Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Grown-up or old?

My sister just sent me a funny list of ways to tell whether you're grown-up, which I thought I'd share here:

However, once I read these over I realized I am beyond grown-up. I'm old! Or at least middle-aged. So I came up with my own list and sent it back to her. Here it is!

How to tell if you’re middle-aged:

1. You're too tired to care if your bed is double or single.
2. The food in your fridge has things like "low fat" and "high probiotics" on them.
3. You can't stay up late OR get up early.
4. Your favorite songs are not only in the elevator but on commercials.
5. You read the stock pages and listen to the Wall Street news with interest.
6. You've been working so long your vacation is back up to 30 days.
7. You are wearing stretchy waisted pants and loose tops that you don't tuck in; jeans are too tight and uncomfortable.
8. You're the one calling the police because your neighbors aren't mowing their grass AND their kids are too noisy.
9. You're the older relative telling the sex jokes.
10. You were already grown up when Taco Bell opened their first store.
11. You're now feeding your dog All Natural Organic dog food instead of Science Diet.
12. Your car is paid for and has 212,200 miles on it.
13. Sleeping in bed makes your back hurt; the couch is out of the question.
14. Date? What's a date?
15. You're on Prevacid so the chicken wings are now acceptable again.
16. You go to the drug store for your prescriptions and discuss which drugs you're on with your friends.
17. You've become such a wine connoisseur that you know a good $4.00 bottle of wine from Portugal that's better than most more expensive ones!
18. You've given up drinking altogether because of health reasons.
19. Your friends are too old to get pregnant.
20. You actually sit there and think up 20 ways to know you're middle-aged when your sister sends you a joke entitled "How to tell when you're grown-up."

Monday, May 28, 2007

We will remember them

In honor of Memorial Day, I thought I'd post this poem.

For the Fallen

By Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England’s foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

I had first heard this poem in Australia, when we were first there back in 1988. DH and I had only arrived a couple of days earlier, and we had just set out by car from Sydney and were staying in a small town somewhere on the way to our next destination. There were very few restaurants, so the woman at our hotel suggested we go to the RSL for dinner. The RSL is short for the Returned and Services League, and it is similar to a VFW post here in America.

So we went down to the local RSL and signed in as temporary members for the evening. They had a full dinner available, cafeteria style, and we bought ourselves some quite decent steaks and sat down to eat. The place was full of people, all gathering for their evening meal. Suddenly the lights went out. Everyone stood. And everyone in the room recited the fourth stanza of the poem above:

"They shall grow not old, as we who are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning
We will remember them."

Then the lights came back on and we resumed our meals. It was 6 p.m. and we learned later that at every RSL it is tradition to recite this ode to the fallen soldiers at that time.

We enjoyed the rest of the evening, and we even donated money for a raffle to help their charities, and we ended up winning! We were all excited - but then found out that the winner got to take home a large fish that someone had caught that day. Since we were continuing on our road trip and would not be able to eat it, we had to let someone else take our prize.

Years passed and I never forgot the words to the poem that they had recited. It wasn't until the Internet came along that I finally located the full poem that they came from.

This has been a wonderful Memorial Day, shared with friends and neighbors all enjoying the warm weather and good food. But I thought I should also take time to remember the real reason we all had a day off from work today. And that there are a lot of soldiers in Iraq right now who don't have a day off. Let's hope they can come home soon.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

A Day in the Country

Today dawned sunny and hot. Well, I can't really say what it dawned, since dawn is a time I do not see unless I was up all night. However, it was hot by the time I was up and DH and I were taking Diva for her morning walk.

It was hot yesterday too, and we had gotten out her swimming pool so she could cool off. Yes, Diva has her own swimming pool. It's one of those blue plastic ones for toddlers that don't need to be inflated; you just fill it with water from the hose and it's ready for action.

When we got Diva we felt bad that she no longer would have a swimming pond as she had up at the Animal Farm. So we were delighted when someone on the next block threw out a discarded kiddie pool. DH snatched it up from the curb, brought it home, and dug up a piece of flat rubber to put over the hole in it so it would fill up. Diva loves jumping in it to get her ball. Sometimes if you throw the ball and it lands close to the edge, she tries to just grab it while still standing on dry land. She looks exactly like someone bobbing for apples. The water gets up her nose and she sneezes and tries again and again. Finally the ball will drift into the middle and she'll end up jumping anyway.

This picture is courtesy of the nice professional photographer who took Diva's pictures for the 2007 Unexpected Pit Bull Calendar for her "Miss July" centerfold. If you click on "Gallery" in their website you can see more pictures of Miss D.

We don't have our own picture of Miss D in her pool. We could have taken some pictures today except for one small thing: There are no batteries in our camera. Why not, you may ask? Because DH bought himself one of those radio-controlled airplanes a few weeks ago and used the camera's batteries for the plane rather than for the camera. So the next time I tried to use the camera, it did not work. The plane did not come with batteries, and it required the fancy kind that came in the camera. The rechargeable, expensive ones.

Of course, the very first time DH tried to fly the plane, we took it to the park thinking there would be plenty of room there. In the first flight, the plane swooped around the open field grandly before flying directly into a tree and breaking apart. DH put it back together and tried again. This time it flew madly about until it was attracted inexorably to another tree on the other side of the field, where it promptly got stuck just like Charlie Brown's kite. DH had to go home and get his long-handled clippers that he uses to cut branches off trees in our yard, and coax the plane out of the tree. It was a close call, since that particular tree was on the very edge of the stream that runs through the park and the plane easily could have landed smack in the middle of the water.

But I digress. What I really wanted to tell you about was our day in the country (hence the title of this post). We have a friend who turned 50 recently and today was a big party in his honor, held at the home of his aunt in Pennsylvania, just outside of New Hope. We rode down with our other good friends and their daughter to help celebrate the birthday.

The party was a barbecue/picnic and included friends and relatives of all ages. The house itself is a 300-year-old restored farmhouse, one of those wonderful old German stone houses that you often see in this part of Pennsylvania. It even has many of its original outbuildings - old stonework barns and an outhouse and a smoke house. The original part of the house was built in 1702, and an addition about 100 years later. Some of the outbuildings were built in Colonial times, in the mid to late 1700's.

The farm itself is about 75 acres and both the house and the land are preserved forever, as the development rights have been sold as part of an open space program so that no one can ever use the land for anything but farmland. The town has preserved a great deal of their farmland in this way - our friend's aunt was telling us that they voted three times to add more money to the funding for this purpose. She and her husband were instrumental in starting the program.

We arrived at around 2:30 and didn't leave until after 8 p.m. when the dusk was falling and the kids were lighting sparklers that someone had brought. In between we sat in the back yard, watching the children of various ages running and playing, listening to the music, enjoying the food.

There were fresh, just-picked strawberries from a neighboring farm, burgers and sausages, and various side dishes that everyone had brought. There were three cakes for the birthday celebration. Despite my original plan to try to lose weight over the weekend, I know it just isn't going to happen. Not after eating two pieces of awesome carrot cake and a piece of wonderful chocolate cake, both homemade.

The farm is only partly used for farming these days...they grow hay and also, for their own use and that of their friends, a mixture of vegetables, including corn, tomatoes, beans and eggplant. We took a walk around the garden section and meandered around the house looking at the old stone foundations and walls. The kitchen was redone not long ago but old beams from a barn were used in the ceiling so the kitchen fits right in with the rest of the house. The original huge fireplace is still there, with its 300-year-old wooden beam across the top.

While sitting outside looking over the group of people enjoying the day, I could easily imagine the various generations of people who had lived and loved in this house and farmed this land. There were trees that were young when the Revolution took place, with gnarled branches stretching out from wizened trunks that were probably 15 feet in circumference. There were old hand built stone walls surrounding the yard. And we were told that there once was a cellar that hid runaway slaves during the Civil War, now paved over.

When the time came to leave, it was hard to go. But it was getting dark, the mosquitoes were coming out, and we had to get home to feed our dog. But it is nice to know that such a place still exists and that it is being taken care of so well and enjoyed by so many.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Facts or Fiction?

This morning I looked at the front page of the Star Ledger, which is a legitimate newspaper in northern New Jersey, and saw this headline: "Idol Voters Crown Jordin." On the front page. As news.

I've been noticing this phenomenon more and more lately, even on my favorite news radio station, 880 WCBS. They mention who won this week's American Idol as part of the daily headlines.

When did this start? How did an entertainment show become part of our reality? Something mentioned in the same breath as headlines about Marines dead in Iraq?

Perhaps it all started when CNN was created and the producers realized they needed to find something, anything, to fill the 24 hours that had to be filled with news. As a result we got the non-stop coverage of the OJ car chase and subsequent trial; the Mormon girl kidnapped from her house; Jonbenet Ramsey; the Unabomber; but at least these were actual news events, however hyped up they were.

But the ratings needed to be pushed higher 24-hour news started covering entertainment figures such as Jennifer Lopez, Britney Spears, and Anna Nicole Smith. This must be where it started to go downhill. Now it has come to this - a popular TV show's events are reported as news on the front page of the paper. And don't even get me started on the non-stop coverage in our papers of the final season of The Sopranos!

But to me it all has a kind of surreal feel to it, like watching Nero fiddle while Rome burns. TV and other media have become the "opiate of the masses," keeping the citizens happy and ignorant while dark forces are working behind the scenes changing our country while no one is watching.

Luckily, many of us have not been sucked in to this vortex. We may be unable to avoid the constant barrage of trivia completely, but it doesn't mean we have to support the "news" sources that keep pummeling us with it. We do have a choice. We can watch The Daily Show.

Yes, The Daily Show is considered "fake news." But in reality, I get more "real" news from The Daily Show than I ever do on regular TV news programs, which, even when reporting real news, focus only on local events (Toddler Falls From 3rd Floor Window; Family Left Homeless by Fire in the Bronx).

Jon Stewart actually shows real clips of real news, including the latest news from Iraq (usually bad, and therefore not shown on regular TV news programs), or press conferences featuring "W" and his latest pronouncements, which again, get very little coverage on regular TV. Stewart's commentary, while witty, is always right on the mark and skewers both sides of the political aisle for different reasons. Often I hear things on the Daily Show that I wouldn't have heard about otherwise.

The interviews are also frequently insightful and serious. Tonight he had Al Gore on the show talking about his latest book, The Assault on Reason, which is what got me thinking about this subject in the first place.

Gore's book is all about how reason has gone out the window and decisions are being made that have nothing to do with the facts at hand. He argues that "the marketplace of reasoned debate our country was founded on is being endangered by a variety of allied forces: the use of fear and the misuse of faith, the distractions of our entertainment culture, and the concentrations of power in the national media and the executive branch." (from Amazon's review). That pretty much sums up the mess we are in right now, and it is getting harder and harder to imagine being able to pull the country back from the precipice.

Sometimes I wish I were like my husband. He has developed some kind of specialized filter on his consciousness. He has no inkling of the existence of the icons of popular culture. He reads the newspaper every day and somehow any mention of J-Lo (or Bennifer), Anna Nicole Smith, or Britney Spears, let alone Paris Hilton, never enters his conscious mind. Even my mother, who abhors the entertainment-as-news phenomenon as much as, if not more than, anybody, cannot avoid knowing who these people are. But DH? No. He has no idea. I'm so envious of his blissful ignorance!

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Experimenting with Slideshow

I've always been fascinated by the wonderful pictures of her garden that Ruth incorporates into her blog. So today I tried clicking on her slideshow to find out how she does it. Turns out Blogger has it all set up for you and it's easy as can be. So I just put a few pictures of Diva that you've seen before into a slide show. But I can definitely see the possibilities. I'm going to dig up some other photos and share them as well!

The wonders of blogging never end!

Update: Took off the slideshow as I thought it might be slowing down my blog. :-(

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Another quiz! What historical figure are you?

You are Catherine the Great.

You are very intelligent and a socialist. It is very important to you that all people be treated equally in a society. You are able to fully comprehend social problems and you are outspoken when it comes to dealing with them.

Take this quiz at

Check it out and let me know what you come up with. I thought the possible answers were kind of extreme, but maybe that is because I have this apparent socialist tendency! Perhaps you will think overthrowing a sugar refinery to get more sugar to make a cake is a perfectly acceptable answer!

Also? I didn't know Catherine the Great was a socialist. I thought she was some kind of monarch. I only remember something about, I'm not going there. Note to self: Research Catherine the Great.

Who says blogging isn't educational?

Monday, May 21, 2007

Marge has a new post!

For those of you who have been wondering where my mother went, she has posted a new entry today! Check out Marge's Words to the Wise and learn when to use "like" vs. "as if."

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Comments on comments

In case anyone was wondering, I didn't turn my "comments" off. Thanks, Ruth, for letting me know I need to re-set comments due to something going on with Blogger. I hope this post now will show comments. Feel free to comment on the previous post here!

Friday, May 18, 2007

Messiness: Moral Weakness or Sign of Genius?

I am a messy person. There is no doubt about it. It must be something genetic, and, as with many of my traits, it seems to have been passed down through my maternal aunt. Or maybe I should blame it on my father. He was a packrat in his own right, and not all that neat. But he was only allowed to mess up small portions of the house when I was growing up, so it wasn't that obvious.

My mother has always been neat; not always that clean, mind you - she may have crumbs around the cat's food dish, or dust behind the chair. But overall, if you look at my mother's living space, it is neat. There are no piles of mail and catalogues, no crumpled sweaters that weren't hung up, no shoes lying around.

When I was a child, my mother tried her best to instill her neatness into me. When I was still a pre-schooler, maybe three or four years old, my mother tried to get me to help clean up my own toys. She tells me she tried to make a game out of it. "Here, honey, let's see how fast you can put your toys back in the toy box!" I wasn't having any of it; I was a child not easily fooled. I knew work when I saw it. I refused and she ended up putting the toys away, her first mistake.

Later on she would try to get me to learn to vacuum. I would give it a half-hearted try, but would perform so abysmally my mother gave up in frustration and did it herself.

I did go through a short phase of obsessive cleanliness when I first moved into an apartment with my friend Ingrid. I decided I had to thoroughly clean the apartment every week, including mopping, cleaning the bathroom, dusting and vacuuming. This phase lasted through the year and a half I lived in that apartment, and through the two years my husband and I lived in our apartment. It was only one bedroom, and he would vacuum and I'd clean the bathroom. So it wasn't much work, and he was neat like my mother, so between the two of us we kept the apartment pretty nice.

That all ended when we moved into our house. It is a large house, with many rooms, rooms just begging to be turned into "junk rooms." We also receive lots of mail, including magazines and catalogues.

Gradually the mess crept up on us. Some of my messiness apparently gradually rubbed off on him; sadly, none of his neatness rubbed off on me.

Neither of us can manage to throw away the unwanted mail that comes. We always think that a catalogue may have something of interest in it if we ever have time to look at it. We keep invitations that we may want to reply to sometime. We leave things out on the kitchen counter to remind ourselves to respond to them. Eventually some of these treasures are put on top of the microwave, when they start cluttering up the counter too much. As a result, the pile on top of the microwave often collapses and spills all over the counter. Instead of sorting through it and discarding any of these paper keepsakes, we just pile them right back up again.

Newspapers are another problem. We get two every day - the Star Ledger and the New York Times. Even though we recycle, there are always several days' worth of newspapers in a heap on the floor in our sunporch where we sit most of the time.

Our living room usually looks acceptable, but other rooms don't fare as well. Any surfaces tend to collect piles of paper or else dishes that are waiting to either go into the dishwasher or be put away. It is seldom that our dining room table is actually visible beneath the piles of stuff. We invite people over for dinner to force ourselves to tidy up.

The bedroom is a hellhole. The floor is covered with the various pairs of shoes I wear most often. (The closet floor has another large pile of those that I don't wear often). The footboard of the bed and top of the hamper have a myriad of clothes that have been worn once and are too clean to throw in the hamper but not clean enough to go back in the piles of clean laundry that are sitting in the baskets. I never actually put clean laundry away; I just use the laundry baskets as bureau drawers and pick things out of the baskets to wear.

Next to my bed are about 25 books and maybe 15 magazines, most waiting to be read, and some in mid-read. If I hear about a book that sounds interesting I immediately order it on so I won't forget about it. Then it sits waiting for me to have enough time to actually read it. It isn't until vacation that I sit for days on end in an orgy of book-reading, and finally catch up.

Once my mother bought me Sandra Felton's The Messies Manual, now available in a new updated version on Felton explains in an entertaining and insightful way what makes us Messies be the way we are, and how to conquer our Messiness. Apparently Messies, as she calls us, tend to be perfectionists, and if they can't clean their house perfectly, they don't want to do it at all. Another tendency that leads to messiness is sentimentality - we tend to want to hold on to the past. That is certainly true. There are three boxes full of memorabilia from the old family house sitting in my living room!

One of the methods that the Manual recommends is to "Mount Vernonize" your house; that is, clean the house the way they clean Mount Vernon. They do it one room at a time until the whole place is done and then start over. But I have to admit I haven't really done that because it wouldn't be satisfying. I like the feeling of saying "There! The whole place is clean!" (Guess that's that perfectionism of mine).

Entertaining though the Messies Manual is, and as good as its advice is, it never actually changed my way of life. I truly think messiness is genetic. And, like any genetic tendency, it is very hard to eradicate.

So imagine how excited I was when I heard about A Perfect Mess: The Hidden Benefits of Disorder - How Crammed Closets, Cluttered Offices, and On-the-Fly Planning Make the World a Better Place." Here was a book that actually said what I'd suspected all along: That people who are messy are actually on to something. We actually make the world better! What a great concept!

So naturally I immediately bought the book on and it is in the pile by my bed. I haven't finished it yet but so far it is spot on.

The authors' contention is that neatness for its own sake has hidden costs, because it takes time to organize and keep things neat; time that could be spent doing productive work. In addition, the neatness and organization may not even confer an advantage. In business, often moderately disorganized people and businesses are more efficient and creative than those that are obsessively neat.

I can certainly relate to this. If I took the time to organize all the messages in my e-mail inbox, for instance, I'd never have time to do ANY work. And even though I currently have about 1800 items in my inbox, I never have problems finding anything I'm looking for. But if I filed them all neatly in my personal folders, you can bet I wouldn't be able to find a thing!

Now mind you, you can't be like the Collyer Brothers and hope to function in the real world. There is a limit, and luckily I have not reached that limit. I am still at basic First Degree Squalor. Luckily DH, being a bit more of a neatnik than I am, keeps me honest. If I lived alone, doubtless I would never hang up my coat and would leave it lying around the living room. But when DH is home I do as he does, and hang my coat up. And, because of our tendency to fall behind on all of our houseworkly tasks, we do have a cleaning woman who comes in every other week. So we are not in danger of roaches, mice or other vermin taking over the house.

But keeping the house under control is just one more thing with which I must battle. It is part of my endless struggle between what I feel like doing and what I know I should be doing. Like exercising, and losing weight. The Id and the Superego always at war. I guess Freud had it right!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

A Day Out of the Office

A colleague and I went to a conference in New York today, so I didn't have to go to the Big Corporation at all. On one hand, it's a nice change; on the other, it's a little bit of an ordeal.

I am always a little nervous about doing something other than my usual routine. An ideal work day for me is when I have no meetings, or at least, not very many, and none of them are at 9 a.m. I ramble in at a leisurely pace, get my coffee, read my e-mail and ease into the day.

Going to a seminar or a conference in the city makes it a big deal. For one thing, I have to figure out how to get there, which usually involves mass transit, since driving into the city is just plain stupid with the amount of traffic that piles up at rush hour at the Lincoln Tunnel.

I usually take the train, which means driving partway to the station, finding a place to park, then running at top speed to get to the train platform and catch the train. I am always afraid I'll miss the train, so I always run the last block or so even if I have time to spare. Then once I get into the city, I usually have to walk about, oh, 20 blocks, and arrive at wherever it is all sweaty and with sore feet.

Last night I considered where this conference was going to be and decided the train was just not the way to go. The place was much closer to the bus station so I decided to take the bus.

Now, you have to understand, I hate the bus. It brings out all my fears of abandonment. I stand on that street corner wondering if it's really going to come, or whether I already missed it. It's not like the train, where if anything comes, it is a train. And there are other people waiting for it so you know it isn't gone already.

The bus is different. You're often the only one on the corner, and there are other vehicles that come down the street. So every time a van or a truck or any kind of large-ish vehicle turns the corner and heads toward me, I start lifting my arm to wave them down. I accidentally waved down the wrong bus once and then sheepishly gestured, "oops, never mind."

I also hate mass transit because a miss is as good as a mile; if you don't make the one you're aiming for, you have to wait forever for the next one. If you're driving and you're a minute late, well, you're a minute late. If you're taking the bus, and you're a minute late, you're 45 minutes late.

Well, today I knew I was pushing my luck, and sure enough I got there and the bus had already left (according to a person standing on the corner NOT waiting for said bus).

So I said to myself, why not just drive? So I got back into my car and drove off. Sure enough, as I neared the Lincoln Tunnel, the traffic was lined up all the way back to Route 3 and I did indeed have to sit in the proverbial rush hour traffic. But all in all it worked out well, since driving your own car also means not having to wait for the next available bus when you want to get home.

I got home just ahead of some horrific thunderstorms that were moving inexorably toward my house. I rushed in, grabbed the dog and put her harness and leash on, and took her for her walk. As we walked, the clouds gathered. The sky darkened. The winds picked up. I felt the sense of impending doom! The rumble of thunder drew closer. And still Diva sniffed at each bush, at each tree.

"Come ON, Diva, it's going to rain!" (Sniff, sniff). "Diva, hurry!" (Sniff).

Eventually I was dragging her along at top speed as the raindrops began to fall and the wind started gusting mightily. We made it just in time before the skies opened!

So my trip to the city was a success. Oh, the conference? Very interesting! I have to say it was actually worthwhile. And at lunchtime I even got to go across the street and check out the M&Ms Store!

What an experience that is...three floors of M&M branded products, from lunch boxes to T-shirts and tsochkes like key rings and other paraphernalia.

On the third floor I hit paydirt: the actual candies. Just like in an old time candy store, you can buy M&Ms by the pound. They are in vertical clear cylinders full of colored candy; either all one color, or new mixtures that aren't available in the regular stores. I succumbed, and bought over a pound of a spring colored mixture of M&Ms and proceeded to sit there eating them during the last two presentations of the conference.

All in all, a satisfying day!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A quiz for you to try!

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 8/8 correct!

I got this from the site Blog Things. I was gratified to learn that I could indeed still pass 8th grade science (it's just lucky it wasn't about 8th grade algebra).

Blog Things has a lot of fun quizzes. I can just sit and go through them for hours. What color is your psyche? (Blue). How honest are you? (Pretty honest...) What color should your blog be? (Green! Oh well). It can go on forever.

I actually took my computer with me to the doctor's office the other day because this particular doctor always makes me wait hours in his office. I was thrilled to discover that they did indeed have wi fi in his office so I spent the time on my favorite blogs. Then I clicked on Blog Things and whiled away the rest of the time doing quizzes until my name was called.

Today I had another appointment and took my computer with me again. But instead of squandering time on Blog Things I checked e-mail and did some work. I guess not every hour spent in a doctor's waiting room can be enjoyable.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

In case anyone wonders where I got my blogger name, Mauigirl, at first I believed that I had thought of it myself, but then realized I was probably thinking of a clothing company on Maui, Maui Girl.

I've often shopped at their store in Paia when we're on vacation, so I thought it was only fair that I give them a bit of publicity in my blog! They have great beachwear and casual clothing and I always enjoy going to their store. In fact, I bought my favorite bathing suit there.

So if you're ever on Maui, check out Maui Girl!

Tag, I'm It!

Another meme! Mauro of 1 Million Love Messages has tagged me for a meme he has invented himself, the "3 Things You Love" Meme. Here are the rules:

All bloggers tagged to participate in the “3 Things You Love” must say that this meme was started by 1 Million Love Messages, which I just did...and then answer the following questions...which I've done! So if you want to participate just copy and paste the questions into your blog and put your own answers in place of mine.

The questions:

“3 Things You Love”

1- 3 Things You Love in your Boyfriend/ Girlfriend or Husband/Wife
- His sense of humor
- His kindness
- His intelligence

2- 3 Things You Love in a Friend
- Loyalty
- Honesty
- Sense of humor

3- 3 Things You Love in a Book
- Fully developed, real characters
- A believable, engrossing plot
- Length (I don't like them to end too soon!)

4- 3 Things You Love in a Movie
This one is harder because I like so many different kinds of movies! I was going to put down "fully developed, real characters," but then remembered I thought "Austin Powers" was hysterical. I was going to say a fast-moving plot, but remembered I thought "Remains of the Day" was great. So I had to end up with:
- If it's a comedy, fast moving pace
- If it's a drama, fully developed characters
- If it's a horror/suspense movie, great spooky atmosphere ("Blair Witch," "Sixth Sense"...)

5- 3 Things You Love in a Blog
- Humor
- Variety
- Good writing

6- 3 Things You Love to Talk About
- Politics
- Animals
- Historic Preservation

7- 3 Things You Love to do in Vacations
- Visit cities and enjoy museums, art, restaurants
- Drive around scenic countryside
- Go to an island or other beach vacation

8- 3 Things You Love to Eat
- Lobster
- Steak
- Carne de Porco Alentejano (and other wonderful ethnic cuisine from all around the world!)

9- 3 Things You Love to Happen in Your Life
- Unexpectedly get a letter or e-mail from a friend I haven't heard from in a long time
- Have a "snow day" and not have to go to work!
- Spend a wonderful evening with friends

And last but not the least,

10- 3 Things You Love in 1 Million Love Messages
- That it's trying to send messages of love all around the world
- The format is a lovely color and is unique
- It's a positive thing in a negative world!

I'm going to only tag 2 people because I just tagged a bunch of people with the last meme! So here goes:

Figlet of Figuratively Speaking
Icarus of Time and a Word

Ruth, I didn't want to tag you again so soon but if you like this one please feel free to participate!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Meandering Through My Favorites

I just rediscovered a blog that I had saved in my "favorites" list a year or two ago. It's called "In a Dark Time...The Eye Begins to See" and it's written by Loren Webster.

The entries cover various subjects, including poetry and nature, as well as providing some really amazing photographs of birds, butterflies, flowers and other scenes. I know quite a few of you will enjoy this blog.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Pondering on Peeves

I like alliteration, did you notice?

Ruth has tagged me for another meme - fair exchange, after all! I'm not going to tag anyone on this as I'm running out of likely suspects. So whoever reads this and wants to participate in this meme, just write me a comment and let me know so I can see it on your blog!

This one is easy: Name 5 pet peeves that you have.

This is so easy for me because I once wrote down every pet peeve I had about driving. Although I can't seem to find the list, I think I remember enough to choose my top 5 of all time! Here goes:

  1. Pet Peeve #1: When you're driving behind someone who is poking along at about 10 miles per hour below the speed limit, and just as you get to a light that is turning yellow, they slow down enough to make you miss the light, but they suddenly speed up and get through it while you sit there fuming.

  2. Pet Peeve #2: When you're driving along, minding your own business, at a nice clip, and someone suddenly pulls out from a side road, cutting you off with little room to spare, and proceeds to go 10 miles an hour below the speed limit. Oh, and on top of that, there was no one behind you for miles and they could've just waited until you went by to pull out.

  3. Pet Peeve #3: When you are late for a meeting, and it never fails that it is THAT day that a road is blocked off, the traffic is piled up, the police are checking inspection stickers, a lane is closed, you get stuck behind a schoolbus that stops at every other house, or there's an accident on the highway. Sometimes all of the above. If you weren't late, none of these things would have happened.

  4. Pet Peeve #4: People who tailgate you when you are in the fast lane going 85 miles per hour.

  5. Pet Peeve #5: Buses. As you're driving along a crowded road in the middle of a downtown area, the bus that is pulled over to the side of the road picking up passengers completes its task and proceeds to pull back out into the road without any regard to your car's existence.

It's all enough to give me Road Rage!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Star Trek Revisited

I was on a forum that I read from time to time and someone posted the following link, which takes the idea from LOLCats and makes it into a Star Trek episode - one of my favorites, from the Original Series, The Trouble With Tribbles."

This link will first explain the LOLcats idea and then it goes into a complete set of stills from the famous Trek episode, but with funny short captions in the style of LOLcats.

It pretty much sums up the whole Tribble story in its own weird way! Enjoy!

I became a Star Trek fan in the last year of the original series' three-year run. I had seen it once before at a friend's house but didn't start watching it regularly until that last season. I immediately became addicted and then when it went into reruns, my friend Debbi and I faithfully watched every episode over and over again, after school, usually at her house, while consuming vast quantities of crackers with peanut butter.

We usually got to her house before Star Trek came on and watched the end of "Lost in Space." Then Star Trek would come on and we'd watch it raptly. We knew every episode, knew the names of the episodes, and could recite the lines along with the show.

We both went on to see the movies, follow ""Star Trek - Next Generation", and after that, "Deep Space Nine," "Voyager," and "Enterprise." Did I forget any?

I have to admit, for me, there never was a Star Trek as good as the original series, as hokey as it sometimes was, with the most unbelievable special effects. The original Star Trek was an allegory for every current event Gene Roddenberry could work into the stories.

"A Private Little War" was really about Vietnam. ""Let That Be Your Last Battlefield" explored racism by pitting the two surviving members of a planet's population continuing an age-old race war. They were both black on one side, white on the other - but on opposite sides. The Enterprise crew saw them as the same, but they saw each other as irrevocably different.

There were episodes about mutual destruction and war and various other themes; about people escaping reality, even about some 23rd century hippies who were found to be carrying a virus that was caused by the artificial environment they grew up in. Now we have people who are allergic to the chemicals in buildings with windows that never open, a similar phenomenon.

Star Trek's creators imagined many miracles of modern technology well before they existed. The "communicator" is our cell phone today; the Tri-corder, a Blackberry with scanning abilities. The imagined 23rd century had computer diskettes which are probably akin to today's flash drives and portable hard drives. But remember, back in 1966 they didn't have anything like that. Star Trek had computer terminals on people's desks. Computers that talk. They're all happening now. None of them existed in the 1960's.

Star Trek inspired a whole generation of scientists to invent many of the things they saw on their favorite science fiction show when they were growing up. Much as Jules Verne may have been the inspiration for the nuclear submarine, Star Trek shaped a vision of the future we are still trying to reach today.

We still have not invented warp drive, the transporter, or the holodeck (the one really good invention from Star Trek - Next Generation).

We have also not yet achieved Gene Roddenberry's vision of a future where the Earth is all one people, with true equality of the sexes, and respect for "infinite diversity in infinite combination." But because the creator of Star Trek once dreamed of that vision, perhaps one day it will become reality, as so many other visions from Star Trek already have.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

A Meme!

I've been tagged by Kuanyin, who got tagged by Laketrees, who invited her to answer some questions, so I'm doing the same and then tagging others, as is the purpose of a meme. This is my second meme; the other one I did was the Thinking Blogger Awards. Since that one was fairly recent, I guess I'll have to think of five new people to tag!

The questions are:
1. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog?
I have always liked to write; I kept a journal when I was in college, and off and on after that, to say nothing of the voluminous letters I wrote home to my friends. I was a journalism major in college, and both of my parents were writers, so it's in my genes. I never went into the journalism or publishing field, unless you count the year and a half I worked on the magazine for the local Humane Society. I am now looking for another career after I finish up the one I'm in, and thought I would try my hand at blogging so I could see if I have it in me to be any kind of a writer.

I also have an interest in medical subjects, so I started my Medicana blog to focus on health and medicine. Nowadays if a person is diagnosed with a serious illness, it is imperative that they research it and not just depend on their doctors for information. I hope Medicana can help people who need to do that research, by providing all of the information in one place.

2. Are you a spiritual person?
It's a hard question. I'm not religious; I consider myself an agnostic when it comes to belief in God, at least in the way He/She is usually depicted. But I do harbor a belief in things unseen. I often feel as if things happen for a reason, and hope that there is some kind of life after death (I tend to favor reincarnation). I do believe in the idea of karma, and paying good deeds forward.

3. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you?
I suppose another person doesn't count as a "thing" so I won't say "my husband!"

If I were practical, I suppose I would pick a cigarette lighter so I could start a fire (luckily I was a Girl Scout so I know how to build a good fire); a tent; and a bow and arrow (to hunt game). If I were impractical, I guess I would pick the complete collection of Simon and Garfunkel and a boom box, and a really big book, maybe War and Peace, which I've never read.

4. What's your favorite childhood memory?
Going fishing with my best friend Karen when I was about 12 and living in New York State. (We are still in touch to this day even though I moved away when I was 13!)

5. Is this your first meme?
No, it's my second!

I'm now tagging the following people, who then have to take the same questions and answer them in their blog.

Martta from Martta's World
Liz from Finding Life Hard
Figlet from Figuratively Speaking
Ruth from Me, My Life, My Garden, and, last but not least,
Katie from Stop Katie.

Good luck!

Monday, May 07, 2007

New post on Medicana

This entry covers Alzheimer's Disease. If you know someone who has it or who you suspect has it, please read it so you'll understand more about their condition and deal with it better yourself.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Brand new toes!

That's what it feels like when I get a pedicure! I never did get around to getting one a week or two ago when the weather first turned nice. But I finally did it today.

I have to tell you, I am not the type of person you would think would bother to get pedicures. I'm no fashion plate, and I don't do anything with my fingernails - I keep them cut short, no polish.

But I have ugly feet. Yes, ugly! They are strange looking - my right foot has a bunion, my left foot doesn't. My right foot's second toe is longer than the Big Toe. My feet don't like shoes. They chafe at being encased in shoes all winter and as a result they are full of calluses.

But all summer I revel in the warm weather and wear sandals as much as humanly possible, particularly flip flops. I have a larger collection of flip flops than Imelda Marcus had shoes. (This is why I must move to Hawaii at some point so as to fit in with everyone else, since there that's pretty much what they wear all year).

But, feet - ugly, remember? So in order to feel better about the feet, I started getting regular pedicures in the summer. My feet are still ugly, but they have pretty shiny pink toenails, the calluses have been buffed off and they are now soft and well manicured. I still neglect my fingernails, but my feet are ready for the summer!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Has "House" already "jumped the shark?"

I am disappointed in this season's episodes of "House." In the beginning, although "House" was never that believable (who ever heard of doctors snooping around people's homes to see what might have made them sick? And what doctors perform all of their own diagnostics?), at least the diseases were. Obscure, yes. Impossible, no. As for Dr. House's actions, they were always a bit beyond the pale, but this season the whole team is out of control. If these doctors were real, they'd all be in jail for malpractice.

The episode the week before last, where Dr. Foreman gives a patient full body radiation - and then they find out it wiped out her immune system and she dies from a rampaging infection that she had all along that could have been cured - was bad enough.

But this past week's episode where the kid had leukemia and his brother had some infection but in the end Foreman jabs the needle into the kid and takes his bone marrow for the brother even though the kid is screaming in pain...the whole episode was completely unbelievable. For one thing, if the kid still had the infection, there is no way the bone marrow would help the brother - it would kill him.

I don't like to see these developments because it means "House" is moving away from being a show that is all about medicine and diagnosis, and becoming yet another soap opera medical show. I am certainly interested in the personalities and the interactions between the characters, but one of the most compelling things for me about the show was always the Disease Du Jour. If they are going to start having hokey medical situations, the show will lose much of its appeal for me, and, I suspect, other loyal viewers.

Friday, May 04, 2007

More from my Mom...and a cool widget you can get

I think you'll enjoy her latest post...

Saw this great widget on another blog and had to have it!

(See widget down below my recent posts).

If you are also like-minded, you can get it and other goodies at this website.