December 31, 2005

Mr. Right always left...

Happy Birthday, Mom
© Janelle Meraz Hooper, 1952

12-31-05-I love vintage photos. I took this one in 1952 with my Brownie camera—the same Brownie camera I write about in As Brown As I Want, The Indianhead Diaries. Mom always got dressed up and went out on Friday and Saturday night to look for Mr. Right, but he always left. Here, as I remember, she was waiting for her sister, who always took longer to get ready than my mother.
I remember the skirt she wore as if it were yesterday. It was a circle skirt, and she’d made it from polished cotton that had metallic gold accenting the blue and pink flowers.
Mom’s birthday was on the first of January, and we always celebrated for two days—the 31st and the 1st of January. The outfit she wore on New Year's Eve was always spectacular, and she designed it for the ballroom dancing that she loved.
turtle trivia-Buddhists believe in reincarnation, and often release turtles and other creatures into the wild as a religious observance.

Quote du jour:

“Never date a man whose hair is prettier than yours.” Advice from my mother…

December 30, 2005

We've got to do better!

Bark in winter, © Janelle Meraz Hooper

This has been a very sad year for me. This was the year I lost confidence in our country. Who would have ever thought that there would come a time when we wouldn’t be able to help our own Katrina victims? After that, our president announced that we would be sending $100,000 to Pakistan for the earthquake victims*. That was like buying one bag of popcorn for a theater full of movie-goers. We’ve got to do better…
Okay, so we can’t save the world. Especially when we’re spending billions of dollars invading countries that have no WMDs. But I don’t think our problems will go away with the next election. We’re like an old teacup that has tiny cracks that eventually join together until the cup explodes. For our children. For our elderly. For all of our citizens needing intense and expensive medical care, we’ve got to do better…
To do that, we need to grow up and stop electing every pretty face that can afford campaign signs. We need government officials with substance. Integrity. Honesty. Intelligence. And above all, an eye for our future and a commitment to the ideals of our founding fathers. Grow up, America! We’ve got to do better…
Do not think that we cannot ever lose our beautiful country. It could happen. Freedom is not a given. It’s a commitment. An obligation. A promise we must keep, for our children and our children’s children, and beyond that. We’ve got to do better…
The above message was not from some educated Harvard graduate (obviously!). Please accept it as a plea from a mother and grandmother. That’s all it is. God bless America!
*We eventually sent a little more.
On my bed table- I’m reading an old text book of my daughter’s, Early American Women by Nancy Woloch. I’ve snatched several of her old textbooks leftover from her college days at the The University of Puget Sound—good stuff!

Whatcha’ Readin’?- B.B. of Sequim, Washington is reading Mary, Mary by James Patterson. Over Christmas, she read: Saving Fish From Drowning, by Amy Tan; The Smoke Jumper, by Nicholas Evans; Honeymoon by James Patterson and Howard Roughan; and a Jimmy Buffet book whose title slips her memory. I know this woman, and she has always been a voracious reader.

On my DVD player-For tonight, War of the Worlds, and I’m just daring it to be as good as the original. I’m fully expecting it to be just an orgy of technical tricks.

Turtle trivia: Contrary to belief, water turtles do not always hibernate in winter. Underneath the water, they go about their business of being a turtle.
Quote du jour:
"They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty or safety." Benjamin Franklin

December 29, 2005

Give Yourself a Pay Raise!

Alaskan boat, © Janelle Meraz Hooper
12-29-05-Give Yourself a Pay Raise
Whenever the New Year rolls around, I start thinking about organizing something. Sometimes it's my closet or garage. Today, I'm thinking about money.
Even though most of us are working harder than ever for the same amount of money, we can’t remember the last time we had a pay raise. Meanwhile, the costs of food, healthcare, medicines, property taxes, and rent are rising steadily.
Even worse, stocks are down and some of the investments we were counting on for our retirement are gone forever. On top of that, we’re paying more for goods and services that often aren’t (good, that is).
Maybe it’s time to give yourself a pay raise. One way to do this is by stopping the leaks. Plug those small leaks, and they can add up to a waterfall at the end of the year.
I’m not going to put the two biggies—cigarettes and liquor—on the list. Everyone is already aware of what they might be spending on those. Let’s examine some of the hidden leaks: daily lattes, charitable donations, restaurant meals, expensive gifts, and late charges on credit accounts. Expensive leaks might include:
Daily lattes: $3.50 apiece x 365 days a year = over $1200 a year!
Restaurant and take-out meals: Substituting a peanut butter sandwich at home for a meal in a restaurant can add up to a sizable savings during the year. Get over the idea that every meal has to be a gourmet delight. A peanut butter sandwich and an apple can be a good thing, nutrition and budget-wise.
Donations: Companies don’t give money to every charity that comes to their door, why should you? Make a budget, decide yearly (or half-yearly, which charities you can afford to support and how much you’ll give. I’m all for helping the needy, but charity starts at home.
Volunteering: Giving away time is like giving away money. I know this is going to make me unpopular, but volunteering is expensive. Time taken away from your family means more fast food meals, bigger gas bills, and more out-of-pocket purchases for charity-related items that you would never buy otherwise. I’m not saying you should cut out all of your charitable activities, just think about what it’s really costing you. I was always the worst about volunteering too much—I logged so many hours that my family suffered.
Late charges: those late charges on credit card bills can be just plain ugly. Oftentimes, your payment may be on time, but the banks own bookkeeping practices may be costing you money. Check it out. Sometimes, a bill may say it’s due on one date, but it may really have to be paid days ahead to go through the system and avoid late charges. I know, it’s not fair. It just is.
Dry cleaning bills: A piece of clothing on sale that has to be dry-cleaned is not always a bargain. I have a pair of pants that was on sale for $25.00. I’ve spent three times that much having them dry-cleaned.
Shop ahead for gifts: This is a biggie. Most of us spend hundreds of dollars a year on last minute gifts. Planning ahead could enable you a little breathing room so you can shop more creatively. Also, a lot of us over-gift. Think about it. Over the course of a year, those pricey gifts on your charge card can add up.
I’m guessing that, with a little effort, you can save at least $3,000 a year. That’s $250 a month! There’s a chance that there’s even more to be saved that could be put to better use someplace else. It’s your money. Keep it.

LOL-William H. Macy-My husband and I first noticed William H. Macy in the TV show Sport Night several years ago. At the time, we said it was such a shame he didn’t work more, because he was so good. Now, we’re looking for him and we see him all the time. It’s become a joke. We’re always calling to each other, “Honey, come quick! That guy who never works is on TV again!”
Turtle trivia: I've read that turtles like earthworms, but hate night crawlers. Go figure.

Quote du jour:
"How could this happen? I was so careful. I picked the wrong play, the wrong director, the wrong cast. Where did I go right?"- Mostel in the movie Springtime for Hitler

December 28, 2005

We're very Doc Hollywood!

Mt. Rainier, © Janelle Meraz Hooper, 2005

Although we were Catholic, my mother used to have a brass menorah on her mantel. I think she got it at a garage sale. She loved it so much that I decided to put it in my third turtle, Custer and His Naked Ladies. I can remember how the candlestick bothered my aunt. I think she was worried that the pope might stop by and discover it.

Kwanzaa-I guess Kwanzaa is in full swing. I don’t get out much, so I’m not sure. I’d never get any work done if I lived downtown. I’d spend half my day looking out my window because we’re real big on parades here. We have parades to announce the daffodil season, homecoming, Christmas, Easter, and even a cattle drive down our main street to celebrate the beginning of the Puyallup Fair. I’m sure we’ll have a Kwanzaa Parade soon. We’re very Doc Hollywood here!

LOL-I see my novels are still listed on an erotic Internet site—I have no idea how they got picked up. There are going to be some really disappointed customers out there in cyberspace when they find out the only sexy things in my books are the queens in the canasta cards!

Quote du jour:
"A professional is someone who can do his best work when he doesn't feel like it." Alistair Cooke

December 27, 2005

Back to work!

My three-turtle summer, Ft. Sill Oklahoma
© Grace Gloar, 1949
Back to work-
It’s been fun getting back to work today. I still have a refrigerator full of Christmas leftovers, and I plan to eat my way through some of the final edits to Custer and His Naked Ladies. I imagine I’ll get about two CPP (cookies per page), tee-hee!
A Three-Turtle Summer-
“…It took just one drop of the wrong blood color to shut doors to nightclubs, country clubs, and even some churches. Tired to trying to explain their heritage to people who already had their minds made up, Grace and her family had given up years ago. They were Mexican. Period. Take it or leave it.” Excerpt from A Three-Turtle Summer, by Janelle Meraz Hooper.
Whatcha' Readin'?-Let me know!

Quote du jour:
"Don't rewrite what I write."- Beatty in the movie Reds

December 23, 2005

Thank you, Oprah...

Russian Christmas ornament, © Janelle Meraz Hooper

Okay, so Christmas Day is over, but there’s still plenty of Christmas left. I’m delaying picking up the living room that is still littered with bits of wrapping paper and ribbon. A blue paper airplane is resting on the floor near the tree—a bit short of it’s runway in the branches. Sometimes, I just dust around these reminders for days, and Christmas rolls on until my husband either declares the tree a fire hazard, or it’s the first of January. But until then, I still have a generous supply of Christmas cookies and homemade fudge and Christmas carols on the CD player.

Hanukkah-Hanukkah began at sundown last night, celebrating the miracle of the oil in ancient times when the Greeks ruined the oil and there wasn’t enough to burn in the menorahs. Miraculously, the scant amount of oil they had for the menorahs burned for eight days—long enough to make new oil. That’s why Hanukkah lasts for eight days, as long as the oil did centuries ago. I always wondered what kind of oil was used for the wicks in ancient times. Finally, I read that it was olive oil. So, Happy Hanukkah! To all my Jewish friends. Light the candles! Oh—I hear that, nowadays, a lot of families use electric menorahs!

Kwanzaa*- It was so small on my calendar that I almost missed it, but Kwanzaa begins today, and goes on until January 1st. Today is also Boxing Day. Are we having fun, or what?!
*I did not misspell Kwanzaa--it has an extra "a" in this country--in Africa, it's Kwanza. I wonder if they feel cheated?

Quote du jour:

"Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission." Eleanor Roosevelt


LOL: I planned my quote du jour last week so I could post it this morning and get back to our Christmas tree as quickly as possible. I was very content with my choice. After the presents were unwrapped, I opened our Tacoma News Tribune and what did I see? The same quote! Oh, well, I guess you can't outwit the pros...

Merry Christmas!

Quote du jour:

"God bless us, every one!" Tiny Tim, Scrooge

12-23-05-It's almost Christmas! I'm filled with a sense of awe when I look at our Christmas tree, and a ripple of pure joy moves over our oak floors. I awoke this morning and the first thoughts I had were of the people in my life that I'm so thankful for. I won't embarrass them by mentioning them here. They know who they are. I had another thought that surprised me: I'm thankful for Oprah! She is such a treasure, and I'm moved to tears at the way she generously helps so many people. We'll most certainly never have another person in this country who is so day, she's giving book bags filled with school supplies to African children--the next, she's showing American women how to get a good-fitting bra! How funny is that?! So, thank you Oprah, for all you do. You are an inspiration to all of us.

LOL: Someone told me yesterday that a copy of one of my books, As Brown As I Want, The Indianhead Diaries, is for sale on e-bay for $9.69. Why do I feel as if I've finally made it?!

Quote du jour:
“Be the change you want to see in the world.”- Gandhi

The Japanese Wes Studi!

Snowman sculpture, © Joyce Stevens, 2005
On my bed table-I have finished Tonya Holmes Shook's The Drifters. I was so delighted to read about something different than what's on the mainstream front tables at the fancy bookstores. Who cares about what Hollywood star is in drug treatment or what politician sailed to Bimini with a wanabee starlet? Give me something with a good story and some teeth in it! I've been talking about Tonya's story for days. In case you've missed it, her historical fiction is about a people in America called the Melungeons (not to be confused with the muggles in Harry Potter!). Their ancestors were once the slaves of the Vikings who used them to help colonize the new world. Eventually, they intermingled with the Native Americans.
On my DVD machine-I have found the Japanese Magua (Wes Studi). Want to see him? He is in Akura Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954). It’s a terrific movie, but at 3:28 minutes, I’m hesitant to recommend it! Note: Wes Studi played Magua in The Last of the Mohicans (and many other roles).

Quote du jour:
"Writers should afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted." Unknown

December 21, 2005

Happy Winter Solstice!

Cranberry fields, © Janelle Meraz Hooper
Happy Winter Solstice!
As a Southwest seedling planted in the Pacific Northwest, solstice is a big day for me. Through the years, when darkness descended upon my pasture and passing school buses turned on their lights—inside and out—I have tried every craft available to me to help pass the time before it was time to get out into my garden again. I used to have a big box under my bed filled with fabric, yarns, stained glass supplies, scrapbook materials, and watercolors. I became a mediocre dabbler, attaining only so-so skills in any of the crafts. The worst was the year when my daughter and I decided to take a pottery class together. So far, we’ve refused to divulge exactly where in the pasture the pots that we made are buried. If they are ever dug up by archaeologists, they’ll be promptly reburied for fear that their discovery will squelch any further government funding.

Journal entry- (Three young men are in the gold fields; inexperienced, they have run out of supplies after only three days in the wilderness.)
“…We awoke at sunup. It was a bright morning, with the early chill still in the air, but with a promise of a warm day ahead. ‘What are we going to have for breakfast?…we’ve got everything but the food,’ he says, ‘We can pull in our belts for the rest of it.’ … ‘Good Lord, boys!’ he says. ‘Do you know that this is Christmas?’
We were feeling pretty low…but right when I was feeling sorriest for myself and thinking about home and how I wished I was there I began to see how selfish and short sighted I was…
‘Look here, boys, ‘ I said, ‘this is playing it pretty low down on each other. I’m ready to celebrate. Merry Christmas, Steve. Merry Christmas, Mat. Here, you two kids, Santa Claus has come.’
They stared at me as if I’d lost my senses, but I hadn’t. I took out of my belt two heavy little nuggets I’d been saving to send back to New York and gave one to each of them. It was a poor enough gift. Gold was a common commodity with us. They’d have appreciated a hot biscuit a lot more. But it fetched them…I had them smiling.”
Joseph J. McCloskey, 23-years-old at his 1849 Christmas. Christmas in the Gold Fields, California Historical Society

Quote du jour:

He who loses money, loses much; He who loses a friend, loses much more, He who loses faith, loses all. --Eleanor Roosevelt

December 20, 2005

The Natives Decked the Tree

12-19-05- It's a good day to curl up with the cat of your choice and read a book...above art: JMH, copyrighted, etc. I always feel so silly adding tags to my art and photos--I don't really think there's any danger of anyone else wanting to use them! Ha!

Journal entries-
"The day before Christmas the natives decked the tree with their gifts for each other--sealskin for boots in pieces bleached white as vellum, walrus meat and seal liver, a few gun cartridges, a sumptous gift by the way, skeins of sinew thread and needles, flour and tea, wooden platters made of driftwood, pieces of ivory and whalebone, fur for mittens and braces of frozen birds."
An excerpt from Arctic Mood, a journal of a teacher (Eva Alvey Richards) who went to live and work in Alaska 1924-26.

HGTV- I almost had a heart attack yesterday. I tuned into a show that helped people organize their living spaces. The first thing they were told to do by the expert was get rid of their clutter--specifically their books! Yikes! My whole house is decorated in what I call Early Library, and that's the way I like it. Writers come to my house to do research. If I had to get rid of some clutter, I'd be willing to part with some of my, wait...
On my DVD player-I've been watching Seven Samurai, a classic film by Japanese director Akira Kurosawa. It's 3 hrs & 28 minutes long, so I may be watching it until Christmas Eve. The neat thing about old movies are the artifacts and costumes. I'm hooked!

On my bed table-I'm almost finished with The Drifters, by Tonya Holmes Shook, so I may have to crawl under the bed to find the book that I dropped weeks ago and haven't felt the need to go look for yet. The Drifters is a really good read. Maybe, I'll just read it again!
Quote du jour
"How am I supposed to write for a guy who doesn't have a head?" -Whoopi Goldberg in the movie Soapdish

December 19, 2005

Christmas in the Gold Fields, 1849...

Thank you for Bud, Joyce

Every Christmas, I like to read diary entries for the date of December 25. The following is an excerpt from Christmas in the Gold Fields, 1849…
(Two young boys are at a store, trying to buy something special for their sickly parents' dinner.) “‘Herman, look at this. Canned peaches! Could anything be so delicious? Let us take peaches.’"…Jacob fried the flapjacks and made coffee. I mixed flour and water for the biscuits. We had not known salt since our arrival and we used a substitute which was commonly adopted among the forty-niners, gunpowder.” Hermann J. Sharmann (published by the California Historical Society, San Francisco)
Bud-The big doll, pictured above, was given to me by Joyce, an old high school buddy. So far, I've propped him up in several different poses. Right now, he's enjoying the Christmas tree while I'm working on a deadline. Last week, I had two for lunch, so I added him to the festive table as my date (he has very good manners). You'll see more of Bud.
Teen smoking-they say it's down but that drug use is up. How sad. What kind of a country have we created where our own children can't see the promise and possibilities of this great land? Is this a case of bad parenting? Too much money? (Remember, Richard Pryor told us that doing drugs was God's way of telling us we have too much money!) Whatever the problem, it is obvious that we, as parents--for whatever reason--have not created an environment that's good for raising children. We've got to do better.
Quote du jour:
"Happiness becomes a thing to be mastered." Steve Chandler, author of Reinventing Yourself

December 16, 2005

The Magic of Christmas

- This week at least a part of the Magic of Christmas was the arrival of a Christmas gift I'd ordered that I thought would ever get here until Easter. I take back all the un-Christmas things I said.

Toys-for-Tots-I have a philosophy for giving toys at Christmas. I give dolls because I believe that children who play with and love dolls grow up and become good parents. That's not to say that's all they should get. I'm sure other adults are more comfortable with the techie toys (that will always baffle me), and sometimes, nothing can beat a big yellow truck. But I'll stick to dolls--heaven knows that we need all the good parents we can get.

Whatcha readin'? -If you'd like to share what you're reading, let me know.
On my bed table-I've been too busy to read.
On my DVD machine- Mr. & Mrs. Smith. Have we lost our minds??? This movie is nothing more than excessive violence, only in a good neighborhod.
Quotes du jour:
"It's Out of Africa meets Pretty Woman."- writer pitching idea in The Player
“I’m falling in something, this time, I hope it’s love.” Pearl Bailey

December 15, 2005

Christmas in the Antique District

December 15, 2005
First lines:

Christmas in the Antique District
Sandie opened the door to the basement closet of the antique store to get the artificial tree her boss had sent her after--and quickly shut it again. The tree was covered with rat droppings and, although the closet was dark at the back, she could hear movement that she was pretty sure wasn't reindeer.
Oh, Lordy! What am I going to do? Sandie thought. She needed her job, but her mind and body both rebelled at going anywhere near that disease-infested tree.
An excerpt from A Christmas in the Antique District, a short story in Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories by Janelle Meraz Hooper.
At home-Boy, was I dumb! I actually believed that salesperson who promised me that my order of a very special Christmas present would be delivered by Christmas. I got an email yesterday that said it had just shipped! There is no way it'll make it to the West coast from the East coast by the 25th! Now, what do I do? I ordered the present on Monday-- I expected them to ship on Tuesday. I know...I was late, but it's been that kind of year.
Custer and His Naked Ladies-the third novel in my turtle trilogy is coming right along. Actually, it's finished, except for the final edit. I have to get some help with the Spanish phrases because I took two years of French in high school instead of Spanish. Since I'm Hispanic, how dumb was that?!
Merry Christmas-I am very confused by both sides on the Merry Christmas issue. One side wants me to boycott the stores that say Happy Holidays in their ads. For one thing, there is no place else to shop! They're all doing it! If I skip Christmas and presents, will that make loving Christians out of my grandchildren? I don't think so!
The other side, the merchants, insist on being politically correct to the point of lunacy. Who do they think buys Christmas presents anyway, Muslims? Buddhists? Hindus?
Finally, exactly who is it that is complaining? My Jewish friends and I have exchanged greetings both ways for years, and I've never been offended by "Happy Hanukkah," and they've never been upset to hear "Merry Christmas." During Ramadan, I wouldn't be reticent at all to greet a muslim with "Happy Ramadan!" Just who is it that's making all the fuss?
Quote du jour:
Hepburn: "You never wrote."
Connery: "I don't know how."- the movie Robin and Marion

December 10, 2005

My Christmas List

Caution, you are about to enter an editor-free zone...
My Christmas List
by Janelle Meraz Hooper

Here they come again. On my television screen. Men with no shirts on, hawking men’s cologne that my husband wouldn’t wear to chop wood. It’s just $69.99, the tagline says. Who are they trying to kid? That’s almost $70.00!
And here come the beautiful women looking like they’ve never cleaned out a sink basket. They’re trying their best to convince my husband that he doesn’t really love me if he doesn’t buy me that ring that has diamonds big enough to choke a hippopotamus.
The tip-off for these pricey gifts is the tagline at the bottom: available in fine department stores everywhere. I’m waiting for the ad that says: Pick one up anywhere—we made a zillion of them! Better yet would be an ad that said: Free with a tank of gas!
Luckily for our bank account, after over thirty-four years, my husband has my number. If he wants to make me happy, all he has to do is bring on the singing fish. The rest of the family is catching on. My aunt sent me a singing chicken. My grandson gave me a singing lobster last Christmas. This year, I’m hoping for singing turtles—three of them. Add to my list:
I want the new re-mastered CDs of classic rock and roll songs recorded by guys like Hall & Oates, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Mick Jagger. They rock!
And one of those big packages of computer paper in assorted colors. I want the loud kind. Not that wimpy, pastel stuff. I have no idea what I’ll do with it, I just want it. It must be the little kid in me.
Then, I want a tree, some tangerines, and some popcorn. It’s not Christmas without popcorn. Everyone knows that except that skinny guy on my television with the shaved chest selling cologne.
Oh, and honey, I was just kidding about not wanting the diamond ring. I’m crazy, but I’m not dumb! Pick one up!
An excerpt from Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories, a short story collection by Janelle Meraz Hooper
The above is a knee-jerk reaction to feeling so helpless about not being able to help those more unfortunate (like those in our South, and in Pakistan). I've always heard the pen is mightier than the sword, but I guess it depends upon whose pen it is...

December 07, 2005


Photo: © Janelle Meraz Hooper, 2005
winter ferry ride

December, 2005

Trump-Have you heard about Trump’s new home shopping network? There’s a rumor that he’s going to sell hair products…

First lines:

It was too hot to play cards, especially if someone were keeping score, and Vera was. A Three-Turtle Summer, by Janelle Meraz Hooper

Dad's supposed to be married to my mom, but he came back from an Army tour of Japan dragging an awful WAC lady with him. As Brown As I Want, The Indianhead Diaries, by Janelle Meraz Hooper

Quote du jour:

“I never heard of crocodiles crossing the ocean.” Sheriff (Brendan Gleeson)
response: “Well, they conceal information like that in books.” Hector Cyr (Oliver Platt)

December 04, 2005

There are no snowmen in Pakistan...

Moose photo by Dick Hooper © 2000
Pakistan-The children in my neighborhood are making snowmen. They've got a lot of snow in the mountains of Pakistan, too, but they're not playing in it. Their tragedy is on my mind this afternoon as I watch the deer in our pasture step daintily through the white powder. They’re not at all bothered by the neighbor’s chickens who have left the parameters of their snow covered pen to seek a tasty snack under the branches of my big Douglas fir, which shelters the ground beneath it. The dirt is flying out there!

From what I read, everyone is working as fast as they can in the mountains of Pakistan. If only Mother Nature could back off awhile, and let the aid workers get ahead…
Of course, they could use some more help. Please send your checks to the charity of your choice. Hurricaines, earthquakes, and other disasters can happen to us too, you know. Then it could be our families in the snow.

Do we have a world disaster plan? We should. Strangely enough, I got an idea about how to design lightweight, affordable shelters from an Ikea ad! I may send it to them—you know the Swedes are some of the world’s finest designers. Of course, they're probably not taking suggestions from novelists! But, if we could all get together, maybe we could do better, faster whenever these “events” occur.
On my DVD player: Frequency, with Dennis Quaid and Jim Caviezel--entertaining movie, if you can accept Northern lights in New York City!
On my bed table: I'm still reading The Drifters by Tonya Holmes Shook. I'm fascinated to read about a group of people--the Melungeons of Kentucky--who I never knew existed.
Quote du jour:
"Matsu pushed me toward the shrine, then placed my hands out in front so I could clap as he had done. 'You must let the gods know you're here.' Matsu whispered." The Samurai's Garden, Gail Tsukiyama

December 02, 2005

What was I thinking?

December, 2005


What was thinking? Here I am in the middle of a snowstorm with no birdseed and no chocolate! I'll be forced to eat real food--I have no idea what the birds will eat. Maybe, they'd like some peanut butter and crackers...

Photo-No, I still haven't made nice with Hello--the above picture was posted the old-fashioned way (JMH, 2005, copyrighted, etc.).

Who knew?-The memory of a goldfish is about three seconds. Think about that the next time you're trying to teach your fish tricks.

Writing-It's a good day to write. I'm writing a book set in Hawaii that is perfect for days like this...

Quotes du jour:

"Every child is a story yet to be told." Sesame Street, courtesy of PBS

"Everyone has a plan until they get hit." Mike Tyson

December 01, 2005

Snow Day!

December, 2005

Snow-Remember when I told you yesterday that I was tech-impaired? Well, I’m not any better today. Instead of a photo of my fresh snow—about two inches of it—I’m posting a photo that I took of my husband in Alaska several years ago.

Rosa Parks-For those of you who missed it, this is the anniversary of Rosa Parks sit-down on the bus. The date was December 1, 1955. Thank you, Rosa. Coincidentally, I think it was the same year that my family went for an Easter drive into Texas. We were turned away when we went into a restaurant for lunch. The restaurant didn’t serve Mexicans. I still remember the man saying, “I’m sorry, that’s just the way it is,” as he wiped his hands on a dish towel. We were too ashamed and fearful to try to eat someplace else, so we drove all the way home. Boy, were we hungry by the time we reached our own kitchen. I was about ten years old, and I didn’t really understand what was happening. All the way home, I’d kept thinking, Why were we turned away? We were all dressed up…On a different level, I still don’t understand it.

Snow Day! No one loves a snow day better than a writer. I’m sure of it. I spent the day admiring the big, white, fluffy flakes and watching movies. I even had popcorn. Some would call it fooling around, but I call it research.

On my bed table: The Drifters, by award-winning writer Tonya Holmes Shook. It’s a historical novel about the Melungeon Shantyboat People. More about it later, but so far, it’s a really good read.

In my DVD player: The Business of Fancydancing, by Sherman Alexi. It’s a wonderful film that is filmed with a intriguing film perspective that enhances the perspective of the story.

It’s just an accident that the book and movie of the day are both by Native American artists (Shook is a Cherokee and Alexie is a Spokane Indian). It won’t always be like this, after all I’m Hispanic!

Quote du jour:
“ I’m the affirmative action poet.” Seymour Polatkin (Evan Adams) in The Business of Fancydancing

November 30, 2005

Off to jail!

I thought I should post a note to say goodbye, because I'm sure the Picasa Police will be by to pick me up any moment. My troubles started when I tried to install Hello to transfer pictures on my blog. Somehow, I may have ended up with two copies on my site, but I'm not sure enough to delete one of them--I have hours of work on this problem! Of course, the conditions contract I signed says this is forbidden. If they knew me, they'd know I haven't a criminal bone in my body. I'm just severely tech-challenged.

I see that our FCC chief, Kevin Martin, says we need to make sure our children aren't seeing content unfit for a minor. He even suggests that we should be able to choose what's in our program bundles! Woozer! At last, some sanity! If I went into a store to buy a pair of shoes, and the salesman said that the only way I could buy them was if I also bought a hat and handbag too, wouldn't that be illegal? Why then, can the cable stations tell me I can only buy one channel, say-- the decorating channel, if I also purchase 6 other channels that I have no interest in. How do they get away with this stuff?

Cannabalism?- The news just gets worse: Apparently, the makers of video games are now adding graphic scenes of cannabalism! Have mercy! I haven't played these games myself--remember, I'm the one who can't move a photo from my personal file to my profile--but I have no doubt that it's true, because Senator Joe Lieberman (democrat), says it is. The head of theInteractive Entertainment Merchants Association says these games are clearly not for children. They're M-rated, not intended for children under the age of 17. So, we're giving these games to young adults right about the time they can handle guns. Brilliant! A few mentally unbalanced 17'ers might be sent over the edge with this material. What are they thinking? Has greed gone that far?
In case your TV is out, and the neighbor's dog ran away with your paper, I'm going to list these games to avoid from a list printed in the Tacoma News Tribune. They're identified as being especially violent:
"Far Cry"
"The Warriors"
"Stubbs the Zombie in Rebel Without a Pulse" (Oh, pu---leeeze!)
"True Crime: New York City"
"Blitz: The League"
"Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories"
"God of War"
"Doom 3: Resurrection of Evil"
"Urban Reign"
"Conker: Live and Reloaded"
"Resident Evil 4"
The Associated Press
For the full story, see your newspaper. Mine is The Tacoma News Tribune (Notice, I mentioned The Tacoma News Tribune twice (now three times). I don't want The Gods of Hearst angry with me.)

Quote du jour:
“All that is gold does not glitter, not all who wander are lost.” JRR Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

November 15, 2005

America's Picasso

R.C. Gorman-We lost R.C. Gorman on the third of this month. It took me until now* to locate the photo of him above, taken at one of his shows in 1988 in Seattle. Sometimes called America’s Picasso, he left us with many beautiful, treasured reminders of his presence on this planet. I found him to be friendly and unexpectedly chatty. I was absolutely overwhelmed when he signed my $10 poster! *I’m a woman of many scrapbooks!
Vocabulary:- I was feeling so trendy because I knew what a metrosexual was—now I see we have “├╝bersexuals.” In case you didn’t know about them either, they are metrosexuals who are thoughtful and confident. Who knew?

On my bed table: I wish I knew! I dropped it and it went under my bed. I can’t remember the title, but it’s just as well—I wasn’t impressed! I dropped it over ten days ago and haven't felt compelled to go after it yet--maybe I'll just leave it for the dust bunnies...

Quote du jour:
"Do the thing and you shall have the power." Ralph Waldo Emerson, courtesy of Elizabeth Lyon, writer & editor

A fall photo by Dick Hooper
"Dissent is an act of faith." Senator Fulbright

November, 2005

A little Thanksgiving poetry...

Old Turkey Neck
by Janelle Meraz Hooper

Old turkey neck—
That’s what it is.
Wrinkled and bumpy—
And covered in frizz.

I look in the mirror—
and what do I see?
It isn’t the turkey—
Dear Gussy, it’s me!

And the silliness continues...why? Because I can! This is an editor-free zone! Happy Thanksgiving, all! JMH

The New Anything-But-Turkey-Diet
by Janelle Meraz Hooper

And now, from the chicken-wire pen behind a restaurant on Ruston Way, a few words about the season from one soon to be seasoned...

Not again! Every year we go through guys start walking briskly up and down Ruston Way with your dogs, building up an appetite. I see you out there, and from where I sit, some of you could stand to miss a few meals. But, no, you’re starting to think about turkey (Yikes!) and dressing....aren’t you? Then, comes Christmas, and you want to eat a goose. Easter, it’s some poor lamb or pig. Can’t you guys ever eat a carrot? Or how about a nice bowl of Cheerios? This year, I’m introducing the New-Anything-But-Turkey-Diet...the idea is you eat anything but turkey. You won’t lose any weight, but neither will I (do ‘ya get it?).
Look over on the sidewalk. Do you believe it? Excuse me, I just can’t let this go by:

“Gobble, gob-gob-gobble, GOBBLE! GOB! GOB!”
(translation: “Hey, lady! Is that the way you want to start the next thousand years? In a gold metallic running suit? The gold purse is a nice touch, though...”)

I’m back. Come on, folks, work with me here! While you’re out on the street in those funny outfits, running and working up an appetite, I’m pacing up and down this enclosure trying to make that old cook at the restaurant here think I’m too crazy to eat, and all he worries about is that I’m making myself tough. “Rest,” he says. “Take it easy,” he says. He’s even offered me this nice oval pan to nap in...does he think I’m a dumb cluck? I’ve had one foot in the roaster before.
Look, if you won’t try this new un-turkey diet, then I gotta go somewhere where they don’t eat turkeys. I’m thinking maybe Hollywood. I hear they got all kinds of turkeys down there driving around in fancy cars and playing in swimming pools and none of them get eaten.
People down there eat sushi...maybe you guys should try it. A little green seaweed, a little pickled red plum...festive. Add some sticky rice and you’ll never miss me.
Excuse me one more time...look at this guy! He comes here every day with that big dog and never once does he clean up after him...

“Gobble, #%!*@!, gobble, gobble, gobble...”
(translation:“Hey you! You with the dog! You gonna scoop up after that elephant, or what?”)

Well, if I’m going to Hollywood, I’d better get movin’...figure I’ll get out of this pen, jump in the water here, and float to California...maybe just keep going, all the way to Mexico. Think about that seaweed and pickled red plum, now. Hmmm...wonder if I should leave a note?
(An excerpt from: Free Pecan Pie and Other Chick Stories, by Janelle Meraz Hooper)



Amsterdam, Netherlands- I’m still trying to figure out what really happened over the weekend in the Netherlands—did the Domino Day organizers really succeed in “felling” 4,155,476 dominos or did the sparrow beat them to it? And when will we get the autopsy report on the mischievous bird? Surely they’re going to examine him to see if they can determine what compelled the little guy to execute such deviant behavior. By the way, just where was this event? Outside? Or, did the bird get into their building? Inquiring minds want to know!
Iraq-Of course, I'm avoiding the real news. Even those of us who were against the war from the start consoled ourselves by thinking that, okay, Bush will get his oil, but the people would be better off. At least that was something. But the people of Iraq aren't better off. Iraq has not been rebuilt. They often don't have water, much less food. I don't need to express what else has happened, we all know the score. At least, I expected our government to keep its promises.

Hoping for better news tomorrow...

Quote du jour
Courtesy of Elizabeth Lyon, writer and editor:
"If you help others, you will be helped. Perhaps tomorrow, perhaps in a hundred years, but you will be helped. Nature must pay off the debt. It is a mathematical law and all life is mathematical." Gurdjieff (Russian spiritual teacher)


Heidi Fleiss-What a riot that Heidi is! Now she is opening “Heidi’s Stud Farm” in Nevada. I’m real curious about this. Don’t young girls get all the sex they want for free? So is she marketing to older women? She says the price for a hunk is going to be $250. As men are historically unpredictable in their timing, it isn’t clear if this is for 60 minutes or 2! I suspect that the young women will continue to get their sex for free, and the rest of us will stay home, take the 2 minutes, and spend the rest of the hour—and money—at a shoe sale somewhere! Oh! I just got it! How dumb can I be? Heidi isn’t going to market her new business to women—she’s going to market to men! Brilliant, Heidi.

Billy Joel- In yesterday's paper he was quoted, "In this business (going to rehab) is like going to get your teeth cleaned." Why are you drinking, Billy? Because of the pressure? Build a bridge, and get over it! Everyone I know is juggling family and jobs (that's an intentional plural) and working 60-70 hours a week. Tough? You don't know what tough is!

Yesterday's news was much better...

Quote du jour:
"Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Ralph Waldo Emerson, courtesy of the Wes Studi web site.

Alito-I’m not looking for trouble, but this guy worries me. He’s told everyone that the anti-abortion statement he made means nothing because he was just looking for a job. Well, isn’t he looking for a job this time?

Iraq-I see. We invaded a country on false premises, killed or maimed its people, leveled the land, and killed over 2,000 of our young men, and now Congress wants us to pull out? What? And leave all that mess!? Who’s gonna clean it up? I think we’d better knock off these Christian Crusades before somebody decides to hold one over here. Momma don’t want no stateside crusades—but she wouldn’t be opposed to a little impeachment party.

Breadbasket-Speaking of Bush, all those states in the breadbasket of this country that turned red on election night are going to get just what they deserve—lots of them are going to lose their cushy farm subsidies. If course, the rest of us will suffer too—at the grocery store—

Go, Mom! - All right, maybe the mother who was frustrated over her lazy, fun-loving student went overboard when she put her on a street and made her hold up that sign that said something about not doing her homework. But the “Will work for food” line at the bottom of the sign was a nice touch. I have no doubt that the mother had the best of intentions. I feel her pain! I’ve worked with young people and have had a devil of a time getting through to them that it was critical that they gave their studying first priority. I don’t think I ever got through. Maybe, I needed a sign….

Yesterday's news was much better...

Quotes du jour:

"At the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you." Gerta (from a Barbra Streisand interview)

“Go big or go home.” Canadian Olympic Committee

11-16-2005-I've been filling out my profile and was surprised to see that the program designers have Blogspot programmed to calculate and report astrology signs. Ha! Didn't that go out with bell bottom pants and vans? But then, what do I know? Maybe it's coming back. I hope not--my sign was always dead on, and if you've ever read what it has to say about Pisces, you feel my pain. Although I've changed, I really have. I no longer have unfinished projects under my bed, and I meet all of my deadlines, thank you. Still, old ghosts always send a shiver, no?

Sports- I see the baseball players are going to have to give up their drugs--it didn't say anything about the people in the stands. Seriously, it's about time. We're trying to raise our kids here!

Yesterday's news was much better...

Quotes du jour:

"If at first you do succeed, try to hide your astonishment." Los Angeles Times Syndicate

"Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of the night." P.J. ORourke, AARP May/June/2002

11-15-05- Oh, good grief! Simon & Schuster is going to create a whole line of books for 50 Cent? Am I wrong to assume that his poetry on drug-dealing, street crime, and expensive cars will not positively influence our children or culture? Is it just me? Am I cranky? Maybe so...

In other news: I hear they caught the cell phone bandit. She was a looker on the surveillance tapes! No wonder she didn't want to wear a mask!

On my bedtable: Oh My Stars by Lorna Landvik. What a fun book with a snappy main character!

Moms and Dads: Here, I want to salute good-parenting. Good-parenting doesn't mean "spend a lot of money." Now, here's what I'm talking about!:
On NPR radio, 94.9 KUOW, I heard a story about a Russian musician who was very poor as a child. His mother couldn't afford an instrument for him, so she bought him a violin case and he carried it around (at about age 5). He is now a recognized musician, and I'm sorry that I tuned into the story at the end, so I can't give proper credit. Go, Mom!

Quotes du jour:

“Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.” Nelson Mandela, 1994 Inaugural speech

“Things are going to get a lot worse before they get worse.” Lily Tomlin

World news, 11-08-05
Tuesday in the USA- It's election day for a lot of us. It's always a great worry to me when I look at my ballot. It seems the choices are fewer every year. The quality of candidates is worsening. What to do? What to do? Somehow, we've got to do better at picking our representatives. A lot better.

Quotes du jour:

“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give.” Nigeria web site, Books without borders page, 4-20-02

“Paris is always a good idea.” From the movie Sabrina

“if you don’t visit a bad neighborhood, it will visit you.” Thomas Friedman, 11-12-01 MNT

World news, 11-02-05
Our president-This blog would be a lot more fun if we had a better president. After reading about the secret prison camps in this morning's paper, my heart is broken. Why should other countries respect our captured soldiers, if we don't respect theirs?

Quotes du jour:

“By the time I learned the meaning of happiness it was too late…I was already married.” George Burns (on radio)

Alexis Sherman: February 7, 2001, Liberty Theatre “Native-Americans live on both sides of the hyphen.”

“I’m just a man, but I can change, If I have to...I guess” Red Green, Possum Lodge Oath, The Red Green Show (TV)

World news, 11-01-05
Pluto- Scientists say they now know that Pluto has three moons--not just one as they thought before. Ladies, if our menses are controlled by the moon (and they say they are), just think what a mess we'd be if we lived on Pluto!

Quotes du jour:

"Our weakness for temptation hasn't increased," the Rev. George Hall announced last Sunday, "but I think our ability to find it has." Burton Hillis, December 1987 Better Homes and Gardens

Sophie Tucker, 1884-1966 From birth to age eighteen a girl needs good parents, from eighteen to thirty-five she needs good looks, from thirty-five she needs good personality, from fifty-five on, she needs good cash. 1953 The Cynics Lexicon Jonathan Green, St. Martin's Press, New York 1984

October, 2005

World news, 10-31-05
Rosa Parks- The loss of this courageous woman last week makes everything else seem inconsequential. I think I have the image of that sweet lady sitting on the bus forever burned into my mind. As I look at her photos, I see a heavenly glow on her face, as if she was sent to earth to give us her special gift. Rest in peace, beautiful lady.

Snakes-The problem with exotic pets is that their owners love them so much, that when they have to get rid of them, they release them into nature. Of course they can't kill them, I understand that. I hope that they can understand our reticence to adopt them. Liberated (released) boa constrictors have become a real problem. We need laws now to make exotic pets illegal. Damaging our eco-system is bad enough, but it's only a matter of time before they start attacking people.

Whales-Isn't it a shame that, on one coast, the navy is killing whales with their sonar, and on the other coast, Indians want permission to go whale hunting? Isn't it too bad the Indians can't go to where the whales already are, lying on the beach ready to be carved up? I know, I know, it's not the same thing. However, I'm skeptical about how much of that whale meat is ever eaten. I can picture freezers full of rancid whale meat all over the rez. Rumor is, that whale meat is very difficult to digest. Moms may have a hard time getting their families to eat it.

I can remember when my grandmother tried to feed the grandkids pork entrails. It was a treat when she was a girl, but just the smell had us throwing up...times and stomachs change. I hope we're not killing those poor whales just to preserve cultural traditions--that's why we have powwows...

World news, 10-14-05
The Chinese have been up there for days trying to deliver that order of Mu Shu beef, but the Mir Space Station keeps moving...

World news, 10-12-05
China-I don't suppose those Chinese Astronauts are just in space to deliver some Mu Shu beef...? Seriously, we'd better find a way to better fund our space sprogram. 'Nuff said.

World news, 10-10-05
It's worse than we thought--and we thought it was pretty bad. I hear we've pledged $100,000 and a bottle of water--well, so much for being a super power.
And now, Guatamala too. We've all been praying for peace--well, maybe God has chosen this way to give it to us. By the time all these plagues are over, none of us will be able to afford anything more than a spitball!

World news, 10-09-05
When we had Katrina, the insurgents said it was Allah. What are they saying now that they have an earthquake disaster? I'll bet they're not saying it was Allah! I'm sure hoping no one in this country is dumb enough to say it was our God! They are disasters, folks, not works of God. Any God.
I hear President Bush has announced we're sending aid. I hope Pakistan and India aren't holding their breath! But speaking of aid, why can't we send some heavy-duty equipment? We've got enough of it right across the border in Afghanistan. Send it! Send it now!

World news, 10-07-05
Politics has gotten so boring and predictable. Maybe it's time for a change. Instead of the same old elephant and donkey, let's switch to alligators vs. boa constrictors...from the photo in the paper showing the boa who died so brutally after he attempted to swallow an alligator, I'm convinced a change of mascots would liven things up. Since the alligator in the photo didn't live either, I'm hopeful for a rivalry that's more exciting than what we've gotten from elephants and donkeys. You'll notice I said more exciting--I've given up on them ever being more truthful...

World news, 10-06-05
The above art was given to me, and reminds me that so much of our life is taken up by going from one celebration to another. How many of us are letting those magic moments pass us by?

Not my mother. She savored every holiday. I still laugh when I remember when she called me to tell me that a little trick-or-treater politely told her he liked her mask--and she wasn't wearing one! Another time, she raked all of the leaves in the yard to fill three large orange garbage bags that had Jack O'Lantern faces on them. She didn't think they looked plump enough, so she stuffed them the rest of the way with old newspapers. Satisfied that they looked as good as possible, she lined them up in her front yard--and somebody stole them! I told her they must have looked too good!

On the home front, I'm trying to make a dear friend a pumpkin, because she's so artistic and made me a beautiful fairy riding in a wheelchair pumpkin; it is so cute. I'm about as crafty as I imagine Nixon was, and it is looking B-A-D! Talk about scary! It'll probably never make it to her door. That's okay--at least, neither will Nixon! Now, that would be scary!

World news, 10-03-05
Hugh Hefner-I think Hugh Hefner must have been misquoted. I don't think he said he had Puritan roots. I think he said he had Puritan boots--no, wait--it was the Pilgrims who had buckles on their boots--maybe he was talking about roots--I'm so confused!

World news, 10-01-05
Is anyone sorry to see September go? I think not! Here's to a month of no hurricaines. I'd wish for no wars, too, but I'm not that naive. At least, maybe we can keep peace in our families, and in our communities--who knows? Maybe it'll spread!

September, 2005

World news, 9-23-05
Not another hurricaine! Now, if our scientists were any good, they'd figure out some way to send that storm somewhere else--maybe to Bin Laden's cave (LOL).
Seriously, we'd better study this problem some more. Is it really global warming, for instance? Didn't Bush say there was no such thing?
The Philippines-Speaking of scientists, on Yahoo! today it says the scientists in the Philippines are close to cloning a water buffalo...maybe they should have started with something smaller, although another water buffalo would probably be more useful than some of the stuff American scientists try to clone (did we really need a cloned Elvis? Don't answer that!) Most of the time, I wonder what we're thinking, the way we waste our dwindling natural resources and our seemingly endless mental potential. It reminds me of the story about the man on a desert island who has three wishes--and one of them is a peanut butter sandwich, the other a fancy car, and the last, a beautiful woman. Okay, I made that up, but you get the point...
Still waiting, Barbara.................

World news, 9-18-05
The 3 missing mice-The Public Health Institute in Newark has admitted that they have lost three mice infected with the bubonic plague. It took them two weeks to report the disappearance. They further admit that these mice might have been stolen, yet they aren't worried. What is it with scientists? This year they've already lost sensitive samples that were sent--by mail!--to some Arab country that's is undoubtedly way too close to Bin Laden (wherever he is), and now this. Okay, so I'm no angel. A lot of times, my office looks like it has been hit by the bubonic plague, but I expect scientists who are handling mice infected with bubonic plague to be more responsible. Is it just me? As a kid, The Three Blind Mice were bad enough. I was never even comfortable with that itsy, bitsy, spider...

World news, 9-17-05
Katrina-I heard that the taverns opened up in New Orleans last night. That's a great sign. Now, if they cold just do something about those pralines!
The president got one thing right on Thursday night. He said the rest of the nation couldn't imagine going forward without New Orleans (paraphrase). I'm still not sure about calling some of them homesteaders...maybe it'll grow on me.
...........................................Still waiting, Barbara.......................

Katrina-Well, I said yesterday that we needed a more respectful name for those who have been displaced by Katrina. I would never have thought of "homesteaders"! According to our prez, that's what some of them will be! Who'da thunk?!

World news, 9-15-05
Katrina-Is anyone else bothered by hearing the people in the hurricaine area called "homeless" and "victims"? Can't we come up with a name that's more respectful? Maybe "survivers" ?

World news, 9-14-05
Barbara Bush-I didn't say anything about what Barbara Bush said in the Houston Dome last week. First, because I was in shock--she used to be one of my favorite First Ladies. Second, because I was sure she'd apologize and blame it on cramps or something. But I haven't heard an apology--has anyone else? I'm having some nasty thoughts here, but I'll keep them to myself. Besides, the First Lady deserves respect. And there have been enough hateful thoughts floating around lately.

New Orleans-We all know what will happen in the rebirth--poor people will sell their land to rich people, and New Orleans will end up looking like Kansas City. Don't get me wrong, Kansas City is great, but it belongs in Kansas, don't you think?
I'm pretty sure that when they rebuild that area, with homes that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, they'll find a way to fix the levies...

But wouldn't it be great if all of the creative architects and builders got together and redesigned New Orleans with the flavor it had before Katrina, only better?
Honey, we've got some great builders and carpenters in this country--not to mention the big one upstairs--we could do a bang-up job! Maybe we could even have contests among young architects just out of school and community planning done by visionaries...wouldn't it be great?! New Orleans could be even better than before! Just do me one favor: don't mess with the music! There's nothin' broken there!

I hope you all saw the photograph in your paper yesterday of the little table on the sidewalk outside a New Orleans restaurant. It was all dressed up with a white linen tablecloth, flowers, and a bottle of wine. The owner explained that he put it there to cheer people up--it worked! I'd love to see that table on a poster with the message: We'll be back!

Sports- We're losing Dan Wilson, the Mariner's best catcher ever, to retirement. The good news is he may stay on in another position. In our household, we call him Dan the Man! and baseball hasn't been the same without him this season.

World news, 9-12-05
Katrina-(Will there ever be any other news?) I just heard on NPR that a brigade of Canadian Mounties from Vancouver (Western Canada) arrived in New Orleans two days after Katrina. TWO DAYS! And I bet they were on horseback...
World news, 9-09-05
Katrina-Well, it's a new nightmare every night. One night, I dreamed that my (hobby) wood-worker husband was in charge of making the coffins for New Orlean's victims, and he decided it was taking too much wood, so he made the coffins half-size, and folded the people into them before nailing the top shut...I was one of the people he put in the coffins. Another night, I dreamed of those school buses, sitting in water--empty. I think that may be one of the saddest sights I've ever seen. Even sadder than the starving children of Niger, because the school buses were a symbol of lost opportunities to save thousands.
Ben Stein-While I'm at it, I've had enough of Ben Stein and his e-mail that is circulating around. And all of the rest of the smug, elitists who are feeling so superior too. "Get off his back?!!!" Ben Stein? Oh, go fish!

World news, 9-04-05
Katrina-I was out and about yesterday. One of the places I went to was a huge food warehouse for restaurants. Normally, an outing like this would have been much more fun. But as my wheelchair rolled up and down aisle after aisle of huge, super-sized containers of every food ever put into packaging, my eyes begain to tear up. When we got to the meat locker, stocked with huge prime ribs, turkey breast roasts, hams, ribs, and all the rest, I thought I'd lose it. So much food! I wanted to grab a couple of those giant pieces of meat and make a break for New Orleans.
I didn't. I've never clocked the speed of my wheelchair when I'm "crabbing" with my feet, but I was pretty sure it wouldn't be fast enough--especially if I were carrying a lapful of meat!
Oh, well, another day, perhaps. If I ever get a motorized wheelchair, look out!
By the way, is the ballet over yet, Condie?!

World news, 9-02-05
Katrina: "Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself." Mark Twain

World news, 9-01-05
Katrina: It really sucks being a nobody! Whenever I have a good idea for helping someone in a disaster, no one will listen. This week, I thought we could use the wedding registries on the Internet to adopt families that are in need--the system is already set up! So many chains have them: Target, Macy's, G.I. Joe, and others. I thought it would be a great way to let the Katrina victims know we care. But, no one will even answer my e-mails! Oh, well! Maybe they've heard a better idea...I just liked the gift card idea because someone in the stricken area would know that someone cared about them. So much more personal.

August, 2005

World News 8-29-05
Weather- The first thing I did when I got up this morning was look to see if New Orleans was still there. I still don't know because the news crews can't even get in yet. I spent many happy hours in the Bourbon District in the seventies, people-watching and eating pralines. Even though there would still be jazz if the whole area were washed out to sea, it wouldn't be the same.

While I'm on the subject, isn't there a better way to evacuate people before a disaster? It must have been a terrifying night for those poor folks--they're comparing it to The Tsunami--you know which one I mean. God bless them all!

Around here, it's supposed to drizzle today. Hardly an event that warrants sympathy from the rest of the country. But, last night, I was thinking about Louisiana being washed away, and so much of other parts of our country engulfed in wildfires--it occured to me that we have it entirely too easy up here. Since I'm a writer, and have a bundle of emotional trauma ready to go at any moment, I'm hoping we don't have an earthquake up here to complete the disaster picture.

For right now, all I have to worry about is what color rain slicker I'm going to get for the year. I hear purple is the new red (Who makes up all these silly fashion rules?). And rhinestone pins are in, they say. Maybe I'll get a big, shiny one and put it on my new slicker. I wonder if I can find one that won't rust?

Quote du jour:

“The older we get, the fewer things seem worth waiting in line for.” Courtesy of Harold Bourne

World News 8-28-05
Weather-This does not apply to people who are facing severe, REAL weather problems--you know who you are--but the rest of you, quit whining! For weeks, you've whined because it was too hot. In two weeks, you'll be whining because it's too cold. Put something on or take something off and suck it up. Geez...

Quote du jour:

“I don’t know how I got over the hill without getting to the top.” Courtesy of Harold Bourne

World News 8-21-05
Anyone read the funny papers today? It's getting ugly out there. Something is wrong when the funnies have more bite than the front page...

Quote du jour:

“Oh, Lord, be good to me. The sea is so wide and my boat is so small.” Nigerian prayer

World News 8-20-05
I’ve always hated this time of year. My blue mood begins when I see the first back to school ad in my Sunday paper, and worsens until I see the first Christmas ad—usually sometime in October.
I should have outgrown my September morose by now, as my nest is empty. But it gets worse and worse as I am forced to acknowledge over and over that summer is over every time I see a big yellow school bus go up the hill in front of my house.
Where did the time go? I still have Popsicles in my freezer! Did I buy too many? I don’t think so. I think that, every year, we are invaded by Rushin’s! That is, people Rushin’ to do this, and Rushin’ to do that. On their calendar, summer is over. Not so. I have proof: I have yet to see a ripe tomato in my garden, there is a new blue jay nest in my Maple tree, and my four o’clocks are so pitiful that I’ve taken to calling them “not todays.” Of course, I was warned not to try to plant a southern flower in the Northwest, but through the years I have planted peanuts, okra, and black-eyed peas, all of which turned into gigantic crop failures. I figure that maybe I could apply farm subsidies—and the government would pay me for not growing these pot gardens…

Quote du jour:

“The grass is greener where it’s watered...” Debbie McComber, March 17, 1999

World News 8-17-05
Vendors: According to my morning paper, the American Beverage Association as voted to have less sugary drinks in its vending machines. According to the article, up until now, vending machines in elementary schools have sold soda. Soda! What are we thinking? Or don't the parents have any controls? Maybe not. And they wonder why childnood obesity is a problem. Duh!

Quote du jour:

“A nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground. Then it is finished. No matter how brave its warriors or how strong their weapons.” Cheyenne proverb

World News 8-08-05
My backyard: What's going on? I live in an urban area near Puyallup, Washington and lately, it's been more like Wild Kingdom. Blue herons with their mouths full of fish are flying over my house, almost colliding with the eagles and hawks. A six-point deer has been rubbing his antlers on my cherry tree, and that same cherry tree has four raccoons in it this morning. Four! A coyote has cleaned out our wild rabbits that had lived contentedly under our garden shed for several years and doesn't seem to have any instinctive fear of Kodak film. I swear, he's posing...This is a heck of a lot of fun for us to watch, but I have to wonder why?! Are they out of space in the wild? And why are these nocturnal animals out in the daytime? Are they hungry? I have to admit, they all look well fed--possibly on the cats and dogs in the area. I suspect this because the amount of missing pet flyers on the stop sign at the corner is increasing. This has given me something to worry about besides global warming.

Remember Niger!

moccasin: Still waiting to hear if those poor people ever got that water moccasin out of their house...

Quote du jour:

“You can't sell an empty wagon...: shop owner of a cement garden ware store talking to a newsman

World News 8-08-05
Niger : Don't you just love it? On the news now, they're calling it Ni-geer--with a French pronunciation. I guess children aren't starving to death if they know they're living in Ni-geer. Please help! E-mail your donation to World Vision on Just search Niger, you'll find it. Do it now! Imagine how it would be to be a mother with a child starving to death in a world that rushes to help Russian submarine sailors and just about everyone else. What's wrong with us? While you're at it, e-mail Bush:'t tell me we can't do more to help!

Speaking of global warming: yes, I have an SUV. Well, not really, it's a Chevy wannabe. But even if were a bonifide SUV, so what? Over the last thirty years, I have taken deliberate actions to protect the environment: I have changed my doctors, hairdresser, and dentist to ones who are nearer my home. I have eliminated my commute to work, narrowing a 144 mile round trip commute to one that's a matter of feet--from my coffeepot to my back bedroom, where I write. The speedometer on my 1997 Blazer reads under 44,000 miles. My husband has moved his office and cut his commute by more than half. We recycle. Everytbing. We have switched from a charcoal grill to a gas grill. We use eco-friendly washing products. I was on the organic food bandwagon when a lot of people were still using toxic garden products that had to be kept under lock and key (and they eat those vegetables?).
My point is, don't judge or blame a person for global warming just because of the car they're driving. That's only one small part of the problem.

World News 8-08-05
Remember Niger!
moccasin: Still waiting to hear if those poor people ever got that water moccasin out of their house...

Quote du jour:

“He doesn't know if he's afoot or horseback...” Alfred E. Hooper

World News 8-08-05
Niger : Don't you just love it? On the news now, they're calling it Ni-geer--with a French pronunciation. I guess children aren't starving to death if they know they're living in Ni-geer. Please help! E-mail your donation to World Vision on Just search Niger, you'll find it. Do it now! Imagine how it would be to be a mother with a child starving to death in a world that rushes to help Russian submarine sailors and just about everyone else. What's wrong with us? While you're at it, e-mail Bush:'t tell me we can't do more to help!

Quote du jour:

“An artist is never poor.” Babette (Babette's Feast)

World News 8-03-05
Sports: Not another one! Ryan Franklin (a Mariner) has been tested positive for drugs--how dumb am I? I guess it's the mother in me that wants to believe my favorite players are innocent. Wake up and smell the protein drink, Mama!
Our President: God love him (because a lot of us don't!), but our president is vacationing in Crawford, Texas? Vacationing? That would be like my going to Tukwila. Please, someone send that man some travel brochures!

Quote du jour:

“We can do no great things...only small things with great love.” Mother Teresa

World News 8-01-05
Sports: The baseball news is bad today. Don't look (tests say Palmeiro is using steroids. I don't believe it.).
Space: Another foam problem on the shuttle! And after 11 million dollars in research! I don't even care about the money--I just don't want to see another "...giant tear moving across the sky..." (I wish I could give credit for this line, I don't know who said it, but he was a minister). Will somebody send those NASA guys a tube of Gorilla Glue?

Quote du jour:

"Joy is a net of love by which you catch souls." Mother Teresa
Woman's Day, December 19, 1989

World News 7-31-05
Sports: Have mercy! Bavasi (Mariner's General manager) has traded Randy Winn and others for some players who have a health record worse than mine! Lately, whenever a player does well, I think it's just a matter of time before we trade him! Does anyone else feel my pain?
Technology: Franklin has come out with a pocket prep for the SAT. I think I'll get one and take that darn test over...I'm over 60, do you think they'll let me?
The runaway bride: I didn't think much of it when the runaway bride hopped a bus to Las Vegas, but now I'm having second thoughts: A few people have disappeared lately, and not much is being done about it. Could it be that the authorities think the person will just turn ip sooner or later in Las Vegas? TRB may have done more damage than we know...

Quote du jour:

“God made the meat...the devil made the cooks!” Anonymous

World News 7-28-05 Last week was my week for news! Northwestern women wearing flip-flops to the White House (oh, dear!), water moccasins in people's toilets, Comanche Code Talkers--and where was I? Working on a deadline! Drat! note: to be fair, those Northwestern women were probably just confused--they probably thought they were going to that other White House in Nevada...
Well, it's all chuckles under the bridge...I'll do better next time!

Quote du jour:

“Save the planet! It’s the only one with chocolate!” Pam Rice Hahn, author

World news 7-15-05 I made some popcorn this afternoon and I noticed the nutritional label had two calorie counts--one before popping and one after. Is anyone out there eating this stuff raw?!

Quote du jour:

"Eagles soar, but if the wind is strong enough, even turkeys can fly." Anonymous

World News 7-4-05
On my bed table: Benjamin Franklin, An American Life by Walter Isaacson
Read the part about Franklin consoling Jefferson when his draft of the Declaration was being edited. What a treat!

I made some popcorn this afternoon and I noticed the nutritional label had two calorie counts--one before popping and one after. Is anyone out there eating this stuff raw?!

World News 6-16-05
The news reminds me of when John and Yoko were having a sleep-in for peace in Toronto during the Viet Nam War. They had billboards and posters of all sizes with the slogan:

The War Is Over!
(if you want it to be)

Now, for the life of me, I can't remember why we made fun of them...

Quote du jour:

"Experience is what you get when you don't get what you want." Anonymous

World News 6-14-05
It's Flag Day! In the funny papers: The Family Circus. One of the children does the pledge of allegiance: " I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of a miracle..." Well said, Jeff and Bill Keane
And it's true. Sure we have problems, but this is still the greatest country in the world. What I can't understand is:
Why some of our parents and even grandparents are hurting our children.
Why do so many of our people seem to be missing their bootstraps (to pull themselves up with)?
WHY do we have hungry people in this nation of plenty?
When I started this blog, I never thought I'd be so discouraged that I wouldn't even care to comment on the news. There would always be something, I thought, to make a funny about. Not lately. Even Erma Bombeck couldn't do anything with the pages of my newspaper.
So let's focus on things we can control: Let's love our children, help our people find their bootstraps, and feed our hungry. Then, maybe, we can branch out to bigger problems.

Quote du jour:

"I'm as pure as the driven slush." Talluluh Bankhead

World News 5-13-05
Finger mystery solved! After weeks of my shaking hands with dozens of strangers--just so I could count their fingers--we know for sure the whole thing was a scam. Everybody, have lunch today at Wendy's! Do it for Dave Thomas, who worked so hard to make his dream of Wendy's come true. Business today is hard enough without everyone giving you their finger (did I say that?!).
In my e-mails: I had 56 spams this morning--most of them wanting to make some northern or southern part of me bigger. Come on, folks! I can't have both! Make up your minds which part of me needs to get larger. And Julie, whoever--and wherever you are--get a life!

Quote du jour:

"She was what we used to call a suicide blonde...dyed by her own hand." Saul Bellows

World News 5-13-05
On my bed table: I'm still slogging through Benjamin Franklin, but I did finish The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd. If you haven't read it yet, let me know, because I'm sure the last person on earth to read one of the best books in America.
In my e-mails: My Nigerian spam is becoming outrageous! Now, somone has sent me a whole list of info they need, including a clear photo copy of my passport!Yeah, that'll happen!

Quote du jour:

River City Billiards: "She's the kind of gal who climbed the ladder of success...wrong by wrong..."

World news 5-08-05:

Children Save the Environment!
Have you noticed that it’s getting harder and harder to get rid of our old stuff? Gone are the days when we could put an old television set by the curb and the garbage man would take it away for free. Don’t even think about trying to offer it to him as a gift—his television at home is at least ten times better.
No, getting rid of large outdated appliances is going to cost you thirty-dollars or up. That is, unless you’ve planned ahead. Way ahead... about twenty-years or so. If you’ve planned carefully and raised at least four children, preferably two of each sex, your disposal problems will be solved. At least until they marry and raise their own children .
These children are an important link to in the disposal chain, gladly hauling away those items that are too good to give away but not good enough to sell. It’s a fact: Children may be an important part of God’s plan for keeping the planet clutter-free. A young adult setting up his first apartment will gladly take away your outdated television, replaced draperies, and that set of stainless silverware that doesn’t match your new dishes.
I have no where to go with this, except that it’s Mother’s Day, and I’m thinking about my daughter—and wondering if I can con her into taking away that old lamp in the den that my mother stuck me with years ago…

Quotes du jour:

“If we’re not supposed to dance,
Why all this music?”

Gregory Orr, Poet (from Concerning The Book That Is The Body Of The Beloved, Copper Canyon Press)

Sign: "No Tapping in Lobby" –Thoroughly Modern Millie (Broadway play)

World news 4-25-05:
The new Superman movie: I'm sure this movie was in the works way before Christopher Reeve died, but even so, it rankles me. What's wrong with the Superman movie Christopher Reeve made? It still looks great--besides, we know now that Christopher Reeve WAS Superman, in all ways. For one, I'm boycotting the new one. Have a little respect, Hollywood!

Quotes du jour:

”Treat the earth well: it was not given to you by your parents, it was loaned to you by your children." Old Indian proverb

“Oh my stars!.” (Kjel in Oh My Stars by Lorna Landvik)

“The way to love something is to realize it might be lost.” Anonymous

World news 4-22-05:
Happy Earth Day!: I'm celebrating by staying inside. I'm notorious for a black thumb when it comes to growing flowers, and my roses and dahlias fear me. Now, when it comes to growing vegetables, I rock!

Carl Safina, an ocean advocate: In one of his books, Mr. Safina describes the Pacific Northwest as "the world's extinction epicenter for ocean fishes." Read the whole story in the Tacoma News Tribune, 4-22-05.
I can remember that years ago, nutritionists used to tell us to eat seafood because it couldn't be polluted by man (yes, I'm that old!).
As individuals, maybe we can't do a lot. Mother Teresa said once that "We can do no great things...only small things with great love." Let us all start by taking care of the small space we occupy. We can do better with the chemicals we put in our septic systems, yards, and bodies. Did you know that the chemicals we eat--for instance, nitrates and nitrates, end up in our ground water?

Quotes du jour:

“If the ladies don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.” Red Green, CBUT

"Remember: amateurs built the ark—professionals built the Titantic." Anonymous

“All it takes is money.” Hal Horton

“Death ends a life, but it does not end a relationship, which struggles on in the survivor’s mind toward some resolution which it may never find.”
I Never Sang For My Father, film (Gene Hackman)