Archive for December, 2009


Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

New Years Eve 1974, Mike and I were in Madras India.† We decided to treat ourselves to a nice dinner even though we had very little money.† We got on a city bus to ride to the restaurant on the edge of town.† When we got there, I realized I had been pick- pocketed on the bus and was broke.† Mike had some money so we were very careful with what we ordered so that we would have the funds to cover it.† We nearly died when we got the bill because the restaurant charged for each piece of bread that was eaten from the bread basket and we had eaten two.†† We covered our bill but we didnít have enough to get back to the hotel.† I still remember begging a taxi driver in the dark to discount his fare.† He did.

Lesson learned, I have never been pick-pocketed since.† I wear a small lightweight wallet/purse with a long cord around my neck (REI) with passport, drivers license, credit card and cell phone in it.† I put nothing else in it to keep it light as possible.† If it is too heavy, I will be tempted to take it off and I NEVER TAKE IT OFF.† NEVER,NEVER,NEVER.† Not to hang on a chair, stuff in an airplane pocket, lay on a table or put on the counter in the toilet.† NEVER.† When I sleep, I put it in the room safe or under my pillow.† Mike carries his stuff in zippered pocket on the legs of his pants. (Cargo pants) Very difficult to get robbed with those babies.

I travel all over the globe all the time and I havenít gotten sick for ages even with all the weird flu out there.† I took a hint from the crew on the cruise ships ñ NO MORE HAND SHAKING.† In fact, I touch NOTHING with my bare skin if it can be avoided.† I use paper towels, tissue, my elbow whatever to open bathroom doors, for example.†† I donít even touch the cup of water the stewardess hands me (think of where her hands have been)† I use the napkin she provides.† Do I sound like Howard Hughes?† Not really, most all the other travelers out there take the same precautions.† Touch nothing and wash hands frequently with hot water.† I donít use sanitizer ever - not a fan.† One problem.† My travel partner, who shall remain nameless, touches all the railings in all the buildings in all the countries on earth.† And then, he touches me.† Bad man!† By the way, sometimes he catches something.

Lastly, have a plan where to meet or what to do if you get separated from your travel partner.† (Besides using your cell phone which may be super expensive overseas.) Last July Mike nearly lost me at the Amsterdam airport.† I went to the ladies room and it was hidden behind a small door on a stair landing ñ totally weird.† He was looking in the hallways like in USA.† Our plan was to go back to the last place we had face time and donít move until we are happily reunited.

This blog is dedicated to Scott and Destiny who are gearing up for Bali.† Happy travels my little bunnies everywhere.† And remember, travel light!


Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

I love giving presents to young people because they NEED things. My husband and I will be married 40 years next month and we have long ago tapped out he same-o same-o gifts of robes, slippers, jewelry, tools and blah blah so the gift giving thing to each other has lost its luster.
Every time, I think of something that he might want he turns it down, except for another tool- a stud finder ñ but he wants to pick it out for himself. So today, three days before Christmas, we came up with this: No hollering at him for six days for any reason and more kissing during that same period.
For my gift, he fought with the people in India for hours and hours to get them to give him a number to call a woman in Canada to beg her to fix my new computer that isnít working AGAIN. He convinced her to replace it with an upgrade. It is being built in China as I write this. My heart beats with happiness.
I also have two more surprises for my husband. I found a recipe for snickerdoodles ñ his favorite childhood cookies which I am going to bake for him on the sly. And I bought a Calvin Klein push-up bra on the sale table at Macys. I am going to wear it Christmas morning. Trust me, heíll love it!


Friday, December 18th, 2009

The food section of the Denver Post, Dec. 16 was the fourth in their ìStart to Finishî series in which they follow local ingredients from production to the table.†† Well, in many ways it told me more about the production of eggs in our country than I really felt comfortable with.† Then again, it helped me decide which eggs to buy when standing in front of the refrigerator case offering way too many choices.

In order to be labeled ìcage freeî, the chicken must not be shut up in a cage.† So the chicken is squeezed (crammed) into a warehouse with twenty thousand other birds.† The photo showed them pressed together so tightly that it would be a major undertaking to turn around. ††Regulations for this labeling by American Humane require that the birds have a place to scratch the earth.† The person interviewed said that only a couple of hundred birds use this area.† Weíll, I wonder how a foot high chicken can find this scratching area without a GPS unit and a bevy of bodyguards to push a wake through the crush of chickens between her and the bare earth.† By the way cage free chickens never go outside.

ìOrganic† eggsî sound the best to me.† These chickens get to go outside.†† However, my daughter told me that she heard that some companies allow the chickens to go outside only a few minutes a day to satisfy the requirement s to get this label.† Then it is back to prison.

Anyway, the whole thing of big business agriculture smacks of animal abuse to me.† †All I know is that the cheapest eggs have thin, uneven, grayish shells and the pricey eggs look and taste so, so much better.† †Also, I do not want to support abusing animals with my grocery dollar. †Eggs are a bargain even at the higher price.

Any Comments my friends?† †††††To comment, click on ìcommentsî immediately below, have at it, and then select one of the profiles.† You†CAN select "anonymous" (the last selection) and make a comment without identifying yourself ...† †or id yourself in one of those other systems (YES - to use one of the others you would had to have setup an account previously with them).


Wednesday, December 16th, 2009


I am no fan of the senseless killing of trees in any form.† I turned in my ax years ago and no longer butcher a beautiful tree and watch it rot in my living room for two weeks before dragging it to the curb the day after Christmas.† There are probably dumber traditions that pop up during the holidays ñ but, at the moment, I canít think of any.

In my last neighborhood, I was appalled at the mountains of packaging and wrapping paper heaped on the curb waiting for the garbage truck after the gift opening frenzy on Christmas morning.† Add to that the ton of mailers, catalogues and junk mail we receive and Americans must be the world leaders in manufacturing paper waste, hands down!

According to the January issue of Better Homes and Garden magazine, one of the two top resolutions people make as they look ahead to the New Year is to get organized.† So why not start with cutting down on the amount of paper that flows through your home?† Call the companies that mail you junk and ask them to stop.† Donít buy anything from anybody who sells your name to mailing services.† Get your bills on-line.† Cut way back on subscriptions ñ unless youíre faithfully reading them.† Donít buy over-packaged crap. The list goes on and on.† Go online or check your library for books on simple solutions to conquering paper clutter.

I make it a game to generate as little waste as possible.† I love wheeling my massive garbage can to the curb each week when it has hardly anything in it and is as light as a feather.

Oh, and the answer to ìPaper or plastic?î

ìNeither, thank-you! Keep bags in your trunk and reuse them over and over.† Give the trees a break. †They are busy providing habitat, bearing nuts and fruit, producing oxygen, providing shade, beauty and stabilizing the topsoil.

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Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

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Everyone Needs A Goal

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

My husband is training for an ultra-marathon. In case youíre not up on your running terminology, an ìultraî is anything over the standard 26.2 mile course. Usually they come in 50 or 100 mile varieties and theyíre often run on trails through woods, over mountains, or across deserts just to add to the fun.

No, I do not join my dear husband on his runs. Yes, I think heís nuts.

If you ask him why he perseveres in all kinds of weather, pushing himself ever harder, his answer basically boils down to, ìI want to prove that I can do it.î

See? Crazy.

"You think Iíve lost it?î my husband shoots back. ìWhat about you? Youíve been writing for 10 years and have yet to get one of your books published. Why do you persevere day in and day out through the rejections and disappointments?î

ìWell . . .î I say. ìI guess I want to prove that I can do it.î

Okay. Maybe weíre both crazy. Or maybe not.

This quote by Benjamin Mays hangs near my computer. ìThe tragedy in life doesnít lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.î

So, whatís your goal?


Saturday, December 12th, 2009

by Quinn Reed
The Artful Way

Do I like to cook? It depends. In the summer, I would rather be gardening, painting, hiking or writing. If I miss a meal - no problem - I can stand in my garden and munch like a bunny or live on watermelon.† This month, however, is a different story; ambrosia has been rolling out of my kitchen.† Because the weather has been so frigid, filling my house with scents of roasted potatoes with garlic and rosemary and other wonderful smells (homemade oatmeal cookies with cinnamon, homemade chai with cardamom) is necessary to keep up the will to live. It is just too cold not to be eating grounding, nurturing meals.
My cooking style can be described as COOKING FROM THE PANTRY. I look in my refrigerator and pantry to see what I have and use it to create something nurturing. There is no following recipes which demand ingredients like watercress or gorgonzola which I do not keep around. But I may have buffalo mozzarella that is approaching its expiration date and so I conjure up something toothsome featuring the cheese. I learned to cook this way because I live so, so far away from a grocery store and I donít believe in adding to greenhouse gases to ìrun to the store for a small carton of sour cream.î
Iíve had great times watching peopleís eyes roll up into their head in orgasmic pleasure as they enter my kitchen and its enticing smells and bite into something I have made. Time seemed to stand still when my brother tasted the cream I had whipped and flavored to perfection for his pie. Another grown man nearly wept as he tasted my humble homemade chocolate cake made from scratch. I didnít have any cocoa powder in my pantry so I melted an expensive bar of European chocolate and used that. After a freezing afternoon outside with his snow blower, my cobbled-together cake was his fantasy of what is best about life.
I am (for this cold month only) turning into a blend of my Norwegian grandmother who could bake anything and my Italian grandmother who cooked food from real ingredients, and Merlin the Magician who conjured up delights from twigs and smoke.
You are what you eat, so eat well

The Fox and the Dust Bunnies

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Dust bunnies are odd things. They lurk in nooks and crannies, swirling under the beds and in the corners behind the entertainment center. As they toss and tumble about, they seem to grow in density and fervor, almost as if infused with a mind or life of their own.

I am not a tall person. When I clean, I have to stand on step ladders and swipe at cobwebs and dusty regions with long fuzz busters, dodging bits and pieces as they drift down onto me. It is not a pleasant task.

My most recent cleaning episode was sparked by the holidays. We had not opened the various bins of green and red; nothing had been draped across the fireplace or along the banisters of the staircase. In order to decorate, I felt I had to tackle the dust bunnies of our busy lives and prepare my decorating pallet. Once I took down the curtains, washed and ironed them all, I then could see the streaks on the windows. So, I was resentfully rubbing away the grime when I spotted the fox.

She hunts the back yard often, a streak of fiery orange atop delicate black legs. Her lovely brushy tail is enormous. She was sitting on the low garden wall watching me. A furry bundle, a dead cottontail, lay at her feet and her perfect jaw was dropped into a wide grin. She appeared to be laughing at me.

Here was an incredibly beautiful wild fox thing with her own bunny--food to nourish the next Spring kits growing inside her womb. Then, she gracefully picked up her banquet and trotted up the snowy hill then disappeared under the aspens.

My resentment at our grimy dust bunnies suddenly snapped into perspective and I felt the blessing of peaceful gratitude for my home fill my heart. Life was suddenly called into sharper focus by a visiting fox.

The Perspective Elephant

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

It is the holidays....

I am thinking about what I'm thankful for....

I am thankful for my support who stop in and read what we are up to; provide support and well wishes. Thankful for seizure meds and the ketogenic diet. Thankful that we live during a time that can provide medical care for Samantha.

But this year I am especially thankful for a little perspective.

Three years ago, around Thanksgiving time it became clear to me that Samantha wasn't progressing the way a baby should. But I didn't talk about it. In fact no one really talked about it, not even Samantha's doctor....

"Place her on her tummy more often and up her calories in the formula." Doctor's advice...

Oh well she's fine...just needs a little more tummy time....that's what the doctor said.

So the holiday season was spent placing Samantha on her tummy as much as possible and trying to convince myself that everything was fine. I never really talked about how scared I was....scared that Samantha wasn't 'right' scared that something could be wrong with my child. Terrified that our lives would be different from what we expected.

It was the big, stinky elephant in the room.

No one talked about the elephant.

Elephant's take up a lot of takes a lot of energy to not acknowledge the elephant.

It was a crappy way to spend the holidays.

This year I am grateful for the fact that we know our lives are different and we don't pretend otherwise. I am grateful that we don't have to relive that first, uncertain year.

The silent elephant moved out as soon as we acknowledged that she was indeed in the room and there was indeed an issue...something about moving onto another family who needed a big, obvious, pachyderm

This was good because elephants eat a lot.

Happy Holidays