Sunday, November 28, 2010


I am just completely without any writing inspiration these days.  I am tired of politics and all the complaining and excuse making.  I would talk about my new job but it is probably boring to anyone but me (training is going well and I like it!)  I am itching to start decorating (just for something new and different) but will wait until it is December, at least.

Had a fun Thanksgiving dinner with my sisters and families.  Lot's of champagne and silliness.  The kind of silliness I am a bit embarrassed to print here!  Although I am not the one who was biting or squirting whipped cream - I did participate in the penis game with all the females in attendance including my young nieces.  Ally started it...  We had to explain to my sister Nancy that we learned it from the movie "500 Days of Summer", which we loved.  However, it may not have been the most appropriate thing for Thanksgiving with a couple of girls under the age of 12.  Ah, well.  The menfolk just watched football and shook their heads whilst drinking expensive microbrewery beer.

So now we move on to December.  I have my birthday on Wednesday which is nice, although I am not thrilled with how much closer to 60 I am getting.  They say something about "sixty being the youth of old age"  so 57 must be the old age of my youth!

Oh well,  this is why I have not been writing much.  I have been wandering around my head.  Soon I will be writing about what I had for lunch...

Friday, November 19, 2010


1.)  Have you seen the story about the man who is suing the family of the boy he killed?  The 14 year-old  boy was riding his bike on a busy street with a 45 mile speed limit and was not wearing a bike helmet.  The man was driving his car at a speed of 83 miles an hour.  He was convicted of manslaughter and is currently serving 10 years in prison.  He is suing the parents for $15,000 for causing him "great mental and emotional pain and suffering" and inhibiting his "capacity to carry on in life's activities." 

I think it is pretty clear that a bike helmet would have done very little to save the life of this child and I hope that the family does not have to spend very much in attorney fees before a judge tosses this case out as a frivolous waste of the court's time and for the additional pain it puts on those parents.

2.)  The more attention we focus on the TSA touching or looking at our "junk" the less is focused on the fact that it doesn't make us any safer in the first place if they are not doing more to check the luggage and freight going into the hold of the plane.  We are a country of 6th graders when it comes to this stuff. Completely focused on our junk and oblivious to what could really be a problem.

So little media time and attention was given to the actual bombs in the computer printers that could have brought down planes in comparison to showing these titillating pictures of  body scans and people being patted down at the airport.  On the other hand...maybe when people get fed up with stripping down and getting felt up, they will get wise and demand that the TSA get busy  looking at the freight and baggage as carefully - than we will really be safer in the air.

3.)  Ally was accepted to San Francisco State University.  She is thrilled.  It was her first choice.  She is shopping for her sweatshirt and window sticker.  We are all very proud of her because her test scores surely helped with the early acceptance.

4. )  I managed to score a very part time job at a lovely little boutique hotel in our lovely little downtown.  Just working 2 evenings a week at the front desk.  It may work into something full time and it may not.  At least it gives me some new and more recent experience (heaven knows I can't use the last place!) and some income.

Something else new to try.  I'm looking forward to it!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Ally has been shrieking every time there has been an ad for the new Harry Potter movie for the last  month or so.  She has had her tickets since the first day they went on sale.  Each time Rupert Grint appears on a talk show or other appearance she informs us she plans to marry him and have ginger babies.

Ally and her friend are all dressed up in their Harry Potter tees and ready to go sit in line for the midnight showing of the latest epic movie.  Ally is taking her Hogwarts snuggy to keep warm.

And her wand to keep entertained. Can you tell they are drama  kids? 

Monday, November 15, 2010


I came downstairs last night to find Ally writing her essay on "Lord of the Flies" while baking cookies to take to school.  I guess she was too tired to get up and move from room to room...or to sit up...

Friday, November 12, 2010


1.) I have decided that I need to give up on buying the generics and store brands.  I keep ending up with products that are so inferior that I feel ripped off even though I saved a bit of money.  I think the days are long gone when the big companies just packaged their goods under store labels.

2.)  I think I have PTSD of sorts.  Except it is "Post Election Advertising Stress Disorder".  Every time a new ad comes on when I am watching TV I have a gut reaction to mute the sound.  I started doing that about 10 months ago when I got so tired of hearing Meg Whitman's voice...

3.)  Don't hate me but I am  about 85% done with my Christmas shopping.  A combination of keeping the lists short, using my final paycheck and having time to shop.

4.)  On one of the many sites I read occasionally I ran across this post by a woman in my age group who resorted to starting her own business because she needed income and found it difficult getting hired - sound familiar?  Then I saw what she is selling - even more familiar!  But I have looked very closely at Etsy and e-Bay and mosaics just don't sell well. I also had a booth at a local crafts store.   For some reason people like to look at them, admire them, but don't buy them.  So I wish her luck.

5.)  And what will I be doing this sunny and surprisingly warm and dry weekend?  finishing a couple of mosaics!  Perhaps I will post pictures on Monday.  Hope you are happily engrossed in pleasurable activities, too.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


It's a layer cake.  But it isn't dessert.  It's dinner!

The layers are made of turkey and stuffing. It's frosted with mashed potatoes and sweet potatoes. The turkey is ground, and mixed with instant oatmeal. And the coupe de grace is — wait for it — a topping of mini marshmallows.
Think it's a good idea?  Get the recipe here.

Monday, November 8, 2010


Even though the stores are full of Christmas, it is just starting to feel like fall here.  Now that the kids are older I like decorating for Halloween with a fall look that can stay put through Thanksgiving.

Have you seen  smelled those "witches brooms" they have at Trader Joes and other floral departments?  I love the scent of cinnamon bark!  I bought one and tucked it in behind the scarecrow and the porch smells great.  I also bought one and put it up on top of my china cabinet.  It gives the room a really subtle scent.

Friday, November 5, 2010


1.)  I love to watch Rachel Maddow because she is so smart and her stories are well researched.  She is polite and professional with her guests; she asked tough questions but does not pander or put them down.  Sometimes I watch Keith Olbermann, too.  I think he is also very smart and his stories have a lot of punch, but I have always felt that he is too bombastic in his style of reporting (okay, I'll just say it, too much like Fox.)  It makes me uncomfortable.  So I was really please that he decided to stop doing one of his nightly segments called Worst Persons in the World.  In response to the Jon Stewart Rally to Restore Sanity,  Olbermann said "the overall message that the tone needs to change, that the volume needs to change, was not lost on any of us. The anger in this news hour was not an original part of it, nor was it an artifice that we added to it."

Good for you Mr. Olbermann!

2.)  My son has made a big decision.  He was very reluctant to share it because he was concerned about our response.  He called it his "early mid-life crisis."  He is 23!  He has realized that although he has planned for many years to become a high school math teacher and is currently finishing his math major, that it is his minor that has taken over his true interest.

He has a minor in Service Learning.  He has been involved with the Service Learning Institute at CSUMB since his freshman year and has been a student teacher for the past 2 years.  (If you click the link that is Zac in the photo!)  So he has decided that he wants to pursue a Masters degree in Equity and Social Justice in Education.  I have been helping him research degree programs as he is incredibly busy completing his senior  capstone project and teaching and getting his butt kicked by Analytical Algebra.

I can't tell you just how proud I am of this guy.  He is a caring, giving young man and he will be a wonderful teacher. 

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I was really disappointed with some of the things President Obama had to say in his post election press conference this morning.  As usual, the administration is acting like the changeover of some congressional seats is some kind of mandate from "the people" that everything has to be different.  It makes me mad.

One of the reporters asked an excellent question.  He asked what the administration was going to do to get business on board with job creation when they are just holding on to big profits and not spending or hiring, at least not in the US.  Which is true according to an analysis by Robert Reich, former US Secretary of Labor.  Reich points out that the Fed's "job program" is designed to keep interest rates low so businesses will expand, exports will increase and consumers will refinance their homes. 

But what is really happening is that businesses are sitting on nearly 2 trillion dollars of cash.  They are not using the cash to add jobs because they know consumers can't afford more goods and services.  Businesses are using the cash to  expand capacity abroad, acquire other companies and invest in labor replacing technologies.  Cheaper money allows them to do more of the same.  So the profits of businesses are higher, they are paying lower and lower taxes, if any, and they are not boosting US employment.

 And what is President Obama promising?  To be a bigger booster of American businesses.  He said he thinks business is too often being painted as "bad guys".  “The most important thing we can do is to boost and encourage our business sector and to make sure that they’re hiring.”

Now I don't mind at all if this means small to mid-size businesses who don't have the influence and write-offs that the big guys have.  But it is clear that big business and banks don't intend to be good citizens.  They are out for short term profit and the country be damned.  They say they can't operate profitably within regulatory guidelines, then spend billions on lobbyists and experts who find ways to get around them.  They soak their customers, provide shoddy customer service and more and more of them are treating their employees poorly.

So pardon me for not having sympathy for big business feeling like they are being painted as the "bad guys"  because, quike frankly, for a lot of years now, they have been working hard to earn that reputation.  It is time for that old label of good corporate citizen to come back into play.  And for American businesses to step up and play their part in the recovery of the economy.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


Examples of my actual doodles.
I have spent a lot of time on the phone lately.  My 16 year old had her identity stolen, I have been dealing with Comcast, my Quicken account is double charging me and I have been dealing with insurance and dental stuff.  I have scrap paper I use for notes next to the phone and when I was going through all my notes and deciding what I needed to file or toss I noticed all my doodles.

I doodle.  I make arrows and put boxes around things.  I make circle after circle and square upon square.  So, being a curious and unemployed person with time on my hands, I looked up what all of that doodling means. I found this interesting article in Time that ties doodlers with fidgeters - HEY!  I'm a fidgeter, too.  The assumption of other, non-doodle/fidget people is that we are bored and not paying attention.  In reality -
doodlers actually remember more than non doodlers when asked to retain tediously delivered information, like, say, during a boring meeting or a lecture.  This according to a new study, which will be published in the journal Applied Cognitive Psychology, psychologist Jackie Andrade of the University of Plymouth in southern England.

Why does doodling aid memory? Andrade offers several theories, but the most persuasive is that when you doodle, you don't daydream. Daydreaming may seem absentminded and pointless, but it actually demands a lot of the brain's processing power.  Doodling, in contrast, requires very few executive resources but just enough cognitive effort to keep you from daydreaming, which — if unchecked — will jump-start activity in cortical networks that will keep you from remembering what's going on. Doodling forces your brain to expend just enough energy to stop it from daydreaming but not so much that you don't pay attention.

So - is there symbolism in doodles like dreams?  Some think so.  It isn't as decisive as handwriting, but it can indicate something about personality and state of mind.  Here are some of the interpretations my usual doodles:

Arrows represent direction and ambition. Drawn aggressively, they represent a desire for action. Drawn in careful outline, they indicate a desire for progression or advancement, especially if pointing upwards. Arrows traditionally have masculine associations.

 Drawing the same shape over and over indicates patience, persistence and the ability to concentrate. After all, how else would you be able to do all this drawing and still understand the English lecture?

Regular patterns from geometric shapes tend to indicate an organised and efficient mind. Triangles are a geometrically stable shape but also suggest direction and sense of purpose.

The circle appears in every culture as an archetypal form representative of the eternal whole. With no ending or beginning, it revolves in an eternal cycle and is linked to the sun-disk and the attendant concepts of the yearly cycle, the moon, and the wheel. In some symbol systems it also represents the universe.

The square represents the formal, mathematical, scientific order of the universe. The square represents earthbound matter, and correspondingly, with its two sides delineating a two-dimensional surface, may symbolize the earth or ground, or a field, especially in eastern pictograms.

So I guess I am organised and purposeful, persistent and desirous of action.  Whatever.

What do you doodle?

Monday, November 1, 2010


This is a good reminder of why it is important for all of us to vote in every election.

And this is the one I wish my parents would follow...