Monday, February 28, 2005


As I see it, ringtones are a signature for a teenager, differentiating themselves from each other. The teens in our carpool are always listening to options, and changing them for a mere 99 cents. My husband doesn't understand ringtones, but, then again, he does not have his cellphone permanently attached to his body. Poor reception in our house probably contributes to that. My daughter has begged to get them. But, because the download software also brings in tons of popup ads, my husband has said no.
This past weekend, she was allowed to get them. They did the download of choices of songs together (sadly the one she wanted was not yet available). She listened to them; we listened to them and then, her friends listened to them before she finally selected one. For 99 cents she gets one ringtone, but, much to her delight, the other choices remain on her phone for ongoing listening pleasure.
I think they are a simple way to express yourself. Does anyone want to guess what song I would pick? An Eagles tune, you say? Right you are.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

For Better Or For Worse

When we came home from an obligatory event last night, my husband said to my daughter, "Tonight is what they mean in the wedding vows when they say "for better or for worse." It was the kind of night where you go and support your spouse in whatever way they need, despite your interest in even attending. I told him that I owed him and he could take me somewhere that I would not like. He says he wouldn't do that to me. The reality is that he takes me places that are opposite -- really amazing opportunities. One that stands out is the time we went to a party and talked to Larry King; another is the recent experience at the FBR Open on the 18th green.
Honestly, for better or for worse, in my mind, would mean being there for your spouse, in any condition that they are -- needing a walker, on oxygen, deaf or blind, dementia, etc. -- the list goes on. Getting old is a challenge, both for yourself and your loved ones. Like they say, for better or for worse.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

Polite To Their Fans

We have been making our way around the pre-spring training baseball sites to look at, talk to and hang out with players and other fans that cannot wait. It is unreal as you are upclose with the players, coaches (often former stars or Hall of Famers) and other nutso fans. At one park, the players are using the same restroom as the fans.
Two incidents stick with me -- Dave Winfield was walking onto the field in this roped-off area, with a new young player. He is obviously helping coach as we witnessed him tossing and catching some balls. A young boy, about six years old carrying a binder full of cards, said "Mr. Winfield, can you please autograph my cards?" Mr. Winfield kindly replied, "Not right now, young man. I am working." How nice was that and it is something that boy will remember always, even if he never did get that autograph.
Another park, no roped-off area, an up-and-coming future "Rookie of the Year" (according to my husband), Huston Street, was signing autographs on bats, balls, spring training roster sheets, you name it. He posed for pictures with a big smile. He thanked people for waiting, apologized for the wait, and, meanwhile, the circle around him got larger.
I got an autograph and told him we had cheered him on in Fall League. We inquired about his parents, whom we met at the Fall League World Series. I believe, by next year, they won't even allow you to get close enough to get an autograph. A really nice, polite, appreciative young man -- what a treat. And when he throws the ball, you know that he stands out from the others -- he throws hard and fast. I told him to "have a good season." He smiled graciously and said thank you.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Just Say No!

I know that saying no is the basis of the abstinence campaign for teenagers, but for me, it is a lesson that I must adopt and implement. I am completing the work on a huge obligation, for which I should have "just said no!" And I always feel guilty if I have to turn down a sub request for a class or volunteer gig; I must "just say no" without feeling guilty or needing to give a big reason to justify saying no. I am, no, no, thanks for asking.

Friday, February 18, 2005

I Always Wondered

I always wondered how the letters in the game of Scrabble got their point values. I love playing Scrabble -- it is such a mentally challenging game. The game was invented by Alfred Butts, an unemployed architect in 1948. He reportedly used the front page of The New York Times to determine how often letters were used in words, and somehow assigned point values to the letters. It was orginally called Lexiko and Criss-crosswords before it got its current name. Needless to say, my favorite letter is "Q".


I write about coffee frequently because I think about it alot. I look forward to hot, strong coffee in the morning, usually brought to me in bed by my devoted husband. But, when the beans are not right, or we have coffee pot problems, it can be a disappointing start to the day. We seem to have found the perfect solution: a Farberware percolator on a timer (we are on our second one, but they are replacing the first one under warranty) and Cowboy beans, a dark, winy, rich taste. The best we have found are Cave Creek Coffee Company or the Sedona Coffee Roasters, which I happened upon with my cousin while visiting Sedona. We have been on the eternal search for a dark-roasted flavored coffee, and a visit to the Sedona Coffee Roasters website led us to the pot of gold --- French Roast Vanilla Nut. It is all that it was promised to be. I get the coffee ready before bed, set the timer and anxiously await the tempting smell that accompanies the coffee as it delivered bedside. That is worth getting up for, even if it is cold and dark.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Stay Tuned

They call this false campaign promises. Stay tuned -- there will be more.
This is regarding the news story that says:

Some farmers from battleground election states who campaigned and voted for President Bush say they are not happy about proposed cuts in federal farm subsidies and other agriculture programs.
"We wouldn't call it a double-cross or anything like that, but I don't think this is going to sit real well," said Harold Bateson, whose family's grain farm covers 2,300 acres in northwest Ohio near Bowling Green.
The president has proposed an across-the-board cut of 5 percent for all farm payments and a reduction in the cap on individual subsidies.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Howard Dean

I have been a supporter of Howard Dean from the days when the local campaign office had no furniture and one phone line. I have been leary, however, of the impact of his selection as DNC Chair. He has motivated so many people to join grassroots efforts and think of becoming involved politically. But, many people have been turned off along the way.
I truly hope that people will give him a second chance. I still never have seen the infamous "scream". According to some members of the media in the room at the time, it was actually an audio error in the broadcasting setup, in which the feed of the background noise was not turned on. But a costly error, at that.
If Howard Dean in his DNC role, and now his brother, James Dean (yes, really), as head of Democracy for America, can keep the momentum going from the last election, maybe there is hope ahead.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Cat Poop In My Garden

I saw the new cat next door pooping in my garden last week, and after the rain ended, went out to find that it had decided my organic garden was the new litter box. I picked up the poop - family debate ensued as to what to do next. It could have been thrown out, left at the neighbor's door, tossed over their fence or presented to them with request for help with the problem. Chasing the cat out has eliminated some of the bird killing, but what to do now? I went online and it must be a common problem given the number of products available and suggested solutions. I tried pouring un-diluted vinegar around the borders and sprayed the garden as cats have a sense of smell 14 times that of humans. If that doesn't work, we will have to get more aggressive about this problem. The new cat is a total outdoor cat, water at the front door, bed at the back. I am not opposed to having the cat wander around, as long as it does not poop in my garden or kill my birds.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Southern Rock

The Southern Rock performance on the Grammy Awards tonight got me dancing, jumping and smiling --- I loved it! The U2 song made me want to cry and I am looking forward to the upcoming concert. Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony gave a duet performance with so much intensity, emotion and love that it sent chills through my body. Wow, this is fun.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

British Royalty

I am fascinated by British royalty as I still want to be a princess, ala "Princess Diaries", "Cinderella", "Snow White", "Sleeping Beauty", etc., which tells me most girls have wanted to be princesses at some point in their life. The tale of Princess Diana was magical -- I was glued to the wedding ceremony and cried at her demise. I dragged my husband to the makeshift memorial in the circle at the end of the tunnel in Paris where she died. On the other hand, Prince Charles is a jerk, and gets to be a Prince because of his birthright. His lack of character makes him unworthy of such a lofty position. And, Parker Bowles, puke. He is finally marrying her, but he can never win in the court of public opinion. She is seen as a homewrecker, and worse yet, the person responsible for destroying a real-life fairy tale.

Mandatory Recycling

OK, I admit that mandatory recycling is what I like to see. I cannot really say Seattle is "my kind of town" in every way, but Seattle is progressive and mandatory recycling should be in effect everywhere (though monitoring it would be impossible). But, as a citizen volunteer member of the Seattle 2000 Environmental Goals committee in 1972, we dreamed of such laws -- streets where only pedestrians and mass transit were allowed; required recycling; landfills used for fuel sources. I guess when they say dreams really can come true, they mean it.
Bottomline is that it is not difficult to sort by type of material, wet or dry, or whatever technique is suggested, and I cannot understand why people just don't do it anyway. But, as a mandatory law, you will also find exceptions, like people dumping their trash in other people's dumpsters, in the woods, vacant lots. People get some weird reaction to being told they "must" do something; perhaps the laid-back Seattle style won't result in illegal dumping. I, for one, applaud this law!

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Uruguay -- A True Jewel

We loved Uruguay! The food, the beaches and friendly people. We were there before they could vote for a democracy and the military was visible on every corner. One cab driver told us how much he was looking forward to voting for the first time and what a privilege that Americans have to vote (don't get me started on those that don't vote!!!!)
We saw much of the life that had been reserved for the privileged and European upper crust, including lots of vintage automobiles in Punta del Esta. In Montevideo, it was mostly old Ford Falcons from the 1960s.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Superbowl Commercials

The day after the Superbowl is the best show on the Ronn Owens show on KGO. He reviews all the commercials from the Superbowl the day before, revealing his favorites and taking calls from listeners. I will be listening on my computer tomorrow, but here are my favorites:
First prize for continued cuteness is to Budweiser -- the donkey joined the Clydsedales after a tryout during the previous year's Superbowl. This year a parade of zoo and farm animals lead to a barn, where, when opened, you see the donkey and Clydesdales, and the trainer says "See what you started." They also win for the "designated driver" commercial with Cedric the Entertainer trying to say he's the designated driver and, instead, starting a new dance move. I like the one where the people in the airport clap for the military folks as they walk through. I believe it may be a trendsetter.
My next favorite was the FedEx commercial with the list of ten things that must be in a Superbowl ad to be a winner. I will be looking forward to seeing what Ronn Owens has to say.


Red is my favorite color, which is a good thing because it seems like everything is red now. In the Sunday inserts, all the appliances are red. Perhaps it is just for Valentine's Day, but red is popular. My grandmother always said it was my color because it looked great on me (when I had black hair, especially). But, for whatever reason, I am very partial to red and always choose that color when given an option.

Saturday, February 05, 2005

I Was Not Leaving Empty-handed!

We had the time for ticket sales for U2 on the calendar. I was doing phone; my husband was online. He got tickets quickly, but a fluke in his account lost them and we were in a 15 min. queue. By the time we got through, the tickets were not available, so we kept redialing and rebooting, to find none available. My husband walked around saying "I blew it. Give it up." But I wasn't leaving empty-handed as he has gone to heroic efforts (twice) to get Eagles tickets. I figured more tickets might get released. Well, the redial was ongoing, but the wireless internet dropped and I had to reboot. As it came on, at the bottom of the Ticketmaster page, in red, it said "New Show Just Added." I screamed and he went back online; I tried the phone UNTIL I finally got through. I requested accessible seating, which we do need, just as he got two seats online. I was so glad I could reciprocate the effort entailed in getting awesome Eagles seats.
My husband thought that seeing U2 might show me how tired the Eagles are. I don't think so, but I know I will love the U2 show. I should, as each time we drive through the Joshua Tree forest, the tunes are blasting.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Random Political Thoughts, Part 2

I will not be commenting on GWB's State of the Union address, as I managed to totally stay clear of coverage (except for reading about the impromptu hug among gallery viewers) and to comment that since I am under age 55, I assume I will NOT get Social Security. The removal of an anti-party line Republican from a key committee position speaks more to his real agenda, anyway.
I know that many Democrats are unhappy with the prospect of Howard Dean doing anything at all, but I like him as he has been responsible for re-activating many activists. Hard to know how that will turn out, and if it is good for the Dems long-term. Bifurcating an already struggling party will only benefit GWB and his successors.
John Edwards is going to Univ. of North Carolina to head up a new Center on Poverty, studying and impacting poor people as they work towards becoming middle class. Very noble endeavor and reminscent of Jimmy Carter with Habitat of Humanity. I admire them for taking a big picture view of how they can change what they see.
Speaking of seeing, not many of those poor or middle class folks were visible at the FBR Open yesterday, unless they were doing the temp service jobs. It was really quite a spectacle, with people watching, Home Show type booths and, incidentally, world class golfers playing by periodically. The strangest thing I saw was some guy, obviously a verrrrrry high powered CEO, with cool shades and an earpiece, walking with eight guys (yes, guys) behind him in formation, followed by a body guard with an earpiece and who knows what else. Must have come from one of the many Lear jets landing nearby. We were trying to figure out which CEO it could have been, but with so many large corporations on the sponsorship boards with hospitality tents, we were stumped. I was a bit overwhelmed by the consumption around me and the contrasts in the world.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

What To Wear?

I told my husband he could not wear golf clothing, or clothing with golf themes on it, if he didn't play golf. So he bought two golf clubs at an outlet center in Palm Springs, but then had a biking accident and hurt his shoulder, ending his non-existent golf career. Since there are two new clubs in the garage, I do think he can now wear golfwear. And it is a good thing since he has an invite to a tent at the FBR Open.
The problem is what do I wear? I own no golf clothing and have nothing white as I cannot keep it white. I have lots of spring-like clothing, but, to me, it is still cold. I noted in the newspaper last year that people were walking the course (without their cellphones, of course) in capri pants and high heels. Why would someone wear high heels when walking on grass? Beats me. I cannot even walk in high heels on level ground.
I will have to try on lots of outfits tonight to find just the right thing. In the meantime, I will be trying to figure out why my husband wears shirts and neckties with cigars and martinis on them when he does not drink or smoke. So, logically, if he wears those because they are cute (and conversation starters), he could probably also wear surfer or sailing clothing.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Green Things

I got spring fever last week, and in honor of Tu B'Shevat (the Jewish holiday of New Year for the Trees), I planted a bunch of stuff in our vegetable patch. It was filled with tomatoes and beans when we moved in three years ago. The herbs (oregano and basil) have survived my tenure, and we did plant a pepper plant. We have some volunteers as well -- more oregano and some plant that flourishes in Mexico. I don't know the name of it but the yard guy says his sisters used to make tea out of it to stop their menstruation quickly. So, whatever it is, it loves our yard. My husband thinks it looks like the wacky weed.
So I planted tulip bulbs (ok, I bought them to plant last February, but you know about that procrastination problem I have) and I scattered some radish seeds in the organic soil I purchased. I have no idea if the seeds from inside the red bell peppers will grow, but I planted a bunch of them too. For good measure, I threw in some wildflower seeds that came in the mail from our realtor. Now I just have to wait, water and watch.
The good news is something green poked out of the ground yesterday. It's a mystery to see what it is. One important fact about Tu B'Shevat. On the birthday for the trees, each tree becomes one year older. So, if you planted a tree on the day before, the tree becomes one year old. It was an ancient method to allow some consistency in determining the ages of trees, by the number of Tu B'Shevat celebrations in which they participated. Pretty clever -- kind of like the way an extra month was added to the calendar every few years to account for the changes in the lunar calendar.