Sunday, November 30, 2008

At Grumpy's for Brunch with Friends

'Intuitive Field Generator'... On the day NPR replayed the Tesla story. Very cool.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

At Prairie Lane Furniture

Nashville, OH

Beautiful Ohio

A view to be thankful for.

We are en route to Bill and Louise's farm for Rick's side of the family's Thanksgiving celebration. It's always a good day when we get to go to the farm. It's a double-whammy of good when it's a holiday at the farm.


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Friday, November 28, 2008


Slivovitz. Yikes.

This was opened after dinner at a friend's home. The dinner was a "Thanksgiving Leftovers Dinner" theme, and we were encouraged to bring whatever was left over from the previous day's meal, including any nearly-empty bottles of [name any beverage] that were really just taking up space. This bottle of Slivovitz was clearly NOT nearly empty, but Paul and Carolyn assured us all that it was most certainly just taking up space.

Slivovitz is a traditional Slovenian liquor. It's important to have it at every special occasion. This is what Paul shared with us on this occasion. Rick had a good story to share, too.

The bottle label says that the contents are 8 years old. I'm sure they were, way back when they were bottled... The problem that compounded the problem of the flavor (ugh... flavor??? Not in this bottle, all you taste is chemical...) was that this bottle was purchased on the occasion of Paul's brother's wedding, something on the order of over 20 years ago. Maybe he said something closer to 30 years ago. I don't remember. I was distracted by the bottle... It's pretty!

The bottle is molded with the name, "Beograd, Yugoslavia." That's not something we're likely to see again. It was worth the distraction.

Some of the guests had a full shot. I was curious, but didn't really want a full shot, so I waited til one of the shot glasses was empty. I asked for the bottom of the shotglass to be "wetted" and drank that: not even a thimble-full.

The verdict? Blech.

I'll ask for it the next time I need to clean oil paint off of brushes.

Which might be never.


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Thursday, November 27, 2008


Poliosis! So. Darned. Funny!

Thanks-Giving Us This Bread

Well, I did it. I got it ALL done, and it's even on time. THANK GOD.


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I have never seen anything like this, until these guys did this same thing just now during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. WOW.

<a href="" target="_new" title="Fred Hill Briefcase Drill Team">Video: Fred Hill Briefcase Drill Team</a>


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Thanksgiving Focaccia.

Rolls are for wusses.


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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

With less than a month til Christmas, let the begging begin with this song!

Press the "Play" arrow, and enjoy! The animation is brilliant.


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Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Free video chat by Ustream

Sooooooooooooooooooo CUTE.

Each puppy has a different color collar. It's great, because it helps to tell them apart. There are 3 boys (Aki in green, Akoni in black, and Ando in blue) and 3 girls (Autumn in purple --she's feisty!-- Ayumi in yellow, and Amaya in red). More info HERE.

No, they are not for sale or adoption. The people who are raising them have posted information against puppy mills and even urge against buying pets over the internet. These puppies already have families waiting for them. They look healthy. They certainly get plenty of food and exercize, and they are well-socialized with humans.

Hooray for responsible dog owners!!!


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Monday, November 24, 2008

You need a little bit of levity...

"I'll be in charge of the turkey!!" Said Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. Not in charge of the view, apparently.

Think about all of these things while eating turkey over the next few days.

NO, I'm not against eating meat, or eating turkey, or knowing where my food came from. I'm the proud granddaughter of an Illinois beef and dairy farmer. Grandpa also raised sheep and chickens. I know, and have ALWAYS known, where my food has come from. Sometimes I played with it and named it. And sometimes it was no longer there on our next visit to Grandma and Grandpa. I just think this was a lousy view for the general public.

Seeing firsthand the actual slaughter of turkeys is not pretty, though it's a very different sight from when Grandpa, Daddy, and my uncles used to slaughter Grandpa's flock of chickens. Much smoother, much cleaner, much less running around with heads cut off. Still, it's got to be disturbing for the people who have never set foot on a farm and just think of turkeys as those shapes you pull out of a grocery store freezer, all cleaned and wrapped in plastic.

There HAD to be a different camera angle.

I'm thankful this woman is not going to be a heartbeat away from the Oval Office.


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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Rats. Nuts. Criminy. And all sorts of other PG-rated ephithets...

My cellphone screen is broken.

I have no idea how it happened. It was in a pocket -- not a tight pocket, nor an overly loose and floppy pocket, where it would bang against things easily -- and I was indoors (by which I mean it didn't freeze). I had just posted during the Colectivo Forum, so I knew the phone was perfectly find just moments before I discovered the damage.

There is a crack in the liquid crystal display screen. (I know, right? What the frack??!?) If it weren't such an annoyance and inconvenience, I'd be completely fascinated!

The crack is beneath the thick, clear, protective cover (perhaps a type of plexiglass; it scratches easily, so it's definitely not glass) and the liquid has spread laterally to form a dark, rounded, aspen-leaf-shaped pattern towards the lower right-hand corner of the display. Again: sort of cool, if it weren't so blasted irritatingly inconvenient. Sadly, while that sounds like it may not be that bad, it in fact takes up a little over half the display.

I find this very aggravating. It doesn't affect the operations otherwise, however I can't read the display when I dial a number to call someone. I can place and receive calls, but can't see who is calling when a call comes in. I can't read the display when I open the phonebook to place a call. (Important, as it's been years since I've memorized ANY number, having had a cell phone to perform that function for me!!) I can't see whether things are properly framed or not when I take a picture. When I text, I can only see part of what I'm thumb-typing in.

Aaaaccckk! I prefer to text than to interrupt someone's day with a phone call!! I know I'd rather *GET* a text!!!! OH!! My lifestyle is COMPLETELY CRAMPED.

The net result is miserably misspelled posts with errant letters here and there.

Picky, picky, right?

I was raised better than to resign myself to permitting poor spelling, and one of my spelling and grammar teachers reads this blog. (Hi, Daddy!!)

Here's hoping my phone can be replaced very inexpensively and hopefully quickly, so all the typos that cause me grief can be eliminated.


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Foodfetchers em rte 2 Browns s Stadium


That post title.

My cellphone display is broken, and I can only see a very little bit of what is typed into my phone at a given time. I have to count clicks (it's not a QWERTY keyboard, just a simple phonepad with numbers and multiple letters sharing the keys), and as I was walking to the stadium as I typed, I lost count a couple of times.

The temptation is there to correct my work, but I think I will leave it as is. It will serve as a reminder -- a PAINFUL reminder!!! -- for me of what it's like to have a phone suddenly go out of commission.

On a sidenote, it was disappointing early in the day that this was the only picture I got to take of our day at the Browns game. My battery ran out as soon as I took and posted it. I'm not sure if that was actually related to the damaged display. In retrospect, however, it may have been a mercy I was denied my chance to take more pictures. The Browns made some really dumb plays. (Who throws to a receiver *already on the ground*???)

We did have fun, though. And it was yet another visit to Cleveland Browns Stadium during which we did not, nor were we remotely tempted to go to any concession stand.


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I dislike that I rejoice in this sign.

It's been a dog's age since I've seen gas prices like this. I have very mixed feelings!

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Garcia WINS!!

Beautiful. Just fantastic performance. Well done, Leonor!!


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Final Battle!


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Garcia v Steinway: advantage Garcia!!!!

In this shot Leonor is playing a piece that is entirely playful and completely wacky. It is thus far my favorite of the evening. There are many yet to come, though, and I fully intend to be just as delighted with the rest of them!


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Garcia v Steinway: point, Leonor


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Garcia v Hamburg Steinway

This is my beautifuul sister-in-law Leonor, whose talent is awe-surpassing. I am so proud of her, and thankful I am so blessed to be able to call her "sister".


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No trucks on the Innerbelt Bridge????

So much for THAT rule. And, while we're at it, so much for 3 lanes of traffic on a 4 lane bridge.


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With just over 13 minutes left in the 4th quarter of the Big Game... now appears that Michigan in fact did NOT make it past Toledo.

Sad, sickly, little Wolverines. Clearly, there's no Adamantine in these pups.

Current score: Michigan 7, Ohio State 42.

O H!!!! I O!!!!

Next rivalry game: Michigan State at Penn State. We (ouch) want (ouf) the Michigan (ugh) State (ow) Spartans to win so the Buckeyes might possibly go to the Rose Bowl. It is a yucky feeling to cheer for a Michigan team. ANY Michigan team. Almost like wanting Pol Pot to win the lottery, and I'd *never* want that. (Fortunately, he's dead now, so I only have to wish him a nasty place in hell.)

Not the greatest season in Ohio State football history, nor the worst, but still: we beat Michigan!! It's the most important game of the year, and as of this game, the Michigan seniors have never had a chance to beat a Buckeye. >grin<

Beating Michigan is always what matters most.


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Today's Ohio State game against the Wolverines has been cancelled...

Michigan can't get past Toledo!!!

(cue rim shot.)(or not...)


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Friday, November 21, 2008

Brilliant Perspective: Work Is Easy

It's another bit of wisdom on a sticky-note from Doug Savage. Subscribe to his chicken-scratches HERE.


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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Lee Searches for the Mission Statement

Tonight is the Giving Circle Forum, a fantastic trial by The Cleveland Colectivo. Rick and I are members of the Colectivo, a giving circle, and are finding it a valuable experience.

Hopefully tonight's event will successfully inspire people to create their own giving circles.

This is a first for the Colectivo! The Forum is usually the venue for informing about the application process for our microgrants. We are hoping for many to respond to the call for applications AND the circle challenge!

Strangest Approval Yet

I actually like this one. I didn't expect to.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Seen outside Johnny Mango

Some street signs are more interesting, more informative, even (if you know the language) on the reverse.

My Harrowing Day (*so far*)

First, a trip to the dentist's office. No. *FIRST* first was waking up with a migraine. *THEN* the tooth-scraping.

Now, lunch at Johnny Mango. With a side of rebound migraine.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Dear Big Three Auto Corporate Heads:

I know this is a difficult time for you. Do you understand it's a difficult time for the rest of us, too? I find it impossible to relate to you.

Here's the thing, though. It's been a very long time since you've even turned my eye with any of your cars. That's right! You have failed to interest, let alone dazzle me with your design or performance. How bad is THAT?!? I even know some of your designers, especially at Ford. Doesn't matter, if a car can't deliver the goods.

So forgive me, Big Three, if I don't throw myself 100% in your corner. I'm completely skeptical about your flexibility, which is why perhaps it really *is* past your time.

Honestly, you're stuck in outmoded forms of transport, you're so far down in pockets of Big Oil you refuse to hear the pleas of us who want alternatives, and you continue to insist that we buy unnecessarily gigantic vehicles.

Sorry. Out of touch businesses go out business. It's called survivor of the fittest. You're simply not fit.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Jeepers. Peepers!

The bad news is our Rx plan doesn't cover new glasses this year. The good news is our eyes haven't changed. We don't NEED new glasses. Woot! Another thing for which I am most jubilantly grateful!

What a $1500 Pair o'Sunglasses Look Like

Sunday, November 16, 2008

First Dog Prints of the Season!

We all woke up to a half inch of very wet, very packed snow today.

Poor Cleopatra. She hates this stuff. It's worse even than rain, because it sticks to her fur before it melts and seeps down onto her skin. She is such a warm-weather weenie. And I mean that in the warmest, most affectionate way... (silly girl.)

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Soon to be our neighbors

Tim and Carlina and Nina might, repeat, *MIGHT* be buying the house next to Mike and Patti's house! THIS IS EPIC!!!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Bizarre Is Basenji

Cleopatra emerges from Deepest, Darkest Couch Canyon, dusty and pursued by angry natives. But she snagged the golden idol!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Um... Jumping the Gun, Much???

They don't make any announcements regarding this year's Cy Young Award recipients until this afternoon, yet this is what I just found on Wikipedia under Cliff Lee's entry:

2008 Season

Cliff Lee on the mound at Progressive Field on September 12, 2008.In 2008, Lee had a career year. Despite the Indians playing with a l 500 winning percentage for the season, Lee started the 2008 season with much success. Lee was one of only eight pitchers since 1920 to win 19 or more of his first 21 decisions. He was the first Cleveland pitcher to win his first six starts since Greg Swindell in 1988. He also recorded his first career shutout on April 25, 2008, against the Kansas City Royals, allowing just 3 hits and 0 walks.[9] He had the lowest On-base percentage-against at .163 through five starts since 1909. For his efforts and success, he was named the American League Pitcher of the Month for April, when he went 5-0 with a 0.96 ERA. .[10] Lee was selected to his first All-Star game in 2008, and was selected to start the game. Lee worked two scoreless innings for the American League team, surrendering only a Chipper Jones base hit and striking out three.[11]

On August 26, Lee won his 19th game of the season, yielding only 2 runs to the Detroit Tigers.[12] This victory set a new career high for Lee, besting his previous mark of 18 wins set during the 2005 season. On September 1, Lee won his 20th game of the season, throwing a complete game shutout. He was the first Indian to reach 20 wins since Gaylord Perry in 1974.[13] In August, for the second time in the 2008 season, Lee was named American League Pitcher of the Month. He went 5-0 with a 1.86 ERA in the month. On September 12, Lee won his 22nd game, making his record 22-2 on the season. This marked the first time a pitcher had gone 20 wins over .500 since Bob Welch in 1990. Overall to end a career year, Lee went 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA and 170 strikeouts. He started 31 games, completed 4, and had 2 shutouts. He pitched a total of 223⅓ innings. Lee ended the season as the American League champion for both wins and ERA.

On September 30, 2008, Lee was awarded the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award.

Lee was awarded the Players Choice Award for AL Outstanding Pitcher of the Year, and AL Comeback Player of the year, by fellow players.

Lee was also given The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Award and The Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award for his 2008 season.

Lee's 2008 winning percentage of 88% was the twelfth best of all time, and the fourth best by a pitcher starting a minimum of 30 games. Coincidently, the three pitchers ahead of Lee also pitch left-handed (Randy Johnson, Ron Guidry, and Lefty Grove). Lee's winning percentage is the second best in Indians history, behind Johnny Allen's 93.8% (15 wins, 1 loss, in 24 games) in 1937.

In 2008, he also won the AL Cy Young Award for his outstanding pitching in the season

[edit] See also
List of Major League Baseball wins champions
List of Major League Baseball ERA champions

Trippy, huh?

Notice how the important sentence is incomplete. The boldface and italics were added by me.

It'd be great if it's true. In fact, it will be rather suspect if Lee doesn't win. No American League pitcher had a better season this year. However, no one should have this information reported on a website at this time of this day. A leak of this sort is more appropriate on ESPN or

Wikipedia? REALLY??? (Yes, that's a link to the article referenced!!)


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Top Cat and Obliviousboy

Our cats have their own many versions of the "cat & mouse game". There usually are no mice involved... Sometimes they even get the dog in on their schemes!


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I'm late with this post. Wait..., I'm not going to say it (you know where I was going, though, right???). I AM going to post a silly web comic, because when something sad or scary happens, I take comfort in humor. And this week something sad happened, so here's the silly before the big sad:

Subscribe to Doug Savage's daily insanity-on-a-sticky-note HERE.

Herb Score in 1958, from The Cleveland Plain Dealer
Tuesday morning Cleveland learned we lost a local sports giant. Herb Score, Indians pitching great and radio voice of the Tribe for decades, passed away at the age of 75.

He'd been retired since 1997, so we've been without his voice as a broadcaster for over a decade. Still, it seems a little less Cleveland-y right now.

Herb at Jacobs Field (now Progressive Field) in August, 2005 from

Enjoy your Endless Field of Dreams, Herb. I hope you get to pitch one now and again.


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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wordless Wednesday: Comfort Food

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

My new status is...

..."Dorky Nerd God." says I'm a Dorky Nerd God.  What are you?  Click here!

Because I SOOOOOO needed a generic internet test to tell me something I didn't already know...

It does fail to mention the difference between nerds and geeks, and the fact that I am a world class champion geek, too. Sans lightbulb-eating skills and proclivity to travel in scary, old-fashioned-y Ray Bradbury-esque carnivals.


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I'm Thankful for This Experience

Given the historic nature of last week's election, I wanted some time to reflect and digest before recording my memories. Today is my "How I Spent Election Night" Post. If you continue scrolling down, you can follow (in reverse order...) my day on Election Day. I blogged from morning until Ben & Jerry's. I didn't blog about post-poll-closing because I'd left my cell phone at home accidentally, which let me enjoy the evening fully immersed, rather than trying to record as I went (Rick appreciated my full attention for a change). Here are my observations after the fact.

On election night, after the polls closed and we'd gotten our free ice cream, Rick and I went to our favorite sports bar to watch the election returns, expecting that at least one of the TVs would be tuned to a station covering politics. Heh. Boy, were we unprepared. And given our city, I don't know why!! Here's the scenario.

We live in Cleveland Heights, the most liberal and most integrated city in the most liberal (by many accounts) county in the state. Cuyahoga County is reliably "blue". But Cleveland Heights is seriously crunchy granola. It's situated between 2 large universities and 2 small colleges, with 2 huge competing research hospitals flanking one of the universities. Our population tends to be students, faculty, and highly educated folk from all over the world that feed into the hospitals, research spin-offs, and academic world. Which means we also are balanced in a racial manner, too: my immediate neighborhood is interestingly mixed. 2 blocks north is the Hassidic neighborhood. Our own street is only 2 blocks long, yet is almost a tiny sample of the world as if it were on a prepared slide for a massive microscope. I love it.

"Our" bar is called The Winking Lizard. The closest one is practically walking distance from us, only about 2 miles away. The interior has multiple rooms, and each room has multiple TVs. Each room had only one TV dedicated to a sporting event, and the volume was selected to the CNN tv! :-) What? Worry about missing the election returns? I say again, "Heh!" EVERYONE in the bar was engaged with the goings-on, and talking with neighboring tables. It was an emotionally electric atmosphere.

And friendly!!! I have never seen such friendliness before, and this is a very friendly neighborhood! I felt so warm towards my fellow Cleveland Heightsians (or whatever we are...), and it wasn't just because 98% of us were there to cheer on then-Sen. Obama. Everyone was polite, too. No one got vulgar about the opposing ticket, though the opportunity was there. I really feel good about that. I mean, a few snarky comments were made, sure! But nothing foul, nothing that couldn't be said in front of a child or say, your great-grandmother. In fact, all that I heard that was said that night was considerably milder than things already said in the media or on SNL. I don't know if we were acting out of superstitious fear of 'jinxing' the election. All I know is that I appreciated the considerate behavior.

Many people left before the end; whatever the outcome, Wednesday was still a work day, after all. Rick and I stayed to hear the speeches, which beyond what could have been imagined, given the campaigns. We stood there in stunned relief with other bar patrons and workers, sometimes just listening, sometimes smiling at each other, sometimes spontaneously hugging each other.

There were lots of joyful tears.

Out on the street, people were honking horns and yelling cheerfully to each other. Strangers and friends hailing each other from across the street with the good news made it seem like New Year's Eve or some other grand, universal, secular holiday.

I've never experienced anything like it. I think it's unlikely I ever will again.


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Monday, November 10, 2008

A New Generation of Activism

Generation WE: The Movement Begins... from Generation We on Vimeo.

I don't quite fit the demographic, agewise. I'm "Generation X", part of the "over-educated, underemployed, undermotivated" generation allegedly coddled by the parental Boomer Generation. (I think this video is incorrect about the parents of so-called "Generation We" being the Baby Boom Generation. The Boomers were born at the tail end of WWII, and would therefore be grandparents, even great-grands of the people covered by the labels "Millennial" or "Generation We".)

I do appreciate the motivation and the ideas expressed in this video. I'd like to see how much of this actually happens, now that the longest and most contentious presidential campaign in U.S. history has ended.


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Serious Cause for Thanks

A year ago this month I was recovering from a lumpectomy.

It was my first time participating in NaBloPoMo, and I chose to participate specifically because I thought writing everyday would be a good diversion from whatever I might need diverting from, and perhaps a helpful therapy device.

As a diversion, writing about the experience wasn't always successful. As a form of therapy, I was grateful for the outlet.

My story from last November (which is accessible by clicking on the "November 2007" link in the archives section, just to the right) has a happy ending. The surgery, performed on the 6th, was textbook perfect. The results, which I received on the 9th, showed that my breast was cancer-free. My recovery was rapid; I never needed all the pain-killers provided in the prescription.

For all of these things I am deeply thankful.

I am also thankful for preventative medicine measures such as mammograms. Having said that, I should explain that my mammogram did not find my lump. I found it while in the shower. (Soapy water is the best method of discovery!) In fact, after I found the lump, neither mammogram nor ultrasound could definitively find it, although the lab techs were very able to confirm that it was there.

That was a terribly, profoundly, disgusting moment!! I had to admit to a small amount of relief that someone else was able to find the cause of worry that I had, yet it confirmed for me that I really did have something to worry about!!! The machines told me there was no lump. The humans in charge of the technology agreed (with me, not their tech-toys) that something was there. At least the humans were able to laugh with me and relate with me about the emotional conundrum I faced: "The good news is that we know you're not crying 'wolf', however, the bad news is that you may have something life-endangering growing inside you."

Again, that ended up not to be the case. I DID learn that the greatest benefit of preventative medecine is not always the procedures used, but the contact and reassurances one receives. I felt well-cared-for at each turn. That made a tremendous difference.

I have an obligation and an opportunity to get a mammogram every year. While I still must do my own self-exams, I feel like this clinical reminder is as helpful as anything else. It's as official as doing taxes and renewing license plates and voting. By putting that appointment on the calendar, I am making a commitment to my health.

I check my husband's breasts now and again, too. Breast cancer runs in his family. Never forget that men have breasts, and can be vulnerable to breast cancer! Because breast cancer awareness is not as promoted among men, it tends to be more lethal when it is finally detected, as it often goes undetected until a late stage of growth and has metastasized.

I celebrate my grim and joyful anniversary much as I spent my recovery: snuggling on the couch with my pets. Just for a moment, though. Life marches steadily forward, so I cannot stay here long! I embrace the activities with which I will fill the rest of my day.

I do enjoy this quiet moment as a gift.


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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Las Calacas Danzantes

S. O. C. K. S. In other words: ¡Eso sí! ¡Que es!

Say it out loud and you'll probably get it.

(pronunciation hint for Rick and Daddy: there's no "w" sound in "que".)

Brilliantly designed exclusively for The AntiCraft by Erssie Major, a prolific and talented knitting designer in the UK. I am completely delighted by this pattern. It is at once challenging and entertaining, and I really like how it is turning out. I mean, it is simply just too much fun to knit!! I'm deeply impressed with Erssie's gift for design and whimsy.


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Saturday, November 08, 2008

Crazy. Just crazy.

Rick, Cleo, and Morgan take a break from cleaning to look absolutely ridiculous. How I love them.

Friday, November 07, 2008

2-D Toy?

Is your skeleton as well-dressed as mine? Does this count as paper dolls or plastic?

I dunno. Add messy blond hair and heavy heroin-addict eye makeup, and she could look like an Olsen twin.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

In The Beginning, I Thirst.

And that's the Bible in a nutshekl.

Sorry! That was meant to be "nutsheLL", but I made a typically cellphonian typo, and it was so fitting I'm not changing it!

Oh, GOD! Indeed, divine inspiration!

I love Cleveland Heights.

later edit: This is the one that came home with me. Marvelous. Went splendidly with spicy vegan spaghetti sauce and chicken parmesan. Afterwards, I had it with a Malley's pretzel bar. Another good pairing, and it nailed my PMS.


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November NaBloPoMo Badge

If you've been following my blog at all, you know that I participate in a strange phenomenon called "NaBloPoMo".

Na = National, Blo = Blog, Po = Posting, and Mo = Month. National Blog Posting Month. Up until 2008, November was the only month of NaBloPoMo, but after last year's NaBlo, people wanted more, so the woman who moderates it opened it up to every month with a theme for each month except November.

The only big rule is that you have to post to your blog once a day. Minor rules have developed since the beginning include NOT restricting your posts to just being on the same blog every day (helpful if you post to multiple blogs; there are 3 I post to at times!), you can't spam people or solicit (I got hit with eye-rolling sales pitches last year), and there are a few other minor things that I can't think of. Mostly because either they don't apply to me or I haven't encountered them yet.

Some use NaBlo as a way to meet others and bump up readership. I use NaBlo as a way to keep myself on task with actually posting to this thing. Now that I'm hooked, it's become a monster; I often post several times in a day. Initially, I really did need something to prod myself a bit with this project!! I got teased about having a blog but never updating it. Well, now I make sure there's something to read. I like to think there's something interesting and worthwhile in these pixels.

So here's the badge for this month. It'll take you to the NaBloPoMo site on Ning (which is a social network akin to, but different from, Facebook. (Funny thing? NaBloPoMo has a group ON Facebook!!! AND there's a Facebook group participating in NaBloPoMo! It's kinda like Lily Tomlin's bit on the Cream of Wheat box as an illustration of infinity...)

Enjoy! And enjoy the month!


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Thankful Thursday: My Cup Runneth Over

Time for another list. I am well and truly blessed.

I am thankful for:

1.) this glorious day. The sun is shining, the temp is up around 70 degrees F (I've installed a bright yellow button along the right margin that blinks and says "convert me" which you can use if you prefer Celcius!), the sky is brilliant blue, and our autumn leaves are vivid and gorgeous against the cloudless sky;

2.) coffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffeecoffee; and while that is a daily given, I choose not to take it for granted;

3.) the Cleveland Browns, no matter how well or not well they do. They are a part of our city's heritage and football is an important part of our state's legacy! ON THIS DATE, Art Modell announced that he was moving our team -- OUR TEAM!! -- to Baltimore. Tonight we have a football game here at home on national tv. I am thankful that we have our team back with its colors and name and history intact!

4.) a clean kitchen and the tools and skills I use in it. They must be darn good, because my husband goes back for seconds and thirds every time.

Which reminds me, I've been cooking so much that we are out of key staples, and I need to replenish. Finally, I am thankful that I am both free and able to go to the grocery store and buy whatever I need from shelves that are stocked plentifully with a variety of items to suit my needs.

That's plenty for now!


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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Thirty (more or less...) Days of Thanks!!

Every day this month, I am going to try to be mindful about expressing thankfulness about something. I usually have many, many things for which I am thankful, so really, the only challenge ought to be the exercize in mindfulness.

I'm thankful right now for several things, so I'll make a list:

1.) for this opportunity to take the time to slow down and consider my blessings;
2.) for moments of self-editing and grammar-mindfulness (because I almost used a period instead of a semi-colon in that first line);
3.) for how joyful the whole world is, and universally embracing of our President-Elect;
4.) that yesterday's election resulted in a decisive victory, as opposed to a close battle requiring recounts and lawsuits and raw, bitter emotions;
5.) that I am free to write whatever I please in this forum, with no fear of repercussions.

I will save some thanks for another day.

Hmm. Perhaps I ought to add that I am grateful also for this challenge in mindfulness!!


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Dear President-Elect Obama: about that puppy...

...have you considered the APL?

If you haven't, please do. It would be a wonderful example to set for the watching country WORLD.

I realize that the chances of anyone really seeing my humble blogpost are slim to none, but it's an issue that is near and dear to my heart.

There are millions of dogs (and cats) in shelters and protective leagues and foster homes all over the country that need a home. They make such excellent pets! I might argue that they make even better pets than a dog you could purchase, even from a reputable breeder. (I have nothing against reputable breeders!) Certainly from a "puppy mill" -- and you must be wary of those!! Bear in mind that a "mutt" is often and generally healthier than a purebred dog because it has fewer inbred and genetic physiological issues.

Here's an emotional reason why I hope you'll hear my plea: a rescued dog seems to know somehow that you reached down and lifted that dog up by the paw, and will express gratitude for the rest of his or her life. You'll see in his or her eyes a double dose of "doggy" gratitude. You will learn so much from this compassion!

Here's a socially responsible reason, though: whatever you do will be the example that is followed by countless of your followers. Not just here, but all over the world! You have the opportunity to make a great impact on so many lives -- human and animal alike.

Petfinder is another wonderful way to find a good pet for your family. I have friends who have used this service, and their lives have never been richer. I can't think of a better endorsement!!

This issue is more than "near and dear" to me. It's very deeply personal. I am adopted, too; I guess that makes ME a rescue.

I don't just talk the talk, I walk the walk too: ALL of my pets throughout my life have been rescues or adoptees! This is why I can say with considerable experience, the gratitude expressed by a rescued dog welcomed into a family is a special gift.

Please, Mr. President-Elect. I wish for you and your family that same, special love of a rescue dog. Please consider the Animal Protective League when you start your search for your dog!

Respectfully submitted,

Rebecca, a citizen proudly owned by her dog and 3 cats.


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Sigh. *Phew*!!!!!!!


This was a huge night.

We watched the election returns at the Winking Lizard, Coventry. Great place for sports, we knew that; it turns out to be a hoppin' place for election coverage, too!!

It was satisfying to have a support system for all the ups and downs of the evening.

The entire bar was sympathetic. Well, almost! There was one guy in our section that had opposing views. We were very polite to him, and we tried to make it seem like we were there for the Miami of Ohio v. Buffalo game. Except when stuff happened on CNN that was cheer-worthy which wasn't coincident with events on the football field in Buffalo...

I'm so grateful. SO grateful. This was always bound to be an historic moment. I'm just so enormously grateful it's turned out to be historic in a turn that seems most helpful to the country, rather than in a means that will keep the country on its current path.

I'm sure Sen. McCain is a fine man, I just don't want him in my White House. I don't trust his temperament, I don't like his policies, and I feel like his plans would have run this nation into the ground more even than the last guy did. I also feel like he's far too restrictive on the individual person, yet very liberal with business and industry. That seems at odds with nature to me.

No: I think justice was done today. The right one for the job got voted in. I thank God moment by moment for the grace of this day.


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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Election Day, part 13: SWEET! SWAG *still* means "Stuff We All Get"!!

I scream, you scream, we all scream for FREE ICE CREAM!

Thank you, Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream!! It was very yummy. Rick had the eponymous Cherry Garcia, and I nearly finished the very delicious Phish Food. Rick was delighted to finish that for me, as I intended.


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... says it all, really.


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Election Day, part 12

"In our secular world, elections are the closest thing we have to sacred." Heard on the Diane Rehm Show just now.

There are plenty of things in a secular world that are, in fact, sacred. But I agree that elections have a particular degree of 'sanctity'. With ALL the baggage of radical imperfection that cannonization brings!


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Election Day, part 11: SWAG means "Stuff We All Get"

This time it's Starbucks, for my celebratory cup of coffee.

3 companies are dangling 'carrots', as it were, for people who voted to haul their patriotic behinds into their stores for free stuff: Starbucks is giving away a small (they call it "tall") coffee, Ben & Jerry's offers an icecream cone, and Krispy Kreme wants to give us a free donut.

Except it's illegal to offer goods in exchange for votes, so now, REALLY anyone can go up and ask for this stuff.

Isn't that interesting, though? To see such marketing ploys as potential bribery!

I'm glad, though, that the watchdogs are out. Ol' 43 has often seemed to be steering us dangerously close to a Third World status, behavior-wise. He treats the Constitution with as much regard as a paper placemat: he filled out all the mazes and the puzzles, colored the picture, spilled his Coke on it, and let someone else clean up. Child.

I can't wait til he returns to Crawford for his life in stand-up comedy; he's not leaving the country!

A delightful postscript to my visit to this Starbucks: I was originally going to just go in for my free cuppa. However, since we are out of coffe at home, and I love Starbucks coffees, I figured I'd buy a pound of something yummy. I don't normally buy their coffee: Costco's Kirkland brand coffee is far more economical and just as high in quality, if not as wildly wide ranging in variety. (As my tastes are simple, that hasn't bothered me.)

ANYWAY. I chose my beans, indicated my grind preference, and they informed me that I now get a SECOND FREE CUP OF COFFEE, because they give you a free cup of coffee when you buy a pound! Plus, they were giving free 'shots' of some seasonal latte with candied ginger bits on top of the whipped cream.

(I know!!!! Can you believe my luck?)

I left, caffeine-laden in both liquid and ground bean forms. The liquid-form caffeine was the only thing keeping me from happy-dancing all the way to the car, not wanting to waste One. Precious. Drop.


Oh, if only there were a punctuation mark more expressive than a mere exclamation point. That could be the caffeine talking.


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Election Day, part 10

Campaigning like a champion! Go, man, GO!

Of course, in Cleveland Heights, he's pretty much preaching to the choir. I don't think I've seen 4 McCain signs in the whole of the city.

At the Northwest corner of Cedar and Lee in Cleveland Heights. I'm so glad he has such a beautiful day. Many people are honking and waving in support!


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Election Day part 9

Overflow parking, Board of Elections.

It's not in use today, as the BOE is not a voting location. Early Voting ended yesterday evening at 7:30pm. Now everyone must go to their regular polling location.

Please excuse the rotten photograph. (It shows a sign giving directions to alternative parking for folk who would have needed it during the previous weeks.) My cameraphone has lousy resolution when I use the 'zoom' function. This is the difference between "digital" and "optical" zoom: "digital" stinks, and looks like this.


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Election Day, part 8: It Eats These Things...

My vote just got counted! GOBAMA!

You have no idea with what relief I send this post!

I had a panic attack yesterday that was so severe I nearly had to go to the ER, fearing it was a heart attack. It was all election-related. It meant the world to me to be able to vote, and to know that my vote counted.


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Election Day, part 7

Voting instructions!

It was a lot like taking an acheivement test: you fill in the oval next to the candidate you want to win, just like you used to fill in the oval (or circle) of the answer you felt was correct. Same thing, really.

Voters had three options for filling out their ballots: wait for a booth to open, sit at an open spot at the table, or use a provided clipboard. These instructions pictured are, in fact, ON a clipboard. I didn't want to wait for a voting booth; there was a chair available at the table, and I pounced. The table was the very same table from which the election staff were handing out the ballots. In a way, I kind of thought that was almost a bit of a conflict of interest. I'm not sure if that's the right way to express it, but it's close...

Sitting at that table, we were right up against each other, and it sort of felt like taking the SAT or the IOWA test. "You can copy from mine, if you want..." I offered, to conspiratorial chuckles. Bewildered words were exchanged about the "fringe" presidential candidates -- Chuck (Constitution Party) and Bob (Libertarian Party) and Ralph ("Oh yeah! I forgot Nader was running! Huh. That's pretty funny..." said one of my neighbors.) It made for a true community experience. I enjoyed it like I've never enjoyed an election before.

I felt so connected to my community, to my country. It made it big and small and local and national and global all together.

I am SO GRATEFUL that I wasn't denied my Constitutional right to my voice in this election.

I love having this right. I love exercizing this right.

I love that there were so many people celebrating this opportunity to exercize this valuable right. I hope they learn to feel the way I feel, too, and come out with me every election.


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Election Day, part 6

At the table!

The moment of truth: will I be on the rolls, or not? Do I get to REALLY vote, or am I one of the lost Provisional Voters?


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Election Day, part 5 (I Think; I'm Losing Track...)

In the high school gym, and the line is moving. Our precinct has 5 voting booths. So has the other. At the end of each there is one machine which scans the sheet on which your votes have been marked. It lets you know if a mistake has been made, such as double marks or insufficient marks.

We have seen friends here! Neighbors, too. Cool.


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Election Day, part 4

A-a-a-al-l-l-mo-o-o-o-ost there!


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Election Day, part 3

Our precinct map.

What surprised us is that they split our street. Our street is only 2 blocks long, and the part of the street that is not in our precinct is the part that is closest to the high school, which is where we vote. Huh???

I'm glad I'm not the one making decisions. Or at least, not the one having to justify the decisions made.


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Election Day, part 2

Inside! It's VERY warm. People are very polite and speaking in hushed tones. Could be the early hour. Still, it makes it feel like we're going into church or a museum or court or something. Especially with all the cell phones going off...


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