Saturday, April 4, 2009

Haters will hate on you

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Gathering some odds and ends":

So you two Indiana crackers took a Route 66 road trip and stumbled into a Frank Lloyd Wright house, huh? "Oh, gee whiz Ken, look at them lines. We could do that on the farm." Say, Beth Ann, just leave the front door open and some of your barnyard animals will wander in. Your home will be just a Wright house---outside will be in.

Well, first of all, it was my cousin Shane and I that took the Route 66 trip in which we visited a Frank Lloyd Wright house, not me and Ken. Although you did capture my speech patterns with an eerie accuracy! I can't tell you how many times I say, "Oh, gee whiz, Ken!" Yep, that there's me!

I don't recall stumbling as I walked into the Wright house, but considering my clumsiness, it wouldn't surprise me!

Um...we don't live on a farm. We have property, but it's not a farm. We don't have a barn, so we don't have a barnyard. There are wild animals here, but without the barnyard, they technically aren't barnyard animals. 

My name is Beth Anne. That's Anne with an E.

I'm not sure what I've done to generate such ire in this particular Anon, but damn, I'm good! Hey, Anon? To paraphrase your eminent sage self (with a grammar correction), your life must be really empty for you to write all this clumsy drivel blog entries? Maybe you should stop reading my blog and read a book, exercise, meditate, cook, ANYTHING but obsess over something like my blog (which you seem to find idiotic). No need to hand me a barf bag. Your comments don't make me feel nauseous, they just make me feel kind of sad and perplexed that you hate without provocation or reason. You can keep leaving comments if you are that bewitched by me (you wouldn't be the first), but that would just be kind of pathetic, wouldn't it?

Gathering some odds and ends

Sleep I had a strange dream earlier this week. I was at a store, and as I walked out into the parking lot, I saw a silver car drive up. It was an odd, new design, sort of boxy, and was a convertible. I thought, "Cool! It's a concept car!" and went over to ask the couple in the car what it was. They told me it was a Chrysler Coldplay. I halfway woke up and thought, "That's strange. I need to write it down so I can remember to tell my blogger friends about it." I reached over and scrambled to find the notepad and pen on my nightstand, knocking a couple of items off onto the floor (not my glasses, thank goodness). I found the pen and paper, quickly scrawled "Chrysler Coldplay," placed it back onto the nightstand, and went back to sleep.

When I woke up that morning and remembered my dream, I realized that what was especially odd about it is that I don't keep a notepad and a pen on my nightstand, and I hadn't written anything down. That was just part of the dream. Have you ever had a dream so vivid that you just knew it was real? I really believed that I was writing something down on a nonexistent pad of paper with an imaginary pen. It was a very strange feeling. I did like it, though, that I was being thoughtful and wanting to remember my dream in order to tell you all. And I had to chuckle at the "Chrysler Coldplay." Somehow it doesn't quite have the auditory appeal of the Ford Mustang, for example, and I doubt that Chrysler will be making that model anytime soon!


Gift and notecard I got a couple of nice things in the mail this week. When Cousin Shane was in Arizona, he visited Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's western home and studio. He picked up this journal for me (A blank journal! Heaven...I'm in heaven....) for taking care of his cats for the week he was gone. Wasn't that sweet of him? He knows he never has to do that--he takes care of Sheeba whenever we're gone--but it was very thoughtful. This is really a cool journal, too, because it has some FLW prints in there, as well as some of his quotes. I think I'm going to save it for something special, like part of our Route 66 trip. I've probably mentioned my interest in architecture and especially Frank Lloyd Wright at some point. I love his clean, minimalist lines, and his attempts to include nature as part of the design. Shane and I still laugh about when we toured the Dana-Thomas House (one of Wright's designs) outside of Chicago on our Route 66 trip. A class of English-as-a-second-language students was in our tour group, and their teacher felt the need to supplement the tour guide's commentary with frequent (and loud) comments. One of those was "Frank Lloyd Wright tried to bring the outside...inside," complete with sweeping arm gestures indicating bringing the outside (spread arms wide) inside (bring arms in towards your chest). That has become a part of our personal phrase dictionary.

I also got a nice note from my sister Sue (she's the middle one). She was just saying hi and sent along my nephew's new address in California (he's the Marine). She makes her own cards, and the one she sent me is in the above picture. Can you believe how cute that is? I especially like the "little sis" part. Awww! She makes some of the most beautiful notecards, and you should see her craft room! She even has a couple of those tall, red Sears tool chests to keep her supplies in. I think she could definitely sell them at a gift shop or flea market, but I don't think she has any interest in doing that. She just has fun making them and sending them to family and friends.


From yesterday's South Bend Tribune:

Flat-panel TVs turn out to be plywood

MISHAWAKA — At least two people have been scammed by a man selling sheets of plywood wrapped to look like flat-panel television sets, police say.

According to Mishawaka police, twice last week, a man in a dented white mini-van approached customers in parking lots at businesses along Grape Road and sold them what he claimed were flat-panel televisions.

Police said the man offered two stories. In one, they said, he needed the money to support his family. In the other, he couldn't return the sets because he had lost the receipts.

A man paid $300 for two sets, police said, and a woman paid $600 for one. Not until they returned home and unwrapped the sets did they realize they were plywood.

Police said it's likely more people have been scammed but are too embarrassed to file a report.

As they should be. Good grief, people, how often do you have to hear "If it sounds too good to be IS!" One commenter on this story said that the price these people paid for these bogus flat panels was the "sucker tax." I couldn't help but laugh at the plywood TV's. "Hey...this picture is terrible! Something's wrong with this set!"


Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit. Look who’s here! Another Anonymous! Oh boy oh boy!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "The end of an ERa":

You're [sic] life must be really empty for you to write all this clumsy drivel about.....a stupid TV show? Maybe you should shut off the television and read a book, exercise, meditate, cook, ANYTHING but obsess over something idiotic like ER. Hand me a barf bag, please!

You know...I have to say that I am really glad Anon stopped by and left this comment. For far too long, I've been in denial. I know you all care about me, but perhaps you were afraid of hurting my feelings, so you've never said anything. Anon had the courage to intervene and bring my obsession with the show "ER" kicking and screaming into the light of day. It's true. I have no life and no interests other than watching "ER," over and over and over. Ken doesn't know it, but I bought the DVDs of all the seasons, and that's all I do during the day when he's at work. After he goes to bed, I stay up until the wee hours of the morning watching "ER." When I can tear myself away, I pretend that Sheeba is one of the doctors, and we carry on long conversations about how we should proceed with the critical patient we’re working on. I tell him, "Dr. Sheeba! I need a D5W and two units of O neg. CBC, Lytes, UA, CK-MB, and a drug test. STAT!"

Get a life It's time to admit my obsession and take steps to regain control over my life. Anon has opened my eyes to what I've been missing out on in my endless quest to analyze and memorize every episode from all 15 seasons. You mean I don't have to have the TV on all day and I a book? An actual book? With pages and words? Wow...that is so cool! I'm not so sure about that one, but I'm game. And I can...can...cook? You mean in the kitchen, with food, and appliances, and all that junk that I never knew what to do with? WOW! That is awesome! And yeah, I can meditate, too! I can do that! I can turn off the TV and sit there and look into space with a really intense stare, and think really really hard about my place in the universe.

Gosh. Thank you, Anon. You have opened up a whole new world for me, a world I never knew existed, a world outside "ER." A world filled not with blood, bile, urine, and other unpleasant substances, but with love, laughter, and life!

[whirls around and tosses beret into the air]

Get ready, World, because here comes Beth!

Oh, and Anon? I'm sorry I made you vomit. I recommend 7-Up and soda crackers. That's what my Mom always gave me when I was feeling a little barfy. She's no doctor...but she plays one on TV. Hahaha!

Friday, April 3, 2009

The end of an ERa

ER Original cast Get it? "ER"a?

Yes, last night was the series finale of "ER." 15 years of blood, guts, drama, laughter and tears. If you're not a fan of the show, this entry might not mean much to you, so I won't be offended if you choose not to read it.

I wasn't a viewer for all 15 years. I started watching early on, then got away from it in the middle years. For the past 7 or 8 years (since I've known Ken--he's a fan of the show), I've been a faithful viewer, although there were quite a few nights when I was working when I couldn't make it through till 11 PM. A summary of the final show, and then some commentary.

I thought they did a good job with the finale. The first hour was a retrospective in which they talked about various story lines and characters. I enjoyed that, because there were so many things that happened that I'd forgotten, like Dr. Carter becoming an addict. They mentioned one of my favorite characters, Dr. Romano, and spoke with the actor who played him, Paul McCrane. Dr. Romano could be such a bastard, but a doctor you'd want on your side, no doubt about it. They spoke of the death of Dr. Greene, which still makes me weep. (Today my eyes looked like I'd gone a couple of rounds with a prizefighter. I was a mess last night!)

The final two hours were a pretty typical "ER" episode, with a few happy reunions and a possible reconciliation between Dr. Carter and his wife, as well as Dr. Gates and Sam. A little social commentary when Dr. Gates treats a teenage girl who is in an alcohol-induced coma. She and her girlfriends were drinking at a party, her Blood Alcohol level was over .40 (typically lethal), and it turned out that the booze was supplied by the parents of the girl at whose house the party took place. Dr. Gates rightly called the police, as it is a crime to supply alcohol to a minor, and it infuriates me to hear parents say, "I'd rather they drink at home than be out running around." You can be prosecuted for that, folks, especially if the kids get into an accident, or like the young girl on "ER," go into a coma.

Dr. Carter Dr. Carter officially opens the Carter Center, the clinic he built (using most of his family fortune) in honor of his deceased baby boy. A very touching moment, and he turned his own personal tragedy into something that would help others. What a good guy.

In what was probably the most touching--and surprising--moment, at least for me (dammit, I'm crying again), we see a group of prospective medical students taking a tour of the ER, to see if emergency medicine is the right choice for them. It is slowly revealed that one of the young women is Rachel Greene, the now grownup daughter of Dr. Greene. In the scene where Dr. Greene dies, he speaks to Rachel (a troubled teen at the time) and tries to make her understand that she needs to straighten out her life, needs to do good rather than piss her life away. What a wonderful thing to see that she took her father's advice and did right by him, and even chose to carry on in his footsteps.

The show ends with the news that a huge trauma is coming in, with multiple burn victims. Everyone gears up (including Dr. Carter, who hasn’t formally announced that he’s returning to County) and waits for the victims to arrive. They stand outside waiting, hearing the sirens get closer and closer, and as the ambulances pull into the bay, they go into action. The camera pulls away, and we finally get to see a shot of the entire building that is County General Hospital, with the El going by as we watch. I thought it was an excellent ending, and turned to Ken and said, "Just another day in the ER."

I was glad that they didn't have some sort of huge disaster, where the hospital was blown up or something, or a fiscal disaster where the hospital was closed because they didn't have the money to continue. We all got some closure with a few things, and we know that life--and death--goes on in our favorite ER, as it does in every other hospital across the country and around the world.

Why did I love this show so much? Why am I sitting here crying all over again? Why can't I get a grip? I can't answer the last one, but I can get a handle on the first two.

ER Doug and Carol As someone in healthcare myself, I appreciated the excellent writing and the accuracy. Michael Crichton, the novelist, was first a medical doctor, and created this show. His knowledge as a doctor guided the way the show was produced, and I believe the show always upheld his insistence on accuracy. (I'm sorry that he didn't live to see the ending of the wonderful show he created.) Nothing makes me crazier than stupid or nonsensical dialogue when it comes to medical and laboratory stuff. "ER" always did great on the lingo, and I appreciated that. I also loved the dichotomy of the characters. Are they noble people who are dedicated to saving your life, or are they just like the rest of us, with all the emotional problems of everyday people? They're both, and that's the whole point. Just like the aforementioned Dr. Romano, who could be a real A-hole, but if he rode your ass, it was because you weren't doing enough to help save the patient. I've known some doctors like that over the years, people where you say, "Man, what a jerk. But if I'm ever in the hospital, make sure you bring him in on my case."

I think it's a testament to the amazing writing that I grew so attached to the characters that their absence makes me cry. You get to know these fictional people after a while, and you go through some pretty emotional things with them. I don't think there's ever been a show that made me feel such strong emotions as "ER" did. You know they want to save their patients, you rejoice when they do, and you mourn with them when they don't. "In the midst of life we are in death," and I don't believe any show has ever illustrated that better than "ER."

I will miss it greatly.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Death of a Soap Opera

Welcome to...The Guiding Light (Nutwood Style)

The scene: the suburban home, an elegant ranch with a manicured lawn, of Dwight and Evelyn Hooper. The doorbell rings; Evelyn answers the door. Martha Hampstead, who lives down the street with her husband Scott, waits on the step with a smile and a covered dish, tapping her foot.

Evelyn: Oh. Martha. Hello. What can I do for you?

Martha: Evelyn! You look wonderful! I just wanted to bring this by as a peace offering.

Evelyn: I have nothing to say to you.

Martha: But it's my famous Cuy, Eggplant, and Cabbage casserole! You've always loved it so. Take it. Please. I'll just put it in the kitchen.

[Martha brushes by Evelyn and heads to the kitchen, setting the dish down on the counter. Evelyn reluctantly follows.]

Martha: You know, I don't think I ever told you how much I love your new kitchen decor. The avocado green appliances are just so lovely, and the harvest gold curtains really add to the effect. You have such a flair for decorating!

Evelyn: Is there a point to your visit, Martha? Other than merely to annoy me?

Martha [laughing gaily]: Oh, Evelyn, you are such a scream! I'm just trying to be a good neighbor and make amends. We've been friends ever since you moved into the neighborhood three years ago. Please don't be angry with me.

Evelyn [with a hard stare]: You slept with Dwight, Martha.

[dramatic music]


Martha: I know, I know. And I've said I'm sorry! How many times must I apologize? It was your Fourth of July party, everyone had a few too many cocktails, and it just happened! It was only that one time, I swear!

Evelyn: You did it on our bed, Martha.

Martha: Yes, yes...but I paid for the dry cleaning of your bedspread, didn't I? By the way, I love that chenille bedspread. It was very soft.

Evelyn: You gave Dwight gonorrhea, Martha. And he gave it to me! How do you think that made me feel?

Martha: Itchy?

Evelyn: I despise you, Martha. Get out of my house.

Martha [her eyes narrow]: No. I won't. There's something I have to tell you. I'm...I'm pregnant...and Dwight is the father.

[dramatic music, cut to commercial]

Welcome the Guiding Light (Nutwood Style)

Evelyn [strides over to Martha, slaps her across the face]: That's a lie! It has to be!

Martha [shocked, she holds her cheek]: No. It's not. Scott and I don't have children for a reason. He was wounded in the war...he's still able to...perform...but he can't have children. I haven't been with anyone else other than Scott and Dwight. It's Dwight’s child.

Evelyn: If you haven't been with anyone else, how did you manage to give Dwight--and me--gonorrhea?

Martha: That wasn't my fault. It was Scott. Remember that business trip he took a few months ago? When he went to Las Vegas? Well, what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas.

Evelyn: You both disgust me.

Martha: Oh, don't get all high and mighty with me, missy. I've seen you with your golf pro at the country club. I think Jeffrey might be giving you more than golf lessons. So tell it true what they say? He has a nine iron and knows how to use it? [smirks]

Evelyn: I don't appreciate your crudity. We're just friends. That's all.

Martha [smiling sweetly]: Of course, you are, dear. Anyway, I do have some other news for you.

Evelyn: I'm quite sure I don't care.

Martha: You will. This affects you every bit as much as the baby does. And it's happening sooner. We've been canceled.

Evelyn: Whatever do you mean?

Martha: This. Our lives here in Springfield, our daily drama, our histrionics, affairs, illegitimate pregnancies, our long lost siblings, and our evil twins. Kaput.

Evelyn: This can't be true.

Martha: It is.

Director [via bullhorn]: Yeah, it's true. Today's taping is the last one. Be sure to clean out your locker before you leave.

Evelyn: Well, crap. Can anyone give me a ride to the unemployment office?

[dramatic music]

Screaming woman

While I haven't been a soap opera watcher for a couple of decades ("All My Children" was my poison back in the day), I have to say I was shocked to see that "Guiding Light" was being canceled. It's the longest running drama in the history of radio and TV, 72 years of broadcast. So although I'm not a watcher, I say R.I.P., Guiding Light.

By the way, back in junior high and high school, my friend friend Margaret and I would actually make up soap opera-style scenarios and act them out, with extra drama. So I guess I do have a flair for the dramatic once in a while!

She touched the Queen and she liked it

Obamas and royals [sung to the tune of "I Kissed A Girl"]

Everyone is all aflutter over the Obamas' meeting with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip yesterday. It seems to have gone very well, and what has people talking is Michelle's brief touch on the back of the Queen. *gasp* Apparently it's not really good protocol to touch the Queen. However, after much discussion, and consultation with British experts on the subject, it seems that it is a tempest in a teapot (I love that phrase, and how often do I get to use it? Almost never!) and the experts pretty much said, "Everyone calm down." One guy said that the Queen has been at this for over 50 years, and she won't be offended by that. She put her hand on Michelle's back, Michelle reciprocated, and it's no big deal. Some have also said that the Queen seemed to take a bit of a shine to the Obamas, Michelle especially. Very cool!

I'm watching the President's press conference in London right now, and it looks like he is being very warmly received. I can't tell you what a refreshing change this is! Diplomacy always dictates politeness, no matter who the visiting dignitary might be, but I get the impression that he's really kind of a "hit."

Unfortunately, there have been plenty of protesters as well. Things seem a little quieter today. From what I understand, these people aren't really protesting the American President, but they do blame much of the situation on recent American policies, as well as British. I was shocked to see some of the windows smashed, things thrown, etc. One correspondent said that the people doing this are simply anarchists, with no need to really make their voices heard or to start a dialogue, just the urge to destroy. From what I saw, I'd have to agree. One passerby appealed to people to stop such violence, that no one will listen to them if all they do is smash things. He was ignored. I'm glad it's calmer today.

I also thought it was very clever of the British police in how they dealt with the protesters. They simply surround them, form a cordon, and don't let anyone in or out. For hours. So there the protesters are...getting hungry, thirsty, and I'm sure becoming in urgent need to use the facilities! By the time the day is done, everyone is anxious to get out of there and they just slink off. Brilliant!

Teacher Natalie left a comment on my entry about the teaching of science: "I see where you are going here and may I add why do teachers get to teach politics in Spanish Literature? Or give their own political and worldly opinions of the world in English class?" That's a great question, Natalie. In my opinion, teachers shouldn't be doing that. I think some of it is inevitable and will come through in discussions, especially in Government classes, etc. But I've heard tales of teachers almost harassing students because of things they say concerning politics, and that's not right.

In thinking back on my own school years, I don't recall any of my teachers talking about their own political opinions. In any discussion that arose, they might say something like, "But what about this?" or "What if the situation were reversed?" Things like that would further the discussion, but gave nothing away about their own leanings. Science class leaves even less wiggle room--science is science and nothing more. I think it's important for kids to get alternate viewpoints, and I would hope that they are around enough people, both inside and outside of school, to hear a variety of experiences, rather than just the views of their own parents. Sadly, that's often not the case, and I fear for any kid who gets nothing but that. It's a big world out there, and such narrowness of view could make for a rocky road to adulthood, and a very rude awakening.

I probably won't be on here much tonight until after's the three hour series finale of "ER" tonight, and I'm sad already.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Who knows what lies beneath?

First things first:

Rabbit rabbit rabbit! Evil spirits are banished from Nutwood for the month.

Happy April, everyone. This might not be the official start to spring, but doesn't it sort of feel like spring is here as soon as April arrives? It's very blustery here today, but the sun is shining, and it's up to about 50° (about 10° Celsius...I need to remember I have readers who don't think in Fahrenheit terms!). It's also a good day because Ken has a day off, and it's nice to hang with him. It feels like Saturday!

Marty commented on my purple finch sighting: "I don't know why they call that a 'purple finch.' I looks red to me." Good observation, and I actually had an answer for him, thanks to one of my bird books. The Latin name, genus and species, of the purple finch is Carpodacus purpureus. The Latin word purpureus means "crimson" or some other reddish color. I guess the similar sound between purpureus and "purple" made people start calling it a purple finch. I was just thrilled that I got to see him, and I spotted him again just a moment ago! And yes, I DO have a life, thank you very much!

Nefertiti bust The main story on AOL this morning was the finding of a beautiful stone head a couple of millimeters under the stucco façade on the famous bust of Queen Nefertiti that resides in a Berlin museum. Several years ago, they did a CT scan of the bust, but it wasn't as highly detailed as what they can do now. I found these images amazing, and you all know how I love stuff like this, especially anything to do with ancient Egypt. In looking at the image of Nefertiti, I wonder if this is an accurate rendition of her? Was she really that beautiful, or was the sculptor honoring his queen by making her more beautiful than she really was? While the scientists were able to find the stone figure beneath the stucco, they cannot answer the 'why' of the change...and they shouldn't try.

Nefertiti bust2 I recently read an entry on one of my new favorite blogs, Wired Science, that talked about the recent hearings in Texas concerning science textbooks and the teaching of evolution. It's worth a read if you get a chance. I found this particularly interesting (and it's exactly how I feel).

Science is about explaining the how of the natural world: how the universe began, how life originated, how the diversity of species occurred. Scientists feel no need for their work to answer why the universe exists, why we are here. For scientists, those are questions better left to philosophy, religion and after-work hours.

I believe that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our philosophy. But that's not what science is about. I love to speculate on the meaning of life, or why things happen a certain way, but for science, it's all about the 'how.' We can't know what was going on the mind of the sculptor who did the bust of Nefertiti, any more than we can know what was going through the minds of those men who wrote the books of the bible. It's all speculation, and there is a time and a place for it. I don't believe that time and place is in the science classroom, although I know there are some who disagree. Science is science, with hypotheses and experiments to prove the validity of those hypotheses. If they can't be proven, they don't become theory.

People have the right to believe what they want to believe. Creationism and intelligent design can be taught at home. They don't belong in science class.

Now...turn your watch back...and I'll meet ya by the third pyramid!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

First Lady buzz

Idle thought while laying in bed this morning, shortly before I got up: Oh...that's why they're called the Baltimore Ravens! Huh. I never made the connection.

Isn't it amazing where your mind goes--and what it finds--when you let it roam?

A quick answer to a comment on my previous entry. Laura asked "I loved the description of the wedding. Did you have tall hair, too?" Although the 80's is known as an era of Big Hair, no, I never did, but it was a function of my hair type. It is straight as a stick, and sort of slick and smooth--and thin. It won't hold a curl, and most barrettes or other hair doodads won't stay in. I could sort of "rough it up" a little bit with lots of product, and make it look thicker and wavy, but I've never liked spending a lot of time on my hair. I went old school and did the hippy chick thing--long, straight, and bangs. (I even used to wear headbands! Ha ha!) I still have it that way. It's easy to take care of, and I can put it up in the summer and get it off my neck. Maybe I'll cut it one day, but I'm in no hurry.

Michelle Obama The President and Mrs. Obama are in London for the G20 summit. I know my British friends and their countrymen will take care of them and show them great hospitality! (Although there will be protests, as there are at every G20 meeting.) What's amazing to me is all the buzz about Michelle Obama. People seem to love her, and are fascinated by her! This will be a very complimentary entry about her, so if you don't care for her at all, you can probably skip this.

I have to say that I share their fascination. I think the woman is remarkable--smart, beautiful, cool clothes and great style, strong. Considering that much of the buzz is about her arms, I guess she's strong in more ways than one! She's so tall, too. She reminds me a lot of my former supervisor, Mary. Mary is also a tall, smart, and beautiful black woman. Maybe that's why I liked Michelle right off the bat, because she reminded me of Mary. Michelle is focusing her efforts on education, which is something I also care deeply about. And she put in a garden at the White House! I think she's just as cool as can be, and it really surprises me when I hear haters hate on her, because I wonder how you cannot like this woman. Much was made about her comment during the election about for the first time in her life, being proud of her country, but I think her words were purposefully misconstrued. I got what she meant. Of course, she's always been proud of her country, but as a black woman, how much more pride must she have felt with her husband running for the highest office in the land?

Anyhoo, I think Michelle Obama is a great role model, not just for black women, but for all women. I think she's wonderful, and I look forward to seeing her for the next four, maybe eight years!

Purple finch Exciting bird news--a new sighting! I glanced out and saw several finches, house and American Goldfinch, at the seed feeder. One of the house finches looked a lot redder than usual. I whipped out my trusty binoculars and took a really good look, even though he was just 15 feet or so away. He didn't have a brown cap! His head was all red, or as my Indiana book describes it, raspberry red. (Hey, he's wearing a Raspberry Beret. Hahaha!) He wasn't a house finch, he was a purple finch! In going on seven years at Nutwood, I had yet to see a purple finch, although I don't think they're all that uncommon. They're winter birds here, so I feel fortunate to have seen him before he headed back up North. This is a picture I found on the Web. I tried to get a picture of Mr. Purple and his wife, but they flew away both times I saw them.

I’m very pleased to have a new sighting. Cool!

Monday, March 30, 2009

Not exactly a ringing endorsement…and next, a song!

Not really any commentary on this. I just sort of cracked up when I heard Senator McCain's response when asked whether he would support Governor Palin in a presidential run. (Please be patient. It might load slowly because it's from MSNBC. Thank you. The Management)

Visit for Breaking News, World News, and News about the Economy

And now for some happy video. A while back, I mentioned this phrase from a song: "New York London Paris Munich, everybody talk about Pop Musik!" and said that anyone who guessed the artist would get a Silver Squirrel. I have to say, I'm very disappointed in you, young ladies and young men. No one stepped up to the plate and made a guess. [sigh] I do and do and DO for you kids, and this is the thanks I get? Oy.

However, I was cheered up tonight when I had a little exchange with Cousin Shane on Facebook. Shane put up a picture and played Guess the City, and just to be silly, I posted that phrase from the song. One of Shane's friends said that he loves that song, and I mentioned the Silver Squirrel award, if he knew the artist. Friend Matt correctly guessed the band M, and although I don't think Friend Matt is a blogger, he still got the Silver Squirrel. I say to you, Matt: Huzzah!

Although I was probably more into the punk scene than the New Wave scene, I still loved many of these cheesy New Wave dance songs. "Pop Musik" is a fine example of the genre (I said "genre." Haha.) and it's definitely got a good beat and you can dance to it! Even if it's that funky 80's dancing that all of us of a certain age remember doing. And cringe when we remember. It is burned forever in my memory banks: my ex-husband's mother's wedding...around 1985...a kegger at a park pinstripe jeans, ankle boots, and suspenders...everyone forming a double line, and me and one of my brothers-in-law doing that Footloose kick-dance step down the center to the tune got it, "Footloose"...and thinking we were just too hot and such cool dancers. O the humanity! I'm blushing! Wall of shame! Wall of shame! [smacking herself across the cheek]

Yeah. Anyhoo, I don't remember this video so much as the song, but dang, the guy is sort of sexy in a European kind of way, isn't he? Shooby-dooby-doo-wop!

Drama Free Zone

No drama I talked to my folks today. It had been over a week since I talked to them, so it was good to get caught up. We couldn't talk long, since they were getting ready to go to a viewing (a woman from their church), so between a conversation with both Mom and Dad, we kept it to under an hour!

When I talked to Mom, she told me that she kind of got into some trouble.

My Mom? My sweet, 80-year-old Mom who wouldn't hurt a fly got into some trouble? (In retrospect, I wish I would have asked her, "Uh oh. Are you pregnant?" Hee hee! She would have cracked up!)

Let's see if I can figure out how to put this without giving any details away, because I never know who is reading this. A younger family member talks often with my Mom. This person tells her things about another family member, in the context of being worried and wanting to help, but these things worry my Mom. Apparently the first family member told the second family member something that Mom had said, something that wasn't specifically said about the second family member, but as a generality. As in people deserve to be happy, and if someone isn't happy, then maybe they should not be with someone with whom they aren't happy. When Mom talked to the second family member, they asked Mom if she had said that they and their spouse should get a divorce. The second family member's spouse was apparently hurt by this situation. Mom said that she only spoke in generalities, and never said "So-and-so and their spouse should get a divorce." Are you still with me?

Then Mom called up the first family member and said, "Thanks for telling them that I said something like that." The first family member said that they were just trying to make a point.


My advice to Mom? Let the second family member know that if they want to talk to Mom and/or Dad, they are there and available. Tell them you're sorry if any feelings were hurt, but leave it at that, and just be open to being there to talk to. Stop talking to the first family member about any of this. Just say, "I'm sorry, but we aren't going to discuss this anymore." (Supposedly the first family member has said that they are stepping out of it. Good decision.) If the second family member really wants to make a change, they need to do so, and no one needs to be playing counselor. That is not a family duty, and will probably only complicate matters. And the first family member was wrong to try to "make a point" using something that they and Mom had talked about in a private conversation. In other words, leave my Mom out of it. When Mom told me what she'd said to the first family member, the "thanks a lot for narking on me" remark, I said "Good for you." (And no, my Mom didn't use the word "narc." But that's exactly what it was.)

So how did I do?

No drama2 I also told Mom that one of the (many) things I've always appreciated about her and Dad is that they have never been the meddling type of parents. I've always known that if I needed their advice or help I could go to them and talk with them (and I have done that), but my feeling is that just as they don't pry about what is going on in my life, I don't burden them with any problems I've had going on. They've done their job in raising me, and they taught me to solve my own problems. (But yes, we do sometimes talk about things, when I ask for advice, or just in providing each other moral support.) If anyone has a serious problem that they need to address, it should be obvious that a family member is not always the best person to look to as a counselor. Find an impartial third party, someone who won't be afraid to tell you some hard truths.

I believe that we sometimes make our own problems, but we also make our own happiness. We should all be self-aware enough to realize that there is a problem in our lives and to know the steps we need to take to solve it. I believe my folks are very wise, and I value their advice greatly; but they are not counselors, and no one should be putting them into that position, or putting them in the middle of something.

I briefly thought about speaking to the first family member and saying, "You really need to stop talking to Mom about this," but then I figured that would only be creating more drama. Mom can handle this. She's a big girl. I'll step in if I need to, but I'd rather just stay out of it, and I told Mom that was my plan. I'll talk to her next week and see what the dealio is.

But don't mess with my Mom and Dad. I don't care who you are, I'll cut you, man. (Thanks for the phrase, Milwaukee Dan #2!)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I’d rather be golfing

Or at least in a place warm enough to golf!

I'm looking out the window at the light snow blowing sideways. A bit is accumulating on the little pine trees we have sitting on the deck, but I don't see any on the grass. This is just nasty, wet, cold, blustery weather. And poor Cousin Shane is coming home from Arizona tonight! I already warned him in an email to be prepared for a rude awakening.

Forsythia I hope none of the buds on the trees get nipped. Some trees are already starting to pop, and the forsythia is on the verge of blossoming all over. I'll be sad if anything freezes. This picture of the forsythia was from last year. There are only a few blossoms along the bottom so far. Hang in there, Mr. Forsythia!

After getting out early to take care of the kitties at Casa Shane, I've been puttering with a little laundry and stuff like that. I feel like I'm hunkering down and riding out the storm, although this is nothing compared to what they got in some of the plains states. That sounds awful! I think it's just a matter of getting a taste of warm weather, and then seeing the snow fly again. It's disheartening, although I still feel positive because I know that it's not far away at all. Just...can't...quite...get there yet! Tonight is definitely a comfort food night, and I'm making a skillet dinner with beef, beans, rice, and tomatoes. And CHEESE on top.

Michigan State Some great basketball this weekend, most recently watching Michigan State beat Louisville. I don't hate Louisville at all, but I had to cheer for a Big 10 team. I know our friend Mark is happy, as well as Alaina, although as a Michigan grad, I know it is hard for her to admit it. Michigan State, bringing it back to Detroit for the Final Four! How cool is that?!

Now I've switched over to golf, where Tiger is trying to work his way back to win this one. It's all sunny and junk in Florida. [sigh] Tiger was either four or five behind the leader at the end of the day yesterday, and is now just one behind. I never thought I'd enjoy watching golf as much as I do, but he's just a blast to watch.

Remember I mentioned that Randall Terry is now in town, protesting Obama's speech at the Notre Dame commencement? He says he plans to protest in "a peaceful and very aggressive" way. He predicts that Father Jenkins will either resign or lose his job over this, and said that Jenkins has "lost his way." So he's psychic and judgemental. Lovely. You know what? If I were Father Jenkins, I'd be very careful and honestly, I think I'd consider a bodyguard, or at least be very careful about my public appearances. This jerk is not right in the head, and I can see him doing anything to protest this speech and to try to curry favor with his version of God. The guy is nothing less than abhorrent to me, and it disgusts me that he is in my town. Yeah, he's got the right to be here. That doesn't mean I have to like it.

On a happier note, the spokesman for Notre Dame, Dennis Brown, released a statement on Friday that said Notre Dame "has no interest in engaging with those who use tactics that are not conducive to positive collaboration." What did I say about not negotiating with terrorists? Boo-yah!