Friday, February 29, 2008

Best Bracelet

In yesterday's Contra Costa Times is a story about Kathy Strong and James Leslie Morland. They have never met and it is unfortunately a pretty good bet that they never will. Kathy wears a POW bracelet with James' name on it. She has worn it since she first got it as a Christmas Stocking Stuffer in 1972. I do wonder what her "Santa" was like to put one of these in her stocking. Perhaps if more of us received this type of gift the world might be a little better? It does bring back memories of my own POW bracelet, the Vietnam War, my brother, the Vietnam Memorial, the current war and my other brother. All of them flow thru my brain like rocks in a rock polisher. Not smooth, not good, but noisy and loud and wanting them to stop, but afraid when they do and the silence sets in.

I was one of the lucky ones, I guess. I was able to send my bracelet home. My POW came home, I can't tell you much more than he lived in Texas and I sent the bracelet to him when I was notified that he came back. I never heard from him and I don't remember his name now and that is a shame. I made a promise to myself that I would always remember and I broke it somewhere along the way.

A couple of years ago while visting the Colonel and family we went into Washington, DC and saw the Vietnam Memorial for the first time. I did not expect to be so overwhelmed. It starts out as a small little piece of black marble and rises upwards until it is far about my head. The names brought tears to my eyes, I pictured young boys, dads, sons, brothers, lovers never coming home again. I was angry and I was amazed that the names of missing and dead went back to the 50's. The Colonel being the history nerd he is started telling me about how we had been there for so much longer than most of us think. We looked at that wall with lumps in our throats and spoke of Michael. How that war had killed him, but he had not died there. That men like him should be there, because they were just as dead because of things that happend there.

Then we walked over to the booths - there were three or four of them filled with stickers, badges, pins, names of the still missing. The POW/MIA flag flying over each of them. They were staffed by guys that looked like bikers for the most part and maybe they were. They also seemed a little damaged in that Vietnam Veteran kind of way, but they have vowed to stay there in one form or another until the last POW/MIA comes home from every war. I was confused, one of them explained to me that we still have POW/MIA's from WWI, WWII, Korea and Vietnam. I felt embarassed because I did not know.

I do not know a lot of things, but I do know that I am grateful and humbled by the Kathy Strongs of the world that keep the faith and hope that someday that bracelet can come off their wrist.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008


One would think that something that says "AIRCAST" on it would be well, light as air? Not so. It is heavy and looks like something a Star Wars clone trooper would wear. It makes me tired. Little whine with my cheese, please.


580 Today

Today was ugly on the highway. There was an accident on the Bay Bridge and it seem to mess things up all over the place, then add to picture that it is raining and you have a lovely idea of what my commute was like this morning. One thing that did happen that was out of the ordinary was this big tanker truck in the lane next to me that put on its blinker to move in front of me. Now, I like to think of myself as a pretty courteous driver, so I let him in. I like to think it had nothing to do with the sign on the back of the truck in big letters that said: MOLTEN SULPHUR. I don't know about you, but that sounds pretty ugly to me. Then, of course, using my handy reference tool (the internet) I looked up SOUFRE FONDU (which is French for this will burn more than the skin off you the roof of your mouth) and then I wondered if I made a good choice by letting the truck in front of me:

General Description

A yellow to red liquid. Handled at elevated temperature (typically 290°F) to prevent solidification and makes transfers easier. Hot enough that plastic or rubber may melt or lose strength. Causes thermal burns to skin on contact. Cools rapidly and solidifies if released. Equipment designed to protect against ordinary chemical exposure is ineffective against the thermal hazard. Exercise caution walking on the surface of a spill to avoid breakthrough into pockets of molten sulfur below the crust. Do not attempt to remove sulfur impregnated clothing because of the danger of tearing flesh if a burn has resulted.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph - they let this stuff travel the highways?????

Friday, February 15, 2008

Are you a good witch or a bad witch?

In the public interest the witch shall be excecuted. Among her accursors, a man that says she made him impotent.

Violet Dangale, a 42-year-old woman who "was driven from her home 30 months ago by relatives and neighbours who accused her of being a witch growing rich from the work of zombies, as the 'living dead' are known."

65-year-old Linah Seabi, "a sorghum beer brewer ... [who] was charged with killing an elderly woman with a poisonous potion.

"Francina Sebatsana, 75, and Desia Mamafa, 55 ... were burned to death on pyres of wood in the village of Wydhoek,"

Am I talking about the European Witch Trials of the 1550s? Or maybe the Salem Witch Trials of the 1690's? No, Francina and Desia were burned to death in South Africa in 1998. Linah stopped brewing beer in 1991. Violet in the early 90's.

And the first one? A Valentine story from the BBC. It seems that Saudi Arabia continues in its quest to punish women. How can we support a government that condons this kind of thing? Oh, yeah, oil. Oil does make the best friends, does it not?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

HMO Crap

Let me start by saying I really like my doctor. But, the process of getting my broken foot fixed has been mind boggleing. I first go to my primary doctor in Pleasanton, she sends me to get x-rays in Danville. They take the pictures and confirm that yes I am broken. They call my primary doctor, who gives me a reference to another doctor. The next doctor (back to Danville) tells me, yes you are broken, in a really bad place. He recommends something called a camo cast and tells me that if I am a really good girl and follow all the rules in about six weeks I should be healed. If not, he will have to open me up and put in a screw. Incentive, yes. But, he can't cast me. My HMO will not pay for it if he does it, they have to fax the HMO and get permission to get the cast for me, but I have to go back to Pleasanton to have it done. So it has taken four days since I first went to the doctor to get a cast, am I the only one that thinks this is crazy?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A moment to whine!

I have been here before and it is all coming back to me. When you break something there comes a time when you just want to cry. Not when it happens, cause you do want to cry then. But a little later, back at work, dragging your foot around, your other leg hurts cause you are babying your hurt foot, the skin on your hurt foot itches (why is that). I am feeling that way right now. It will pass, I will be fine, just needed to whine a little. thanks.

Monday, February 11, 2008

What could you...

My beloved just asked me "what could you possibly have taken pictures of in Paris?" How can she even ask that question? Around every corner, on every building, under your feet, Paris always reveals something new and beautiful.

The Lovely Streets:

The Circus

Happy New Year from Travel Chicks window

Palais Royal Metro Station

Need I say more?

I guess so.

I guess I missed blogging while I was away. I do have to start keeping a little notepad with me at all times because I keep saying - Oh I must blog about that - and then I forget. In fact while blogging tonight I would be writing one post and think - oh yeah I need to blog about that - and by the time I am finished with the post I am writing, I have forgotten what I wanted to say next.

Life is so sad!

Pour Quoi?

Why do they make you put the little shades up in the airplane when you are landing? It is not like the pilot needs to look out them while taxing down the runway. I just wonder about it every time I am on a plane. I, for one, would rather not see some other plane taxing down a runway coming right at me, I would rather be surprised when that plane crashes into mine.

Dans le Noir

Imagine - total darkness. Most of us do not experience this very often. Even when we turn the lights out to crawl into bed there is light. The cable box, the night light in the hallway, the light from the alarm clock or the phone. Total darkness is scary to lots of us. Well out by the Travel Chicks apartment is a restuarant called Dans le Noir (In the Dark) where you go and well, dine in the dark. And I mean dark! You go in to the bar (which is lighted) and they ask if you have any special food needs (like are you allergic to anything) and you order. We ordered (Travel Chick and three of her Paris friends) the surprise menu. I did order the vegatarian surprise, just did not want too much of a surprise. Then you put your hand on the shoulder of the person in front of you and the blind (yes, blind) waiter brings you thru two sets of curtains down a hallway and into the dining room. You are lead to your table and told what is there. A fork, a knife, a water glass and a wine glass and a basket of bread. Then they bring water and wine that you pour into your own glass - remember to put your finger in your glass and stop pouring when the liquid reaches it (very important). Your meal gets brought out and you try and eat it. My first 80 fork fills were empty - so plan a lot of time - but once you got a system you could find you food. For me listening became really interesting - I felt that I could really concentrate on what others were saying without all the other stuff that goes with someone speaking to you. Looking at them, or watching the people walk behind them, or wondering why they wore that shirt. While I was in the dark I really could only listen. And while most of the people in the room were speaking French I felt I could understand more, that I might actually be able to learn French better in the dark. Anyway, we ate and drank for a couple of hours, guessing what was on our plates - I think we were wrong for the most part. I could only identify a couple of things while eating them, but I liked it. When we were done our waiter gathered us all together and got us out to the bar and light again. We were able to see again and were grateful, our waiter on the other hand spent every minute of every day in that total darkness.

Their t-shirts were very cool. They were black with the name of the place in braille on the front. Think about it.

Shaved Heads

It seems the newest trend on Parisian streets these days is the shaved head. Yes, I do realize that the shaved head has been a fashion statement for awhile, but not on this level. It seemed that every third man had a shaved head or if they were a gay couple, they both had shaved heads, so that does skew the numbers a little bit.

I just wonder who thinks "hmm, I wonder how I would look with a shaved head" and then does it. I have always lived with the idea that it is just hair, cut it, color it, whatever, it will grow back, but I do not think even in my wildest days I would have shaved my head, just to see what it looks like. I like to think that if I was losing my hair, for any reason, I would just shave it and buy 7 different wigs, all different colors and styles and wear a different hair every day. If your friend shaves their head and it looks really bad, but they think it looks good, do you tell them? I mean not everyone should shave their heads. Some people have dents in their heads, not attractive. Some have those rolls on the back of their necks, again not attractive. I think my head comes to a point at the top I don't think that would be attractive, so I think I will refrain from shaving my head. I barely shave my legs in the winter, I just can't imagine keeping up with shaving my head.

The Colonel is home

The Colonel arrived home on Saturday. He is safe, in one piece and hoping never to go back. We are thankful. Welcome home!

Debunking an urban myth

As you that have known me for a long time already know, I have debunked an urban myth before and now I have done it again. The old "you can't walk on a broken bone" myth. Well, yes you can, I have done it before and I have done it again. In this case, I just taped it up and with the help of some really good aspirin from a Paris pharmacy I hobbled.

That little splat on the Pont Neuf produced a metatarsal fracture on my left foot. While I do not really understand what that is, I enjoy saying it. I am currently setting a fashion trend with lovely blue shoe on one foot. I am waiting for the orthopedic doctor to call me so they can see me.

And now off to my appointment with a little tylenol with codine!!!

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Bon Jour from the streets of Paris!!

Literally. Last night will walking home with the lovely Travel Chick, I fell on the Pont Neuf! Splat - down she went. Luckily there were not any people around so I made one of the quick recoveries that I have so much practice with and jumped up. Unfortunately, my left foot is now swollen and black and blue. I will admit that it has slowed me down today (Thursday) but got some really good aspirin and a wrap for it and will wander tomorrow. I know that some of you think I would go to great lengths to stay in Paris a bit longer, but this is not one of them. I will be getting on the plane, but I just might look really sad and hurt and see if they take pity.

Friday, February 1, 2008


I'll bet you are wondering how I am writing this. I am supposed to be on a plane to Paris right now. Well, last night I get a call from Air Canada and it seems that they are expecting a big storm in Toronto today, so they are cancelling my flight. My entire trip has been pushed back one day. Not really a big deal, except for the disappointment I feel, but it does lead me to ask:

When did the Canadians become such wimps?

I thought Canada knew how to handle snow. What is a few inches of snow to a real Canadian? Geez, what is this world coming to?

Tattoo regrets?

I was watching Regis & Kelly this morning and Kelly talked about her tattoo. She said she regretted it because she felt like it was wearing the same sweater day after day. That got me thinking about my own tattoos. I have not regretted one of them, this train of thought led me to remember my very first. I was 18ish, had always wanted one and then I met another woman that had one, she agreed to go with me to get one. So off we went, Eleanor Gizzarelli, Kimberly (now a hasbien) and Mitch to woman with the tats. She had been in the army and seemed quite tough to me at that time. We went to Pawtucket, to a shop that I might not even walk into today. It was very old school, store front with big windows, walls lined with flash for tats. The tattooist was huge, long hair, grey beard, really big arms covered in beautiful butterfly's. So there is one guy in there getting a tattoo, he is really drunk and the white of his left eye was all bloody, left over from a fight I guess. His girlfriend was there and not in much better shape. He was getting a little red devil on his arm. So, the guy gets done with drunk guy and turns to me and says "so, little lady where do you want your flower?" I asked "how do you know I want a flower?" "You just look like the flower type."

OK, so I did want a flower. He asked where and I pointed to my hip. He says "OK, drop your pants". I swear at the moment 5 guys crowd into the shop, it had been empty for the last 45 minutes, but the minute I'm supposed to drop my pants it fills up. So my friend says, "do you think you could ask them to leave? She is a little shy." The guy looks at me and says "honey, you can't be too shy if your getting a tattoo, so drop your pants or get out." So I dropped my pants and he started. As he was working I was looking at his arms. They were covered in beautiful butterflys, colorful, different shapes and sizes. The one thing they all had in common? The bodies were penises. I just stared and wondered why. Kimberly kept coming in looking and going back out to the car to do a shot. Once I was done I had quite a few of those myself.

Soon after this night that shop was shut down by the board of health. I guess I'm lucky that my leg never fell off. But I have never regretted the tattoo or the night.