santa cruz wharf

28 November 2007

Peace she gave to you.....

Lords and Ladies of the BlogLand…..
(trumpet fanfare)

Her Highness Queen Mimi of the Memes….Our Lady of Bloggingham Palace celebrates today the royal date of her birth.
(flags unfurl)

Forget thee not her tireless efforts to unite our
Globe in Peace.
(waving my wand without all that glitter….)

While you are waiting FOREVER for her blog to load….remember how cute she looks traipsing around the castle in a pencil skirt…feeding the moat alligators….toying with the prisoners in the dungeon….
(making sure I’ve completed my assignments)

Wish our dear friend Mimi a wonderful day and a peaceful year of love.
(executing the perfect curtsey)

Happy Birthday Dear Mimi!

27 November 2007

26 November 2007

Heads or Tails ~ mark

Skittles hosts the weekly Heads or Tails....and today's theme is Mark

Today I mark my Sister’s 42nd Birthday.

Cynthia Kay was born a few months after we moved to California from New York. I had previously asked for (and received) a little brother…so this time around I asked for a little sister. It came as no surprise to me that a little sister is exactly what I got.

When she was little she would complain to the point of crying to be included in our games, events and antics. The parental mandate to let my sister play with me is probably when I first developed my eyerolling technique. The problem was she would go tattle with embellishment about everything we did. Everything. Once in utter exasperation, my brother and I threatened her. “If you keep telling on us...we are going to put snails down your pants.”

She told on us.
We put snails down the back of her pants.
Then pushed her so she sat on them.
She thought twice before being a tattletale.

When Cynthia was ten she announced to a group of family and friends how much she appreciated being the youngest in our family by explaining, “katherine cuts out the road….Billy paves it…and I just go skipping along.” Obviously an astute child.

She was only eleven when I went away to school. Things had started to disintegrate in our home at that point and unfortunately, I know she did not benefit from the same childhood and teenage years that my brother and I had. By the time she went to college I was already a wife and mother. We didn’t get to know one another as adults until eight years ago when our Mama was diagnosed with breast cancer. From truly opposite walks of life we rallied as one. In a crisis we are really good together…in the day-to-day…not so much. I am not the “hallmark-type” of sister and I realize that has hurt her feelings at times.

At 17, Cynthia moved to Santa Barbara to go to school…and just returned to Santa Cruz two years ago. Our Mama is very happy to have us both “in town.” Although diametrically opposed in just about every segment of our lives….I found one thing we seem to have in common. In most of our pictures we have our eyes closed.

I love my sister Cynthia very much…and I wish her a Happy Day of celebration and a wonderful year!

25 November 2007

Manic Monday ~ rank

"Age has rank…
and rank has privilege."

One of my father’s frequent sayings….usually in response to some question from my brother or sister about why I was in charge….and later on why I was allowed to do something or go somewhere one of them were not. Although I probably had some superior smug smirk on my face…in reality having privileges meant additional duties and accountability.

I was given a great deal of responsibility early on. When I was seven, my brother four, and my sister a just born baby my Mama had cancer surgery. Although we had help, I became a babysitter, caregiver…and sorta a third parent. From then until I left for college, I had weekly outside chores in the yard as well as weekly and daily inside chores of cleaning. Looking back I had a great deal of power in our family…probably more than I should have. To this day it is an issue between my sister and I…although I quit telling her what to do about 24 years ago.

Some of my father’s other sayings were:

"Think about what you have to gain…
and think about what you have to lose."

"I am king and you are nothing."
(he was only sorta kidding)

"Almost everything is relative.
Only two things are absolute…
God’s love and a parent’s love for his child. "

Mo hosts Manic here to see his other minions...the cool graphic and so much more were created by Janna of JannaGraphics.

21 November 2007

I have Thanks to Give

Thirteen things I am thankful for this day.

I am Thankful for you gentle reader.

I am Thankful for you who are not so gentle. (smile)

I am Thankful for those of you who post stories, and pictures, and songs, and stuff that make me laugh, and cry, and cringe, and roll my eyes.

I am Thankful to have this blogworld where I can relax.

I am Thankful for what I have learned from you.

I am Thankful for those of you who have become dear to me and who have become my friends.

I am Thankful for you who make comments.

I am Thankful for you who tolerate my smartass comments on your posts.

I am Thankful to you who have taught me tips and tricks.

I am Thankful I live in a country where I can write and read whatever I choose without fear of retribution.

I am Thankful for easily accessible internet at work, home, and coffee shops.

I am Thankful for Google

I am Thankful for the health and happiness of SugarCookie, Little Missy, and The BearCub.

Wordless Wednesday ~ paperweight

20 November 2007

Heads or Tails ~ Never Say Never

Miz Barb may have put her weblog on the back burn to become Chubsie the Dwarf Hunter of the Malfurion Realm (in the World of Warcraft) but she continues her weekly Heads or Tails…this week is Never Say Never.

edit: Chubsie has on the lookout for Amorra the Shaman...Shalamar the Druid Night Elf....and Spryte the gnome hunter....

Truthfully when I first heard about “blogging” years ago…I knew I would NEVER EVER have a weblog. Why in the world would I want a blog? I certainly wouldn’t want to share the personal details of my private life with anyone (let alone strangers) on the world wide web! Who would want to read it anyway? Besides I would NEVER want to read anyone else’s blog. I mean really…who would I possibly be interested in reading…

Never say Never.

I now have seventy-some different weblogs in my Google Reader. I am compelled to keep up to date…and feel a tad guilty if I don’t “make the rounds.” Monday is Manic, Tuesday is HOT, Wednesday is Wordless, et cetera. There are bloggers all over the world I now consider my “friends.” People I laugh at, banter with, pray for. If I go a day without surfing through the blogworld I start to feel that pull of withdrawl. I carry my camera just about wherever I go…in case I see something I will want to post. When I relate some story or interesting detail, my kids raise their exasperated eyebrows at me and say…”is this some blog thing?”

Never say Never.

18 November 2007

Manic Monday with Mo ~ relish

Morgen from It's a Blog Eat Blog World...The Mo Show on BlogTalkRadio and several other blog ventures hosts Manic over and see what his other minions "relish"

Relishing seems to require multisensory satisfaction and enjoyment.

I relish the perfect bath.

Near scalding hot water to the tub rim…lathered with bubble bath lightly scented of tangerine, mixed with sesame oil. My hair piled on top of my head so I can lean back on a soft pillow…nonscented candles at the far corners…a favorite beverage within easy reach. Relax into the steam. Telephones silent in another room. A new novel by a favorite author to envelope my mind. Toby singing softly in the background....sigh...

16 November 2007

autumn irises

My friend Chana is a Florist....look what she gave to me!

don't you want to read GOOD news too?

Michael Yon is an independent embedded journalist who last week won the 2007 Best Military Weblog Award.

Online Magazine dispatch really touched me. It is a short post with wonderful pictures. The Muslim community in a section of Baghdad is urging their Christian neighbors to return to their home in Iraq. (you photographers out there will want to look at the pictures me)

Christian Moms and Muslim Moms have a great deal in common….children play and tease and annoy each other no matter who they are or where they live. The world really is very small.


Today, Muslims mostly filled the front pews of St John’s. Muslims who want their Christian friends and neighbors to come home. The Christians who might see these photos likely will recognize their friends here. The Muslims in this neighborhood worry that other people will take the homes of their Christian neighbors, and that the Christians will never come back. And so they came to St John’s today in force, and they showed their faces, and they said, “Come back to Iraq. Come home.” They wanted the cameras to catch it. They wanted to spread the word: Come home. Muslims keep telling me to get it on the news. “Tell the Christians to come home to their country Iraq.”

15 November 2007

got ink?

Just wondering how many of you have body art...
old tattoo…new acquisition…secret branding?

I have ink. I actually
posted about mine last January…LONG before anyone ever read this place.

I found this fun little test over at my
Tat Sistah Odat’s…where she is braggin’ on having some Butterfly bodyart…but....hmmm…we haven’t seen the proof of it yet…have we?

C’mon Odat…let’s see your ink...laughing...
anyone else willing to show us what ya got?

You Should Get An All Over Tattoo

Outrageous and funky
Because you should never have to choose just one tattoo

Thursday Thirteen ~ Thankful

Thirteen Things I am Thankful For
just this Morning sitting here...

living near the Pacific
quiet morning time
freedom of faith
Peet’s Sumatra katherine strength
Mama and Joe home safe from Indiana
long hot showers
electric hair dryer
wearing sandals 50 outta 52 weeks
being a smartass
gift of a cord of firewood (split, delivered and stacked)
homemade tortillas
Google. all of it
African Violets

14 November 2007

13 November 2007

Heads or Tails ~ Road

I skip and I trip along the road of my life.
Not the well-known, well-worn path.
Not paved…not even with good intentions.

I would have…given the choice…
taken the road more traveled…
for all the difference it would have made.

I know if I stepped more carefully,
I would not stumble so often
over the rocks and potholes on my road

But…I don’t want to look down
to watch for rocks and holes.
I want to look up.

Even if not watching where I am going
is how I usually find myself sprawled in the mud.
Looking up.

My road took an unexpected turn last night.
The dirt of my past mix with my tears of surprise.
Stranded, stagnant, stuck in the mud of Memory Lane.

The Heads or Tails theme for today is “Road”…visit Barb at Skittles Place to read other offerings...and play a rather disturbing caption contest...

12 November 2007

Manic Money with Mo ~ gravy

My Mama taught me to make good gravy.

You gotta bring the meat juices to a low rolling boil the roasting pan...on the stove...maybe with two burners, while you are stirring with a slotted spoon. I prefer the kinda round lookin' one like you would use for poached eggs or something equally disgusting.

Shake up the flour with a little bit of milk [edited] dissolving it completely before you pour it into the pan (if you don't have a gravy shaker...a martini shaker works just as well.) Keep stirring.

You can use regular all purpose flour....but I prefer Gold Medal Wondra for Gravy.

Pour the flour water slowly....just a little bit at a time...while you are stirring...making sure there are no little lumps of flour. The spices you add will depend on what type of gravy you are making (beef, turkey, sausage, et cetera).

The most important part is to never stop stirring. It'll seem like you could go check the biscuits...pour yourself another cup of coffee....or toss the salad. But no. Keep stirring the gravy.

My Mama usually calls out to someone who is just standing around...."come over here and stir this" She never stops stirring...just waits for the bystander to grab hold of the spoon and take over. She'll stand and watch until she is sure they have it...and say..."now don't stop stirring." No matter what else she is doing...she will keep an eye on you and the gravy.

Come to think of it...both my Grammas did the same thing...recruiting a younger child to stand on a chair and stir the gravy. I always felt very honored to be called into service for such an important job.

Usually about this time...if you are quick and can take a piece of bread (or biscuit or muffin) reach around to dip and drag it through the gravy in progress. Someone is going to object to make sure you have perfected that innocent, wide-eye, brow-raising, "what-did-I-do?" look. Afterall....SOMEONE has to taste test the gravy....and really...who better than me?

As the gravy starts to thicken...keep stirring...making sure nothing sticks to the bottom...scooping out of the corners and around the edge of the pan. Keep the flame very low so that it doesn't quite boil.

When it reaches your desired consistency...pour into a gravy boat or other appropriate vessel. Scrape the roasting pan completely. If you have too much gravy (okay...there is no such thing as too much gravy...I mean more than what fits in the container) ...thank your God...and put it into an additional container that you can warm up in the microwave later on.

Check out the other Gravy Links at Morgen's "It's a Blog Eat Blog World"

11 November 2007

Honoring our Veterans

Family Veterans and those currently serving.

(Spanish American War)

(shot down WWII)




(cold war)

(currently serving)

(currently serving)

(currently serving)

(currently serving)

08 November 2007

Thursday Thirteen ~ Thankful

November is the month of Thanksgiving.

Thirteen Things I am Thankful For NOW
…..but wasn’t so much before

being the oldest child in my family
moving to California from New York
being raised with lots of boundaries
learning inside chores
learning outside chores
having to get a job as a teenager
family camping vacations

responsibiltiy for myself
responsibility for others
being required to present a logical argument
going to UCLA
lessons learned from losing a loved one to death
empathic perception

07 November 2007

Dona Nobis Pacem ~ Give Us Peace

I know Peace
Peace of heart which makes you sigh.
Peace of mind that is contentment.
The Peace that transcends understanding.

My life is not always Peaceful.
Too often it is contentious.
And…I have not always been in the right.

Peace can be elusive.

I see it…there…the brass ring….there…just out of my grasp….there….I reach for it frantically….there…while I whirl on this carousal…around and around….there…my fingers clutch and I am wrenched off.

In the dark, I search for Peace as if blind…my fingertips sweeping the air at the radius of my arms…extending…sweeping…until (more often than not) I crack my shin and bruise my knee as I trip over the Peace which was in front of me all the time.

Make it peaceful where you are.
Make peace with those around you.
(I’m not saying agree or acquiesce.)
I am wishing for you common ground to establish peace.

In these days when we say Peace…too often one thinks of War…with the constant coverage and never ending armchair commanders in chief…so….yes…

World Peace
Give Peace a Chance
Let there be Peace on Earth…Let it begin with me.

For my children (who within a few months will all be adults) my heartfelt prayer is that you have Peace.

Peace of Heart
Peace of Mind
Peace of Soul
To breath without anxious thoughts
To recognize you don’t always need what you don’t have
To appreciate the beauty of the small thing
To be grateful for love
To live in a home that is your haven
To have sanctuary for your soul
To be content

Inspired by Mimi Lenox of the weblog MimiWrites …today is the annual Dona Nobis Pacem Blogblast for Peace….a nation wide (almost 50 states) and international (over 30 countries) flying of Peace Globes….hundreds and hundreds of them.

The Peace Globe Phenomena….has made wikipedia (smile)…
surf over and check it out.

06 November 2007

Heads or Tails ~ VOTE

Little Bitty Baby Rant….believe me…this has been edited extensively from what I wrote last night… so I’ll just provide my own personal little non-partisan PSA on voting statistics…and (you’re-gonna-love-this) estimated cost requirements for this upcoming election.

I have three main points.

There is no reason the United States should be subjected to a presidential campaign which lasts almost two years. We are FINALLY one year away from the election. (twelve more months of this) I am already way past my tolerance level for partisan rhetoric and jockeying for media attention. By the time I actually get to vote…there is a chance it will be for the guy who annoyed me the least.

(campaign fundraising data below ~ read at your own risk)
The length of campaign…especially with the number of candidates…results in an unbelievable amount of money being spent on NOTHING productive. Don’t get me wrong….I am a capitalist. I believe Bill Gates deserves every penny he has earned. But the billion dollars (yep a billion) spent on travel and propaganda production and commercial time is a WASTE. Now I realize a large percentage of this money is donated. Great. If the campaign was shorter…the costs would be less. These donors…people and corporations could do something else with all that money. They could donate it elsewhere…or they can keep it for themselves and earn interest….I don’t care. Think about it...$100 million per candidate thru the end of 2007 alone.

Whenever anyone starts complaining about politics, politicians, or anything related to any law…I want to know if they vote. If they are registered and if they actually vote. If not…then THEY are the reason they have a problem. Period. If you complain and you don’t vote you are ….well…considering that is about a THIRD of you…I won’t say what I really think.

Interesting data to throw out at your office, cocktail party, or Thanksgiving table.

(from the November 2004 Presidential election via the Census Bureau…the data, reports, charts, and spreadsheets are broken down to the most minuscule detail of age, gender, state, ethnicity, et cetera ad nauseum. if you are a numbers'll love the links below)

total adults - - -215,694,000
citizens - - - - -
non-citizens - - -18,688,000 (not eligible)

registered - - - -142,070,000 (72% of citizens)
non-registered - -54,936,000 (28% of citizens)
(almost a third of you
are not even REGISTERED)

voted - - - - - - 125,736,000 (64% of citizens)
did not vote - - - 71,270,000 (36% of citizens)
(what do you want to bet this 36%
ncludes most of the complainers)

adults – humans over 18 years of age living in the USA
citizens – of the United States of America
registered – those who have registered to vote
non-registered – CITIZENS who have NOT registered to vote
non citizens – adults living in the USA – that we know of
voted/not-voted – in the 2004 presidential election

Miscellaneous factoids
Among citizens, turnout was higher for women (65%) than for men (62%).

The turnout rate for people with a bachelor’s degree or higher (80%) was greater than the rate for people whose highest level of educational attainment was a high school diploma (56%)

Citizens age 65 and older had the highest registration rate (79%) while those age 18 to 24 had the lowest (58%). The youngest group also had the lowest voting rate (47%), while those age 45 and older had the highest turnout (70%)

turnout rates for citizens were:
67% for non-Hispanic whites
60% for blacks
47%percent for Hispanics (of any race)
44% for Asians
These rates were higher than the previous presidential election by 5 percentage points for non-Hispanic whites and 3 points for blacks. By contrast, the voting rates for Asian and Hispanic citizens did not change. These data pertain to those who identified themselves as being of a single race

Follow the Money….
(I'm quoting here - emphasis mine)

The reported cost of campaigning for President has increased significantly in recent years. One source reported that if the costs for both Democratic and Republican campaigns are added together (for the Presidential primary election, general election, and the political conventions) the costs have more than doubled in only eight years ($448.9 million in 1996, $649.5 million in 2000, and $1.01 billion in 2004).

In January 2007, Federal Election Commission Chairman Michael Toner estimated that the 2008 race will be a "$1 billion election," and that to be "taken seriously," a candidate will need to raise at least $100 million by the end of 2007.

Can someone explain this to me?

If you want to know more here is the Census Report which includes all kinds of data for the past several presidential elections broken down into the finest details.

This link gives you dollar figures by candidate, party and quarter….raised, spent and debt amounts. And another...on some basic facts of the November 2008 election and comparisions to previous presidential elections.

Oh…by the way….Heads Or Tails is a weekly gig hosted by Barb over at at Skittles Place...this week is the subject of Voting.

05 November 2007

I bring my better angels to every fight

On this Monday I find our Earth rather Manic.

South Africa

Wednesday, the 7th of November, an amazing phenom known as the
Peace Globe Movement will overflow the Blogworld, MySpace and Facebook with The Blog Blast For Peace. Strangers and friends from thirty-some different countries (wow!) and forty-some states here in the US.

Thanks to Mimi Lenox (of
Mimi Writes)…literally hundreds and hundreds of us all around our Earth have created our own Peace Globes. Mimi has several templates to choose from…as well as a selection of banners. Just about anyone can personalize their Peace Globe with pictures and words of their choice.

Sometimes I think that war is necessary….
but every night I do indeed pray for peace on earth.

There is one man responsible for totally turning me on to country music…(truth be known if he wasn’t married I’d get him to turn me on in every way known to womankind.) He has two or three dozen songs that have touched my heart. The lyrics from this one are especially true for me.

Love Me If You Can - Toby Keith
(lyrics below)

Sometimes think that war is necessary
Every night I pray for peace on earth
I hand out my dollars to the homeless
But believe that every able soul should work
My father gave me my shotgun
That I’ll hand down, to my son
Try to teach him everything it means

I’m a man of my convictions
Call me wrong, call me right
But I bring my better angels to every fight
You may not like where I’m going
But you sure know where I stand
Hate me if you want to, love me if you can

I stand by my right to speak freely
But I worry about what kids learn from TV
And before all of the debating turn to angry words and hate
Sometimes we should just agree to disagree
And I believe that Jesus
Looks down here and sees us
And if you asked him he would say

I’m a man of my convictions
Call me wrong, call me right
But I bring my better angels to every fight
You may not like where I’m going
But you sure know where I stand
Hate me if you want to, love me if you can

visit more "Earth" posts with Morgen who hosts Manic Monday….at
It’s a Blog Eat Blog World

03 November 2007

Father forgive me...

I’m starting to think the Jehovah’s Witnesses use our street as training camp. For the third time in the past four weeks the same white-hair-up-in-a-bun lady wearing a lacy cardigan has rung my doorbell. Each time with two different people in formation behind her. I make nice…claim my church affiliation…and really REALLY politely decline her insistent offers of propaganda.

This morning the front door was open so I could see them thru the screen door coming up the walk. Tempted to close the door before they got to the porch…I walked over waiting for them to greet me. Before I realized what I was doing…I had picked up the lovely orange with little black bats bowl from the table. Still three-quarters full of Hershey and Mars, I pushed open the screen and asked, “Trick or Treat.”

They didn’t laugh.
They didn’t even smile.

02 November 2007

Wait a minute…wait a minute…Dr Blogstein

Please Dr Blogstein…look and see…
if there’s a bottle in your bag for me?

Apparently YES! Thanks to the good Doctor and his Cyberwave Commander…I have won my very own bottle of V2 Vodka. (could it be a collector’s item??) Imported from Holland and enriched with caffeine and taurine (the stuff they put in those crank-up-your-brain energy drinks.) V2 Vodka is recently being offered in selected markets in the United States…I am looking forward to tasting it for myself.

There is a relatively new dimension in the blogworld known as Blog Talk Radio. Several of my favorite webloggers have established their very own weekly radio talk shows…one being the volatile... Barbie-lovin’... Dr.Blogstein.

With live guests the likes of author Vince Flynn, emmy winning designer Christopher Lowell, and this upcoming week….political cartoonist Lloyd Dangle, Dr. Blogsten produces a rather intelligent, borderline manic, info packed hour you really ought to check out.

The alarmingly amusing personalities of Dangerous Lee, Justin the Weatherman, and Phil add to the never-ending banter. The incomparable Vinny Bonds of the Big Leather Couch lives his fantasy as the Supreme Commander of the Cyberwaves by keeping the characters in the live-listener chatroom connected to Dr Blogstein and the on air talent.

How did I win you may ask? By asking a whole bevy of beverage questions in the chatroom on Dr. Blogstein’s Radio Happy Hour. The Guest was Betsy Landis, SVP for V2 Vodka. Dr. Blogstein and Vinny take very good care of the listeners who call in…and the ones in the chatroom. (smile)

Listen live every Tuesday evening at 6pm Pacific Time (other time zones?…you do the math) All of his past shows can be enjoyed at your convenience via the archives.

A couple other Blog Talk Radio Shows I have been known to listen to and enjoy immensely…

01 November 2007

Thursday Thirteen ~ Thankful

Since November is the month of Thanksgiving….

Thirteen Things I am Thankful For…
…from my childhood.

I am thankful my parents loved me.
I am thankful to be healthy.
I am thankful I was born in the United States of America.
I am thankful I am the oldest.
I am thankful I was raised in the church.
I am thankful I never wanted for the essentials.
I am thankful both my parents were involved.
I am thankful I was taught compassion for those less fortunate.
I am thankful I was taught right and wrong.
I am thankful I was taught dance and music.
I am thankful I knew all four of my Grandparents.
I am thankful I got to see so much of the country.
I am thankful my parents insisted I go to college