Sunday, May 30, 2004

Over the River and Through The Woods

To Grandmother's House We Go!! Yep, we're down in lovely Florence at my Mom's this weekend. Been to the beach *twice*. Even flew a kite! Jinx has such fun down here. Of course we can't keep her out of the water - but what's more entertaining is her need to be the unofficial North Jetty Beach Welcome Hound and greet each and every single person, kidlet or canine in person. She's very polite about it - not at all cheesy or cloying. A simple tear by at full speed within a foot or two will suffice. She's intrigued by the kidlets but thanks to her experience with my friend E's daughter keeps her distance - she knows some of the small two-legged's can be a mite intimidated by 50 lbs of midnight black hounddog charging them at Mach 1. If anyone seems friendly or inviting she stops and allows them to worship her beauty, but is respectful of the sand castles and miscellaneous beach toys of others (though she was sorely tempted by an unattended soccer ball). She reserves the ass-sniffing for her fellow four leggeds, of which she typically finds at least a half a dozen willing playmates. Yesterday there were two corgie mixes, a border collie, a greyhound and some kind of shepherd retriever mix. I think the rolling in dead stuff compulsion must be passed on the short-legged gene, beccause Jinx, thank Maude seems unaffected. Not so the corgies. Our darling girl inherited the swimming compulsion instead. She's very obedient, and came right back after the greyhound smoked her ass during the 1/4 mile packed sand sprint event. But NOBODY beats her in the swimming events, man - it was all we could do to keep her out of the surf, then out of the river (the beach in question is right at the Siuslaw River bar).

Friday, May 28, 2004

What He Said!

I finally heard Gore's speech calling for the heads of the Bush defense team on Franken today. Wow.

Just to tie up some loose ends. You'll be happy to know that the Great State of Texas has finally come to their senses and ruled that yes, Virginia the Unitarian Universalist church is a real, honest to *insert object of worship here* religion. I was.

And the consensus on a feminist bulletin board I occasionally visit is that we shouldn't worry about a draft in 2005. Just because a bill has been introduced does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination that it will survive to become law. Shame on me for not remembering my Schoolhouse Rock lessons from Saturday morning cartoons!! - especially "I'm Just a Bill". I'm thinking Shrub & Co. could use a brush up, too - starting with The Preamble.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

Pending Draft legislation will include women

The Draft – including women - will Start in June 2005 From Here Be Hippogriffs

I don’t know how I feel about this. I’ve always been a bit rabid on the issue that if boys are required to register for the draft then girls should be too. Wherever men go, women should be there to - evenunto the trenches of the front lines. And vice versa. I’d always planned, if there ever was a draft called to try to register myself as a matter of principle. I had just as much of a right to fight & die for my country as my brother, I thought. Not that I’d want to, of course - and especially not in a war whose justification was morally suspect. Though – in the event of a morally just war (only being the defense of one's friends & family, such as an invasion by aliens or Cuba – that’s about it) I’d have volunteered anyway so the draft wouldn’t have been necessary. So I guess I was arguing for my right to become cannon fodder for rich, old fatcats in Washington in an unjust war, just like young men have been for millenia. Sounds ridiculous, I know. But I so strongly believed in the equality of the sexes that it made perfect sense. If I wanted full equality with my brother that meant I had to accept both the privelege and the sacrifice. Though ideally, I don’t want either one of us to be fed to the Gods of blood and money.

But now that I'm 32 and well past the age of having to register, and it looks like younger women *will* have to take my place on the front lines, I don't know how I feel. Do I have the right to insist they be sent off to die on my behalf? Especially given the high rate of sexual assault in the military? Ideally? I want a world where there's no need for a military at all. Short of that, I want a military where men accept women as equals, and honor them as comrades in arms - not interlopers. But that can't be accomplished if there aren't any women there in the first place.

I’m sure I’ll be writing my representatives about this but right now I’m damned if I know what to say.

Oregon Assisted Suicide Law Upheld!

“The attorney general’s unilateral attempt to regulate general medical practices historically entrusted to state lawmakers interferes with the democratic debate about physician assisted suicide,” wrote Judge Richard Tallman in the 2-1 opinion by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He said Ashcroft’s action “far exceeds the scope of his authority under federal law.”

Maybe there’s hope for journalistic integrity, yet

(From Atrios) The New York Time is fessing up in some cases to giving information provided by Iraqi exiles more credibility in the ramp up to the war than they should have, and not independently confirming that information which, in hindsight they should have recognized as being biased.

Over the last year this newspaper has shone the bright light of hindsight on decisions that led the United States into Iraq. We have examined the failings of American and allied intelligence, especially on the issue of Iraq's weapons and possible Iraqi connections to international terrorists. We have studied the allegations of official gullibility and hype. It is past time we turned the same light on ourselves… we have found a number of instances of coverage that was not as rigorous as it should have been. In some cases, information that was controversial then, and seems questionable now, was insufficiently qualified or allowed to stand unchallenged. Looking back, we wish we had been more aggressive in re-examining the claims as new evidence emerged — or failed to emerge.

They also admit subsequent burial of information in back pages that came to light afterwards that appeared to contradict that information – when it should have been given more prominence.

It’s a start.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Kittlin's shoe fetish, exposed!

You thought I was kidding about the Kittlin's weird popsicle stick/ shoe fetish habit, didn't you? Here's photographic proof. Though he prefers the aroma of the Teva's, the old knock-around-the-house shoes next to his head are the usual recipient of the popsicle sticks (on hearth). Though what they're doing there I don't know - Curt's supposed to be saving them for me so I can start using them to flag my perrenials, in hopes of differentiating them from the weeds next spring. Posted by Hello

Cheeky Monkey, or Immaculate Conception??

Chimp Give Zoo Twin Surprise

Something fun

I know I've been a bit heavy on the politics lately.

So, to make amends I offer this fun little bit of brain candy as a distraction. Experience the Wheel of Reincarnation (thanks to Going Dutch).

Curt, I'm sure is a bit annoyed that I'm letting them "get" to me. His philosophy is, if you can't change anything why let it affect your peace of mind? But that's where we're different. I never underestimate my power to effect change. I know I *can* make a difference, even a small one. I think he's accepted that until the election, I'm going to be more than a little obsessed with politics. Then, if Kerry wins I'll be thrilled and able to go about my boring daily life again, confident that the country is in good hands. If Bush wins, though - it might just get worse. After a suitable mourning period I may feel the need to get even more active, in order to counter what will surely be 4 more years of Hell (and emigration to Canada isn't really an option). Bush will move forward with even *more* of his idiotic policies under the impression that this time around, he was actually given a moral mandate by voters.

Coalition governement.... hmmm now there's a thought!

These are my new best buddies:'ve just launched this wonderful "Tell Kerry What You Think" survey to give folks disenfranchised with the Democratic party a voice.

They're calling for a coalition of Democrat/Green/Independent/anti-Bush republicans to unite together under Kerry to defeat the Shrub. This would entail, of course Kerry reaching out to them and including members of those groups in his administration. In other words - a real, living, breathing, effective multiparty democracy!!! How cool would that be?

Monday, May 24, 2004

Spinning Class, Republican style

My conservative co-worker, E. was a bit gobsmacked by this article on the Drudge Report today – “Kerry pokes fun at Bush mishap” they give Kerry crap for making a comment along the lines that maybe the President forgot his training wheels.

Now, I don’t know if Kerry said that or not, but given the context: I wouldn’t hold such a comment against him. As a lot of folks over at Atrios noticed, the irony was just too thick to ignore. If the man sets himself up as a laughingstock is it our fault for laughing? You'll notice that Drudge doesn't make any mention of Bush's earlier "training wheels" comment, leading the reader to believe Kerry pulled the comment out of his ass completely out of spite, in an effort to infantize the President. Sure, he may have been taking the opportunity to rib Shrub a little bit, but if you want to play the "who's infantizing who" game - just remember who originally brought up the phrase, and in what context. So it's OK to infantize a 2000+ yr. old civilization of millions, but not someone who took a spill from a bike???.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

Oregon Strawberries. Sweeter. Redder. Simply Better

Strawberry season ripens early in Oregon What sucks is we're losing market share to California and Florida berries, that taste like plastic - but look prettier! You can't even get Oregon berries in local grocery stores. Though, I'm wondering if more upscale places like Zupans, Hayden's or New Seasons might have them....

How to win the heart of an ex- waitress

In today's Oregonian columnist Margie Boule gives us the details of John Kerry's recent suprise dinner at a local restaurant following last week's rally in Pioneer Courthouse Square. You knew I was voting for him before, but now I feel less like it's an "anything but Bush" vote and more like I'm voting for a candidate I can genuinely admire.

At the end of the dinner (where he enjoyed some great Oregon wine), Kerry
"...rose and headed to the "dish pit," surprising dishwasher Cesar Juarez. "He just walked in on his own accord, said hello to Cesar, thanked him and shook his hand," John says. No one is sure if Cesar got much out of the brief conversation, "since he doesn't speak English," John explains. Nevertheless, all agree Cesar appeared to be charmed."

And perhaps more importantly, he tipped very well. Would he have thanked the Mexican dishwasher had he not been running for President? Does he do this at every restaurant he eats at? I don't know. But there weren't any cameras rolling at Higgins' that night so I don't think it was staged. But as someone who worked their way through college in the restaurant business, it really showed me that the man can identify with me and what my personal issues are in life (or were at one time). He was a good customer, didn't give the staff any grief, and showed that he appreciates those who make his priveleged lifestyle possible. I think it's genuine. I doubt the Shrub has ever thanked a dishwasher in his life.

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Armchair Activist, at your service

Finally found some worthy gmail seekers (must scroll down)to give my invites to. Anything to support the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA). I was very pleasantly surprised by the 2nd guy. I'd originally replied to his original offer giving him crap about his "hot chicks" comment, and he emailed me back:

Seeker: "whats wrong with hot chicks? we can all use some eye candy while we live thru our daily lives, nothing makes a day better then seeing a really hot girl walk by, makes you forget about work, school, etc, it kind of frees your mind"

"Because every woman's goal in life is to make some horny strange man smile?? Come on, I thought you were deeper than that. Do you realize there are women committing suicide by the hundreds in Afghanistan today because they are still held enslaved by their abusive husbands and families in dire poverty with no access to healthcare or education. They WISH they had you're freaking problems at work, and school - any semblance of a "life" as you know it outside their 120 degree tents. All they have to look forward to in life is dying in childbirth or from some easily cured illness after being sold into marital bondage to the highest bidder. They can't even walk down the f*ing street without a male escort. Bet you didn't see that soapbox rant coming did you? Tell you what - if you want to match this guys offer (above link) I'll give you my second invite."

"hey thats actually a good idea. I lived in Bosnia till 1996 and lived thru the war so I do know how Afgan women and people feel. Sure I can donate its for a good cause. Any particular fund? health? education? let me know and thanks for a good idea"

And then he posted back to the original post, encouraging others to do the same, and promising to use his invites for the same cause. How totally cool is that!!!??? Just goes to prove that anyone *can* make a difference; and most seemingly sexist jerks are perfectly redeemable.

**Update: The first guy finally got back to me. He was so impressed with RAWA that he upped his donation to $50! So I've just raised $75 for them!!! I'm so thrilled! Hmmm... what *else* could I do to raise funds? This is fun!

Friday, May 21, 2004

Note to Reuters headline editors

When reporting on Iraqi prison abuse you may want to refrain from leading off with the phrase "US probes 8 more..." You're making Leno's job too damned easy and it's not something that should be made funny.

Got GMail?

Who knew GMail accounts were such a hot commodity? (via Defective Yeti) Though I'll admit I wanted to get in on it early just to get my preferred user name with no #'s or underscores. But I certainly didn't think I'd be able to until the gods of Blogger game me the opportunity. They're owned by Google, don'tyaknow. Then I didn't think it was such a big deal anymore. But I guess it still is, because once you've been blessed with your gmail account you are given the privelege of inviting a certain number of friends to join up, too. Psssst - all you active Blogspot bloggers - join up and secure bragging rights (and cool bartering leverage) now!! There are a few folks offering to trade their vote for an invitation. I'm sorely tempted. Fucking ethics!

Hmmm... which one to take?? Chocolate covered Macadamia nuts & Kona coffee from Hawaii? Someone to make me their deity of the week? I mean, a daily sacrifice of fruits & berries would be nice but my hubris might piss off my favorite personal deity, HanaHanaNui, The Great Parking & traffic God. Some of these offers are rather disturbing. More "Date with my Wife" and "Pair of my wife's worn underwear" and "pictures of my wife" then I care to see. I'm leaning though to the customized blog template. I mean, I'm liking mine now but it's still a bit blase.

**Note: I may give one to this guy for pure creativity: My Inbox is too small for alien secrets

Thursday, May 20, 2004

Yes, it's a hoax

per snopes. I kind of figured that out quickly after the link he provided for The Drudge Report turned out to actually link to the Drudge Retort and not the real thing.

He Has Returned

Managed to work all day yesterday. Woohoo! Monday & Tuesday I could only work about 3 hours before the pain between my eyebrows sent me home screaming for painkillers. I still feel a bit crappy - maybe I picked up a bug in the hospital and 3 days of no sleep lowered my immunity enough to give the critter a toehold on my respiratory system.

In case you missed it, the 20th anniversary of Andy Kaufman's death was Sunday - and someone is already capitalizing on the publicity, claiming to be Andy returned, just like he promised - and launching his own blog.

Maybe Andy should buy the Oregon Vortex. Seems like it'd be right up his alley. It's one of those mystery spots where gravity seems to go backwards and weird things in general happen. I've never been - but keep meaning to go.

Wednesday, May 19, 2004

Welcome to the Theocracy of the United Christbots of America

In honor of my Lone Star residing in-law's I’ve vowed to not engage in any knee-jerk Texas bashing, though I’m sorely tempted after reading that the Texan comptroller has denied the Unitarian Universalists tax-free religious status (thanks Rivka and others) , because they don’t have a common “unifying creed” to which members must avow belief in order to be considered members. According to the Texas state government (an obvious authority on theological matters), an organization’s members must share a belief in “God, gods or a higher power” to be considered a religion. For the sake of familial harmony I'm determined to believe this idiocy is not shared by most independence-loving Texans (of whom I'm told "live & let live" is the unofficial state motto). It wouldn't be so tempting to believe these views aren't representative if they didn't keep electing people to public office whose agenda is so clearly evangelical.

Random Rant with Bad Analogies & Cliches

Hindsight may be 20/20 but I think I can honestly say that Seymour Hersch’s account of how the atrocities at Abu Ghraib were allowed to go down pretty much matches exactly what I had assumed.

First Shrub OK’d Rummy’s “take the gloves off” policy regarding the Al Queda-ish prisoners in Cuba. (Which most Americans would probably say was justified at the time. These people didn’t conduct themselves by basic humanitarian rules of warfare like the Geneva Conventions, so your average non-bleeding heart citizen would say we don’t owe it to them; and we desperately needed the intelligence – they were preparing to strike again on US soil at any moment).

Then Shrub somehow equated Iraq with Al Queda – in error, as it turned out, and what started out as a non-conventional war against terrorists (where there are no rules) morphed into a conventional war against a sovereign nation and their innocent civilian population (where there are definite internationally accepted rules of engagement). But Shrub didn't stop and think "hey - we've opened a new front. Let's stop and evaluate the new operating environment and think about how this might change our existing strategy".

As a result, Shrub & Co. grossly miscalculated our welcome in Iraq and bit off more than they could chew, and in a pathetic attempt to fix the situation just made it 100 times worse by trying to extend the rules they were applying(successfully) against the Al Queda prisoners to a totally different environment – a group of mostly innocent and wrongfully detained Iraqi civilians. This is where ignorance can be fatal. It’s like thinking “hmmm. Here’s a tough stain. I know bleach works well on stains, and so does ammonia. So using them *both* will be doubly effective!” then dumping it all in a bucket together without bothering to read the warning labels, which clearly say “DO NOT MIX BLEACH & AMMONIA. DOING SO WILL CREATE POSSIBLY FATAL CHLORINE GAS” (which happens to be one of the original chemical warfare weapons introduced by the Germans in WWI. But I digress)

The minute they invaded Iraq they should have put the kid gloves back *on* to protect what tiny vestige of moral authority we still had. They should have thought back to their Basic Western Civ 101 course taken their Freshman year in college and at least tried to recall the basic recipe for terrorism. They should have stopped and reassessed; solicited advice from the expers, and re-thought, period. But no. Rummy instead doggedly ignored every warning his intelligence community and military command gave him and put this inept Cambone character in charge of interrogations. The same guy whose own right hand man happens to be Army Lieutenant General William G. (Jerry) Boykin, the same guy who called all Muslims the spawn of Satan. Not a team very well suited to instilling trust and warm fuzzy feelings in the bosom of the Iraqi people, is it?

Apparently the administration, caught up in the excitement of going to war in order to “Make America safe from terrorists” totally forgot that besides identifying and neutralizing current terrorists (i.e. Al Queda operatives); the only way to stop the spread of terrorism is to win the hearts and minds of moderate people (read “Arabs”) who might otherwise become the next generation of suicide bombers. It’s much easier to do than you’d think. Mickey Mouse has already done most of the work for you. People around the world want to like Americans – but more importantly, they want just a little of what Americans have. A high standard of living. Opportunities to work and get an education. A good economy. Physical safety while going about their mundane lives. Real power and a voice in their government. Freedom to practice their religion. Until now, Americans have had a knack for turning occupied populations into allies. Shit, we dropped two nuclear bombs on the Japanese after THEY attacked US and they still managed to worship us.

And the sad thing is, Bush had the power to give them some of that. But he didn’t. Because at heart he doesn’t believe in spreading the wealth. If he can’t even be convinced to spread some of it to middle and lower class Americans do you honestly think he’d think to give it to the “infidels”? If he cared at all about helping the Iraqi people, he’d have offered the carrot instead of the stick. Instead of blackmailing the nice, innocent people of Iraq into helping us why not bribe them with, oh I don’t know – a generator to make their A/C run? An armed escort for their daughters to go to school? Reliable internet access? New diagnostic equipment and supplies for the local hospital? Plum construction sub-contract?? Hell, howsabout a scholarship to Yale?

But neither he, nor Rummy thought of that. Because at heart, they're not givers. They're takers - simple schoolyard bullies. "Give me what I want and fuck the rest of you non-corporation and/or non-Christian peons" is the only diplomatic language they understand.

Monday, May 17, 2004

Jack's Place

I like Big trucks & I cannot lie... you other cats can't deny... . You've got to know Jack to understand why this is so funny. He's a big huge orange marmalade stray we adopted who is the biggest wuss kitty you'll ever meet. He even let the 2 month old Kittlin kick the crap out of him. But for some reason he *really* has a thing for big trucks. He usually hangs out on the hood of Curt's decrepit old '66 Ford Pickup - but I think he just couldn't resist big Orange Daddy here (the excavator being used by the construction crew next door).  Posted by Hello

A Plague of Locusts

They do Freak People Out. Thank Maude we don't have these around here. The brown hobo spiders are certainly bad enough (a smaller cousin to the Big Mama mentioned last week decided to take a shower with me this weekend). It's an easy bet I'd be one of those who lands in the ER from trying to outrun the critters.

Is it time to go home yet?

Back at work today, though I don’t know for how long. It feels like someone is wielding a rock hammer right between my eyes, and a little of the nausea has come back. Once they pulled the packing out on Friday (a most unpleasant experience that unfortunately embodied every one of my Total Recall nightmares) I was able to breathe a little through my nose, and by Sat could actually sleep. And sleep. And still want to sleep some more. Cleo fulfilled her duties as nursecat admirably – quietly lying on my tummy emitting soothing lullaby purrs to keep me abed. She somehow managed to draft Jinx into taking up a semi-permanent post at my feet, too – temporarily suspending all thoughts of flying nylon ducks that typically occupy our wonderpuppy’s cognitive existence.

Thursday, May 13, 2004

This had better be worth it.

Serious. The surgery went fine, but thanks to the PPO gods I was kicked to the curb just 2 hours post op still "leaking" or as most people would say "bleeding like a pig" and nauseous as hell. The bums waiting for the bus on Burnside got a treat on the way home - watching me barf blood into a bag I was given especially for that purpose while we were sitting at a red light in traffic during rush hour. Curt had to pull over once just to change my sodden bandage. I think I ruined my shirt and one of his that he happened to have in the trunk while mopping up.

But for the short time I was at the hospital they were all very nice and comforting and caring. And at the time I was pretty happy to get out of there. I hate hospitals. Hate sick people. Most of all hate being one of 'em. My nose itself doesn't hurt that much - I've just got one hell of an overall headache the nurses chalked up to caffeine withdrawal, but I think it's anesthetic hangover. What's really shitty is having to breathe out of my mouth nonstop. My throat was so damned dry after the surgery from the tube, I felt like an icechip whore. But my throat seriously kept closing up from the dryness. It's worse when I try to sleep. I'm totally exhausted but have to keep my head elevated to keep the blood and crap from draining into my stomach - but everytime I drift off my throat softens, I start to snore and choke myself. I'd better be able to at least breathe a little through my nose tomorow. Getting shaky - must go.

Going' Under & stuff

I kept telling myself it's just a minor procedure - outpatient and all, even if I will be totally under. Tried to not think about it at all until the day of, but it didn't work. The apprehension and anxiety got to me last night. Didn't sleep well at all last night. Finally picked up & moved to the couch to let Curt get some rest, at least. I guess it's natural once you hit 30 to start feeling your mortality. I should have mentioned it on the boards before so I could get all the good advice I know the other members would give me. Take care of yourself. Take a hot bath before bed, listen to soothing music. But I didn't do any of that stuff. We watched the Last Samurai instead. Fantastic movie, by the way but in hindsight I probably didn't need to see thousands of healthy men dying in gory detail by the sword when I was about to go under the "knife" myself.

On top of that, we've got a couple of hot personal opportunities we're persuing this week, too which have my mind racing. I was just hanging out in the reception area of work earlier this week and a headline in the local business paper that was sitting on the table caught my eye. It was about a woman who was selling her plant shop. Now, this wasn't just any old plant shop - it's one of two I used to drive by all the time (but never went in for some off reason) and think "I had that idea! A shop in the inner city devoted to houseplants! That would just be the coolest ever!" Only my vision included a plant hospital and babysitting service. As it happened, Curt had a similar idea before he'd ever met me. Only his involved having a wheel & kilns there and making his own pottery to use as planters. Our love of houseplants is one of the first things we discovered we had in common. But anyway - he's doing OK as a loan officer and likes it OK (the hours and freedom are great) but he'd really like to get out of finance and find something more stable. And we've always talked about how he'd probably be happiest owning his own business. So when I saw this article, it seemed like fate.

Besides just selling plants, she rents them (for events & such) and has maintenance/ delivery service. Been in business 15 years - 8 at the current location. Curt called the broker and for $30k down, she might carry the contract on the rest. It could be that easy - one huge dream come true. He's trying to raise the capital from a family friend (the same one that had the house in Port Townsend we thought about buying) and it's looking like it might, just might all work out. So keep your fingers crossed.

Then there's a whole other thing that I don't have time to get into right now. Maybe later.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

I keep forgetting to mention

(though maybe I'm in denial) that I'm going in for sinus surgery on Thursday. Technically, it's "Bilateral Endoscopic Ethnoidectomy with Maxillary antracamies" or something like that. Sounds a bit like a Star Trek episode where they implant something in your head in some sci-fi version of an anthropology study, doesn't it? It's an outpatient thing but I'll be under general anesthetic. Which is a good thing - because it will go something like that scene in Total Recall where Arnold pulls the homing signal out of his head through his nostril. Twice. Four days of recovery, then, they say. But it will be so nice to not have this constant pain in my face. I'm trying to focus on the results, not how much it will hurt while I'm getting there.

Get your Irk On...

So according to the Red Cross' report given to the Bush administration last year, coalition military intelligence officers estimated that about 70 percent to 90 percent of the thousands of prisoners detained in Iraq had been "arrested by mistake,". And according to the Franken Report this morning, one of the prison administrators *refused* to release people whose names were actually cleared.

And per this LA Times article, we'll probably never know what really happened to female detainees, because if their families ever find out they were raped while in American custody they may be as good as dead - victimized a second time to satisfy the family's honor.

You know, I've gone beyond the weepy "It didn't have to BE this way!!" phase and am quickly moving through red, blind outrage to the white hot "this fucker's gotta go down" phase. I've mostly been an armchair activist my entire life. I get outraged, sign petitions and vote but very rarely volunteer or give any $$ to my pet "causes". That's about to change. For the first time in my life I actually sent $$ to the DNC last week, and I've just signed up to volunteer with

Monday, May 10, 2004

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Spider Friends

I was cleaning house yesterday and found this monster spider in a towel that was laying on the bedroom floor (Go to the RiverRocks album). I'd found her twin, I think last weekend in the gardening chest you'll see Cleo lounging on later in the album. I was a bit concerned that it might be a brown recluse - which I've heard we have in Oregon (and which can be deadly). But according to all the websites, we actually *don't* have any brown recluse here in the NW - the only confirmed sighting came from some household goods that had just been moved up from Kansas. What the experts say is, people & physicians are actually confusing nasty bites from the Hobo Spider (or Aggressive House Spider) for that of the Recluse. Like a good Buddhist I was going to let the little critter go, much as she creeps me the hell out. But after reading how dangerous they can be (and remembering that my uncle ended up in the ER last month from a spider bite); I made Curt dispose of her. If the one in the chest was a male, I don't want any more of these lovelies running around the house. The Kittlin was fascinated enough with the one I found in the towel. The little shit has no fear and I can't afford any huge vet bills right now.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Wanna know what kind of folks are imprisoned in Abu Ghraib?

These kind. Real threats to U.S. security, aren't they? The terriblely sad thing is - if they weren't before, they just might be now (or 5 years from now). We're just making friends in the Arab world left and right, aren't we? Think about *your* neighbors for a minute. What if they only had to mention your name in someone's ear to land you in a place like that? Bet you'd think twice about letting your dog bark all night and piss on their azaleas, wouldn't you?

Tuesday, May 04, 2004

Define Moral Authority for me again??

I think this is the first thing anyone in our current administration has done that’s made me at all proud to be an American. Though the hypocrisy, its stench is overpowering.

Monday, May 03, 2004

Wash and wear, my ass!!

You'd think with all the billions of dollars they sink into the women's fashion industry they'd manage to come up with products that come even halfway close to the quality of menswear. Case in point. I bought a shirt for my husband recently for $25 that was a beautiful sueded silky fabric - a material I'd love to see in a shirt of my own. He insists on washing every new piece of clothing *before* he wears it. We wash it, and throw it in the dryer - and even dried on high it comes out completely wrinkle free. He has a complete closet full of such clothes that will never see the bottom of an iron. His dress slacks come out just as nice, are stain resistant as well and still have the original pleat in the legs as the day they came off the store hanger. And they still fit just like they did in the dressing room.

I, on the other hand spend the same amount of money on a shirt, or a nice pair of pants... and then do my absolute level best to get as many wearings out of those clothes as possible before I *have* to wash them. Because I know - the minute Maytag gets ahold of them they will NEVER, EVER look the same. I can wash them on delicate, even line dry them and they still come out shriveled, wrinkled and faded. Why???? Why?? Is it the same laundry gods that allow dry cleaners to get away with charging women twice as much for similar items of clothing????

No, I think not. I think it's the fashion industry that counts on women being brainwashed into wanting the newest, hottest "look" so they quit wearing clothes that have supposedly gone out of style long before the shoddy material and design manifest themselves via regular wear and tear. You know, maybe the genderfied gap in income wouldn't be so apparent if women didn't have such high expenses. Yeah, sure it's all a choice - but there's no denying that men who conform to societal standards of personal appearance get off a hell of a lot cheaper than women who do the same. Besides just the quantity of clothes, shoes, accessories and jewelry a woman needs to appear "stylish"; there's cosmetics, nailcare & that sort of thing - which women spend hundreds of dollars on a year; haircuts that cost 3 times as much as a man's (nevermind color & perm if that's your thing); and pantyhose (don't EVEN get me started on pantyhose!!!). What have men got? Hmmmm... shaving cream and razors. That's about it.

Truly, that's one reason I love living in the Pacific Northwest, where the "natural" look, hairy legs and all is quite the norm. Let's me spend my money on truly important things - like cool plants for my yard.

Saturday, May 01, 2004

How Does Your Garden Grow??

Today we went to a great Spring Plant Fair at the Clackamas County Fairgrounds. I'd read about it here and had mentioned it to Curt; then he saw a live news broadcast this morning from the fairgrounds and that clinched it. I honestly didn't think there'd be that many people - I mean, after all it was just a little plant sale put on by the Master Gardener's Association, I thought - not one of the big garden & patio shows at the convention center or anything. The traffic jam we hit a mile from the fairgrounds quickly corrected that assumption. Obviously, we didn't understand the allure. Apparently this event is an annual tradition for most serious gardeners in the area. They'd brought their own wagons.... everything from bright red Radio Flyers to homemade contraptions crafted out of recycle bins and garbage can lids strapped to luggage carts. Once we were inside, it all made sense. Sooo many neat & wonderful plants and garden art & stuff - and everybody so helpful & nice & eager to tell you how to care for your acquisitions. We went with a contrarian strategy - starting at the back row and working our way forward. We were looking for just 3 things, specifically - something(s) shade loving for the built-in planter in our covered porch; a golden chain tree (which we'd had at my childhood home & I've wanted since the day we bought our own house); and maybe some water hyacinth for the birdbath (which Curt's sister had suggested as a way to keep the water clean). By the third row we'd navigated we'd gotten all that and more - including this amazing angel trumpet with variegated leaves (for the shady spot). The guy we bought it from only had 3 plants - we must have had 12 different people stop us afterwards begging to know where we'd gotten it. At $15 for the 6" plant (maybe 2" tall?) we were feeling pretty pleased with our purchase - we'd wanted a conversation piece for the porch and we sure got it! The blooms are supposed to be wonderfully fragrant in the mornings &/evenings; too! I also came across these really cool stepping stone molds that I couldn't bear to leave without. We've got a couple of areas where we want to put in stepping stones and I've been trying to figure out how to make my own; more decorative ones for awhile so it felt like fate. We got the Fleur de Lis mold and a border mold (of grape leaves). Each mold takes 48 to set and a week to cure - so we might have enough to complete our projects by the end of the summer. So arms full (since we hadn't thought ahead and brought a wagon) we beat a hasty retreat to save our checking account, even though we'd only seen about a tenth of the show. Neither one of us has much willpower when it comes to plants.

Tomorow we're heading down to the Oregon Garden - which we've been trying to get to for about a month; but our own home improvement projects have kept us at home every weekend lately.