Tuesday, July 31, 2012


I 've always loved the Olympics.  Growing up,  watching those huge East German and Russian women with moustaches regularly winning their events all the while everyone "knowing" that they were cheating by using drugs.  (That and the Russian judges always scoring the communist countries better than the democratic ones were just part of the whole experience.)  The good guys and the bad guys.

Since the Rome Olympics 1994 we have had better drug testing and the WADA to enforce abuses.  But there were long periods when the Chinese were dominating track and swimming and then turning up positive for steroid use after the games.  Striping an athlete/country of medals after the fact is a way to deal with it - but I think it takes away from watching the games knowing that some of the winners will later be disqualified. It ruins the purity of the experience.

Now we have a young Chinese woman, Ye Shiwen, 16, swimming the last leg of a 400m race at a speed greater than a record holding male swimmer.  So eyebrows are raised, questions are being asked and the Olympic committee and others are calling it racist.  That's ridiculous.  If the Chinese have a history of drug use - one that extends to just 10 years ago, and they have a young woman swimming faster than a seasoned male swimmer, the system should kick in. 

I agree that all the sarcastic comments and innuendo are not sportsmanlike.  These issues should be taken up with the officials and the testing and whatever else should be done without prejudice.  However, to expect people to accept a super human effort as just "good coaching" is pretty lame considering the actions of the Chinese teams in the recent past.

The chairman of the IOC medical commission and WADA vice-president Arne Ljungqvist, was quoted as saying that if a surprise performance is immediately suspected as being a cheat, that "sport is in danger for sure." He - and several of his IOC colleagues - are worried about the "charm of competitive sport" being lost if exceptional performances are shrouded in suspicion.
I don't disagree in my heart, but the sad truth is that these cheats tend to go on for years before the questions are answered.  If we don't ask the questions, well that's the real danger to sports and the athletes.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012


I like to people watch and I do make an effort not to be snarky as I do it.  One thing am always on the look for is women whose style I admire.  I see very few of them. 

Last week we went to our local Friday evening Concert in the Park, people spread out blankets and chairs, picnic and listen to music.  There was a gathering of friends next to us.   The women all slim, a couple of them very skinny.  They were  well turned out in dress, accessories,hair and nails.  Most of them were wrangling young children, the husbands were in the background.

Aside from the appearance of the women, what I noticed is that the only thing they were eating were  pea pods.They were hovering over them and eating one after another. There was all sorts of wine and beer to choose from, but only the peas to eat.

Guess that's how you get so skinny.

On Pinterest there are near constant postings of hair; in braids, styled for weddings, and the new trend -  ombre hair color. Actually nails and clothes and hair are all ombre which is basically going from dark to lighter and lighter shades of color. 

The first real person I saw who had attempted that hair die technique looked just awful.  I could tell she was so proud of it - but the color was choppy and uneven and it took me a while to realize that the intention had been to fade the color dark to light.

 I think most of us have had an idea in our minds of a hair cut or color only to be disappointed in the reality.

On my drive to and from work I have the opportunity to observe people, too.  There are 21 stop lights between home and work -  the lights are not well timed.

Today there was a young woman tweezing her brows and chin at the stop lights - she actually had a magnifying mirror in the car for this purpose.  At least she was smart enough to put the tweezers away when the light changed to green.

Saturday, July 21, 2012


1.)  This week was a fast one!

2.)  I just got word of my 40th high school reunion so I went back up on Facebook. This has been in the works for a while and I wasn't there to be found and notified sooner.   Not that it matters - can't lose 100 pounds or otherwise turn back the ravages of time in a few months.  Looking at the photos of some of my classmates, many of them have taken very good care of themselves.    My BFF girlfriends are planning to come from out of state so I wouldn't miss it.

I will still up the diet efforts between now and then...I am not completely without vanity.

3.)  So much sad news coming from Colorado.

Locally a woman's body was found at our local BART stations.  There was so much fear mongering and racist finger pointing about what might have happened to her.  Turns out she was a suicide.

So many people carry heavy burdens in their hearts and minds which they can act out against themselves and others.  It really doesn't help to jump in and say it is drugs or race or whatever when our society doesn't do a very good job of taking care of people with mental illness and depression; the bottom line cause of so many of these things.

Monday, July 16, 2012


It was one of those spur of the moment purchases - discounted tickets to go see Chicago and The Doobie Brothers at a local outdoor pavillion.  As the day approached we kind of lost our enthusiasm for it, but off we went.

Going to  a concert to hear bands which had their hay days in the 1970's means that the majority of the attendees were not carded at the walk-up bars.  Even so, there were a lot of people there younger than Tom and me and those were the ones I noticed because their approach to attending a concert are decidedly different than ours.

We went early because we had will call tickets and thought we would just relax and have dinner.  Except that there weren't many choices of things to eat and no where at all to sit.  There were no fewer than 5 bars set up, but only 1 stand with junky food.  The concert started at 7 but crowds were filing in steadily until about 7:45. which meant a lot of hopping up and down to let people squeeze down the aisles to their seats.

It was very odd.  The atmosphere was more like a sporting event.  People were carrying on conversations shouted over the music.  The vendors who roamed the aisles hawking popcorn, lemonade and red ropes stopped shouting but kept going up and down the steps all through the performances - and so did the people going to the bathroom and for refills on the beer.

The last time we went to a concert in this venue, we were down in the floor seats.  It had an intimate feel and, if all that other stuff was going on up in the levels above, we were not aware of it.  It may be that times have changed  or it may be that people just don't get as involved with the band and music when they are up in the cheaper seats - watching the big screens is kind of like being home watching TV.

Otherwise, the music was good - though the productions were very, very choreographed.  No room for the relaxed, personal or improvisational.  Chicago was one of my all time favorites back in the day and they still had that great music and sound - even if some of the voices are not as good as the originals.

We had fun doing something we rarely do but we agreed we enjoyed  music in small clubs and bars much better.

Friday, July 13, 2012


1.) I enjoy wearing cotton dresses in the summer especially on hot days like we are having now.  The only issue is the undies.  My usual one cling in the area of my large bottom.  I have a couple of nylon ones which I wear when I wear dresses. (Remember wearing slips?)  Today I put on my dress but I realized the necessary undergarment was in the dryer.  I finished hair, make-up, shoes, jewelry and came downstairs for my yogurt and blueberries.

When I sat down to eat I realized I had never gone into the dryer for my undies. A moment of "should I just go to work without?" 

Not today.

2.) There was an article about whether anxiety causes women to age faster - which confirmed it is true.  I know when we were in the initial throes of our life changing struggles that I had all kinds of physical issues associated with stress.  Now I can legitimately blame my wrinkly face on all that, too.

Interesting that they only studied women.  Is pre-mature aging only an issue for women?

Marion Cuningham in her kitchen at home in Walnut Creek.
 3.) This is getting posted late because I read that the mother of one of my high school friends died this week so I was searching to see if I could find him to write him a note. My friend's mother was Marion Cunningham.  In the years after we graduated she became "Fannie Farmer" and an icon in the national food scene.

I knew my friend was different than any of the other kids in our rather large circle.  He was smart, sophisticated, sarcastic and guarded.

 I was only in his house one time and I remember my friend Chris and I going into the kitchen and loving it - funny how a feeling about a person can be felt in their special space.

It wasn't until many, many years later that I read in one of Ruth Reichl's memoirs some of the details of Marion's life - that she had been an alcoholic and agoraphobic during the years my friend was growing up.  Learning that explained a lot.  Marion, the year we graduated, broke free of her fears with the help of my friend,  and began a whole new life - I hope that my friend was able to take pleasure in that.  I wish him all the best at this sorrowful time.

Monday, July 9, 2012


In the spirit of Mrs. G's challenge to do something new and scary (it was a while ago and I can't find the post to link), I agreed to go out on my bike at night. I am not a sure and steady bike rider in the broad daylight.  I hate riding near cars - or people for that matter. Tom LOVES his night rides and comes home thrilled with his adventures in the darkness.

What lured me out into the dark?  Fireworks.  We live less than a mile from the county fairgrounds and this year they were shooting off fireworks every Friday night.  We can't really see them from home because of the trees and we noticed that a local park filled up with families and picnickers the previous Friday.

We left in daylight and found a spot on the patio of a local brew pub with good food.  Then as it was getting dark we rode down the street a mile or so to the park.  It was scary for me even though Tom affixed no fewer than 4 lights to my bike.  It was flashing and strobing and lit up like a parade.  I could see his headlight steady and straight and mine wobbling all over the road!  I felt a little queasy, but I made it. 

The park with full of kids draped with glow lights.  It was entertaining to see them flitting around like noisy multicolored fireflies.  The fireworks show was great and the ride home much less nerve wracking.  It really was a lovely night.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


1.)  Ever notice that if a letter comes in the mail marked Personal and Confidential you can be sure it is junk mail?

2.)  There were 2,100,000 viewers of the HBO series premier of "The Newsroom."  Sad that there are less than 100,000 viewers of the Rachel Maddow Show which is excellent real live reporting 5 days a week.

Sadder still that O'Reilly over on Fox gets 2-3 million viewers.

3.)  A 14 year old ballet dancer sponsored an online petition to get Seventeen Magazine to stop photoshopping their models - and it worked.

The Seventeen staff has signed an eight-point Body Peace Treaty, promising not to alter natural shapes and include only images of "real girls and models who are healthy."  Next they are going after TeenVogue.  Hopefully the advertisers will take notice of this desire for the natural.

4.)  I keep hearing negative things about "small" employers looking for ways to evade offering health insurance as the Affordable Care Act requires.  What is it to these employers to offer insurance?  There is no mandate that they pay any part of it.  They simply have to use their position as employers to offer plans which would not be available, or as inexpensive as when offered as a group plan.

I set up the insurance plan for our tiny company (3 employees and the owner) It took very little time and cost nothing to arrange. I made some adjustments to our payroll software and the deductions and tax info are automatic.  So even administrative costs aren't a valid argument.  Any ideas about this?  Educate me.

5.)  So glad the spell check is back...the function has been missing from Blogger for a week or so.

6.)  An odd week with a day off in the middle.  No complaints that it is the weekend again!  Enjoy.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


I won't be dressed like this.

Or decorating like this.

Or even seeing any of these.

But this, I will be enjoying!

Monday, July 2, 2012


Jen on the Edge wrote about a song she heard back on the 70's when she was 5.  In the mid-70's I was in college so my take on the music was a little different - but I do remember the songs she wrote about.

Which led me to think about a meaningful summer song from that decade - the summer of 1970.  I was hanging out with some older kids from my neighborhood that summer - which happened because Jim Boomer lived on my street.  He had a pool table in the garage and it became the hangout. By my proximity, and the lopsided boy-girl ratios, I was invited in.

There was a lot of bad pool playing, driving to Jolly's Burgers to visit the Goetz brothers on the nights they were working, some swimming and a new game we invented called mud frisbee which we played on the high school fields the nights after they watered. Major dirty fun.

One of the guys was new in town and he sort of showed some interest in me.  It was pretty subtle and I was not one for catching on, but Gail, my new BFF was urging me to pay more attention to him.  I remember his name was Tony Pontious and that he had longish red hair.  With just a little encouragement, he did ask me out.  I don't recall what we did - but I do recall it was our only date because I did something he found unforgivable.

That summer this song was big and I really liked it.

Tony bought the 45 for me (okay, I don't want to hear "What is a 45?",  look it up.) He gave it to me when we were over at his house and I was really touched and excited that he gave me a gift.  But when we left - I left it behind.

That was it - he pretty much never talked to me again.

But it was still the best summer of my life.

Sunday, July 1, 2012


Tom is beside himself with joy over the Tour de France having started.  Partly because he is a huge fan and lives out his cycling fantasies following the guys on the tour. 

Also partly because even though we have something like 100 channels to watch, he seems always to be channel surfing or watching something he has watched before.  The joke around our house is:

"Sue*, guess what's on TV!"

"What Hon?"

"Air Force One!  Should I tape it for you?"

If you don't get the joke - you may not  spend much time surfing through the channels.  Air Force One is on a channel somewhere in the lineup at every hour of the day.  We decided there must have been an act of Congress which mandated it.

*Tom is one of the few people to still call me Sue.