Sunday, November 26, 2006


You know those papers we were all assigned as kids? The ones like, "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" and "What I Did for Christmas Break?" Well, this is "How I Spent My Thanksgiving." Enjoy!

We drove, we visited, we ate, we visited, we ate, we visited, we drove, and we slept. The end.

Hmmmm... there seems to be something missing. Oh yes, we ate before we slept, too.

Ok, ok. Enough with the snarky.

We had planned for some time that we would spend our Thanksgiving with family down south of the Bay. It was something we hadn't done in a very long time indeed, and we were really looking forward to it. We were going to Nona's house! Truthfully, that's always a treat in-and-of itself; but when the added value of Thanksgiving dinner is in the mix - why, four hours of bumper-to-bumper traffic couldn't keep us away!

That morning we got up at the usual time. We were scheduled to arrive at Nona's at 2pm. We figured a three-hour drive, so we needed to leave out house at 11am. That gave us an easy morningtime. (I really cherish easy morningtimes. No matter how hard I try, I can get myself up and out of bed, but the next step of in the shower and ready to leave for someplace is a challenge for me. Those of you who know me well know what I mean.)

So, we have an easy morningtime and are ready to go at 10am. Oh yes, we are early! Pretty cool, huh? Not only are we early, but we have a full tank of gas and we know where we are going and, most importantly, we didn't forget anything. In fact, we brought extra clothes just in case of a Thanksgiving Catastrophe that might Result In Needing To Change Clothes. Sweet.

Oops, I need to back up a quick sec. One of the things I learned to make as a Southern kid at Thanksgivingtime is this side dish made of sweet potatoes (or yams). This is a time-honored dish not for the faint of heart. Really, if you have heart problems, you should skip this delicasy because it will surely do you in! It's made with roasted sweet potatoes, butter (real butter), whole milk, whole eggs, real sugar, real brown sugar, flour, more butter, and pecans. Lots. This was my project for the day before.

OK, so we load up the car with ourselves, our Emergency Clothes, maps, soda pop (no one else drinks Diet Caffiene-Free Coke, so we bring our own), and two big-giant pans of freshly baked Southern-Style Sweet Potato Casserole. We are on our way.

For those of you wondering, "But what about Cookie and Cosmo? Did they have to stay behind?" Well, yes. Not to worry, though. Our wonderful neighbors offered to let Cookie and the 'Mo stay at their house. It was a beautiful day, a little on the cold side, but happily, no rain.

As we pulled out of the driveway, I remembered something. I dialed my neighbor - the ones taking care of Cooks and 'Mo. "Hi, Sharon. I wanted to let you kow we're on the way out. Also, there seems to be a dead pidgeon up under your eaves. We just thought you'd like to know... ... Of course, you could just leave it there as a warning to all the other pidgeons that roosting here is certain death... ... Yes, Cookie and Cosmo are in the back yard - and the gate's open... ... You can try, but you know how Cookie can be... ... Traffic? Not bad; we just passed your house and there's not another car in sight! [they are our next-door neighbors] ... OK, Happy Thanksgiving to you ... talk with you later ... Bye!"

Usually, I drive. I drive and drive and drive. I'm a little tired of driving. So this time, I rode along with the understanding that I'd drive back (I have better night vision). It was nice to be a passenger!

The in-town traffic wasn't bad at all. It wasn't until we were a little less than halfway that we encountered our first back-up. Few things are more unsettling for me than being completely stopped and parked on a freeway. There's just something so wrong about that.

After a quick consultation with the map and handy 511 traffic line (thank you State of California), we decided to take an alternate route. Now, this isn't one of those madcap, zany stories about alternate route go wrong. In fact, I'm happy to say that our decisionmaking served us well.

By the time we were three-quarters of the way distance-wise, it was noon-ish. We were in some Bay area burg and heading against the jam... and oh, what a back-up! I looked with awe at the miles of cars stacked bumper-to-bumper. From what I could tell, the source of all this was a toll booth. Incoming traffic didn't have to pay. As I gandered at the enormity of the sparkling snake of cars roping its way along the trough that was the road, I noticed two things, both of which gives me a jolt even now: The first was that there was two rows of cars literally parked in the road for as far as I could see (in fairness, it wasn't a perfectly staight road). The second was (shivers) there were no exits off this road! What would have happened is someone ran out of gas? Or had a heart attack? Or (gasp) had to go to the bathroom???! (again, those of you who know me well understand that of which I speak) A wave of clausterphobia tickles my toes even now. I wonder, are those poor people still stuck there?

Eventually, the oncoming traffic-snake tapered off. Times like these make me wish for a device that could be used to broadcast into cars a warning, "Exit now! No Potty Zone Ahead!" God bless 'em.

After a few more miles and turns, we found ourselves at Nona's. Yay! We parked and got out of the car. Standing was a gratifying challenge. When you're old like me you'll understand what I mean... We grabbed our gear and headed for the front door. The sumptuous fragrance of roasting meats and fixin's carried us nose-first up the two-stair porch like so many Looney Tunes cartoons. Ahhhh, we're here. It was 2ish.

After a knock and a pause, the door was thrown open. Nona! Big smiles and bigger hugs were exchanged, and we were allowed entry. Nona's house is a single-level bungalow with oak plank floors, brick fireplace and kitchen, and love oozing out of every doily, figurine, teacup, and pillow.

While Nona is a grandmother, she's not our grandmother. She is my sister-in-law. This was the first Thanksgiving the two older brothers and their sister (and families) had enjoyed together since ... I think ever, actually. Nieces, uncles, aunties, and friends filled the house with a warm chatter I love to hear. I tried to make myself useful in the kitchen, but was bustled out after a few minutes. I walked over and sank into the deep cusions of one of the sofas and was immediately greatful. Who knew being a passenger was so tiring??

Pretty soon, it was time to eat. Yay! But who was going to carve the turkey? I'm pretty handy with a knife (just ask my fingers - the ones left... ha!), so I volunteered. Anyway, Nona had an electric knife, so what could possibly go wrong?

I went to work... and a few minutes later, we had a boned turkey carcass and a pile of steaming white and dark meat - and no blood! A Thanksgiving miracle...

All some-teen of us sat at our placecards and our youngest guest said grace. "Dear Heavenly Father, bless us and bless Mommy and Daddy and Nona and thank you for this food for the nourishment of our bodies in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost Amen." I opened my eyes and surveyed the spread.

There was a salad with greens, avocado, cherry tomatoes, craisins, with a orange-vinagrette dressing. There was a b-i-g platter full of turkey (white meat in teh center and dark meat surrounding), a gravy boat filled with piping-hot, you know, gravy. We were treated to two kinds of stuffing, homemade cornbread, mashed potatoes, asparagus, pumkin mini-muffins, and sweet potato casserole. After a few minutes of passing and plating, we all settled in to enjoy our feast.

I kid you not, a silence fell on the room. No one said anything for - no joke - about three minutes. The only noise was forks and knives working and chewing and "mmmm's." Then, someone said something, and everyone joined in and resumed their converations. I take it as a sign of pure culinary delight.

After a respectable amount of dinner-ing, we all agreed ot was time to retire to the living room. A couple of us stayed behind to try to help Nona with the enormous clean-up ahead. I asked, "Would you like me to carve to other turkey, or do you want to keep it whole?" Yes, there was a second turkey, almost as big as the first one, and just as pretty. Nona said yes, so I went to work. A fork, a sharp knife, an electric knife with grease from the other turkey on the handel - what could possibly go wrong??

Why, nothing! Yay! While I was slicing slabs of succulent turkey, Nona started coffee. Maybe it was the mood, or maybe it was he combination of everything else, but I'll be darned if that wasn't the most wonderful-smelling coffee I have ever sniffed in my life. I couldn't wait to have some. Alas, it was not to be. After the first round, it was time to make more coffee. Lucky for me, this batch smelled as good as the first!

It was time to unleash the pies...

We had pumpkin, pecan, and apple pies and a big, huge pumpkin log (think rolled carrot-spice cake with crean cheese icing). One of the nieces noticed that there was some whipping cream in the 'fridge. I volunteered to whip it up. Really, few things are yummier than homemade pies with fresh-whipped cream. As an added benefit, scoop a big, ole' dollop in your coffee for something really special.

Most everyone had some of everything. Including me. I even had some pecan pie (minus the pecans). It was all sooo good.

Before we knew it, it was 11pm. Most of the guests had gone home and it was just us and Nona. We could tell she had a really long day. A couple of us managed to get a couple of loads of dishes through the wash and put away leftovers and ingredients, and tidied up a bit, but there was still a lot to do. Nona assured us that she would finish up in the morning and that we shouldn't come to her house to work.

We said our goodbyes and promises to get together again soon, took our leftovers, and headed back. I was driving, so of course it wasn't until about 10 minutes into it that I left the oh-so-familiar pillowy-soft blanket of tryptophan kick in. Nice!

I said, "We have to talk."


"No, it's nothing bad. I just need to talk about something because I feel like I'm about to nod off."


"Come on... so how 'bout that pumkin log?" Me? I had never seen one as big as that. It was the size of ... ummm ... a very large rolled-up cakey-type thing indeed! And it was smackerlicious.

A few minutes later, I woke up just fine. I think it was the car in front of the car in front of me who's tire blew out that did it. No kidding. A few minutes later, another car blew it's tire out, too. Yikes!

Soon enough we were out of the city and zooming down the interstate, making monster time. A scant two hours later, we were pulling into our driveway. Ahhh. Home.

We knew that Cookie and Cosmo would be in the house, so we made a beeline for the door to let them out and do their business. They were happy to see us and obliged by doing lots of business. Meanwhile, we unloaded the car.

It was nice to be home. Glad that we went, for sure! But we were glad to be home all the same.

We looked at each other and said, "Are you hungry? Yes..." and pulled out a few leftovers. We sat down and had a teeny-tiny version of the dinner we enjoyed just a few hours before. Like an echo.

After a little while, it was time to get to bed. After giving the pups a pat, we crawled under the covers and were soon fast asleep, dreaming of the wonderful Thanksgiving day we were lucky enough to spend at Nona's.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


It's the morning after the big mid-term elections and I'm a cranky girl.

Not so much because the the Dems (shiver) won; but that the GOP lost.

The GOP needed to get scrappy. They needed to get edgy. They needed to put themselves on the line for their beliefs. They needed to call the Dems out and make a few filibusters happen. They needed to show some fire and passion.

There seems to be a culture in the GOP something like, "we are above all that yelling-type stuff" and "we are rule- and tradition-followers; we are principled."

That's great and all, but when the other guys are proverbially whaling on you with pipes and chains, for goodness sake pull out your proverbial gun. And proverbially shoot it!

That they didn't seem to do any of that makes me sad.

Terror War, Tax reform, Soc Sec, Immigration Reform, Judicial Advocacy... these are enormous issues that the Dems will get horribly, horribly wrong.

And the notion of Pelosi and Speaker and Murtha as Appropriations - (gak ... I threw up a little in my mouth)

You know, I have to interrupt myself here and yell out the the rooftops, "God help us all if the Dems betray and abandon a fledgling government AGAIN." The Vietman analogy they are so giddy to use will indeed be complete.

We lost the House. We lost the Senate. But, GOP... thank goodness you have your dignity.

I going to go sip a little coffee and pout a while.

At least Arnold won.

Friday, June 30, 2006

&@#%! Treason

OK... I've said before that we need more shame in America - that's a little shorthand for a sense of public and peer pressure that encourages good or virtous behavior.

For instance, having babies out of wedlock is wrong; divorce is to be avoided; lying is bad; so is cursing, bullying, subterfuge, manipulation, whining, or quitting. These used to be things frowned on, not encouraged.

Today, they are glorified in our everyday lives through TV shows, magazines, books, movies, etc.

The standard of 'if it feels good, do it' has so penetrated the American culture, that it seems kids today know little else.

This trend of slipping standards is nothing new. Sociologists have been sounding the alarm about the end of American civilization since the 60s. They look at previous examples of great and powerful civilizations that ended in a wimper and see our culture heading down the same path. It happened with the Egyptians; it happened with the Greeks; the Romans; a arguement could be made that it's happening to the English (I don't agree with that arguement - it's too soon to say). Maybe it's inevitable. Maybe it's just another example of life's cycles... but it is still frustrating.


Now here we are. Today, we have a few knuckleheads (or maybe just one) somewhere in our own government that have taken it upon themselves to leak a vital, important, effective, secret process that helps our nation track and (eventually) kill people who are determined to attack us. And one of the country's top newspapers prints the story.

Let's break this down: One day, a guy wakes up in the morning. At some level, he says to himself, "Today, I'm going to tell to the world about this secret." So he goes and contacts another guy and the Times (how much other media did he reach out to, I wonder?).

OK, now this other guy gets told, makes notes, etc. He wakes up the the next morning and says to himself, "Boy, this is a great secret process that seems really effective in catching our enemies. But, it seems like it could be used on me, and I wouldn't want people to know how many times I get money from my mother..." So he decides - and this is his very best idea - to write it up.

Next, this guy goes to another guy - his boss. He tells his boss about it. His boss' very best idea is to say something along the lines of, "sounds good - go for it."

This boss-guy then goes to his boss and says something along the lines of, "Boy, do we have a great story coming up, guys! It's about a secret process the government is using to catch terrorists." And in some way, the boss-boss says, "sounds good - run with it."

The boss goes back to the one guy and tells him to run with it - which he is already doing. But now he has the official blessings of his superiors; and at some level, he says, "I going to really stick it to these government guys!"

So that guy goes back to the first guy and they go back and forth getting the whole story. The first guy is the belle-of-the-ball and feeling all important. The next guy is like a hungry dog at an unattended picnic spread taking in as much as he can, while he can. And the boss feels good knowing that one of his people is 'on the case!'

Eventually, the guy is done. He has his story written and proofed. He turns it in. The boss looks at it and sees a scoop. He probably forwards a copy to his boss. That guy reads it and is pleased at the work.

The government gets wind of the story (probably because the writer wanted to get a quote from them - that'll really stick 'em good!) The government says, "Hey, that's a secret we're still using. Don't publish it, m'kay?"

So the next morning, the very best idea is to publish that story. That's their very best idea - the best one. So that's what they do. It's not like the thing was accidently printed. It wasn't something that just fell onto the page or was stuck to the backside of some op-ed. A number of people worked really hard to make this story go.

Now the process is now dead. Other people and governments that counted on discretion in order to participate in this process are gone. Terrorists are able to find out what they were doing and change their operations accordingly and now, Americans will die for it.

The government knucklehead (or -heads) has his story printed - it's been a week and I bet he's still giddy. And some of our guys are shot dead.

The writer is a media darling. And some of our guys get their legs ripped from their bodies in an IED.

The boss and the boss' boss are basking in the heady glow of fame. And some of our guys get kidnapped and decapitated.

I bet there's a book deal in the works. And I bet right now, one of our guys is about to be nabbed and tortured.

So, good job guy. You've made it so much easier to get money to the savages attacking us. You've made it harder to track and catch their leaders. I bet you woke up this morning with an overwhelming sense of energy and power. Meantime, some of our guys didn't wake up at all.

Throughout this whole process I have to wonder if any of the decisionmakers really though out whether or not publishing the story was right. I strongly suspect all they saw was an exclusive, and that the right-ness was never an issue on the table much less discussed.

See, this helping-out-the-other-side thing has a name: 'treason.' It's a big ugly word with big ugly consequenses. But that seems to be another thing lacking in our culture today... certainly in our media culture - ugly consequenses.

The government recognizes this has has decided to take the extraordinary step to ... waggle their finger at the fact that a story was written without saying who it was that did it. What is this, kindergarten?

In my world, the decision tree that allowed the story to print would lose their livelihood at the least. As a newspaper, a public trust was violated in that the paper went out of its way help harm (kill) our own people. They went out of their way to help an enemy that has sworn to kill us all... including them. These guys do not deserve the public trust. Their actions have shown (again) that in fact, they don't want it. Let's oblige them.

The next thing I'd do is have the government interrogate the writer to find the leak. I would indict and try the leaker for treason and, if found guilty, invoke the death penalty. (I would consider a 20yr sentence in a federal facility if the accused co-operated)

This is an ugly scenario. But while these guys are going aroung feeling really good about themselves, we are in a war for our survival.

This conflict isn't a border dispute. It is a struggle not just to end our lives but to eliminate even the memory of our stories, our sensibilities, our humor, our passion, our ingenuity, our productivity ... us all.

Treason: it's ugly, it's disgraceful, it's nasty, heinous and often murderous. It's what this is; and the people involved should be treated like the scum they are so desperate to aid.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Whew -- WAAAAY too much crazy showing!

So, I have this inability to reign in the crazy. It's my fatal flaw. I'll jot something down that seems perfectly reasonable at the time. Then I'll go back and read through it (usually some time later) and I think, "Man! Who wrote that?!"

Oh well -- it's a promise to myself to keep things in context and whole, warts and all.


Got a nice note from my friend Phil asking where the pictures were I promised to send him, like, six months ago. Oops.

See, my husband, the love of my life, has gone through an amazing transformation. Through the miracle of DS surgery and lots of hard work (and suffering), he has lost an astonishing amount of weight. Oh! Here's some more crazy: I have a blind spot in that I can't see weight loss on other people very well. It's like, "Yeah, I guess he's lost some weight." It's only when I see pictures side-by-side that I really see what I'm looking at. Weird.

Anyway, here're a couple of pictures of my husband's journey so far. The first is Christmas of '04 and the next is Christmas of '05.

Cool, huh?!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Expose the Left

I was tooling around and came across this site called Expose the Left. There was an interesting thread that I thought I'd contribute to. Here's what I said...

I know I’m late to the party, but I thought I’d go ahead and toss my two cents in.

In a former life I was a member of the few, elite, real newsmakers. I was a spinner, a fixer, a matchmaker … a PR Rep. The force behind 95% of every news story you read or hear. (mwaw-ha-ha-ha)

Seriously, I can’t watch a newscast or read a story in a mag or paper without seeing the behind-the-scenes, between-the-lines forces.

Here’s the unvarnished truth (‘cause I know you guys can take it!): the vast, vast majority of writers, editors, producers, and reporters are a facinating combination of personality. They have the yearning of artists and performers to be loved and the general laziness and arrogance of the prototypical teenager.

That doesn’t make them bad people or anything like that, but it does make them extremely easy to manipulate. (You’d be amazed how many colomn inches a free dinner with a pretty girl or famous person can buy.)

By the way, it’s true that Lib reporters are easier ‘shape;’ Cons are a slightly different challenge.

The point is that there is a core value in liberals that is different that conservatives. This core value is enormously compatible with being comfortable about the manipulation of people and events to ‘get what you want.’ Conservatives lack this value, on the whole. That is one reason why cons seem to have a chronic inability to maintain a strong presence in the shaping of public opinion: they are unwilling or unable to ‘play the game.’

Here’s the thing: if you want to get a story published or aired, start small, but always present a story package that is 90% done. Always have pictures. Always have a hook (and the story itself is never enough of a hook). And then do it again and again and again. Become a Source. Once you make it to Source status, you have the proverbial keys to the kingdom.

It’s not easy, and it takes time. Years, sometimes. What is best is building relationships with budding journalists just out of school and work to help develop them into media professionals. The sense of loyalty is intoxicating, but if taken seriously, very rewarding.

Liberals have a huge leg-up in terms of indoctrinating the media into a liberal mind-set because of what is taught. (oops, going hot-button-tangent!) But if conervatives recognize that and work effectively within that system, over time we will see the Liberal stranglehold on media loosen considerably. (full credit: it’s happening a teeny-tiny bit right now)

See, it’s not so much about the truth. It’s about controlling the mike and controlling the guy talking into it.

Yikes! I’m sure this all sounds very Orwellian/Machiavellian/Facistic, etc. But, in the words of that guy in the ‘92 movie ‘The Player,’ “That’s reality.”

It’s an interesting strategy that the Conservatives are executing: if you’re not welcome at the cool kids table, change what and where is cool. A bold move that deserves a great deal of credit. The next step in this process is converting the viral media into the mainstream.

I, for one, can’t wait to see what happens next. I think the Libs are in an ideological fight for their lives – and they ain’t doin’ too well.

That being said, Libs have a lot of things going for them: they have 90% of media and media makers, 80% of the colleges and high schools, and about 50% of the electoral votes.

Conservatives need to get busy! Get onto schoolboards, become teachers, have lots of babies, and continue to work every day and on every level to reintroduce an adult sense on responsibility and accountability to the American Media.

It’s all very tiresome and ridiculous, I know. But you gotta do it – like making your kids study math. “Failure” is not an option.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Blogspot Authorization

Geez -- for the first time in a while, I've had stuff to rant a little about. But it's been difficult to log-on to Blogsot. I was not authorized, apparently.

Oh sure, I could have done this-ot-that... but whining about it afterwords is so much easier. (kind of like what our friends did in the pervious post -- snark!)

I really like this blogging-thing. When I had this difficulty, it made me realize that I liked it even more that I thought I did.

It's back now...

Yay :)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Katrina Briefing Tape Leak

I haven't heard the whole thing -- I admit it.


From what I have heard, this is less of a gotcha for the Prez than it is for the Mayor of N.O. and the Gov of LA.

The thing that first comes to mind is, why didn't the state guys take this storm as seriously as the Fed did?

Some are saying that this is a big problem for the Prez, that it could billow into a full-fledged scandal. Maybe.

I think it shows that the Feds were far more on-the-ball and concerned about this storm than the locals were.

Lastly, I think it's important to say that nothing that anybody could have reasonably done bofore or after the storm would have made one iota of a difference with regards to the crazy-bad damge that was done to the cities hit.

By the way, wasn't there another city/population center hit is MI &/or AL? How did their state officials handle the Katrina? It seems interesting that we never seem to hear much about them.

We'll see what happens...

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Offensive Cartoon?

From all I've seen, which is just the one with the bomb-turban, this kerfuffle is another case of certain someones taking themselves way too seriously. Suck it up, guys ... if yours is the one true faith, a few scribbles won't make more of a difference than a belch in a hurricane.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

SOTU Address

Good speech. I liked the tough parts. Too bad he didn't hammer tax code reform & simplification... but at least he talked about medical liability reform. His 'green talk' was ok - but of course the correct answer is off-shore and ANWAR drilling (oh yeah, I said it).

The Dems are acting loopy and the folks are not buying it. But their donating constituency is loving it. More power to 'em!

Pretty soon we're going to need to identify our next Prez. candidate. I wonder who it will be?

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Why aren't we Funnier?

I am a fan of This guy Matt, who I suspect is the boss of the operation, podcasts these little tunes for each day's item. I love them. Especially the Bluetooth bits (they are addicting!!!).

This reminds me of a question I've had for quite some time.

With a very few exceptions, liberals have it all over us in terms of the funny-factor.

I often wonder why.

Is it because on the whole, conservatives lack the vile and bitterness present in so many of the really funny writers and performers of today?

Is it because the entertainment industry is so completely rife with people who just want to be loved (a Lib core value) that conservatives - even those with promise - are 'encouraged' to develop other tradecraft?

Maybe it's because we have the drive to create and build and nuture our families and community versus the constant, gluttonous internal examination that is required for truly funny bits.

In any event, it would be nice if we could have more jibes at the libs on tv, more pokes at the Dems in the paper ... but I guess we'll have to settle for parody on radio for now. (sigh)

Monday, January 30, 2006

Happy New Year

I know, I know... this poor blog has been neglected. Since I last opined so much has happened!

I have to say I am quite happy that both Roberts and Alito have been confirmed. It is as it should be. (ahhhhh)

Today is the State of the Union address... everybody's talking about this eavesdropping stuff. I wonder when everyone's going to understand that this issue is so a non-starter. I have to hand it to the radio guys out there, they are more patient and kind than I could ever be.