Friday, December 30, 2005

Snug Harbor

This was the source of the carnival we saw on Staten Island:

Richmond County Savings Foundation presents
A Dickens Festival
December 29, 30, & 31
Thursday and Friday 12 - 9pm
Saturday -New Year's Eve 12 -7pm

For three exciting days visitors will experience a Victorian village and the works of Charles Dickens as characters and scenes come alive around you. This dynamic indoor-festival recreates authentic street scenes with actors in period costumes, an old-fashioned tavern, an English teahouse, The Old Curiosity Shop and an indoor street market featuring shops selling linens, jewelry, perfumes, antiques and sweets as well as traditional British Pub food, Shepherd's Pie, Fish and Chips and English Bangers. Puppeteers, jugglers, magicians, fortunetellers, tarot card readers, clowns and an array of music will flood the halls of Snug Harbor. The festival will offer a collection of exhibits on Dickens' life and works as well as glimpses of Victorian culture, in addition to great performances.

Oliver!, a family-friendly musical based on the classic Dickens novel, is sure to please audiences with outstanding musical numbers such as "Food, Glorious Food", "As Long as He Needs Me" and "Consider Yourself". Oliver! will be presented with a full orchestra and a full cast of Dickens’ well-loved characters, including a large children’s chorus comprising Fagin’s Gang, The Artful Dodger and young Oliver Twist; co-directed by Christopher Catt and Norb Joerber who is best known for directing Robert Goulet in Camelot on Broadway.

For the little ones, a variety of children’s activities and entertainment will be offered including marionette shows, cardboard gingerbread house making, storytelling, coloring contests and arts & crafts that not only entertain, but help understand times past.

It was a wonderful time- the girls really got a kick out of the whole set up. The Cutlers can start their own travelling show I think. Bret was part of a magic trick involving a hungry tiger, and Allison was an assistant in another trick during the carnival. (yes pictures will be forthcoming).

I want to return to the Cultural Center just to see it in the daylight- the buildings and the history are worth exploring. I'm crossing my fingers for this summer....

Return to the Big Apple

Hooray I'm home!

Travel to NYC the second time this year- not bad for an Arizona gal. :-) But we couldn't be on the east coast and NOT come down and visit my aunts and Dad! We left actually on Tuesday- just have had limited access here.

We did learn something on the drive down- our poor little Sammy gets car sick. We're on the road not even half and hour and we hear from the back seat:

"Mom.... my tummy hurts...."

Then- HURL! Ug.... but after thinking about it, the same thing happened when we left Disneyland back in April. AND, they had just started watching a movie in the car. I knew those portable DVD players were a horrible invention!

After that, the trip down was uneventful. We did get to try out my Christmas present, an FM receiver for my iPod. Worked very well, until you changed cities and states and all the stations would change. But at home it should work quite nicely.

The girls were VERY happy to see their Aunts, because they knew they would be spoiled rotten. I don't think I've actually SEEN my girls more than once or twice since we got here! Wednesday night we took them into NYC to see the Tree in Rockefeller Center. Which was completely nuts. I had never seen so many people in my life- and it's not like I haven't been to NYC before. Eventually Samantha ended up on Bret's shoulders, which actually helped us because we could see the bright pink coat over all the people. Allison had a hard time of it, the crowd got to her, along with the fact she couldn't see. I could definitely relate to that- a short person moving through crowds is NOT fun. :-) But once we reached the tree, well they enjoyed it very much. Watched the people ice skating for awhile, took numerous photos, then stopped in St. Patricks cathedral across the street. (No, I was NOT struck down by lightening).

The rest of the trip so far has just been hanging out with family. Catching up with my aunts, that whole thing. For me, I could spend the entire week just sitting upstairs in my Aunt's kitchen, drinking coffee and bs-ing with them. Bret needs a little more activity.

I did notice however that the older sister is getting increasingly tired of the younger one. After all, they have had to share sleeping space, and just about every moment together this entire vacation. So today, I took Allison back out into the city to visit one of the most sinful, cavity-inducing places there- Dylan's Candy Bar. Oooohhhhhhh.... I had an instant sugar high just opening the door to enter.

It was fun though. Me and my daughter shopping in NYC. Of course this is also the side of town with all the 5th Avenue stores, Bloomingdales, Barney's... a woman with a shopping problem's worst nightmare (for her husband anyway). I was good, we only window-shopped. I think I was feeling guilty at what I spent in the candy store....

So, tonight it is off to the island of my birth (Staten Island), to see my dad and his wife for the evening. Yay!! We're supposed to end up at a carnival I think.... hmmm....

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Keeping the traditions in my sister's home

"Yay! It's Christmas Eve!" My girls yelled excitedly today as I woke them up. We had a photographer come this morning, so we needed to be up and dressed earlier than we had been this week. It had been at least 5 years since the last time the whole family was together for a family photo, so we took advantage. This is also the first Christmas that we Radin kids can remember spending all together ON Christmas in probably a good ten years at LEAST, so it certainly was a special occasion. (I may have only been a Radin for 16 years now, but I swear if they did a DNA test it would match.) Throw on top the fact that our parents just celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary this week, and you've got enough of momentous occasions to warrant having it documented professionally.

Afterwards all 11 of us took Mom and Dad out for a luncheon to commemorate their anniversary, then everyone disappeared to finished their prospective wrapping of gifts.

This evening was our turn to make dinner, and Bret and I kept with our usual tradition of chili on Christmas Eve. The girls were holding their own very well and being very patient, but unfortunately their cousins are still a bit young to keep up with the festivities, and needed to get to bed.

So, "The Night Before Christmas" in hand, the girls sat on their Uncle Brett's lap while Allison read the story to everyone. Looking over at my husband, I saw him get a little welled-up at the whole thing, the big mush. After, we got a plate together of cookies, hot cocoa, and a carrot for Santa and the reindeer, and they wrote a note with a few pointed questions for Old St. Nick:

1) Does Rudolph really have a red and glowing nose?
2) Is Rudolph a girl or a boy?
3) Is Frosty the Snowman real?

...along with space for him to write his answers. Then we went outside with our reindeer dust, to sprinkle along the walk so they knew where to land. (consists of a mixture of oats and glitter). We went inside, and without my saying a word they were up the stairs to brush their teeth, and poof in bed.

I just love Christmas Eve. :-)

So now we're finishing up the wrapping, some are crashed out in front of the TV watching a movie, Dad's doing his crossword, and I sit blogging. Feeling rather sentimental, which this time of year tends to do to most I imagine.

No computer tomorrow, so to all who read this- Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 23, 2005

I still have 10 toes!

I really thought I was going to lose a couple after walking around Edaville Railroad last night. It was a good hour and a half drive away. We stopped for dinner in the middle, and made it just in time to make the last train ride of the night. The kids were in heaven- I think they were waiting for it to take off like The Polor Express! These are the reasons I just love this time of year, the magic of the whole season, and the light that never seems to go out in the kid's eyes.

But OMFG- people walk around in this weather?? We took the kids on some rides afterwards, and seriously I couldn't feel my poor feet after like 20 minutes! Poor Samantha, after her meltdown (she is doing alot of those lately) about not going on the exact amount of rides as her sister, had quite the chaffed cheeks from the cold. The poor dear.

Today has been lazy. We're waiting for Mom and Dad to arrive with the Aunt(s), Katie's baking cookies, the girls are outside with their cousin making BIGGER snowmen with Bret and Brett (yes we both married a Bret(t) ), and well you know where I am. :-)

Sitting here surfing, chatting with my sister, and now I hear my younger nephew waking from his nap, so I will go smother him now.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

What IS that white stuff on the ground?

Well we are 4 days into our vacation in MA, and it has been wonderful. The flight was VERY uneventful, which for me is good. Other than my iPod dying for no apparent reason... but that has since corrected itself. We are thinking that perhaps the high altitude did not agree with it.

Anyway, it has been fabulous seeing my sister again after over a year, and meeting my now 10-month-old nephew. Seeing Elliot as a full-fledged 3-year-old has been a delight as well. My older one seems to be adjusting well, but Sam is having a bit of a time. She refuses to dress warmly, to the point where she will sit in the room in nothing, screaming at the top of her lungs that she doesn't want to put on her clothes.

To which I say "ok then," and leave. What else am I going to do? She is as stubborn as her mother- and I am better at the game. :-D

It has been a shock to our systems I think, this cooler weather. Sam was all ready getting over a cold, my sisters boys were sick, then I got it, now Bret is getting it. Merry Christmas! But even thought my desert body is not used to the weather, I'm still in absolute heaven. I love it! It's going to be hard to leave the east, as it always is when I visit...

It hasn't all been sniffles and coughs. Tuesday my parents took the girls to see the Boston Pop's Christmas show, and Bret and I snuck away to finish our Christmas shopping. We also were reminded of how time-consuming it is having a baby with us, as we took little Jonah with us on our shopping trip. Not a bad thing, as he is a better traveller than I remember my girls being. Get baby in the car, put the stroller in the car, drive, park the car. Get the stroller out of the car, get the baby out of the car, etc etc etc... it was also a reminder that I am indeed finished with having children. LOL!

The girls made a snowman the first day we were here, and it still stands proud on the back deck. Yesterday we took all the kids into Boston to the aquarium, and that was a treat for them as well. Samantha really enjoyed watching the penguins be fed.

My parents left this morning for New York to pick up Dad's Aunt Anita and his sister Peggy (hopefully without too many obstacles related to the strike), and Andy comes in Friday night as well. Katie and I were reminiscing that we have not actually had a family Christmas ON Christmas in quite a number of years. I think we're more excited than the children about that!

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Do unto others...

Brahmanism: This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you.: Mahabharata 5:1517

Christianity: All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.: Matthew 7:12

Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother what which he desires for himself. Sunnah

Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.: Udana Varga 5:18

Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellowmen. That is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.: Talmud, Shabbat 31:a

Confucianism: Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not unto others that you would not have them do unto you.: Analects 15:23

Taoism: Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss.: T'ai Shag Kan Ying P'ien

Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good: for itself. : Dadistan-i-dinik 94:5

See... I should have went here the other day

It probably would have made me (and my sick child) feel better!

Well, at least she is recovering now... :-) Now everyone is getting excited- we leave for MA Sunday!!! WooooT!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A Mother's Guilt

(WARNING: One huge ranting whine ahead)

This morning began like pretty much every morning has for the past couple of weeks. Pleading with my children to get up for school. They are normal kids... they whine and complain about being tired when I rouse them.

My youngest usually whines about waking up. Then about the clothes she has to wear. I've become more patient over the years certainly, but this week especially my patience has been worn thin all too quickly. I feel it- every time I'm about to travel... and know I'm going to be 30,000 feet in the air... it happens. I can't sleep. I fidget. I check my Will.

So this morning as I said was like the rest. Samantha started to cry about her selection of clothes. She doesn't like the way jeans "feel", so she refuses to wear them... even though it's all she has. We go back and forth, until I lose it and stomp off JUST like a 5 year old myself.

My husband tells me to relax and calm down, which just incenses me more. Sam is still crying about not wanting to go to school. She's tired. I'm thinking, oh yes she IS going to school.. I've got shit to do today. We leave for MA Sunday, I've got to get the rest of the clothes in order to pack, finish the last bit of Christmas shopping, blah blah blah.

She's quiet and a bit happier when we get to school, and I make sure to give her a big hug and tell her to have a good day. I get home, and what do I do? I fall back asleep. I send out some emails. Waste my whole freaking morning. Pffft. I'm such a loser. It's no wonder my business is going in the toilet.

I felt even worse when at 12:30 the school calls me to tell me that Sam needs to come home, she is hot, has slept in a corner of the classroom all morning, and has the shakes. I hung up the phone, and started bawling as I got my keys and headed out the door.

Seriously, did the universe intentionally make someone who really shouldn't be a mother a mother? Is it some cruel joke? I'm so selfish- I'd rather worry about myself than whether my child might not be feeling well. Even though she's been fighting this cold for almost a month now. You would think I'd be a little more compassionate and in tune to this.

I pick her up and she bursts into tears at seeing me. "Mommy," she croaks, " I feel so bad."

Turns out she has a 102 fever and her throat still hurts. Last week the doc said it wasn't strep when I took her in. So now she's lying on the sofa, resting.

My children deserve someone better to take care of them. I've never been worthy of the title "Mom".

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The Real Miracle

I like to walk alone on country paths, rice plants and wild grasses on both sides, putting each foot down on the earth in mindfulness, knowing that I walk on the wondrous earth. In such moments, existence is a miraculous and mysterious reality.

People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don't even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child--our own two eyes. All is a miracle.

-Thich Nhat Hanh, "Miracle of Mindfulness"

Thursday, December 08, 2005

25 years Ago Today

New York Times

Op-Ed Contributor

A Final Record

Published: December 8, 2005

TWENTY-FIVE years ago today, John Lennon was shot and killed outside his apartment building on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. This previously unpublished photograph was taken a little more than a month before his death.

Jack Mitchell

Back in the 70's and 80's, I took many pictures of people in the arts, and I had been asked by The Times to photograph Lennon and Yoko Ono for a story about their new album, "Double Fantasy."

The session was to take place in my studio on East 74th Street on Sunday, Nov. 2, at 8 p.m. The couple, who had not been in a photography studio for five years, had insisted that I be alone - with no assistant, or anyone else, in my studio during the session. I put up a gray seamless backdrop because I had no idea what they would be wearing.

The two arrived about 15 minutes late, rang my buzzer and walked up to my second-floor studio. They were wearing sweaters, and they were by themselves.

In an effort to gauge how much time I was going to have, I asked John if this was a stop en route to dinner. He replied, laughing: "Dinner? I've not had breakfast yet!"

When we started the shoot, John and Yoko both kept their glasses on - she was wearing dark sunglasses and he had on tinted lenses. After four long-shot takes, I asked that the glasses be removed. I explained that I wanted to take some tight close-ups and needed to show their eyes.

They agreed - and from that point on the photographing went easily. They were both relaxed and agreeable to the poses I suggested. John was especially spontaneous and loose. He seemed to be having fun and laughed a lot.

During breaks John looked at the pictures hanging on the studio walls, admiring especially some portraits I'd done recently of Meryl Streep. He said he was a Meryl Streep groupie. He also liked, and petted, my ginger studio cat, Red.

It was apparent that John and Yoko were enjoying being photographed and were in no hurry to leave. But at 10:45 p.m., with eight rolls of black-and-white film and a half roll of color film shot, I suggested we had more than enough pictures and should stop.

I was scheduled to process the black-and-white rolls by midnight so a photo editor from the Times could pick up the contact sheets. But I was well over an hour late - largely because the couple stayed a while after the shoot.

John mentioned how comfortable he was in my simple, home-like studio and asked if he and Yoko could come back after the first of the year to do a personal sitting. (I said yes.) Then they took the time to draw a self-caricature. John drew himself first, then Yoko drew her face adjacent to his. They both signed it. We never discussed music.

After a photograph from the shoot was published in The Times on Nov. 9, Yoko telephoned to ask if she and John could use the picture on their 1980 Christmas card. I gladly gave permission. Given what happened on Dec. 8, I'm not sure if the card was ever produced.

Over the years, many Lennon fans have asked why I didn't take any solo pictures of John. My reply has always been this: First, my assignment was to photograph John and Yoko together. And second, they were just so together that it simply never occurred to me.

Jack Mitchell is the author of "Icons and Idols: A Photographer's Chronicle of the Arts, 1960 to 1995."

All we are saying is give peace a chance.
John Lennon

And so this is Xmas for black and for white, for yellow and red, let's stop all the fight.
John Lennon

Everything is clearer when you're in love.
John Lennon

God is a concept by which we measure our pain.
John Lennon

I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?
John Lennon

I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong.
John Lennon

I don't believe in killing whatever the reason!
John Lennon

I'm not going to change the way I look or the way I feel to conform to anything. I've always been a freak. So I've been a freak all my life and I have to live with that, you know. I'm one of those people.
John Lennon

If being an egomaniac means I believe in what I do and in my art or music, then in that respect you can call me that... I believe in what I do, and I'll say it.
John Lennon

If everyone demanded peace instead of another television set, then there'd be peace.
John Lennon

If someone thinks that love and peace is a cliche that must have been left behind in the Sixties, that's his problem. Love and peace are eternal.
John Lennon

No work ethic? Messy? Disorganized?

Yup- that's me... (I feel my husband nodding his head...)

Advanced Global Personality Test Results
Extraversion |||||||||||||||||| 73%
Stability |||||||||||||| 60%
Orderliness |||| 20%
Accommodation |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Interdependence |||||||||||| 50%
Intellectual |||||||||||||||| 63%
Mystical |||||||||||||||| 70%
Artistic |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Religious |||||| 23%
Hedonism || 10%
Materialism |||||| 30%
Narcissism |||||||||||||||| 63%
Adventurousness |||||||||||||||| 63%
Work ethic |||||| 23%
Self absorbed |||||||||| 36%
Conflict seeking |||||||||||||| 56%
Need to dominate |||||| 30%
Romantic |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Avoidant |||||| 23%
Anti-authority |||||||||||||||| 63%
Wealth || 10%
Dependency |||||||||||||| 56%
Change averse |||||||||||||||| 63%
Cautiousness |||||||||||| 43%
Individuality |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Sexuality |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Peter pan complex |||||||||||| 43%
Physical security |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Physical Fitness |||||||||||| 50%
Histrionic |||||||||| 36%
Paranoia |||||| 30%
Vanity |||||| 23%
Hypersensitivity |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Female cliche |||||||||||||| 56%
Take Free Advanced Global Personality Test
personality tests by

Stability results were moderately high which suggests you are relaxed, calm, secure, and optimistic.

Orderliness results were low which suggests you are overly flexible, improvised, and fun seeking at the expense too often of reliability, work ethic, and long term accomplishment.

Extraversion results were high which suggests you are overly talkative, outgoing, sociable and interacting at the expense too often of developing your own individual interests and internally based identity.

trait snapshot:

messy, disorganized, social, tough, outgoing, rarely worries, self revealing, open, risk taker, likes the unknown, likes large parties, makes friends easily, likes to stand out, likes to make fun of people, reckless, optimistic, positive, strong, does not like to be alone, ambivalent about chaos, abstract, impractical, not good at saving money, fearless, trusting, thrill seeker, not rule conscious, enjoys leadership, strange, loves food, abstract, rarely irritated, anti-authority, attracted to the counter culture

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Diwali blessing

The following is a Diwali blessing by Swami Chidanand Saraswati (Muniji):

May the light of love and devotion shine brightly in your hearts.
May the light of understanding shine in your minds.
May the light of harmony glow in your home.
May the light of service shine forth ceaselessly from your hands.
May the light of peace emanate from your being.
May your presence light the lamps of love and peace wherever you go.
May your smile, your words and your actions be as sweet as the sweets of this festive season.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Mini-rant on a Sunday afternoon

I've got my sister-in-law and her beau here for the week, with Thanksgiving coming up and all. So my office has taken the form of guest room for a week.

I've switched from one addiction to the other for the time being- TV. Last night while flipping through the channels, I came across this little program:

Hmm. Military Reality TV in Iraq. OK, I'll see what is *really* going on in Iraq. Bret looked up from some newspaper puzzle he was doing, glanced at the TV, and said, with a hint of worry (for him)in his voice, "honey, this is going to make you angry."

*Grin*- me? Get angry? Nah... I just wanted to take a peek.... why would I get angry?

The particular episode I caught was the day of Iraqi elections (not the recent constitution one). Within 5 minutes I felt my blood pressure rise. They were about to begin their day to check election stations, and they gathered for their prayer.

To paraphrase: Jesus, help us bring Christianity to Iraq and these Iraqi people...

From the kitchen table: "Honey..... you really shouldn't be watching this at 11pm...."

Too late. "WHAT???!!??" I shrieked.

From the kitchen table: "sigh..."

Oh it just went downhill from there. This is apparently a story of one Reserve Unit that has been there for 18 months. Towards the end of the episode, they lost one of their men to a sniper. The hatred that brimmed from these men was actually shocking to me, and very misplaced. All they kept saying was they hate the place. They hate the people, they hate their beliefs, they are all terrorists.

One even went so far to say they should just take a nuke to the whole country and wipe it out.

They had another episode at midnight. I continued to watch the train wreck, unable to tear my poor tired eyes away. The next episode began following another member of the team on his birthday. They went out on their rounds, going into random houses of Iraqis and doing searches. The people were pleading, "we don't have anything. Please don't take our things."

They took away someone's flares, claiming that "they didn't have any use for them". The Iraqis looked very frightened by the men being there. They didn't really explain WHY they were going through these poor people's homes in the first place. The "birthday boy" brought out a box with clothes, and started handing out things to the children. Well, as would be expected, it started to get a little crazy, everyone started to clamor for things, and he got overwhelmed. But what he did about it nearly made me put my fist through the TV.

He said, "if you people can't do this right, no one gets anything." and HE TOOK IT ALL AWAY. Just like that. ARGH!

Getting back into their humvee, he said, "I hate all these people. They are all insurgents. The women marry them, and they have babies that become them. I hate this place."

I finally got a clue and turned it off.

These are not people who are proud to serve their country. These are people who I don't think even KNOW why they are there! They hate what they are doing. They do not believe in the cause that their president has fed them.

This is the trash that is being fed to the American people, and only brewing more hatred and fear.

I shouldn't have been surprised, but I was.

And for added enjoyment and slight nausea, I found the message board for the show. It's amazing how efficient the propaganda machine is:

OK I'm done. I didn't mean to drone on and on about it.. but OMFG how can people buy into this shit?

Monday, November 14, 2005

Realization while cleaning my kitchen

You know, if there weren't bigger things meant for me in my life, my house would be a whole lot cleaner.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Is this good or bad?

"See what will happen if you don't stop biting your fingernails?"
-- Will Rogers, to his niece on seeing the Venus de Milo

Did he think it was good art, or bad art? :-)))

Which I know the real joke was no arms, but I guess even a quote is open to different interpretations.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Rejoice! Halloween Month has passed!

Seriously- it seems every time we took the children to an event, it "required" their costumes. I had to *wash* them- twice! And by *hand*, too! WTF? I certainly don't remember ever wearing my costume other than Halloween night. Allow me to show you in pictures the events of the past month:
I think the wings helped balance her on skates

At the school annual Mercado

Carving pumpkins at Eleanor's
Birthday Party

Finally, Halloween arrives! Complete
with strange Hippy-dude

Not bad for her first carved pumpkin-
Yes she did it all herself!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Summer weather in the fall

88 flipping degrees outside. Should I still be in shorts and flip-flops three weeks before Thanksgiving?

Only in Arizona... where is my FALL????

Can't wait for Christmas... we'll be back EAST! WoooT!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

After The Storm

Fantastic storm blew in yesterday afternoon, hung out all night with rumblings of thunder, and all through today. It broke up by this evening, and when I caught the pink glow out of the corner of my eye through the window, I had to grab the camera and take a few was too beautiful to pass up.

First storm since the monsoon that actually felt cleansing, and also much much cooler. Had the windows open and just felt the breeze all day... sigh...

Peeking between the trees and homes

From the back porch

I ran upstairs to take this from the bedroom window

This one as well.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Your mind can be your greatest friend

If your mind becomes firm like a rock
And no longer shakes
In a world where everything is shaking,
Your mind will be your greatest friend
And suffering will not come your way.


A musical tale

C, E-flat, and G go into a bar.

The bartender says, "Sorry, but we don't serve minors." So, the E-flat leaves, and the C and the G have an open fifth between them.

After a few drinks, the fifth is diminished; the G is out flat.

An F comes in and tries to augment the situation, but is not sharp enough.

A D comes into the bar and heads straight for the bathroom saying, "Excuse me. I'll just be a second."

An A comes into the bar, but the bartender is not convinced that this relative of C is not a minor.

Then the bartender notices a B-flat hiding at the end of the bar and exclaims, "Get out now! You're the seventh minor I've found in this bar tonight."

The E-flat, not easily deflated, comes back to the bar the next night in a 3-piece suit with nicely shined shoes. The bartender says: "You're looking sharp tonight, come on in! This could be a major development." This proves to be the case, as the E-flat takes off the suit, and everything else, and stands there au naturel.

Eventually, the C sobers up, and realizes in horror that he's under a rest. The C is brought to trial, is found guilty of contributing to the diminution of a minor, and is sentenced to 10 years of DS without Coda at an upscale correctional facility.

On appeal, however, the C is found innocent of any wrongdoing, even accidental, and that all accusations to the contrary are bassless.

The bartender decides he needs a rest - and closes the bar.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Listen to the chimes of our heart and soul

From an email list I am on...

I Will Connect With You

I like my ability to be able to connect with people. It is like reaching out to humanity and proclaiming “"I am here for you"”. I am not here to judge you. Others will certainly step into that position gladly. I am not here to reject you; too many people have already done that. I am not here to change you. My quest is simply to change myself. I am hoping that the beauty of you will change me.

Every soul is beautiful. Every soul has something to offer. By getting to know you, you will indeed impart some of that beauty onto me. I am not here to impose society norms upon you. You know what they are already. You know what is expected of you and if you can deal with them or not. I am not here to listen to what the world has to say, but to hear what is in your heart.

So long we have buried our true feelings to please others. We have listened to family, friends, employers, and society in general. Many times these influences were well intended and at other times they were not. It is not to say that we did not grow and learn from our lifeÂ’s experiences. We would not be the wonderful people we are today if it were not so. But sometimes we cared so much about what other people thought of us or what we thought about others that we forgot the most basic truth. We forgot to nurture who are as well. We gave all to others and forgot about ourselves.

Now we must begin the journey to heal from past hurts and move forward. We must grow like a flower; re-learn who we are and what we want from life. Like that beautiful flower we must bloom to perfection, in the image of our creator. We must listen to the chimes of our own heart and soul.

Your journey is not my journey. My journey is not your journey but our journey has a common goal and a common function. We strive to be the best that we can be. We strive for happiness and the ability to express our true hearts. When we are happy with ourselves, happiness in turn radiates from us. We become a beacon of love spread throughout the universe. Each single slice of joy, laughter, love and kindness we share with the world causes a ripple effect upon the sea of humankind. Soon other people will emulate the beacons of love that we have become and they too will join our love fest. The ripples will become tidal waves of love and understanding throughout the world and the world will truly become a better place.

My journey is not your journey. Your journey is not mine. However, I take comfort in the belief that all paths do lead to the one. Your path will take you down the road of love and understanding and my path will lead me to the same.

We may be at very different points in our path. One of us may be at the beginning, the other closer towards the end. We both will face obstacles, sometimes feeling the pressure and wanting to turn back, other times wanting to take the fork in the road that leads to the easy way out. But together we will make it as we continue along the path.

If I stumble you will pick me up. If I am ahead of you I will come back for you. We will meet each other half way as our souls connect. I promise I will hold your hand along the way if you promise you will hold my heart.

~~It reminds me of a favorite quote of mine:

You are me and I am you.
It is obvious that we are inter-are.
You cultivate the flower in
yourself so that I will be beautiful.
I transform the garbage in myself so
that you do not have to suffer.
I support you you support me.
I am here to bring you peace
you are here to bring me joy.

~Thich Nhat Hahn

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Overload! Overload!

I am drained. I faced some big issues with myself this week. Yours truly may actually step foot inside a church because of one of these issues. I wish I could let my cynicism of religion go and not cloud my vision, because I feel like a hypocrite, and that disgusts me more than anything. This weekend is being spent with considerable downtime, and NOT religiously focused. And sleep, lots of sleep.

Last night on Bill Maher they went into the religion discussion talking about the new Supreme Court nominee. It was EXACTLY, almost word for word, the argument I had been having. Maher took my position, and Andrew Sullivan and Ben Affleck got very offended by the things he was saying. Which was everything I have said in the previous posts here.

What really got me was my reaction while watching. Sullivan and Affleck got very offended by his words, and said so. Said that people in religions would also be very offended by what he was assuming. (This was said to me too.) That religions ultimately did good, and the few extremists made it look bad for everyone, and that was not the case... etc. etc.. The thing of it was, I was listening to Maher defend his position, and thinking that he wasn't listening to what the other two were saying. It was extremely different to be an outsider looking in at the same exact argument. Perspective is everything.

Then I started giggling at my mini-revelation. I swear, if there weren't a four hour time difference and a country separating us, I would have made a phone call. I should tape it and send it to him.

I've emailed the church about taking some of their classes. It feels the safest to me right now, rather than going to a service. I can pick and choose, and not have to deal with whatever their ritual is for their services.

For now. Until I'm comfortable. They answered, and it was sweet. The receptionist said she understood about rocky spiritual journies, heh. I copied two people on that email, my husband and of course my friend I had been banging heads with.

My husband said he was shocked that I did it. My friend said I was his hero, to take such a step. I don't feel very heroic, however.

I still have to set foot in the place.

Here's a great song that has been on my mind lately, they have an excellent acoustic version:

"Crawling In The Dark"- Hoobastank

I will dedicate
And sacrifice my everything for just a second's worth
Of how my story's ending
And I wish I could know if the directions that I take
And all the choices that I make won't end up all for nothing
Show me what it's for
Make me understand it
I've been crawling in the dark looking for the answer
Is there something more than what i've been handed?
I've been crawling in the dark looking for the answer
Help me carry on
Assure me it's ok to use my heart and not my eyes
To navigate the darkness
Will the ending be ever coming suddenly?
Will I ever get to see the ending to my story?
Show me what it's for
Make me understand it
I've been crawling in the dark looking for the answer
Is there something more than what i've been handed?
I've been crawling in the dark looking for the answer
So when and how will I know?
How much further do I have to go?
How much longer until I finally know?
Because I'm looking and I just can't see what's in front of me
In front of me
Show me what it's for
Make me understand it
I've been crawling in the dark looking for the answer
Is there something more than what i've been handed?
I've been crawling in the dark looking for the answer

Monday, October 03, 2005

Faith and Religion Part 2

I've been obsessing over religion all weekend, especially having some differing viewpoints with a friend of mine that was very disheartening. Today I took the dog to the vet, and went across the street to grab a coffee while I waited for all her tests to be completed. It was actually pleasant enough to sit outside, so I pulled out my little notebook out of my purse, and started this brainstorm.





People need a sense of community and belonging. That is just a basic human need. However, do you need to belong to a specific religion in order to achieve this? My answer would be ‘no.

Am I narrow-minded for thinking you do not need to have religion?

Do you need religion to know God? No.

You need FAITH. Faith is what matters, not what religion you belong to.

When you are part of a religion, you are adhering to one core set of beliefs. Of course there are exceptions. For instance, you can be Catholic and believe in birth control. But if someone tells me they are Catholic, or Buddhist, or Mormon, or a Scientologist, they are in fact telling me generally what they believe. Otherwise they would not be practicing that religion in the first place. It'’s sort of like being called a Liberal. If I tell someone I am Liberal, they know generally what I believe, and they are correct in assuming so. To know more about specific things regarding my beliefs, they would of course need to get to know me better.

Am I narrow-minded for thinking you do not need to have religion? I was told recently that I was prejudice and stereotyping based on my opinions. I don't think that is fair to say in the least. I am speaking about religion in general, not a race of people or any individual. I'm not even claiming to be an atheist. But if you adhere to one single religion, you are stereotyping yourself as to believing in a certain set of rules.

Do people see religion as openly as they see faith? I don't think they do. Can it be proven? I would love to see that. A person can acknowledge that there are other religions. That doesn't mean that person accepts other religions. Of course, I'm again being general. There are plenty of people who are of one religion who do accept others. I just don't think it is the general consensus.

Do you have to attend church to experience and know about different religions? No, I don't think you do. Church is not religion. I have read about religions, and have had my own experiences being around different religions while growing up. People of different religions are all around us, you do not have to attend church to experience it. I think too many people confuse Religion, Faith, and Church. They are three very different things, yet can be used to complement each other in different ways.

Is the process of Religion a way to make a better world? Not when one religious process includes converting everyone to their way of thinking. Some religions think that is the sole purpose of their religion. If you start attending services for the Church of Scientology, please don'’t tell me they are not going to assume you want to become a Scientologist, and try to convert you to their way of thinking. And the Mormons- why do you think they have people going around trying to talk to others about the religion? My old boss'’s wife sent missionaries to my door. Though of course I wasn't interested, we ended up having a great conversation about faith.

My friend made a wonderful comment that I absolutely agree with:

"The Mystery is going where you're afraid to go.. because there's something there you need to learn to get rid of the fear.
It's too easy to just turn away and say there's nothing there.. but the mystery is to explore that which frightens as much as entices."

Is he so convinced that there HAS to be religion that he cannot look at the possibility of NO religion? My fear used to be that I had to end up with a religion. I'’ve discovered in the past 5 years or so that you do not have to end up with a religion to be happy. I also am open to the thought that maybe I could possibly find a religion that suits me. But more likely than that I would end up at a church that resembles the one he attends, a Unity church of some sort that covers all types of religions, and even non-religions.

I've really got to finally stop at that church across the street from my daughter's school. At least to see what it's all about. Because I do know that sitting and wondering what the answers are is not nearly as effective as getting out there and possibly FINDING some answers.

First Faith and Religion Post

Friday, September 30, 2005

Intelligent Design

The New Yorker
Issue of 2005-09-26

Day No. 1
And the Lord God said, “Let there be light,” and lo, there was light. But
then the Lord God said, “Wait, what if I make it a sort of rosy,
sunset-at-the-beach, filtered half-light, so that everything else I design
will look younger?”
“I’m loving that,” said Buddha. “It’s new.”
“You should design a restaurant,” added Allah.

Day No. 2:
“Today,” the Lord God said, “let’s do land.” And lo, there was land.
“Well, it’s really not just land,” noted Vishnu. “You’ve got mountains and
valleys and—is that lava?”
“It’s not a single statement,” said the Lord God. “I want it to say, ‘Yes,
this is land, but it’s not afraid to ooze.’ ”
“It’s really a backdrop, a sort of blank canvas,” put in Apollo. “It’s,
like, minimalism, only with scale.”
“But—brown?” Buddha asked.
“Brown with infinite variations,” said the Lord God. “Taupe, ochre, burnt
umber—they’re called earth tones.”
“I wasn’t criticizing,” said Buddha. “I was just noticing.”

Day No. 3:
“Just to make everyone happy,” said the Lord God, “today I’m thinking
oceans, for contrast.”
“It’s wet, it’s deep, yet it’s frothy; it’s design without dogma,” said
Buddha, approvingly.
“Now, there’s movement,” agreed Allah. “It’s not just ‘Hi, I’m a planet—no
splashing.’ ”
“But are those ice caps?” inquired Thor. “Is this a coherent vision, or a
“I can do ice caps if I want to,” sniffed the Lord God.
“It’s about a mood,” said the Angel Moroni, supportively.
“Thank you,” said the Lord God.

Day No. 4:
“One word,” said the Lord God. “Landscaping. But I want it to look natural,
as if it all somehow just happened.”
“Do rain forests,” suggested a primitive tribal god, who was known only as a
clicking noise.
“Rain forests here,” decreed the Lord God. “And deserts there. For a spa
“Which is fresh, but let’s give it glow,” said Buddha. “Polished stones and
bamboo, with a soothing trickle of something.”
“I know where you’re going,” said the Lord God. “But why am I seeing scented
candles and a signature body wash?”
“Shut up,” said Buddha.
“You shut up,” said the Lord God.
“It’s all about the mix,” Allah declared in a calming voice. “Now let’s look
at some swatches.”

Day No. 5:
“I’d like to design some creatures of the sea,” the Lord God said. “Sleek
but not slick.”
“Yes, yes, and more yes—it’s a total gills moment,” said Apollo. “But what
if you added wings?”
“Fussy,” whispered Buddha to Zeus. “Why not epaulets and a sash?”
“Legs,” said Allah. “Now let’s do legs.”
“Are we already doing dining-room tables?” asked the Lord God, confused.
“No, design some creatures with legs,” said Allah. So the Lord God, nodding,
designed an ostrich.
“First draft,” everyone agreed, and so the Lord God designed an alligator.
“There’s gonna be a waiting list,” Zeus murmured appreciatively.
“Now do puppies!” pleaded Vishnu. “And kitties!”
“Ooooo!” all the gods cooed. Then, feeling a bit embarrassed, Zeus ventured,
“Design something more practical, like a horse or a mule.”
“What about a koala?” asked the Lord God.
“Much better,” Zeus declared, cuddling the furry little animal. “I’m going
to call him Buttons.”

Day No. 6:
“Today I’m really going out there,” said the Lord God. “And I know it won’t
be popular at first, and you’re all gonna be saying, ‘Earth to Lord God,’
but in a few million years it’s going to be timeless. I’m going to design a
And everyone looked upon the man that the Lord God designed.
“It has your eyes,” Zeus told the Lord God.
“Does it stack?” inquired Allah.
“It has a naïve, folk-artsy, I-made-it-myself vibe,” said Buddha. The Inca
sun god, however, only scoffed. “Been there. Evolution,” he said. “It’s
called a shaved monkey.”
“I like it,” protested Buddha. “But it can’t work a strapless dress.”
Everyone agreed on this point, so the Lord God announced, “Well, what if I
give it nice round breasts and lose the penis?”
“Yes,” the gods said immediately.
“Now it’s intelligent,” said Aphrodite.
“But what if I made it blond?” giggled the Lord God.
“And what if I made you a booming offscreen voice in a lot of bad movies?”
asked Aphrodite.

Day No. 7:
“You know, I’m really feeling good about this whole intelligent-design
deal,” said the Lord God. “But do you think that I could redo it, keeping
the quality but making it at a price point we could all live with?”
“I’m not sure,” said Buddha. “You mean, what if you designed a really basic,
no-frills planet? Like, do the man and the woman really need all those
“Hello!” said the Lord God. “Clean lines, no moving parts, functional but
fun. Three bright, happy, wash ’n’ go colors.”
“Swedish meets Japanese, with maybe a Platinum Collector’s Edition for the
geeks,” Buddha decided.
“Done,” said the Lord God. “Now let’s start thinking about Pluto. What if
everything on Pluto was brushed aluminum?”
“You mean, let’s do Neptune again?” said Buddha.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Faith and Religion

A study recently came out in England regarding religious belief and society. The study's conclusion- that societies are actually worse off because of religion.,,2-1798944,00.html

I happen to agree with the article. Faith and religion are not the same thing. They are not even interchangeable. You can't have religion without faith, but you CAN have faith without religion. The latter is much more difficult to achieve.

I have always thought, and have said many times, that religion is an excuse. When you "belong" to a certain religion, it changes your attitude about everyone else, and especially their religion. So people start doing things, good or bad, because of their religion. Then you have the extremists, who wear their religion on their sleeve and use it as a free pass to do just about anything they want, all in the name of their belief.

All of the things we argue regarding our society are religion-based. Pro-life vs. choice. Evolution vs. ID. Gay marriage is even a religious issue- IN THE EYES OF THOSE WHO PRACTICE RELIGION. Religion even gets in the way of hetero marriage. If you are not the same religion, no matter how much you love each other or want to marry, it can be the only factor keeping you from doing so. How is that healthy?

Therefore you have all these people who practice their religions behaving as the biggest hypocrites of all.

Faith, on the other hand, I think is good for a society, and can bring people together.

But faith and religion are not the same. People are divided by religion. Even patriotism could be a religion, for they worship the flag as a Catholic worships the cross. When a group only believes one thing or religion, lines are drawn in the sand and people begin to segregate. You are limited by religion, because it is only one set of beliefs. If you label anyone a certain religion, you automatically set a bias.

John Lennon is right. Just imagine if there was no religion. It would be beautiful.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Be Attentive Today

Do not go after the past,
Nor lose yourself in the future.
For the past no longer exists,
And the future is not yet here.

By looking deeply at things just as they are,
In this moment, here and now,
The seeker lives calmly and freely.

You should be attentive today,
For waiting until tomorrow is too late.
Death can come and take us by surprise--
How can we gainsay it?

The one who knows
How to live attentively
Night and day
Is the one who knows
The best way to be independent.

-Bhaddekaratta Sutra

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Addendum to my movie review

A friend was trying to find the movie from my September 11 post on the net to download. Instead he found something even better. A parady of the movie itself. Well, a parady of sorts, but they mix real footage along with their fun. And it's very good.

A little long, but if you've got an hour to kill, it's worth it. I'm glad I wasn't alone in my assessment of the movie. :-)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Sevens- a badly needed mind-break!

Found this on a fellow Arizona Blogger's site.. figured what the hell. I need the change of pace. :-)

And y'all need more to know about me. I command it.

7 things I plan to do before I die:

1) See a space shuttle launch.
2) Go to Europe
3) Own a swimming pool.
4) Write a book.
5) Be a foster parent.
6) Live on the East Coast.
7) Drive in an actual race car, on an actual race track of course.

7 things I can do:
1) Piss off conservatives.
2) Play the viola, and actually play it well.
3) admit I'm a very bad driver
4) listen.
5) justify just about anything I purchase at a mall. But can it wait until after my nail appointment?
6) laugh, mostly at myself.
7) well... I will just leave this to the imagination. But if you ever see my husband with a huge grin on his face... ;-)

7 things I cannot do:
1) Speak a language other than English.
2) Stop blogging and posting on the internet.
3) Stay focused on one task. I must do two or three or four things at once.
4) Buy an SUV. (yes, we own a Highlander. But the gas milage is the same as my minivan!)
5) Dance.
6) Keep my children from growing up.
7) Stop answering these "about you" types of emails and such.

7 things that attract me to the opposite sex:
1) Intelligence (need a mind connect or just quit wasting my time).
2) Eyes.
3) Someone who will take the time to do something for me that I like. Even if they don't like it.
4) Someone who gets ME. Even when I know for a fact whatever I am saying is completely insane.
5) Voice. Since I like to listen, he'd better have a decent speaking voice.
6) Libido. (god I hope my parents don't read this! How embarassing!!!!)
7) Someone as passionate about everything as I am.

7 things that I say most often:
1) "Don't answer it!"
2) "Allison- it's for you!!"
3) "Quit fighting!"
4) "I SAID, quit fighting!"
5) "WHAT!!"
6) "I love you too baby."
7) "What the fuck?" (Or, "what the fuuuuuuudge" when I realize my kids are standing there).

7 celebrity crushes:
1) Ewan MacGregor
2) Jon Stewart
3) Antonio Bandaras
4) Viggo Mortensen
5) Jon Bon Jovi
6) Vince Vaughn
7) Angelina Jolie (I know.. but I love her mouth! Again, hope my parents aren't reading!)

7 people I want to do this:
1)I will get to this later. But you all know who you are.

A movie review just in time for an anniversary

I had no clue this movie existed, and the other night I was channel-surfing and caught it in the middle. So I recorded the next showing, because curiosity got the better of me. Made in 2003, it first aired on Showtime just in time for the two year anniversary of 9-11. Also just in time for the re-election campaign I imagine.

So I sat down and prepared to be amused for two hours. Amused would not be how I can describe my reaction to this film. Nauseated would be closer I think. Right from the get-go it was apparent this movie was nothing but Pro-Bush propaganda. Andrew Card goes in, tells Bush that the second tower had been hit. You see a serious Bush, contemplating his next move. Looking VERY presidential... he quickly makes an excuse to get out of there as smoothly as possible, with the least amount of distraction for the children.

Oh- did I mention? There was not a copy of "My Pet Goat" to be seen. Seems that significant fact didn't make it in editing. If it were filmed at all...

Oh they were good. The showed the George W. Bush that we all WANTED to have. The strong, take-charge, presidential one. Barking orders left and right. Demanding to speak to the people, and get back to the White House. They even made Cheney out to be some bumbling idiot, not in control and having no clue what to do. Ha. Hahaha.

When discussing Bin Laden and Afghanistan, they made sure to throw in that Iraq was next in the war on terror. Like it was just supposed to be that way. I believe it was quoted that "first Afghanistan. Saddam will just have to wait his turn. But his turn is coming." Or some outrageous bullshit like that. As if Iraq was always meant to be part of the equation. Which is was, but not for the reasons they were claiming in the movie. Hell even since the movie during all of 2004 all the real reasons came to surface. It was well done- the way they kept bringing up Iraq, just so those who are stupid enough to buy into this movie would keep the 9-11/Saddam connection.

Which was further brought home in the scene where Bush goes to NYC. They had people coming up to the President, telling him, "get those motherfuckers George." "kill the bastards!" I do not doubt there was a lot of anger at those who crashed those towers, but the line is reallllly fuzzy in the movie as to whom we should actually be blaming.

It took me two nights to watch this movie in its entirety. I must say this is probably the most insulting and offensive movie I have ever seen. There is absolutely NO way a movie made from the other viewpoints would ever be made. The powers that be would never allow it, and they would use the excuse that it would be offensive to those who died and suffered on 9-11. Pfft.

So fast forward to today, the 4th anniversary of 9-11-01. Are we safer? As people still lay stranded and dying on our own land in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, this question continues to come to mind. Another terrorist attack from across the ocean is the very least of our problems. We have terrorists among us, right here under our noses. The elite who would rather not be bothered by those suffering under a certain income level.

The terrorists like those who did indeed attack us four years ago have it made. All they have to do is sit back, and watch us destroy ourselves.

Mission Accomplished.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Nightmares stemmed by guilt?

This whole weekend has been rough. Trying to figure out the best way to help these poor people who have lost everything. My anger over the way this entire emergency situation was handled grows. The things I am finding out just make my jaw drop. Why would FEMA keep trucks full of food and the Red Cross away from the area? It just doesn't make any sense, when you look at it from a humanitarian standpoint.

Then late last night I caught a replay of "Oprah", and was just stunned. She demanded to see inside the Superdome. They tried to keep her out, but she needed to see. Needed to see what these people had to live in for a week before help arrived. GOOD for her, no way anyone with the last name of Bush would even bother.

After each segment they would go back to her live, and she was in tears. EVERY TIME. She was in there trying to put families back together. One at a time. Just watching her, you could see the concern and desperation on her face as she did so, all the while reassuring others who were trying to give her names. So different than the Bush photo-ops, or Barbara's recent comments.

I'm trying to do what I can. I created a fund-raiser to try and help a family or two that have been re-located to Arizona. I want the funds to go directly to someone, not lost in the big pot of the Red Cross or Salvation Army. So far so good. I'm happy to be doing what little I can.

Though there is guilt. Yesterday in the paper was an article by that favorite writer of mine, EJ Montini. Be thankful for your daily grind. Be thankful you have a home, you have money, you know where your family is. We just got 4 plane tickets so we could all fly east over the Christmas holiday. I don't have to tell you how much it cost, we all know ticket prices. Bret says I should not feel guilty for what we have. It isn't that I feel guilty for what I have, I of course am always thankful. Yet, I can't help but think of those who are sitting there who have just lost their daily grind. While I'm planning to visit my family who I can pretty much see whenever, there are those who have lost family members. There are those who have no clue WHERE their family members are at the moment. Four plane tickets. Money that could be better spent on helping a family get on their feet again after this disaster. So yes, I feel a bit of guilt. I shouldn't be so selfish.

The kicker last night was my nightmare. I finished that episode of Oprah at one in the morning. Made a post on my network about it, then went to bed. Only to be awoken by my mind at 3:30. I'm in a rowboat on a river, or a lake. I slowly begin to notice that I am not on either, but on a flooded street. I see tops of houses and trees all around me. I look down into the boat and notice a fishing pole, the line cast. I'm fishing? Then the line jerks, apparently I've caught something. I reach over and start pulling, struggling with the line. Finally I give it one last great pull, and am knocked off my feet. At the end of the line is a small child's body.

Then I woke up.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

How do you continue to have faith?

I'm frustrated. When hurricane Katrina hit, it was just plain awful. Really there are no words to describe it. I always feel empathetic when I see people displaced from their homes and lives, after my own experiences with a fire in high school that burned down our apartment complex. I know what it is like to lose everything and live off of handouts temporarily. But this- this goes way beyond anything imaginable. The footage might as well be from a third world country.

I tried not to think about the political aspects of this tragedy. I actually DEFENDED the President and his efforts to try and get help to the region as quickly as possible. I knew he could have done more, but I just wanted help to get to the people. Deal with the timelines later. Maybe in the aftermath, everything would make sense. Oh did I get smacked around on my network for this! Everyone thought I had a lobotomy. Even my husband was asking if I was feeling ok. He said he couldn't believe HE was acting more left in this matter than I was. I didn't care. All I cared about was watching the people, and figuring out how I can help. Wishing it were conceivable to jump on a plane and go volunteer. Pretty much the same feelings I had after the Tsunami hit in December.

So now, here it is a few days after Bush has brought in aid to the region, a week after the initial storm. Two thousand victims are being brought to Arizona today. My time to help is near. The process of saving remaining lives is slowly beginning. Then I read this last night, from CNN:

Chertoff: Katrina scenario did not exist However, experts for years had warned of threat to New Orleans Defending the U.S. government's response to Hurricane Katrina, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff argued Saturday that government planners did not predict such a disaster ever could occur.

But in fact, government officials, scientists and journalists have warned of such a scenario for years.

Chertoff, fielding questions from reporters, said government officials did not expect both a powerful hurricane and a breach of levees that would flood the city of New Orleans. (See the video on a local paper's prophetic warning -- 3:30 )
"That 'perfect storm' of a combination of catastrophes exceeded the foresight of the planners, and maybe anybodies foresight," Chertoff said.

He called the disaster "breathtaking in its surprise."

Um, what? I should not have been shocked, but I couldn't believe what I was reading. The denial has begun. Now the administration is pointing fingers at the state level to avoid any blame. WHY???

I can allow myself to get angry now. I keep hoping- nearly praying- that there is some ounce of selflessness in these people, and that they can be big enough HUMANS to accept blame. But flashes of how 9-11 and Iraq was handled keep coming back to me. I don't think I have ever felt such disappointment. At least not since the "re-election" of Bush in November.

How do you continue to have faith in government when they keep showing themselves for the spineless bastards that they are?

Oh yes, I am angry now. Angry at myself mostly, for thinking there are noble efforts in this current administration. Never again. I cannot wait for this administration to be gone- our country has been stained enough. There is no value at all for human life within these people.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The Independent Nation of... Arizona?

It's reporters and columnists such as Montini here that give me the strength to literally sweat out another day in the desert, along with Steve Benson's Editorial comics. ~D

From The Arizona Republic:
Making the case for an independent nation of Arizona

Sept. 1, 2005 12:00 AM

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas apparently wants to be the president . . . of Arizona. And who knows? Maybe he's on to something. Maybe the county prosecutor's desire to have Arizona's police officers take over what is supposed to be the job of federal immigration authorities is the first step toward our state becoming an independent nation.

Gov. Janet Napolitano has tilted in that same direction. Not long ago she declared a state of emergency in order to free up $1.5 million in disaster funds to aid those counties on the border most hard hit by illegal immigration and drug smuggling.

"This is a federal responsibility, and they're not meeting it," the governor said. "I've just come to the conclusion (that) we've got to do what we can at the state level until the federal government picks up the pace."

And what if it doesn't?

We've got another would-be contender for president of Arizona proposing that we build our own Great Wall along the border with Mexico. State Rep. Russell Pearce wants Arizona to spend half a billion dollars in order to erect a 350-mile barricade.

But why stop there? Why not a wall between us and California? Us and New Mexico? Us and Utah? We could be a fortress nation, like Oz. We're already full of Munchkins, tin men, scarecrows, cowardly lions and phony wizards.

Think of the benefits. Once we declare our independence, all of our National Guard and reserve troops in Iraq would be sent home immediately. The nation of Arizona isn't at war, after all. We could take those citizen soldiers and post them on our grand and glorious new wall.

We wouldn't have to ship any more of our money to Washington, D.C. And as an added bonus, we wouldn't have to issue passports for re-entry to any of the politicians we've sent there.

Neither the U.S. Congress nor the U.S. Supreme Court could tell us what to do.

We could refuse to join the United Nations, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organization of American States, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization and World Health Organization. Instead, we'd cast our lot with the only international federation suited to our deportment: the World Wrestling Enterainment.

Arizona politicians, who for years have spent money like they were printing it themselves, could actually print it themselves. We could stubbornly refuse to go along with daylight-saving time. (Wait, we already do that.) We could put jail inmates in pink underwear and pretend that it's crime prevention. (We do that, too.) We could build fancy new stadiums for already wealthy sports team owners. (Yep.)

We could elect people who believe that the best way to spend our tax money is to enforce laws that the federal government already is being paid to enforce. Along with people who want to erect giant walls.

Prosecutor Thomas is upset because some of Arizona's police agencies say that they don't have the money or manpower to go after undocumented immigrants or those who bring them here.

As a sovereign nation, we could do that.

Then, we could round up all of the non-citizens hiding in the new Arizona (many from that nation to the south) and ship them out of our country. This quickly would cause the economy to spiral downward and transform our newly independent republic into a Third World country. Which would be a dream come true.

Once Arizona is no longer part of the union, we could establish diplomatic relations with the United States and qualify for something that none of the remaining 49 states could hope to receive: foreign aid.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

An Evening At The Roller Rink

My first "French" kiss was at the roller rink (no not last night). Good old Ken Hyde, and we were in Jr. High School. I remember nothing except thinking, "hm. This isn't as gross as I thought it would be."

There was a fund-raiser last night for the school. Both the girls were WAY excited. I knew there was no way out of it, especially when they jumped in the van after school donning a sticker that said, "Don't forget about Skateland tonight!" Oy.

OK, I was excited too. Girls night out at the roller rink. Skating with my girls. Mingling with the school-folk. It would be fun, if I didn't fall on my ass.

So, after waiting a half-hour in line to get in, we got our skates, then I got in the food line to get them a pizza for dinner. Twenty-minutes there, and had to help them both with their skates while waiting in line. Allison took off to find her friends as soon as I tied her laces, and Samantha went BOOM! right on her butt within 15 seconds.

She gingerly got her footing, and proceeded to get comfortable skating on the carpet, while I finally was able to put my skates on. Tadaaa!!!!! I looked around for my girls, and they were no-where to be found. Hmph. Finally I found Sam, but she didn't want to go out on the rink. She was enjoying skating down the ramp and catching herself at the last moment with the railing.

Then Allison. Well, I was not stepping in the love-triangle that is between her, her best friend, and the cute little boy between them. Yikes.

I then admitted defeat in my girls night out, and went to converse with the other parents.
Because, really when you think about it, that is where I belong now when I go to the roller rink.
I did get a couple times around though. And yes, it was fun.

And no, I didn't fall on my ass.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Another internet friend becomes real

If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm a fairly social person. I do the mom-thing, and have a few good friends in that arena. I often say I keep my social calendar fairly full because of my children. I party more now than I did pre-kids! (Note to self: get present for bday party Saturday.) I also have the school-mom thing, and a few friends there as well (Note to self: get tickets for school roller-skating party on Wednesday.) I even manage to make it out every now and then for a date with the hubby (note to self: talk to neighbors about starting up weekly date nights!)

The internet has become a good social outlet for me as well. I know this seems odd to some, but since there are times you can't get out when you would like to, it's a nice back-up plan. Now, don't get me wrong. There are a few people I talk to on the internet that I would pretty much rather not meet in person, and I'm perfectly happy to keep it that way. I've also been pretty lucky that the few I've met over the course of the last year, have not been insane asylum escapees. Of course I knew that before I met them all.

I think. Hmm...

So my latest victim, Marla, came into town this past week due to her husband's job. We've always had good talks online, and I was excited to show her around town while her husband was out at work. My kids also went back to school last week, so I didn't have to juggle them too much either. Though after dragging her around on my errands the first day, I was sure I wouldn't see her for the rest of the week!

It was a good time. We walked Chandler Mall, and I was able to show her my old stomping grounds by taking her to Downtown Tempe and wandering around for the day (you pass my old high school and ASU on the way). Then yesterday we had her and her husband over for dinner, so they could meet the rest of the family. I could also reassure my husband of whom I had really just spend the last week with. ;-)

The kids enjoyed meeting them and their dog, Piper, making sure to run the poor thing ragged while they were over. Bret enjoyed meeting them too, as well as the fact I actually cooked a meal that wasn't in a box or delivered. :-)))

She's got her own photo blog with shots from her trip. I think I might even be in one of them! Check out her Wicked Wanderings here

Who will be my next victim? Who knows what the future will hold. For now, it's off to get the birthday present I mentioned above.

And knowing I have another friend in the world. That's a good feeling. :-)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

First Day Of School

Oooh they were excited. Awake, dressed and asking if it was time to go an hour before it was time to go.

New outfits, and new transitions. Youngest one officially school-age now, Kindergarden.

Though no one, I say NO ONE, happier than me.
Yet, still a little sad. :-)