Sunday, December 27, 2009

House for Sale

There is a beautiful house for sale on a street I used to live on right down from Alamo Square in the City. Two guys bought it a few years ago and restored it to more than its former glory. In the article was the story of the house. Built in 1895 for John Dowling, designed by architects Havens and Toepke. It now sports marble countertops and recycled railroad ties for floors. The back yard was redesigned by a famous landscape architect. But there is so much more of a story to this house and I only know a little tiny bit. I hope somebody else knows more.

When I moved to Fulton Street years ago I would walk by this house every day hoping that someone would buy it and restore it to what I imagined its former glory must have been. It was pretty run down and was being used as a rooming house at this point. This house was owned by a little old lady who happened to be the sister of the woman who owned the house one house down the street from mine. The house directly next to me was still owned by the womans sister's family. I became acquainted with the father of the family next door when he began to appreciate that I swept the sidewalk and picked up trash on the street. He told me a very interesting story about his family, the house he lived in and the house two doors up from me.

His house had been purchased by his mother. She had been the owner of a jazz club in the Fillmore. She became quite well off and was the first black person to purchase a home in Pacific Heights. According to my new friend, this is when her trouble started. She also had her hand in some not quite legal operations and was not welcomed in her new neighborhood, not because of what she did for a living, but for the color of her skin. From the story her son told me, she was approached by the IRS and told that if she sold out of Pacific Heights, they would “overlook” her illegal monetary gains. So being the smart woman she must have been, she moved her family from Pacific Heights to what they all called The Barn on Fulton Street. Now The Barn was not a little place. It had a ballroom with a glass ceiling (since covered over), what I was told were Tiffany stained glass windows (some still there) a wall to wall fireplace and wall to wall china cabinet (stained glass that had been painted over) on the other side of the dining room. This is where she entertained the likes of Joe Lewis and Nat King Cole, I was told.

This woman had a sister who bought the house three doors up the street. I don't know much about the sister other than what I was told. She was a jealous woman and always tried to one up her sister down the street. There seemed to be quite a bit of bad family history between the two woman, but man could they pick a house. The house that is currently for sale once had a beautiful front door knob, it was in the shape of a fish, you pushed on the tail to open the door. Wonder if it is still there, might have to go to the open house to find out.

Flying the friendly skies

Reading the paper this morning and was wondering about an article. It seems that on Friday a man whose name was on a terrorist list boarded a plane headed for Detroit. All was well until the last hour of the flight when he tried to blow up the plane with an explosive device located in his pants. He was stopped by other passengers, thankfully.

Due to this incident new rules have been put into effect for travel. On international flights coming into the US you will not be able to leave your seat and will not be allowed to have any personal items on your lap during the last hour of a flight. Does this mean no kindle? No magazines? No music devices? You are only going to be allowed one carry on item on overseas flights as well. And they are saying security lines will be longer and slower now.

I don't really have a problem with any of this, ok I do have a problem with the idea of not being able to read my kindle for the last hour of a flight, I currently have a problem having to turn it off for take off and landings, especially since I found out the pilots crack open their laptops in the cockpit to check out their new work schedules and overfly an airport all while they are supposed to be getting us safely to our destinations.

But it makes me wonder. Why only the last hour of a flight? Is that when all the bad people do their evil deeds? What is to stop the bad people from detonating an explosive device right after take off or maybe after the movie or as we are being given orange juice after an over night flight?

What will come next? Will we someday get on a plane with no carry on at all, get strapped into our seats with catheters hooked up so we don't need to get up to pee? Little foot rests that will move our legs up and down so we don't die of a blood clot while not being able to move?

How about this?

The security personnel that won't let me thru security without patting me down because of an underwire bra, catch the evil doers with names on the do not fly list and with fucking explosives taped inside their pants before they get on the plane. Now that's a concept.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

I spoke with my friend Mona today. She lives in Rhode Island, right on the coast. Where she tells me they got about 16 inches of snow. I read facebook a little latter during the day and saw another friend talking about her husband out snow-blowing their driveway near Boston, her father was stuck in Rhode Island where he said that they had two to three feet of the white stuff.

And from the comfort of a California winter I thought how lovely that must be. I picture sitting in a comfy chair, with my kindle reading a good book, next to a roaring fire with a cup of something warm to drink and looking at the snow falling in big flakes outside of your double paned perfectly caulked windows. The quiet bliss right after a snow fall is wonderful.

The reality is that you do have to go to work or school or the store. You have to shovel the white stuff and just when you have finished blowing the snow out of your driveway the damn snow plow comes by and leaves a big pile of it at the end of the driveway that you need a jack hammer to get through. Then the power goes out, you can't charge your kindle, the wood is all gone and what is outside is frozen solid and the wind is blowing the curtains of your not so perfectly caulked windows and you have run out of the warm drink.

And that, is why I live here now.


Tradition

I recall Tevye singing Tradition! Tradition! How many times does something have to happen to make it a tradition? What constitutes a tradition? What makes it a tradition?

About the only holiday tradition that my beloved and I have is a dinner with friends. A group of friends get together and go out to dinner sometimes before Christmas and sometimes after, but around the holidays.

Last year we went to Fleur-de-Lys in San Francisco. It was like dining inside a bedouin tent, or at least what I think a bedouin tent would look like. I half expected Lawrence of Arabia to walk in and shake sand out of his boots. It was the most fantastic meal I have ever had.

Last night we went to Greens. While another fantastic San Francisco restaurant, it is not the inside of a bedouin tent. It is in an old building at Fort Mason and looks out over the Golden Gate Bridge. You walk in and are greeted by a huge piece of petrified wood (I think) it just kind of sits there next to the hostess stand. We sat in the back room, you could see Christmas lights on some of the boats in the marina, the lights of the bridge, the darkness of the night outside. Inside the service was wonderful, the food great and the company delightful.

The only thing missing was Door Dyke and Spouse A, who have moved across the country and while not there in person, they are still part of our tradition. It makes me think that tradition does not perhaps mean the same action every year, but the same thought behind the action that creates the tradition. And the thought behind this dinner is love and that does not change no matter how far away you move.


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

High School, Middle School....

Around Halloween there was a gang rape at a high school in Richmond, California. Lots of young men beat and raped a young girl. Lots more stood around and watched it happen and did nothing. I thought that was awful, then this week a 14 year old boy raped a 12 year old girl in the stairway of their MIDDLE SCHOOL while at least two other students looked on.

Jesus, Mary and Joseph my mother might say. I say WHAT THE FUCK????

14 years old! 14. I repeat 14 years old. If he is raping at 14, what the hell is he going to be doing in a few years. Will he be tried as an adult? If so, think about what he is going to learn in prison.

Where do we learn that this is alright? How young will this go? What's next grammar school rapes?

How do people let their children go out? You send them to school thinking they are going to safe, what happens when school is no longer safe?


Saturday, December 12, 2009

Baby Baptism

Chief Matron Mare-son and I are sitting in the living room with the fire roaring and watching it rain outside. She was telling me about a friend of her's that has a baby. The friend is not married to the baby's father and is not a practicing Catholic. The baby's father is from Italy and they are taking the baby to Italy to meet family and be baptized. Well the church in Italy won't baptize the little boy unless they have certification from their local parish in the states. And, guess what? The local church won't give it because the parents are not married.

Just another thing I don't understand. The Catholic church won't baptize a little baby because it's parent's are not married? But they will forfeit that little tiny soul? It is a good thing that they changed their stance on what happens to unbaptized babies then. In 2007 the Pope changed his stance on limbo and little babies born of original sin might just get to go to heaven. I say might, because they really aren't sure. They are not saying they go to hell, they are not saying the positively go to heaven, so aren't we just back at being in limbo. Did anything really change?

I always wondered about what limbo was according to the article it is an eternal state of perfect natural happiness, but without being in communion with God. I always pictured little unbaptized babies floating around on clouds, being fat and happy.

Perhaps I have them confused with cherubs?

Thursday, December 10, 2009

A New Toy

My beloved and her sister bought me a little tiny Toshiba web book. It is cute and I LIKE it. It weighs about nothing and I can take it everywhere in my pocketbook. I can slide it in right next to my kindle, which is right next to my iphone. And I can read my books on any of the three. Do I have too much technology? I don't think so, I like the way my technology fits in one bag.

Thank you beloved and beloved's sister.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Kindred Spirits

Sometimes you go thru your day and see nothing. This evening on my way home from work I passed a kindred spirit. I came up behind a car with the following license plate.

LE MAR8

As I drove I sounded it out a couple of different ways and finally came up with what it meant.

Le Marais - an area of Paris. Oh be still my heart.

I passed them and hoped they read my plate and felt the same way.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Precious

Yesterday my beloved and I went to see the movie Precious. If you don't know this movie, I would suggest you see it. It is about a horrible subject or subjects actually and it might make you cry. You read stories just about every day in the paper about the people that are supposed to protect a child turn out to be the ones that can hurt them the most.

How does a parent go from the person that is supposed to protect you from the world to the world that you need protecting from? The father son bond - broken beyond repair. The mother daughter bond - never existing.

I think that the UK has the right idea, hide the identities of persons involved in a crime. I find the beautiful faces of children staring at me from the pages of newspapers hard to bare, but maybe that is the point. Looking at them, seeing their faces, perhaps we all need to see them, perhaps the parents that were supposed to love them, protect them, help them become adults should be forced to look at their pictures every day for the rest of the their miserable lives.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

580 Crap

Today on 580 - I know that you have missed those daily or quasi-daily updates from my drive along 580. So today I saw:

A full size grey garbage can
Two separate piles of yellow caution tape
A chimney topper - one of those ones that look like a turban
Two little stuffed animals, a teddy bear and a little pig that had its nose up against the jersey barrier. They made me sad.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Hole in One Follow Up

So former spy sister, now known simply as math sister tells me my thinking on the odds of making a hole in one were wrong. Moi, wrong????

And I quote:

"Each hole is an independent event...therefore, every hole you play you you have the same chance of getting a hole in one. Playing more holes doesn't change the odds."

So, each hole I play, my odds are 12,500 to 1 that I will make a hole in one? I love you math geek, but I like my thinking so much better.

Anyway, probably not going to happen no matter what, but if it does I will make sure to purchase a lottery ticket on the same day.

Nails

I saw a woman on TV tonight that has really big finger nails. I don't mean long, I mean big. Her thumbnail looked like it was the length of the entire first joint of her thumb. It reminded me of a woman that sat next to me at the nail salon who had really big toenails. Again, not long just big. She had them painted with polka dots and she had a lot of them on all her toes.

I could not put one polka on my little toe, that leads me to ask am I the one with the odd toenails? Are my nails abnormally little? What is the proper nail to finger or toe ratio?

Monday, November 9, 2009

What are the odds?

Our friend Spouse A made a hole in one last week. I, of course, had to look up what are the odds of making a hole in one. I mean I watch Numbers, I know there is a formula for everything, so there must a formula for this right?

Well, yes there is. Basically, the odds are 12,500 to 1 for an amateur golfer.

So does this mean that I'd have to play golf 12,500 times before I got a hole in one or I'd have to play with 12,499 other individuals and then I might have a chance?

Spouse A, I don't care what the odds are - you are one in a million.

Good swing.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Taking Chance

I think I blogged about this movie after I first saw it. It is a movie with Kevin Bacon as a Marine Lt. Col. taking Chance Phelps home after he has died in Iraq. A veteran at the local VHW hall tells the Lt. Col that he is Chance's witness, someone that will remember him.

I thought of that movie again today while reading the Sunday obits. Over 60 years ago WWII ended and in todays obits were at least six men that served in WWII. Most in the 80s one or two in their 90's. They came from all walks of life, served in all different branches of the military, survived to have to have families that loved them and will miss them now that they are gone.

Perhaps it is because this week we celebrate Veteran's Day, I have the day off and in the afternoon I am getting a new crown at my dentists. It made me think of all the people that did not make it home, not just from WWII, but any war. They also had families that missed them, but they have missed them for a very long time. Their parents are gone, their brothers and sisters might still be around, but for how long. Many of them too young to have children and if they had them, by now some of their children are elderly and won't be around to much longer.

It is up to us, you and me, to remember them to be their witness and maybe not just one day a year.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wondering

The news this week has been horrible to read, I can't even imagine being a participant in any of the stories that disturbed me.

There was a 14 year old boy that molested a 4 year old child, then when the child threatened to tell, the kid drowned him in the bathtub and hid his little body in a dryer.

The army major that opened fire in a room full of soldiers, killing and wounding with an automatic weapon that he legally bought.

A man opening fire in a Tampa office building.

A mentally disturbed woman gave her child away and the person she gave her to kept her in a box under a bed.

I wonder what is wrong with this world? What is wrong with its people?

Looking down


Went you walk along the beach always look down.


Farmers Market


In the grand scheme of things, fall vegetables are the most beautiful. These are from our local farmers market last weekend.








Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The blanket that has sleeves

I am the proud owner of a pink Snuggie! My beloved surprised me with one tonight and I am wearing it right now. It is very cool, well actually it is very warm. Once size fits all - oh yeah! It is really big, I have had to roll the sleeves up and have it wrapped around my feet.

I like it! Thanks beloved.

Although the picture on the box shows the woman sitting on a plane wearing her Snuggie, I am not sure I'll be taking mine traveling, but I will be wearing it around the house this winter.


Back again

Well we are back from another trip to North Carolina. It was mommy dearests 80th birthday and my beloved and I went to visit. My RI sister was there as well as the Col & family. We had a really nice time. It is amazing how the kids grow between visits. The nephew is a senior in high school and quite proud of his six pack. The niece a spitfire with a good back stroke.

We also managed to see Door Dyke and Spouse A. Spent some time on the beach with them watching dolphins. We also visited a little town near where they are living called Southport.

Southport is a tiny little town on the Cape Fear River, right up river from Wilmington. It was established in 1792 as Smithville and around 1808 it was renamed Southport. It is quite charming in old small town ways, lovely houses looking out over the river, little shops, great places to eat and a lovely young woman dressed in a black hoop dress carrying a lantern and telling ghost stories.

It seems that just about every where you go you can take a ghost tour and we found one in Southport. Katie Stewart grew up in Southport and got a history degree and actually put it to work. She runs Old South Tour Company and wanders the ally ways, streets and burial grounds of Southport in a swear to god hoop skirt. When you walk behind her, it looks like she is floating. Of course the could have had something to do with the fact that it was dark, she was carrying a lantern and ghosts were jumping out at us.

It was really a good time and I recommend it if you happen to be in the area.

We also went into Wilmington for a few hours. We took a trolley tour (yes, I am a Tourist with a capital T). Must go back and spend some more time in Wilmington, would love to explore the historic area more. Oh and they have a ghost tour!

We had a lovely time with J&P and will see them again when we return to NC in June.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hmm................. back to 1

Regarding the interracial couple refused a marriage license.

Gee wish I'd said this:

Stacy from St. Augustine, Florida writes:

What’s the problem? He said that he has piles of black friends and they use the bathroom in his house. It’s good of him to look out for those biracial children. You know how they turn out. Grow up go to Harvard and become the President of the United States.

Hmm........ 2

"Selection of minivans by bears in Yosemite National Park was the likely consequence of efforts to maximize caloric gain and minimize costs by targeting vehicles with higher probabilities of payoff. ... The trade-off between food acquisition and penal actions by humans likely pressured bears to target vehicles with the highest probability of attaining food,"

Does anyone understand this? Better yet, does any actually believe that bears sit around and talk about the pros and cons of breaking into a Honda Mini Van vs a Toyota SUV or Chevy Camero?


Hmm.......................

Interracial couple denied marriage license.

Yes, this happened in 2009. Amazing?

What I find really amazing is this quote from the ACLU lawyer:

"It is really astonishing and disappointing to see this come up in 2009," said American Civil Liberties Union of Louisiana attorney Katie Schwartzmann. She said the Supreme Court ruled in 1967 "that the government cannot tell people who they can and cannot marry."

I guess she means for anyone other than us gay folk.




Thursday, October 15, 2009

Hands Free

As anyone that drives in California knows, the first lady of California is not the only one that breaks the law. As I drive back and forth to work, I see people holding their cells up to their ears and yaking away. I wonder where are the police, I mean if I see them all over the roads, how come they don't?

Today I saw three on the way home. Two regular people and one driving a State of California car.

How come I can't pull up to a red zone at a Bart station to pick up my beloved without not one, but two Alameda Country Sheriffs pulling up behind me and telling me to move and then giving me a $250 ticket???


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Evil walks among us

Sometimes I think I cannot be surprised by the awful things I read about. This story is one of the worst. I find it so scary that people can do this to each other, that someone could walk up to another person and throw something flammable on them and set them on fire. Then what made it even worse that one of the boys laughed.

Where do they come from. Who taught them right from wrong - or maybe that is the point - nobody. If they can do something like this in their young teens, what can we look forward to as they grow older?


The Rainy Season

Rain started last night, waking up in the middle of then night and hearing the pitter patter of the rain on the roof is always nice. Then comes the reality of getting to work in the damn stuff. Why is it that people think that they can drive at the same speed, weave in and out of traffic, be just as stupid as if the sun was shining?

It took me about and hour and a half to get to work this morning and every inch was painful. Then it rained all day and then the ride home. 580 is now not just full of trash and potholes, it is now full of really wet trash and little ponds full of water.

Ah, California you used to have the best roads,w here are they now?

And the end of a perfect day weather wise - a 3.8 earthquake just a few minutes ago.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Just wondering

Tonight my beloved and I were behind a car from Indiana, the license plate had In God We Trust on it in pretty big letters. Of course, this started me thinking. What about the people that don't trust in god, what do they have on their plates? I don't think so? Or those that question their trust in god, what do they have on their plates? Maybe I trust in god?

So of course I had to call on my favorite research tool and find out. So, in the state of Indiana, you have your choice from 75 different plates. You can get a Lewis and Clark plate, or a Free Mason plate (I thought they were supposed to keep their membership secret), and lets not forget the Black Expo plate. All of which can be purchased for an extra fee in the Organizational section.

The In God We Trust on the other hand has no extra charge and is in the list of standard plates available. I for one would think it should also be included under the Organizational section, cause after all aren't Christians an organization?


Friday, October 9, 2009

Weird

I am watching TV and an ad came on for Macy's. This in itself is not weird, but the fact that Ali Mcgraw is in it. Have not seen her in a very long time, where has she been and what has she been doing?

I guess love means never having to say you're sorry for doing a Macy's commercial.

Do you think she needs the money?

Maybe she and Ryan O'Neil should get together and do another movie? No, that would be weird too.


Thursday, October 8, 2009

Meeting a story teller

Last night my beloved, my friend Cowgirl and I went down to Mountain View to go to a book signing of our favorite author. Diana Gabaldon the author of the Outlander series was in town to talk a little and sign her new book. If you are not familiar with the Outlander series, it is the story of a young woman named Claire who is a nurse in 1945, she and her husband have been apart for most of the last 8 years due to WWII. They go to Scotland on a second honeymoon to get to know each other again and so that the husband can do a little historical research on his family. Claire goes exploring one day and walks thru a broken stone in a circle of stones and comes out the other side, still in Scotland, but in 1743.

"Why is it always about 200 years?"

If you enjoy historical fiction, get a crane and pick up the first book. You won't be sorry.

Anyway, Ms. Galbaldon spoke about the way she came to write these books (kilts played a big part) and how she writes. She is funny, smart and a great story teller.

I have turned quite a few people onto this series, but as much as I might love you, don't ask to borrow my books. Get your own.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

They Made It!

Well my little sister has quit the spy business and taken her puppies and moved lock stock and barrel to Chili to join her girlfriend, the rocket scientist, for an adventure. I am so excited for them all and can't wait to visit them. Check out the link on this page to their blog and the adventures of bringing Dos Grande Perros from Baltimore to Chili.


580 Crap

Yes, I am back to complaining about 580. There is so much crap on it that wonder are there any hubcaps left on peoples cars? Are there any shoes left on little children's feet? Are there anymore assholes anywhere else? Because they all seem to drive in front of me, behind me, next to me. Do they do it just to piss me off? I do sometimes wonder if I piss them off as much as they do me? Impossible!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Question every blogger has

Went to see Julia and Julie last weekend and the ultimate blogger question was raised.

"Does anyone read my blog?"

I ask that myself just about every day.

So if you read my blog, leave a comment and let me know.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Some days

Some days I just have to blog during work hours, because something so completely stupid has happened and I can't wait until I get home.

Today - today! Today - September 11th!!! The numb nuts at the Coast Guard scheduled a "training exercise" on the Potomac River while President Obama was participating in services to honor the people that died on this date eight years ago.

Did nobody at the Coast Guard connect the dots!!!

Just makes me remember that I don't feel much safer than I did in the moments immediately following the events of 9/11.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009


I am sorry to say that Pete passed away unexpectedly yesterday. He was a kind and funny guy. I share this picture because he was at his happiest when he served aboard the USS Yorktown. Last fall my beloved and I were able to take him to Charleston to a reunion on the ship, as we walked around the ship and he told us stories of his time on board. He was just about as happy as I have ever seen him. Well, he was always happy when Ashley and Austin were around, but this ran a close second. I am happy we were able to do this for him, it was nice to see him smile.


Sunday, August 9, 2009

When life was simple

Why can't we just rewind?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Drunk and Stupid

OK, I will admit that in my past I have gotten into my car after having one drink to many and driven. I'm sure that most of you reading this have done the same thing. Everyone around us was lucky, we did not hurt anyone. Last Thursday as I was on my way to Rhode Island my friends Joe and Dawn were not so lucky. Joe's brother was riding his moped down a road in Little Compton, Rhode Island when a 66 year old man hit him with his truck and just kept going. Michael is dead and the man driving the truck is not.

Michael was a quite man anytime I saw him, I knew he was a teacher, an animal lover, an extraordinary uncle and an Oakland A's fan.

My friends will miss their brother, brother-in-law, uncle, son forever. His students past and present will miss him for a long time. His future students may never know the beauty of Emily Dickinson or read a poem and that is another tragedy.

Rest in peace Michael.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Anger , Faith & Love

I have just returned from the island I grew up on. Once again I returned to say good-bye to someone I have known and loved for most of my life. My friend Martha, is on the same path as her sister Jolie, who was my oldest friend.

Which leads me to the Anger. I am so angry right now, isn't one loved one having cancer and dying enough for one family? I am angry at God - I do not believe that we are given only what we can stand, that it all makes us stronger. Why? Why do we have to be made stronger by watching people we love in pain and slipping away from us a moment at a time?

These thoughts lead to Faith. I was amazed when Jolie was dying of the faith she had. It kept her believing she was going someplace better and I really hope she was right. It gave her peace and a calmness to die with grace. I see the same thing with Martha and her family around her. I told her that I saw the same grace within her and said out loud that I was not sure I would have that same grace, she smiled a little smile at me when I said that. I am sure that there are times of rage and anger in her, but both she and Jolie never shared that with me.

Love. Love surrounded Martha while I was there and I was just a small part of it. The Love in the eyes of her beautiful daughters, her nieces, her parents, in-laws and in the tears of her soul mate and husband filled the room, I sometimes felt I could reach out and touch it.

Anger at a God that lets this happen. Faith that gives Martha grace in her current stuggle. Love that never ends no matter that the mortal body does.

All of it confounds me. All that I know for sure is what I whispered to her as I left,

Martha, I have been blessed to have you in my life and I'll see you again.

The same words I whispered to her sister the last time I saw her. I have to believe that I will see them both again, because I believe that we are all on a journey and this life is just a part of that journey. Is that faith? Should that lessen my anger? It does not lessen my love.


Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Another trip

I have decided to take another trip, this one not so fun. Some of you may remember that in May I went to Florida to visit my friend Martha who is sick with Primary Peritoneal cancer. At the beginning of July Martha and Andy went "home" to Jamestown to visit. Well it seems that Martha will not be going back to Florida, so I have decided to go "home" to visit one more time.

Martha is the younger sister of my oldest friend Jolie who died six years ago of Colon Cancer. What are the chances of this? Why them?

The one thing that keeps running thru my mind is:

THIS IS FUCKED UP! I AM NOT SURE WHO IS IN CHARGE, BUT I WANT A DO OVER!


France Photos

If you are intrested take a look at my most recent trip pictures. The pictures start in the Monmartre cemetary - it seems to be the most used cememtary. Not so well kept as others, but there was a woman sweeping graves and feeding the cats.

Next up is St. Dennis, the burial place of the Kings and Queens of France. You can see the monument to Marie Antoinette and her perky little breasts.

Then over to Montparnassee cemetary, much better cared for than Monmartre and a few more famous people making it their final resting place.

The Rodin Museum, one of the reasons I love Paris. As many times as I have been to Paris, I had never been here. It is small museum and a place where I could picture living. I tried to imagine that at one time there were many of these small mansions all over Paris, with their lovely gardens and beautiful floors.

Then out to the Loire to Patrick and Benny's place (see my previous post). We visited Chateau Usse, said to be the inspiration for the Sleeping Beauty Castle in Disneyland. We visited Chinon, the beginning of the end for Joan of Arc. We did try to go see the Chateau at Samur - one hint if you go to the Loire, this Chateau is closed until 2013 for renovations, hum... just a reason to go back. And of course, Villandry. Gardens, gardens, gardens.

Mixed in are just shots of Paris and the Loire, hope you enjoy.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Home again, home again


Well, I am back.

I was picked up from Travel Chicks apartment at 6:00 am Paris time on Sunday morning. I walked into our house at about 9:00 pm California time on Sunday night. Now do the math. Yes, I a very long time. I gotta go back to the direct flight, it is so much quicker. Due to mechanical problems with a plane instead of just under two hours between flights in Houston, I was in the lovely state of Texas for nearly six hours. Makes for a very long day.

But it was well worth it. Paris as always brings joy to my heart and good sleep after walking for hours every day. On Saturday Travel Chick and I started out about 10 in the morning met a friend for coffee and then started walking. We walked all day all over the city. OK, so we would walk and stop and sit in a cafe and watch the world go by. We did rate the bathrooms of every cafe we stopped at, which is a major reason for stopping and I am always amazed at how the French can tuck a toilet in just about any place. We arrived back at the apartment at almost 10 that night, tired and happy.

The Loire Valley was also wonderful and makes me want to go back for a longer time and explore it in greater detail. The wonders I see make me curious about what I don't see.



If you ever get the chance to go the Loire Valley and need a place to stay check out Patrick and Benny's lovely little farm house in Sache, France.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bal Des Pompiers

Yes, I am in Paris - again. Yes, I know how lucky I am. No I do not take it for granted. Travel Chick is in Paris for a couple of months and she was kind enough to let me come and share her space for a week. Today is the day before Bastille day and what that means other than fireworks at the Eiffel Tower tomorrow night is that most fire stations around Paris (and maybe all of France, I don't know) have Bal Des Pompiers. A Fireman's Ball, yup we went to the fire station in the 18th and stood in a short line to get into a space behind the fire house where there was music, champagne and dancing. There were people that looked like they never got out of the house except on this one night a year, like the lady in front of us that just was dancing up a storm, I mean shaking her entire body while never losing control of her silver bag that matched her silver shoes. I am thinking she was one of the fire fighters mothers and he was somewhere shaking his head. Then there were all the young girls on the hunt for a handsome firefighter. And handsome they are. In addition to being a firefighter they are all trained paramedics and members of the military. They all have that short military haircut and really good posture.

The only complaint I had was that it was so crowed and I think I must have had a sign on my back in French that said "Just push me out of the way" and they did and let me tell you there was not a woman there with a bag that was smaller than a weekend suitcase and I think every single one of them hit me.

Travel Chick and I decided we needed to leave before we had to use the bathroom, so we left after about and hour and a half. By this time the line was three times the length it was when we arrived. Of course we did arrive early, it was still light out - about 10:30 - ah Paris!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Preparation

I am leaving to join my friend Beatrice (her Parisian name) in Paris for a week. My beloved who knows how much I love Paris, said "go, have a good time". Don't have to tell me twice. Bag is packed, carryon almost done and one more day of work.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Michael Jackson

Today is the public memorial for Michael Jackson. My feelings about this are why can't they just leave the man alone? They couldn't/wouldn't leave him alone while he was alive, the poor guy can't even rest in peace. Why didn't they family go with the reported Mrs. Jackson's wishes for a private family funeral? I don't get it. Another thing I don't get is why the state of Rhode Island was left out of the lottery.

I am sure there are thousands of people wandering the streets of Rhode Island right now in tears because they could not get tickets to this stupid fest.


WTF?

OK, so a woman, who is on some type of medication, is driving down highway 80 on May 18th, 2007 talking on her cell phone, hits a guard rail, gets off the highway and rear ends a car stopped at a red light, injuring the driver and three year old child.

OK, so hands free cell phone laws were not in affect at the time, so I can't get her on that. But lets just get this straight, driving on a major highway, speeding, hits a guard rail, drivers all around are calling 911, exits the highway and rear ends a car injuring two people all while on some kind of medication.

And now I am paying $335,000 in damages to the two injured people in the car she rear ended. Yes, me and if you live in the broke state of California you, are paying an additional $335K, cause we already paid $25K for property damages for this accident.

My question is WHY THE FUCK ISN'T CAROLE MIDGEN paying this money out of her own pocket? When I was on medication at one point, my license was taken away by the great state of California to avoid just these types of things. If she was on medication that could cause erratic behavoir why did she still have a license? Does she still have one? Cause you know, she probably is still driving to that new $132K job that the state gave her after she lost her re-election last year, the job that she has to be at a meeting once a month that the governor says is an unnecessary position.

And people wonder why the state is in such trouble?





Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Who is he?

I drive past a highway underpass every day on the way to work. It is right before I enter the tunnel into Alameda. There is a man that is living under this underpass and has been there for about two months. He has what looks like his entire life set up, a bed, a table and chairs, books, pictures a mirror. He used to have a computer on the table but that has been missing for a couple of weeks. Each day I drive by and wonder who he is and how long it will be before the city comes in and throws all his stuff away and forces him to move on. I want to stop and bring him coffee and a donut.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Who are they???

Who are those people on the highway that think they can load up their pickup, not tie anything down and then drive down the highway? Does it not occur to them as they are putting their belongings in the back of that truck that they just might want to tie them down so they don't go flying all over the highway! Tonight on my way home traffic was at a standstill because someone moving stuff from point A to point B had one of their containers come off the back of the truck and their stuff was all over 580. The woman was pulled over on the side of the highway looking back at her stuff all over the highway and talking on the phone. Imagine that conversation, "Honey was there anything important in that blue container, cause its all over the road being run over by hundreds of cars."

Then I could not get away from her. She kept getting in front of me and I kept getting a really good look at what was left in her truck. A big speaker, a giant tool box, a smaller tool box, a 2 X 4, a couple of sheets of plywood and two of those ramps that a person uses to put a motorcycle up on a truck or something. They scared me the most, I could just picture them flying off the back of the truck right on the hood of my my car. I finally got away from her and was very happy to get home.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Oh yeah

I was just reading soup ladies blog and she talked about a concert she went to and it reminded me that I wanted to blog about last week. My beloved and I went into San Francisco to Slims to see the one and only Todd Rundgren. I have been a Todd fan for probably thirty years (did I just say that out loud) and love him as much today as I did when I first heard him. I had seen him once before at the Sausalito Art Festival about twelve years ago. He was younger then, but then so was every one else in the audience. Todd is 61 (or will be the day after my birthday) and he ROCKED the room. I still love him. My beloved is rather concerned because she is starting to like his music, in fact I heard her humming a Todd song the other day.

When I was single one of my criteria for dating someone was that she had to know who Todd Rundgren was, well luckily my beloved did know who he was and now she knows why that was important to me.


Meeting a monk

Well, he is actually an ex-buddhist monk, but still. I had a new engineer come to my work to help out with a project, I had never met him before and I was feeling a little sad, because I love my previous engineer. He is young and seemed very nice even if he did have orange spots in his hair. So we chatted about the work we were going to do and at the appointed time we started. As we walked into the computer room I noticed his tattoo. It was a sitting buddha, the one where he has one hand touching the ground, it had a frame around it and six dots under it and was on his left forearm. And me, being me I had to ask about it.

So, I learned that while in college he got bored and wrote a monastery in Thailand saying he wanted to be a monk. Well, they pointed him to the Thai monastary in northern California and off he went to spend a year and get ordained as a Thai Buddhist monk. His family came from Kansas to participate and then off to Thailand for further study. He spent two years as a monk, until he got a little bored staring at walls all day and chanting, then he met a girl and left the monk life for love. He spent the next year teaching english in north eastern Thailand.

We talked about how lovely the Thai people are and how hot it can get there. We talked about a few other things and I decided I like him and he could stay.

I spent some time wondering at what it took to for a farm kid from Kansas to decide to become a Thai Buddhist monk. Did he even know any other buddhists?

I admire people that find something and go for it.

Of course, the first words out of my mouth (no not a swear word, thankfully) were that I wanted to kill all my users, when I found out the ex-monk stuff, I thought well that first comment is probably not going to do much for my karma. At the end of our conversation he told me that the woman he left the monastary for was now a Buddhist nun. Talk about karma.


Bad Blogger!

OH, I have been such a bad blogger! Blogging is kind of like going to the gym, you have to be a bit disciplined to do it on a daily basis. I will try to be better. I know you all are just so happy to hear this.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Speaking of voting

Last weekend I was in the Castro having lunch with ML and IK and of course our talk turned to repeal of prop 8. I would really assume that 99.99% of the people in the Castro want prop 8 repealed. So, why are there tons of people in the Castro trying to get people to sign petitions to this end? Doesn't it occur to the people in charge that most of the people walking by have already signed up for this?

When two kids stopped me to sign I was a little hostile, I told them why are they here in this neighborhood, aren't you preaching to the choir? Why arent they out in neighborhoods where people don't want to repeal this replusive change to the California constitution?

They were not happy, if you would just listen to us. . .

I don't need to listen to you, I've already signed the petition, I've already given money.

And another thing if you want to change the minds of the people that voted this piece of crap into law, don't send out dirty street kids with their boom boxes that jump out at people and demand they sign something.


Voting


I don't know about you, but I vote in someone's garage, perhaps if we voted in places like this one from the recent Iranian election we might get more people to vote:

Friday, June 12, 2009

Where does it come from?

Watching the news today makes me wonder - where does the hate come from?  The man that took a gun into the Holocaust Museum and killed Stephen Tyron Johns as he opened the door for the old man, was he born hating everyone?

I just don't understand it.   That's all.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

They're Back!

I am talking about the goats!  Back to do their part of fire prevention in the hills of the Bay Area.  I know I have said this before, but just looking at them makes me happy.  In fact, they make me sing!

And as they sing in the Sound of Music:

Hm hm hm hmm, odl lay hee, odl lay hee hee, odl lay hee
Ho ho, lady odlee ho, ho ho lady odl lay
Ho ho lady odl lee ho, lady odl lee ho lay
One little girl in a pale pink coat heard,
Lay odl lay odl lay hoo hoo
She yodeled back to the lonely goatherd, lay odl lay odl loo



Monday, June 1, 2009

It takes a village

Increase font
Decrease font
Adjust text size
Letter: Building community takes a village


Share
ADVERTISEMENT
Hyatt Summerfield Suites copy
Dear Editor,

It takes a village.

I have always believed in that statement. I have chosen to not have children and I have never had a problem paying taxes to support a school system that teaches other peoples children. I believe the children of my community should be educated; that is what makes the world better. Right?

Well now the community I have chosen to live in needs more money to support the schools here, the schools where other people's children go to learn to make the world better. Are these the same people on my street with a couple of kids that attend school? Are these the same people that now want me to pay out more money to educate these children? Are these the same people that had a sign in their yard during the last election to vote yes on Prop 8?

Now my village wants me? Needs me? Now my second-class citizen status does not seem to matter? My money is good enough, but my relationship is not? I will pay my parcel tax. In fact, I would pay more than my village is asking because I do believe it takes a village and I am part of that village. Remember that next election, people of my village.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

How Now Brown Cow

My beloved and I were on our way back from Tracy tonight.  We were driving west on 580 when traffic came to a complete and udder standstill.  CHP came up behind us and cut thru traffic to get up to where the action was.  We could not see very much, then I spotted a cow running east in the grass on the side of the road.  There is nothing really unusual about this since there are lots of cows in this area, the unusal thing was that the cow was on our side of the fence.  The CHP was driving down the breakdown lane trying to I don't know what, corral the cow?  Force it to get off the highway at the next exit?  Find a hole in the fence and force the the cow thru it?  

The scene brought more questions than I had answers to.  How do you catch a cow from the inside of a police cruiser?  How do you find out who the cow belongs to.  Do they wear little id tags like cats?  Maybe the cow has a chip (get it cow chip) and you get it read at a vet and call the owner.  What do you say - um your cow ran away?  We have your cow, come and get it.

Imagine going out to bring the cow home, where is my cow?  Then how do you track down a run away cow?

Anyway, I Ihope the cow got home safe and sound.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How sad

An auction is being held today in Paris.  When famed mime Marcel Marceau died in 2007 at the quiet old age of 84, it seems he left behind quite a bit of debt.  So a Paris court ordered an auction of his stuff.  You can bid on many items including this chapeau:


My only question is:  is it a silent auction????

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Crazy Shit

I have written before about the fact that I get e-mails from just about every dating site ever created.  Well, in the past few days I have seen a couple on tv that are new to me.  The first is onlinebootycall.com - the commercial shows two guys out on dates.  They are sitting next to each other and one girl is saying so tell me about your values....  The other girl looks at her date and says hey you want to make out?  Guess which girl the guys would rather go out with?

The other site is one called fubar.com.  Now my first response is

WHO THE FUCK WOULD GO OUT WITH SOMEONE FROM THIS SITE!!!!

Do they know what the acronym stands for.  Yeah, I want to find my soul mate on a site called fucked up beyond all recognition!!

Crazy!!!!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Science Fair Project

OK, so I don't know about you, but after spending $900 million from cradle to grave for the hubble telescope, I would kind of think it might look better than a grammer school science project.

Is that $900 million worth of tin foil wrapped around the top?  But it sure does take a nice picture.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Sometimes I wonder about me.

Do you ever do something and think Ouch?  Last night I was working on a piece and it required sanding and sanding and sanding of some little tiny pieces.  As I worked I did not realize that in addition to sanding my piece, I was sanding off my thumb nail and some of the skin on my thumb.  I finally realized it when I saw blood on my work.  Now my thumb is killing me and probably will for a few days, but my piece is going to look really nice.  Well, I guess I need to suffer for my art.


Unclear on the concept?

Is it the world or is it me?  I see things all the time that I think WTF?  Most of it I forget so I just never write about it.  I have seen a couple of things in the past 24 hours, where I question so much about them.

The first is I was on 880 heading over to 80 and I passed one of those big electric signs.  You know the ones that usually say something like: 24 minutes to San Francisco or high winds on the bridge. This one said "RIDE YOUR BIKE TO WORK DAY.  SHARE THE ROAD".  Now, color me crazy, but I am on the F-ing highway where there are signs at every entrance that say NO BICYCLES.  Who approved this???  Who thought this up???  Did anyone else look a it and think like me?

The other is I was on 580 heading to work today and I looked in my rear view mirror and a zebra was coming up on my left.  Well, ok on closer inspection it was a 300ZX car painted to look like a zebra right down to the rope tail hanging off the back.  Now I asked myself WHY?  Why would you do this to your car?  It is not like it was an art car - one of those great art cars you know where someone has taken years to glue on a million little jewels in a flower pattern.  

I don't know, maybe it is me?


Sunday, April 26, 2009

Re-thinking Charlette

Well after my last post Forbes magazine released a story about the 15 most dangerous cities.  Charolotte has a population of 1,635,133 and 721 violent crimes per 100,000 of those peeps in the 14th most violent city.

Another one of my favorite cities Charleston, population 616,999 and 824 violent crimes per 100,000 comes in at number 8.

The only California city is lovely Stockton, population 684,406 with 885 violent crimes per 100,000 up the list at number 5.

Not sure I need to know these numbers.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Oh Charlotte

Took a trip to Charlotte the week before last.  My beloved had to go on business and I tagged along because I could and I had never been there before.  Charlotte is a lovely city, some nice museums, some great public art:


And the woman Charlotte is named for?  Mrs. King, the loving wife of King George III and the mother of 15.


On Friday we drove from Charlotte to the beach to see Mommy Dearest and the Colonel and Co.  About an hour from the beach, we passed a sign that said Southport and I said that this is near Door Dyke and Spouse A.  Then the next sign was Bolivia, the very town they moved to last month.  So of course we got off the highway and started looking for their new place.  We got to the development and were looking for their street when the phone rang.  My beloved looked at me and said "It's Door Dyke" she looked at me like what are the chances.  So I answered it and DD says "hey, where are you?"  We thought, did they see us, but we are in a rental car, how could they know?  "Um, we are driving someplace, I'll have to call you back, my beloved is gesturing to me".  So then we found their street and dialed the phone.  DD was in the upstairs window looked out and saw us pull in as she answered the phone.  I think her scream alerted the entire neighborhood to our arrival.  It was great to see them and see their new place.  We stayed for a little while and we left for the beach, where they came down the next day and we spent the afternoon together and had dinner.  

We spent the next couple of days with Mommy Dearest and the Colonel and Co.  OK, so I spent time with them and my beloved spent most of the time in bed with a really bad cold.  I got to walk on the beach, spend time with my family and friends does it get much better?


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Crossing the Country

Well Door Dyke and Spouse A are almost across the country.  Moving into a new home and starting a new phase of their live.  They are finally moving into the house they bought a few years ago in anticipation of this day.  I am so happy for them, but we will miss them.  I have called every day they have been on the road, and been updated on their progress.  The biggest challenge was two cats in the back seat.  How does one travel with cats?  They had little tents that they stayed in while in the car, little litter boxes, little bowls of water.

They are almost there. 

Smarty Pants Girl

My little sister is moving to Chili.  One might ask why, well this is why.  I mean I do not understand one thing they say Professor Nancy researches.  I just know that I am very proud of her and am so excited about this new adventure she and Suzie No No are going on.

Of course I do look at it from a purely selfish view - a new place to visit!!!

Go and discover some new galaxy things and have fun!



Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thinking or not?

In the current age of easy communication, some people either just forget they are in public or they are just stupid.  I was out to lunch yesterday with a friend from work.  We were sitting at a booth when a young man and his mother or grandmother sat at the booth next to us.

He pulled out his laptop and wireless card and got on line.  He then pulled out his cell phone and made a call to his credit card company.  How do I know this, I could hear his entire conversation.  There was a charge on his credit card for Geigo insurance, which he does not have.  This was the second charge from Geigo, he reported the first a couple of months ago.

Now, I'm sitting there thinking ok, at some point he is going to have to give his social security number, his address and his date of birth to someone at the other end of the phone.  And sure enough in a public place he rattles off this information without even lowering his voice.  I thought, how stupid, how really really stupid.  Here he is talking about suspected fraud on his credit card and he has now potentially given his most private info out to a roomful of strangers.  I could have had a recorder and recorded all this info.  I could have been a person that trolls places just waiting for someone to say something that I can use.  

Just remember, when using your cell phone in a public place, you are not alone.  You are not in your own home with a reasonable expectation of privacy.  You are talking to everyone in the room.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

La La Land

It is a weird place.  There was the Accounting Firm of:

Kim, Chin and Lin - I think it is funny.

Then an only in LA moment - a big beautiful church with a sign on "Available for Filming"

Then there is my cab driver back to LAX.  On his right hand he had a thumb and two fingers.  One finger looked like two fingers had fused together, it was big and the knuckle was huge.  The remaining finger was kind of like half a finger.  I was mezmorized and stared at it on the wheel, stared at it while he honked the horn at the car in front of him the second the light turned green.  I will admit that Lobster Boy ran thru my head.

I was then perplexed by the astounding number of self storage places.  They are everywhere.  Makes me wonder how many are rented and then abandoned.  Think of all that stuff.  Who puts it in there?  Why?

Shut the fuck up!

Have you ever wanted to scream that at someone?  I was travelling today and when I went to catch my plane home at the gate they had one of those charging stations for cell phones.  There was a woman standing there charging her phone and talking on it.  She talked the entire time I was waiting for the plane (about an hour).  Then lucky me, she sat in the row behind me and talked until she had to turn off her phone.  Then as soon as we landed she was back on the phone.  Once we got off the plane we both headed to the bathroom, she talking the entire time.  She even kept talking while she was in the stall!  And to top it all off, she had a voice that sounded like nails on a chalkboard.

I wanted to run up to her and scream shut up, shut up, shut up!  Then I would take her fucking I-phone and throw it on the floor and jump on it.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Bonus Outrage?

AIG has given out millions in bonuses that they were legally obligated to pay out.  I'd like to know what kind of contract that is - we lose billions, but you still get your bonus - SWEET!!!

When I worked at a large law firm that traditionally gave out a "holiday" bonus decided to change the way they give out bonuses, they called the entire staff into the a conference room to tell us about it.  The managing partner stood up in front of the crowd telling us that the bonus this year was going to be given early, because they wanted to move it away from the holiday season, so we would be getting it the week before Thanksgiving this year.  The following year we would be getting our bonuses in March and that the way they were awared would also be changing.  They would no longer be a "given" they would be based on merit (what a concept), the harder and better you worked, the larger your bonus would be.

At this point he opened the floor for questions.  I still remember one woman (a secretary) stood up and actually said -

"Well, I certainly wished you had told us earlier that our bonuses would be based on merit, I might have worked harder."

I think at this point I actually thought could any statement be stupider?  Well, I think AIG saying they are "contractually obligated" to give out millions of dollars in bonuses to the same exact people that got them and us into this fucking mess certainly beats it.

I kind of think that the rest of us that live in the real world might have had our asses fired for losing our companies billions rather than getting a bonus.  It does also make me wonder if you get 3 million for leading your company into such a state, what would your bonus have been if the company had not fallen apart.


Monday, March 9, 2009

Cute

This afternoon on the way back from lunch, my friend Mary and I saw the cutest thing.  At first I thought i might be seeing things, but when she started laughing I knew I wasn't.

There was a old couple walking down the street, the man had his hand on the womans butt and was kind of rubbing it.  Two or three fingers doing a scratching motion on her butt.  It was really cute.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The background distraction

I got home from work last night and turned on the TV to watch President Obama.  I was really trying to pay attention to what he was saying, but I was so distracted by Nancy Pelosi that it was very difficult.  There she was sitting in her place of honor right behind the Prez and she just could not sit still.  If she was not pushing some stray hair off her face, she was chewing on her lip or adjusting her smile or scratching her face with her perfectly manicured hand or pushing herself up in her chair from her slouching position or blinking.  She blinks alot.

I stared wondering what the hell was going on.  Is her botox wearing off?  Is her face melting?  Did she have her hair trimmed right before air time and little pieces are on her face?  Did she have to pee?

Geez Nancy since you seem to have time in your busy day to be perfectly coiffed, take a little time to take some lessons is sitting still for a couple of minutes.  Yoga might help.  Just a thought.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Ritual

This weeks obits were full of some interesting lives.  What struck me this week was the number of WWII vets in the obits.  Today out of 43 obits 7 of them were of WWII vets.  I realize that it has been 60+ years since the end of that war and that the number of WWII vets in the obits will dwindle until there are none left.  That saddens me, once they are gone who will be their witness?

The witness word comes from a movie we watched last night called "Taking Chance".  It is the true story of a Marine Corps Lt. Colonel, who is at the end of his career and knows it.  He reads the rolls of the dead in the current war every night, thinking that maybe if he was there this Marine may still be alive.  One night he reads the name of a young Marine from his home town and volunteers to be his escort home.  He "meets" his Marine at the morgue in Virginia and takes him home.  He makes sure he is treated with respect at each juncture of the final trip home for this young Marine.  He double checks each time he is moved from a plane, into a hanger, sleeping next to him in the cargo hold rather than leave him alone.  He arrives at the final stop and that evening at the local VFW hall there is a gathering honoring Chance Phelps, PFC USMC.  His escort is left at the end of the night standing in the parking lot with a Korean war vet watching all Chance's friends drive away.  The Lt. Colonel voices his own demons choosing his cubical job over going to Iraq, he questions his decision to spend more time with his family, what kind of Marine is that, he is a warrior, his whole life has been worthless.  The Korean vet turns to him and lashes out, what do you mean that the choices you made were wrong?  You brought this young man home, you are his witness.  He will truely never be gone until you are gone, that is not worthless.

I guess that I hope we are all witnesses for someone, just sit a moment and remember someone, be their witness.  Hmm.. maybe this is why I read the obits to be a witness to a life?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday Morning Ritual

Today's ritual is a little different than most Sunday's.  Rather than picking two or three out of 40 or so Sunday obits I am thinking about 14,000 people that went into a place called S-21 and never came back out, never had anyone write an obit for them, say nice things, talk about their lives, list the people that were going to miss them.  

In October of 2005 I met up with Travel Chick and we went to Cambodia, we spent four days exploring Ankor Wat fulfilling a dream of mine.  Then we went to Phenom Phen.  I had planned the trip so that we would explore the city for two days and on the third day, I would leave and Travel Chick would see the Killing Fields and visit S-21.    

I know that some things are very important and we all need to see them and do our best to help them not happen again.  But, I can be quite shallow (yeah, I know you are surprised) and have skipped the Anne Frank house everytime I am in Amsterdam, not cause I don't think it is important, but because I am afraid of how I will feel.  So imagine my surprise when our guide in Phenom Phen decided he was going to shake up our plans.  We were going to the Killing Fields and S-21 that afternoon.  His reasoning was that these two places are very important to his country's history and we had to see them, but he did not want our last memories of his country to be these things.  He wanted to show us the worst first and then show us the best.  My mind was screaming nooooooooooooooooo, but I bucked up and went.  I can honestly say now that I am so glad I did and that I won't be skipping Anne's house in the future.

So, off we went to the Killing Fields and S-21.  S-21 was an old school a u-shaped bulding with green and black tile floors (I think) we walked thru the rooms an old iron single bed in each room, no mattesses, just iron frames with chains hooked to the legs, blood stains still on the floor.  It was quiet, so quiet I could hear my own heart beating, my own breath slow and shallow and my thoughts wondering how people can be so awful to each other.  But these little rooms where people were tortured and killed was not the worst.   The room with the tiny little cells where people were chained in little tiny spaces, they could not lie down, they could not stand up, they could not put their legs together, even this was not the worst.  

The worst was the room with the pictures.  The Khumer Rouge was really big on records, they took pictures of every single person that came into S-21 and they were on big boards in a room.  I walked thru and looked at them.  They had no names, they had numbers and they had faces.  The people behind the faces knew, they knew what was going to happen to them.  Some of them looked scared, some of them looked sad and resigned, some dazed.  As I looked from face to face I wondered who they were, what happened to the rest of their families.  Tears started slowly at first, I blinked to keep them from escaping, but they had a mind of their own.  They ran down my face and dripped onto the floor, I cried for all of them and for the millions of other Cambodians that never came home.

Today's Chron had a story about U.N. trials starting this month for the Khmer Rouge leaders in Cambodia and maybe now they will finally get their obits, I sure hope so.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Crap on 580

So most of the time I blog about the crap I see on 580 every day on my way to work.  Shoes, broken ladders, car bumpers, broken glass among many other things.

Well Friday on my way to work I saw something beautiful!!  Not just a rainbow, but a double rainbow.  Traffic was slow so I could really look at it.  A rainbow is such a beautiful thing, I don't really understand how they work.  Sun, water, light refracting or something.  But no matter how often you see one or two, you are never not amazed.

I drove towards it, it seemed to arch right over the highway.  I was going to pass right under them, I got a little excited as I was driving towards it.  Then I got to it and drove right under it.  Then it was gone.  I did not realize that you only see the rainbow from one side.  I was a little sad to realize that.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Just another thing to keep up!

I have just created a shutterfly web page.  It is a really easy way to share pictures with family and friends.  Now it is just another thing I will have to try to keep up on.  My blog, my e-mail and now a new photo web site.  What am I thinking?  Who knows how long I'll keep any of them going, but check out the photos, before they disappear! 

Sunday, February 8, 2009

How in the world?

I don't know about the rest of you, but I sure am getting alot more junk e-mail these days.  It seems that every "singles" site in the universe (well maybe not the "good bear for you") has gotten my e-mail address.  Most of them are quite funny, not just because I am not single, but for their content.  For instance:

Christian singles - meet other Christians in your area - uh, hello lesbian here.  Not that there are not lesbian Christians, I am sure there are, but I'm not sure this is the target group for this e-mail.

Black singles - meet other black singles in your area - uh, hello you don't get much more WASP than me.

JDate - meet other Jewish singles in your area - see above.

It all makes me wonder, where do they get my address from?  I know a little bit about e-mail and I know that my address that I have had for almost 13 years is out there everywhere.  Sold for pennies to anyone willing to buy it.  I don't want to get rid of this address, I want everyone I have ever known to know they can find me at this address for as long as I am around.  I have resorted to buying a domain name and using that as an e-mail address that I am slowly giving to family and friends, never using it for anything but e-mail with the people I share it with.  I know that to answer these junk e-mails asking them to remove me from the mailing list will just result in more damn mail.  So, I guess I am stuck.

For those of you that know me, that new e-mail address is.... firstname@lastname.com

If you know me well enough to know those to things, you can find me there too and maybe you won't get lost among the junk.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Hmm...

You know what?  When a letter arrives from the IRS I usually get a little scared and take care of what they say.  Did Mr. Daschle just laugh?  Did he do a Leona Hemsley?  Taxes are for little people.  Makes you wonder.  Mr. Daschle did not think to report more than what an awful lot of people make in a year as income?

Oh, and to my friends out there, if you want to provide me with a car and driver I promise to report it as income to Uncle Sam.


Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Weird?

I am looking for a couple of small bedside tables and was looking at Craigs list in search of said tables.  Perhaps I am just not up on the latest way to sell furniture.  For example:


I looked at this and I wondered, WTF?  You go thru all the trouble of dragging this dresser down to Crissy Field ?? and take a picture of it to sell it on Craigs list?  I mean how much effort did it take to shelp this down there?  This is San Francisco and I am sure there were probably stairs involved somewhere, then a car, then carry it to the perfect location, take the picture, put it back in the car, drive back to wherever, bring it back up the stairs.  Did they scout the location for the perfect backdrop?  Do they think this makes the dresser look better?  If they don't sell it will they just push it into the bay?  I would assume that if they just put a sign on it right there they could have avoided bringing it back home to put the add on Craigs list and have to deal with people that may be interested but don't want to pay what you want and want you to deliver, because after all, you took it out for a ride to take a picture of it, why not drive it over to my house.  God, I wish I had seen this in person.  If you think this is a one of a kind advertisement, think again:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Almost Puppy

Yesterday my beloved and I went to the Pleasanton Farmers Market with our friend Lil Lola.  And who knew that they sold puppies there?  Actually it was the ASPCA with little dogs that need to be adopted.  I fell in love with a little 3 year old dog that looked like a white Toto that had gotten into my hair gel.  He was sooooooooooooo cute.  Then we turned and spotted Sable.  A 12 week old puppy that just loved Lil Lola, not us.

We did not come home with a puppy, Marska would not be happy, but we came close.

So many puppies out there that need homes, if you don't have a Queen cat that might not like the new addition, go and get one.


Sunday Ritual

Today's blog is about the obits and it was very difficult to come up with a theme to rant or rave about.  My first was how many people have a connection to the east coast, born in Boston or Providence or Fall River.  

Then I hit upon the strange hobbies some of us have, not that they are strange in themselves, but in combination with our other hobbies.  For instance, Les who was an avid duck hunter, yet raised beautiful chrysanthemums.  Or Eleanore who was active in the Norcal Golden Retriever Club and the San Franciso Bonsi Club - how do you keep the little puppies out of the little trees?  

Then I was enamoured of the beautiful names of some of the dead, like:  Souraya - from what I can find is Farsi for Princess.  There was Frances Giovannetti - it just rolls off the tongue and if I knew him I would have called him that every time I spoke to him.

Then I came across one that made me smile and for some reason that is what makes me read the obits every week, looking for that special one.  

Al Shansky - He lived a long life student, Army officer, business owner, pilot, father, soul mate.  And I am sure he will be missed every day by many.  What made me smile at this obit?  The fact that they loved him enough to include a joke he would tell about himself.  He was born in Petaluma* and liked to joke that he was hatched there.  

*Petaluma for those of you that aren't from here, there are lots of chickens in Petaluma.

 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Oh where does it end?

As some of you know, I have become a vegan.  I changed my diet in about October and since then I have tried to be very aware of what I am eating.  Well, today I picked up a magazine in Whole Foods called VegNews, which has rocked my little world.  It seems that just giving up animal products is not enough.   That buying organic is not enough.  Now, I have to be aware of where my food comes from and who picked it and who is behind picking it or causing it to be picked.  

For instance, the yummy banana.  Introduced to the US in 1876 at the Philadelphia Centennial it was very expensive - $2 a banana.  In spite of this, they became very popular as we all know.  Boston Fruit, eventually to be Chiquita, decided to grow bananas in Central America.  To do this they had to clear-cut forests and build rail lines.  Lives were lost, people were hurt.  Then to read that the US sponsored overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz was backed by Chiquita because he had the nerve to ask them to pay fair prices for land in Guatemala!  And I thought Chiquita was just a cute lady with a fruit topped hat.

I have stopped eating animal products due to the awful things done to animals, now I have to worry about awful things done to people that grow my food?  Will I be reduced to just water and air.  Except in the same damn magazine is an article about how we use too much water, the world is running out of water and don't get me started on the air.

Where does it end?

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Questions answered

Just a moment ago, my beloved wondered if anyone had gotten the Obama change logo tattoo on their bodies.  My response was ask the internet research assistant - otherwise known as Google.  Sure enough, type in Obama logo tattoo and you get many responses.  People have not only put the logo on their bodies, but his face, his words and who knows what else.

In fact at Fatty's Custom Tattooz and Body Piercing you can get a free Obama tattoo with the purchase of another tattoo.  So, if you are thinking about that next tattoo....