Friday, February 22, 2008

Friday's Feast - 22 February 2008


Have you ever played a practical joke on anyone? If so, what did you do and who was your victim?

I'm not particularly big on practical jokes, though I'm friends with those who are. I can't even think of one that I've seen others do, though I know I've seen many. This is why I'm not big on jokes, practical or otherwise. You have to be able to remember them!


What do your salt and pepper shakers look like?

We have a single salt and pepper implement. We received it as a wedding gift from a somewhat famous musician type, of whom I always found the gift mildly emblematic. It's vaguely phallic shaped, and one grabs hold of the top (if you don't want to think circumcised, think mushroom head) and gives a good crank to dispense pepper, or simply shakes to dispense salt.


Where is the next place you plan to visit (on vacation or business)?

Island Lake, Illinois. Annie and I are going to join T and her daughter for a day or two of rest, relaxation and revelry at T's parent's place. We may also take a quick trip up to Rochester to visit Ann and company, as we are needing our Allen fix.

Main Course

What kind of lotion or cream do you use to keep your hands from getting too dry?

I use several different kinds. I have Avalon Organics Lavender Hand & Body Lotion next to the kitchen sink and in my purse. Very rich and it smells heavenly. I keep a tin of shea butter next to my bed, which is fabulous for really dry skin. And I have some basic Vaseline Intensive Care in the bathroom for after shower applications.

Funny. I am rarely uncomfortable with what I reveal out here in cyberspace. But telling you all what kinds of lotion I makes me feel a bit squeamish. What's that all about?


Make up a dessert, tell us its ingredients, and give it a name.

Chocolate Chip Peppermints: Stick a small handful of chocolate chips into the oven for just long enough to make them vaguely smushy. Smush them together. Put them on top of a peppermint candy. Eat.

I think I might need to try that right now.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Wanted : Curmudgeon

Oh. Wait. I've found one. Me, still too busy, cranky and disgruntled. And the news of the week is all making me crankier. Is the world going to hell in a handbasket? Do I simply disagree with the issues at hand? Feel free to guess.

Did you see and/or hear this interview of an Obama surrogate by Chris Matthews? Argh. The outline of the interview is Matthews asked surrogate to name some of Obama's legislative accomplishments. Surrogate was unable to answer the question.

Plays right in to the continuing Clinton effort to cast Obama as like a all-talk no-action light-weight. There were so many possible answers to this question, from the truthful "I'm an idiot and I don't know" to the also truthful "Well, we all know the Democrats have done NOTHING in the Senate or House in the past year but kiss the collective Republican rear end" to the still truthful "Obama is a freshman Senator who has had little time to accomplish anything, particularly given the little support any liberal agenda would receive from his fellow Democrats and viperous Republican colleagues".

It's sad that the Obama campaign sent out someone so supremely unprepared for the very likely question. It's amusing that, following the interview, Keith Olbermann asked Matthews the very same question, to which Matthews also had no reply. Don't ask questions if you don't know the answers.

This headline rolled by on my RSS feeder: Israeli MP blames quakes on gays. Yep, I sure believe that God is up there, rocking our little ball of dirt because She's ticked off that Israel has decriminalized private sexual activity.

If you believe in God and thump that Bible or Torah with confidence, please read it carefully enough and with heart open so you can see that She has better things to do than send earthquakes our way over something so insignificant. Now, if He were making us shake, rattle, and roll because we let children starve to death or because we torture people for political gain or because we are ravaging the beautiful ball on which we live, that maybe I could believe. But sexual activity between two loving adults rocks only the bed they are in, in my humble opinion.

Oh. You wanted me to go back and address the substance of the shot that Obama has none and is simply airy fairy speechifying? My reply would be a question: Was Martin Luther King Jr. merely all talk and no action? Action does not take place in a vacuum. Action must be prompted by something.
Words can lead to action. Inspiring words usually do lead to action, in the right time and place. Increasingly, I believe that now is the right time and place.

Do I believe that Obama will accomplish all he's promised to do? No, because no presidential candidate ever does. They don't rule by fiat. They need a cooperative legislative branch to move forward with their agenda, such as Bush has this past year. But I do believe that Obama has the intellect, moxie, and inspirational message (in addition to his legal, legislative, and organizing experiences) to push us to push forward. Changes won't happen in this nation until WE hold our representatives accountable for what we want to have happen but doesn't.

With Obama leading the way, I am filled with the possibility that if he is unable to remove US from Iraq, he will rally us to remove our representatives from office until there are sufficient votes to support the majority public will to do so.

Finally, if you doubt the Presidential campaign outcome matters, I point out (again) that the Supreme Court matters, and its composition matters, and its composition is darn conservative at the moment. Witness the FISA and Katrina/insurance company rulings to know some of what is at stake here.


Monday, February 18, 2008


I am antsy and cranky and dissatisfied. I have a multitude to-dos on the to-do list, but I can't settle on any of them. My appetite for politics has suddenly dwindled to a precious few moments of web-perusing each afternoon. My enthusiasm is kaput.

Exercise? The same. I can't ski outside because there's snow. Oh, the irony. So I'm stuck on my Nordic Trak. But we moved the downstairs VCR upstairs, to replace the broken one upstairs, and now I have no way to tape and view something to watch while skiing. I'm reduced to watching MSNBC and listening to WGN at the same time. Which I'm not finding terribly fulfilling, since my political glee is nil and they repeat the same info over and over and over again.

I think I should go back to yoga, as it would be good for my back and soul, not necessarily in that order. But I look at the list of classes at my local yoga place and dither about, coming up with reasons not to try this one or that one.

Strength training sounds good. Love feeling strong and using non-motorized machines. And it's good for the bones, which is important to consider when you're 46 and related to women with holey bones. So I bought some weights. Which now reside in the closet of the tandem.

It's boring, lifting weights at home.

Perhaps I should join a club. Speaking with a friend on Saturday, her enthusiasm for her particular club knows no bounds. I could get up at 6a and have a different kind of workout each day. Plus I'd get to play with the machines. Did I mention I like the weight machines?

It costs money, working out at a club. And we're already paying for one membership that's not being used. Our checkbook cringes at the possibility of paying for a second one.

Ideas flit into my head, ideal for either blogging or writing. But they fly out again, usually before I can get to the computer. I'm left with ghostly thoughts that are even more unsatisfying than no ideas at all.

I wish I'd been able to get away and ski at the beginning of February, per the usual plan. Being snowed in definitely put a crimp in my psyche. I needed a bit of space and I didn't get it. And now I'm petulant and self-centered and a bit snappish.

I, i, i. Me, me, me. I have a friend with a dying father. A brother with a dead puppy. You'd think I could find something positive to think about, given the abundance and good fortune in my life. But, nooooo.

Off to sulk and be mad at myself.


Thursday, February 14, 2008


I find myself refraining from writing about religious or spiritual matters lately. Cowardice, apparently, would be my culprit. Sometimes, I worry about what my uber-liberal non-Christian friends will think of my odd spiritual journey. Other times, I worry about what my uber-liberal (or not so liberal) Christian/Lutheran/Baptist/UCC friends will think of my odd spiritual journey.

It occurred to me this morning that I really have no control over what anyone thinks of me--oo, original thought--and so it would be better to simply be myself, in all my odd glory and splendor, and let the chips fall where they may.

Not that I have anything particularly earth-shattering about which to write in the religious/spiritual department today. But I was thinking about some conversations in my Bible study this morning. We were looking at the story of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 19), particularly "the sin of Sodom" as it is explained by other passages of scripture.

Now, admit it. Didn't you think the sin of Sodom was homosexuality? Certain the Christian Right would tell you so. As would probably the Christian Middle! Well, if you look at the context and at the other Biblical passages that speak of the sin in question (Isaiah 1:10-18; Jeremiah 23:14, Ezekiel 16:49
), it sure seems that the salient sins are gang rape and being inhospitable to strangers (by wanting to gang rape them), as well as their general sins of hypocrisy and adultery and general not straightening up and flying right.

Me? I was hoping the sin of Sodom was offering girls up in place of guys for gang rape (Genesis 19:8). Girls, as we all know, ranked pretty low in the social hierarchy of those times. Better, apparently, to offer up your virgin daughters for gang rape than risk not protecting male traveling strangers. This sort of perverse world view often makes for pretty horrific and angering reading sometimes, as one peruses the Old Testament. Downright depressing, it was this morning.

And you can't make most of that more palatable by looking at the context, as you can with the whole sin of Sodom. Can you? Is it ok because we know that those were different times when women were considered chattel? And if it was a different time, am I supposed to be less angry because it was acceptable under their cultural mores?
Is it a waste of anger when it changes nothing, when the sin is past? Or is the sin not exactly past, given the continued misuse of women all over the world?

Context provides background and explanation. It doesn't provide expiation, though, nor is it always exculpatory. Sometimes, sin is just plain wrong, no matter what the context.

I'm wandering, I think. My mind is on a potentially long meeting tonight. Perhaps context will prove useful there, and no sins will be committed. :-)


Saturday, February 09, 2008

Ack. It's been over a week since I last wrote. Shouldn't surprise me, as I look back over last week's calendar. But it's really all the things that aren't on my calendar that fill my days to overflowing, wiping out all opportunities to write.

Who knew it would take up so much time to shovel and shovel and crack ice and shovel more? That it would take 45 minutes to break up the boxes that my new dishes came in? Or that I would make three (3) aborted trips to Whole Foods before I managed to have a completed shopping list from which to work?

Time management. All the books on time management talk about priorities, putting first things first, not wasting your time on what's not important to you. I attempt to do that. So I had lunch with my daughter (a weekly event), listened to my son talk of the girl who might like him, went to a concert with my husband, and visited with several friends during the course of the week.

What they leave out of those time management books, though, is that something has to give. Because something has to give! I had to do laundry, cook, walk the dog, take kids to the doctor, dentist, piano lesson, trumpet lesson, school . . . . And all those unexpected items that came up, such as shoveling and breaking boxes down and rearranging the dishes to fit the new dishes in the cupboards and finding storage for the old dishes? They had to happen, too.

This week, blogging gave. Which is hard for me, as writing gives me so much. When I sit down and form coherent thoughts from the mush that routinely inhabits my cranium, it reminds me that I do have something to say, something worth being said and listened to. And if it is true for me, it is probably true for others--which then prods me to listen to them, too.

Even without that blogging reminder, I did have a very fruitful week of listening to others. I learned that bridges can be repaired, new friends bring joy even when they are in pain, being a mom hurts sometimes, no matter how old your kids are, hospitality is hard work if the work is not shared, and that we never really know all of someone.

Perhaps I wasn't too busy to blog this week because I had too much going on. Maybe I was just too busy listening. And can you ever be too busy listening?


Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday's Feast - 1 February 2008

What is your favorite kind of cereal?

Quaker Oatmeal Peaches and Cream. I've eaten oatmeal for breakfast virtually every morning for over 30 years. I love warm food in the morning. The original flavor was apples and cinnamon, but peaches and cream is much better. I've tried switching to heartier non-instant oatmeal. But, honestly, the amount of sugar that I must pour on to make it palatable seems hardly worth the while.

This is probably why I don't drink coffee. When visiting friends in the mornings, I have been known to simply take the sugar and dump liberally, rather than bother with dainty spoons. It is the only way I can tolerate the stuff.

When was the last time you purchased something for your home, what was it, and in which room did it go?

Light bulb! Didn't think I would remember such a thing, but I do. I purchased new towels for Annie and myself from Bean. The boys have relatively new towels that were monogrammed to avoid contamination, er, cross-usage. So we girls felt was should also have something new and luxurious. Best of all? All of them have been free with Bean coupons from the Bean Visa card. ;-)

What is the funniest commercial you’ve ever seen?

Main Course
Make up a name for a company by using a spice and an animal (example: Cinnamon Monkey).

The Cayenne Coyote. It's a little Indian-Asian-Mexican fusion restaurant in Santa Fe. Avant-garde without the avant-garde tiny servings. I'm pretty sure it's going to show up in the Michelin ratings soon.

Fill in the blank: I haven’t ______ since ______.

I haven't been geocaching since December of 2005. And sometimes I miss it. It was fun traipsing around Chicagoland, finding stuff and learning about the area.