would be logical. Had I watched Dallas when it was actually important, I would have known to IMMEDIATELY TURN OFF the irrigation system so it wouldn't drench the slopes at 4 AM, leaving them looking like frozen wildfire remains.

Double BUGGER, himself and I thought, when we woke up to this, hoping it wouldn't permanently damage the icicle tipped back slope. What do we know? Obviously, nothing

Note to self: plant more rosemary.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Following is something I wrote last year on the occasion of this day. Baby Sophie was a newborn and now she is one year old and running full tilt. The story is still the same and the fight for choice is still important.

In the spring and summer of 1992, I became more involved (than just sending a check a couple of times a year) with the Pro-Choice movement in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In the 80s and 90s, anti-choice fanatics targeted cities around America in an effort to close down clinics that provided, among other services, abortions. A strong supporter of Planned Parenthood and NARAL, I was asked to join a group of pro-choice activists at a clinic to provide a counter balance to anti-choice groups led by Matthew Trewhella and Randall Terry.

At the time of that phone call, I don't believe any of us realized just how familiar Matthew Trewhella of The Missionaries to the Preborn and Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, would become. In those early days of their Milwaukee assaults on the reproductive freedom of women, I got a taste of the nature of these men and what I saw frightened me. What I saw, while Mr. Terry pushed me hard against the door handle of a minivan in the parking lot of the clinic on Farwell Avenue, while screaming and spittle-flicking my face, made me determined to do all in my small power to stop these megalomaniacal men as best I could. The only words I have ever spoken directly to Terry were, and they are burned in my memory, "Get your fucking hands off me. If you honestly believe I can take any man seriously who's wearing a naugahyde three-quarter length, nasty belted coat, you are delusional." And so began my own personal year of insanity that included a court appearance for threatening language (case dismissed), a five morning a week (5 AM to 9 AM) stint as a clinic escort for NARAL that lasted five months and multiple appearances as a pro-choice supporter when I was asked to simply show up so the insane numbers of anti-choice fanatics who were bussed in from all over America wouldn't look quite as huge as they were.

And so, instead of rambling on about my own personal experiences I am going to leave you some links, all worthy of your time, and one small request. If you are pro-choice, become more active in the movement before you lose your right to choose. Always remember that being pro-choice only means that you believe in a woman's right to choose. It does not mean that you are personally in favor of or opposed to abortion. The good people at Planned Parenthood and NARAL can always use your help or your donation.

Planned Parenthood Federation of America


And here's a link to one man who is a true champion of women and their right to choose.

Dan McGuire

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Baked Bean Fixes

Sometimes the bounty of Gelson's or Whole Foods or Von's just doesn't cut it and when that happens, I either head down the mountain to PCH and onwards to the King's Head in Santa Monica or down the other side to the 101 and onwards to Thousand Oaks. Tucked conveniently into the tidy middle of that (T.oaks) rather conservative suburban community is The Fox and Hounds. Like the King's Head, this place is stocked full of 'nursery' food...the simple foods of an English childhood and, as such, the foods of dreams. Yesterday I stocked up on a few of our favorites: tins of Heinz Baked Beans (they just taste different), boxes of PG Tips tea, frozen sausages, small jars of mint sauce, Rich Tea and Digestive biscuits, a Crunchie bar, some mushy peas and a few other low on the totem pole foods (total bill $74.51). No shock there. British foods are easily quadruple their UK shelf price on this side of the Atlantic. You can't leave the shop without one of the two elderly ladies (one Scottish gal who sounds exactly like the housekeeper on Doctor Finlay's Casebook) and t'other a moody but goodhearted octogenarian lass from the South (Essex) pushing the 'papers' on you. Yesterday was no exception and they chirpily handed over The British Weekly and the Union Jack, the Scottish lady purring, "You'll be wanting to read these dear, now won't you?" Damn straight, I thought, especially with articles like this...and I quote.

"Drunken Bishop Has No Memory of Antics

After throwing children's toys from a stranger's car before being pulled out and splitting open his head, a Bishop said he didn't remember the incident.

The Rt. Rev. Tom Butler, 66, the Bishop of Southwark, when asked what he was doing, reportedly replied: "I'm the Bishop of Southwark. It's what I do."

He then 'staggered' off into the night leaving his cross, personal organiser and Home Office correspondence in the car.

At first the bishop claimed he'd been mugged as he made his way back from an embassy function in central London to his home in Streatham. But his spokesman later said: "He'd clearly had a glass of wine but does not recall being drunk as a skunk. He finds it incredible to believe he was in a different part of town in a car and left belongings there. But he doesn't recall."

Mercedes owner Nicola Sumpter, 33, said the first she knew of the incident was when her car alarm went off. She said: "My boyfriend and his pal raced outside and were stunned to see a grey-haired man in the back seat. He was throwing my one-year old son's toys everywhere. He wouldn't get out so they pulled him away. He couldn't stand up straight and fell over, bashing his head."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Responding to the Long Last

One of my favorite bloggers, Granny P, tagged me a little while back. I don't know why I've been so quiet (bloggity wise), but I've refound my internet voice so if I get tiresomely overchatty, just tell me to shut up.

So, here's how P tagged me and my response follows:

Pick up the nearest book. Turn to page 123: find sentence number 5 and copy out the next 3 sentences. Then name book, author, and tag 3 more people. She tags - again no links for obvious reasons - Pat - of Past Imperfect, Carolinkus of Beelzebublog and Lin of Dotty Nana; all of them on her sidebar. They will all probably curse her, but she has tried to pick people who are not - she hopes - up to their necks.

Page123: Sentence #5: "...To have you married, Milk--don't you see what this will do for the project? You won't be--and you'll forgive me--so wet behind the ears, or appear to be, at any rate. A married man conducting interviews has got to inspire more confidence, especially in older subjects, and females, of course, than a bachelor. Don't you think?" And here I could answer him with confidence even as the image of Mrs. Foshay fought to crowd everything else out of my brain.

"The Inner Circle" by T.C. Boyle

And I tag the first three people (excepting P) who happen to read this posting. You know who you are.

Don't forget...Blog for Choice Day is Coming up.

Don't forget to Blog for Choice...if you're that way inclined. It is choice, after all.

Monday, January 15, 2007

January, so far

January. My intentions were good, but Jesus Christ on a bicycle, the month is fair whipping by and I have written little more than shopping lists and thank you notes. Two thousand and seven. One more year (and some months) and I will be sixty flippin’ years old. Sixty. I need to practice saying that because it doesn’t exactly trip sweetly off my tongue. Since there’s nothing that can be done about it except celebrate the achievement of each year, I’ll try not to ponder the task of aging too terribly much.

It's been cold here. Cold enough for this to happen when an irrigation system goes off in the wee, dark hours of early morning. That's frozen Topanga. Don't tell Kim and Jenny (who are flying in from London on Friday and love the warmth of Southern California in January). They'll only be here for a couple of days en route to Auckland and Oz. Please weather god, make it warmer, if only for the few days they're here

Here's how the month has played out so far, weather and otherwise.

New Year's Eve (seasonably chilly)

Good times had at Neal and Andrea's with the added bonus of a 45-minute concert by party guest Rob Rio. Wow. Just wow.

Hal & Barbie Come to Dinner (rain...well, it misted for a couple of minutes and was cool enough for a fire)

While I know Barbie, who catered to the stars in her former life (and by god can this woman cook) and has at least 10 FULL sets of FANCY china (you know...Limoges, Villeroy & Boch, Pillivuyt, Sevres (sans accent and need I say any more?) and hauls it all out for her extraordinarily posh dinner parties, couldn't give a rat's ass what I serve her dinner on (as long as she doesn't have to cook it), every time she comes to dinner I do murmur and hover over my dish selection (limited) and ultimately haul out the everyday china (which I am replacing this month). Cost Plus here I come. I also fuss over exactly what I'm going to serve and this time drove a polar opposite route of fussy to a recipe that Jamie Oliver describes as Jamaican casual (suits my dinnerware). It's basically a lamb stew with a caribbean influence.I had to have this fabulous couple over before the tree was stripped of its Christmas gauderie. A nice Jewish girl, nothing makes Barbie's heart trip quicker than an Xmas tree in full flourish. She pretended to not notice the downturned, dry-needled branches, parched to the point of danger and only commented on the beautiful, old-fashioned decorations and the tinsel. I think I'm the only gal she knows who uses tinsel. Personally, I think a tree without tinsel is just a little too smug for its own good. Get with the tack, people, get with the tack. Sheesh, stop taking your Christmas trees so seriously. Colored lights and tinsel. It's the only way to go.

Lakers game (boiling hot)

Friends Gene and Marcia took us to a Laker's vs. Dallas Mavericks game on the 7th and what a game it was. We first had dinner downtown (like grownups!) at Zucca's.
Then headed over to our posh box in the sky to watch the game. Lakers won it in the final seconds of the game.

Then it was wee Sophie's First Birthday on the 1oth. (still pretty hot)

We all gathered to celebrate her first year. Still hard to even imagine there was life before Sophie. She's got that BIG a personality. For dinner, she had her usual and chewed it amazingly well (considering she has only two tiny pearls of bottom teeth )...chunks of avocado, halved fresh blueberries, tiny pieces of cheese, bread and butter in teenie bits, tiny pieces of chicken, a handful of peas and then for a finale, a cupcake. Being a second baby, this day was celebrated with little pomp. A Ralph's cupcake was put in front of her, at which she turned up her little nose. Even though her big sister can't bear cake (it's true) Lottie couldn't understand Sophie's indifference to the cupcake and so smeared some icing on her lips. Baby S was duly disgusted.

Before Cupcake

After First Bite of Cupcake (all adults secretly delighted at her visible disgust with cheap, nasty aquamarine icing)

So now it's bitterly (not in the way of Fargo, but still...) cold, the wind is blowing, there are Red Flag warnings (high fire danger) and while we're praying for rain, we're also hoping it will be fair and mild for Kim and Jenny's short visit.

Next weekend, Betsy & Lee are having a dinner party for all of us (K & J included). Mexican food and muchas margaritas. OLE!

Martin Luther King Day

MLK's "I Have a Dream' speech never sounded more possible than when we were sitting in a pew, front row, eyes closed in Ebenezer Baptist Church, Atlanta.

Monday, January 01, 2007

November 4, 2008 is Finally Next Year!!!!!!!

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?
For auld lang syne, my dear,
for auld lang syne,
we'll take a cup of kindness yet,
for auld lang syne.

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
and days of auld lang syne?
And here's a hand, my trusty friend
And gie's a hand o' thine
We'll tak' a cup o' kindness yet
For auld lang syne

And besides singing the above, I hope you all:

  • Kissed at Midnight
  • Paid off Bills
  • Stocked the Larder
  • Had a good First Footing, i.e., tall, dark and handsome
  • And if none of the above happened, don't forget to eat Black-Eyed Peas today
For me, and much of this World, a true reason to celebrate 2007 is the 2008 Presidential election when we all know with certainty that Bush2 will be gone. It's a given that he won't be working on world peace or international relations when he moves from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and back to Crawford, TX. He'll go back to huntin', fishin' and choppin' wood. November 4, 2008 can't come fast enough for me.