Friday Fill-ins 10-31-08

Janet is our lovely host of this weekly event. My responses are in bold italics.

1. My favorite food seasoning is, black,,, basil....

2. 'Obama is leading in the polls' is music to my ears.

3. Lucky is 28 years in the state's solvent (so far) retirement system.

4. Voting is something I take very seriously.

5. Many people don't think voting is important. Are you kidding???

6. A green wig was the last thing I bought at the store.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to celebrating my last day of work and entertaining trick or treaters , tomorrow my plans include sleeping and celebrating my first full day of retirement and Sunday, I want to celebrate my sweetie's birthday...and sleep.

Happy Friday! Happy Hallowe'en!

From - remarkable artwork.

Read More!

R-Day - We Have Lift-off!

Today is my last Official Day of work. It is still surreal. This week, as I've been packing up my office (OK, cubicle) and saying goodbye to people I've worked with for 10 1/2 years, I've realized I'm really going to miss some parts of my job.

I've worked for the county public health department since April, 1998 as a technical writer/policy manager and web builder/web manager. What I've loved: problem solving; creating order out of chaos (you should SEE some of the documents I get!). I feel good about the legacy (if I can use such a grand word) I'm leaving - vastly improved policy manuals and websites and some wonderful working relationships.

Mostly it's the people I'll miss. This department has attracted an amazing number of wonderful people from whom I've learned a tremendous amount and with whom I've shared a lot of laughs and tears and good work.

So today I will bid them a fond farewell at a going away party. And next week I'll be back at work! Only a couple days a week for a few weeks though, until my successor is trained.

And now begins the next phase. Bring on the books!

Read More!

R Minus 1 - Countdown to Retirement

What would you ask President Obama (or the other guy) to do On Day One?

Join the debate! From our energy crisis to the war in the Iraq, set the next President's agenda by submitting your ideas for a better world. Join Eli Pariser of, former diplomat Joe Wilson, Washington Governor Christine Gregoire and others - make your voice heard.

Read More!

Voting Machines, redux - NOT humor.

Ok, the Simpson animation in the post below is funny. This isn't. We've gotta get these faulty machines out of our electoral system. More information at BradBlog (a rather busy looking site, but full of good info on this issue). If you're in a state that uses these, I urge you to go prepared with information - or ask for a paper ballot.

Read More!

R Minus 2 - Countdown to Retirement

Causes and news for people passionate about animal welfare, human rights and the environment Read More!

Wordless Wednesday 10-29-08 Happy Hallowe'en

Read More!

Voting Machines - Beware!

This keeps disappearing from YouTube, so since it's embedded it may disappear from here too. Maybe Diebold is running YouTube now too.

Homer Simpson tries to vote Obama:

Read More!

R Minus 3 - Countdown to Retirement

The Book of Threes, wherein Michael Eck has been thinking about threes. Things that come in threes. Now he combines that esoteric interest with his attachment to the Internet by creating what he hopes will be the book with the most authors ever (a lot more than three, anyway).

He suggests that in our minds we break concepts into three parts to understand whatever it is we are thinking about. We use threes to define systems. We use the third or middle point with regard to the extremes to define a point of view. Yadda yadda yadda.

The concept is simple. Just think of something that comes in threes, then go to this site and contribute it. For example: the colors on the American flag; Caesar's most famous words, "Veni, vidi, vici" ("I came, I saw, I conquered"); the number of legs on each side of an insect.
The Three Sisters Volcanoes, Oregon appear as the "Three Sisters" on Preston's map of Oregon of 1856. The name was probably originally applied by members of the Methodist Mission in Salem in the early 1840's, and the individual peaks were given the names "Mount Faith", "Mount Hope", and "Mount Charity", beginning from the north.

Triple Moon: Represents: The female triple divinity, esp. Hecate, Selene, Diana, or Maiden, Mother and Crone

Three Mile Island: In 1979, roughly 25,000 people lived within five miles of the giant cooling towers that became symbols of the nation's worst commercial nuclear accident.

Three Cups of Tea
When the porcelain bowls of scalding butter tea steamed in their hands, Haji Ali spoke. 'If you want to thrive in Baltistan, you must respect our ways,' Haji Ali said, blowing on his bowl. 'The first time you share tea with a Balti, you are a stranger. The second time you take tea, you are an honored guest. The third time you share a cup of tea, you become family, and for our family, we are prepared to do anything, even die,' he said, laying his hand warmly on Mortenson's own. 'Doctor Greg, you must make time to share three cups of tea. We may be uneducated. But we are not stupid. We have lived and survived here for a long time.'
Read More!

Teaser Tuesday: 10-28-08 The English Major

I Should Be Reading - Miz B - hosts this weekly event. We throw out a couple of sentences from our current read to entice you to read the book!

From The English Major by Jim Harrison, page 8:

At dawn I decided to take the jigsaw puzzle of the United States and throw a piece out when I crossed the border into a new state. It would be nice to throw away Michigan for the time being.
Read More!

A stroll through the cemetery

We have a grand old pioneer cemetery in the neighborhood. Its park-like setting has the added benefit of some really interesting tombstones. What better time than Hallowe'en week to venture in?

Click photos to enlarge.

Ah, Eddy, we hardly knew ye.

Family tomb...

The MacLarens or MacLennons or Maclays....

I think it's just a crack in the stone, but doesn't it look like this angel is sticking out her tongue??

So curious why Harvey and Sarah and Thomas and Eliza are all sharing this little tombstone.

Read More!

R Minus 4 - Countdown to Retirement

4 November 2008: election day in the U.S.

This is arguably the most important election of my lifetime. And the longest election cycle in history (almost two years!) and the most expensive (billions of dollars). I'll be glad when it's over and we can concentrate on bringing about real change in this country. And I can get back to blogging about books and the garden.

Don't forget to vote. Take care of yourself on election day. Me? I have an appointment with my therapist.

Election Day 2008 countdown banner

Resources: league

Read More!

Yes We Carve

Yes We Carve, Barack O'Lantern Read More!

The Sunday Salon: Retirement Planning

The Sunday

With retirement less than a week away, it's time for a reading plan.

  • First up: Peony in Love by Lisa See. This is for my face-to-face book group. Last year I read See's Snowflower and the Secret Fan - a fantastic novel. This one is sort of a sequel, though I think it's a stand-alone book as well. The reviews have not been as good for this one as for Snowflower, but I'm still anticipating a good read.
  • Other book group reads coming up in the next few months: Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver; Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey; The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak. Prodigal Summer is a re-read; it was my least favorite Kingsolver book, but maybe I'll read it differently this time. I'd intended to re-read it even before the group decided on it, just to see if my opinion of it shifted. I'm very much looking forward to the other two highly rated books.
  • And then I get to choose whatever I feel like reading! High on the list are: Affinity by Sarah Waters; The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls (memoir); When We Were Orphans by Kazuo Ishiguro; At Swim, Two Boys by Jamie O'Neill; The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje; Holy Fools by Joanne Harris; The Leopard by Giuseppe di Lampedusa; After You'd Gone by Maggie O'Farrell; and Mosquito by Roma Tearne. That oughta keep me occupied! And I think it's safe to say I'll reach my goal of 100 books for the year (I'm at 86 right now).
  • Then! in January, it's all contemporary women writers, as we do Orange January (like Orange July, only cold. Well in the northern hemisphere anyway). I have a lot of great books lined up on the shelf, and I'll name just a few here: Rose Tremain's The Road Home; Amy and Isabel by Elizabeth Strout; Ursula Under by Ingrid Hill; What I Loved by Siri Hutsvedt. I'm salivating with anticipation!
So I think this retirement gig is going to be OK!

Read More!

R Minus 5 - Countdown to Retirement

The Keating 5 - it bears repeating.

The current economic crisis demands that we understand John McCain's attitudes about economic oversight and corporate influence in federal regulation. Nothing illustrates the danger of his approach more clearly than his central role in the savings and loan scandal of the late '80s and early '90s.

John McCain was accused of improperly aiding his political patron, Charles Keating, chairman of the Lincoln Savings and Loan Association. The bipartisan Senate Ethics Committee launched investigations and formally reprimanded Senator McCain for his role in the scandal. Today, John McCain is the only major party presidential nominee in US history to have been rebuked, censured or otherwise admonished after a Congressional ethics investigation.

Read More!

R Minus 6 - Countdown to Retirement

Six-Word Memoirs: The Legend

Legend has it that Hemingway was once challenged to write a story in only six words. His response? “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Last year, SMITH Magazine re-ignited the recountre by asking our readers for their own six-word memoirs. They sent in short life stories in droves, from the bittersweet (“Cursed with cancer, blessed with friends”) and poignant (“I still make coffee for two”) to the inspirational (“Business school? Bah! Pop music? Hurrah”) and hilarious (“I like big butts, can’t lie”).

Six-Word Memoir book preview from SMITHmag on Vimeo.

So I tried a couple of these myself:

Raised by Republicans. Turned out OK.
Work in progress. Miles to go.

What's your memoir in six words? Read More!

R Minus 7 - Countdown to Retirement

Ok, I admit to being a bit of a Trekkie. My favorite is Star Trek Voyager, and one of the most compelling characters is Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero-One (Seven, for short).

Her story revolves around trying to fit back into a humanoid existence after spending most of her life assimilated into the Borg "resistance is futile" collective. She's extremely intelligent and physically advanced; she's been stripped of emotion and finds humans ridiculous and irrational. She's just your no-nonsense kind of gal.

In this clip, the Doctor attempts to explain the human mating ritual to Seven.

Seven is in constant struggle with her own humanity and her Borg identity (which is really non-identity, being part of the collective and all, which is sort of like a killer bee hive). She still needs some Borg implants to survive, so she can never make a complete transition back to being human. This, of course, sets up some fascinating ethical dilemmas and personal growth conundrums in many of the Voyager episodes.

Just one week from today will be my last day at work! It's hard to believe. Now, like Seven, I'll be making the transition from the worker bee world into another sort of existence, with my own personal growth conundrums.


Read More!

Friday Fill-ins 10-24-08

Janet is our lovely host of this weekly event. My answers are in bold italics.

1. Right now, I'm feeling hopeful but nervous about the US election.

2. Beyond November 4th is where I want to be.

3. How does one possibly justify voting for McCain/Palin?

4. My partner keeps me on track.

5. Please don't forget to vote.

6. The possibility of a change in the direction of the US fills me with joy.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a family get-together with my sister and BIL visiting from Houston; tomorrow my plans include attending a house concert and Sunday, I want to read and hang out with my sweetie! Oh! and finish filling out my ballot!

Yes We Can!
Read More!

R Minus 8 - Countdown to Retirement

For all our California friends.

Read More!

Wordless Wednesday 10-22-08

Read More!

R Minus 9 - Countdown to Retirement

9 Sexiest Electric Cars from the Paris Auto Show

Oh, I can SO see me driving this car. Perfect for the new retiree, don't you think?


Ok, how about this one:

Read More!

Teaser Tuesday: 10-21-08 : The Wednesday Sisters

I Should Be Reading - Miz B - hosts this weekly event. We throw out a couple of sentences from our current read to entice you to read the book!

From The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton, page 3, a teaser paragraph:

That's us, there in the photograph. Yes, that's me -- in one of my chubbier phases, though I suppose one of these days I'll have to face up to the fact that it's the thinner me that's the "phase," not the chubbier one. And going left to right, that's Linda (her hair loose and combed, but then she brought the camera, she was the only one who knew we'd be taking a photograph). Next to her is Ally, pale as ever, and then Kath. And the one in the white gloves in front -- the one in the coffin -- that's Brett.
Read More!

R Minus 10 - Countdown to Retirement

Powers of 10 - Start 10 million light-years from the Milky Way galaxy and wind up face to face with a proton in Florida.

Like Google Earth on steroids.

Dave's Top Ten

Top Ten Signs the Presidential Campaign is Getting Ugly

  • Three times Straight Talk Express has "accidentally" knocked over Obama's mailbox
  • Next debate will be moderated by Jerry Springer
  • McCain keeps referring to opponent as Senator Barack Hussein Obama Bin Laden
  • Sarah Palin says she can see Joe Biden's hair plugs from her house
  • Desperate attempt to connect Obama with the last eight years of Regis
  • No number 5 -- economy so bad, writer putting everything he owns up on eBay
  • They have resorted to "your Vice President's so dumb" jokes
  • Obama claimed McCain's irresponsibility caused the 1929 stock market crash -- he's that old, people!
  • Even Dick Cheney thinks they're being cruel
  • Obama's gloves are off, McCain's teeth are out
Read More!

Countdown to retirement: 11 days

Read More!

Countdown to retirement: 12 days

For disappearing acts, it's hard to beat what happens to the eight hours supposedly left after eight of sleep and eight of work. ~Doug Larson

The Buddha Board is like a Zen Etch a Sketch. Paint your message or image with water and it magically appears, then disappears as it dries.

This is almost a year old and we could add a few items to it, but it's still more than appropriate -- The Twelve Days of Bush by Alec Sokolow on 23/6:

On the first day of Christmas my president gave to me a preemptive war without an exit strategy.

On the second day of Christmas my president gave to me two erased CIA interrogation tapes

On the third day of Christmas my president gave to me three attorneys general who disregard habeas corpus\

On the fourth day of Christmas my president gave to me four and a half U.S. dollars to the British pound.

On the fifth day of Christmas my president gave to me Scooter Libby.

On the sixth day of Christmas my president gave to me six thousand more children left behind.

On the seventh day of Christmas my president gave to me seven more legal explanations why waterboarding isn't torture.

On the eighth day of Christmas my president gave to me eight trillion dollars in national debt.

On the ninth day of Christmas my president gave ninety-nine dollars per barrel of oil to his cronies.

On the tenth day of Christmas my president gave to me ten "fool me once shame on you fool me you can't get fooled again" butchering of the English Language quotes.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my president gave to me eleven months of aggregate vacation time to clear brush and fundraise.

On the twelfth day of Christmas my president gave to me 12 more months without getting Osama Bin Laden, the real motherfucker responsible for 9/11, eleven months of aggregate vacation time to clear brush and fund raise, ten "fool me once shame on you fool me you can't get fooled again" butchering of the English Language quotes, ninety-nine dollars per barrel of oil to his cronies, eight trillion dollars in national debt, seven more legal explanations why waterboarding isn't torture, six thousand more children left behind, Scooter Libby, four and a half U.S. dollars to the British pound, three attorneys general who disregard habeas corpus, two erased CIA interrogation tapes and a preemptive war without an exit strategy.

Read More!