Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Internet Withdrawal

Well, our DSL modem is down. What a bummer! It's severely cramping my blogging style.

So this is just to say that I will be a bit sporadic in posting. We're going to take a trip to KY to see my family over Thanksgiving as well, so I probably won't be posting until we get back next week.

But just so you know, I'm reading away at The Brothers Karamazov, and so far it's pretty fascinating except for a spell where the Elder went on for pages healing and preaching--not that there's anything wrong with that, and I think all that is going to have some bearing later on down the road. Right now where I am in the book the father and son are vigorously arguing and creating scandal. So that's all right.

I have also managed to hang on to my New Habit of not leaving my shoes all over the house.

I haven't done so well exercising, but after all I did have surgery and the aftermath has been a little harrowing. I did buy this DVD:

And I'm really loving it when I can remember to find time to do it. I've been trying to do it right when I get home instead of just coming in, throwing things down and pouring the cocktail. When I do 20 minutes in the morning, with a Sun Salutation set, I feel so great. My whole body feels different all day.

Some of my other goals/new habits suffered a bit, but I'm back on track now, more or less. When I get back from KY I will renew my efforts!! Hope I don't pork out...

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Goal 61 - Read all the books on my reading list

Founding Brothers
Joseph J. Ellis

I finished the first book on my reading list! (Ahem.)

Interesting facts:

1. The author of this book looks a little bit like Gerald Ford and a little bit like Jimmy Carter.

2. Founding Brothers won the Pulitzer Prize for history in 2001.

3. Joseph Ellis got into trouble right after he won the Pulitzer for exaggerating his participation in the Vietnam War (he was in uniform but served in America, not Vietnam as he claimed to students and media), and as a result was suspended from teaching history for a year among other punitive actions. Rather ironic.

4. Washington and his vice-president, John Adams, considered the vice-presidency as a legislative office based in the Senate.

I think it’s a fascinating book. Disclosure: I was a graduate student in history once, with a special interest in the Early Republic. Still, I think any person reasonably interested in history would also find it fascinating, especially in light of the many constitutional crises of the past seven years. Frequently passages are poundingly resonant with current times. The book is fairly well written and easily comprehended (though I caught some misspellings (apart from the weird free-style spelling of the 1700s) and one strange phrase: “shades of light.” ??)

Ellis concentrates on the personal dynamics that roiled the politics of the Founding and the early Republic. The personal stories and interactions of this "band of brothers" are what makes the book a compelling read.

Ellis admits to taking a “disarmingly old-fashioned” approach to this history, instead of following a modern trend which focuses on “recover[ing] lost voices” and “ignoring mainstream politics.” He writes:

In my opinion, the central events and achievements of the revolutionary era and the early republic were political. These events and achievements are historically significant because they shaped the subsequent history of the United States, including our own time. The central players in the drama were not the marginal or peripheral figures, whose lives are more typical, but rather the political leaders at the center of the national story who wielded power.

The book is cleverly organized into six segments, each following a particular story or vignette:

1. The Duel – A riveting account of the duel between Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr, and an illuminating “back story.”

2. The Dinner – The pact that Jefferson facilitated over dinner in June of 1790 at his lodgings at 57 Maiden Lane in New York City (right around the corner from where I’m writing this, in fact). The other partygoers were James Madison and Alexander Hamilton (who by the way is buried in the churchyard just down the street). Jefferson manipulated the other two into coming to terms about federal assumption of state debts. This was a controversial issue because some of the states had already paid their own, and other states had humongous amounts owing, and it was of course not fair. But Hamilton (treasury secretary at the time, as you well know) was desperately determined to repair the public credit, and the whole thing was in congressional deadlock. By bringing the two prime movers and antagonists together and making them come to terms, Jefferson extracted the condition that the new capital of the new country would eventually settle in what was to become Washington, D.C.

3. The Silence – A heartbreaker…the “silence” referred to in the chapter title actually descended after the events of this chapter, the debate over slavery at the Constitutional Convention.

4. The Farewell – Eight words: George Washington was the Father of our Country. This account is also illuminating and heartbreaking at times. I wish he were alive today.

5. The Collaborators – More of the machinations of Thomas Jefferson. The chapter starts off as though it’s going to be about John Adams and Jefferson, the president and vice-president at the time, but it ends up being about Jefferson and Madison and their undermining of the Adams presidency (to vastly oversimplify--and in their defense they thought they were saving the Republic.)

6. The Friendship – This is my favorite chapter, I think. It brings the book to an appropriate climax and summation by exploring the personal relationship between Adams and Jefferson, the bitter rift that grew between them, and the repair of the relationship in their old age. The story of this friendship encompasses the whole of the Founding, and the enmity between the two illustrates nothing less than the birth pangs of the country. The ending is priceless.

Obviously from the chapter titles, the book doesn’t follow chronological order. Each event is placed in the context of the larger story of the founding, and the impact of the event on history, which makes each chapter a little history in itself. I sometimes felt that even within the chapter narrative, backward and forward jumps in time got a little confusing. But that’s a minor complaint.

As a student of history, it didn’t come as any surprise that Thomas Jefferson was a devious bastard, but anyone coming to the book with a typical high school/general studies view of the Founding Fathers might find his Machiavellian approach to politics a big surprise. Get this:

[Jefferson’s] conduct in providing clandestine instructions to Adams’s cabinet undermined the constitutional authority of the executive branch in ways that would have landed him in jail in modern times.

[I’m moved to recount some personal description of Jefferson that struck me as a student: he had a very soft voice (they called his second Inaugural Address the “Second Inaudible Address), he would hardly look anyone in the eye, and he padded around the White House in bedroom slippers. He was also described by contemporaries as having immense personal charm. Go figure.]

I was very gratified, however, to learn more about John Adams, who I’ve never really delved into much because he has seemed an unsympathetic character. It’s great to get below the surface of his reputation and find an immensely passionate, brilliant but erratic, and funny person. I think he might just be the funniest of the founders.

The last chapter brilliantly explores the building of the Narrative of the Founding—something Jefferson excelled at. Speaking of the words he penned for the 50th anniversary of independence (incidentally, the day he died, and Adams as well), Ellis writes:

[This] uniquely Jeffersonian message…was inherently rhetorical in character—that is, it framed the issues at a rarefied altitude, where all answers were self-evident and no real choices had to be made. And that was the ultimate source of its beguiling charm. The Jeffersonian vision floated. It functioned at inspirational levels above the bedeviling particularities, like a big bang theory of the American Revolution…

Jefferson was positively Reaganesque in his ability to package himself and the Founding in glowing idealism, while Adams insisted on the down-and-dirty “bedeviling particularities.” It irked him no end that Jefferson was going to go down in history (oh yes, Adams knew he would) as the iconic figure that he spun himself, and that he, Adams, would end up as the irascible, faintly ridiculous figure that he knew he was (big ego or no big ego).

Here are some choice random quotes from Founding Brothers:

Adams on ideology:

Adams claimed to be fascinated by the new word “upon the Common Principle of delight in every Thing We cannot understand.” What was an “ideology”? he asked playfully: “Does it mean Idiotism? The Science of Non Compos Menticism. The Science of Lunacy? The Theory of Delerium? [sic]” As Adams explained it, the French philosophes had invented the word, which became a central part of their utopian style of thinking and a major tenet in their “school of folly.” It referred to a set of ideals and hopes, like human perfection or social equality, that philosophers mistakenly believed could be implemented in the world because it existed in their heads. Jefferson himself thought in this French fashion, Adams claimed, confusing the seductive prospects envisioned in his imagination with the more limited possibilities history permitted.

Jefferson on political parties:

“In the present situation of the United States, divided as they are between two parties, which mutually accuse each other of perfidy and treason…this exalted station [the presidency] is surrounded with dangerous rocks, and the most eminent abilities will not be sufficient to steer clear of them all.” Whereas Washington had been able to levitate above the partisan factions, “the next president of the United States will only be the president of a party.”

On Washington’s military strategy in the Revolutionary War:

…By 1778 he had reached an elemental understanding…namely, that captured ground—what he termed “a war of posts” –was virtually meaningless. The strategic key was the Continental Army. If it remained intact as an effective fighting force, the American Revolution remained alive. The British army could occupy Boston, New York, and Philadelphia, and it did. The British navy could blockade and bombard American seaports with impunity, and it did. The Continental Congress could be driven from one location to another like a covey of pigeons, and it was. But as long as Washington held the Continental Army together, the British could not win the war, which in turn meant that they would eventually lose it.


Next up: The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky. (By the way, I think it’s really weird that there’s a cruise ship named the MS Fyodor Dostoevsky. Don’t you?)

Goal 26 - Clean out coat closet

Woo hoo, I totally did it! And I didn't even mean to. Of course I forgot to take a "before" picture, but here is the after picture:

I mean I'm so excited, you can totally see the floor!! (Even if it does have these weird stains on it that have been there ever since we moved in and I have no idea what they are.)

So, the story is, I got this great new iMac for my 60th birthday, and it's AWESOME. I still love my sunflower mac, but still. This is really awesome!!!

I got up today determined to get my new iMac in gear, so as to make room in my office area, so I plunged into (I think) Goal 31 -- Get papers filed, which has really languished of late, and I made really great headway, until I realized I was going to have to clean out the coat closet in order to store the boxes of papers I was creating. So that's how I ended up fulfilling Goal 26. It was an accident.

However, in the process, I discovered that we had 13 winter scarves, 10 baseball caps, and four complete pairs of gloves. I was getting ready to go buy a new pair for the winter. I threw away at least eight odd gloves and one baseball cap and several scarves that were beyond the pale.

I SO made such great headway in the papers. I unloaded all my mother-in-law's stuff AND "filed" it, meaning I put it in her file cabinet in no particular order. (This is from the boxes that they've been in ever since the move from Florida, so I mean "in the order they were in in the boxes".) AND I purged all the stuff that didn't have any relevance whatsoever, like advertisements and brochures and clipped articles she will never use now.

So our little home office looks a lot more sane now, and ScottieDog put up my new iMac when he got home. We transferred everything from the old iMac and it is working great!

I am posting pictures of all the trash and stuff that I generated, just for evidence. It's still not all done yet...whew! But hey! We can now move around in our little office area! I am SO proud of myself. It's really going to get done!

This is stuff that has to be trashed but also has to be shredded.

This stuff is just trash. The rest I "filed."

And this is me watching the transfer of the old iMac data to the new iMac!! THRILLER!!!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Now We Are Six-ty

Birthday greetings to all of you from me! Because it's my birthday. Well, it was yesterday, but the celebration is going to continue for a while.

You'll be glad to know that turning 60 actually feels pretty good! My sister went there before me a couple of years ago, and that's what she said at the time. I was somewhat dubious. She was right, though.

We had a nice family dinner out last night which was fun and delicious! I got an iPod Nano, which means now I can REALLY put together an exercise mix and not have to carry my clunky Treo downstairs to the treadmill. I also got a copy of the new NYTimes HUGE coffee table book of all the front pages from 1851 to 2008! It's fascinating--and oddly enough I had just been salivating over it in the NYTimes advertisement that morning. AND later this week a new iMac will be arriving.

We're hoping to have a big home turkey dinner soon for everyone here in New York, because we're going to Kentucky for the actual Thanksgiving holiday. Yay, I get to see my mom and dad! And Sylvia! Sylvia's trip to NASA for the shuttle launch was one of my best 60th birthday presents! She has some souvenirs for me, too.

(I have more pictures from last night but for some reason I can't upload them from this computer. Later.)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Shuttle Launch!!

My sweet "middle" daughter Sylvia is watching/reporting on the launch of the Endeavor tonight! She wangled her way into the press corps and is having the time of her life! You can read all about it at her blog: Fun with Hypergols!

I am one excited mom!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Beggars of New York

[I wrote this essay for my OpenSalon.com blog, but I thought I'd copy it to here for those of you who don't read OpenSalon.]

I moved to New York ten years ago with my youngest daughter A.C., who was then fifteen, thinking if we could make it here, we could make it anywhere. Though we come from a long line of diffident Southern Belles, we bravely put on the armor of enterprise and plunged into the raging current that is big city life.

We had been in New York City before under the protective wing of a talent agency (showbiz tryout stuff), but had never done anything then so nitty-gritty as ride the subway. We saw that it wasn’t that bad and learned to navigate nicely, though the NYC subway admittedly is a mighty, mighty strange place. I made A.C. interpret the maps and signs while I was with her, and she soon picked it up and was able to travel on her own. Not that the whole thing wasn’t a culture shock. Venturing off the tourist track, we saw a good deal more of the peculiar and astounding character of NYC than we were prepared for.

I remember particularly walking down Sixth Avenue, when A.C. suddenly sidled close up to me and said in a shocked voice, “Mommy, that lady is wearing garbage bags!” Sure enough, sitting on the sidewalk up against the side of a building in the shade was a withered woman clad in a couple of black plastic garbage bag knotted together. Despite what I had heard for years about the plight of The Homeless, this was the first time I was right up against it. It was an eye-opener.

We took to carrying change in our pockets to give to the beggars who asked, and for the street and subway performers who worked for the money (some harder than others). We soon learned to stop being afraid of them. One day A.C. confessed she was worried about giving money (however little) to people who might use it for alcohol and drugs, or for people who were only pretending they were hard up.

My response to her was that it wasn’t our job to determine those things. Our job was to give away our excess money to people who asked for it, not so much for their benefit as for our own. I don’t actually believe that the love of money is the number one root of all evil, but it’s got to be right far up there. I told A.C. that it was simply letting the coins fall from our hands that was the point. That seemed to make sense to her.

That being said, I have looked the other way lots of times. I don’t as a rule give money to people riding the subway, because I don’t want to encourage them to be lawbreakers. Twice I gave money to performers on the train because I really enjoyed their work, one a group of South American Indian guitar players and singers, and the other an outgoing group of drummers. (Usually the drummers annoy the hell out of me, but these guys were really entertaining and not too loud. I even took a video of them with my Treo.)

I’m used to the beggars by now, and truth be told, they do get a little tiresome after a while. As time went on I got to where I would just give all the change in my pocket to whoever asked first, and the rest of them were out of luck that day.

Once around Christmastime a rather belligerent guy came up to me at the 125th Street station where I was waiting for the A train, and asked me if I would give him twenty dollars. He wasn’t very nice about it, and I didn’t have it to spare, so I said, “No.” He went away not bothering to hide his disgust. I wonder if he ever got it.


Rarely do I give very much money, only spare change or a dollar at most. I’m not an even half-way rich person. Once for several months, I was pretty well off, or thought that I was. One snowy day in that auspicious time, I was walking not two blocks from Fifth Avenue where the St. Patrick’s Day Parade was winding down. I had just passed several pipers in full regalia coming down the sidewalk, when I noticed huddled against the railing of St. Ignatius Loyola Church was a family, a short sweet-faced woman with a young boy, a small teen-age girl and a baby in a stroller protected with a plastic cover—all very decently dressed and presentable—and they looked to be miserably cold.

The woman reached out to me and began to plead for help. They had just been evicted from their apartment in Queens because her husband had lost his job. She didn’t want to take the children to the shelter because it was so dangerous and horrible there—she began to cry. She had just come from the 92nd Street Y, where she was told they could all be housed for the night with meals for $93, but they didn’t have enough money. I chewed my lip, and finally I gave her $20, which was pretty much all I had on me. Then she and the girl both still pleaded for further help; they acted as though I were the only person that had paid them any heed and were reluctant to part with me. I told them I was out of cash and out of time almost; I had somewhere to be. Then because they looked so distressed and were sobbing, I told them to stay there, I would be right back. I ran to an ATM, drew out some cash, ran back to them and gave her $100. I figured that would be enough for them for one night at least. I told them not to cry any more that day.

That’s the most I’ve ever given anybody. I worried about it, though, like my daughter had before: “What if they were con artists?” I talked myself down by reasoning that if they had that kind of Oscar-level talent, they wouldn’t be out on the street. And if they were scammers, they did such a creative and first-class job that they deserved the money. What a way to make a living, though, if so. I guess I always feel that if someone is so desperate that, for whatever crazy reason, they come up to people on the street asking for change, then they probably need it in some sense. I try not to judge; I just let the coins go.


There is this division in the population of people in NYC who ask you for your money: on one side is the group I classify as real beggars, because they don’t give anything in return, and on the other side are workers—performers of some kind. There’s also a gray area where it’s hard to say which they are.

Some of the beggars hardly beg at all; like the pitiful garbage bag lady, they lie or sit listlessly with a handwritten sign: “Please Help.” Others are the “brother can you spare a dime” (or a twenty) sort. Then there are those who make an effort at quid pro quo, like the elderly man who hunkered down at the subway tunnel at 175th, playing his boombox for the edification of passersby.

The George Washington Bridge subway station at 175th has a longish pedestrian tunnel from the train to the terminal, and it is a popular site for those hitting up the crowd with varying degrees of success. These denizens encompass a wide range of functioning—from the poor guy who generally just sleeps, covered by blankets and cardboard (out of sight of the booth) with a battered paper cup sitting out for any coins that might fall his way—to the gray-bearded saxophone player—everybody calls him “Sax”—who is so well-known he’s had his picture in The New York Times playing in the subway tunnel, sitting on his milk crate, always in sunglasses, skinny legs crossed. Sax is a fabulous musician, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he made a decent amount sitting there. You wouldn’t believe how long he can hold a note. I sometimes think he must have a playing job somewhere and that he just fills up the rest of his time making some on the side off the commuters. Probably not, though.

Then there are those in between, a well-meaning elderly singer-guitarist (also with sunglasses) with only one volume (loud), one chord and only two sentences to his lyrics: “Oh yeah, it’s all right. It’s gonna be all right,” he wails.

One of the stand-outs of the in-betweeners is a young man who calls out to commuters in a mellifluous voice, giving them compliments and blessings as they pass (“Beautiful sister…how lovely you look…have a wonderful morning”) only occasionally asking very specifically for “a quarter, if you have it…” Come to think of it, I haven’t seen him for quite a while. I wonder if he’s okay.

Several years ago a thin, pleasant-looking, spectacled black man appeared, always sitting on a crate just above the stairs coming out of the platform. “Can anyone help me out?” was his line. He became the person who benefited from my “first asker” policy more often than not. I would see him, and I would empty out my pocket in his palm. This happened so often that he began to greet me when I came up with “Hi, how are you?” and would wish me a good day. These social niceties eventually gave way to actual short conversations. The weather was bad, his glasses broke, no, he didn’t like the screeching from the platform emergency exit because people would go out that way even if they weren’t supposed to (my pet peeve), but he was more annoyed by having to listen to the same songs over and over by musicians further up the tunnel. He met my husband a good many times, was alarmed at my breaking my right hand last spring, always asks about my recovery (it’s been a good six months, with two surgeries, so there’s been plenty to talk about).

One particular day I asked him how he was, and he replied that it was a great day for him. He had given up a vice, he said, and he was awfully happy about that. I don’t know what he meant, and didn’t want to pry, but he did look awfully happy.


This is one of the most rewarding things about New York City. Really. Living in the middle of the so-called “heartland,” I never, that I can recall, came into contact with anybody remotely near the lowest level of the social strata. Now I almost literally bump into them every day. I see them on the subway. I sit next to immigrants of every skin color, as well as upscale types (also of every skin color) on their way to midtown offices or Wall Street. Languages—Spanish, German, French, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Chinese, Polish, Czech, Dutch, and some others I haven’t been able to identify—flow constantly like the Tower of Babel. Everybody is mixed up with everybody. It’s an amazing, everyday scene. This kind of perspective is almost impossible to acquire if you live in “real” America.

I suppose it would be possible to hermetically seal oneself off from this broad spectrum of humanity in New York City if you rode around in limos and only frequented the Upper East Side and the Hamptons accompanied by bodyguards who protected you from anything untoward. (Does anybody think this would be a good idea?) My guess, though, is that even Donald Trump has had run-ins with the beggars of New York. And Mayor Bloomberg rides the Lexington Avenue subway.

Tough times are coming. I broke my rule just yesterday by giving money to a beggar on the subway, because I had a pocketful handy, and I guess I’m just extra worried about the economic crisis. Food pantries are running out of food, shelters are overflowing, charitable giving is down. I don’t know where they’re all going to go for help, this city’s poor, and their ranks are swelling.

Winter is coming. “Oh yeah, it’s all right. It’s gonna be all right,” the man sings. The coins drop, a few at a time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Laid off! Hah!

I managed to knock out a 'toon today! My hand is still a little averse to being set down on a sheet of paper, but if I keep activity short and simple it's okay.

Now I think I should have put "FIRED" on the elephant instead of "LAID OFF", but whatever. I have a bunch more I'm thinking of...

UPDATE: this 'toon got Editor's Pick today on OpenSalon.com!!! Yay! I love when that happens!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Goal 50 - Try pomegranate juice

Been there, done that. It's pretty good! Kinda grapey, kinda cranberry-ish, and (as my youngest says) with pumpkinish overtones. It's very strong, not as sweet as I expected, and it leaves a dry aftertaste. I guess I could get used to it.

UPDATE: Hey check THIS out: Pomegranates in Afghanistan

Friday, November 7, 2008

Kidnapping Update

Yes, my mother-in-law is on her way home and should be arriving early this evening. In the same clothes she had on when she left--she's been wearing them the whole time.

UPDATE: She's at her home now, and in the clean clothes I brought over for her. This is ScottieDog, Mom, and Big Brother, all of whom are very much relieved.

Scottiedog was advised by a psychiatrist at his work (who was formerly a lawyer) to call the FBI (though I thought it would be fruitless), and they ended up taking over the whole rescue mission. They also called up a Chicago PD squad car, since "Sarah" has been known to lose her temper pretty aggressively.

Turned out "Sarah" was at home, so it was great they got involved!! (Otherwise, poor big brother!!) She was not at all pleased, but apparently felt it would be fruitless to try to stop them from taking Mom, so everything went pretty easily. Big brother got Mom out right away, leaving the FBI agents there, and when we got an update from them, they said "Sarah" just refused to talk to them. Which is a lot better than being aggressive.

No charges are being brought. The FBI definitely considers this a kidnapping, but they say when it is inter-family, the prosecutors tend not to prosecute because it's usually not a winning case. HOWEVER, they felt it was their duty to help resolve it so no one got hurt. Hooray for the FBI!!--I'm so impressed!

(Now back to getting on with my own life!)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bizarro World, abductions, and other lame excuses

Well, you won't believe what happened to intrude on my plans for getting back to my fitness regime now that the election is over. My mother-in-law was kidnapped.

Yes, indeedy, she was; it was an inside job. Her rather, shall we say, "mal-adjusted" daughter, who lives in Chicago, (We'll call her "Sarah" but that's not really her name) arrived unannounced (in a stretch limo, no less) at her assisted living residence in Edgewater, NJ on election day, proclaimed that she was going to take Mom to vote (she's not even registered) and to dinner and that they would be right back. Then Sarah put her on a plane and took her back to Chicago with her.

Last night Sarah called the assisted living residence and told them that my mother-in-law was going to live with her now, and that she (Mom) wouldn't be coming back, and would they please send Mom's cat.

We found out about it yesterday morning when the home called me just as I was dipping into The New York Times and told me what had happened and that they were worried she hadn't come back, and they thought they ought to let us know. I promptly hyperventilated, told them to call the police, and then called ScottieDog at work who promptly hyperventilated, and so the whole day yesterday was an ordeal like you wouldn't believe. It took us hours to find out even where they were, with help from a network of friends all over the country.

(And needless to say I was extremely disappointed not to get to savor the election results.)

There are lots of bizarre details that I won't go into, but suffice it to say that ScottieDog's brother is on his way in a car to Chicago, where as I write Mom is sitting all by herself in Sarah's apartment, anxious, confused and sad. (Mom has moderate Alzheimer's, by the way--AND she has none of her medications.) [UPDATE: She now has some medicine because her residence staff put together some doses and we FedExed them last night. Scott phoned earlier today and confirmed that she'd received them.]

The plan is for Big Brother to get there before Sarah comes home from work, put Mom in the car, and bring her back. Ta da!!! I sure hope this works. My sister-in-law, who by the way I've never met, is a somewhat difficult person and tends toward violent behavior if thwarted.

Now we're shopping for lawyers who specialize in elder/domestic issues.

Not your average procrastination excuse, but it'll have to do.

UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE!!!! Omigod, the FBI and Chicago police got involved!!! They escorted Big Brother to the apartment and confronted the Big Sister, and all is well, and mom is now in the car with Big Brother and they are on their way home!!! WHEW!!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Poem of the Month

Sometimes things don't go, after all, from bad to worse.
Some years, muscadel faces down frost; green thrives; the crops don't fail.
Sometimes a man aims high and all goes well.
A people sometimes will step back from war.
A people sometimes elect an honest man.
Sometimes decide they care enough that they can't leave some stranger poor.
Sometimes some men become what they were born for.
Sometimes our best efforts do not go amiss; sometimes we do as we meant to.
The sun will sometimes melt a field of sorrow that seemed hard frozen.
May it happen for you.

[The author of this poem has asked that her name not be published with any copy of the poem. Apparently she thinks it's corny. How weird is that?][PSST: but you can google the first line and find out the name of the author anyway.]

Monday, November 3, 2008


Hey all you 'muricans, time to gird your loins for the democratic process. Go O!

I went as Sarah Palin for Halloween (we have a big party here every year for all us vocal musicians--I was aiming at Scariest Costume, but they didn't have that category, just Best) and I won SECOND PLACE!!! Hoo-hah. It almost makes up for the weirdness of being Sarah Palin for the night--you wouldn't believe the looks I got.

I thought there'd be at least 10 other Palins, but no, there was a hockey mom (player) and a pig in lipstick, but I was the only real impersonation. What's perturbing is that people keep telling me I look like her even though I'm not wearing the makeup and glasses any more. (I colored my hair darker for versimilitude; I think that's it.)

See what you think (you have to just imagine the really high heels I was wearing all night; nobody got a picture of them):