Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Elephant or Donkey?

Not to start a political debate or anything (just gearing up for what looks like is going to be a very long "election season"), but I can't resist a quiz. Really, I thought I'd be a little more middle of the road than this, but honestly, the only thing on the Democrat questionnaire that I could get behind was shopping at Whole Foods or Trader Joes (neither of which exists here in the Heartland, by the way...shame that)!

You Are 4% Democrat

If you have anything in common with the Democrat party, it's by sheer chance.

You're a staunch conservative, and nothing is going to change that!

How Democrat Are You?

And contrary to what the donkey says, I don't appear to be quite as "staunch" as I sometimes think I am...

You Are 68% Republican

You have a good deal of elephant running through your blood, and you're proud to be conservative.

You don't fit every Republican stereotype, but you definitely belong in the Republican party.

How Republican Are You?

Updtate: How fitting that God Issues Today would say the following:

"It's easy to wonder who you are in a culture which defines us by what we do and those we do it with. If I tell you that I'm a Republican, you automatically assume that I embrace a particular political agenda. If I say that I'm a Democrat, you assume another agenda. If I'm a Libertarian, you're probably just confused. "Baptist preacher" certainly conjures up a particular pulpit-pounding image. If I drive up in my friend's 1965 Mustang convertible (I wish!) you see me very differently than if I show up in my neighbor's pickup.

Fortunately, God's impression of us is not dependent on our job title or mailing address."

Or whether we are a Democrat or Republican. We should all give thanks for that.

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Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Perfect Rainy Day

What fun! I joined up with a friend at a local coffee shop on Saturday morning, to admire her artwork on exhibit there and then to her home to work on an "art project" that she lined up for us while our husbands worked. It was a rainy Saturday and this was the perfect way to spend it. In addition to art supplies, she had lined up a full spread of crackers and soft Danish cheeses, olive tapenade, and nacho cheese Chex Mix (yes, yes, we know, that's part of the fun...we would serve tater tots with filet mignon if we thought the guests would understand that it's supposed to be a joke). We topped it off with a small bottle of iced wine (a very sweet white dessert wine that tastes like fruit cocktail syrup) and dark chocolate M&Ms. Mmmm...

I helped assemble the art materials on the dining table while she laid out the food fixin's:

"Art Class"

Still Life W/ Feather Boa, and Halloween Mask

Then we got right down to the business of art:

But First, a Glass of Wine

The Finished Products (mine, trying unsuccessfully to hang with some real art)


Friday, May 25, 2007

DIY Mac Case Project

You see? This is why I continue to venture over to Isoglossia on a regular basis. Hilarious and practical and just generally geeky, all good qualities to look for in a blog. If you haven't yet voted in the, Satin Pajamas Blog Award competition, please consider clicking over to this link and voting for Mr. Sgazetti in the Expatriate category. He is most deserving of the dubious honor and promises to pay us all a princely sum if we will Just Do It. So go! And don't forget to check out the DIY Mac Case Project before you leave.

Update: Thanks to Darko for pointing me to this post this morning. It was just the dose of laughter I needed to get me started.


Project Whenever (My Husband's Briefcase)

Last weekend, MBH and I discussed the marital concept of unity, how all of our money should go into one bucket, instead of the multiple buckets we have always maintained...right now, there's "my bucket," (for music and jewelry acquisitions...oh please, we're not talking diamonds, people) "your bucket" (for the sailboat acquisition) and "our bucket" (for food, clothing, pets and shelter). Every married couple does this to some extent, right? Well, try as we might, we don't seem to be able to break this habit, so we talked about needing just "one bucket." So today, he brings home "his" paycheck in this bucket (the bucket was empty except for the check). It made me laugh. After I finished doing his bookkeeping, I loaded up his bucket with all of his deposit, payroll checks for his employees, pad of paper, notebook and envelope with outstanding bids and contracts). Who needs a briefcase? This suits him just fine. He was very pleased.

One bucket. We're working on it. :-)

My Husband's Briefcase

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

The New Improved Blogger

Bret did a nice job of addressing the latest round of complaints that many of us share about Blogger, but given that the service is FREE, and therefore we have no leverage to change it, I have taken the bold and courageous leap off of the Empire State Building into the abyss and pulled the plug on word verification. You may now leave all kinds of spam comments without having to repeat yourselves for the hard-of-hearing WV Queen (and let's face it, her handwriting was sometimes atrocious). So...let the spamming begin!

Update 1: You might also notice that the "Powered by Blogger" button over in the sidebar no longer functions. This is just further evidence corroborating Bret's claims. The word "powered" clearly does not mean what you think it means when used in the context of "Blogger."

Update 2: Update 1 isn't quite true...the button does function, but the image does not. So, while I was over there poking around (wherever that button took me), I took advantage of the opportunity to change the language on my blog. From now on, we will be speaking "English (UK)" instead of ordinary "English." We'll see how that goes for awhile before jumping straight into Swahili or Hindi. In fact, I wonder, if you change the language often and eventually switch back to English, is the resultant blog going to read something like the results of that gossip game where the message goes around the circle and you compare the beginning and ending version of the story and laugh out loud at the results? We'll soon see, won't we?


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

"My Ocean"

Just in case I haven't fully lived up to this blog's namesake lately, today we have Show and Tell. This here is what I'm calling "My Ocean." I spent my lunch break today making this. It's not done yet, but it's wearable. It's a charm bracelet made of "Troll beads." I love beads and these are very nice ones...the silver beads are solid silver, so the overall effect is heavier than most bead bracelets. This was therapy for me. It symbolizes the ocean which I miss dearly now that I am land locked here in the Midwest. It was an hour well spent:

Here it is on the live model (ever tried taking a photo of your right hand?)

And here we have the display model

From Left to Right (Bead Descriptions):
Plumeria clasp, the flower of Hawaii (I don't think this is really a plumeria because it only has 4 petals while plumerias have five, but just humor me :)
Faith, Hope & Charity, a cross, an anchor and a heart (one day, I'd like to get this charm in birthday is coming!)
Pretty Murano Glass bead, the color of sand
Crab, a symbol of beach life and my zodiac sign, for what that's worth
Pearl, straight from the oyster's mouth
Happy Fish (can fish really be happy?)
Turquoise Dots, the colors of sand and sea

Moonstone Flowers (I lived near Moonstone Beach for a few years, and my mom still lives there...I have many moonstones to show for my many hours of beachcombing...good times :)
Turquoise Bubbles, the color of the ocean
Dichroic Ice, the color of sea foam
Neither Fish Nor Bird
Brown Dots, the color of some strange sea creature
Treasures, a ball of coral, seashells, and starfish

There is still room for 5 or 6 more charms. I didn't want to blow all my birthday money at once, you know. I still need a mermaid (the one they have looks like a monkey and scares me a little), a sailboat, and a very large whale, or a flounder. A flounder? Who puts flounders on their bracelet? Wait. Don't answer that! And please tell me, who on earth would choose this?!

Next up...Gwynne brings in her pet Sea Monkeys to share with the class.


Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Shopping Cart Stereotypes

John B has gone over the top with this post in which he integrates the research of this guy with his own findings along the river. You won't find this anyplace else in the blogosphere. This is good stuff, worth the extra few minutes it will take to read it. Check it out.

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Monday, May 21, 2007

Spiders On Drugs

Speaking of spotting reptiles on the road (I'm warning you, do not click on that link unless you honk for serpents), I "snapped" a picture of this on the way to the Fur Ball:

And speaking of animals, today I was flipping channels (oh, did I mention I stayed home sick today?) and stopped on what I thought was a nature program. I'm a sucker for nature programs so I stuck around long enough to watch this clip (which I was able to find on You Tube easy enough, so perhaps everyone else has seen it and chose not to share). This is one of the funniest "nature" programs I've seen in a long time!

And the Fur Ball was a blast also. This year's theme was the A-Cat-emy Awards and so there was Red Carpet treatment and lots of costumery. Here's Wayside's Chairman of the Board in all of his finery. This guy is a class act and devotes a huge portion of his time to Wayside. He carries off the role of Director quite nicely, don't you think? :-)

We bid on a few silent auction items and "won" a bracelet, a necklace and an autographed calendar called NASCAR Pets (as you might surmise, this was photos of NASCAR drivers with their pets...I bid on this for my husband who I thought would be thrilled with my winnings, but he dissed it when he couldn't find "his" drivers in it but did find Tony Stewart's which caused him to spit...anyone want an autographed NASCAR Pet calendar? Sheesh. Well, it was a donation for the animals, I guess).

The event was a huge success, raising literally hundreds of thousands for the humane society. After all silent and live auction items were sold, the auctioneers asked for volunteers who might have an extra $50,000 in their pocket to give away (with a guaranteed match)! They were persistent and finally, someone raised their hand. Then another. Then they moved down to $25,000, then $15K, then $10K, then finally(!) they got down to $250 and I raised my hand. Which begs a question in my mind. Even at $250, I felt guilty raising my hand because I didn't want my guests (we bought a table for 10 and invited friends and clients) to feel obligated to follow suit (which some did anyway). If I was going to contribute $50,000, I think I would do so privately. I would never, ever, raise my hand in front of a 1,000 people to do such a thing. Not that I could, you understand. But would you (make such a contribution publicly like that)?

Update: In searching for a photo that might better capture the spirit of the Fur Ball, I stumbled upon a fellow KC blogger who was also at the event. I wonder how close we come to meeting other fellow bloggers and not even knowing it.


Friday, May 18, 2007

And The Beat Goes On...

Oh, I'm sorry. If that title just put images of Sonny and Cher in your head, I apologize. I was thinking about how quickly time marches on (it's another Friday already!!) and about music at the same time.

I have recently discovered XM radio, thanks to GM for the free trial service for a couple months. And with that, I've recently rediscovered Ruthie Foster. She recently released a new CD and if you've never heard of her and enjoy the sounds of old soul mixed with folk, a bit of blues and gospel, I think you might enjoy Ruthie. One of her songs, Beaver Creek Blues, is very funky and gets a lot of airplay on XM 74 (and includes "insect wranglers" in the credits ;-) but "Mama Said" is a great gospel revival spirit tune and there's a lot of diversity on this latest CD. She's on the Blue Corn Music label, out of Austin, TX and they have a nice write-up on her as well.

An aside: There are certain products and services where the best marketing is to simply let people try it, and XM is certainly one of those services...I was not a believer, until I tried, I'm hooked and will renew my contract at the end of the month. XM radio may not be all commercial-free like they say (I mean, if you have to listen to XM "advertise" their other channels, isn't this still advertising?), but it's non-stop music or talk of whatever style/genre you want, when you want, and it doesn't change even if you're driving across country.

My favorite channel right now is "Bluesville" ("exit 74 on the XM dial"). But I've recently discovered "Hear Music, Sound of Starbucks." I will admit that I don't like the implications of there even being a "sound" of Starbucks. I'm already of the opinion that Starbucks is sucking money out of our pockets faster than we can put it in, standardizing and globalizing what was once almost a fingerprint of a community, its local coffeeshops. I really do prefer to keep my money local if given an option, but Starbucks is just so darned consistent. And good. So then, because of their market domination, the "Starbucks Experience" includes not only great coffee, a great ambiance and (hopefully) great service, but also great music and entertainment of all types (movies, books, etc.). It somehow reeks of a steamy game of Monopoly. Or a rapidly growing cult of latte drinking, hip music listening, Mermaid followers. But once again, I think Starbucks has got it right and the Hear Music channel is something I flip over to once in awhile. So now, when will they offer up free wi-fi??


Thursday, May 17, 2007



I'm learning Chinese, by way of fortune cookies. ;-)

Today's fortune?

"With every deed you are sowing a seed, though the harvest you may not see."

True enough. A good reminder.

That's all, folks.


Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Deposition, In Perpetual Motion

Following the deposition (Parts 1 and 2) Beth has posted her responses to my (numerous) interview questions.

I appreciate the time and effort she put into answering them. Go take a look and feel free to volunteer either here or there if you too would like to be interviewed.

Rachel says she is done, but I cannot find her answers, so if anyone else can find them, please let me know.

Update: Here are Rachel's responses!

Thank you, ladies! :-)

Any more volunteers??


Sunday, May 13, 2007

Quiz Update #4 (Your Final Clues!)

Okay, there's plenty of Googleable material here. A fabulous prize still awaits the first person to guess the exact location of last weekend's artragious events. And no, we did not see Randy Newman. A shame, that. But we enjoyed the other entertainment and the chance to get away for a couple days.

Basin Park

Rear Ends

Artrageous Parade! Art Car Ball! Randy Newman!


Saturday, May 12, 2007

Quiz Update #3

More clues...these are parade entries in the Artragious Parade:

Belly Dancers!

Stink Bug (those are cigarette butts...eeuw!)

Dragon Mobile (it breathes bubbles!)

Clown and The Surreal Mobile


Friday, May 11, 2007

Quiz Update #2

Iguana With Red Hat

This location is often visited by the Red Hat Society. Anyone else think that dog looks a little too big to be carried around in a baby sack like that?

Iguanas, and lemurs and boas, oh my!


Quiz Update #1

Your next clue...this is the World's Best BBQ joint (I've mentioned it before, for those who have paid attention ;-):


Where Was I? A Quiz

How about a quiz? I will begin with a snapshot or two and continue with more until someone gets it right. A fabulous prize awaits the first person who guesses where in the world was I?

Getting 'Tooed (it's not real, Mom!)

I Don't Know These People


Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Deposition, continued

In which I answer Question #3 of the Inquisition. John asked...

3) Describe a piece of art in your house and what it signifies for you.

I think I would have to pick this piece, by Abigail Howe, an up and coming young artist from the Kansas City area. I found it at this gallery a couple years ago. I was not planning to buy anything, but I fell in love with this painting immediately. This portrait moves me on several levels, not the least of which is its title, which basically sold the painting. I think most people have heard of The Girl With Pearl Earring, which is a beautiful work by Vermeer, but it is distinctly lacking in iconography, something for which Vermeer was well known. Ironic then (or not) that this was the painting about which a book and subsequently a movie was written. Of all of Vermeer's works, The Girl With Pearl Earring probably had the least story to tell. At least that's my opinion. That said, the title of this painting parodies Vermeer's Girl With Pearl Earring perfectly, substituting a basically worthless stainless steel earring for the semi-precious pearl, a hardened gaze for the demure, and a nude (but not exposed) figure for the fully clothed one.

But parody aside, I was initially struck by its beauty which did remind me of Vermeer before I even read the title....the colors, the use of light, the pose (I think the back and shoulder muscles are especially beautiful, be they on a man or woman), the brush strokes, the serious gaze, and the way the model seems unaffected or unimpressed with her own beauty.

What else can I say? I hope this artist enjoys a successful career. I know we enjoy this painting of a perfect stranger in our home's entryway.

Girl With Stainless Steel Earring

And now, are there any volunteers out there who might be willing to be interviewed? Hmm?

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Deposition

John B over at Blog Meridian has been conducting interviews and I found both his questions and the responses by his interviewees fascinating, so I decided to volunteer for this endeavor. Here are his questions and my responses:

1) Robert Reich (President Clinton's Sec. of Labor) once said he became an economist because "I didn't have the personality to be an accountant." Discuss this statement's (in)applicability to you.

Okay, first, let's be honest. Reich became an economist because he's too short to become an accountant. Just sayin.'

I actually became an accountant because...well, isn't it fairly obvious that I had no choice in the matter? I mean, look at me? I was born to be an accountant. I like numbers. I really like them when they foot and cross-foot. I loves the 10-key adding machine...I'm the fastest in my class! I like that there is only one right answer (I know, I know, I've learned and am coping with the fact that this is not true; this is a myth). I like law just enough to be dangerous but not enough to practice law. I like my papers to be neatly stacked with the edges all lined up. I like cross references that lead me to where I need to go. I like being organized. I like helping people, but I'm not a people person. I prefer to work in an office, alone, and have my work fed to me under the door, coming out for fresh air, water and people contact only as needed.

So I guess what I'm saying is that we become what we are destined to become and if I had any say in the matter, I would have become an architect, like my dad or an artist, like my mom. But I learned early on that I didn't have the personality (or was it talent?) to become an architect or an artist. Like Reich, I recognized my flaws. ;-) Now, I did have enough sense and enough self-esteem to refrain from becoming an actuary, so at least I've got that going for me and maybe when I retire from this gig, I can take up painting, or architecture, or something, God willing.

2) Describe the moment when you knew, with hellhounds-on-your-trail certainty, that you were a blues fan.

This is the sort of question one usually reserves for "when did you first accept Christ as your savior?" Of course, "when did you first know you were a blues fan?" runs a close second. And I do have an answer! Surprising, I know. There was a building up period, as there are with most things...sticking your toe in the water to see if it feels right. There was that night in 1987, at a small one-room school house, when Rory Block came to town and Had a Rock in Her Sock! There was the parade of famous blues acts that came through town as invitees of the San Luis Obispo Blues Society, of which I became a member...the legendary James Cotton, Otis Rush, Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers, Charlie Musselwhite, etc. There was the night we danced all night with the Queen of Zydeco, Queen Ida, who was a favorite of a good friend of mine who hailed from Baton Rouge, LA. And it was the sudden, unexpected death of this very good friend, who introduced me and my former husband to the SLO Blues Society, which led to an also very unexpected inheritance of his CD collection (which he designated in his many people do you know that think so highly of their music and their friends as to specifically name them in their will?), which was the moment I became a true, coonhounds-on- my-trail, blues fan. My friend worked part time as a radio DJ and hosted a local public radio blues & jazz show every once in awhile, so his collection was wonderful, and from that moment on, I have always felt a certain passion for the Blues, with a capital B. ;-)

3) Describe a piece of art in your house and what it signifies for you.

Oooh, this is a fun one. The difficult part is narrowing it down to one. I think this question has to wait until I can post a photo, or two. Pass (for now).

4) What are the 3 best pieces of advice you've ever gotten?

"It doesn't matter if you fail as long as you gave it your best effort." This, in response to my question to my parents, "what will you do if I flunk 2nd grade?" I fully expected the response to be something along the lines of being outcast from the family forever.

"Give it your all on the first half-lap and then let whatever momentum you've got left carry you to the finish line." This, from my track coach, when running the last quarter mile of a mile relay. In other words, don't hold back, give it everything you've got from the beginning. I'm still working on this. I tend to hold back until I'm close to the finish line and then give it everything I've got. But then, you'll never know if you could have done better.

"Hand it over." In other words, let God be in control. Don't be too self-sufficient. Recognize that we are here to glorify God, not ourselves. Do your best with what God gave you, but let Him be the guide. This advice was not easy for me to accept, but I can't count the number of times it has saved me from myself. And I have to remind myself daily. :-)

5) Harry Callahan or Robert Kinkaid?

Okay, this really is a tough question. As much as my intellect tells me that I really should say Harry Callahan, lest I have the Keepers of the Cultural Flame on my doorstep, I'm going to say that, from a woman's perspective, it's gotta be Robert Kinkaid. *drool*

Thanks, John, that was fun!

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Where Am I?

Contrary to what you are probably thinking, I have not been whisked away by a tornado or swept down the river. My prayers go out to those who have.

I'll be back shortly with a weekend report. But first, a word from our sponsors.

Right. We have no sponsors.


Friday, May 04, 2007

What Time Is It?

Because I would like for my readers to know what an idiot I really am, I offer up this.

Two nights ago, I was out shopping for some gifts I had to buy for a few departing board members/officers of a group I am involved with (I mean, a group with which I am involved...or something like that...Brian?). Anyway, while I waited for them to do the engraving, I perused the store and happened upon the watch department. Now, I was not really needing a new watch. My $35 Winnie The Pooh Timex watch still works just fine. But I thought it might be nice to buy a "dressier" watch, for those occasions when I'd like to "dress up." Not that I haven't worn Winnie The Pooh on many a "dressy" occasion, but I needed an excuse to buy something, I guess is what I'm saying.

But here's the idiot part. Today, someone asked me what time it was and I looked at my watch for the first time (and no, I'm not dressed up, but yes, I've been wearing the watch ever since I bought it). "Um, 4:30? No, probably not." (it was 10:30 by the clock on my computer) Which means that I have been wearing my watch for nearly 48 hours and had yet to actually "use" it. Had not even set the watch yet.

See what I'm saying?


Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Gwynne Needs...

Rachel posted this meme and tagged me. You know the drill. Go to Google and type in your name, followed by the word "needs."

I had to play with a combination of first and last names (maiden name at married name doesn't even Google) to arrive at anything semi-coherent, so call it cheating if you want, but here's what I need:

Gwynne needs a framework like Kyoto (ahem, I have no problem with emissions)

Gwynne needs one or two guest editors to volunteer (it's that obvious?!)

Gwynne needs a stable international order in which all nations work on abandoning
war as an acceptable way of settling differences (don't we all?)

Gwynne needs context (I feel so misunderstood)

Gwynne needs a hug :-)

Gwynne needs to know if there is lunar water (I think I just got a brilliant marketing idea!)

Gwynne needs fennel each week (not true...I only need fennel once a month or so)

Gwynne needs to be routinely assessed (too much lunar water)

Gwynne needs to use the bathroom from time to time (I'm only human afterall)

Gwynne needs to be discussed in the pediatric setting (it's all about the context)


Did You Ever Wonder Why...

From (I've narrowed the list down to just my favorites, and then my most favorite favorites are in bold ;-):

Why isn't phonetic spelled the way it sounds?

Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii?

Why are there flotation devices under plane seats instead of parachutes?

How does the guy who drives the snowplow get to work in the mornings?

If 7-11 is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, why are there locks on the doors?

If a cow laughed, would milk come out her nose?

If nothing ever sticks to TEFLON(R), how do they make TEFLON(R) stick to the pan?

If you tied buttered toast to the back of a cat and dropped it from a height, what would happen?

If you're in a vehicle going the speed of light, what happens when you turn on the headlights?

You know how most packages say "Open here". What is the protocol if the package says, "Open somewhere else"?

Why do they put Braille dots on the keypad of the drive-up ATM?

Why do we drive on parkways and park on driveways?

Why is brassiere singular and panties plural?

Why is it that when you transport something by car, it's called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship, it's called cargo?

You know that little indestructible black box that is used on planes, why can't they make the whole plane out of the same substance?

Why is it that when you're driving and looking for an address, you turn down the volume on the radio?

These sound like Steven Wright questions, don't they?