Friday, January 28, 2005

Words Cannot Describe

It is impossible to put into words the feelings and sadness I have after reading the past few months of the "tumour diary", a blog written in England by a man dealing with a brain cancer diagnosis. His willingness to share his feeling and experiences represents so much courage and has touched so many people. His wife and children will be with him through the remaining, and final, phase. But others will remember him always as the gentle motivation to stop smoking. The story about his final posting today follows below. If you cannot find the story, type "tumour diary + Ivan Noble" into Google and you will be taken into the amazing blog story of his illness, treatment and ultimate outcome. And, just a reminder to be thankful for each day, no matter what it brings.

Sparkling Shiraz

A recent dinner in San Francisco resulted in discovery of a new wine (to us, that is.) We do not drink, due to medications, but an occasional glass of red wine with a meal is a rare and special treat. I ordered a glass of Australian Sparkling Shiraz, and it was amazing -- dry, sparkling and magical. We since have explored some wine shops to find it --- apparently it is an old style wine from Australia that is becoming popular again. I never understood why people would go to an Australian wine shop (or even why they might open one), but now I have one clue. Sadly, the one near our house has a landlord's eviction notice on the door for "non-payment of rent". I wish I had discovered this new wine earlier so we could have helped them stay in business.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Concentration Camps

Today marks the 60th anniversary of liberation of Auschwitz. Survivors acknowledge the day with mixed feelings. These people endured horror, only to survive with painful memories and loss of most of their family members in gas chambers. How could a world turn its back on such abominable behavior? The deportation and systematic cremation of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals and others is so haunting. The ongoing pain of the survivors cannot be imagined. I truly hope the world is watching to make sure this never happens again. And if each Nazi that is still alive could suffer one night with the nightmares the survivors must carry, only a small amount of justice would have been served.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005

Action Speaks Louder Than Words

I tell my daughter this all the time, and now I must heed my own advice. Enough complaining about hating GWB -- time to act on making it better next time around and/or preventing erosion of important rights. Not sure where to start: women's reproductive rights (my cousin picked this on top of her list), environmental preservation, Social Security, etc. But it is time for action. I was invited by my neighbor, Roselyn O'Connell, to attend the Arizona Women's Political Caucus last week. It was motivating to see women of all ages, race and viewpoints doing something, not just talking. Ms. O'Connell herself ran for Congress as well as headed up the National Women's Political Caucus, serving as an amazing role model for women.
I will start by joining this multi-partisan group, and starting acting on my opinions, not just venting.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

I Was Cheated

I realized yesterday I was cheated, though not maliciously, but, most likely, by accident. There was a woman that opened an alterations shop in Phoenix in the early 90's, and she was an awesome seamstress from Romania. She took in lots of stuff for my husband, but also custom designs and creates wedding dresses and all bridal wear. The work is truly beautiful.
Well, she is still here and I needed some pants taken in and shoulder pads taken out of a jacket so it would look updated. I took them in last May, the busy bridal season, and picked it up two weeks later. I had to pay cash ($96), and Rodica, of Rodica's Alterations was not there that day or she would have made me try the stuff on. Anyhow, my mother was with me, having a bathroom emergency and it is possible that they needed the money to hire a cleaning crew when we finally left.
But, each time I put the pants on, I kept thinking they had not been taken in or I had lost lots more weight. But I looked at all the seams, and just couldn't tell. This week, I tried the jacket on to get dressed for a political breakfast. And, the shoulder pads were still there, and, in fact, marked with safety pins to show what work was to be done.
I know that it was a busy time and it was most likely an oversight, not deliberately cheating me. But, now, six plus months later, I definitely know the work wasn't done. I paid cash; it is my word against theirs. Lesson learned -- try on all alterations before leaving the store, even if your family member has condemned the bathroom in the shop.

Friday, January 21, 2005

I Hate George W. Bush

The renewed arrogance of George Bush and his attempts to leave his legacy by robbing us of our rights and freedoms have made me realize again how much I hate him. Religion in the forefront on day 2 of the term --- reducing Medicaid, threatening eradication of tyranny (just a typical bully). It does not take him too long to get back to his old tricks. I hate him.


SpongeBob was an instant favorite in our house, long before he became mainstream. A gentle, shy, sensitive man (or sponge) with emotions, a simple life and a few friends -- why is that automatically a homosexual?
Listen up, here. We have got to focus on something with real consequences in the world -- all these kids being born into situations (like we see daily in the wide world of sports) with only one parent, or getting education and jobs to the people that need them. If anything, "We Are Family" acknowledges the changing mix of the family (I mean across racial lines) and being nice to your fellow man. What about teaching those lessons? I volunteer weekly in the Middle School front office and many of the parents coming in have not learned those lessons in their life, based on how they behave, or more correctly, their lack of behavior.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Inauguration Day

I did not deliberately plan it, but I am busy from morning to night today, Inauguration Day. I could not stomach watching GWB and his band of merry thieves celebrate excessively after stealing another election. I would love seeing all the ballgowns worn, but the lavish display of excess, when many have no jobs or health insurance, is unacceptable to me. I was happy to hear that some guy mistakenly cursed at the Bush twins' event, as it underscores the two-faced, phony nature of Monkeyboy and his administration.

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

One Small Step

I had to do something to prevent future GWB debacles (if they are preventable, that is, with liars and money). But, nonetheless, we got elected to be Precinct Committeemembers last night. We misssed the meeting where we were appointed as it was a holiday and I did not figure that a meeting would have occured on MLK. And, in typical Democrat disorganization, we were not added to the email list for meeting notification. At least we are doing something the week the jerk is inaugurated.... it will be good to do something proactive!

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Now I Get It

OK, I get the message. I am a "bad customer." I am deliberately getting treated poorly as my business is not wanted. The article below reveals that, many corporations, aided by massive computer databases of customers’ shopping habits, try to separate their profitable from their unprofitable customers. They give many examples of how they treat ‘bad’ customers differently. I have experienced many of them.
Turns out that I am an "angel customer" in places that I like where I am treated nicely, and given a reason if I am not helped quickly.

Saturday, January 15, 2005

Tsunami Aid

Tonight we flipped back and forth between the Tsunami Aid telethon and football. The images of destruction and people were gut-wrenching and heartbreaking. We saw a few of the musical acts as they cut away to the celebrities manning the phones, and some celebrities doing talkups for some footage related to the disaster and damage. It is hard to be told how to act by a wealthy celebrity, though we have donated money already. But the main impression I had was that the world was opening its hearts and pocketbooks to help do the right thing, even if the rebels in Sri Lanka say they are being denied aid. I also think that John Mayer should be put out of his misery as I found him totally annoying and kept screaming obscenities at the TV. Guess I was feeling better, thanks to the nursing care and chicken soup delivered by my husband.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Dennis Miller

Dennis Miller has been a favorite for many years, until he became a card-carrying conservative, that is. We loved him on SNL, his own talk show and even Monday Night Football, but he has allegedly changed since "9/11" to a vocal conservative. Previous colleagues say he has always been slightly conservative, but I am not sure I agree. His quick, rapid-fire delivery of strange comments is unique, but I cannot watch him knowing he is a friend of GWB. I mean, photo ops, riding Air Force One, and declaring GWB as "a mock-free zone" are more than I can accept. He had made his living making jokes about the likes of GWB.
We were so excited to see him live in Phoenix a few years ago. However, he did not handle a nasty heckler very well, and rushed his 90 minute act into about 30 minutes. Yes, it was still funny, but he just wanted to get out of there. Security did not remove the heckler, much to the chagrin of the paying audience. I doubt Dennis Miller will be doing any shows of any kind in Phoenix, though it is truly a conservative hotbed. I miss his special brand of commentary, and it made my husband laugh almost harder than I have ever seen him laugh. Until, that is, the recent viewing of "There's a Turd in my Car" from the Crank Yankers. Very funny stuff, but really weird. Who thinks of this stuff anyhow?

"Bread" Fan

I may be the only remaining fan of the former band, "Bread." I thouight of this as I read that one of the former band members died. Some will say I am stuck in the '60s with my music --- and I probably am. In addition to my beloved "Eagles", I like "Bread", "America", "Tommy James and The Shondells", "The Beatles", and of course, "The Grass Roots", to name a few. My musical taste has not progressed significantly, which must be why the carpool I drive for my daughter complains about my choice of music. I keep trying the rap stations they want, but cannot tolerate it for more than a minute before I feel the urge to start cursing myself and scream "I cannot listen to this!"

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Random Political Thoughts

I have several random political thoughts rolling around in my head.
-- The first one is that I hate George W. Bush, but that is nothing new.
-- Christine Gregoire is being installed as the Washington State Governor, after a tightly contested race. A great Democratic victory and, hopefully, it will stand up in court.
-- Howard Dean is running for DNC Chair. I personally like him, but know that he raises the ire of many Democrats. He would be devisive to the party, but not nearly as much as the anti-abortion guy would be. I heard the inside story of the infamous scream from some media guys who were in the room at the time, participating in the event -- it was a technical error that cost him big.
-- On a global level, it is really sad that the tsunami aid issue is getting so politicized. With everyone tripping over themselves to help, these poor people are in such dire straits.
-- A Democratic challenger is starting a campaign against Schwarzenegger. Hooray for that!
-- On the homefront, women are apparently going to lose their right to choose abortion or not, if Monkeyboy gets his way. He and his fellow beltway scumbags will be doubletalking, lying, cheating, basically just being giant, twofaced a------- all the way to the finish line. WHAT A JERK AND WHAT JERKS THOSE 59 MILLION WERE TOO!

Sunday, January 09, 2005


Bad habits are hard to break -- late night snacking, procrastinating, being disorganized, leaving your shoes in the middle of a room, avoiding phone calls -- just to name a few that I have. I also have a habit of saying "I'm sorry" too often for things that I am not responsible for.
Good habits are another story. They often take awhile to get formed, but once you do something regularly, they can be comforting. Or, they can be comforting when you get back into them from a long break of routine. That is how I felt today when my Hebrew and Siddur class started again -- it was a habit that I missed. Even with a different instructor, I completely enjoyed getting back into it. Another habit is going to services more often, even if it is just an evening minyan once each week. One habit I must develop is better home dental care. I am sure there are more, but I cannot think of them now.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston

Iam sorry to read that Brad Pitt and Jennifer Anniston have separated, not because I am a fan, but because it is sad when a marriage breaks up when the people appear to be in love. I don't really see the attraction to him, and she is just an ok actress in my book, but I don't know what "In Touch" magazine will have to write about now that they did finally separate. Maybe who they are dating, pictures of them being sad, info about dividing the assets, reconciliation speculation. They will have to find some new couple to add to their list of regular cover photos.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Not Sure How I Feel About This

This is a result of the missing Americans in the areas hit by the tsunami. They say the travelers in these areas did not tell family or friends exactly where they will be traveling, and they are moving about in small groups. Not sure how I feel about joy of international travel is not having anyone know where you are.

"The U.S. State Department urged Americans traveling abroad in the future to register their movements on the web site,"

Monday, January 03, 2005

Pop tarts

My husband was reading me the different foods that NFL players eat before games. One big guy eats blueberry Pop-Tarts. I told my husband that I love Pop-Tarts. He replied that, in 21 plus years of knowing me, he had never known me to eat a Pop-Tart. I replied that, sometimes, thinking and talking about eating something is as good as actually eating it.
The same thing happens with Good 'N Plenty candy. Also deep-fried Oreos, which I have never, or will never, actually eat.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

Black Pepper

I am a pepper freak -- I think I learned it from my father -- but never knew the correct description until I heard one of the two female chefs from "The Border Girls" refer to themselves as a pepper freak. I mean, she carries a pepper grinder in her purse when dining out! I will wait to eat a salad or soup until the pepper is available and love restaurants where there is a grinder on each table or self service (like Luby's!)
It probably started from the days of lunching with my father at Knight's Diner in Seattle. We ordered a grilled burger and salad, and the waitress at the counter brought out a special tin with partially ground pepper. I then was able to continue this obsession at Marin Joe's with a bowl of partially ground pepper was made available (and left at my spot for the whole meal).
We have many assorted pepper grinders. If an item is billed as black-pepper anything, I will eat it. And recently, a wonderful olive oil store in San Francisco, had a tin of "long pepper." They told me to slightly break up the jalapeno-shaped pods before putting them in a grinder. I opened the tin this morning -- something new in store for a pepper freak. I don't yet carry a pepper grinder in my purse, but stay tuned.....

Saturday, January 01, 2005

The Magic of Thailand

Thailand is a magical place, drawing us back several times. The people are so friendly and it is heartbreaking to think of what they have endured (as has the rest of Asia) from the tsunami and earthquakes, now followed by flooding. The world has opened its heart with aid and supplies, but the battered country is difficult to traverse from all the damage. So, enter the elephants, long the national animal of the monarchy and symbol of luck. The lovely creatures, big with beautiful eyes and a gentle nature, are working in convoys to deliver food, water and other aid. What a wonderful reward for a country that has revered and preserved elephants as part of their culture! We rode one through a muddy area, up and down hills. They are sure-footed and will get the job done, as long as there are a few small bananas as a treat.
Another story reported the following: "In Thailand, officials borrowed six elephants from the Wang Chang elephant farm in the 17th-century Thai capital of Ayuddhaya for help in clearing away wrecked buildings and other debris from the ruined resort island of Phuket and Phang Nga province. The animals — who were also used in recreated battle scenes for the movie "Alexander" — arrived Sunday and began work immediately on the muddy, hilly terrain. The six were chosen because they are smart and can act on command."
The sea-gypsies are also testament to the simplicity of life on the shores. These native folk have read the patterns of the tides for centuries. When others were drawn to the sea to watch it recede, and catch fish coming in, they knew it was a sign of a tsunami and that the water would return with intensified strength and speed. So they ran to the hills....and they are safe. As I said, Thailand is a magical place.

I Am Not Alone In My Opinion

Knowing that the British government felt the same way as I did about Nixon was heartening, though it certainly does not change history.

I read that "While the British government remained officially friendly to US President Richard Nixon during the Watergate scandal, behind the scenes, officials were urged to take "any measure open" to keep him away from London, newly-released archives showed.
At the same time, Britain's then ambassador in Washington warned that Nixon had to be handled with care, as he was "vengeful" and "irrational". "