Sunday, August 31, 2008

briefly checking in...

I was hoping to post on the blog during the past couple of days, but I've been a little tied up...

Cue laugh track.

I should be able to 'extricate myself' and post something soon.

In the meantime, you might want to check this out: RevSS will be involved in a Walk to Defeat ALS (commonly known as Lou Gehrig's disease). If you would like to help sponsor her, visit her walk page.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

garbage puff's hillary party

Yesterday Garbage Puff came up with the idea of having a "Hillary Party". He thought it might be fun to have pizza, eat ice cream, wear weird hats, and watch Hillary Clinton's convention speech.

Me: Gee, Garbage Puff, I don't know if I'll be up for that after a long day at the clinic.

Garbage Puff: It'll be fun. I'll do all the decorating. All you have to do is show up. C'mon -- girl power and all!

I'll admit, the "girl power" thing got me, so I agreed. And true to his word, Garbage Puff had the house all decorated and made funny hats. (My mom, a McCain supporter, wouldn't wear a Hillary hat. But she did eat the pizza.)

I really liked the intro video narrated by Chelsea Clinton. If you didn't get a chance to see it, it's worth watching:
youtube link here

And, I thought Hillary's speech was great.
text here

Now if Garbage Puff will clean up the mess, I'll have it made.

Monday, August 25, 2008

tumnus tales

Since I was a little "preachy" on the blog yesterday, I'll balance it out with some light-hearted kitten pics today (courtesy of Offspring #1).

Mr. Tumnus had a "kitten play date" last week. Here he is (on the left) playing with his new friend Kingsley. I think they are playing "King of the Hill". Go, Tumnus, go!

Ooh, too bad, Tumnus. Looks like Kingsley came out on top:

Tumnus will get him next time...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

"we can make it happen"

Yesterday, Hubby and I drove north and Offsprings #1&2 drove south so that we could meet to attend a Chicago concert. (Offspring #2 plays trumpet and really likes Chicago, so that was the main reason we started thinking about going.) No cameras were allowed, but this picture from wikimedia gives you an approximate idea of what we saw (only we were much further back):

Actually the first date for Hubby and me (back in early September 1977) was attending a Chicago concert in Portland. So 31 years later, here we were again. (Hubby the Historian pointed out last night that Offspring #1 is the same age now as I was back in '77.)

The venue was on the grounds at the Chateau Ste. Michelle winery, so it was very pretty. (Didn't take this picture either; found it on google!)

It was a really pleasant day--blue skies and warm temps. Four of Chicago's original band members are still with the group, and they still put on a heck of a show. (By the way, does anyone remember good ol' Livingston Taylor? He opened.)

It was interesting to have that 31 year gap between the concerts, and I made a couple of observations regarding my Baby Boomer group.

Observation 1:
Back at the concert in '77, if a guy in his early 20's had had too much to drink, taken his shirt off, and repeatedly shouted "Woooooooooooooooo!" -- and no, I'm not talking about Hubby! -- I'm sure I would have found it mildly amusing (and perhaps a bit annoying).

However when someone in his 50's does this same thing in 2008 (again, not talking about Hubby!), it just sort of strikes one as pathetic, ya know?

As Joan Rivers would say, "Oh, grow up!"

Observation 2:
One of the "oldies" Chicago performed was Dialogue Parts I and II. (Great song!)

In part I, the question is raised:
"Will you try to change things
Use the power that you have, the
power of a million new ideas?"

And in part II is the repetitive, inspirational chorus:
We can make it happen
We can change the world now
We can save the children
We can make it better...

As I was listening (and watching the "Wooooooooooo!" man in the sea of Baby Boomers), I couldn't help but be somewhat disappointed in my demographic group. For all of our "million new ideas", energy, and idealism, we certainly seem to have dropped the ball a lot. Of course there have been some great accomplishments, but as a group we bought into the whole consumerism thing. And on our watch, we sat by as the health of our planet declined. We also managed to forget the lessons of Vietnam and are now in another unpopular war. (Of course I am generalizing about the group as a whole -- there are individuals who have been trying hard all along NOT to drop the ball.)

In any event, as many people were singing along to the "we can make it happen" part, I was thinking that to truly "make it happen", we Baby Boomers better get our collective butts in gear already.

Friday, August 22, 2008

yearbook yourself!

Found a cool website called "yearbook yourself". It allows you to upload your photo, then see what you would have looked like during different eras.

Here's what I might have looked like in 1954:
(I think you'd agree those glasses are totally hot!)

Here's the theoretical me in 1966:
Very nice.

I skipped the 70's, because I graduated in '74 and already know what I looked like then! :) But here's what I might have looked like in 1986:
(For some reason this screams Beaver Cleaver's mother to me. Maybe it's the necklace.)

If you want to have some time-wastin' fun, try it out!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

the station agent

This past weekend I watched an independent film from 2003 entitled The Station Agent (at the suggestion of Offspring #1).

The short review:
Loved it.

The longer review:
The film's main character is Finbar McBride (Peter Dinklage), a dwarf who lives alone and works in a model railroad shop. When his friend and coworker dies, Fin inherits (and moves to) an abandoned railway station in New Jersey. The isolated location is appealing to Fin, as he is tired of being mocked and insulted by people because of his diminutive stature. However, his quiet life is almost immediately disrupted both by Joe (Bobby Cannavale), the gregarious operator of a hotdog stand parked next to the station, and Olivia (Patricia Clarkson), a reclusive artist who almost hits Fin with her SUV. Twice. :)

As it turns out, Joe and Olivia have their own 'issues' -- Joe has an ill, demanding father and Olivia is grieving the loss of her young son. Watching the three lonely, eccentric individuals gradually come together to create a small 'community' or family of sorts was wonderfully engaging. The film is a nice mix of drama and comedy, and the actors (especially Dinklage) do a terrific job.

If you have a chance to rent this film, I'd highly recommend it.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

aug 20 -- it's my birthday!

Woohoo! And you're invited to my bloggie b-day party. As you can see, I had Presbyterian Gal bake me a cake. (I was hoping she'd write me a birthday poem, but I didn't win her dang contest. Sigh.)

Anyway, have a piece of cake!

Monday, August 18, 2008

the pope vs. the weasel

According to USA Today, an Italian animal-rights group has asked Pope Benedict to stop wearing fur-trimmed hats and robes. It is reported that the Italian Association for Defence of Animals and the Environment has collected about 1,900 signatures in an online petition. Benedict has been seen wearing a red velvet cape with a white ermine border and matching hat. Ermine is the white winter fur of a small weasel that looks like this:

Awww... that li'l weasel is cute! I definitely have to agree with the animal-rights group.

But even if the pope went for faux fur, this is STILL really, really not a good look for him:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

visiting "the shack"

This weekend I finished reading William P. Young's The Shack.

*SPOILER ALERT* If you want to read the book with totally "fresh" eyes, you might want to skip this post as certain plot and/or character details are revealed.

Here's what I thunk:

I know this is a very popular book, yet I was less than enamored with it. Perhaps it is partially because the book and I got off to a bad start. Here's the premise: Mack's youngest daughter was abducted and murdered during a family vacation. In the midst of Mack's Great Sadness, he receives a note from "Papa" (God) inviting him back to the scene of the crime. I'll admit I was a teensy bit resentful of the note. Because my brother was murdered, I am familiar with Great Sadness, yet notes in my mailbox from "Papa" were conspicuously absent...

There were some good points. I liked the fact that God was initially revealed as an African-American woman. I also thought the author handled the complex topic of forgiveness well. i.e. Forgiveness is not about forgetting or saying everything is ok; rather, it about releasing oneself "from something that will eat you alive". Forgiveness is "first for you, the forgiver".

And yet.

My theology is quite progressive, and I found much of the theology in this book less than progressive. I don't want to go point by point (too lengthy for one thing), but let me just say that calling God "Papa" and worshiping "flat on their faces" was reminiscent of a fundamentalist-type church I once visited -- the same one that didn't allow women in any type of leadership role.

Another thing that bothered me was how the author portrayed the 'looks' of Jesus. Mack is surprised that Jesus isn't better looking. Jesus says, "It's my nose, isn't it? ... I am Jewish, you know. My grandfather on my mother's side had a big nose; in fact, most of the men on my mom's side had big noses."

Wow. Way to perpetuate a cultural stereotype.

Soooo.... at best, this book was a mixed bag for me.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

a pictorial look at garbage puff's friday...

Hubby, the Dust Bunnies, and I decided to take Amtrak to Portland yesterday to celebrate our summer birthdays. (The Dust Bunnies are on the right.) Imagine our surprise when Garbage Puff popped up!

He insisted on purchasing a ticket and coming along...

When actually on board, Garbage Puff was somewhat apprehensive, but felt a bit better after perusing the safety brochure.

He felt even better after arriving in Portland and having lunch at Kells Irish Pub. (He reports that the Reuben was delicious.)

There were a few tense moments at Powell's bookstore when Garbage Puff was lost. It turns out he was in the children's section, glued to the Raggedy Ann and Andy books. I suppose he felt a certain kinship...

It was a scorcher of a day in Portland (temps in the 90's), and Garbage Puff kept begging on the return ride to get a margarita when we got back to Longview. I finally relented, although I probably shouldn't reward that begging type of behavior.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

because all the cool kids are doing it...

Saw this bit of fun fluff at Presbygal and Hotcup's.

Here's the deal: You google your name and the word 'needs' after it. Put the text string in quotes to limit your search. (i.e. "Barbara needs") List the first 10 items where your text string shows up in a complete sentence and see what you get.

Here I go...

1. "Barbara needs a good swift k@#$" -- Holy Smoke! I am not off to a good start. Why would someone feel the need to kick me in the @#$ ? (OK, I have a few theories, but really, it's still rude.)

2. "Barbara Needs Hero Names" -- Umm... why? That's a head scratcher! Well, my birthday IS right around the corner. Perhaps I am getting a new kitty as a surprise and I need to choose a good, strong name. Yeah, that's it.

3. "Barbara needs to move her focus from herself to others and learn to love in order to receive love from other people." Hmm... this might explain why someone wants to kick me in the @#$.

4. "Barbara needs our prayers and thoughts" Everybody can use those! And at least that's an improvement over the @#$ kick.

5. "Barbara needs to be thin again". Gee, I thought I looked ok. Are people talking behind my back?!

6. "Barbara needs the help of the nip/tuck crew" OK, now I'm getting a complex.

7. "Barbara needs to retire and write more trashy books." YESSS!!! I am totally up for this.

8. "Barbara needs to open her eyes and see why they have not won any Emmy". Good idea. Why haven't Presbygal and I won an Emmy for our remake of Cagney and Lacey?!

9. "Barbara needs to learn how to cook." Is my family posting about me on the internet?

10. "Barbara needs to retire and she needs to take Larry King with her." OK, maybe Larry and I can write those trashy books together (see #7).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

tuesdays with tumnus

Offspring #1 had oral surgery today -- long, complicated, frustrating story as to why she needed it. (Perhaps that will be a future post, but not for now.) Anywhoo, the surgery went fine, and I am in Bellingham today (and part of tomorrow) helping out a bit.

One nice thing (in addition to seeing Offsprings #1&2) is getting to spend a little time with Mr. Tumnus. He is an indoor kitty (because of the apartment location, etc.), but he does get to go outside when he is taken out on his leash. (I'm amazed at how well he does with the leash.)

On today's outing, Mr. Tumnus exchanged high fives with Neighbor Cat:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

what he's reading...

Garbage Puff is midway through McCarthy's The Road. As you can see, he's finding some of the postapocalyptic images disconcerting.

(G.P. will probably review the book when he's finished.)

Friday, August 8, 2008

friday five follow up...

Ah, teen summer romances. Here was Olivia Newton-John's summer lovin':

And, since David and Presbyterian Gal asked, here was mine:

Claude, summer of 1972. He drove a blue El Camino. Classic. :)

And that should do it for the 'memory lane' posts for a while!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Friday Five: God Days of Summer

This week's Friday Five is courtesy of Presbyterian Gal (Woohoo!)
Somehow she started at Al Pacino and arrived at summer time, blessings, and the following questions. (It flowed when she did it. Really.)

1. What is your sweetest summer memory from childhood? Did it involve watermelon or hand cranked ice cream? Or perhaps a teen summer romance. Which stands out for you?

Can I answer "All of the above"? I grew up in a 'Mayberryesque' small town in North Dakota which, for me, was great. Here I am at a lake cabin after fishing. Since I caught nothing, I am proudly displaying seaweed. (Andy and Aunt Bee would have been proud of my putting a positive spin on the situation!)

2. Describe your all time favorite piece of summer clothing. The one thing you could put on in the summer that would seem to insure a cooler, more excellent day.

After initially being annoyed at having to wear them, I now really like my sun protection shirts. They are cool (in temperature if not so much in appearance) and I don't have to worry as much about sunscreen.

3. What summer food fills your mouth with delight and whose flavor stays happily with you long after eaten?
Any of the summer fruits. Speaking of which, I used to dig Choo Choo Cherry. (Of course that doesn't reaalllly fit in the authentic fruit category, but Presbyterian Gal had me reminiscing about childhood.)

4. Tell us about the summer vacation or holiday that holds your dearest memory.
I was born in Germany, so the family vacation where we visited that country was wonderful.

5. Have you had any experience(s) this summer that has drawn you closer to God or perhaps shown you His wonder in a new way?
I guess the short answer would be no. (But, hey, I'm open.)

Bonus question: When it is really hot, humid and uncomfortable, what do you do to refresh and renew body and spirit?
A dip in a swimming pool or lake is best, but a cool shower works too!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Happy Birthday to...

Hubby (not Garbage Puff)!

Although Garbage Puff so enjoyed the cake.

Monday, August 4, 2008

from the mailbag

OK, it's actually the e-mail bag. (So technically it isn't a bag.)
Anywhoo. On the last post/comments about walkability, Ruth and I were saying that "Wal-Mart issues aside" if you had one in your neighborhood it would raise your walkability score.

So I was (grudgingly) giving Wal-Mart a little bit of credit. We have one about .6 mile from my house and I'm sure that boosted my not-so-hot walkability score. However, I received this e-mail from Offspring #2:

The eco problem with Wal-Marts is that they usually put them in areas that are a little further from town - because they are so large. While it's closer for some people to walk (thus saving gas, and that is good!) it creates incentive for more people farther away to drive more to get there to get the low prices and one stop shopping. That contributes to sprawl which is anti-compact communities and anti-walkability.

So. I'm officially back to being cranky with Wal-Mart...

Sunday, August 3, 2008


How "walkable" is your neighborhood? 'Tis a good question in light of the high gas prices and warming planet. You can find out how your neighborhood rates here. (Hat tip to Offspring #2 for the website.)

When you type in an address, the site comes up with a "walk score", which is a number between 0 and 100. Here's what they say about interpreting the numbers:

90–100 = Walkers' Paradise: Most errands can be accomplished on foot and many people get by without owning a car.
70–89 = Very Walkable: It's possible to get by without owning a car.
50–69 = Somewhat Walkable: Some stores and amenities are within walking distance, but many everyday trips still require a bike, public transportation, or car.
25–49 = Car-Dependent: Only a few destinations are within easy walking range. For most errands, driving or public transportation is a must.
0–24 = Car-Dependent (Driving Only): Virtually no neighborhood destinations within walking range. You can walk from your house to your car!

Soooo.... I plugged a few addresses (including my own). Here's how they look:

RevSS: 85! After visiting her on Friday and walking around her cool neighborhood, I knew she would do well.

Offspring #1: 69! Not bad! She really can walk to pretty much whatever she needs. (And she only missed the next higher category by one point.)

Me: 25! Sigh. That's low, but not a surprise. Thank goodness my neighborhood is very bike friendly!

Dust Bunny: 9! Uh oh. Although her "in the cellar" score is made more palatable by her nice view overlooking the valley. :)

How does YOUR neighborhood stack up?
(I'm thinking Processing Counselor in NYC has a good shot at being the "winner"!)

got the picture of those happy toes from here

Saturday, August 2, 2008

blogger meetup!!!

Hmm... but does it "count" if the bloggers knew each other "p.b." (pre-blogging)? And if they used to live in the same city?

In any event, I had a meetup with the camera-shy Rev SS yesterday. (Maybe I should have been more camera-shy. Looks like I was having a bad hair day.) We did a little shopping, a lot of talking, and too much eating. :) She now lives in a place where it is akin to living in a vacation spot:

Yep, pretty darn nice!

Addendum to original post: Here's more! (Click on picture to enlarge it.)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Friday Five: Lock Me Out, Lock Me In

Songbird reports that Blogger declared the Revgals blog possible SPAM yesterday and locked it down! Happily, everything is ok now. Songbird writes:

This turned out to be a very small barricade in our blogging community life, but it seemed appropriate to explore locks and blocks and other barriers this week. Also, I liked the picture of the security team above! Could they be Blogger's Spam Prevention Robots, working overtime? In honor of their efforts, I bring you the "Lock Me Out, Lock Me In" Friday Five.

1) How do you amuse yourself when road construction blocks your travel?
Books on CD and NPR programs are both ideal for this! Of course, music CD's work too--especially if one sings along. Carole King and I have done many a duet.

2) Have you ever locked yourself out of your house? (And do you keep an extra key somewhere, just in case?)
I have locked myself out of the house a couple of times. Luckily I've always had a friend or relative with a key! (When Offspring #2 locked himself out at his college apartment recently, he solved it a different way.)

3) Have you ever cleared a hurdle? (And if you haven't flown over a material hurdle, feel free to take this one metaphorically.)
I am a "fixer" by nature, so I usually put on my thinking cap and try to get creative when presented by hurdles. Actually, Offspring #1 recently shared with me a dream she had about my "fixing" abilities. I can't remember the details, but it involved me getting an elephant for her, and assuring her that I would be able to 'sell' it again later so everything would work out fine.

I'm sure a psychologist would have a great time with that one!

4) What's your approach to a mental block?
I usually get cranky until it passes.

5) Suggest a caption for the picture above; there will be a prize for the funniest answer!
Aaaargh! I'm having a mental block. Now I'm cranky.
No prize for me -- so I'm doubly cranky!