Monday, January 30, 2012


We heard it was going to be sunny and 70 degrees on the coast this weekend - yes, in January - so we packed a picnic and went to Monterey.  We even took the dog.  In a way, we planned it for the dog.

Hilda is really showing her age, she is sleeping more and more, she is jumpy and nervous and unsteady in her feet.  She was always tail wagging happy and very puppy-like until a couple of years ago, so it is hard to see her personality so diminshed. 

We can see that her eyes are clouding over and realized about a year ago that she can't hear.  She still gets excited about going places with us, but we see that she is frightened when she is out - probably overwhelmed by what she can't see and hear.

But we wanted to have an outing and take her along.  She was great in the car, we brought her little bed and she sat and looked out the window all the way there.  Once her little paws hit the sand she was not so sure of things.  He dachshund nose was sniffing away, but she was not as intrigued with the sealife strewn over the sand as we thought she would be.  Once the blanket was spread, she was much happier.

We walked her down to the water, thinking she might get excited and run in as she did in the past, but she was tail-tucked and looking back to the blanket so we made it a quick walk.

For the 3 hours or so we were there she never relaxed. 

She did enjoy the picnic.

After Tom had a nice nap, we packed up and headed home with our little old lady.  She slept almost all the way home - when we drove up over the Sunol grade and down into our valley she smelled home, perked up and sat looking out the window the rest of the way.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Sunday, January 22, 2012


I took Ally back to school today so the holidays are officially over.  We went into San Francisco early to beat the play-off game traffic.  We went out to one of her favorite neighborhood breakfast places after we dodged raindrops moving her stuff back in.  She took a picture of me which is on my profile now.

She is not too sure about being back - she loves SF but has a challenging semester and a new roommate to meet and get to know.  Here is her half of the room:

Doesn't she look at home?  She just has to put up her 2012 Ferret calendar, unpack and pick up her books from the bookstore.

Friday, January 20, 2012


1.)  I have heard a remarkable number of people saying they won't ever go on a cruise after the news this week out of Italy.  It's funny how people react to these infrequent incidents yet jump behind the wheel of a car each day.

2.) It's only 3 weeks into the new year but I have been diligent about my resolution and  have clicked away from programs and not clicked over to read more about celebrities. I do continue to hear things now and again but I am doing pretty well at avoiding the stories and gossip.  It actually feels really good, this not knowing stuff!

3.)  I noticed that the Chico's stores are now expanding their sizing to include 18 to 20.  Since they have the reputation as a store for  adult women, I am glad that they recognise that not all women can mange to remain as slim as Diane Keaton, their current advertising model.  Seems like a smart move to carry  larger sizes.

4.)  Looks like the public outcry, the internet blackout and the forced education of members of congress has worked:

“I have heard from the critics, and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy,” Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.)  said in a statement. “It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.”  

Let's hope that the next attempt doesn't give the Justice Department so much undefined power.  From what I have learned, the best solution to the problem is the Wyden-Issa (OPEN) bill. It does not tamper with the internet, but uses an existing agency already devoted to the purpose of preventing foreign intellectual property infringement. The International Trade Commission, is empowered by the bill to investigate foreign sites and to block financial payment for the infringing and counterfeit products they offer.

This will not necessarily satisfy the entertainment industry because they want to control digital technology, not just physical copies of their products.  They want to control digital works being traded and claim that it interferes with their business model - I have a problem with that.  I understand the desire to make money off of everything they had a hand in, but the entertainment industry needs to adapt its business models to the advance of technology and not try to make the government turn into their own Big Brother.

5.)  Go Niners!

Thursday, January 19, 2012


Abortion rates are higher in countries where the procedure is illegal and nearly half of all abortions worldwide are unsafe, with the vast majority in developing countries, a new study concludes.

Experts couldn’t say whether more liberal laws led to fewer procedures, but said good access to birth control in those countries resulted in fewer unwanted pregnancies.

The global abortion rate remained virtually unchanged from 2003 to 2008, at about 28 abortions per 1,000 women aged 15 to 44, a total of about 43.8 million abortions, according to the study. The rate had previously been dropping since 1995.

About 47,000 women died from unsafe abortions in 2008, and another 8.5 million women had serious medical complications. Almost all unsafe abortions were in developing countries..

This headline popped out at me and reminded me that the lack of common sense behind the US anti-abortion campaign which has made it even more difficult for women in developing countries to have access to safe, affordable women's health services. And their goal to do the same here.
Our continuing course to the obliteration of the line between church and state is the setting of a harrowing novel I read a few weeks ago.  "When She Woke" by Hillary Jordan is a re-imagining of The Scarlet Letter.  Hannah, the conservatively indoctrinated, innocent young woman who has lived in conflict with her strict religious upbringing all her life falls in deep, passionate love with the famous, married preacher of the mega church she and her family attend.  When she becomes pregnant, she has an illegal abortion, is caught and sentenced for the murder of her unborn child and her refusal to name the father and expose the abortionist.

In this not-too-distant future, convicted felons are no longer imprisoned but chemically treated to change their skin color to represent their crime and then released back into the population to survive as best they can.  When Hannah woke following her conviction, her skin was red.

The book follows her as she tries to navigate her life as a Red, which dangerously unlike anything she has experienced in her sheltered life. In order to survive she has to leave her evangelical family behind, put her trust in strangers and embark on a road trip to her freedom. She also has to question the teachings of her narrow, religious upbringing.

I found the last quarter of the book less well realized and the ending seemed to come very suddenly and unsatisfactorily.  Overall, a compelling, chilling read and a call to look at where our society is going.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Tuesday, January 17, 2012


I was texting with Maggie while waiting for a restaurant table the other day.  She said she was finding some cute tops at Old Navy.  I did not text back my surprise that she was shopping there after turning her nose up at that store for most of her teen years, just my good wishes for her shopping trip.

When we signed off my mind wandered to the past.  I remembered when Old Navy was not in every mall, but was actually the name of The Gap's outlet store.  My sister and I would make the long drive to the location and stock up on kids clothes we could not afford at mall prices.

Then I wondered why they named the store Old Navy and my mind traveled back to high school when there was an Army Navy surplus store on Main Street.  We girls would go there and brave the overpowering smell of aging rubber tarps and molering sleeping bags to shop for interesting pieces of clothing. 

The prize, as I remember it, was a pair of white 13 button sailor pants.  And there my memory stops.  I don't remember if I ever found some to fit me or even if any of my friends did. 

Funny how the object of desire remains intact in memory.

Friday, January 13, 2012


Jen on the Edge is quite good at setting up challenges for herself and her blog readers/fans/minions.  She has proposed that we all need to be more accepting of ourselves just as we are and not shy away from publishing photos of ourselves on our own blogs. 

The challenge for today is to post a holiday photo of ouselves.  Somehow the holidays got by without a photo of me on my own camera - but we did take a few shots at a post holiday dinner with my daughter and her boyfriend.

I am not allowed to say it is a bad picture or say anything negative about how I look.  Here it is:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


One of the things that really bothers me about today's journalism is the lack of relevant facts in the name of making a story, what?  Palatable, punchy, easy on the brain? 

Regarding a study of the differences in politics of the 1% and the 99% authored by the political scientists Benjamin Page, Fay Lomax Cook, and Rachel Moskowitz and recently released by the Russell Sage Foundation, found that the politics of the very wealthy are strikingly different.

Wealthy Americans are far more active in politics than less affluent citizens. Nearly all respondents said they voted in the 2008 elections; half of the respondents said they had contacted at least one type of government official in the past year; 41% reported attending a campaign speech or event and 68% said they donated to a political cause or campaign in the past four years. Roughly one of five respondents said they "bundled" contributions from other people for a party or political cause; on average, respondents reported giving $4,633 to political campaigns and organizations in the past year.

Lets look at 41 percent of the very wealthy reported attending a political meeting.  Only 9 percent of Americans did so in 2008.  But no definition of a political meeting is included.  So my cynical mind says "Well of course!  The 1% can afford those gazillion dollar a plate dinners."

The thing I like about reading news on the internet is that a little thought and a few clicks and you can usually find out what the story leaves out.  Turns out the study considered attending a campaign speech or event as attending a political meeting. So that rally at the fairgrounds would count as much as a fund raising dinner. 

I would still argue that rich folks have better attendance because they can afford travel to attend events held far from their residence; but I also admit that I didn't go to see McCain when he was in town during the last election.  Actually, I didn't even know he was here, so the word must have been spread through GOP channels only.  Guess they wanted to limit the hecklers. Would I have gone if I known about it and  free tickets were available and I was free that day?  Probably not.  but I have attended  "meet and greets" of local and state candidates.

But really, how accessible are most political events for the average Americans?  And is it getting harder to actually see a political candidate in person without some sort of group affiliation?  Do you accept the concept of saying the 1% is more involved in politics and so have earned the right to have more say?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


This is what my husband gave me for Christmas.  I can't really explain it.

And yes, I have served beef in her presence.

Monday, January 2, 2012


Christmas has been put away so I guess it's time to get focused on the year ahead.  As trite as it is, resolutions or any other sort of plan makes sense.  Otherwise, the year just seems to pass with no markers, no successes or failures to recognise.

This past year I was pretty much adrift.  There were milestones in the family, but for myself, with no set goals except to be employed full time and get those damned benefits, there was nothing else on my radar.  The get myself together and lose weight thing is perennial.  Will the fact that my 40th high school  reunion is this year make a difference?  It didn't for the 30th...

No, it is time to move on to bigger things. Things with more weight than my ass. I read about the dismantling of  women's reproductive rights and I get mad, but don't do anything - and that is why those rights are eroding - we who believe sit and don't do anything about it.

It ticks me off that I know about the damned Kardashians even though I have never watched their show(s) on TV.  I am sick of reports about Dancing with the Stars on the morning news shows.  And why is Entertainment Tonight reporting on political scandals?    In my line of site at the gym is the Maury show which is apparently a program "helping" women determine who is the father of their baby.  I don't plug in to hear the show, in fact I have taken to using my exercise machine with my eyes closed rather than see the daily parade of sloppy, swearing, angry, tacky and defiant people on the screen. And worse yet, the cheering and jeering audience.

On The View a while back Whoopie Goldberg said instead of petitioning to get the Kardashian show off the air (which some people are trying to do) just don't watch the shows.  Well, I don't watch a lot of shows that I end up knowing about.  I end up knowing about "celebrities", toddler beauty shows and dance moms.  I hear about weddings, divorces, bankruptcies, thefts, car crashes, hook ups, break-ups, trials,  text messages,  and tweets.  I wonder how far underground I have to go to avoid Snooki, the bachelor, the singers, the housewives, the losers and the makeovers?

So this year - that is what I plan to find out.  It means I can't watch The Today Show which I have enjoyed for years - or at least up until the past 4 or 5 years when seems to have left the news department. If another show I happen to be watching - like The View - starts in on the gossip or features people from those tacky shows, I will turn them off.  It means no more Bravo because the programming I watch isn't worth seeing the commercials for the shows I don't.  I can record the shows and speed through the crap commercials when Project Runway, Work of Art or Mad Fashion is on. 

On the internet I will stop reading the Huffington Post, Jezabel and avoid clicking on  many of the links I run across here and there.  There is so much smart content out there I will have more time to seek out.

My resolution this year is to become more ignorant of some things in the world around me - but it is also to get involved in the stuff that matters.  That part I'm not so sure about, aside from blogging (preaching to the choir for the most part) I will need to explore ways to make a mark and make a difference.

That and reduce the size of my ass.