Sunday, December 03, 2006

The unexpected layover

When I was in my early 20's, younger and definitely kinda stupid, as so many people in their 20's are, (no offense to the 20 year olds- you'll understand in about 10 years) a group of us always used to go and hang out at the airport. Yes, the airport. Remember those pre 9/11 days when you could go to the airport, go through security whether you had a flight or not, and head right to the gate? Well, we'd do this for fun. 3am and we'd hang at the airport. Steal a wheelchair and take rides down the parking garage ramp.

God immaturity was bliss... the only thing I want back from my 20's is my body.

Friday I was thinking about how we used to do that while I was stuck in Chicago's airport for eighteen hours. Yes, that is a 1-8. I am currently in Boston, visiting Dad for a quick weekend. I took a red-eye that left at midnight Thursday/Friday, because I figured I'd get more time that way.

Ha. We landed, and I saw the snow flurries. My first thought was, "I'm going to get delayed." Yep. My flight was supposed to leave at 7. It was moved to 8am. No problem, I found a corner and recorded some audio for my next podcast. Do you know they played dance music on the plane when everyone was boarding at midnight, then when we were getting off at 4am? It was so funny- a plane full of tired people and there is dance music playing while we get off the plane.

Then as we were waiting, the snow still coming down quite steadily, I noticed the departure board. Everything was cancelled- EXCEPT my flight. Wow. They held on as long as possible, then after moving it to 9am, realized it just wasn't fair to tease us any longer, and they cancelled it.

Well ok then. I got it changed to a 7:30 flight that evening. Nothing was going out any earlier. I played with the idea of leaving and actually seeing a little more of Chicago than the airport, but I decided to try and sleep a bit. Well that didn't work either. Every 10 minutes or so I woke up. So I gave up, found a place to eat, and listened to some podcasts. I had no idea I'd have so much time to listen! Thank you ROFLcast, and Wingin It!, for helping me get through my day. I had 6 episodes of one and 4 of the other to catch up on.

By 4pm I was feeling it- I was wandering through the airport in a daze. I had to find a place to recharge my iPod. Wow- those are highly sought after things in airports. It's like finding a parking space at the mall during Christmas season. Two people see the same outlet and the gloves come off.
And could you please tell me why you're so goddammed important that you have to dress up to fly in an airplane? Yeesh, I'll take comfort over a nice sweater and high-heels any day. I am not curling my hair and wearing make up fora plane ride- who the fuck cares? You are NOT all that.

So my flight for 7:30 gets delayed again, and now I'm starting to feel more bitchy about it. That was mostly because the lady next to me was complaining about how she wouldn't have left home so soon for this flight if she knew it was going to be delayed 90 minutes. I fought off the urge to deck her. Husband said if it was delayed one more time, that I should probably just fly home, because I'd be no good visiting with my dad. He was right, but we finally took off and I was on my way...

... into another storm. Boston had wind gusts and thunderstorms, so it was NOT a fun flight. Had to change our runway at the last moment, so that was delightful. Everyone was rather unnerved. But obviously we touched down, and I got to my sister's at about 1:30am. Immediately crashed, which is quite telling considering I NEVER crash so quickly.

In the end, it was worth it, because I hada great visit with Dad today. He looks great! Tomorrow I'll see him for breakfast, then whoosh back home again. We all will be back in a few weeks for Christmas. My girls can't wait to see their grandpa, as well as the husband. It will be a good Christmas this year I think. Funny how facing the mortality of a loved one makes everyone suddenly bond and focus on the good things. If only the planet lived this way all the time, I think we'd see a much different world.

Everyone keep your fingers crossed that I actually get home on time!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Finally, the feeling hit.

I felt it for the first time today. Everyone was getting a little worried about me. Well, my husband was anyhow. For so many years the season began right at Thanksgiving. Friday was ALWAYS when, as my sister-in-law coined it many years ago, Christmas throws up in my home. Instead we were SO busy with other things, I didn't even kick him up into the attic until Saturday.

Then company didn't leave until Monday. Now, I LOVE having them, I really do. It just gets a little long at the end. You know, you just want your house and your life back. I feel for my sister when we go and visit, because it's the same thing. You can be the most hands-off houseguest on the planet, but the fact is you are -still- there. It's an energy thing.

Throw into the fact that being a woman sucks at least one time every month, and you sum up the beginning of the week for me. Monday I accomplished nothing. Tuesday I did a little better, but still just didn't feel it. I didn't even feel like editing, and I love to edit!

Today though, I caught up a bit. Halfway through my editing, and made another promo for the radio station. Then when the kids came home, I dusted off the boxes of ornaments in the garage and dragged them inside. Turned on the Christmas music, and - wow.

It just happened. That warm, fuzzy feeling watching the girls happily discover their ornaments and find places to put them on the tree, while I went through another couple of boxes and added holiday foliage throughout the house (I love wreaths, as wel as the greenery and the flowers of the season). It suddenly became colder here today as well, a wind with a bit of a nip in the air. I paused to watch my dear daughters actually getting along decorating the tree, and just smiled. We sang carols together, and naturally I took a couple photos.

I hung the mistletoe too... ;-)

NOW it's looking a lot more like Christmas.

Monday, November 06, 2006

VOTE Tomorrow!

Then tune in tomorrow night at 8pm MST to KQCX 99.1FM for election result coverage up until midnight! A lot of it will be AZ results, but if you'd like to shout out about your voting experience, or anything at all, give me a ring at (602)386-2828.

Also, check out this, and this : great information- so we can keep the election as on the level as possible!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Thoughts about Dad

This year I turned 17. I'm one of the lucky ones who got to do this twice. When I turned 17 the first time, I was not even 24 hours in a foster-care shelter. My future was uncertain, but somehow I knew I would land on my feet.

That was exactly half my life ago.

This year as I turned 17 again, my foster father- no, I can't even call him my foster father, my Dad- sits in a hospital room awaiting a second round of chemotherapy for Adult Acute Myeloid Leukemia. They had hoped it was only going to be one round, a month in the hospital, done deal. No such luck there. Second round, as well as a stem cell transplant. Instead of one month, now it will be three months more. He will be hospitalized for all of the holidays.

His future is uncertain, and I try to be as positive as possible that he will land on his feet.

I try not to be stressed, to play it off stoically, but inside I keep thinking, this is a man who made me believe that all fathers weren't assholes. He gave me away at my wedding, not three years after becoming my father. He introduced me to broccoli ice cream... ;-)

Really, he is the man who saved my life.

How can I save his?

Any man can be a father. It takes someone special to be a dad. ~Author Unknown

I love my father as the stars - he's a a bright shining example and a happy twinkling in my heart. ~Adabella Radici

Old as she was, she still missed her daddy sometimes. ~Gloria Naylor

Blessed is the influence of one true, loving human soul on another. ~George Eliot

Local News Segments

I was just thinking, you locals on the AZ blog roll, here is a LINK to the radio segments that I put in the podcast feed. I cover alot of local news, and give my opinions every now and then too. So you may enjoy it- you may not. :-)

A Tillman Speaks

I had this over on my podcast site, because I referred to it in one of my radio segments that I put in the feed. I realize I haven't been over here in quite some time. Alot of personal stuff with the family has been going on, and the radio thing is really sucking my time, so I just haven't had the energy to keep things up here.
I'll try to catch up soon. My husband wants to know what's going on in my life... ;-)

Until then, pass this on, it's almost two weeks old, but still worth passing.

After Pat's Birthday

Posted on Oct 19, 2006
Pat and Kevin Tillman
Courtesy the Tillman Family

By Kevin Tillman

It is Pat's birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice├»¿½ until we get out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can't be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few bad apples in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It's interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.

Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.

Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.

Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.

Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.

Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.

Somehow torture is tolerated.

Somehow lying is tolerated.

Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.

Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.

Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.

Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don't be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that somehow was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat's birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,

Kevin Tillman


Friday, September 15, 2006

Jake Plummer speaks about Pat Tillman

Thank you Crooks and Liars for picking this up!

Jake Plummer is outraged over the treatment of Pat Tillman: They knew it was friendly fire then–it makes you sick

Jake-Plummer.jpg On HBO’s Inside the NFL, Peter King interviewed Denver QB Jake Plummer about the horrific treatment the Tillman family have received over Pat’s death. There have been four investigations into what really happened to him and now a fifth one is getting close to being completed. How reprehensible has this been for the Tillman family? Pat is killed and they were repeatedly lied to. The family is not speaking out, but Plummer is. Good for him. Somebody has to.

Video-WMP Video-QT (rough transcript)

King: When you first heard that they hid these irregularities, were you outraged?

Plummer: It just made you feel kinda sick that they’d cover up something like that to–for whatever reason. We were all led to believe he died in leading his troops up the hill and then they come tell us it wasn’t–it was friendly fire. What can you do– you’re at their mercy just feel for the family…


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Thinking about my sistah

She's having surgery today. I love her.

Having a sister is like having a best friend you can't get rid of. You know whatever you do, they'll still be there. ~Amy Li

Is solace anywhere more comforting than in the arms of a sister. ~Alice Walker

You can kid the world. But not your sister. ~Charlotte Gray

In thee my soul shall own combined the sister and the friend. ~Catherine Killigrew

More than Santa Claus, your sister knows when you've been bad and good. ~Linda Sunshine

You keep your past by having sisters. As you get older, they're the only ones who don't get bored if you talk about your memories. ~Deborah Moggach

She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities. She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway. She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion, someone who knows when you are smiling, even in the dark. She is your teacher, your defense attorney, your personal press agent, even your shrink. ~Barbara Alpert

When sisters stand shoulder to shoulder, who stands a chance against us? ~Pam Brown

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Listen Up Friends!

No, seriously, listen up! Like, in the evenings Monday through Friday... :-D

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Tell CNN You Won't Watch 9-11 Footage!

I read a mind-blowing article the other day:

Basically it talks about two things. One, CNN is going to run all of it's footage from 9/11/2001 ALL DAY MONDAY. Two, the Docudrama airing on ABC beginning Sunday night about how Clinton is uh, really the one to blame for the attacks.

OK. I have once again entered a parallel universe. So, I decided it was time for another podcast.
Here's the link, and some of the script from my "rant":

I want to post the text of my mini rant in this episode, I know some of you don't have access to audio, and I want my words to be passed on if possible, and if you feel they should be... :-)

Well, it seems that I’m getting irked a lot more lately. Could this have anything to do with an election coming up, or with anniversaries to remind me about our incompetent government? Last week it was Katrina. That was short lived in the media, because lo and behold, it’s the 5th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the United States.

Now please don’t get me wrong here, because both events were devastating, and both deeply moved me and broke my heart in different ways. But- Whew! Boy, our government sure gets off easy, doesn’t it? No need to shuffle uncomfortably while race and class issues are brought up, not to mention the horrible response time, or how one year later so much still needs to be done to get New Orleans on it’s feet again. Because September 11th is here! And it’s even a significant year- 5! Like a child’s 5th birthday, let’s play it up as much as we can!

And how are they playing this up? Well, the Oliver Stone movie World Trade Center came out a few weeks ago. But wait- there is so much more commemorative fear mongering goodness still yet to be had! CNN is REBROADCASTING all of its 9-11 footage starting at 8:30 am, and going until midnight. And hey- if you don’t have CNN, go on over and catch it on their website. In your face New Orleans! Obviously all the coverage Anderson Cooper did for CNN after Katrina doesn’t mean shit- where is the fear in that? That will just make you angry.. and at the wrong people.
If anyone sees how wrong doing something like this is- the way I see how wrong it is, please send CNN an email telling them so, and that you’re not going to watch it, and that you’re going to tell everyone you know to not watch it. I’ll have a link to how to contact CNN in the show notes.

So, if re-playing reality isn’t enough to bring that deep-rooted fear of a different skin color and way of life to the surface, how about a two day event? ABC is running a miniseries starting September 10 called, “the Path to 9-11”. And to whom does it push all of the responsibility for what happened on September 11th, 2001 on? That’s right! The natural and most obvious choice!

President Clinton! Why of COURSE. Because Clinton should have acted on that memo written in summer 2001 advising Condolezza Rice that terrorists could very well fly planes into buildings. He should have gotten on the horn and pulled President Bush right off the golf course that summer. God dammit Billy! What the hell- we’re you off getting another blow job or something? Presidential duties apparently are not supposed to end after your presidency- I mean geez didn’t you get THAT memo???

Sure, the world trade center was bombed in 1993. It was a very scary moment and people were hurt. Same with the bombing of the USS Cole in what was it? 2000? But does anyone ever stop and think WHY there wasn’t the same outcry of anger and fear from the people? Why the media, while yes they did focus and devote attention to this news, they still did not hype it up the way the 9-11 has been? Does anyone think about WHY terrorism hasn’t been high priority problem UNTIL after Bush became president?

Well I’ll tell you. Because Clinton was a president without an agenda. So please, don’t buy into the fear hype. It’s just not worth it, and when you think about it, you’re just giving more power and control to the more immediate threats to the United States right now. And they reside in Washington DC.

I’d like to read you a definition.

the principle that individuals, organizations and the community are responsible for their actions and may be required to explain them to others.

being obliged to answer for one's actions, to an authority that may impose a penalty for failure.

is the capacity to account for one's actions; or as a representative of one's organization, to account for either your actions or the actions of your organization.

refers to the pyramid of responsibility beginning with the individual and building to top management.

the notion that an individual must answer completely for his or her own actions, regardless of circumstances.

Yeah, I know I don’t have to tell you what the word is, even if part of it had not been used in the definition.


I hope if you listen you will stick around for the rest of the cast, it's a good show. ;-)
And everyone EMAIL CNN!

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Shamelessly Swiped Quiz Goodness

From a new friend's blog! See- there is a point to these things!

Dani took the free personality test!

Existing Situation
Works well in cooperation with others but is disinclined to take the leading role. Needs a personal life of mutual understanding and freedom from discord.

Stress Sources
Wishes to be independent, unhampered, and free from any limitation or restriction, other than those which she imposes of herself or by her own choice and decision.

Restrained Characteristics
Willing to become emotionally involved and able to achieve satisfaction through sexual activity.
Feels that she is burdened with more than her fair share of problems. However, she sticks to her goals and tries to overcome her difficulties by being flexible and accommodating.

Desired Objective
Longs for a tender and sympathetic bond and for a situation of idealized harmony. Has an imperative need for tenderness and affection. Susceptible to anything esthetic.

Actual Problem
Seeks to avoid criticism and to prevent restriction of her freedom to act, and to decide for herself by the exercise of great personal charm in her dealings with others.

Heh, some of these were quite interesting, and worth contemplation.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Home Alone

Well now, seems I have a quiet house this weekend. Rest of the family going off to the mountains, and I elected to stay behind. Allie and Bret leave in the morning to go and open up the cabin. She is very excited because they are taking the tent. She really wants to camp outside. We are skeptical she will make it all the way through the night, as she still sleeps with a night light, but at least there is the cabin as a back up. I'm feeling a little Mommy-guilt, but also this will be good time for Bret and the girls. He gets such little time with them, this will be good. And I get p-l-e-n-t-y.

Tomorrow night (oh dear that is actually tonight isn't it?) also happens to be open house at the school. So they are driving back down for it, then will leave with Samantha in tow to drive back up after that. Normally I wouldn't care about open house, but it's new classrooms for both of them. They have both just spent three years with the same teachers, so it's a big deal, the two of them moving on.

And I come home to a quiet house. A quiet house that OMG I really want to clean this weekend.

Of course, really wanting to do something and actually doing it are two entirely different things.

Bret asked if I would call Christine and finally see something gory and gross at the movies, since he doesn't like horror movies. Oh it's tempting.

But you know? I think I want the alone time. I might see if Inconvenient Truth is still playing. I definitely want to take a bath. A nice, long, bath that smells like vanilla and gardenia, and for once not be interrupted until the water runs cool. Heh, knowing me I will listen to podcasts.

I want to record another podcast too. I worked really hard this week on Sonic Society's podcast, to get their Firefly premiere up and out. I really didn't have any idea they would even be podcasting it until I got back from our SD trip and they called me. I thought they would strictly be running it through their other site. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. It was fun editing the interview, and I think I did really well making it sound like we did talk for 15 minutes instead of 30. Then putting it all together, well, I always love that part. Making it flow.

So I didn't mind putting aside my own podcast things for the week, because I knew I would have this weekend.

Movies! I want to watch movies! Memento. I know someone who would be shocked I have not seen it yet. So I want to rent that. Henry and June. Oh that is a beautiful, sexy movie.

But maybe I'll just sleep all weekend. Mmmmm.... sleep all weekend. GOD that would really piss me off if I did that. Afterwards, anyhow. During, I certainly wouldn't care.

I let you know what I do. ;-)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

A day at the San Diego zoo... in photos

We start with Monkeys... and end with a pretty flower I noticed along the way. I'm glad the dew showed up- because the only flowers we see here are wilted and brown and dead.

It was nice having the mist in the air while walking around, I didn't really feel like spending another day in the sun. The universe was looking out for me. We drove home after that, and made it home about 7ish. I really am amazed at what an easy trek it is! Sandi was of course happy to see us, but Chris (our neighbor) took good care of her while we were gone.

The next day I was thrown right back into the fray with a podcast meeting with two of my favorite Canadians. I do enjoy talking with them both, and am always humbled and honored that they have so much faith in me and what I do for them. Honestly, I am just enjoying myself, and learning as I go along. But I must be doing something right, as they are professionals and if I weren't I bet they would have axed me long ago! I just hope they don't forget me when they are rich and famous. Honestly though, I just enjoy, and have enjoyed watching from behind the scenes as their company has grown in just a year's time. I hope they are as proud of it as I am of them! Then we set up a time to do an interview the following day for a new production they are releasing. (Hint: If you're a Firefly fan, oh you are SO gonna love this!)

Saturday, everything sort of hit me from the trip. I did the interview, and was not happy with my end of it. I was just OUT of it. They even noticed, which is bad. But I think I perked up enough to fake it well enough. Then the rest of the day I did a little posting on my TS network, and layed around. I mean, I was barely off the couch the whole day, I was so drained. I guess the days of walking around and not sleeping in my own bed finally caught up with me.

Anyway, this is the last week of summer vacation!! WooHOO! You know what that means....


Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Beach Bums

I will miss the smell in the air. That salty, ocean smell. Rob says he doesn't really notice it any more, but I just love it. I am probably just happy that for a few blessed days I wasn't breathing dust.

Today hands down was my favorite day of the trip, and we haven't even gotten to tomorrow yet. Rob took us to Coronado Beach for the day. Well, really it turned out to be about 4 hours. Now I've spent time on the beach before. But this was the girls' first time. Bret almost ruined their experience by telling them that if they went too far they would get sucked out to sea. Samantha immediately said she wasn't going in at all. Oy. But when we got there I showed them how all the other kids were playing and how far THEY were in the water, and they jumped right in and had a grand time.

Luckily, Rob had one of those mini pop-up tents, so that helped us stay longer than we might have originally. Rob and I worshipped the sun while Bret sat in the tent. Allison made a sand castle while Sam watched. As I watched them I noticed Sam looked a little tired, so I went over and asked her if she wanted to sit in the tent with her dad. She ended up falling asleep for a half hour or so.

Later, I walked along with Sam to help her find shells. Then Bret went with both girls. I did get a little podcast listening in. A couple episodes of Poddog, but mostly I liked listening to the ocean. A more perfect afternoon could not be had.

(The best way to see me in a swimsuit- from a distance!)

The girls also got their first experience with sand in uncomfortable places. When asked if they wanted ice cram first, or to go back to the hotel and shower, they both answered without thinking, "HOTEL!" Heeheee... my Arizona wimps!

So we showered, went to dinner, stopped in Balboa Park for a spell, THEN got ice cream. I swear, I will have to eat nothing but salad for a week, I've consumed so much meat these past few days. I just feel heavy, and I know I probably didn't gain much, but you know, it just sits there and you feel blah.

So now I'm sitting here scribbling while trying to get my two over-exhausted and over-sugared kids to settle. Tomorrow Rob was going to take them to the zoo and give Bret and I some time, but Bret really wants to go with them. I was hoping for some time here alone. Oh well, at least we get a little this weekend when Rob is back in Phoenix visiting his parents. I also get a short weekend when Bret takes the kids to the cabin the following weekend, so that will be wonderful. I do like going up, but I really don't have the same connection to the place that Bret does. It's easy for me to choose not to go. I've had TONS of quality time with the girls this summer, it will be good for Daddy and the girls to go. AND they get to spend time there with Nana's too!

So after the zoo tomorrow we head home. Will probably get in around 8 or 9. It was a very pleasant mini-vacation. I got alot of my thoughts centered again, which is always good. I think I just need to spend less time on the computer for the most part. It always seems to make me sort of sad now. I'm usually happier when I'm away. Then I'm not looking for people that will not be there anyway.

OK, they are finally settling, I think I will try and rest now, and get some more podcasts in. This writing thing is hard on the hand!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

How many legos does it take to build the world?

Have I mentioned I wish Bret had brought his laptop? At least I could blog this stuff directly then. Seriously, my handwriting it total crap. Who knows WHAT this will say when I transcribe it over. That's how awful it is. Doctors have better handwriting than I do.

I certainly understand why he wouldn't bring it along. With a new round of layoffs coming this week, he'd be checking his email for sure. And if there is bad news, why ruin your vacation? Poor man, he's under so much stress. I'm doing my best to keep the family end non-stressful, but we all know how lousy at that I am. :-(

Anyway, so here I sit, with the kids watching "Ice Age" and trying to settle for the night. Don't you love how kids get more hyper when they are tired? You just want to hit them over the head with a mallet, I swear.

So today was Legoland. Uh, woohoo. The best way to describe legoland is Disneyland on Prozac. And that is exactly what I liked about it. Basically it is set up for the toddler-13 or 14-year-old crowd. Slower rides. No freaking happy music blaring subliminal messages into your head making you want to buy things. It was actually a relaxing theme park experience. I didn't even go on many rides, because they are set up for kids to go on alone for the most part.

A serene day at a theme park? Whodathunkit. We did get a bit singed though. It was overcast for much of the morning, but the sun came out later in the day. We of course forgot sunscreen. You'd think people from Arizona would know better!

We met up with Jenn and Omar for dinner. TJ is still out in Ohio with his Dad for the summer, unfortunately they got hit by the flooding going on there. The girls very much enjoyed seeing their Aunt, even briefly. I hope they get to know Omar better. Heck I want to get to know Omar better! He's a wonderful man. Just so quiet!

We also got to see our friend Tasha, who I've known for like- EVER. Ever since youth symphony in Jr. High School. Damn. That's like 20 years! I was pregnant with Allison at her wedding. Very, VERY pregnant. Honestly, I wore this yellow dress, and looked like a huge, fat pineapple thing. But, I digress...

So the last time I saw Tasha was her baby shower, when Katie and I left the kids with our respective Bret(t)s and met up there. Tonight, we got to meet her now 20-month-old twin boys, Axel and Karl. (Can you tell there is a strong Norwegian line in the family?) Oh were they CUTE. Cute, well-behaved boys in a restaurant. Hope they stay that way. :-)

We got back to the hotel, and took a dip in the pool for a bit. Well, I stuck to the hot tub. The kids don't care about a cold pool, but BRRR! I'm spoiled by bath-water temp pools... none of this 70 degree crap!

All in all a nice day. Started catching up on my podcasts too. Finished the last three chapters of 7th Son. God what a great book. He's an amazing writer, as well as an amazing promoter. One thing I need to do when I get home is finally make a promo for my Truth Seekers podcast. I made one for 7th son, and that's kind of what I want, but not custom made for a single podcast. A general one. (btw, it's played in chapter 25 if anyone's interested. ;-) ) I also listened to my buddy (and now friend) Ajay's All Axis Radio. I love love LOVE his podcast. He's another one I'm using to try and improve on mine. So, I want to promote like JC Hutchins and mix a podcast like Ajay. OMG- I do use men! LMAO!

I should be able to listen to more things tomorrow I hope- cause it's beach day! Yay!

Monday, July 31, 2006

The Day That Turned Into Days

A word of advice. Do not pick the night before driving 6 hours to San Diego from Phoenix to have an extreme case of insomnia. I managed a half an hour- 30 freaking minutes. Why does that happen when you've got shit to do? My mind for some reason would just not shut down. Normally, it wouldn't matter so much, being summer break and the kids being able to maintain their own life support for the most part now. But for once I needed to be coherent... ha.

I was thinking about friendships and relationships alot. And expectations. And how sometimes a relationship seems like one thing, then the veils are lifted and a person's true colors shine through. Sometimes it is exactly what you thought it was- a true friendship, and as the months and years go on the bond grows ever strong and true. Other times you reach out to that friend, and when they finally turn around you have no clue who that person is anymore. Then you feel foolish that you ever thought it was any different. Especially when you try to explain what you're thinking to that person. If they are set in their ways, it won't matter what you say. They are who they are, and really all you can do is choose how you are going to relate to them in the future.

I believe in equality and responsibility in relationships. All relationships. Romantic, friendship, business, it doesn't matter. Don't be emotionally dishonest, because your partner will trust you before distrusting you. It's misleading.

In the end, it does come down to one person. You. You are the only person ultimately responsible for you. You can't have anyone else be responsible for your feelings and how you relate to someone. If you try to push it onto someone else, then you are the one being emotionally dishonest. Not only to the other person, but to yourself.

That's not who I want to be. I value and respect myself too much for that. I've come too far in my path and my journey to fall backwards emotionally like that. I was told recently that because of my past I do just that. It made me angry, because I don't think it's true. I know because I feel who I am, feel it inside me. And I don't dislike the person I am at all. As a matter of fact I love the person I am very much. But that person saying those words to me did force me to look inside to check myself.

Emotional status checks are a good thing every now and again. It should be planned with your dental checkups.

And THIS is what causes insomnia folks. LOL! OK, day one San Diego: the drive there was eh, due to lack of sleep and the general grumpiness that ultimately follows. Bret got angry at my vague shortcut directions Rob had given me for going on a different highway, and thought we were lost after driving about 10 minutes after leaving Maricopa. So before calling Rob to verify we were going in the right direction, Bret pulled over into this neighborhood- and OMG I can't even call it a neighborhood because there were FOUR houses. One of which hada statue of a green alien with big black eyes in the front yard. I looked at Bret and said, "Oh no you're NOT doing this." I mean fuck, it had horror-movie premise written all over it!

"No, I'll go to that house- there are kids toys out front."
Oh. THAT makes a difference? At the same time Sam needed to go to the bathroom. Bret goes to get her out of the car too- and I'm like "oh HELL no," again. So Bret walks up to the door, and I'm looking around for Leatherface, just waiting for the chainsaw sound....

Fortunately no one answered, and Rob called back and we were on the right road. I just didn't write down that we needed to drive about 40 miles before hitting the interstate. Heh, so much for cutting a half hour off our trip.

We made it to San Diego around 4:30, called Rob, and he met us at our hotel so we could go to dinner. He took us to LaJolla to see the seals gather on the beach. The girls thought it was the most amazing thing, and were so excited to see Ocean. We went down and stuck our feet in, but the tide was starting to come in fairly high, so feet turned into wet bottoms on the girls. (THIS short-person's bottom managed to stay dry...) Then we walked uphill and had dinner. I splurged (with permission, hehe) and had LOBSTER. Mmmmm..... a whole lobster dinner for $25? Who could pass that up? Other than those who don't like lobster, of course.

Rob looks so much better than when we saw him in June. The color is back in his face, and his appetite is back too. I told him I was gaining weight as a sign of support. The girls of course were all over him, they love their Godfather so. It's really beautiful to see.

Now, I must collapse. But I needed to pen my thoughts so I can (hopefully) have a clear head tonight. Yes- PEN! GOD I need a laptop. Hell I don't even need internet on the thing, just a word processor so I can type my journal entries and transfer them to the blog later.

Tomorrow- Legoland and Dinner with Jenn and Omar!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Feel it hot, hot, HOT

118- flipping degrees Friday!

I walked outside, to go just across the street to get the mail, and I felt my arms burning. Smoke rising as it began to singe. It was the worst 3 minutes of my life.

Saturday it was noticeably cooler, we decided as we took Allie to see Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest. Sam stayed and swam over at Nana's. That night we learned yes, indeed it was cooler.

116. I'm sorry all you east coast peeps who say "well come out here with 100 degrees and the humidity"- but I'd take that ANY DAY OVER THIS. And I can say that, because I've been in it. Now go inside, turn on your oven to 120 degrees, and stick your head in it for 3 minutes. Though I give you no air-conditioning... that has GOT to suck.

I heard rain tonight... and it was actually pretty steady coming down. For like 5 minutes. It's dry as a bone out there again.

Next Monday- San Diego baby!!!! Rob says it's been 90 there... and I said I'll pack a sweater for that cold front.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Give a gal a mic...

"Voice-acting, on the fun meter, is off the scale. You show up, you don't have to be all primped up, or dressed up. And you get to work with some amazing people, and goof off for four hours. " ~Jason Marsden

Kay... so I haven't written too much about my new voice hobby/love/obsession here. But something really cool happened, so I figured why the heck not?

Besides, I need to make up for that last entry about the water leak. Yeesh, am I really that hard up to post things on here?

So, alot of you are family, or friends that read this blog. Which is really why I have it. To have the ones I love, and who want to know what's going on with the Cutler-clan, know what's going on. Mostly about the kiddies... or an occasional political rant for the most part. But there is an audio side to me. Alter-ego, perhaps? I haven't written too much about my boyz up in Halifax and their amazing show Sonic Society. Which I ended up getting more directly involved with when I started handling their podcast of the weekly radio show back in January.

And you know? Me likey. Me really, really, likey. Sure, I love to listen, and I LOVE LOVE LOVE a good story. Hell, I even love a bad story at times. But editing? OMG- the tediousness of it all is FUN! Not that I have too much to do as far as editing their cast. I just need to throw in a few podcast promos, and boom I'm done. (I've gotten sort of good at that promoting thing too... I think they are up to about 600 subscribers now, and that doesn't include individual downloads of the show)

But then I got ballsy. Recorded a few promos for them. Mixed them with music and everything. THEN people started saying I sounded---- well, good. WTF?

Then I took another step, and created a podcast for my political message board, Truth Seekers. That has also received good feedback... for the most part. Encouraging enough to make me think I should give this radio idea a little more thought...

I dunno. Perhaps a journalism degree, then my own radio show? (Gee, I'm not thinking big here, am I?)

Well, the coolest thing happened this week. I took a stab at this voice-acting thing. Yeah, voice-acting. Through Sonic Society I made friends with another troop of awesome actors/writers/producers at Dream Realm Enterprises. I'm actually helping them with a fan-interview podcast for some of their productions, it's quite cool. Anyway, they are so encouraging. They nudged me gently into auditioning for a role in their Robotz series.

So I did. Sat here in the office, and belted out a couple lines while the kids were at camp.
Well, OMFG.
I got two roles out of it. Teeheeeeeeee......

Of course, my voice is going to be distorted, but hey- I'm gonna be in an audio play! How freaking cool is that? :-D

It's so neat to find a creative side that has been lying dormant for so long. AND to realize that creativity doesn't necessarily mean that I'm stuck with just musical talent. It seems to extend far beyond that. I'm having fun re-discovering this new-yet-old part of myself again.

Oh, the above quote? He's the voice of Chester on one of my fav- erm, I mean my kids favorite cartoons. (Yeah, my kids... thaaaat's it.)

He's absolutely right. It's off the scale!

The Great Cutler Flood (ok leak) of 2006*

Yah, there was definitely a smell. At first Bret said sour milk. Hmm... now I definitely have horrible eating habits around the computer, but I am not a big milk-drinker. So that couldn't be it.

So I took out the trash, stuck one of those Glade Vanilla-scented oil thingys in the wall, and it was pleasant.

Until I started noticing it too. Only... it was more like... wet socks. Yah, definitely locker-room smell. On a whim I moved the chair mat under the desk, to find the carpet underneath it pretty wet. Hmmm... I don't recall spilling anything. Yes, I am pretty sloppy, but if I spill something, I tend to clean it up. Sometimes even within 24 hours. And how did it get under the mat?

So we steamed it, and let it dry. Problem solved, right?

That night I'm in the kitchen, go under the sink for something, and everything is wet. Ahhh.....
Walk back into office, explore the carpet more closely. Not just wet under the chair mat apparently.

(heeheee... 'apparently'. I always giggle now when I hear/use that word.)

Entire carpet soaked under desk. Nutshell: R/O system leak, worked way through wall into office.

Well what do you know! Time to clean the office! Everything out, carpet pulled up, used steam cleaner to suck a good amount of water from the padding.

Do you know how much dust can accumulate on the back of a computer monitor over a couple year's time? Or on the top shelf of a desk where my short ass can't see? I was sneezing for days afterwards!

Epilogue: No more musty smell, no dust on computer equipment. LOTS of papers and b/s in recycle bin. Do not think there will be any permanent damage/mold in wall.

Ah, the joys of homeownership!

*quite possibly the most boring blog entry ever written in the history of the internet...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Let America Be America Again
By Langston Hughes

Let America be America again.
Let it be the dream it used to be.
Let it be the pioneer on the plain
Seeking a home where he himself is free.

(America never was America to me.)

Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed--
Let it be that great strong land of love
Where never kings connive nor tyrants scheme
That any man be crushed by one above.

(It never was America to me.)

O, let my land be a land where Liberty
Is crowned with no false patriotic wreath,
But opportunity is real, and life is free,
Equality is in the air we breathe.

(There's never been equality for me,
Nor freedom in this "homeland of the free.")

Say, who are you that mumbles in the dark?
And who are you that draws your veil across the stars?

I am the poor white, fooled and pushed apart,
I am the Negro bearing slavery's scars.
I am the red man driven from the land,
I am the immigrant clutching the hope I seek--
And finding only the same old stupid plan
Of dog eat dog, of mighty crush the weak.

I am the young man, full of strength and hope,
Tangled in that ancient endless chain
Of profit, power, gain, of grab the land!
Of grab the gold! Of grab the ways of satisfying need!
Of work the men! Of take the pay!
Of owning everything for one's own greed!

I am the farmer, bondsman to the soil.
I am the worker sold to the machine.
I am the Negro, servant to you all.
I am the people, humble, hungry, mean--
Hungry yet today despite the dream.
Beaten yet today--O, Pioneers!
I am the man who never got ahead,
The poorest worker bartered through the years.

Yet I'm the one who dreamt our basic dream
In the Old World while still a serf of kings,
Who dreamt a dream so strong, so brave, so true,
That even yet its mighty daring sings
In every brick and stone, in every furrow turned
That's made America the land it has become.
O, I'm the man who sailed those early seas
In search of what I meant to be my home--
For I'm the one who left dark Ireland's shore,
And Poland's plain, and England's grassy lea,
And torn from Black Africa's strand I came
To build a "homeland of the free."

The free?

Who said the free? Not me?
Surely not me? The millions on relief today?
The millions shot down when we strike?
The millions who have nothing for our pay?
For all the dreams we've dreamed
And all the songs we've sung
And all the hopes we've held
And all the flags we've hung,
The millions who have nothing for our pay--
Except the dream that's almost dead today.

O, let America be America again--
The land that never has been yet--
And yet must be--the land where every man is free.
The land that's mine--the poor man's, Indian's, Negro's, ME--
Who made America,
Whose sweat and blood, whose faith and pain,
Whose hand at the foundry, whose plow in the rain,
Must bring back our mighty dream again.

Sure, call me any ugly name you choose--
The steel of freedom does not stain.
From those who live like leeches on the people's lives,
We must take back our land again,

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath--
America will be!

Out of the rack and ruin of our gangster death,
The rape and rot of graft, and stealth, and lies,
We, the people, must redeem
The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.
The mountains and the endless plain--
All, all the stretch of these great green states--
And make America again!

Summer Means...

Flip Flops!!!

Another year, two more grey hairs

The first year of separate parties. What absolute chaos! First Allie (she has informed us that she would like her nickname with an 'ie' versus a 'y'- Ms. Independent 9-year-old!) took a group of her friends to the movies. It ended up being pretty much a day event, with lunch and cake and presents back at the house afterwards. But they had a great time, and she enjoyed having her best friend AND her crush there with her. I think her crush enjoyed being the only male amoungst the ladies too...

Then in between was Sam's actual bday, so that had to be celebrated on the actual day with present opening at the very least, along with her choice of dinner (mmmmm.... tacos). Friday a quick breather, then Saturday was Sam's party at the pool. Same as last year. We felt sort of bad for her, her little school friends didn't show, but her friend Emily did and they had a grand time. Along with family, friends, and Uncle Rob! (Rob- thank GOD you're ok, and if you ever scare us like that again.........)

It also happened to be Allie's actual bday, so again that evening it was presents and dinner. Sunday, since Rob and the parents were still in town, we all went to Build-A-Bear to let them blow some birthday cash. They love love LOVE that place! (I do too- I so want one! I asked for one for MY birthday or Mother's Day, but I didn't get one. :-( )

It was great having my parents here, the girls always enjoy when they visit. Mom started teaching Allie how to sew. It was great, especially since I just don't have the interest or the patience to learn. So now I'll have someone to do all the sewing for me!! WooHOO!!!

So now things wind down until we go and see Uncle Rob the first week of August for a few days. The kids have not been to San Diego yet, so it should be TONS of fun!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Raise the roof!

Man, I'm behind in posting. I finally got through all the pictures from JUNE. Let's start with a fresh coat of paint:

See? I mean it. Father's day weekend was spent creating a masterpiece that would make Michaelangelo want to take notes.

Allison wanted a day/night theme on her ceiling. She designed it, drew it, and helped Dad paint it.

You can't see all the glow-in-the-dark stars, but they are there. Big dipper, Little dipper... shooting stars... it's absolutely wonderful with the lights out. :-D

*giggle-giggle* He's gonna kill me for showing him all sleepy... but it was Father's Day!

Thursday, June 29, 2006

This is not good,71269-0.html

Reuters 15:35 PM Jun, 28, 2006

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Senate Commerce Committee on Wednesday rejected an amendment to bar high-speed internet providers from discriminating against content or services.

The amendment, offered by Sens. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Byron Dorgan (D-North Dakota), would have prevented broadband providers from giving priority to any individual company's content or services.

The panel tied 11-11 in its vote on the amendment, and chairman Ted Stevens said it failed.

The lawmakers tried to add it to a larger communications bill aimed at making it easier for telephone companies like AT&T and Verizon Communications to get licenses for offering subscription television service.

More thoughts at Crooks & Liars:

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Net Neutrality- Important!

Watch this very important short explaination.

Save the Internet: Click here

How its shaping up in the Senate (call your Senator NOW!)

(Membership Total: 12)

Sen. Barbra Boxer (D-CA)
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY)
Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-CT)
Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND)
Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI)
Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT)
Sen. Joesph Lieberman (D-CT)
Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)
Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL)
Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME)
Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV)
Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR)

(Membership Total: 4)

Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KS)
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC)
Sen. John Ensign (R-NV)
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-AK)

No position
(Membership Total: 31)

Sen. George Allen (R-VA)
Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN)
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)
Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-WA)
Sen. Lincoln Chafee (R-RI)
Sen. Norm Coleman (R-MN)
Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID)
Sen. Mark Dayton (D-MN)
Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH)
Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL)
Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI)
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA)
Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA)
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI)
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA)
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ)
Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI)
Sen. Richard Lugar (R-IN)
Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ)
Sen.Barbara Mikulski (D-MD)
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL)
Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI)
Sen. Ken Salazar (D-CO)
Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA)
Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD)
Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-MI)
Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA)
Sen. David Vitter (R-LA)
Sen. George Voinovich (R-OH)
Sen. John Warner (R-VA)

No Information
(Membership Total: 54)

Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI)
Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN)
Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO)
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT)
Sen. Joseph Biden (D-DE)
Sen. Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)
Sen. Christopher Bond (R-MO)
Sen. Jim Bunning (R-KY)
Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT)
Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV)
Sen. Thomas Carper (D-DE)
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK)
Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS)
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)
Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND)
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX)
Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID)
Sen. Elizabeth Dole (R-NC)
Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM)
Sen. Michael Enzi (R-WY)
Sen. William Frist (R-TN)
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH)
Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE)
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA)
Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)
Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX)
Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK)
Sen. Johnny Isaakson (R-GA)
Sen. James Jefford (I-VT)
Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD)
Sen. John Kyl (R-AZ)
Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR)
Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS)
Sen. Mel Martinez (R-FL)
Sen.John McCain (R-AZ)
Sen.Mitch McConnell (R-KY)
Sen.Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Sen.Benjamin Nelson (D-NE)
Sen.Mark Pryor (D-AR)
Sen.Pat Roberts (R-KS)
Sen.John D. Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sen.Charles Schumer (D-NY)
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL
Sen. Gordon Smith (R-OR)
Sen. John Sununu (R-NH)
Sen. James Talent (R-MO)
Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY)
Sen. John Thune (R-SD)

Monday, June 12, 2006

The perfect weekend

Saturday, the matriarch of the Cutler clan (known affectionately as G.G. to the girls), turned an ever-young 84. We visited bearing food, flowers, off-key songs and hearts full of love.

Every day she remains on this earth is a blessing.

Sunday, we were finally able to take Bret out for his birthday surprise (bday was last Thursday). The girls were SO excited- they kept their mouths shut for well over a week. So, we blindfolded the man...

and took him to what I can only describe as a pizza place on crack, Amazing Jake's. You might be wondering if this was really for the girls, but I tell you, my 36-year-old boy was quite pleased. We met up with some friends so we could get a group rate with unlimited spastic, seizure-inducing adventures, along with a food buffet that puts Chuck-E-Cheese to shame.

We also learned that having your daughters be in charge of a spinning teacup is just a horrible, horrible idea....

I did get to let out some aggression ramming into a Republican on the bumper cars... it was most gratifying. ;-)

All-in-all it ended up being a perfect afternoon, and an excellent weekend.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

In My Life: Allison Crowe

Get this video and more at

Seriously, I heard this angel's voice on a podcast... and just fell in love.

Love I tell you- LOVE.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Buddhist Temple Relocating- and coming closer

Buddhist temple to restart in Mesa

Daniel González
The Arizona Republic

Venerable Yong Shan strode to the front of the altar in a flowing burnt orange robe and, under the gaze of three life-sized statues of Buddha, beat a drum slowly.

The diminutive Buddhist nun, her head shaved, picked up a tiny bell and gave it one ring, letting the sound tingle through the silent room that was pungent with burning incense.

Twenty-five men and women forming perfect rows knelt and bowed toward the altar. Then the chanting in Mandarin began. It would last more than an hour, as it does every Sunday at the International Buddhist Association of Arizona.

A fixture in north-central Phoenix since 1994, the temple has drawn Chinese-speaking Buddhists from all over the Valley. But it will soon begin anew in Mesa, a major move and expansion that reflect larger demographic changes taking place in the Valley's growing Chinese-speaking immigrant population.

Newer Chinese-speaking immigrants are better educated and more affluent than preceding waves. They are bypassing urban areas where earlier immigrants settled in favor of the East Valley suburbs, home to about a third of the Valley's roughly 20,000 Chinese residents, immigrants and American-born.

"The East Valley, that has been where more of the trendy Asians have moved, mainly because Arizona State University's main campus is in Tempe, and a lot of the high-tech companies are there," said Manny Wong, publisher of Asian American Times, a Chinese-English newspaper in Phoenix.

The growth of the East Valley's Chinese population, which tripled between 1990 and 2005, is drawing more Asian-oriented businesses and services. The East Valley is home to more than half a dozen Chinese or Asian Christian churches, among them Metro Phoenix Chinese Alliance Church and Evangelical Formosan Church in Tempe and the Greater Phoenix Chinese Christian Church in Chandler.

At Lee Lee Oriental Market in Chandler, shoppers can find products from many Asian countries, including Japan, India and Thailand. The area is also attracting other Asian markets and restaurants, Wong said. Sixty percent of his newspaper's 10,000 circulation is in the East Valley.

Still, while the temple's move is an opportunity to expand and be closer to members, it will leave Phoenix without a Chinese-speaking Buddhist place of worship.

Historic move up

The International Buddhist Association congregation includes people from mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Malaysia, as well as a few non-Asian Buddhists. A year ago, the association paid $800,000 for 5 acres near the southeastern corner of Lindsay and McKellips roads in Mesa.

The association plans to start building a multimillion-dollar, two-story, 20,000-square-foot facility there within two years. Plans also call for conference and meditation rooms, a library and tearoom, and a temple big enough to accommodate 300 to 400 followers, Shan said. The new facility will be larger and more expensive than the current 3,000 square-foot structure, which fits only 50 to 80 followers for Sunday services. It cost $150,000 in 1994, Shan said.

The association decided to build its new facility in Mesa for two reasons: Land was more reasonable, and the location is closer to where many new Chinese and Taiwanese immigrants live, Shan said. The move, she said, is calculated not only to serve existing members, but attract new ones.

From the 1870s, when Chinese immigrants began arriving in Phoenix, through the 1970s, waves of Chinese immigrants tended to settle in Phoenix and Glendale, community leaders say. They mostly came from small villages in southern China with basic education in search of the American dream, for themselves and their children. Many made a living by opening small businesses.

"It was the proverbial corner grocery store or Chinese restaurant. They used these businesses as a base to raise their families and take advantage of the educational opportunities for their children so that they wouldn't have to endure the long hours and hard work in these businesses," said Barry Wong, 47, a Phoenix lawyer and former state legislator.

He is the son of Chinese immigrants who settled in the Valley in the early 1950s, and opened a grocery store in south Phoenix. In contrast, Chinese immigrants who have come since the 1980s tend to be highly educated professionals, drawn by Arizona State University and the area's high-technology manufacturing industry, including companies such as Honeywell, Intel and Motorola.

New residents look east

The Chinese population in Maricopa County doubled from 1990 to 2005, increasing to 19,574 from 9,374, according to data from the Census Bureau and Claritas, a marketing research company. Most of that growth has been in the East Valley, and includes new immigrants and Chinese Americans who have relocated from other parts of the Valley.

The Chinese population in Chandler, Mesa and Gilbert almost tripled between 1990 and 2005, to 5,811 residents from 1,599. Seventeen percent of the county's Chinese population lived in Chandler, Gilbert or Mesa in 1990; by 2005, it had increased to 30 percent.

Many newcomers are people like Kuo-San Ho, an engineer who works for Honeywell and lives in Mesa. At the International Buddhist Association of Arizona temple one recent Sunday, he pulled a black robe over his clothes and took a spot inside the temple next to a cushion on the floor, joining about two dozen other followers.

Ming Chen, 52, came to the Valley 26 years ago from Taiwan. Chen, who has a master's degree in architecture from ASU, lives in Gilbert and runs his own firm in Chandler. Chen, a former president of the temple in central Phoenix, said the new location in Mesa will be more convenient for members in the East Valley but still accessible to others.

"It's close to the freeway," Chen said.

Worshiping in Phoenix

The Buddhist International Association of Arizona in Phoenix is home to the Valley's only Chinese-speaking Buddhist temple, although there are other Buddhist temples here.

The congregation is affiliated with the Buddha's Light International Association, which traces its roots to the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Order, the largest Buddhist organization in Taiwan.

Before the temple opened in 1994, many people drove to Los Angeles for services, said Wen Chyi Chiu, 30, a temple member and editor of Az Asian World magazine in Phoenix.

In 1994, the association opened a branch in Phoenix to serve the growing Chinese immigrant population, she said.

"In 1994, the Chinese population was concentrated in Phoenix and Glendale areas, and this was a centrally located area," she said. "But now, the population has transferred more to the East Valley."

The association started in Phoenix with about 100 people but has grown to more than 600, said Shan, a native of Malaysia of Chinese descent.

One recent morning, Shan, 55, stood in front of a blueprint of the planned facility taped to a wall inside the temple on 15th Place in Phoenix. She pointed out the different amenities the association hopes to include that will make the facility not only a temple but also a community center: A library and lounge where people will be able to read Chinese-language newspapers. A kitchen and dinning area for preparing and sharing meals. Classrooms and meditation rooms for studying and practicing Buddhism. Shan said the new facility, still in the design stages, will cost $2 million to $3 million. In addition to bank loans, the money will be raised through fund-raisers and private donations, much of which will come from new members in the East Valley.

"Because of the rapid increase, we feel we need a larger facility," she said.

Yeah- this about sums up the attitude

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Excellent Advice

Though you speak unkind words to a man's face,
Do not speak words behind his back heedless of consequent harm.

Though every word is full of kindly virtue,
A man's mean back-biting will betray his empty heart.

If a man spreads tales of others' faults,
His own worst faults will be exposed and spread.

-Tirukkural 19: 184-186

Thursday, June 01, 2006

While You Were Out

I see many gags in my friend's futures... heeheeeeee....

You just can't use the terrorism argument

Interesting contrast in today's paper:

A story about the leader of the Minutemen, who realized his calling after 9-11:

"Immediately afterward, he made phone calls recorded by ex-wife Kim Dunbar. According to transcripts filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, Simcox talked about stockpiling firearms. Court records describe a message left two days after the attacks: "I purchased another gun. I have more than a few weapons, and I plan on teaching my son how to use them. I will no longer trust anyone in this country. My life has changed forever." Dunbar sought sole custody and got it. His students quit as word spread about his apocalyptic diatribes.
With no more family or job, Simcox made a clean break. It began with a weeklong trip to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument on the southern Arizona border. There, Simcox says, he watched undocumented immigrants and smugglers stream across from Mexico.
"At that moment, it clicked," he says. "The borders were wide open. It shouldn't take a kindergarten teacher to figure out that terrorists could come through.""

But yet, on another page, another view:

"Hayworth tells the stories of several terrorists who were found to have operated out of Canada. For instance, he notes: "We all remember the case of the alert Border Patrol agent who caught Ahmed Ressam trying to cross from Canada into Washington State in a car packed with explosives. Ressam's plan was to blow up Los Angeles International Airport during the millennium celebrations." Ressam was later convicted on nine counts, including conspiracy to commit an international terrorist act.
And yet over the past many months and the passage of competing bills from the House of Representatives and the Senate, the last one meant to appropriate roughly $2 billion dollars, have you heard any politicians talking about Canada?

Me neither."

"...At the same time, the State Department terrorism report that warns about Canada had complimentary things to say about Mexico.
And yet we don't talk much about both borders, but instead spend our time and money on plans to stop carpenters, bricklayers and landscapers from entering from the south. Not because our politicians believe that it's the best thing to do but because they believe that it's the best way for them to get re-elected.

I wrote a blog item ( about this a few days ago, to which one man responded: "First they send Labatt's, William Shatner, Bryan Adams and Celine Dion. Now this? I demand action!""

So until we can admit what the real issue with immigration is, maybe we should not try to invoke any unnecessary fear by claiming terrorist can get in.

The ones we need to worry about are all ready here, and I'm not just talking Washington either.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Seriously, with the kids home all day...

I'm playing with these silly quizzes!
This is how I hide from the little terrors. ;-)
I thought this was cool, because whenever Bret and I watch hour dramas, I usually figure out the dialogue and what is happening next. More so the dialogue though- so this could be a sign!

You Should Be a Film Writer

You don't just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind.
You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life.
Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling.
And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!