Thursday, April 30, 2009


I don't often mention this because people think I am crazy, I have always had an interest in serving on a jury. I registered to vote when I was 18 and the first time I was ever called was when I was 8 months pregnant with my twins and my doctor said no way. So I askd for an extension and they called me two months later when I was breastfeeding the twins. I asked if I could bring them. They said no and I wasn't called again for about 19 years. I drove all the way to Oakland in commute traffic, paid to park, stood around for a few hours and was dismissed - they didn't need me.

Then there is this guy in Montana:

Monday, April 27, 2009


I think this hearing and Hillary Clinton's reponse to questions about the Obama Administration's position in contrast to the Bush Administration, deserve more attention.

Rather than paraphrase, I am attaching the link to Salon:

Sunday, April 26, 2009


When my kids and husband started talking about getting a dog - I said NO. They wore me down of course, but I stuck with NO on the big dog thing. My husband grew up with dachshunds, and I read about them and we met with a breeder and saw a yard full of these joyful little dogs romping through the grass and, well, you know.
Brunhilda - Hilda - came home with us when she was 5 months old. We went to the breeder for a newborn puppy. Hilda was in the yard and her disposition was so calm and her face so sweet that she won us over. She was the runt of a previous litter, and the breeder couldn't sell her as a "breeding worthy" dog - so she was sort of like Marley'; a "clearance puppy".

When we got her she had been living in a kitchen with newspapers all over the floor. No effort at house training had been attempted. We tried every training method we could think of with mixed success. She is so low to the ground that any dampness on the grass repels her. She finds a nice, dry carpet preferable. Over the years we have restricted her from carpeted areas but with uneven results. And take my word for it - none of the products on the market can undo what has been done.

In the years we have had her, she has remained sweet and calm, kids can do pretty much anything to her and she goes along. She is funny and lively and still thinks she is a puppy. She loves table scraps, but maintains a svelte 7-9 pound weight. We sometimes call her cat-dog because even the extra-small sized dog things are too big for her.
She loves to ride in the car. One summer day, in a fit of excitement - she jumped out of the window of our Dodge Ram truck and landed in the street. Since then she has had a couple of difficult periods with her back. She is kind of crooked now and sleeps on a heating pad.

She is a beloved member of the family. It is hard to imagine our lives without her. She greets us coming home (or even just back into the room) with wagging tail and bright eyes. She nudges my hand when she wants her ears scratched. She trustfully falls for Tom's teasing tricks. She likes to be near us, so when I am working on the computer she hangs out on the cart which holds our printer, unless there is a patch of sunshine to luxuriate in.

She isn't so keen to chase after socks or other tossed items anymore, but she loves going out to the park to sniff and roll around in smelly things.

So to celebrate her 12th birthday we took her to the park riding in my bicycle basket. She had a fine time and now she needs a bath.

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Perhaps it is just me, but I do not feel any safer today than I did on September 12, 2001.

I don't think flying is safer, I don't think attacking Iraq has been helpful in any way and I don't think that the intrusion into basic civil rights and the erosion of our national morality has made us safe.

That Cheney et. al, claim the ends (our security) justify the means makes me ill. I agree with Jeff Schweitzer 's article in the Huffington Post:
"When we appeal to the corrupt idea that ends trump means, nothing constrains our worst instincts. We end up with Japanese detention camps, witch hunts for "communists" by the House Un-American Activities Committee, illegal wire tapping, falsified evidence for war, and torture.."

In other words - we just keep on repeating our history of wrong headed, demoralizing, inhumane activities and learn nothing and become ever more morally bankrupt. Quite frankly if the lawyers who drafted those torture guidelines are not prosecuted, or at least have their "careers" destroyed, then it will never, ever stop. Just as those people on Wall Street and in the banks and mortgage companies who made a killing before it all came tumbling down will just go out and do it again unless they are regulated into responsibility.

I question the Obama administration's reluctance to further investigate and prosecute those who made these abhorrent activities possible. I know that there is concern that seeking "retribution" will divert time and attention from the bigger agenda items. However, I don't see how we can go forward as a nation of conscience if we don't make it very clear that, yet again, we have blundered and take responsibility for the damage done.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


These taste better than they photograph! So no photo. This is another Rachel Ray recipe with my own edits. It started out as Chicken Cordon Bleu Burger - but the"turkey ham" in place of the original Canadian bacon was just too much. So I have left it out. We also didn't like the lettuce and tomato and I reduced the spices a tad.


1 lb. ground chicken
1 t paprika
1 t poultry seasoning
1/2 t Montreal chicken seasoning
1 finely chopped shallot
3 slices swiss cheese
1/3 c mayo
1 T dijon mustard
1 T chopped tarragon (1 t dried)
3 sandwich style English muffins
lettuce & tomato if desired

Combine seasonings, shallots and chicken, It will be pretty "wet" Shape into 3 bun size patties and cook in pan on medium heat. You may want to drizzle pan with a little olive oil first.

Toast muffins while patties are cooking. Mix mayo with mustard and tarragon. Slather on buns when they are lightly toasted.

After you turn the patties, place cheese on top to melt. When cooked through and cheese melted, serve on buns.

I served it with a fruit salad.


A lazy Sunday afternoon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


I am a weeping mess. I kept seeing these little blurbs about a woman named Susan Boyle performing on the "Britain's Got Talent" TV show who had wowed the judges and audience. So I went to YouTube to see what is was about.

I have watched it twice. It is wonderful as a performance and as a lesson to all about we way we judge people. YouTube won't allow embedding - hope the link works. It is seven minutes long - completely worth it.

And boo to Joy Behar of The View who could only manage to make snarky eyebrow waxing jokes.

Thursday, April 9, 2009


The California State Supreme Court is taking their sweet time to rule on the same sex marriage ban created by Proposition 8. They have until June 3 to present their ruling. In the meantime, Iowa and Vermont have ruled in favor of same sex marriages. Will it have any impact on California - probably not.

For those who argue that domestic partnerships are the legally "same" as marriage in California - take a look at the case of Shirley Tan and her partner of 23 years, Jay Mercado. They are the parents of 12 year old twin sons. Federal authorities plan to deport Tan to her native Philippines on April 22. The federal government does not recognise their domestic partnership - as grounds for legal immigration. As their attorney says "They being discriminated against because they are lesbians." Mercado says "If I were a man, none of this would be happening."

Federal officials can look past immigration violations when heterosexual couple have children according to the attorney. "Congress has always taken the position that maintaining the family unit is so important that a non citizen spouse can be legalized virtually without penalty."

Their have been bills introduced to allow permanent partners of U.S. citizens the same avenue to permanent resident status spouses now have. But this will not happen in time to help Tan and Mercado. If there is not a reversal of the decision, the entire family will relocate to the Philippines later this month.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


The Bay Area is experiencing a large migration of Painted Lady Butterflies. The little orange butterflies have been fluttering past and stopping in gardens to dine for the past several days. They have come up from the Southern California desert on their way to the Pacific Northwest. Seeing them careen through the skies is magical fun.

Last Spring I bought a freesia plant to put on the dining room table. I have loved the scent of the flowers since I was introduced to them in my friend's bridal bouquet - what is it now, Chris? Twenty-five years ago? When the flowers were spent, I planted the bulbs in the garden with no real expectation that they would come up this year - but they did. I now have a very fragrant little vase of them on my desk.

Last weekend I planted my Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes and another kind I can't remember of salad tomatoes. I planted parsley, basil and tarragon, too. I threw around some nasturtium seeds which usually yield a few nice trailing plants that serve, in part as ground cover and also make the veggie garden look nice. I like to grow Roma tomatoes, but my space is too small in this yard, so those come from the Farmer's Market all summer.

This year I remembered to buy snail bait. Last year my first basil was eaten down to the stems overnight! I had planted marigolds around my tomatoes last year to keep the tomato worms at bay - but they came anyway. I usually just pick them off, but I may resort to chemicals this year.

I had my first whiff of wisteria this morning. We have a huge wisteria plant that entwines itself through anything and everything. Tom calls it a killer because it has taken over a neighboring tree. Last year made it's way to our upstairs deck and was trying to find a gap in the slider and into our room! I had to hack it back to the railings. Then it found the drainpipe and wound it's way up to the roof. I cut the tendrils, but it is wound so tight I haven't been able to pull it all off yet.

I think it is worth it just to smell those flowers in the spring. Heavenly.