Friday, July 3, 2009

Well, cut off my legs and call me Shorty….

Palin wink Sarah Palin is stepping down as Governor of Alaska. Not only will she not run for a second term in 2010, she won't even finish out her current term.

The general consensus is that she is putting herself into position for a 2012 Presidential bid. Many people also seem to feel that this is a mistake, that she would have been much better off hunkering down in Alaska and governing that state, but more importantly, taking the time to learn about domestic and foreign policy. Or just taking the time to learn...period. Haha!

Hot diggety dog, I'm just delighted at the prospect of her running for President. My head swims with the thought of comedic material; my heart soars at the satiric possibilities; my soul sings at the prospect of an endless supply of Palinisms! (The first link is actual quotes. Create your own here.) I'm doing the Nutwood Happy Dance! Yes, I really just did the dance. It's not just the comedy prospects (Tina Fey might have to take a hiatus from "30 Rock"). You know how they always said that Palin energized the conservative base? If she ends up being the Republican nominee--hell, even during the primaries--you haven't seen anything yet. Of all people to energize the liberal base...well, you couldn't ask for anyone better. Not even Huckabee and his sidekick Chuck Norris.

I guarantee that late night talk show hosts are as delighted as I am. And not because of that wink!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Soulmate, party of one

Sanford I know this story is getting tiresome, but Governor Mark Sanford can't seem to keep his mouth shut, so it's still got some legs. With the recent happenings in my family, I also find myself pondering this even as I'm chuckling at Sanford's florid prose.

It seems that in his initial confession-booth press conference, he didn't quite tell everything. There were more meetings with the Argentine babe than he admitted to at first, and in a case of verbal diarrhea, he went on to talk about other women in his past--women that he hadn't "crossed the line" with (i.e., they didn't hike the Appalachian Trail, which I think is one of the finest new catchphrases in recent history), but he did things that a married man shouldn't be doing. These encounters (maybe they just talked about hiking the Appalachian Trail) took place on trips out of the country with male friends, trips that were just to "blow off steam." [insert your own joke here]

Aren't his handlers telling him to shut the hell up already? It's like he can't stop himself! He tells his interviewers that his affair wasn't just about sex, that when he dies, he can say that he met his soulmate. He says their story is a love story--a forbidden, tragic love story, but a love story nonetheless. I'm surprised he didn't say, "She makes me feel like a teenager again!"

And oh yeah, he's trying to "fall back in love" with his wife, Jenny. Glad you added that on there after you got done talking about your soulmate of a mistress, Governor.

I just don't get this guy, and part of it is because he's got that weird moral code that condemns others for things that he finds immoral, but allows him to be off the hook with a mere apology. A long, meandering apology that apparently takes several days and multiple interviews. He does seem genuinely distraught at his own moral failings, but he seems even more distraught over the loss of his paramour, his soulmate, his yeah, yeah, yeah, brown sugar! (Couldn't resist the Stones reference there.) There is only one word for the guy: pussy-whipped. The guy's got PW written all over him.

But he wants to fall back in love with his wife? You can guess my reaction if I were in Jenny Sanford's shoes. Piss off, foo'. Why on earth would any woman want to take a guy back who speaks so lovingly about his mistress and then as an afterthought says that he wants to reconcile with his wife because of their kids? Well, I guess Hillary did, but I sure don't get it. (I'd be kind of surprised if Jenny Sanford does decide to reconcile--she strikes me as a very tough cookie.) The affair would be bad enough, but then the humiliation of being a virtual addendum in a press conference about his amazing, magical, "sparking" love story would be more than I could handle. Blood would be shed, Jerry, blood would be shed. (I recently watched "Fargo" again.)

I haven't done a poll in a while, so I thought I'd put one up about this and see what you all think. If you have further remarks rather than just voting, feel free to put them in the comments section. Maybe there are some really forgiving souls out there, but I sure don't think there would be any going back for me after reading those emails the guy wrote to his mistress. If nothing else, I think I'd be like, "God, you write like a teenage GIRL! Get out of my sight!" After the poll, perhaps you'd like to watch a video from one of my all-time favorite bands. I loved the Beatles, too, but I was definitely more of a Stones girl, which should come as no surprise to anyone here. Ha!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Wednesday? Where did you go?

Wednesday Addams Rabbit rabbit rabbit! Evil spirits begone from Nutwood!

I swear, it seemed like the day vanished in a poof of smoke. We went down to my folks' place this afternoon to pick up tables for our upcoming garage sale and then stayed to visit a while. Do you guys remember the story I posted here a while back? About the girl in the window? I had given a copy to my Dad and although he said he thought it was good, he said he didn't quite get it. I explained that the girl in the car grew up to be the woman at the gas station, and then he was like ohhh, okay. Well, I didn't even ask Mom to read it, because that's not her thing. She's not fond of fiction, and prefers biographies and nonfiction. She definitely has a morbid turn of mind at times (We still laugh about driving through the Georgia mountains, and as we looked over the sides at the deep ravines, Mom said, "That would be a good place to dump a body." Mom? Huh?), but I didn't think she'd care for it. She shocked me today by saying, "Honey, that was really good. It really caught my interest and made me want to keep reading. You should be writing for a newspaper or something."

I can't begin to tell you how much that meant to me. Like I said, I never thought it would interest Mom, so I didn't even ask her to read it. To hear her say that she thought it was really good was a very pleasant and completely unexpected surprise. I guess we never get too old to enjoy praise from our parents, do we? I'm smiling as I write this. I thanked her a couple of times for what she said, but I don't think she realizes how happy I was to hear that. Pretty cool.

On our way back, we were tooling along nicely when a couple of police cars came speeding up and passed us, lights flashing. We found out why before too long, as we ran into a bona fide traffic jam in Lapaz, Indiana, of all places. (Population 489 in the 2000 census) It was apparently a fairly bad accident, because it took about an hour to clear the logjam and get us moving. I didn't even have a book with me! Ack! I almost took one, too, but I always like looking around at the countryside, or the wildflowers (which are blooming like crazy now), or at people's landscaping. I looked at the same patch of wildflowers for about 15 minutes and Ken said, "How are those looking to you?" I said, "Stupid green." Haha! We finally got moving again, and I just hope no one was seriously hurt. We only saw one SUV that was smashed in the front, and it didn't look too awful, so I hope there were no major injuries.

Now Ken is trying to mow between the raindrops. It's an unseasonably cool day for July. I'm ready for warmth again!

As promised, here are a few pictures from last night. It was great to see my pals, and I'll look forward to next time. Maybe I'll be caught up on the book list by then...oh, and I did find that Lord Jim is available at Project Gutenberg. I think I'll give it a try online, but I can tell you right now that it is not better than holding a book in my hands. I'm tactile, baby. Anyhoo, here are the pictures.

From left to right: Jillian and Erica (I love how Jillian is cracking up); Jim and me; Mary and Jillian; Sarah and Teresa (the birthday girl). A good time was had by all!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I could use a nap

It was great to see my pals tonight, but man, I feel wiped! I really didn't eat that much, and I only had two small beers and no wine, so maybe it was just the talking and laughing that got to me. I've mentioned before that because I'm an introvert, I feel exhausted from social encounters rather than energized. This is so weird to me, because I didn't feel like it was any sort of "effort" tonight--I was genuinely happy to see those who were there, and had a ball talking with them and hearing how they're all doing. Isn't it odd how that works?

We met at Papa Vino's, an Italian place that I think is a chain. When I got there, Teresa (Happy Birthday, Teresa!) was sitting outside, so I sat and we chatted for a bit. No one else was showing up, and we wondered if a meeting ran late or something. Then we heard a tap on the window--from inside--and there was Mary with an expression of "What are you two doing out there?!" Ha! We went inside, and there everyone was at a round table in the corner. Whoops! Despite the late start, it was a fun time, and it sounds like nothing much has changed at the lab. A few new faces, the usual suspects, and still plenty of work and plenty of phone calls. (I asked about the swine flu thing, and they said it was crazy. Hourly updates from Administration, constant phone calls...I had a feeling it was like that! Anytime there was a news story about any sort of infectious agent, we could always count on almost a panic from the media, the public, and some doctors--not all.) Cousin Erica was there, too, and it was good to see her.

A special treat was that after we'd gotten our meals, my pal Jimi showed up! (He's the one who plays guitar and I've linked to his songs here.) I didn't think he was coming, so I was so happy to see him. I got some pictures, and I'll get those up tomorrow (I hope).

EggplantOf course, I ordered Eggplant Parmigiana. They all laughed, because they know it's my favorite, but I can only fix it when Ken is on business trips! Mary asked how it was, and I said, "Mine's better." It really is. I use a light batter of egg and then flour--they use breadcrumbs, which was a little too heavy and somewhat burned. Disappointing. As soon as Jim sat down by me, he said, "Eggplant, right?" I'm so predictable! I still remember this weird conversation that Jim and I had once:

Jim: Do you like eggplant, like eggplant parmigiana?
Me: Why? What have you heard?

It still cracks me up that I reacted that way--"Why? What have you heard?"--but by that time, "eggplant" had become a bit of a joke between me and Ken. When we met, I was in my experimental eggplant phase, fixing things like ratatouille and other eggplant dishes. On our first date, he brought me a little present, and when I opened it, it was an eggplant (a very nice one, too). On our wedding day, I got another box, and another eggplant. So I guess when Jim asked me about eggplant, I wondered how he knew about the eggplant deal between me and Ken! Turns out his Mom had made some, and he was just wondering if I’d ever had it and if I liked it. Ha!

I'm getting my second wind. Yay! This is way too early for me to be tired. Oh, and there were about five minutes in which we talked books, because this was a book club meeting, after all. I'm seriously behind on the list, but I want to get busy and get caught up with everyone. It really is fun to post on our group site and get others' perspectives. So I've got some work to do! Hey, I wonder if any of these books are online, like at Project Gutenberg? I might be able to get a start until my copy comes into the library. Sorry, thinking out loud. Shutting up now.

Monday, June 29, 2009

I Was a Teenage Raccoon

Last night, Gordon, Stewart, and Andy made an appearance on the deck. Ken popped a couple of them with the BB gun--it doesn't hurt them, and the goal is merely to keep them off of the deck and out of the bird feeders--but late last night, they were back. As soon as I flipped on the light and opened the door, two of them scattered, leaving this poor little guy high and dry. I wasn't going to hurt him, of course, but I was able to shoot him...with my little Flip video recorder! Seriously...aren't they adorable?

Another quiet day, lots of reading, a quick trip to our library branch (which didn't have either of the two book clubs books I wanted to pick is being transferred from another branch now) and then to the store, a nice conversation with my Mom. Rain looks likely, and that's okay--we need a little.

By the way, according to my Mom, it's looking increasingly unlikely that FM and CH will get back together. I guess he asked her the other day if she missed him. She said, "No. Did you miss me?" (I suspect she was wondering if he missed her both since he's been out of the house and when he was cheating on her. That certainly would have been my intent!) He said, "No." That pretty much says everything, doesn't it?

I guess what really slays me about not just this, but recent other prominent affairs like South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, is that so many of these types pretend to be pious, religious, and devoted to God's laws. That was certainly the case with FM and CH, and apparently why he felt the need to bring up my two-decades old divorce. Oooo, that Heathen Beth, she's a horrible divorced person! Don't associate with her! Don't welcome her into your home! Give me a freakin' break. Your diversionary tactics were as transparent as a sheet of Saran Wrap, one that didn't get all wadded up when it came out of the box so that it was a big opaque glob, no...the clear flat sheet that results when you get a clean pull on the Saran Wrap and tear it tidily from the roll.

What was I saying? Oh yeah. People who pretend to be pious but are really nasty people. I'm not going to generalize here, because I've known plenty of good people who are devoutly religious, and my parents are two of them. They live their beliefs. I've also known plenty who will be happy to quote scripture to you and tell you how much they love God, but are some of the vilest, nastiest, most UNChristian people I've ever met. I've said it before and it bears repeating: Going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car. I have no use for those who judge others because of their religious beliefs or lack thereof, and if these people spent half as much time doing good in the world as they spent explaining how anyone who doesn't believe the way they do is on a one-way trip to hell, they just might make a difference instead of being nothing more than a royal pain in the ass.

[pant pant pant]

Let me clarify something, in case I've offended any dear readers. With maybe one rare exception, no one here has ever been in any way judgmental. I'm speaking of people that I have encountered in real life, most recently CH, or people in the public eye such as Sanford. I've encountered enough hypocrisy to last me a lifetime, but I know that not everyone is like that (thanks to my folks). My feeling is that if you're a nasty person and do nasty things in your life, but say that you're a Christian and you go to doesn't mean that you get a Get Out of Hell Free card. I am deeply offended by those that profess to be "godly," but their behavior is anything but. I am offended on behalf of people like my parents who are devout and manage to not just talk the talk, but walk the walk. I don't agree with everything they say or believe, but there is no question that they practice what they preach. Ugly and bitter doesn't vanish in a poof of smoke just because you profess to believe in God.

Books Jeez, how did I get on that topic? Let me get back to my library visit.

After I walked in and started browsing, I felt a bit idiotic because I realized I had a little grin on my face. Talk about heaven on earth...I love being in libraries. Even though they didn't have the books I wanted (this was our local branch, not the main library), it was still fun to walk around and browse the titles and think about future readings. I almost checked out Crime and Punishment because Lori recommends highly that I read it, and I trust Lori's judgement when it comes to books (it's on my list, Lori, I promise!), but I've still got plenty in our bookshelves at home. I've chosen 20th Century Ghosts, a collection of short stories by Joe Hill, who is Stephen King's son, at least until my book comes in.

In what I think is a very nice segue, our book club is meeting tomorrow night, and although I'm several books behind and won't be joining in on the discussion of the current book, I'm looking forward to seeing a bunch of work pals and getting caught up with them! Ken has appointments and a business meeting tomorrow evening at which they'll be eating dinner, so this worked out perfectly. We're meeting at an Italian restaurant. Yum!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

A blust’ry day!

It's been a gorgeous day at Nutwood, although a tad windy. It wasn't so bad that I couldn't sit outside and enjoy the sunshine and the wonderful temperatures, though! The wind made it very comfortable and cool, even when sitting in the sun. I'm almost done with my latest book, and I also talked with Ken's Mom for a half an hour, just a little chitty-chat.

It was also a good wildlife day today. It's always fun to watch the hummingbirds, but I also watched a tiny little house wren (hard to believe such tiny birds have such huge voices) hanging around the seed feeder...and then he hopped inside! I could see him fluttering inside the feeder, and it was looking like I'd have to attempt another rescue, but when I went outside, Wrennie flew out of the feeder and into the trees. Jeez, don't scare me like that! He lives to sing another in which he will sit right outside our open bedroom window and sing his little lungs out. I swear, he's so loud it sometimes seems like he's sitting on our bed railing.

The funniest sighting today, though, was Groundy. I heard a rustling from the front of the house, and when I tippy-toed up there to see what was going on, I could see Groundy gathering leaves and taking them back under the deck. Looks like someone is nesting! She was so cute, rustling around and getting a big mouthful of leaves, and at first, all I could see by the time I got over there was her big fat booty heading under the deck. She was out there several times, and I was able to get a quick video. It's not great, but I was pleased to get a few seconds of her.

I was also pleased to find that new software was available when I went to upload my Flip video. This seems much better and easier to use, and I was happy to spend a few minutes downloading it. All videos are saved on my computer now, and most are on YouTube, so I think it's safe to clear out the recorder's memory.

I hope everyone is having a lovely day! And now, heeere's Groundy! (If you turn up the sound, you can really hear her rooting around in the leaves!)