Thursday, December 28, 2006

Schultz's Philosophy

This was sent to me by my Father, and it made me think of this post here.

The following is the philosophy of Charles Schultz, the creator of the"Peanuts" comic strip. Can you:
  1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world?
  2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners?
  3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America title?
  4. Name ten people who have won either the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize?
  5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress?
  6. Name the last decade's worth of World Series winners?

How did you do?

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.

Here's another quiz. See how you do on this one. Can you:

  1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school?
  2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time?
  3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile?
  4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special?
  5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with?


The lesson: the people who make a difference in your life are not the oneswith the most credentials, the most money, or the most awards. They are the ones that care.

A bit cheesy, I know -- but you've come to expect that from me. This is the wisdom I needed to help me get over myself and stop mourning that I wasn't on some path to greatness.

"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It 's already tomorrow in Australia." -- CharlesSchultz

Random Facts

Love, love, love random and curious bits of information. Though, for now, I will spare you the wonderful knowledge I acquired reading Stiff by Mary Roach, a book about cadavers.

Here are some interesting tidbits I got from reading BBC News:
  • The Lion costume in the Wizard of Oz was made from real lion pelts.
  • Standard sized condoms are too big for most Indian men.
  • The Pope has been known to wear red Prada shoes (there's no place like home?).
  • A common American poplar (a tree) has twice as many genes as a human being.
  • Cows can have a regional accent, says a British professor.
  • The clitoris derives its name from the Greek word kleitoris, which means little hill.
  • The egg came first.
  • Humans were first infected with HIV in the 1930s in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
  • George W., reflecting on the highlight of his presidency: "I would say the best moment of all was when I caught a 7.5lb perch in my lake."
  • In Bhutan, government policy is based on Gross National Happiness; most street advertising has been banned, as well as tobacco and plastic bags.
  • In the 1960s, the CIA used to watch Mission: Impossible to get ideas about spying.
  • In December, a tornado touched down in London, destroying a few homes and cars.
  • To save two dolphins who had ingested plastic debris, the Chinese government called on the tallest man in the world (~7'9") (and also Chinese) to reach down their throats and pull out the pieces, an act that saved their lives.

There you have it. If you are curious about cadavers or children who feel no pain (a disorder known as congenital insensitivity to pain), let me know -- I have lots to share. The next documentary in my NetFlix queue: Unknown White Male, about a man who woke up on the New York subway with no clues about who he was except a random phone number and a British accent. Sometimes I wake up like this, until my cat, Rachel, kindly reminds me that I am here to serve her and it is not the time to be practicing my British accent, since breakfast is already late.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Merry Solstice

My father lives in Alaska and reminds me every year of the two main solstices. The solistices -- and the abundance and lack of light they bring -- I think means more to those who live so far north. Normally, the winter solstice is referred to as the shortest day of the year. This morning on NPR, I heard it referred to as the longest night of the year. I liked that. Maybe I'll celebrate it that way, by doing my favorite night time things -- watching movies, reading, crafting, primping, drinking tea, playing with the kitties. Sounds like a plan.

I posted this picture because one thing the solstice has always meant to me is that Spring, my favorite time of year, is on its way, even though today is the first day of winter. The days are going to get longer, which means the earth will start to warm and then flowers will start to bloom, the thought of which makes me wiggle my toes. Perhaps I'll watch Amelie late tonight as part of a dual celebration of the longest night of the year and the coming of Spring.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Culture Shock

This past weekend, J and I traveled to Enterprise, Oregon (population 1,895) for his new company's holiday party. Well, that was a bit of a shock to the system. It was held in a grange hall, which also doubles as the town's roller rink. Many of the men were wearing their best camo and cowboy hats with facial hair styled into mutton chops and handlebar mustaches (sans the irony), one woman was wearing an early '90s prom dress and platform stripper heels (yes, she worked for the company), more than a few ladies had their tatas on display and there was only one non-whitie in attendance (also a company employee). The booze was a flowin', a country band a playin' and jaws a flappin'. I learned a little too much about some of his co-workers, including a self-proclaimed new bff (she did the proclaiming; I said, sure why not?). And I'm fairly certain J and I were the only non-Christians in the room.

Granted, we are moving to Walla Walla, which is 15 times the size of Enterprise and most of his coworkers don't live there. And, I currently work for one of the more liberal, hip organizations out there. But, upon surveying the room upon our arrival, I did experience a brief, sinking feeling in my stomach, followed by the thought, "What have we done?"

I'm Just Sayin'...

High IQ Link to Being Vegetarian
Story from BBC NEWS, Published: 2006/12/15 00:15:39 GMT

Intelligent children are more likely to become vegetarians later in life, a study says.

A Southampton University team found those who were vegetarian by 30 had recorded five IQ points more on average at the age of 10.

Researchers said it could explain why people with higher IQ were healthier as a vegetarian diet was linked to lower heart disease and obesity rates.

The study of 8,179 was reported in the British Medical Journal.

Twenty years after the IQ tests were carried out in 1970, 366 of the participants said they were vegetarian - although more than 100 reported eating either fish or chicken.

Men who were vegetarian had an IQ score of 106, compared with 101 for non-vegetarians; while female vegetarians averaged 104, compared with 99 for non-vegetarians.

"We've always known that vegetarianism is an intelligent, compassionate choice benefiting animals, people and the environment." -- Liz O'Neill, of The Vegetarian Society

There was no difference in IQ score between strict vegetarians and those who said they were vegetarian but who reported eating fish or chicken.

Researchers said the findings were partly related to better education and higher occupational social class, but it remained statistically significant after adjusting for these factors.

Vegetarians were more likely to be female, to be of higher occupational social class and to have higher academic or vocational qualifications than non-vegetarians.

However, these differences were not reflected in their annual income, which was similar to that of non-vegetarians.

Lead researcher Catharine Gale said: "The finding that children with greater intelligence are more likely to report being vegetarian as adults, together with the evidence on the potential benefits of a vegetarian diet on heart health, may help to explain why higher IQ in childhood or adolescence is linked with a reduced risk of coronary heart disease in adult life."


However, she added the link may be merely an example of many other lifestyle preferences that might be expected to vary with intelligence, such as choice of newspaper, but which may or may not have implications for health.

Liz O'Neill, of the Vegetarian Society, said: "We've always known that vegetarianism is an intelligent, compassionate choice benefiting animals, people and the environment.

"Now we've got the scientific evidence to prove it. Maybe that explains why many meat-reducers are keen to call themselves vegetarians when even they must know that vegetarians don't eat chicken, turkey or fish."

But Dr Frankie Phillips, of the British Dietetic Association, said: "It is like the chicken and the egg. Do people become vegetarian because they have a very high IQ or is it just that they tend to be more aware of health issues?"

Friday, December 15, 2006

So frickin' funny

Family Guy - Annoying Stewie - video powered by Metacafe

Laughed until I cried. The big, loud gafaw laugh, some of you know all too well. And yes, I am like this sometimes. As an adult. Just ask J. My sense of humor is not always so refined. Pity him now.

So, I was supposed to be on a bus right about now, but thanks to the high wind storm and trees blocking train tracks, the bus is sold out and I got to rent a car! I'm home briefly to burn my Cheese II mix, then I hit the road to Pendleton for a whirlwhind weekend of fun in Enterprise, OR. Can I get a whoo hoo?!?

Here's the car I rented -- so fly (it's a Dodge Cavalier):

The radio stays on even after you've taken the key out of the ignition. Wha?!? I own a 2005 Honda CRV and it's not that fancy. Technology these days.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006


It being the holidays, we have copious amounts of sweets lying around the office. And I often hear that these foods are "evil" or "dangerous" or someone who is eating them comments s/he is "being bad" or "feels guilty." I am so sick of this. First of all, foods are neither good nor bad -- they just are. Some have more fat, sugar and/or salt than others, but they are not imbued with a specific morality. Secondly, there are worse things one can do than eat a cookie. If you don't know that...well, I'm not sure I want to disturb your innocence by telling you things that are worse. But trust me, there are. Third, don't share these things with me if you can plainly see that I am eating said "evil" or "dangerous" thing, as you are passing judgement, and I just want to enjoy my damn cookie in peace.

What plagues me more is that I don't know what to say to these comments. Most of them that are made are said in a manner of small talk (which I dislike and adds to my animosity), and I neither want to encourage further chit chat nor do I want to make a bigger deal out of something just thrown out there because someone felt the need to fill the silence. But I worry that people do feel these foods are bad and that they in turn are bad or naughty or evil for eating them. I don't know. I'm feeling a bit tweaky today. I guess it bugs me because I've been working to get out of that mindset, and I guess I resent it when I'm confronted with it, instead of feeling empowered that I no longer feel the need to make such comments. Now there's the positive spin I needed.

Funny how these postings help me work things out.

How cool is this?

It's Rosa Parks's mug shot found here. I find interesting that she's seated in the photo.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Yo my gosh, pt. 2

Posted on Very Zen today:

"My current theory is this: People who are prone to addiction usually have very distinct characteristics. One- We usually have some form of mental illness be it depression, mania, anxiety, or whatever. We are often too stubborn to seek treatment or don’t have the means so we self medicate. Two- We have a tendency to be oversensitive, every little thing upsets us and we will carry resentment to our graves. Fuck us and we’ll fuck ourselves twice. Three- We have the ability to be wholly self depreciating while simultaneously believing that we are really a good bit better than other folks. I think it’s called terminal uniqueness. And Four- we live in our own little worlds with our own little reality and refuse to develop the skills necessary to deal with people on their own terms. Therefore other people never behave like we think they should, and always let us down, we can’t see past our own noses and life is just unbearably fucking unfair all the time."

As much as it pains my psyche to admit this, this is totally and completely me. As you may recall from this post, I’ve been struggling alcohol, and have decided to stop drinking socially, as I can no longer control myself when I do. Most of my life, I have struggled with over/compulsive eating, another addiction, and have been co-dependent, yet another addiction. I am realizing slowly, because realizing it any faster would probably kill me, that I am a major source of my pain. I grew up in an emotionally unhealthy household, was a misfit in school and have been depressed since I was 10. I’ve worked through the stuff with my family, got over the rejection of my school mates, am surrounded by loving family and friends, have been taking meds and seeing a therapist. Yet, I’m still unhappy, in pain, lethargic. I can’t blame those other things anymore, and it’s time to take a long hard look in the mirror. It's hard work and sometimes I think I've worked through something only to have it come back and smack me hard (not in a good way). I still amaze myself with how much of a jerk I can be and how incredibly insensitive and selfish. My brain tries to find reasons for being so beyond myself -- I'm an only child; I'm too hard on myself; I deserve this -- but rarely do I accept that it's a character flaw, one that I need to work on.

There have been a couple instances in the recent past when I've done something that bothers J (somethings that were fairly harmless in my opinion). I've told him: "You know, I've always been like this, even when we were first dating. You know that I do this; it's who I am." I find it funny/ironic that I haven't been able to tell myself: "You know, you've always been like this. It's no one else's fault and no one else can fix it but you." Maybe this is a first step.

Monday, December 11, 2006


Keeping with the theme...

For Awesome

My friend, Ms. L, had this posted on her my space and I just had to share. Love it. Makes me feel a bit better about my ample, squeezable portions.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Taken on my Mac using Photo Booth

J: Do NOT Read This

And he won't -- one of the reasons I love him so.

I am so excited, I just had to share. So, J is coming home for the first time in two weeks tonight. Tomorrow, we have the whole day free, minus a pesky car related chore. To celebrate this day of togetherness, I have planned a whole day of fun, which will hopefully go something like this:
  • 8:30 am: drop the car off at the shop
  • 10:30 am: view the Egyptian exhibit at the Portland Art Museum
  • Noonish: lunch at Chipotle
  • 1:30 pm: listen to the Festival of Tubas at Pioneer Court House Square
  • 3 pm-ish: pick up the car
  • 5 pm-ish: watch the Christmas holiday fleet (non-military) float down the Willamette while sipping hot bevvies
  • 7 pm-ish: dinner of fake duck filets and asparagus risotto
  • 8 pm-ish: dessert of red wine and dark chocolate while watching episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer
  • 10 pm-ish: none of your beeswax

I'm so proud of myself. Of course, planning a whole day of fun activities during December isn't all the hard, since something is always happening. But, I am proud I found stuff for us to do the whole day that I think we will really enjoy.

On Sunday, I get to bake with Ms. H (she's in for a treat -- I'm a terrible baker) , go to a craft fest with her and then have a Ladies holiday gathering at her place with our two favorite fellow MPAers (we were all in the same Master's of Public Administration program at PSU). Yay! I love it when weekends are exciting and not just about dreading Monday.

CariDee Wins!

If you recall from this post, I love me some America's Next Top Model. On Wednesday, they selected a winner, and it was CariDee (the gal on the left), the gal I was rooting for, because, essentially, she's hot and seems to have a fun personality (though this somewhat manufactured by the show's editors, I'm sure).

While I love this show mainly for the mello-drama (most girls kicked off the show say they wanted to win more than anyone and there are always lots of tears), I found this round to be a little intellectually stimulating as well. The final two contestants were, of course, CariDee, and another woman, Melrose. (For those of you who don't know, she's not the gal on the right; that's Tyra Banks, the show's somewhat freaky host.) Technically, Melrose performed the best throughout the contest -- she won the most challenges, consistently took the best photos, performed well on the cat walk. However, she is not traditionally beautiful, she's a bit condescending and quite the perfectionist. However, she performed the best, in my opinion. So, who should have won -- the beautiful, funny, somewhat unpredictable girl or the more talented, perhaps not so nice model? Obviously, the judges went with the beauty and niceness, and I'm glad, 'cause I liked her, but I'm not sure they made the right decision. Not that it matters at all, expect maybe to Melrose, but I found it interesting.

The new ANTP starts next week, but I don't think I'll be watching -- I'm too mellow-dramaed out from this season and need to take a break. But I think it's being filmed in Britain with British gals, which could serve as an interesting compare/contrast against the American ladies. Hmmm...I think I just changed my own mind.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Body Integrity Identity Disorder

I just finished watching Whole, a documentary, Whole, about people with Body Integrity Identity Disorder, aka voluntary amputees, people who cut off healthy limb(s) to satisfy a psychosis. I don't feel I'm explaining this very well, but it's fascinating (to me at least). The disorder is compared to Gender Identity Disorder -- people who feel they were born the wrong gender, and some have surgery to give them the gender they believe themselves to be. So, with BIID, people sever their limbs to feel more complete and to have the body they believe they should have. I think its interesting because I can't relate, and the desire seems more foreign to me than GID, probably because during brief moments in my life, I have wished I was a boy, generally thought at times where I thought I would be having an easier time if I was a boy, which is not equivalent to GID at all, but for some reason, it makes me feel like I can identify just a tiny, tiny bit.

What does truly perplex me is those in the documentary who had their leg cut off were wearing prosthetic limbs. Granted, walking with a prosthetic limb is not like walking with a healthy leg. But, it still perplexes me as to why they would want to do that after undergoing so much to have the limb removed. I tried Googling for an answer, but to no avail.

I did find something interesting on an amputee web site:

Interesting take on the War in Iraq. (Why is it never called the Iraq War?)

Continuing my fascination with documentaries on obscure subjects, tomorrow Netflix should deliver one about children born with a genetic disorder that causes them not to feel pain (A Life Without Pain).

Mandarin Day: A Revised History

Happy Mandarin Day! I hope you all are enjoying the yummy goodness that is the Satsuma Mandarin.

So, a dear, sweet friend of mine posted a comment on the original Mandarin Day post, suggesting that my history of the day was a bit, well, flawed. And, I confess, it's true. I only vaguely know the history of the day, as told to me by J, who's bound to be a bit biased about who actually created the best holiday ever. But, I should have done my homework, checked my facts, verified my sources. Now that I have been enlightened, I present Mandarin Day: A Revised History:

Mandarin Day was created by my husband, J, his dear friends KW, the renowned journalist and skin diver (however, not done at the same time - he never mixes business with pleasure), and AO, world traveler, donkey officianado, and accomplished pirate.

This fabulous holiday is celebrated across the nation, in such places as Portland (where it started), Spokane and Seattle, WA, San Francisco and possibly in Chicago and Indianapolis. Maybe even Hamburg, Germany.

And the official drink of Mandarin Day? The Mandaritta.

Thank you, Ms. AW (wife of KW), for setting me straight. If y'all have time, check out her comment -- it's hi-larious.

P.S. Ms. AW -- J was offended that you referred to him as Alexander Hamilton; he said he's obviously Thomas Jefferson.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Shame & Regret

Really, minor shame and regret, but shame and regret none the less.

Little Arlo puts my dance moves to shame here.

Last night, while out on a fabulous date with Ms. H (happy hour and a play, y'all -- she knows how to treat a girl right). Anyway, while at happy hour, I heard a wonderfully cheesy love song that did not make it on to my mix -- Enrique Iglesias's "Hero" (I can be your hero baby/I can take away your pain/I can stand by you forever/You can take my breathe away). Now that is some fine, fine cheese.

Side note -- I had a chat with Ms. H yesterday regarding her pseudonym, since I had just arbitrarily assigned it to her, and it lacks imagination. I suggested other names, like Helicopter or Hippo (start with H, as her name does) or Feather (rhymes with) or the Latin term for the plant she was named after. Shockingly enough, she opted to remain Ms. H (what -- no Hippo?!?), saying she liked its mysteriousness. Ms. H in the drawing room with a hammer.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Cheesy Love Song mix

On my last video post (here), I mentioned I was making a mix of cheesy songs in response to Frema's call for such (here). I have made my mix and sent it out and I think it's a trimuph of cheesy love or love of cheese, which for me would equal blue cheese, but my mix is not that good. It's more like cheese ball good -- very yummy but a little odd since it's round and covered in nuts.

Anyway, here's what made it on to my mix:
  1. Say You, Say Me Lionel Richie (the inspiration for the whole mix making)
  2. Oh L'amour Erasure (sweet, gay-boy cheese)
  3. Heaven Is A Place On Earth Belinda Carlisle (takes me back to my middle school cheese days)
  4. Here You Come Again Dolly Parton (see video link above)
  5. Arthur's Theme (Best That You Can Do) Christopher Cross (I heart Yacht Rock)
  6. Forever in Blue Jeans Neil Diamond (I used to think the name of this song was Reverend Blue Jeans -- even cheesier)
  7. I Say A Little Prayer Aretha Franklin (old school cheese)
  8. Ice Cream Sarah McLachlan (cheese's cousin)
  9. I Kissed A Girl Jill Sobule (lesbian cheese)
  10. Fernando ABBA (Latin America -- or is it Spain? -- revolution cheese by a bunch of Swedes)
  11. Too Much Spice Girls (never too much of SG)
  12. Love on the Rocks Neil Diamond (ain't no big surprise)
  13. Total Eclipse of the Heart Bonnie Tyler (this is THE cheese song for me -- so mello-dramatic)
  14. Every Rose Has Its Thorn Poison (love the 'yeah, it does' line right after the first verse)
  15. Love Is A Battlefield Pat Benatar (the name alone is explanation enough)
  16. Kiss Me Deadly Lita Ford (she sings about getting in fights, borrowing money from her old man and loving to dance -- how romantic)
  17. Whenever, Wherever Shakira (it just makes me wanna dance)

I have shown some restraint and not made more videos of me lip syncing to these songs. But you know I so wanted to.

Things I Love: Nasal Inhalers

Something I love, but don't often have occassion to use, are medicinal nasal inhalers.

I love that your nose automatically clears and that your nose is left a little tingly. And I think its funny that you have to stick it up your nose. Yes, I am very mature. Plus, J would add, that I am obsessed with my nostrils and keeping them clear (infer what you will from that bit of info). I thought about buying a nasal inhaler today but couldn't justify the purchase since I do not currently have a runny nose. Bummer.

So, why am I sharing this? I was e-chatting (or whatever you call it when two people are chatting on gmail but not sending e-mails) with Ms. H about my love of the nasal inhalers and she said: "Ok, you're a little weird..." All I could reply was: "Yeah, I know." So, now you too know a little bit more about my weirdness.

Happy Mandarin Day!

Mandarin Day, this Thursday, December 7th (which is coincidentally Pearl Harbor Day), celebrates the yummy goodness that is the Satsuma Mandarin. Typically, Mandarin season begins about now, though this year, they arrived in the stores in mid-November but are still available.

While Mandarins resemble tangerines and clementines, they are distinguished by their "zipper" peals, lack of seeds and sweet, non-sour juice.

Mandarin Day was created thirteen years ago by my husband, Jason, and some of his friends. Generally, Mandarin Day is celebrated by eating copious amounts of Mandarins and drinking either Earl Grey tea or cocktails made with Absolut Mandarin vodka.

May the power of the Mandarin be with you!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Organic Free Range Chicken Broth

Dooce posted this about Organic Free Range Chicken Broth. While, I could not find the humor in the phrase Free Range Chicken Broth, I found the inclusion of the term organic quite humorous. Um, does the manufacturer mean that chickens are organic matter? How can a chicken be organic? Better question -- how can it not be organic? Does it mean the chickens only ate organic matter, instead of styrofoam?

I recently learned that it's not enough that I don't eat chicken, but I should be eating free range eggs. Now, does that mean that the chickens lay the eggs willy nilly, all over the farm and they have to be hunted down, like an Easter Egg hunt? Or that the eggs are not contained to the nest, but allowed to roam the farm until it is time to go in their carton home? Or that they're laid by free range chickens who, since being free to roam, infuse this freedom into the eggs?

Very perplexing.

I know that industrial chicken farms are disgusting, cruel places and that's why I don't eat chicken. But I feel that this urge to make our foods (or make them appear to be) natural and wholesome gets a little ridiculous at times.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Yo my gosh

From Free Will Astrology for Taurus:

I know how you're feeling, Taurus. I've done time in the same psychic prison you're trapped in. Because of my exemplary behavior while incarcerated, luckily, I was freed well in advance of my scheduled release date. Would you like to know what I did to win my early release? Four things: (1) I took responsibility for the ways I had perpetuated my own suffering. (2) I practiced feeling grateful for the lessons my pain had taught me. (3) I thought deeply about the actions I could take to atone for how I had hurt other people. (4) I vowed to use the shame I felt as a motivation to become smarter and kinder and wilder.

Seriously, if I didn't know better, I would swear Mr. Free Will was stalking me. This is so spot on the nose. I have been spending my free time trying to figure some of my sh*t out. I carry a lot, no I mean A LOT, of psychic baggage with me everyday, every where. Time to let it go. I really struggle with forgiveness. Martha Beck (wonderful, wonderful Martha Beck) wrote in her book, Leaving the Saints, that forgiveness means "is giving up all hope of having had a different past." Hooo -- does that ever describe me and my psychic pain.

I have been stuck at age 10 for the past 19 years -- the year my world went topsy turvy. That was the year the my mom...well, how to put it?...lost all control of her anger. She was diagnosed with bi-polar disorder, but, for many reasons, I don't think that was an accurate diagnosis. That was the year the emotional and verbal abuse started. Things got bad and stayed bad for the next four years. During that time, I lost the one person in this world that I truly loved and trusted. My mom had always been there for me and loved me unconditionally, unlike many of my other family members at the time. I was devastated and stopped trusting myself and other people. I stopped opening up. Mentally, imaginatively, I shut down. It's taken a long time to work my way back and I still have a ways to go. And part of my journey involves forgiving and understanding my mom. I don't condone her actions, but I think I may have reached an understanding as to why she did what she did.

And how do I congratulate myself for reaching that understanding? By getting mad at myself for not having understood earlier. Logically, I know this is ridiculous, but emotionally, I feel it. I guess this is why I have a therapy appointment next week.

P.S. After a two week hiatus, I did finally talk to my mom again, on Thanksgiving. She acted like nothing had ever happened, so I did too. Not sure this is the best course long-term, but I'm also not sure forcing her to talk about our issues is the best course either. Ha! Like I could force her to do anything.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Hanukkah has come early this year...

It's a veritable festival of lights at chez Davidson! Finally, after 11 long months, we finally have overhead lighting in our kitchen! Shalom! Opa! Yahoo! And, upstairs, the lightening is up to code! No worry about going up in flames while we sleep! Yipee!

1) I apologize to all my Jewish readers -- I have no intention of insulting your religion or comparing my situation to that of those who celebrated the first Hanukka, but I did feel it appropriate to make reference to the holiday since my lights are working and I am joyous about it and wish to celebrate.

2) I aplogize for the overabundance of exclamation (!) points, but this is truly a joyous occasion, requiring many !!!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Guilty Pleasure TV

Just so much to post tonight. Can you tell I'm lonely? And in desperate need of distraction? Humor me.

My guilty pleasure TV:

1) What Not to Wear on TLC

Truly, I feel no guilt or shame in loving this show. Stacy and Clinton rule!

2) America's Next Top Model on CW

Go CariDee!

3) Numb3rs on CBS

They solve crime with math and physics! And they don't take themselves too seriously! No!

I heart geeks and vampires

My new Freebie 5 list:

1. Nathan Fillion from Firefly and Serenity

2. John Krasinski as Jim Halpert on The Office

3. Jim Marsters as Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel

4. Ron Livingston from Office Space and the new Sprint commercials and some show on FOX

5. David Boreanaz from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and Bones

I'm a little embarrassed that I couldn't come up with a more meaningful or intellectual post, like my top 5 pick for person of the year, but oh well. Hope you enjoy the eye candy. Rawr.

Ooops...I did it again...

But not to a Britney Spears song. This time I'm using my wicked moves to celebrate one of my favorite ladies, Ms. Dolly Parton.

Yes, I am playing air piano in the beginning.

I was inspired while creating my Cheesy Love Song CD for Frema. So excited!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


I want to give a shout-out to my good friend, Ms. H, and my husbandito, J. They went above and beyond this weekend, when I made a very bad decision. Ms. H had a house warming party Friday night, at which alcoholic beverages were served. And I drank. A lot. How much I couldn't tell you. You see, I have a problem with social drinking. I find social situations stressful (even with people I know and love), and I like how alcohol makes me feel (i.e, relaxed and not self-conscious). And I'd had a pretty stressful week, both at work and at home. So, I arrived at Ms. H's party without a plan on how to limit my drinking and just flew past the slightly tipsy phase straight into hammered. To make a long and gruesome story short, I wound up getting sick (not in the bathroom) and J and Ms. H had to take care of me during the wee hours of the morn, mere hours before a massive work party at my house with J's sister and her family. Needless to say, I was not able to assist the work party. J was tres disappointed in me and I was as well. I let him down when he needed me, was a massive pain the booty and ruined the end of a very nice party.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened. Yes, I have more such tales, one that involves me getting sick on J. He's quite the trooper and, obviously, very committed to me. So, a long time coming (too long), I have made the decision to stop drinking socially. I make very bad decisions when it comes to those situations, and I make very bad decisions when I have been socially drinking. So, no more. Not that I am asking you all to stop me if you see me drinking. Only I can do that. I will also provide my own non-alcoholic beverages. I do ask you not pressure me to drink. I'm a sucker for peer pressure, especially when alcohol is involved. Trust me, it's not pretty when I go too far and no one else needs to be subjected to that.

The reason this is a confession is because I'm embarrassed. Embarrassed by my actions this past weekend and on other occasions. Embarrassed that I can't control myself when it comes to liquor (or much else, but that's a whole 'nother post). But, I know there's no shame in taking control of a situation and doing something positive.

Okay, think that's enough confessions for one post. Whew.

House for Sale

Finally, finally, finally our house is on the market. Not sure my marriage or I were going to survive the last month, but all are in tact, thankfully. I made J promise if we have to move again in the next 5 years for his work, he's handling the whole move and the selling of the house all by himself. Not that he hasn't helped this time, but I just cannot do this again any time soon. We've moved 5 times in the past 3 years. Yes, I agreed to every move, but no more! I swear it!

With that said, it really is a great little house, and I'm sad to be leaving it, especially since we've done so many great updates. If you or anyone you know is looking for a house in Portland, please pass the following link along (RMLS 6100708):

The faster this house sells, the sooner I stop posting about it and start posting about life in a wacky small town. I know you can't wait.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Rain and Mothers

So, you know what I hate? When it's raining (and it's been raining here quite a lot lately -- way more than usual) and people with umbrellas walk under the awnings, forcing fools like me without umbrellas to walk in the rain. How rude! And dumb! You have an umbrella sheltering your head -- share the wealth and let those of us sans head covering have half a chance of staying dry. Grrrrrr....

And you know what else I hate? I got on the bus last night and it was packed. I walked to the very back and took a seat between two people who appeared to have been on the bus for a couple stops. I sit down and my butt immediately feels soaked. I think, how did my butt get this wet outside? Then I realize it's the seat (since it's cloth covered, the wetness was not so visible). I feel the seat and confirm my theory. Then the chick sitting next to me says, "Yeah, that seat is really wet." Um, thanks? Couldn't have said that before I sat down, biatch?

And having not learned my lesson, I decided to call my mother back while riding the bus home. I know, I know, I was just asking for what happened when I dialed, but I like to talk to her on the bus because it's a distraction during the ride, and then I don't take up precious at-home time talking to her. Well, we really got into it, while I was on the bus, and I had to say some uncomfortable things, then watch my bus mates pretend they weren't listening (which is fine 'cause I would've been eaves dropping too). Anyway, the gist of the conversation with my mother was that she wants me to call her when I'm frustrated and upset about things and rant to her. Seriously. I think she would rather have me call her upset than happy. And it's not like I don't rant to her about things. But, apparently, that doesn't count unless I call her (rather than her calling me and ranting then). Just writing about this has made me see just how frigging ridiculous the whole conversation was. I am so frustrated with her right now. I love my mum -- she can be really great at times and a lot of fun. And I feel genuinely bad when I upset her because that's not my aim, but I want to be honest. I don't feel I have a genuine relationship with her, and I would like that, but whenever I try to address that, she just shuts down and blocks me out. She had a not so great relationship with her mother and she pushes too hard to have our relationship be like the one she wanted to have with her mom. Yes, she admitted to that (wholeheartedly, as though nothing were wrong with that). I just don't know what to do. She's in Arizona for the winter, so having a face to face talk isn't really possible. And even if it was, I'm not sure we'd make much headway. She's way in denial about many, many things. So, what to do?

Whew -- I did not need this drama this week. I had an interview Monday in WaWa, which went well. Hopefully, I'll have the final interview next week. J started his new job and really likes it (yay!). The house goes on the market this coming Monday (thank the Universe). The kitties have accepted me in J's vacuum, and we are bonding. Democrats are in charge of the federal and state congresses! Rumsfeld has resigned! And Britney Spears is getting a divorce! Yes, I am excited about that. It's so silly, I know, but I've been worried about her. I'm a worrier, it's what I do, and it's not restricted to me and those closest to me. I worry about a wide variety of things. I'm a diversified worrier.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A day in the life

Written by my friend who is a program director at Bradley Angle House Bradley-Angle House, a domestic violence shelter in Portland, Oregon (the oldest on the West Coast, I believe). This friend is one of my heroes; she works tirelessly and passionately on behalf of victims of domestic violence, advocates for a fat positive and gay friendly world and is a true social butterfly. She is intelligent, funny, kind, thoughtful and fun. And so flexible that she can, while standing, lift her foot over her head. She amazes me.

Let me start by saying that is fortunate enough to have such committed and knowledgeable advocates providing support and resources to the women and children that enter through our doors, call our crisis line or attend any one of our support groups. This is not an easy field to work in. It’s not the type of work that you neatly file away at the end of the day before your commute home.

When I provide the DV 101 training for all of our new volunteers, I spend quite a bit of time talking about how doing this work will change you. It will change the way you communicate. It will change the way you listen to the news, music, watch TV, observe others interacting with each other. It will make you question what you think you know about healthy relationships. You can’t do this type of work and walk away unaffected. You see and hear too much to not make change.

My day starts at 5:30 am with a phone call from shelter staff. One of the ladies is having an emotional break down and staff is concerned about her safety, the safety of other program participants, and their won safety. They have tried to call the local emergency mental health response team, but no one will be available until 3:00 pm to come to shelter and work with her. They suggest calling the police and having her transported to the hospital. Staff wants to support the woman in making her own decision, but is concerned she is not in the place to do that at the moment.

By the time I arrive at shelter 30 minutes later the woman in question has already begun packing her belongings and has decided to leave shelter. She is frustrated and feeling like this is not the place for her. Within 15 minutes of her leaving, before we have even had the chance to clean up her bed space we already have begun a phone screen with another woman with two children who need shelter.

Around noon they arrive. It’s been a long journey traveling across the US by bus with two small children. They are tired, hungry and grateful to no longer be on a bus full of strangers. It becomes apparent very quickly that the eldest child has witnessed and quite possibly experienced significant abuse. For most children, tired tantrums might consist of crying and flailing of arms, but this tiny four-year-old child stands with her arms firmly planted on her hips, looks her mother square in the eye and tells her she hates her. How do you know what hate is at age 4? Where does such anger come from?

By mid-afternoon it is time for shelter group. The ladies all gather together in the living room to participate. Today they are talking about support. Who are the people in your life that have supported and continue to support you? While sharing their stories they work with construction paper, glue, glitter and makers to make a tree of support. Each leave represents someone or something that has supported her throughout her journey to safety. They are smiling, teasing each other about their craft skills and generally just enjoying each other’s company.

As evening rolls around, some ladies are cleaning up the dishes from dinner while others are preparing their children for bed. The shelter is finally starting to quiet down. The hustle and bustle of the day has dissipated and the ladies are slowing down. This is the time of day when the mind finally has a moment to wander. This is a pretty common situation for most folks in general, but when your life has been turned completely upside down, you have had to leave your life as you once knew it and relocate to a shelter in order to be safe – this is the loneliest part of the day. It is the time you are thankful that there are other ladies around, both residents and staff that understand what you have been through, people that have committed themselves to creating a safe space for you and your family.

Shelter isn’t easy for staff or for participants. We all struggle everyday to meet each other where we are at and offer any sort of support and resources we can. It’s why we as staff remain committed. It’s for those moments in the day when everything is calm, as well as those moments when you know just being there to support someone in their crisis is all you can do. It’s a commitment to ending violence in our community and advocating for survivors everywhere.

Emergency Services Annual Report:

Our Emergency Shelter was home to 127 women and 105 youth last year, for a total of 4,425 nights of shelter. In comparison to the prior year, this represented a 30% increase in the number of women served —and a 7% increase in bednights. The program continued to provide high quality, life-saving services for women and children. These services include case management; domestic violence support groups; emergency food and clothing; advocacy; and referrals for housing, medical care, job training, counseling and other immediate needs.

Bradley-Angle staff are committed to providing culturally competent services to address the needs of the diverse population of women and children who utilize the program. Fifty-six percent of the women participating in shelter services were Caucasian; 17% were Latino; 7% were African American; 2% were Native American; 2% were Asian/SE Asian; and 15% identified themselves as being of mixed heritage. Combined, 44% of the residents were people of color. Seven percent of the women we served identified as being in a relationship with a person of the same gender. Forty-five percent of the women identified as having a disability; and 17% of the women spoke a primary language other than English, mostly Spanish. For most of the year, a significant part of each day was staffed by at least one person who was bilingual in Spanish and English. All of the shelter materials are available in both languages; and interpreters are utilized for house meetings, groups, and one-on-one work at times when bilingual staff are not on site. Eighty-six percent of the households had incomes at or below federal poverty guidelines at the time of entering the shelter.

Our domestic violence shelter truly was a life-line for the 232 women and children who came through its doors. Fifty percent of the women were under a direct death threat from an abuser before coming to shelter. Additionally, 29% of adult shelter residents had visited a hospital emergency room for abuse injuries, 13% had spent one or more nights in a hospital for abuse injuries, and 28% identified as temporarily or permanently disabled from injuries due to abuse.

Unfortunately, the demand for shelter continues to exceed its availability. We answered 2,625 crisis calls pertaining to domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, homelessness, and various other issues. Of these, a total of 1318 women with their 862 children requested shelter but were turned away, primarily due to lack of space in our shelter. This means that we had to turn away nearly 9 out of every 10 women (91%) who requested shelter from us.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Global Rich List

The Global Rich List, sponsored by CARE, lets you know just how rich you are.

Based on my annual salary, I am the 120,869,566 richest person in the world, in the top 2.01% richest people. Helps put things in perspective.

(tee hee -- I had labeled the link the Global Rick List -- amusing to think of a list of all the Ricks in the world -- tee hee.)

Sunday, November 05, 2006


I realized that I had not yet posted a picture of my other cat, Paul, which is not so much unfair to him as it is to my dear readers. He's a luv, so adorable. So here you go -- taken of him last week (he's the orange one).

And a quick update -- J and I have been working hard on the house, getting it ready to go on the market in about a week (!). I'm headed to WaWa (as I've taken to calling it) today with J for a job interview on Monday. With a for-profit. Scandalous. I feel like such a sell out. It's a company that produces health publications for hospitals, HMOs, etc. I'm applying to be a production coordinator, i.e. project manager. I'm hoping the atmosphere is not too corporatey and that I can really get my planning groove on in the position. Planning, it's my hobby.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Or it may have been just what I needed

Tuesday night, when I posted the video of me dancing to Pat Benatar, I thought I was doing something goofy to let off some steam. Well, I also got lots of wonderful feedback, which has been just what I needed. Lately, by the time Friday arrives, I am a wreck of stress, anxiety, fears and exhaustion. I haven't been taking very good care of myself during this time of change and the chaos that goes with moving to a new town and state. But the feedback that I have received on my video has buoyed my spirits and also helped to see myself in a different, more positive light. Thank you, thank you for the feedback.

(I had to post this message because I don't know how to reply to comments individually. I'm not trying to make the non-commenters feel guilty, though it's always nice to hear from you.)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

I may live to regret this

I am a fan of a lovely blog, Very Zen. Blog mistress Amanda issued a challenge last week, and I have picked up the gauntlet. I hear tell prizes are involved -- I'll let you know if I win (how can I not?). As long as Mandy W doesn't enter, I should be golden. And, yes, I did this one take. Can't perfect genius.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Michael Sandy

Shared by one of my co-workers:

On October 08, 2006, just 2 days before his 29th B-day, in Brooklyn, NY a black gay man by the name Michael Sandy was lured to a remote location and brutally beaten by 4 white straight young men. While trying to escape from his attackers he ran into oncoming traffic and was hit. He then lay in a coma on life support at a local hospital. After several days, Michael's family decided to take him off of life support. This man was brutally attacked and robbed of his life. I was very troubled when I first found out that this had happened and was also very shocked. It’s been almost 2 weeks since the attack and our so-called leaders in the "Gay Rights Movement" have not stepped up to take a stand on this horrendous attack. If you recall, when Mathew Shepherd was murdered the Human Rights Campaign and the National Gay and Lesbian Taskforce were just two of the many organizations that responded. Where are they now?

As an African American I am not surprised by the lack of coverage Michael's death received. I find it appalling that our so-called leaders did not speak out and take a stand on this issue. We have the black community that has chosen to look the other way because he was gay, and then we have the gay community that looked the other way because he was black. I strongly believe that if Michael Sandy was white or heterosexual his story would have gotten much more media attention and recognition. Thankfully, three black gay organizations have stepped up to the plate. The New York State Black Gay Network, Gay Men of African Descent and the National Black Justice Coalition have all come fourth to rally against this issue.

As Martin Luther King Jr. once said "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” I feel that part of being a culturally competent organization means being a leader and speaking out when injustices like this happen. I'm fortunate to be able to work for an organization that strives to be more culturally competent and proactive in its work.

So for this week's Friday email I'd like for us to acknowledge the tragic loss of a human being. And let this be a reminder of how far we have "not" come and how much more work needs to be done.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


In Jane magazine, of all places, I read last night about a movement called freeganism (combo of free+vegan). According to, freegans are "people who employ alternative strategies for living based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources." Simply put, they try to purchase as little as possible and what they do purchase is second hand or recycled. What interests me most about this movement is that freegans have realized the interconnectedness of the global capitalist economy and that boycotting one corporation or industry was not going to change things. Instead, they have boycotted the entire system and are living as simply and freely as possible, which includes their food, clothing, transportation and housing.

I just find this so fascinating, I had to share. I have been toying with the idea for a while about lessening my consumerism -- of course, I've just been thinking about it but not actually practicing. Reading about how freegans have integrated their philosophy into almost area of their lives inspires me to try a little too -- baby steps.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I got the word today that my job would prefer to have an in-house grant writer, rather than a long distance one (i.e., me). I had expected this response, but I still was hopeful. I'm sad. I really love the place that I work (and if you've ever read dooce, you'll know why I'm not naming it). The work that they do is amazing and innovative and thoughtful. And I love the people I work with -- such an eclectic, open, fun bunch of folk. I will truly miss them. This is the best place I have ever worked.

What I will not miss is the work itself. I feel a bit like a hamster running on its wheel -- working and working, never really getting anywhere. Yes, I'm successful at getting funding, but the need is never ending. I've worked as a grant writer the past four years and am getting a bit burned out. So, this could be a blessing, a way to bow out gracefully. My boss wants to keep things open ended in case we change our minds. She's right, we've never lived in a small town so far from a metropolitan center, but I like to think it would take more than a couple months to determine whether or not we liked it there. Shit, we lived in Chicago for two years and we knew we didn't like it before we ever moved there. I was polite to her, and she doesn't really know me, but give us a little credit -- we've thought about this.

Peoples' reactions to the move has been interesting, swinging from very supportive (thank you, Ms. H) to the excited to the skeptical to the insulting. Normally, peoples' doubts would really make me second guess myself but this time not. When making this decision, J and I realized there was no "right" decision -- either choice was a good option. Yeah, with this choice there is a lot of unknown. Maybe I'll hate living in Walla Walla. Maybe I'll miss living in a large metropolitan area. Maybe I'll miss my PDX friends too much. Maybe I'll never find a job as good as the one I have. Maybe, maybe, maybe. But, I'm excited -- it feels like a challenge and I like a challenge. I'm excited to find out what life is like in a small town, one that is not near another city, one that is pretty darn independent and community oriented. And excitement can take you a long way, if you let it, especially past the initial dread and dislike.

Okay, I'm rambling. And I'm frustrated. And I'm tired. And I'm sad. It's time for a treat, I think.

A little gift from the universe

On the bus this morning, a gentleman was getting ready to disembark, and we were having a little chit chat. He then asked what I was off to save the world. I replied that actually, I help people with HIV and AIDS. He said that he could tell I was doing something to save the world as I was radiating love. He said this in a very non-cheesy or slurred (i.e. drunk) manner. It made me smile and feel good about the work that I do, that I am indeed spreading the love, letting people with HIV/AIDS or people at-risk know that they are not alone and that others care for them and want them to remain healthy. I don't believe in God in a mainstream religion sense, but I do believe the universe sends you little gifts and if you're open, you'll receive them.

Another little gift I received -- Sunday night, J and I were sleeping on our futon in the living room because we had been recovering the hardwoods in our upstairs and the smell was overpowering. The kitties love to play with their mice once the lights go off, and they are very vocal while playing. Rachel was engaging her mouse, when we asked her to be please be quiet (we try to be very polite to our cats). She picked up her mouse, went down to the basement and commenced playing there (we could hear her through the vents). We never trained her to do that. It was so sweet and considerate and kind of out of character. When Paul started playing with his mouse, we asked him to also go to the basement, but he ignored us. Oh well.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Movin' on up to the East side

We're moving! To Walla Walla, Wa! Where, you ask? Why? When? Read on...

(see the lower right hand yellow area)

So, in late August, J was laid off. He'd already been looking for a new job and had already applied for a banking position in Joseph, Oregon. The bank called but said they had a position open in Walla Walla instead. We went out last week, he interviewed, we toured the area. This week they offered him the job and we accepted. We'd been thinking about leaving Portland for a while. I'll never argue that Portland isn't a great city. But, it's a city. And I grew up here. I've been wanting to try the smaller town thing for a while. The last year has been a good one. We're really going to miss the friends we have here. But it's time for us to be moving on. J's job starts at the end of October. I'm not sure how soon I'll move over -- we need to sell the house, etc.

There you have it -- the abridged version. While this post lacks the enthusiasm I had hoped for it, we are both very excited about this move. We really like Walla Walla. I'm in a bit of a shock, esp. since this all happened yesterday. I don't even know where to begin starting this move. So, mentally, emotionally, I'm just resting right now, processing.

And saying Walla Walla Washington really fast. It's fun.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Not for the faint of heart

I took this picture this morning while attempting to train my new assistant, Paul (the cat). This is not for the squeamish. But I find it hilarious, hence, the reason for this post. J thinks I'm just plain gross.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Things might be looking up

In regards to the frowning in my sleep situation. Last night, I caught myself smiling in my sleep (after having puked up most of the wine I had ingested). A smile alone would have been kudos, but, as I hate puking, I'm thinking the smile might mean something more profound.

And, thanks to mimi smartypants (see link to the right), I found a lovely site called Abstinence Outlet ( Of course, it is a Christian site. My favorite item:

Thankfully, J is not a huge fan of roses.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Blogger is being a butt and not letting me make this picture my replacement for the belugas in my profile. This is Charlie, my in-laws' Lhasa-Apsa. I am so very enamored with Charlie. Whenever I visit, I try to convince him to come home with me. Alas, he loves my in-laws more than me. But we have fun while we're together.

Foot firmly planted

Irony of all ironies. Today, at work, we had our monthly All Staff meeting. During a section about communication with your co-workers, I say, in my slightly bitchy tone, something to the effect that I wish people would learn my correct title and that of my office mate's. Not such a big deal for me, but my office mate always gets these half-assed attempts at stating his title, which I think he finds a little insulting. So, my heart was in the right place, but oh so poorly executed. The moderator quickly, but not embarrassingly moved on, and one of my co-workers commented to me that people can't remember her title either. Anyway, I realized my folly soon thereafter -- inevitably, I'm going to mess up someone's title and sound like a jack ass (again). A little later, I realized that at AIDSWalk this past Sunday, while introducing J to some co-workers, I completely forgot one's name. Insert foot now. Why, why must I make a fool of myself in front of the entire organization? Lesson learned -- don't share these thoughts with all your co-workers. Try to keep some of them believing that you're not a complete jack ass.

Chagrined am I.

In reality, it's not a big deal, but I couldn't get over the irony -- while discussing what not to do regarding communications with co-worker, I set a prime example. Which I totally meant to do. I stepped up, took one for the team. How else are people going to learn without a bad example?


A few weeks ago, I downloaded this picture off our digital camera. J had taken it while I was napping, not so much to catch me asleep, but to show me that Paul had curled up on me and slept too. That doesn't happen too often. I was astonished to find that the frown on my face was not a rare occurrence. Apparently I frown all the time in my sleep. I caught myself doing it the other night. What does this mean? I haven't been having great dreams the past few months but nothing awful. Do I smile too much during the day, so at night, my mouth likes to excercise the frown muscles? I find this frowning bothersome. So, now I will likely frown even more while sleeping.

The biggest question of all -- do I drool while I'm frowning?

Monday, September 25, 2006

Stolen from Vanity Fair

Questions posed to Margaret Atwood in the Oct. 2006 issue:

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Holding a sleeping baby.

What is your greatest fear?
Not having a child.

Which living person do you most admire?
Janet Weiss (drummer, Sleater-Kinney).

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Passive agressiveness.

What is your greatest extravagance?

What is your favorite journey?
A new book.

On what occasion do you lie?
When people ask how I'm doing.

Which living person do you most despise?
George W. Bush.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
How are you?

What is your greatest regret?
Spending so much time and brain power worrying.

When and where were you happiest?
When Jason proposed.

What is your current state of mind?
Relaxed, sleepy, content.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My impatience.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Still being alive and relatively sane.

If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?
A Cassowary (largest land bird in Australia).

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?

What is your most treasured possession?
My star tattoo.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?

Where would you like to live?
In a hobbit commune in New Zealand.

What is your favorite occupation?

What is your most marked characteristic?
My goofiness.

What is the quality you most like in a man?

What is the quality you most like in a woman?

Who are your favorite writers?
Peter S. Beagle, Margaret Atwood, Isabel Allende.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
Jane Eyre.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Team D+, Liv, my co-workers, Iris, Amanda, Heidi.

What is it that you most dislike?
People's inhumanity to each other.

How would you like to die?
In my sleep.

What is your motto?

A Good Moment

I was sitting on the back deck just now, alone, enjoying a small glass of red wine (from a box), looking at the few stars visible in the sky, feeling the cooling breeze, listening the cars on Sandy Blvd., watching Rachel (cat) watch a spider crawl up the door frame. J and I, we've created a good life here. The past couple of weeks have been great -- touch and go moments, but overall, very good. It's amazing, how good we can be to each other. When I stop thinking of myself as a "wife" and him as a "husband," things are easier. I remember why I married him. I remember I love him. I think -- and I can't speak for him -- that, at times, we get a little too wrapped up in those titles, with their expectations, stereotypes. All I owe him is respect and honesty. And that 's all he owes me. When I can break/ignore all the other "agreements" (see _The Four Agreements_ by Don Miguel Ruiz), loving and being in a marriage is relatively easy. Why do I make things so hard? I've been asking myself that my whole life.

Music: Arcade Fire "Funeral" -- started making a playlist in iTunes, pulling all my favorite songs from our Library and almost this entire album made it on there. They remind me of The Shins, of Modest Mouse, but there's a pinch of something more that makes it brillant.

Picture: Rachel, my silly, goofy girl. She's a tough one, not like most cats. She doesn't really enjoy pets, she loves to play and she's very vocal, with her grunts and meows and demands for cream on a daily basis. She still flees me, as though I may decide at any moment to kill her. Though, when we've been gone for a few days, she follows us around the house and lets us pet her, just a little. But she loves her Paul (the other cat) -- hopelessly devoted to him. And when she can relax enough, she loves a good chin rub.

Wedding: Dorcy - West

From The Olympian

Lane and Barbara Dorcy are proud to announce the marriage of their daughter Hilleri Danielle to Samuel Evans West, son of Ronald and JoAnne West of Eugene, Oregon.

The wedding and reception took place at the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle on July 22, 2006. The ceremony was officiated by Gery Gerst, the bride’s Godfather. The bride’s Matron of Honor was Anneke Stasson, Hilleri’s cousin, and the best man was Michael Anderson, Sam’s cousin.

Hilleri graduated from Washington State University with a degree in Education and Seattle University with a Masters in Special Education. Sam graduated from University of Oregon with a degree in Economics. The couple met through their mutual friends, Jason and Cora Davidson.

Hilleri and Sam will reside in Seattle. The couple would like to thank their family and friends for making the day so special.

**Yes, Jason and I introduced Hilleri and Sam, and though that's really the only role we played, I feel strangely proud at having brought the two together. I guess it just feels good when you can help two people find each other and that makes them so very happy.**

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


From "Corruption of Remembrance" by Michael C. Gilbert:

We remember the dead by how we live. I live in a country that is in the midst of its own acts of remembrance. As I look back over the last five years, although I am continually touched by the efforts of thousands of individuals and organizations, I am heartbroken and ashamed by our collective response as a nation.

As a country, we have chosen to remember the dead of 9/11, not with life and love, but with death, greed, repression, and lies.

We preyed upon the people's collective anguish to invade the Middle East and in the process kill far more people than were killed on that horrible day. We've transferred untold billions of dollars out of the public coffers and into the hands of the wealthy few. We have worked to build up the machinery of private profit and a network of private killing organizations.

At home, we continue to choose to remember the dead through systematic spying on citizens and through the erosion of civil liberties and other key foundations of civil society. Barely within the reach of our crumbling legal protections, we've engaged in widespread kidnapping, imprisonment, and torture.

I can hardly contain my tears when I ask the dead: Is this how you wanted to be remembered?

HIV - social revoluntionary?

Yesterday, I met a delegation from Africa -- six men and two women from Mali, Ivory Coast, Chad and Togo. (One was a chief of a town in Togo -- he wore an actual crown!) They all spoke French, so we spoke through interpreters. We talked a lot about HIV/AIDS (this was through my work). What struck me the most is how similar our struggle are -- with getting people to get tested, use condoms. Someone else commented that HIV touches on all our taboo subjects -- sex, drug use, promiscuity, poverty, race. It made me wonder, if there is a god or a higher being, was this virus sent to help us get beyond our hang-ups around all of these things. To effectively fight AIDS, you have to acknowledge that people have sex, often with multiple partners, that sex is more often than not about pleasure than procreation, people shoot up drugs, that poor and often minority people contract this virus due to lack of access to quality condoms and HIV tests and many women contract it because they lack an effective means of protecting themselves from it. If we, as a society, valued fighting this virus like we value fighting breast cancer, I think it could help us work through many social stigmas and start addressing root issues.

Functioning like a girl

So, you might of guessed that I'm a Firefly geek. Well, I've watched it so much that I'm starting to draw wisdom from the show, much like I occasionally draw wisdom from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Not to say the wisdom is faulty or any less wise because of the source, but when I explain the source of the wisdom, that's where it falls apart. "So, Spike, a vampire, says to Angel, the vampire with a soul, that he may be love's bitch but he's man enough to admit it." See what I mean?

Okay, well I'm way off track here. I brought it up because one of the characters (River, the crazy girl) said something that I identify with:

I work, I function like I'm a girl. I hate it because I know it'll go away, the sun goes dark and chaos is come again.

I have my good days, I have my not so good days. My good days are tinged with the worry that the bad days will return, that the good days -- how long will they last? Granted, lately, my bad days have not been so bad. But I worry the day will come again when the darkness will run deep and maybe, this time, I won't escape. Sometimes it's tempting to just give in, to succumb to the bad, to become crazy and stop fighting it. There's peace to be found in that option. It seems that life is one long struggle. Can rest be found?

Well, now I'm feeling very mellow-dramatic and the part of my brain that activates once I've made such confessions is saying "Come, come now. You don't really feel that way. You're just overreacting and trying to get attention. Silly girl. Go back in your corner." I guess that's from years of trying to hide what I was feeling, what was going on in my life -- repress. I will resist the urge to delete this post or say anything more demeaning about it.

Stolen from Liv

What side of the heart do you draw first?:

Can you dive without blocking your nose?:
um...not sure

What color is your razor?:
blue and white

What was for dinner last night?:
veggie stirfry with chick'n and salsa over rice

Do you watch TV Land?
no - no cable

what's your favorite number?:

Do you always read those pointless things they say on adult swim?:
adult swim?

Have you ever changed the wording in a question / added a question to a survey you didn't create?

Star Wars or Lord of the Rings?
well, until the prequels for sw came out, this would have been a tough question -- now, lor all the way

air conditioning?

How many chairs at the dining room table?

Do you like video games?:
i prefer computer games

what's your favorite gaming system?:
play station 2, since that's what i own

Do you know all the words to the Fresh Prince Theme Song?:
yes, unfortunately

Do you go to summer camp?:
no, just day camp

what's your favorite kind of gum?:
the orbit citrus

Do you like to read?:

Do you have a crush on anybody?:

Do you know how to use some words correctly, but not know the exact meaning of them?:

Do you like to sleep?:

Do you like commercials?:

Do you like rap?:

Do you want a bright yellow '06 mustang?:
no, no and no

Have you had sex in the past 24 hours?:

What's something you always wanted?:
a baby

Do you have hairy legs?:
below the knee, no; above the knee, yes

How many fillings do you have?:
none but i have two small cavities, too small to be filled

Would you rather swim in the ocean or a lake?:
if its a warm ocean, then the ocean wins; otherwise, i prefer a lake

Do you wear a lot of black?:

Have you ever hugged a tree?:

Describe your hair:
mid-neck length, tri-color starting as honey at the roots, then a blondish-red, then red at the tips

Do you like drama?:
i am loathe to admit it but yes

Are you afraid to die?:
no, but i do worry about how i might die -- i'd rather it not be painful

Are you an adult?:

Do you think you have a good handle on spelling?:
most days

Ever won a spelling bee?:

Are you a television addict?:
recovering. if it's on, i have a hard time focusing on anything else.

Do you enjoy spending time with your mother?:
on occasion

Does your mom think someone's hot?:
pierce brosnon

Are you a sugar freak?:
i enjoy a fix now and then -- or everyday

Actually, do you like orange juice?:

What sign are you?:

Where do you wish you were right now?:
asleep or on a hike

Unknown facts/secrets about yourself:

1. What does your LJ headline mean?
don't have one

2. Elaborate on your default photo:
it's a picture of a baby beluga born at the shedd aquarium in chicago -- i saw it in utero

3. What's your middle name[s]?:
louise -- same as my grandma

4. What is your current relationship status?:

5. What are you wearing right now?
black wool sweater, purple paris t-shirt, black yoga pants

6. What is your current problem?
can't access my work e-mail

7. What do you love most?
my hubby, my cats, my friends, my house, my work

8. Who makes you most happy?

9. Are you musically talented?:
um, maybe?

10. If you could go back in time, and change one thing, what would it be?:
hmm...firefly not getting cancelled

11. If you had to be an animal for one day what would it be?
a whale

My friend Amanda's creation

Thursday, September 07, 2006

One more thing I've done...

well, witnessed, really. I meant to add this to the list below. While living in Chicago, I saw a cab driver murdered. At the time, I didn't know what the hell was going on. It was February 2005, very late at night -- around 3 am. I was awoken to the shouts of "F*ck you! F*ck you!" Then I heard an engine revving. I raced to the living room in time to see a cab driving forward really fast, then reversing and going forward again really fast. Then the cab drove off. I got on the phone to call 911, thinking I would alert them to a reckless cab driver, but then a woman started screaming for help. Within minutes, there were dozens of people on the street helping her. Once the ambulance arrived, I realized there was a man lying in the middle of the street. As they loaded him in to the ambulance, I couldn't tell if he was alive or dead. I was awake the rest of the night -- I hadn't been sleeping well during that time and all the excitement had me amped. The next morning, the news reported that the man had died. A passenger he picked up in my neighborhood had begun fighting with him about something and the passenger got so angry that he pulled the cab driver from his cab, beat him, then ran over him with the cab twice before driving off. The passenger was caught within a couple of days and deemed psychologically unstable. He later tried to kill himself. I was devastated when I learned what I had witnessed. I'm still a bit traumatized. But what bothers me the most is the woman I heard screaming. I wonder if she's okay -- she saw the whole thing happen from just a few feet away and then she tried to save the cab driver, cradling his head in her lap. He may have died there. And she didn't know if that passenger would be back or not. Knowing how much the whole thing has affected me -- someone witnessing it from four floors up -- I worry how it has affected her. I hope she's okay.

The first of many, I'm sure

So, my newest obsession is I was trying to create the CoraNation emblem, but the only inspiration that struck me was my fear of birds. Yes, I fear all birds to a point, but mainly those kept in a cage, larger than a pigeon and/or that fly at my head. Seriously. During the recent vacation, we pulled up to a cheese shop with a petting zoo (don't ask) that had an Emu wandering around it. While still in the car, I had the beginnings of a panic attack (wringing of hands, hyperventilating) and begged my friend to re-park the car. Then, J had to escort me from the car -- he kept an eye on the loose roosters while I kept an eye on the Emu -- to the shop. He wanted to leave the shop early to rest in the car, but I told him he could absolutely not leave me alone to walk that gauntlet alone. I'd thought I was pretty much over my fear, but I guess not. Every few years or so, it rears its ugly head and I wind up mortifying myself in front of others and having absolutely no control over it. At least this freak out wasn't as bad as the Australia Freak Out of 1999. I still shudder over that (both from my own mortification and the thought of those ducks swarming me).

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bigger plans

Posted on Post Secret (see link to the right).

Growing up, my mom often told me that she thought I was destined for great things. One reason sited is the near perfect triangle that appears on my left palm -- the doctor who delivered me told her it was a special sign. Another reason is probably that she, disappointed with her own life, had wanted me to do great things and therefore justify her existence.

Up until a few months ago, I did believe I was destined for greatness and was frustrated and worried that I might not be doing the things necessary to achieve that greatness. Now, I don't believe I am. Can't say what changed exactly -- maybe I just realized that there are 5 billion people on this world and knowing how arbitrarily people are assigned greatness. But it depresses me and I struggle with finding purpose in my life. A part of me knows that it's the little, everyday things one does that mean more than the big things, but I guess I miss the idea of having the glory of greatness. I wanted the Noble Peace Prize. I wanted the cover of Time Magazine. I wanted to be a Trivial Pursuit answer. And I wanted my life to be easily justified. I feel it's hard to justify my existence as it currently is if I'm not moving towards something greater. Sure, who knows what tomorrow brings, but I feel in order to live a life less frustrated and anxiety ridden, I need to let this dream of greatness go and make peace with and find acceptance for my existence as I am.

P.S. Realizing as I wrote this post that I was going to share it with others and show some of what I consider to be my darker/hidden parts, is a bit of a rush. I want to hide, yet I want to expose. Exposure does feel better, since hiding requires so much hyper awareness.

Things I've done

Back from vacation, which was wonderfully relaxing, nauseating and anger inducing all at different times. However, it was nice to flee my every day life for a few days and live a different way.

From Anna Dilemna's blog (see link on the right) -- everything I have done is highlighted:

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins (I wish!)
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said 'I love you' and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa (I did climb the Eiffel Tower)
17. Grown and eaten my own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg (a glacier for me)
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than I could afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as I possibly could
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about my life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for my computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was drunk
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Taken a midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer then I was actually in love with the person
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized my CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love with someone and not had my heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than six hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo (two)
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an "expert"
83. Received flowers for no reason (thanks J)
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand (how I lost my virginity)
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one of my parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror Picture Show
96. Raised children
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
98. Created and named my own constellation of stars
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when I knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an illness that I shouldn't have survived
105. Written articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of mine below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun or pistol
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had my picture in the newspaper
129. Changed someone's mind about something I care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one "important" author who I missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all my school reunions (so far)
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written my own computer language
141. Thought to myself that I'm living my dream
142. Had to put someone my love into hospice care
143. Built my own PC from parts
144. Sold my own artwork to someone who didn't know me
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146: Dyed my hair
147: Been a DJ
148: Shaved my head
149: Caused a car accident
150: Saved someone's life

I have also skinny dipped in the Sea of Crete (Greece) under the light of a full moon, heard the Dalai Lama speak, flown first class to Europe, visited several concetration camps, delivered a class presentation entirely in German to a German audience, walked in a gay pride parade and performed a cello solo for an audience.