Saturday, March 29, 2008


ABC reporter, Martha Raddatz interviewed Cheney on the fifth anniversary of our invasion of Iraq. In part, this is how it played out:

CHENEY: On the security front, I think there's a general consensus that we've made major progress, that the surge has worked. That's been a major success. (Duplicitous sack of shit)

RADDATZ: Two-thirds of Americans say it's not worth fighting.

CHENEY: So? (smug, flip, murdering bastard)

RADDATZ: So? You don't care what the American people think?

CHENEY: No. (nasty, detestable fucker). I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations in the public opinion polls.

In case there is any doubt, comments in red are mine.

And Michael Moore says..."I would like every American to see Cheney flip the virtual bird at them, the American people. Click here and pass it around. Then ask yourself why we haven't risen up and thrown him and his puppet out of the White House."

And if you want to read all of what MM has to say, click here.

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Thursday, March 27, 2008

Some of my stuff

Reading one of my favorite blogs today, I thought it would be interesting to wander around my house and take a good look at some of the very things that clutter my life in a good way: sugar bowls and vases, artwork and favorite bowls, all the things that make the layers of life a little more interesting. Things that have some memory attached to them.

Glancing over the top of my computer screen, two old prints from my Great-grandfather's brewery pub in Waterloo, Liverpool (England) immediately catch my eye. They're advertising prints, hand-colored and show some guys playing cards, one of them cheating. I have no idea what they're advertising and when I google the signatures, I come up empty, although one of them looks like the Pears soap signature. Not sure, though. They need reframing and are going to be hung in the basement when my husband gets his wine cellar up and running. Right now it’s just crates and odd bottles of wine, but we’re getting closer…walls have been finished, floor has been tiled, great lighting is in and soon the shelving will go up. And then we’ll hang the prints. As long as I can remember, these prints were in my parent’s home. Then, a good few years after my Dad died, my mother decided to sell her Washington, DC home and move back to England, permanently. We were still living in Wisconsin, so I made the 15-hour drive shortly before she jumped continents and brought these prints back north with me. Now they're in California and almost six years after moving here, they're still waiting to be hung. My great-grandfather succumbed to the solitary lure of the bottle and died young. These prints were in a closet in one of my great-aunt's homes until moving to D.C. in the 1950s.

And while I was training my camera on the prints above, I noticed the copper tub by the fireplace. This is used as a woodstore now but it originally saw use as a copper boiler (I think). After that it served as storage for recycling newspapers and bits of kindling for our dear friends (The Malones) who now live near Asheville, NC and no doubt wish they had it again. They gave it to us when they were moving to Florida and thought, I'm sure, that they'd never have use for any fireplace storage again.

And then there's this dear little (maybe 5" high) bud of a long-ago broken pair, this one just surviving, but irreparably damaged anyway. Still, I keep it because when I close my eyes I can see them sitting on my mother's dressing table in her bedroom. I always put one flower in this vase and a leaf from any random plant that just drapes over the edge, covering its imperfection.
And then that first autumn in Milwaukee when we drove down to Alpine Valley where there was some random Oktoberfest/antique's fair. Roger fell in love with the silver, filigree over cut glass vase. It was affordable because of a hairline crack and was originally part of the Ringling Bros. estate in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Or so we were told. I used to keep it polished when the formality of our old house demanded such a thing. Now I just bung it up on the shelf with other vases and polish it when the mood strikes. You can see that rarely happens. To its left is a 60s retro(ie) bud vase that my son gave me. To the right is Japanese teapot that I've used once, though its shape charms me. This picture tells me one thing. That shelf is a mess and needs a more artistic touch. Tomorrow...

And used everyday is my daughter's effort from a woodworking class she was forced to do at age 12. Emblazoned with her initials, but given to us as a present, it has been used faithfully for the last 25 years. I love this.

And then this portrait of an ancient Asian man, done by our son as a Christmas present to my husband six or seven years ago. It sits on our bookcase in the living room and is well loved.

And here's my Great Auntie Irene's sewing table. Intrically carved, the top is damaged in a way that looks intentional...almost saw cut. Its style is pretty much the antithesis of ours, but there is an alcove in our hallway into which this table fits quite perfectly.

And here's an art-deco sugar bowl given me by my long-dear friend in D.C., Kathy. It is used faithfully and reminds me daily of our friendship.

And there's so much more. But it's an interesting exercise. Looking, really looking at one's things and then taking the time to remember.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Great Horned Owl

Around 6:30 this evening I wandered outside, camera in hand. I wanted to get some pictures of our grass so I could ask the knowledgeable ladies at the Garden Center just what the hell is going's green in spots, white in others and dead in others. Grass doesn't do well in our Canyon and while we don't have much, what we have we enjoy. Yes, I know it uses water and yes I feel guilty about that, but the rest of the 'garden' is pretty drought tolerant.

As I turned my camera on, there was a loud whooshing as something flew off the grass and towards a densely wooded area. It was close enough that I knew it was an owl, assumed it was a Great Horned and hoped it would stop and perch somewhere within range. The westering sun had sunk behind the ridge, but there was still enough light to capture these shots. They're not the greatest pix but the bird, well it is quite simply brilliant.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter '08

Though not a particularly (strike particularly) religious family, we're big fans of carols at Christmas and Evensong in random English cathedrals but that's pretty much where it ends. We seem to be disgustingly sanguine about the commercialization of Christian holidays, equally comfortable with Santa and elves and Easter bunnies and tooth fairies. We're not actively anti-religion in that we have no emotional investment in our lack of belief. We don't enter into arguments of faith with friends who are deeply religious or scoff and shake our heads in pitying wonderment when religion is discussed. It's just not a part of our lives. But may I say again that we very much embrace the rabbit who delivers high end chocolates and jelly beans and Peeps, ohmygod, the Peeps which I kindly eat for my grandchildren due to their seeming indifference. I use them as table decorations, thus allowing the sugary outer layer to crispen up a bit. It brings back memories of my own Easter basket peeps, sugar hardened and plastic Easter grass embedded deeply. Biting into a Peeps was sometimes a little like flossing if the grass got wedged uncomfortably high on the gum.

My husband's sister, who lives deep in the heart of Wales, is quite the opposite. One day when two clean-shaven, close-trimmed, white-shirted and tie-clad American Mormon boys tapped on her door with some good news, she listened and bought the package. Completely. Yeah, I know...we don't talk about it much. There passed a few years when she was deeply troubled by our lack of commitment to a religion and when the church no doubt told her we were ripe for the plucking, she dutifully airmailed us an awful lot of LDS literature. And then there was that year we were wintering in Pasadena so Roger could better recover from back surgery and not have to make the weekly commute from Milwaukee to L.A. for a project he was then working on. About a week after his surgery (and he was none too comfortable), two young women knocked on our door one evening with some good wishes and better news. Who wouldn't be excited by that? Mormons are notoriously pretty when young and exceptionally clean. But when they said, "We received a letter from your sister in Britain and she said you (my husband) had just had back surgery and we have come to pray with you and to invite you to explore the Wonderful World of Mormon with us," I did more than bristle. Now my husband is by nature far more polite than I am. He's also more inclined to talk to strangers. I'm more inclined to say, when I don't like the message, "You're going to have to fuck off now because this is starting to really rub me wrong." Whereas he may listen for 10 minutes and then enter into theological discussions with strangers (WHO KNOW OUR NAMES AND ADDRESSEs) even though he knows SFA about the LDS and Joseph Smith and Brigham Young. I haven't exactly studied the Mormon faith, but I've read a fair amount about it because, let's face it, it's fascinating stuff. I became interested in these folks when a behemoth LDS Temple was being built on the Beltway (495) in Washington, DC. Very Disneyesque and mysterious. I think I've mentioned before that a bridge crossing the freeway just before the Temple has RUN DOROTHY RUN emblazoned across it. Every six months or so it is cleaned off and then, within a week, mysteriously reappears.

So back to our lack of religion. As lazy parents, we decided to let our kids be introduced to the Holy Bible and mysterious rites of Christianity via their schools in England...Church of England and a convent school for my daughter taught by the La Sagesse teaching order of nuns. We figured that would give them an almost sufficient amount of confusion so they could almost sort out any Biblical cultural reference to a deficient degree. May I just state categorically that it worked. They half understand (like their parents) a lot of stuff and are mightily confused by the rest.

And so while we sat around the table yesterday, we listened to Charlotte as she tried to figure just what the hell this holiday was all about. None of us felt like getting into death or resurrection. So we listened to Lottie. She started with..."So, Easter is all about this guy

It's hard to get this Bunny to stop moving long enough to capture a still image.

These two bunnies, Charlotte and Charlie, were displaying some sugary behavior that lasted well into the night.

Sophie is ready to go to the beach...enough of Easter. The only candy she likes are lollipops. Jelly beans are yucky. By eating lots of sugar, the other kids are achieving near-Sophie status in the active stakes.

Charlie's still looking for eggs and it's pitch black outside.

The evening is winding down. We're desperate to get a picture of both girls sporting the ears. Sophie won't cooperate. Fortunately, we don't care at this point. That's my daughter, Jane..the grown up one.
For some reason, Lottie kept taking her basket apart and putting it together...this was the night before Easter. Easter Eve? She was prepping the basket for the bunny.
Even Baby Annie had to wear ears. Nobody gets off easily in this house. Impressively, with only two front bottom teeth, Annie also ate a jelly bean (and didn't choke) and moved pretty quickly when she spied another errant one. We kept it at one.

Finally...Sophie looking ready for bed.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Some Years Spring Comes Easily

No idea how to end this underlining or why this particular post has chosen to add such emphasis to itself, but hiking up Red Rock last Saturday almost made me break into the rousing chorus from 'He Arose or Low in the Grace He Lay' as it's more commonly known.  In my memory, ranked second only to the noble Peeps, are the rousing Easter Sunday hymns from the Southern Baptist church I occasionally attended with neighbors (when my mother just couldn't be arsed enough to take me to the local Episcopal church).  I loved the whole idea of death not being exactly what it implied, thus making anything possible.  An appealing thought and one that helps keep religion firmly rooted in the stratosphere for many.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's Not Jacquie Lawson

My new favorite card site is this one.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Seven Weird Things about Me

GrannyP got me. As I was cyber-running through space I thought I'd arched my back enough in that critical last moment when she was stretching forward to tag me but I felt that slightest of taps and her 'gotcha' tones in my head and knew she'd done it. Still, she's headed this way in September and has thrown out the lure of some good figgy jam, and I'm a notoriously easy touch so...

1. I count things. Lots of things. Not just the steps up to my house (which are the same as the steps down) but lots of things. And then I apparently forget the number because the next day, I do the same damned thing.

2. I once faked an asthma attack in high school to get out of taking a test. Full blown attack. Parents called. Ambulance summoned. I guess I didn't properly think it through. You know, consequences.

3. I have always had demanding teeth. When I was three, I heard my dentist at Georgetown Dental School (Washington, DC) say to a group of his dental students, "That poor child. She will be lucky if she has a tooth in her head by the time she's 30." My mother swears there's no way I could have heard this, that the dentist was a good 25' away and whispering, but I heard it...and remember to this day exactly what he said. As a result, until I was 30, I had nightmares about biting into bananas and having my teeth fall out.

4. When my father almost lost his finger in a lawnmower accident, my mother was so horrified that she ran and locked herself in her bedroom and screamed "Linda, quick...go help your father!" I did. In fact, he had already positioned the half-severed finger in place and put pressure and ice and towels 'round it. I drove him to the hospital in part on the new and as yet unfinished Washington, DC beltway. Not all the segments were finished, but the bits that were open I drove upon, per my pa's instructions. I was almost 12 and my father was nothing but encouraging. I can still hear him saying, "Good girl. You're doing fine. Sugar, try and keep between the lines." I was sitting on pillows and at the edge of the seat. The car was automatic and I'd had some driving experience. On Sundays, back when everything closed on that day of rest, my Pa would take me to the vast supermarket parking lots and let me drive around to my heart's content. Those lessons paid off.

5. In one three month period of my life, my final summer holiday while at university (before I dropped out and married my stranger), I held three jobs, simultaneously. I was making money hand over fist and had never felt quite so flush. From 9 to 5 I was a cub reporter for The Georgetowner newspaper...a small local paper in Washington, DC, then owned by the ancient Amy Stewart. From 5:30 to 7:30 I sold New York Times subscriptions by telephone. It was the first year home delivery was offered in our area and while I can't remember how much money I made from that gig, I do remember it was pretty amazing. It seemed like everyone I called was so excited at the idea of getting a NY Times on their doorstep that they just said yes. And then at the weekend, three other gals and I danced on a bar in Georgetown. It was 1968 and I wore cut-off jeans and a t-shirt. Weird, I know. And when I finished, I was walked to my car and I drove home. Didn't tell my Mum about that job. But the money was great. Old Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd movies would be flickering in the background and I'd be dancing. Oh well.

6. As an older child (around 11 or 12 years old), I was often left to my own devices while my parents worked. During the summer holidays when time obviously hung a little too heavily, I would wait for my parents to head off to work and then I'd jump on my bike and race to The Greyhound Bus station in Silver Spring, Maryland (a good five miles away). I'd look at the fronts of the buses to see where they were headed, ask how long a trip it was and then buy a ticket. I could get to Richmond or Baltimore or Frederick and once when my parents had plans and were going to be home a bit late, I took the express bus to Philadelphia. As long as I didn't hang around too long when I got to those places, I could catch another bus back in time to beat my parents home. Ever hung around a Greyhound or Trailways bus station? Without fail, they are in the worst parts of town. I still have not shared those adventures with my Mum.

7. I have not shared that I have a blog with most people I know. Not sure why.

And I'm tagging anyone who reads this blog. And Birthday Bob, that means you...use this as a springboard to write your second posting. Seven weird things about you. NOW GO!