Thursday, 31 December 2009

Lower expectations and a sad goodbye

When a movie gets this much publicity I have to comment. My family and I went to see Avatar last night – a film I had been awaiting with baited breath.

It was a disappointment. You should still go I say, the special effects are worth the trip, but lower your expectations. Somewhere during the editing, I expect, the guts of the story were cut out and you had no idea that there was a real life and death reason for what was happening until the last few moments of the film. It greatly lessened the impact of the film.

Years ago (1992, I looked it up for you) a film came out that said the same thing but better – Fern Gully. Those of you who are parents will remember it, it was animation and we all took our children. It was enchanting and also (without banging you on the head with an anvil) got across the message that we need to take care of Mother Earth.

Avatar showed a wonderful society of aliens on a planet worth preserving under attack from the nasty Earthlings, but never tells us WHY until the last moment of the film.

I found Avatar disappointing but worth the trip. Do let me know what you think.

On another note, tonight is the last night for the famous NYC restaurant and landmark, Tavern on the Green. I have so many wonderful memories of this restaurant. When my child was a toddler we played in the sandbox just next door in Central Park and had afternoon tea and brunch on many occasions at this New York City landmark. Last February when my husband took me, to what is now our yearly trip to NYC (so that I can have at least one week of winter and we can see the theatre shows), we dined at Tavern on the Green in what turned out to be an afternoon Happy Hour and then a glorious and memorable dinner. We had spent the majority of the day walking museums (yes, my husband loves me that much) and then taking a long walk through Central Park ending at Tavern on the Green. They were just between the lunch crowd and the dinner crowd. Instead of sending us away, a table was set up for us in a snug corner and we observed the changing of the guard for the night‘s festivities, and the preparation of the dining rooms while being served cocktails and coffee to thaw us from our long chilly walk. We were then escorted to our table and treated like VIPs for the evening. It was a wonderful experience and one I don’t think we shall ever forget. I give a salute and a curtsey in farewell to this grand old lady of New York City. I regret her passing and know she will be missed.

Ciao and Happy New Year my lovely readers. I wish joy and adventure for us all in the coming year.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

The dangers of Absolute right...

..and so Oral Roberts (dead yesterday at 91 years) is today waking to find whether or not he was right.

Can you imagine his surprise, if for instance the Buddhists are right? "Jesus! You mean there is no heaven? My enemies (those who disagreed with me, or did not look like me) are not burning in Hell? What do you mean there is no hell? Then WHO is responsible? I am responsible? I don't even know what that means!"

OR what if the Hindus are right? "Um yes well now Miss Kali if you will just let me explain.... Those are very nice skulls you have there. Um yes... I’m very sorry for saying that, and if you will just give me a chance to speak for you; I mean to you…"

OR The Muslims? "Yes sir well now Allah eh? That's not so far from The Lord God now is it? I can see where you are coming from... Yes, well that Crusade business could have been a mistake but you can hardly blame me can you? Why I wasn't even born. Say what? Now I may have used the term “heathens and infidels” but I assure you I meant no insult to You Sir. It was not personal. I just thought I was right; divinely inspired you see…”

Or the Janes, or the Jews, or the American Indians or the….

This is why I always, in politics and spiritual matters, hold out the possibility that I could be wrong. What I would give to see his “face” today… Or he could be right in which case I am in big, major, trouble.

Thursday, 10 December 2009

feast your eyes on some moments of 2009

Now that's seeing to your duty! When there was an early morning attack, this chap rushed from his sleeping pack to assist his buddies in returning fire.

HIs Holiness the Dalai Lama gets around. Here he is serving soup in a kitchen that feeds the homeless in San Francisco usa.

Mom and Baby Humback

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Not dead yet...

Just to update my incredibly, and oh how I appreciate it, readers - I caught the god-awful flu/bacteria something just after we attended the Renaissance Fair, and was quite ill and hacking and fever.... you get the idea. Then we took a little trip up to middle (?) Texas to my brother and sister-in-law's ranch for Thanksgiving where I hit my head.... I adore them both, but apparently the water there is very heavy in metal, and my world traveled body that has been oh so pampered of late said "oui?" and yuk... you get the idea.

I'm still alive and as of today standing - mostly. So - not dead yet and you will be hearing much more from me both here and over at Power Room Graffiti.

Thank you again for sticking with me.


Monday, 16 November 2009

Renaissance Festival 2009

I really think the Druid persona suits me eh?

We took three teenage boys and two teenage girls.
Best lines of 14 November 2009/ Renaissance Festival

“I have to get the chicken pox right away.”

“Boys do it quicker and longer than girls…”

“Why can’t they (women) open their own doors?”

“How did you have time to see so many places?” I thought you were like 25. No way you are 60!”

“Hey man that’s my wife you’re hitting on.”

Saturday, 7 November 2009

An east way to be a good chap(ess)

JUst go here and click the purple spot and get free food for homeless animals. No muss no fuss and no money! Thank you.


Thursday, 5 November 2009

Friday, 30 October 2009

Go Yankees!

Last night was one! We just need three more.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Can you say PITCHING?

Cliff Lee just shattered the Yankees last night. Not only did he throw strike after strike but made two nonchalant catches that had me howling with laughter. It’s the World Series dude, show some excitement.

And what about Utley? TWO homeruns in the first game of the World Series! Do you think he could sleep at all last night?

We lost, but a good game to watch. “It’s not over ‘til it’s over.” More games coming up and the Yankees don’t like to lose.

Paris trip blogs are coming! I've got the World Series right now and apparently my chaps need me!


Thursday, 22 October 2009

Paris 2009

Here are the photographs - really I did so well for me (from none, to a few, and now even better yes?); the stories will follow. Just click on the photograph and it will take you to the album.


Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Too much fun to write!

We are having a brilliant time in Paris. The weather is wonderful. Much romance. Many adventures. Many stories of fun and folly. I will share all (all right most) after we return to the U.S. on Sunday.


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

facing the truth in photographs...

Graphic photographs of war

This is from an article in the New York Times regarding the publishing/not publishing the photographs of war - the photographs of the wounded and dead - that IS war. I was for years after President Bush made the very bad, in my opinion, call to invade Iraq and install democracy - furious that there were no photographs of the soldiers that had given their lives for their country on the front, or even the back page, of any newspaper. It was not allowed. Read your history man! Hiding the dead does not make them any less dead.

-from the article: "Mr. Kamber added: “People have attacked me for being unpatriotic for publishing pictures of wounded and dead Americans. I find this strange. Press control — censorship — is something that happens in Communist China, in Russia. One of the cornerstones of our democracy is freedom of the press. As journalists, we need to be able to work openly and publish photos that reflect reality so that the public and government officials have an accurate idea of what is going on. They can make decisions accordingly.”

My feeling is that these photographs should be shown. The dead not only need to be ACKNOWLEDGED but honored; and we as the backers of this war (every single voting adult) must see as closely as possible what we are doing. I am not a pacifist. I was/am totally against going into and staying in Iraq because it was THE WRONG BLOODY TARGET; Afghanistan is another matter.

One of the best examples of what the West does wrong is depicted in "Charlie Wilson's War". Yes, we must go in and kill the bad guys, protect the civilians as best we may, and establish order - but then spend the same amounts of money cleaning up our mess - winning minds and hearts with schools that teach more than one religious, zealous viewpoint, and insure rights for all citizens as long as we may.

I don't believe in "forced democracy". That's what Bush (and I do think his heart was in the right place, unlike Cheney whom I consider a very bad man, the nicest thing I can say about him) had in mind in Iraq - it didn't work there, I have never seen a time in history when it did work.

I do believe that there are a few places in the world just now where all freethinking peoples must be aware of not only the danger to the citizens but also the danger to democracy at large. Yes, I think we belong in Afghanistan, and yes I believe in Colin Powell's strategy of 'overwhelming force to take our objectives'. Don't send our soldiers in handicapped.

No, I don’t think we can force democracy, but yes I think we can hold enough control over a country to make it safe for women to walk the streets as they please, to attend school, to keep weapons out of the hands of young children and give them text books and teachers instead. If after our best shot, democracy in some form (the people’s choice remember?) does not flourish or just begin, then pull the hell out.

Above all I believe anyone can be against a war, for the soldiers, and remain as patriotic as the most hate mongering, screaming, Coulter, Beck, et al.

If we are condoning this war, both in Iraq and Afghanistan, then we are responsible for every son and daughter that does not come back home; and we need to see it, to see them – to know the true cost of war is in blood not dollars.

That's what I think.

If you like my latest article for Power Room Graffiti is here.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

a night for a nap the next day!

It’s five a.m. now but when I woke it was 0330hrs. Arghh! What do you do when you can’t sleep, and I don’t mean that tossing and turning around ten or eleven p.m. but the wake up call your body turns on around three or four a.m.? My husband reads himself back to sleep; I watch movies that I have seen at least twelve times so I don’t have to listen to the dialogue, or I get up and work. Now I just need to learn the art of napping; a skill I don’t possess.

But then the rough nights when I wake from a screaming nightmare, these are more frequent than I care to admit, and do my new husband’s slumber no good, are more difficult to make a recovery, like tonight. When I tell you that I’ve had an interesting life, that means it has some hairy and downright terrifying parts as well – these apparently stay with one.

For years, when I was involved in a certain type of work, we had regular psyche evaluations and the chap I always had wrote the word “stoic” in my evaluation like it was a bad thing. I never got that. For years, I don’t even remember where I got it or when, but I have had a sampler hanging in my home: “Please understand there is no depression in this house and we are not interested in the possibilities of defeat. They do not exist.” - Victoria, Queen of England. I found nothing unusual or troubling in this quote or philosophy.

Now my love tells me there is this condition called PTSS of which I have heard but certainly never applied to myself; and which has an amazing dearth of information on the Net. I have always taken the nightmares and the occasional bouts of grief to be payment due on my karmic debt. I’ve never done anything in that respect that I am ashamed of, or that if forced into the situation I would not do again – but violence always exacts a price, and perhaps it is higher from a woman – we are after all the ones who give life.

So on nights like this there is very little chance of returning to sleep and I’m watching “The Longest Day”. Yes, I know, interesting choice – but holy crap they have everyone in this film! I’m amazed it was made in 1962, it seems it should have been made earlier. My boys John Wayne and Robert (to die for) MItchem, as well as Henry Fonda, Eddie Albert, Paul Anka, Jean-Louis Barrault, Bourvil, Richard Burton, Red Buttons, Sean Connery, Irina Demick, Fabian, Mel Ferrer, Steve Forrest, Rod Steiger, Paul Hartmann, Peter Lawford, Roddy McDowall, Sal Mineo, Robert Ryan, Tommy Sands, George Segal, Robert Wagner, Stuart Whitman, and on and on! It’s in black and white and the special effects are nothing like the present day but it gets your blood up if you are English, American or French I must say. Also my wedding date she said, with a significance difference of year!

Peter Crawford wears a turtleneck into battle and bagpipes lead Sir Sean Connery through the surf into battle! I love it!

Do go over to Powder Room Graffiti for me if you will and read and comment on my article. Thank you lovely readers.


Monday, 21 September 2009

go forth and comment!

I have another article today on "Powder Room Graffiti". You can click click on article. Please leave a comment and if you like it, say "oh how we would like to see her here all the time" - or something along that line eh? Thank you lovely readers.


AND I didn't write this, but wish I had...too funny.

Monday, 14 September 2009


I am thrilled that Clijsters won the U.S. Open! Huzzah and well done!!!!! And really miffed that the NYTimes did not put it on the bloody front page!

Then there's this:
Aceh passes adultery stoning law

Indonesia's province of Aceh has passed a new law making adultery punishable by stoning to death, a member of the province's parliament has said.

The law also imposes severe sentences for rape, homosexuality, alcohol consumption and gambling.

Opponents had tried to delay the law, saying more debate was needed because it imposes capital punishment.

Sharia law was partially introduced in Aceh in 2001, as part of a government offer to pacify separatist rebels.

A peace deal in 2005 ended the 30-year insurgency, and many of the former rebels have now entered Aceh's government, which enjoys a degree of autonomy from the central government in Jakarta.

“ It needs more public consultation. We need to involve the ulemas - the Islamic clerics - in drafting the law ”
Adnan Beuransah, Aceh Party
The legislation was passed unanimously by Aceh's regional legislature, said assembly member Bahrom Rasjid.

"This law will be effective in 30 days with or without the approval of Aceh's governor," he said.

The governor of Aceh, a former rebel with the Free Aceh Movement, is opposed to strict Sharia law. He had urged more debate over the bill.

'Moral degradation'

Married people convicted of adultery can be sentenced to death by stoning. Unmarried people can be sentenced to 100 lashes with a cane.

Previously, Aceh's partially-adopted Sharia law enforced Muslim dress codes and mandatory prayers.

"This law is a preventive measure for Acehnese people so that they will avoid moral degradation," said Moharriyadia, a spokesman for the Prosperous Justice Party.

A new parliament will be sworn in next month, after local polls saw the moderate Aceh Party win the most seats in the provincial assembly.

The Aceh Party has said it will review the law once the new parliament is sitting.

"It needs more public consultation. We need to involve the ulemas - the Islamic clerics - in drafting the law," said Adnan Beuransah, a spokesperson for the Aceh Party.

About 90% of Indonesia's 235 million people are Muslim, practicing a moderate form of the religion.

Story from BBC NEWS:

Published: 2009/09/14 14:17:14 GMT
*the Maliki Law School accepts evidence of pregnancy as proof that an unmarried woman has either committed adultery or been raped.

This did, I'm glad to say, make the first page of the BBC online - buts was over to the side in a column. hmmm

Again I say that no women are safe from abuse until all women are safe and have the freedom to live whatever life they choose. The fact that in the year 2009 there are parts of the world where nine-year-old brides are sold to old men, where the slave traffic in children of both sexes is up and running with a huge profit – surpassed only by weapons sales, is atrocious. And it is our responsibility, every single one of us to see that things change for the better.

On an entirely different subject: my weekend with my husband (the conjugal visit) was wonderful. We had such a good time.
There was lots of walking, hand holding, talking, and the really good stuff as well. We didn’t make it to the Botanical Gardens but we walked all over Cherry Creek, and down York and up Josephine streets. Getting ourselves prepped for Paris. I get back to Houston on 5 October; try to survive the heat for five days, then we are off to Paris for a week where we walk constantly.


Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Here's a partial look at my part of Denver, Colorado


Click on the photograph to take you to the album. Three miles there and three back, this is the first lap. I stop at the mall for a coffee and then return along Josephine Avenue.

Friday, 28 August 2009

all roads lead from Saks fifth avenue

In strange city? Can’t figure out where to find shops and people? Head for Saks my friend, you can’t go wrong.

It is become obvious to me that Colorado does not get started until after ten a.m. A bit of a surprise I must say – cattle country and all that. Yet here I sit on a bench, having walked the 6.47km here from the B&B, outside the Cherry Creek Mall waiting for Saks to open its doors for me to go inside and find the bloody Starbucks. I’ve had my tea this morning, yes I did, but I fear that Paris and Houston have addicted me to the daily dose of Starbuck’s lattes. The air out here is crisp and cool (yes that is me you hear sighing in your ear), and the flowers out front are resplendent in reds, yellows, and purples. Not a lot of fountains about I noticed, but that could just be because Houston has so many.

The Denver Saks, for example – across the street is West Elm (more reminiscent of Morocco for me), just next to Chase Bank where dear husband picked up an ATM card for me before I left Houston (just in case). Alongside Restoration Hardware and across the street? Hermes! Oh Mama bring me home! All I need now is a Tiffany’s and Banks and Biddle to feel truly at home (and those I found inside!). The token Neiman Marcus is about, where Saks leads…
Yes I do believe this is the place to get my five pages written today and to get a look at Denver.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

safe in Denver

Another horrid flight on Continental. I’m going on another airline in the near future, any airline; it is a pattern I tell you. We arrived to a surprisingly (to me) small airport in Denver that was still difficult to maneuver with cat, essentials, and computer in hand, and find the baggage claim to recover my cases; but there was a lovely black Mercedes with an English driver waiting for me (oooh that takes me back), which began to make things much better. Angus took the trip in his normal calm stride, great traveler that one.

We are settled into our little writing home away from home. Angus has his tent, his food, and some rather unfortunate litter until Petco ships me his regular stuff (the World’s best cat Litter, and it is! I walked out a short while, very short, and found the local Starbucks. I’m taking a longer walk today to check out the local posh mall for writing sites.

My goal is five pages a day – that starts tomorrow, but I’m going to give today a shot. Keep your fingers crossed, bring out those four leaf clovers, get your rabbit’s foot, statues of Venus – anyone, any spirit that you think can help, I’m up for all positive flows.

Condolences to the Kennedy Clan.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

When you have to run away from home and you really don’t want to do so - it is confusing.

I have been living my own fairy tale romance since August last, and all was going along splendidly – all right I could easily and happily live without the ex-wife who refers to me as “her”, and is far less than cordial? (I’m snickering here) Other than that – when my sweet love called me last August, as I sat writing in Morocco, I had no idea how my life would change; how I would return to the past and live out my future as the wife of my true love, and have two wonderful step-children added to my life and the joy my own child gives me.

Then Houston and the summer? Summer, really? Can you call this humid, constant, unrelenting, heat that actually makes you shorter when you walk out in it summer? Air so thick that when you attempt to breathe in it’s like taking wet cotton fibers through your trachea to your lungs and then pushing it back OUT again! I’m creating macramĂ©’ down there! Apparently for me it is more that little hideaway that Dante described for those less – nice. But hey, I’m nice! So what gives? Love my lovely readers, that’s what, love. I would live in the middle of the Gobi desert (been there done that) if that were the only way I could live my life in the arms of my love (yes, Q it’s sappy, but it’s true!).

However J. would like me to last longer than one season (it’s the cute and adorable factor I’m certain of it) and has thus decreed that I quit this city built on a swamp. Why people? Why build a city here? I’m sure they had their reasons… she said. But for my migraine-head, and me set to go off at anything over eighty degrees it has been hell. I’ve spent more days down with a h/a than up, and I cannot write long enough to get on the road – Ian and the rest of you writers know what I mean. It’s not writer’s block or any such thing, but that time you need in the world you are creating. The interaction you must have with your characters one on one. The mind set that you must inhabit in order to know what is going to come next, or as many times happens, just keep up with where your characters are going – even when you had no bloody idea that was the destination. And what’s the hero doing with THAT woman? Wait a minute that's not the hero and who is she? If you see my drift…

And so I am packing Angus and myself for a separation of six weeks. Albeit there will be conjugal visits; I have been promised. This is best I think, lest I begin to chew the furniture. I am, as you might imagine so conflicted. At first I was only sad to be leaving, but now I begin to feel the tingling in my fingers, and that stirring in the back of my head waiting to burst forth with the last part of the book, the articles promised, and yes – the next book as well. That, for a writer, is like a low-lying constant orgasmic state let me tell you. Granted we are looking at a great deal of blood on the keyboard here, but joyful nonetheless. I read something the other day, like you do, where Dorothy Parker (pithy extraordinaire’) when asked if she liked to write said, “I like having written.” Oh yes love, I hear that. We all love having written.

My aims are two fold: solitude and a drop in temperatures low enough to break this cycle of pain. Denver is the destination. While still warm there I understand the air is different in that you can’t actually wring the moisture out of it with your hands. I am staying in what looks to be a lovely old Victorian B&B. The cities’ most populated and busy areas are away, and yet close enough to walk, and in the case of heavy cat litter have a car to drive me, to everything I should need. I’m very pleased. And they have a TEA ROOM. Sold.

Expect to see the current excerpts edited and polished, and some new material making its way to the blog for you to read, and please feedback.

I must mention two of my lovely readers. Ian, upon whom you all know I have a cyber-crush, wrote me two inspiring and caring notes to speed me along. And my friend to the North, “Nobody Important” made an incredible offer to help out. So as in my Oscar speech (best original script based on a book of course) I would like to publically say thank you and reaffirming my belief that the world abounds with people of the most excellent joie de vivre and splendid character.

Finishing the cleaning off of my desk, a task worthy of Hercules, should be done this morning. Then to the packing – oh? Did I mention the a/c on the third floor died yesterday afternoon, it was Saturday, and while you can now fry eggs on the ironing board – they don’t come out on the weekend (I imagine him saying as he sits with the ribbons from the window a/c blowing his hair as he sips on his beer). Grrrr. WE all engaged in some of the most creative sleep positions last night and then they all got up with me at four a.m. – go figure.

The travails continue, as I must go to the third floor today to PACK! There’s no not doing that, and in Houston there IS no down time from the heat. I have been getting up at four a.m. hoping for it to be cool enough even for a walk with no joy; can you can only imagine how my packing will go. I’m thinking to use that old adage: whatever you forgot to pack is what credit cards are for my dear.” The large case will be taken up with the paraphernalia of Angus, like traveling with a toddler. I’m packing up a couple of boxes of things I shall need when the weather (soon please) begins to cool. I shall have them addressed and ready for J. to take to FedEx. With the way the airlines charge for airfares these days it’s the only logical way.

We’ve had me to the doctor, and Angus to the vet, so we are good to go. He has his tent, I have my laptop. He has his toys, I have my books. Wish us luck please. I shall be here. I’m taking my camera to show you some of the beauty of Colorado as it changes seasons.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Saw this on a talking shirt and giggled

• Wine her
• Dine her
• Call her
• Hug her
• Support her
• Hold her
• Surprise her
• Compliment her
• Smile at her
• Listen to her
• Laugh with her
• Cry with her
• Romance her
• Encourage her
• Believe in her
• Pray for her
• Cuddle with her
• Shop with her
• Give her gifts
• Send her flowers
• Hold her hand
• Write love letters
• Go to the end of the earth


Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Yawn....excuse me.

0315hrs of a Tuesday morning…

So is the not sleeping soundly through the night an age thing in your fifties or a health thing, or the fact there is so much running through one’s mind at this age, so much to be done, that sleep in a nice chunk is elusive? I will admit that I slept more when I lived alone, but that was because staying up at all hours and sleeping at weird times affected no one but me. Now I have a husband, the housekeeper, the gardener, the children, the man who has to check the plumbing, the electrical guy, the continuing parade of cable/dsl people who can’t get me a decent internet signal…and the postman.

The waking at three and four a.m. to toss and turn or in my husband’s case pull out a book, and in my case try to find an old movie I’ve seen fifty times so that the dialogue can put me to sleep or pull out my laptop and see if inspiration is awake as well.

The problems with university fees and the more immediate problems of getting in (youngest daughter), the football career of the youngest son, the continuing evil machinations of the ex-wife, the book that needs finishing, the articles that must be written, the meeting with the lawyers, the appointment with the dermatologist to check out that pesky red spot…. The mind can drift and smash up against the rocks for hours. My methodology is to get up and be about it. My husband reads until he falls back into slumber. His way I think is better as by early afternoon my bum is dragging, my brain is mushy, and I don’t nap!

It’s an art – napping. Some of the great minds I’ve read - Churchill, Roosevelt, Hawkins, Wheeler, and the like were all nappers. I can’t do it. I’m always afraid that something will happen and someone will need me – hubris or that pesky rescue complex again? MY daughter’s grandfather, a champion napper, passed on the skill to her.

And at what age is the first news article you click on the front page of the New York TimesTests Begin on Drugs That May Slow Aging”?! I’m laughing at myself because boy that was a warp speed click for me! Apparently “testing” is the key word here, but at 59 years-of-age I’m optimistic! The big talk about aging slower has been severe calorie restriction, but you know if I can’t have my KIr Royals and my scones, I’ll give up a couple of years.
I’m amused that I can skip right over this comment, “Evolutionary biologists, the experts on the theory of aging, have strong reasons to suppose that human life span cannot be altered in any quick and easy way.
NO! I want an easy way. Crimey I’ve been looking for a way out of exercise for years – with no joy, but I’m still wating for THAT pill. Yes indeedy. Huzzah!

Now here’s my guy: “My rule of thumb is to ignore the evolutionary biologists — they’re constantly telling you what you can’t think,” Gary Ruvkun of the Massachusetts General Hospital remarked this June after making an unusual discovery about longevity.”

“The Food and Drug Administration does not approve drugs to delay aging, because aging in its view is not a disease.” Apparently the people at the FDA are all under thirty! But I’m with Indiana Jones on this one, “it’s not the years, it’s the milage.” I adhere to that philosophy that once you give the body up, you should have used it up for all it’s worth!

And so you have the views of my brain at three a.m. on a Tuesday. Um...over at Powder Room Graffiti I"ve been moved to the back page after one day but you can still find the article at this place (I hope!)/Please have a look and comment.


Monday, 17 August 2009

My first article for Power Room Graffiti! I'm 'above the fold' and really quite excited. Please go over and comment on my article and check out this great website.


Saturday, 15 August 2009

Like Henry at Agincourt...

Well sports fans I’m back at Starbuck’s at the Houston Galleria…
“Once more into the breach, dear friends, once more; 
Or close the wall up with our English dead!“

Act III, scene 1, lines 1-2 Henry V

Perhaps not quite so dramatic, albeit me out in the world, in this part of the world, two days in a week is an event worthy of mention.
First order: retail therapy works. I’m just saying.

Second mention: I’m loving, really loving my new verbal recognition software! Finally Mac came out with a program! And it’s fantastic. I’m in the process of teaching it the words “fuck”, “fucker”, “fucking”, “shit”, “C4”, and a few other words necessary to my creative works. At present I’m getting ‘flocking’, ‘stocking’ and ‘schlock’.

I came to the mall today to go to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store (they really have the best Apple store here) to have the battery checked on my new MacPro which should be lasting for SEVEN hours but is only giving me two to four, and my connector on the plug is overheating. So… but my appointment was misplaced, which could easily be my fault as I was jiggling around a lot of appointments this week. No problem, straight away to Borders, which has the best a/c in the mall and an even better (shhhh) latte than Starbucks, but no wireless. I actually escaped without buying a book! All right, all right I did buy a CD but it was Tina Turner!

Then I splurged on a gorgeous flowing silk summer blouse to try to make the heat feel better and took myself to Cole Haan hoping they were still having a sale as my stuff is overflowing my handbag at this point. I’m just not a shoes and bag person – you know that – too many years of travel have made me light in the wardrobe department; but the new laptop has a snug cover so I don’t need to carry a separate bag for it. Consequently I had stuff flowing over my handbag and was carrying the laptop. Fortunately, you knew this was coming, Cole Haan was selling off the last of their summer collection and I found a great bag ($250 dollars off) that holds all my stuff and the laptop! Joy and rapture. The very nice salesman had a good laugh as he watched my dependable red Furla bag (that I bought in Rabat on sale last year) deflate! I piled all my stuff out on the counter and refilled the new bag – you have to be sure – and when the laptop slid home – sold baby. Hehe. I’m very pleased

Yes, my mood is much improved and I thank all of you for your nice comments but it was merely a matter of making a choice, and all of them have a downside. I am leaving. I am going north, then perhaps further north to find cool and solitude to finish the book and hopefully give my head a break. It has been a desperately difficult decision to make; and never has a woman felt more loved or supported by her mate than do I. J thinks my writing is important enough for us to do this, we both know we will feel the separation keenly and one of us (that would be me) will REALLY MISS THE GREAT AND FREQUENT SEX. I’m sure J will miss it too, but my drought was longer – I’m not done making up for the “dry” years….

Gods I love being a redhead for many reasons but one just occurred. I had to quite desperately use the loo and had just volunteered a chair to a nice young woman (this place is soooo crowded you would not believe) so I had the two of them (she had a friend, which was why they needed the extra chair) stand watch over my bag and laptop while I skipped (literally) into the Johnston &Murphy store just here. This rather dapper young man with red hair himself (Scott) saw me coming and took me in hand escorting me to the loo, “We make special compensations to redheads.” See, the world is a wonderful place.

The people watching has been quite splendid but I must pack up my little office I have working here and make my way to the valet Parking site at Saks to meet my love. Young David has his first scrimmage tonight. This is TEXAS people and American football rules the day. I am taking my parasol, some narcotics, a syringe with Imetrex, and J is bringing me a cooler full of Pellegrino. I’m prepared, if I die it’s not from lack of forethought. Six p.m. here and it’s 96 degrees F and 55% humidity. Pray for me to whatever entity listens to you please.

Hopefully I shall see you anon.

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

"it's the [heat] stupid"

It’s good to know that it’s still a world that can cheer me up. I’m not used to being depressed, not even a bad mood; and yet I find myself in strange and uncomfortable waters – I’m depressed. Depression = can’t decide what to do to resolve a bad situation; it’s that simple and that difficult. I'm stuck. If I move do I hurt someone I love? If I stay still will I melt mentally?

But I took myself out today, under duress, because (part of the problems to be resolved is that every time I stick my head outside here in Houston, Texas [built on a swamp with temperatures in the 100’s and humidity in the 90’s] why? Why? Would you do that? Build a city here?] I get a migraine. Nasty ones, the kind that lay me out for days and require IV and IM and by mouth and all other orifices (yes, yuk) medications. My liver is thinking of setting up it’s own blog site.

I can’t exercise. I’ve gained some nasty weight that makes me uncomfortable. I can’t go out for a walk – not even at 0400hrs Q,, I tried it – it is still so hot and humid I cannot abide it enough to get out the door. I can’t go shopping because the stores are cutting down on the a/c – it’s cool, but not that old fashioned (pre economic crisis, global warming) a/c where you need a jacket. I can’t shop anywhere that’s not in the mall and enclosed because my American driver’s license expired while I was in Africa (admittedly I was in no great straits to get it renewed, thinking I would never need it again – you know, cabs, donkeys, camels, elephants…); and you guessed it I can’t go down to the Licensing Bureau where there is even LESS a/c to sit for HOURS to wait to take a written test in the heated room and then go out (duh in the heat) to take the mobile driving test. Screwed. Yes, a word. Sigh.

See? Depressed. Arghh. And I hate that because I’ve been about the world and the block enough to know I have no good reason to be depressed; my life is about as good as a life can get right now. I have, literally, the man of my dreams. My child is well. My stepchildren are well. My husband is all about spoiling me rotten. I’m getting lots and lots of sex. ☺ OH yeah baby, there are compensations to the heat. I have a wonderful new cat that I adore and he’s sweeter than I could have imagined and great company.

We are talking about sending me “north”, just far enough to be cool enough so that I can work! There are still people in the world who are so generous as to say, “Oh come on up. We have a bedroom and bath for you and bring the cat.” Can you believe that?! Well it shocked me a bit. I won’t mention her name as I’m not sure she would want me to do so, but boy I’m getting all sniffy just thinking about such kindness and generosity from someone I think is so very special.

At the mall, several nice men told me what a great hat I’m wearing. I found that soft wear program I’ve been looking for for years at Apple and they are going to check out my new MAC Pro on Thursday to see why the battery is not living up to specs; and I got a new reader for my blog in the sales girl Chelsea, who was kind and helpful.

At the Starbucks the young salesman flirted with me and made me feel special, and I found a hilarious talking shirt for J. Normally, as he well knows I don’t ‘approve’ of talking clothes, but in this case I’m making an exception. I shall quote it for you tomorrow.

However as I sit here sharing the table with the nice Starbucks person who is reading her employee pack and just informed me that Starbucks has a coffee in which they put a shot of Jim Beam (yuk), it is heating up. The sun is coming down through the glass ceiling and I feel my head making uh oh noises.

But I feel better. I do. I just thought I’d let you know some of what is going on, and that made me feel better too my lovely readers. I’m off to find a taxi and go home to hide from the heat.


Friday, 7 August 2009

a grand laugh

Pleeease go over to my place at FaceBook as I don't know how to get it to post here and see the turtle! Oh my! My sides are still hurting from laughing so hard. Have YOU been turtled today?


Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Pisses me off!!!

August 4, 2009
Cabbies Stay on Their Phones Despite Ban

The ambulance arrived at the scene minutes after the cabs collided, one yellow taxi T-boned into another in a busy Manhattan intersection. Shattered glass covered the street as a woman, still in the back seat of one the cabs, clutched her neck in pain.

A cabby paced beside his wrecked car, an earpiece dangling from the side of his head. An emergency worker, Ralph Ortiz, asked him what had happened.

“I was on the phone,” the driver told Mr. Ortiz, who several months later said he was still stunned by the response. “I didn’t see the light turn red.”

New York City cabbies have been banned from using cellphones for a decade — even the hands-free type, putting the city a step ahead of state law. But the stringent rules remain almost entirely unenforced, even amid research that shows drivers who talk on cellphones are four times as likely to cause a crash.

And as the city struggles to find more effective ways to confront the problem — call it an epidemic of gab — much of the burden to report cellphone abuse falls on passengers, who can feel powerless or intimidated.

The authorities issued just 232 summonses for cellphone use in yellow cabs during the first six months of this year, or one ticket for every 517,241 cab rides during that period, based on the city’s estimated ridership.

For the same period in 2008, 411 summonses were issued, or about one for every 291,971 rides.

The head of the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the city agency that regulates the industry, acknowledged that combating phone use by drivers remains “a constant battle.” But the commissioner, Matthew W. Daus, said the problem is not as bad as it used to be, citing a decline in summonses and consumer complaints from 2008 and this year.

Yet for many New Yorkers, the sight of a cabby using a cellphone while driving has become an indelible part of the urban milieu — the vehicular equivalent of jaywalking.

A reporter set out on a recent Saturday for an unscientific survey: On 20 taxi rides, taken at various times across Manhattan, more than a third of the drivers talked on the phone. (A few checked text messages as well.) Asked politely to cease their conversations, nearly all immediately complied, and one offered an emphatic apology.

One driver, however, was less contrite. After picking up a passenger in Greenwich Village, the driver chatted several minutes on a hands-free device before being asked to stop talking. Instead, he stopped the car. “I can’t take you,” the driver said as he pulled to the side of the road, pointing at the dashboard and mumbling about an engine stall.

New York’s rules about phone use in taxis, passed by the Taxi and Limousine Commission in 1999 over objections from the wireless industry, are among the strictest in the country. While similar restrictions exist in Boston and Chicago, hands-free devices in taxis are permitted in Los Angeles and Washington. In Denver and Miami, all drivers — cabbies included — can use cellphones.

Drivers in New York City who are convicted of violating the rule must pay a $200 fine. Yet caught-while-chatting cabbies have remained a rarity since the beginning of the decade, when cellphones first flourished. Fewer than 800 summonses were issued to yellow and livery cabs in 2007; at most, 2,285 citations were issued in 2004.

The city began a sting operation in 2008, called “Operation Secret Rider,” where inspectors posed as passengers to check on cabbies’ conduct. Mr. Daus called the program an effective deterrent, but much of the enforcement still ends up being left to riders. “Any passenger can be our eyes and ears,” Mr. Daus said, adding that the city has made it easier for passengers to call in complaints.

Research shows that the hands-free devices commonly used by cabbies, like Bluetooth headsets and lavalier microphones, are considered by researchers to be just as dangerous.

“They’re so absorbed in their phone call — even if they have the earplug in their ear,” said Niobe Way, a psychology professor at New York University . who often takes cabs with her son and daughter, ages 9 and 6. “It’s not only my own safety, it’s my children’s safety.”

For riders like Ms. Way, confronting a driver can be a fearsome prospect. Her heart often starts to race after stepping into a taxi and finding the cabby on the phone. Most drivers respond amicably when she requests they hang up, but about one in five do not take it as well. “One guy told me I was being mean,” she said. “Another guy told me I was acting like a drill sergeant.”

This delicate interchange — a polite admonishment, followed by an uncertain response — has become a near-daily ritual for Ms. Way, 45. “It’s a little stressful for me to say something; I’m not a very aggressive person,” she said. “You’re asking someone to do something that creates a negative atmosphere.”

Cabbies say that they do not mind hanging up if a passenger is bothered, unless there’s an emergency. Gino Augustino, a single parent from Brooklyn who has been driving cabs for five years, said he uses his phone only to talk with his son and two daughters. “I leave them at home with my mother, and when they call, I’ll pull over,” Mr. Augustino, 47, said, pointing to his headset. “You never know with kids. That’s why I have the phone, for them.”

Taxi drivers say their cellphones can be a lifeline in emergencies and a relief from the isolation of 12 hours on the streets. And they say that as professional drivers, they are less likely to be distracted.

“Private motorists don’t accumulate the kind of knowledge and experience that a professional yellow cab driver does,,” said Bhairavi Desai, executive director of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, which says it represents 11,000 of the city’s cabbies.

It is difficult to gauge whether the use of phones in cabs has resulted in a riskier experience for taxi passengers. The Taxi and Limousine Commission does not keep track of any taxicab accidents, let alone those caused by the use of a cellphone.

The State Department of Motor Vehicles logs all accidents in the city, but while cellphone use is cited as a factor for some accidents, the numbers are unreliable because the reports are not handled uniformly.

This being New York, the most effective means of cutting off a conversation may be found not in the offices of city regulators, but in the customer’s wallet.

“When I talk all the time, the passengers get angry,” said Mohammad Forazi, 42, of the Bronx. “They don’t give tips.”

Matt Richtel contributed reporting.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
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Sunday, 2 August 2009

Angus at play

-Angus basking in the sun

- on the lookout

- a little art history relaxation

Saturday, 1 August 2009

No, I don’t watch "Teen Vogue"

But I do confess to the weekly peek at online People Magazinee,

and I saw this quote: "I'm an artist; I'm not going to use trigonometry." – 16-year-old Taylor Momsen, on why she is passing on the traditional college experience, to Teen Vogue.

I don't watch television except for CNN and Law and Order re-runs, (great for white noise writing back ground) so I don't know who she is, but where, I want to know, are her parents; and why are they not telling her that an artist, perhaps more than most professions, needs an education, especially one that includes math!?

I find this most disheartening. I understand dreams. I have had, and still have my own. If my child had come to me and said she wanted to be an artist, I would have given her all the support possible – but I would have also done everything I could to keep her in school as long as I could.

Yes, Tom Cruise make it without even a high school education but… well do I really need to elaborate? Whereas Meryl Streep attended Vassar and Dartmouth, and take a look at her life in comparison. Brooke Shields, Natalie Portman, Jodie Foster – and the others who put education on the top of their list of ‘things to do’ have benefited from it. A Harvard graduate, Tommy Lee Jones, does not seem to have suffered from a good education.

No matter what we choose to do in life there is no profession that cannot profit by education. Admittedly I am a perennial student; I was in class up unto 2005, and took online classes as long as I was able while in Morocco. After a while it became impossible to get the books I needed for class and I had to quit. Since coming to Houston, Texas I have been casting a longing eye over to Rice University and will most likely be in one of their classrooms by the end of the year. To stop learning would be to me a certain form of death, and so when I hear a 16-year-old cast aside her chance at a better life it makes my heart hurt. Socrates said, “An unexamined life is not worth living.” I think to me, a life without constant curiosity and learning is not worth living.

How can you know whether or not you will need trigonometry if you don’t have a passing knowledge of the subject? One of the basic teaching and learning tools of enlightenment is science; not perhaps an area one would expect. But if you don’t read (in or out of a classroom) how will you know? I realize that formal education in the U.S. has many drawbacks, but there are home schooling, tutors, and the Internet has brought the great libraries of the world into our parlors. How can one not take advantage of that?

Yes there are many well-educated ne’er-do-wells, and some evil people who have had the benefits of a great education – but their negative examples do not change my opinion.

My darling husband said, “I can’t believe you look at People Magazine!”

“Only once a week, it’s a guilty indulgence,” I said ducking my head.

“More than that I can’t believe you're going to confess it to your blog readers. It will spoil your image.”

“A – I don’t have an “image”.
B- my blog readers will understand, and
C- that I am embarrassed but will tell them in spite of it, should tell you how much I feel the importance of this discussion."


Wednesday, 29 July 2009

THIS never happens…

My mobile rings today and it’s the lovely office person in Dr. Richman’s office calling, the very nice (really nice) cardiologist I saw in January – just for the old look under the bonnet to check that all is well. And it mostly was – apparently my vales are a bit leaky, but that happens; and my blood pressure tends to go up when I see people in white coats (it definitely goes up when the doctor who lives in my house comes in the door, and while not wearing his while coat just blue scrubs it… – but that’s off topic. Fun, but off the topic).

She runs through the normal disquisition that you hear expect to hear - ’first we ran your primary insurance and then your secondary…’ and somewhere along there I stop listening, waiting for the punch line of ‘and here is what you still owe after the insurance’. Instead I hear, “And so we owe you $25.00 and I need to know which credit card you would like to be credited.”

“Excuse me?” I started to laugh. “You want to give me money? Wait a minute and let me get used to this. Boy I bet you don’t get to make this call very often.”

Now she’s laughing, “No I don’t and I really enjoy it when I get to do it.”

That’s my idea of a New Health Plan!


Monday, 27 July 2009

THis just in...

Can you read these right the first time?

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture..

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present.

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither from Guinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all. That is why, when the stars are out, they are visible, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't 'Buick' rhyme with 'quick'?

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this.

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.'

It's easy to understand UP , meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report ?

We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP ! ; the house and some guys fix UP the old car . At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give
UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP .

When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.

When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so......... time to shut UP! more thing:

What is the first thing you do in the morning & the last thing you do at night? U-P

Thursday, 23 July 2009

and now the good news

In keeping with my philosophy that if one writes letters complaining, by that same dictate, one must write when the error has been corrected.

I have received an email from Petco stating they will be refunding the full price of the litter and the shipping charges that I ordered to arrive for our trip in D.C. I'm very pleased as I did not wish to have to find a new place to shop!

And so thank you Petco, and well done.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Monday, 20 July 2009

Do you have your rabbit's foot, lucky penny, turquoise, etc?

Solar eclipse pits superstition against science

by Phil Hazlewood
Sun Jul 19, 10:23 pm ET

MUMBAI (AFP) – Indian astrologers are predicting violence and turmoil across the world as a result of this week's total solar eclipse, which the superstitious and religious view as a sign of potential doom.
But astronomers, scientists and secularists are trying to play down claims of evil portent in connection with Wednesday's natural spectacle, when the moon will come between the Earth and the sun, completely obscuring the sun.
In Hindu mythology, the two demons Rahu and Ketu are said to "swallow" the sun during eclipses, snuffing out its life-giving light and causing food to become inedible and water undrinkable.
Pregnant women are advised to stay indoors to prevent their babies developing birth defects, while prayers, fasting and ritual bathing, particularly in holy rivers, are encouraged.
Shivani Sachdev Gour, a gynaecologist at the Fortis Hospital in New Delhi, said a number of expectant mothers scheduled for caesarian deliveries on July 22 had asked to change the date.
"This is a belief deeply rooted in Indian society. Couples are willing to do anything to ensure that the baby is not born on that day," Gour said.
Astrologers have predicted a rise in communal and regional violence in the days following the eclipse, particularly in India, China and other Southeast Asian nations where it can be seen on Wednesday morning.
Mumbai astrologer Raj Kumar Sharma predicted "some sort of attack by (Kashmiri separatists) Jaish-e-Mohammad or Al-Qaeda on Indian soil" and a devastating natural disaster in Southeast Asia.
An Indian political leader could be killed, he said, and tension between the West and Iran is likely to increase, escalating into possible US military action after September 9, when fiery Saturn moves from Leo into Virgo.
"The last 200 years, whenever Saturn has gone into Virgo there has been either a world war or a mini world war," he told AFP.
It is not just in India that some are uneasy about what will transpire because of the eclipse.
In ancient China they were often associated with disasters, the death of an emperor or other dark events, and similar superstitions persist.
"The probability for unrest or war to take place in years when a solar eclipse happens is 95 percent," announced an article that attracted a lot of hits on the popular Chinese web portal
Sanal Edamaruku, president of the Indian Rationalist Association, dismissed such doomsday predictions.
"Primarily, what we see with all these soothsayers and astrologers is that they're looking for opportunities to enhance their business with predictions of danger and calamity," he told AFP.
"They have been very powerful in India but over the last decade they have been in systematic decline."
Astronomers and scientists are also working to educate the public about the eclipse.
Travel firm Cox and Kings has chartered a Boeing 737-700 aircraft to give people the chance to see the eclipse from 41,000 feet (12,500 metres).
Experts will be on board to explain it to passengers, some of whom have paid 79,000 rupees (1,600 dollars) for a "sun-side" seat on the three-hour flight from New Delhi.
The eclipse's shadow is expected to pass over the aircraft at 15 times the speed of sound (Mach 15), said Ajay Talwar, president of the SPACE Group of companies that promotes science and astronomy.
"It's coming in the middle of the monsoon season. On the ground, there's a 40 percent chance of seeing it in India. On the aircraft you have almost a 90 percent chance of seeing the eclipse," he added.
Siva Prasad Tata, who runs the Astro Jyoti website, straddles the two worlds.
"There's no need to get too alarmed about the eclipse, they are a natural phenomenon," the astrologer told AFP.
But he added: "During the period of the eclipse, the opposite attracting forces are very, very powerful. From a spiritual point of view, this is a wonderful time to do any type of worship.
"It will bring about good results, much more than on an ordinary day."
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This is so cool! Go look.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

so I was just standing there and...

I don’t have to be a Drama Queen – my life just works out that way! I go to a conference and the airplane breaks thirty miles out from the airport and has to return and they give us another one; the hotel has a fire; I wash my hair and somehow a water main below the hotel breaks. I try to tidy the room and I scrape the skin off my thumb – all right in fairness, when I attempt any domestic chore I injure myself – there is the scar on my finger where I tried to cook a turkey and nearly sliced off my finger, or the time I fell off the kitchen ladder when attempting to retrieve a pot to cook pasta and sprained my ankle, or the time I burned the top of my left breast when frying chicken…. So I learned one needs to be dressed when cooking.

What I’m saying is that I really have no need to go looking for trouble or even excitement or a change-up – it pretty much comes to me.

I have to rest now so that I can pack and return to Texas, that country of heat and sexy husband doctor chaps. Yummy.

Thursday, 16 July 2009


So much for being so very clever - not.

I brought fuzzy-butt, aka Angus, with me on the trip to the conference in Washington D.C., and he has been brilliant company and verrry well behaved I must say - I used 68% of my luggage space (and paid the HUGE amount of money that Continental charged me for checking a single bag AND having it two bloody ounces over whatever alien weight limit they are using) to pack his food (wet and dry), toys, tent, harness, health papers, leash (oh stop laughing), sleeping fuzzy, and litter scoop and pans with enough litter to get us through the plane trip and a day or so.

Thinking I was being so clever - I ordered, from Petco, the wicked bad people (them, not you), a bag of his litter, World's Best Cat Litter, which it really is - to be delivered to the hotel rather than add even more weight to my bag, to get us through the rest of the trip and the flight home. Clever eh? I thought so.

Today, I received an email saying, "Oops, we don't have any." They may have said "backordered" but it means the same thing. When I called them explaining that in addition to the cost of the litter, I had also paid for overnight delivery, and would be gone now before the litter arrived; the nice boy explained that apparently "we don't have it" or "backordered" can also mean - "We don't have it here, so we are sending it from somewhere else and it will be late, but we will charge you the same amount for shipping.

After carefully explaining my situation (being here not there and the hotel not having a lot of use for cat litter, even exceptional cat litter, and therefore are unlikely to take the cost off my bill and keep the litter in exchange; I was told, "Oh no worries we can have it there by Tuesday."


"Yes," in a voice that said "isn't that grand?"

I explained I'm going back to Texas on SUNDAY and the aforementioned hotel will have the aforementioned no use for the litter! I will be out the cost of shipping and litter and still have no place for Angus to um… well ..uh…expel his waste (whew).

Nathan, the nice boy, said he would “try” to have FedEx reroute it to my house in Texas.

“But”, said I, “if they haven’t shipped it yet, which apparently (duh) they haven’t, why can’t you cancel the order.”

“I don’t know. Well I will try to have them ship it to your house in Texas because I can’t cancel it because it is being shipped.”

“But Nathan, it’s not being shipped – yet; remember that was why Petco sent me the email to tell me it was coming late.”

“The computer won’t let me.”

Ah, that certainly explains everything. Even worse, I couldn’t yell or be upset because he was such a nice young boy and it really isn’t his fault – he’s not running the company or making policy. But whoever you are out there – you persons who are running the company and making policy – consider yourselves yelled at with extreme prejudice.

Oh but did I mention what a posh room I have at the Omni Hotel where I managed such a great deal through Travelocity along with the airline ticket on the terrible flight from hell? Did I not tell you about the flight? Oh that’s right, you will have to read about it over at Powder Room Graffiti as soon as I can get it over to Drunken Mummy. I was really pissed which was great as I hammered out a 700 word article while still on the plane – you have time for that when a three hour flight turns into a six hour flight and you are stuck in a seat that won’t recline and you aren’t allowed up because… – umm hmmmm.

I’m very tired now. I must rest.


first time jitters

All right sports fans, I'm off to my first day of the RWA (romantic writers of America) Conference. I have to say I feel a bit out of place - I don't really think of myself as a "romance writer", but I'm coming around to it. It's not your Harlequin romance days any more (not that there's anything wrong with that!). someone ask me what my book was about, and I said - "sex and guns" - so I guess I qualify eh?

I'll let you know... I'm a bit nervous as to fitting in...

Angus is all set in his tent in the hotel and prepared for a day of eat, sleep, and having the maid no doubt bring in others to admire him!


Monday, 13 July 2009

Photographs from the rehearsal dinner

Rehearsal Dinner

click on the photograph to take you to the album...

5 June 2009

Flip videos by Sherri (our film maker, hostess, friend extraordinaire will be coming when I figure out how to import them from the email... of the rehearsal dinner and the wedding.

Friday, 10 July 2009

There I was...

Dr. Kaku

You tube of Dr. Kaku ( one of my most favourite scientist guys) on multiverses.

Premonitions: a strong feeling that something is about to happen, esp. something unpleasant; foreboding, presentiment, intuition, (funny) feeling, hunch, suspicion, feeling in one's bones; misgiving, apprehension, fear; archaic presage.

Have you ever had one? Do you think they happen? Is it real? Just a con-man/woman’s trick? A coincidence? “That woman’s thing”? Magic? Evil? Your imagination? So what?

Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle: “The more precisely the position is determined, the less precisely the momentum is known in this instant, and vice versa. 
--Heisenberg, uncertainty paper, 1927” - This bit of science would seem to rule out the possibility of anyone or anything (computer data at quantum speeds) being able to take anything other than a guess, or a well informed guess, or a wild hair up your bum guess at the future - however (you knew that was coming right?) if we extrapolate the known scientific data and expand our thinking to include String Theory and a multiverse view(s) of reality – then the possibility of premonitions becomes more likely.

But again, so what? Can you change the flow of reality? You think the truck is going to hit the dog at ten a.m. If there are multiple dimensions then what you have done if you save the dog, is divert the path you were taking in this reality to an alternate path? The dog continues to live here, but your other self has to lose him? In the theory of multi-dimensional universes, there is no ‘path not taken’. Did you float ( well I can’t think of a scientific term!) over to another universe briefly and see the future that will unfold in this reality?

The one commonality that exists (that we know so far) between multiverses is gravity – that weak but ubiquitous force that permeates all space-time, as we know it, and affects all that we see and cannot see. It is in some way intertwined with dark matter – that other mysterious but none the less real force that has a concrete, continuous, and yet unknown impact on our galaxy, our planet, and our reality. So – does gravity have some impact on premonitions? (That’s where I started remember?)

The reason this is on my mind is because I am ‘one of those people’ who have premonitions. That said, they are, in my case, useless. I get a feeling of dread, or of something about to happen… What? To whom? Where? No bloody idea! The only thing that happens with certainty and a time I can pinpoint is when it is over; when the thing, whatever it is, has happened. Sometimes it is something in my family, sometimes it is some event on the other side of the bloody world that has nothing to do with me but that I am a fellow human! And that’s the other indefinable, but certain thing that happens, I know what it is when I see it on the news, or read it in the paper, or hear about it from someone. “Ah, that’s what that was.” Useless and bloody annoying I tell you.

The day before Katherine Hepburn died, I was a wreck. I didn’t know the woman! Like her movies? Yes, but did not know her. The morning of the eruption of that little volcano in Washington State? I was in India and didn’t know why I was upset for a week until I got down to civilization and heard the news!

Yesterday for about three hours, black cloud sitting on my chest, I called my child, my stepchildren, my husband, and anyone else I thought I should be concerned about – everyone was fine. Then three hours later, I’m getting out of the automobile at Barnes & Noble (of course J. took me to a bookstore to cheer me up! What? You thought a jewellery store? No, that’s Dulwichmum!) and bam, I knew whatever it was had happened and was over. The weight that had been on my chest all morning was gone, and I was as chipper as ever, albeit still confused.

Last night I received a call from a friend that a friend of his friend (how far removed? Well not as far as Kate Hepburn!) had been killed in an IED explosion in Afghanistan. A nice young American boy, a Marine.

See what I mean? Useless! I mean, even say I could have pinpointed the whom or the where, what the bloody hell could I have done? Arghhhhh.

Have you ever had a premonition? What did you do? Do you think it is some subconscious knowledge of a critical mass of facts that we just have not consciously acknowledged? Or a gift of some sort of special sensitivity? There is much to-do about this and other mysteries of the mind I know – during the Cold War it was greatly researched (?) by both sides for a useful end to use in warfare with no great result.

Your thoughts oh brilliant readers?

Monday, 6 July 2009


We brought the kitten home from the airport and in short order he informed us of his 'true' name - Angus MacLeod H*****. Then he explored my desk, did some reading, read the instruction manual for my new laptop and was pooped! What a charmer he is!

He's home and told us his name is


Thursday, 2 July 2009

This is the first of my new desk buddies - I'm still waiting for the kitty and the new laptop. Albert Einstein is an old joke with J. and I. When we were young and together, he didn't think I was terribly bright – ‘hot’ yes, smart? Not so much.

One day in my apartment he noticed a book about/by Albert Einstein and thought to himself – “Now what could that be doing here? Someone must have given it to her… or it’s a doorstop, that’s it, she uses it for a doorstop.”

In our second time around, he has come to the conclusion that perhaps I’m not so very dumb – but still hot! ☺ He brought this action figure (I do so love that there is an action figure of Albert) home for me last week. Is that romantic or what? Isn’t life grand?


Wednesday, 1 July 2009

I so want to grow up and be able to write like Maureen Dowd!

July 1, 2009
Rules of the Wronged


Stay focused, ladies. Here is The Practical Guide to Help Spurned Political Wives Survive Old Problems in the Era of New Technology.

1. Skip the press conference, especially when your husband is copping to call girls, gay pickups in airport bathrooms or “tragic” and “forbidden” telenovela-style love stories. Stoicism at the skunk’s side is overrated and, as Larry Craig’s wife learned, sunglasses don’t help.

2. When there’s an Associated Press bulletin quoting your husband saying that he has found his soul mate but he’s going to try to fall back in love with you, change the locks. (At your second home, too.)

3. If you can’t maintain a dignified Silda Spitzer silence; if you can’t find a girlfriend, a shrink, a personal trainer, a hairdresser or a yoga teacher to confide in; if you must unburden yourself of your fury about your loser husband, go to Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton or even Deepak Chopra before crying to The A.P. A news wire is not a spiritual adviser.

4. When your husband turns into a Harlequin romance, babbling to The A.P. — yes, even The A.P. thought it was T.M.I. — about a magical encounter on an open-air dance floor in Uruguay, “a soul that touches yours in a way that no one’s ever has,” and the “left brain and right brain” compartmentalization of “the world of ideas that impact this country and state” and “the pursuit of happiness, whatever that is,” just beat it.

5. If you think the worst is over, it’s probably only beginning. On Tuesday, after you thought Mark Sanford had already emoted and burbled more than any man in history, he volunteered to The A.P. (again!) that he had “crossed lines” with a handful of women on trips out of the country, but only “crossed the ultimate line” with his enchanting Maria. And just when you thought John Edwards could not sink any lower, there is news of a sex tape, in which Rielle Hunter shows off her skills not only in videography but pornography.

6. No matter how revolting your husband’s behavior is, don’t be passive-aggressive in public. Refrain from making any remarks that have a veneer of dignity but derogatory subtexts that sound like: “We’re trying to reconcile but it’s going to be tough because he has irreparably damaged my children” or “He has no integrity and I want my kids to have integrity” and “Sure, I’d like to give him a chance if he weren’t such a sleazeball.”

7. Don’t bring the children into it. They suffer enough being the kids of politicians. In the era of Facebook, texting, Google and iPhones, calling him out as a bad father will just go viral in the kids’ circles. Don’t trot out the family on “Oprah,” as Elizabeth Edwards did, or weepily show The A.P. the report cards of your two oldest sons from their elite private school in Columbia, S.C., as Jenny Sanford did.

8. Even if you’re a clever, competent woman, you risk sounding like a stereotypical harridan if you use the kids as a bludgeon and tell the press, as Jenny did: “You would think that a father who didn’t have contact with his children, if he wanted those children, he would toe the line a little bit.” When kids are involved, it’s best to chill when dishing out revenge.

9. Don’t slam his girlfriend for lying when you know she’s telling the truth. Don’t refer to the baby your rival had with your husband as “it.” Don’t trash a mistress, as Hillary and Elizabeth did, as a wacky stalker. No one — except the wife — blames the girlfriend as much as they blame the husband. Besides, you invite The Other Woman’s retaliation, as when Rielle decided — after watching Elizabeth spill to Oprah — that she might want that DNA test after all.

10. High-powered women like Hillary, Elizabeth and Jenny who give up their careers to focus on their husbands’ ambitions feel doubly betrayed. But it’s not your husband’s fault if you sacrifice more for the relationship than he does. Like an investor in a down market, you took a risk without a guarantee it would pay off. If you make your husband your career and you lose your husband, you lose your career, too.

11. Cut your losses and keep going. Don’t let yourself get dragged into his drama or your reputation may follow his down the well. Hillary refused to let that happen. She salvaged her long investment in Bill Clinton and turned a profit when she became a senator.

12. As you stay out of the spotlight that singes your husband, listen to whatever messages he is sending you through the press. When your husband says that is a world-class love story, ask him what this is. Just don’t do it through The A.P.

Copyright 2009 The New York Times Company
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Happiness aside, the news is bothering me today!

First up – the Cap n’ Trade Bill that passed the house in the shadow of Michael Jackson-news-all-the-time-all-the-networks. If one reads the sneaky fine print, I don’t think this is a good idea. I tried to find the bill online to actually read it, but could only find sites to read about it. As you can see on the link above the Energy Czar hasn’t bothered to read the entire thing. What?
A couple of opposing view points:
Mr. Beck (whom I really dislike as he is fast and loose at times, but not always, with his “facts” and unlike Fox’s Mr. O’Reilly is NOT charming). I’m a CNN girl, but you can’t argue with the opposition unless you know what they are saying; and sometimes they are correct.
The International Herald Tribune (which in the interest of disclosure has been purchased by the New York Times)
From The Economist ( the one that put the scare in me and had me up this morning writing letters to U.S. senators)

Then I hear about this – the FDA (the same people who passed Viagra in six months but took six years to pass a sunscreen that protects against both kinds of harmful rays from the sun) has decided that (and yes this is a personal issue for me) those who suffer from chronic pain should just suck it up. They are proposing to eliminate Vicodin, Percocet, and to lower the dosages of acetaminophen in the over the counter drugs that people use for arthritis, acute injuries, muscle pain, etc. This site is apparently (I’m still reading) a place one can go to protest this proposal- unfortunately I see by 30 June 2009. I’m looking to see who else can be contacted. Pain medication makes the lives of many chronic pain sufferers bearable, for those like me it increases significantly the quality of life on a day-to-day basis. Doctors (trust me) are skittish enough about prescribing pain medication even when clearly indicated.

What do you think?