Sunday, November 30, 2008

Andy Plays Stickman

Now that I've figured out how to post Youtube videos, here's a piece with Andy this summer and his band "Lathe Symphonic" playing at the Stickman Cafe in Fremont this summer. Andy's playing the acoustic bass, wearing the "where's Waldo?" sweater and the Utilikilt. There are more Lathe Symphonic videos on You Tube for those who are interested.

Ziggy Sings

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bubble Face

This precious picture is of Miss Alexis Cauble Beck, daughter of my dear friend (and the photographer) Nicole.

Pretty and Poisonous

These lovelies were out and I caught them enjoying the sun on a walk with Adrea recently. I think it's the spots that give them so much character. I also think it indicates they are poisonous.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


Not having a good week, on oh so many levels. As such it's pretty easy to be preoccupied and unaware of what's going on around me. Anyway, I just slumped to the restroom down the hall and as I sat there in the midst of my pity party I looked up and saw this guy grinning down at me. Kind of a Pinocchio character saying "ooh" disguised as a coat hook. So I snagged a pic to share with you. Again (like my photo session in the airplane bathroom) I was hoping not to get caught taking a picture in a bathroom stall. I was lucky.

So now, being aware of my surroundings, I also took a pic of the retro ashtray in the stall though it has been years since it's been allowable to smoke in a bathroom stall. I have to admit at the moment, having a smoke in a secluded bathroom in the throws of my funk, perhaps throwing in a complete meltdown seems awfully tempting. Sigh.... I am tempted to come back over the weekend with a screwdriver and take that no longer needed ashtray. I want one in my own home. No, I wouldn't smoke inside but it would add a nice retro touch to the bathroom. Maybe I could set a pretty candle on it. Or rose petals. I had a sweet aunt (once or twice removed) who lived in a beautiful home and was always so proper. She'd disappear into her private bathroom for a good long session a few times a day and come back smelling like smoke. I always admired her mix of independence and class.

One funny thought...I remember observing the name on the toilet seat covers in the bathroom of a different office. The seat cover dispenser was imprinted with (I assume) the company name "Rest Assured." Now that must have been some fun party when they came up with that inspired name.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Brazilian Wax Poetically

In South America they have no idea
How women in America pay for torture
In the name of their Country

Perhaps we shall do this for ourselves
Or on the off chance
An adventurous explorer
Will meander through
The foliage stripped rain forest
In search of the Fountain of Youth

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


It matters not
To those who will see
Without a thought
Of propriety
Selection of garb
For day of inconsequential interaction

Yet still she stands
Perplexed, unsure
Of who she is and what will fit
The state she’s in without a hint
Revealed to those whose path
Might cross as functioning on she goes

For what is the cut that fits the mood
Of ease and comfort
Or the constriction of formality
Unsure of who she is and what is right
For what she is supposed to be

With vast selection and depth of choice
But not a one will match the voice
That speaks to her of what is wrong
Or what is right

Selection stifled by too much thought
Turns away from so much there
Still unsure of what to wear
But none is right and all are wrong
To define the thing she is inside
As if it made any difference
To anyone
But her
Picture source

Invisible Words

My words
Selected so carefully
I offer as a gift
Of myself to you

So much invested
Paid dearly for most of them
In return they gave me pleasure
And I had hoped would mean
As much to you

I know lack of acknowledgement
Is not in and of itself
A rejection of me
Or my thoughts

But I am back in pre-school
Presenting with great ceremony
My awkward drawing
With feet too big
And lumpy hands
Cartoonish really
But pridefully drawn none the less
And you don’t see me
Standing there with
My offering
And I am invisible
Once again

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Not To Be

There are relationships that shouldn’t be.
That the only possible outcome is hurt:
Either hurt caused by setting boundaries;
Hurt caused by creating a false sense that all is well;
Hurt from introducing truth;
Hurt from miscommunication;
Hurt from being misunderstood;
Hurt from self protection;
Hurt from apparently needing to be protected from.
Sometimes it seems like
Isolation is the only sure answer.
But I don’t think that is what He intended;
Not how He intended us to live.
But neither do I think He intends for us
To keep returning to a source of hurt.
Would it be such a big deal, God,
To protect ourselves from ourselves?
I’m just asking for a little protection here.
Please get back to me.
Photo from here

Thursday, November 13, 2008


Today was a quick shot down to LA and Back. Now I remember why I am not smitten with LA. However, the warm weather was nice, though I only experienced it for the few minutes I was outside the conference area, making phone calls. And when I stopped to take notice of my surroundings I realized I was surrounded by the most magnificent gardenia bush in bloom. There is no other scent to compare to a gardenia. Makes my mouth and eyes water. But the balance of the experience was spent driving with the masses under a smog filled sky or hanging out in LAX which is badly in need of a re-do. Familiar street names on the exit signs were memory jogging...(.."when the sun goes down on the SANTA MONICA BOULEVARD".... "I wanna glide down, over MULLHOLLAND"... "VENTURA HIGHWAY" in the sunshine, where the days are longer the nights are stronger than moonshine"....

Flying is always fun....not! But I was amused in the little bathroom. I think I was especially aware because I was remembering the part in "They Poured Fire On Us..." (discussed here) where one of the boys talks about his first experience on the plane and he can't figure out how to get out of the bathroom. He has to be coached from the other side on how to unlock it. So I'm thinking about that as I'm facing the door and notice this sign (shown above) and I wonder how many people have seen this and push the button to get a drink delivered to that little, private room. Talk about service! (The sign struck me as so amusing I had to take a picture. Only afterwards I wondered if anybody waiting outside could tell from the flash that I was taking pictures, and if so, what the heck did they think I was doing in there?)

The return flight was chock full. I had a window seat and got stuck beside this couple that had obviously recently hooked up. They appeared to be about my vintage and I'm guessing had met over the Internet. In addition to excessive snuggling and kissy-face they were teasing each other about their snoring episodes and were acting like it was cute: another clue that they were a new coupling. They had brought on a few meals and were actually feeding each other! And then towards the end she took her cell phone and held it up high and took a picture of themselves. Actually two: the first wasn't flattering enough. I saw that she saved it on her computer as "first flight." I wasn't the only one who was impacted by this spectacle. As I finally got to rise out of my seat when the aisle clearing got to our row, a woman nearby stopped to let me out saying something like "oh wait. You next. I bet you really need to get out!" and she winked at me. I just cracked up. Sorry folks. I don't think I'm ready for that kind of dating stuff. I can't imagine...

Do It Yourself Therapy

The Power of Flow, When Going Through Hell Don't Stop,
The Disease to Please, The Impossible Just Takes a Little Longer,
Simple Abundance, The Magic in Your Mind,
The Go Girl Guide, Games People Play
Modern mantras, Rhinoceros Success,
Living Successfully with Screwed Up People,
Mind Like Water, Don't Be Nice Be Real,
The Rainbow Connection, Nasty People,
The Way of the Wizard,
If Life is a Game These Are the Rules,
The Best Things in Life Aren't Things,
Flow, Wacky Chicks, Attention Shoppers!
The Woman's Guide to Enlightenment Through Shopping,
Change Almost Anything in 21 Days,
Retail Therapy, Kiss My Tiara,
Brave on the Rocks, Women Who Think Too Much,
Do It Anyway, The Naked Cartoonist,
Plato Not Prozac, Think Naked,
The Hip Girls Handbook, Dojo Wisdom,
Cracked Kitchen Table Wisdom,
Mozart's Brain and the Fighter Pilot,
Horse Sense for People,
How to Ruin Your Life,
The Art of Doing Nothing.

Though I am always game for DIY projects I stop short at Self Help books. Though I gathered a list of random titles from that section in the book store which I think is fascinating just read straight out of context. People really get paid for these ideas?

Painting by Aaron Jasinski, Bremerton

Grandma Lou and Words

"Mom used words as toys...and she played with them well."

-Julie (Harwood) Sis
Found this note in a retired journal I came across. See, Jewels can play with words well too! Photo: Grandma Lou doing one of her favorite things: reading to a grandchild. Here it's Andy circa about 1991.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I'm Doing a Happy Dance!

My friend Steve came through for me! He's a savy e-bay/Craig's List shopper so I knew he'd be skilled at finding me a replacement for my sorely missing Starbuck's Card (Valentine's Day 2005 version). I wrote about it here.
[Exciting update: after this post I went to register the card to start using it and found that there was a $5 balance on the card. I think this is more than what Steve found the card for. I owe someone a cup o' Joe!]

I had a brutal day at work: major IT transmission problems, phone system problems wreaking havoc on a crazy day. Project wise, by days end I had 80 new e-mails in my box to deal with, resulting in 50 outgoing mails, transferring all my inbound calls to my cell to deal with the phone probs, working out the probs with the home office, three new projects to get proposals on, setting two meetings with SDOT on two different projects, coordinating CAD drawings on four projects, meeting with a VMS (that's variable message signs) rep from France, and QC-ing three documents to send out. Thank God Molly was back and helping me accomplish all this. I know: bring out the violins. But I was beat and when I headed out at 6:00 it was darker than dark and raining buckets.
But I had a good target to head to: Steve and Judy's. Lured there by a promise of a glass of wine, "snacks" (which, if you know Judy, you can assume a wonderful spread) and the opportunity to go through some dishes she had cleared out of her pantry and was giving me first dibs on. If that wasn't enough, sitting there I was surprised with this lovely Starbucks card. SCORE!!! Despite the brutal day I couldn't help but give a happy dance. I love having my new card, plus wonderful new treasures for serving food in/on and most of all love my dear friends. Muah!

Feed Your Mind...And the World!

Check out this awesome concept at According to the site, FreeRice has two goals:
1. Provide education to everyone for free.
2. Help end world hunger by providing rice to hungry people for free.

Here’s how it works: you take a little vocabulary quiz (it’s a good quiz: starts easy but builds up). For every answer you get right you earn 20 grains of rice to be donated to a place of need in the world. It’s a simple business model: advertisers are paying for the ad banners at the bottom of the site. While you are being subliminally sold to, the site sponsor is earning ad money. That money goes straight to the selected causes. Give it a try. I’m going to try to make it habit to do this at least once a day. Just like I do with one click on the Click to Give site that funds mammograms for those who don’t have insurance and can’t afford.

I was responsible for 320 grains of rice today and partially funded a mammogram. Want to join me? I’ll add links to these two sites in my Find, Found, Fond section so you can go back and do whenever you visit my blog. Maybe I’ll try to use some new vocabulary too!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Jubilee Reach Center: Check it out!

If you know me, you know my involvement and and passion for the people served at Jubilee Reach Center in Bellevue, where I volunteer with the kids before school one day a week. I'm also involved in the Christmas gifting program where families in need will be provided with things they need and special Christmas gifts given just for them. Parents are able to see that Santa doesn't miss their homes this year. JRC just put together an informative video to encourage folks to participate in all the good work going on at the Center. I invite you to view the video here. And I invite you to think about volunteering some of your time and heart. There are many one-shot opportunities as well as a commitment of just an hour or two a week. I promise, you'll get more out of it than you give.

Really, Me? Fun with Photos

Check out this site. You can take your face and create interesting photos. Here are a few versions of me....

As Mona Lisa...

And in my gypsy phase, with Mini-Me tagging along...

And then my more rebellious stage...

Make your own at PhotoFunia

Remembering....Italy.....Some Images.....Sigh.....

What I Will Miss When I Die

I will miss the quiet
Time to myself
I will miss the fine opportunity to
Break dishes
Roar and burn
And die a hundred times before sunset

When I die
I will miss reading
And aha moments of truth
And lies
Mine and others

When I die
I will miss falling
And bruises and the pain
From goodbye
And hello

I will miss violation
Tears and tearing
I will miss missing out
I will miss the hours in the middle of the night
When I am holding hands with my demons
Daring each other to go beyond
What we would ever admit

I will miss misbehaving
I will miss shopping
I will miss writing a check to fill a bowl
I will miss buying avacados and mangos
Finding just the right ones in a pile of tough ones
I will miss buying pretty bowls that I do not need
I will miss buying books that I will never read
But want to anyway, someday

I will miss the burn and good pain
From pushing myself just a little too hard at the gym
I will miss good coffee and bad desserts
I will miss making mistakes whether I learn from them or not
I will miss stepping off the plane in a country I do not know
And finding myself there anyway

I will miss looking forward to dying
Photo Villa Gadallo, 2005

I Am Fruit

I am fruit
Before the picking
Hard and sour
Hanging on to the branch
That will hold me
Until I am precious

I am grass
Reaching up to heaven
Until cut
I love the smell of cut grass

I am a pillow
Lay on me

I am glass
See through me
You will only know I am there
When I am dirty

I am a secret
What I keep
You can’t have
Like a liar
If I tell you I lied
Then I am not a liar
If I tell a secret
Then it is not a secret
I need the power of secret

Bones, hair, toenails
Skin, lips, a navel (pierced)
Blood and breath
Fat and muscle
Tongue and eyes
All around
This soul
And damn tired of it
I open up the outsides
Just to make sure
It’s still in there
Photo Sicily, 2007

Thursday, November 6, 2008



Hope found the people
In three little words
Yes we can
(oh yeah, we can can, yes we can can)
Drunk on possibility
We are reckless and
Proud we have crossed
The line out of darkness.
Uptight fraidy cats are no
Longer driving this car, this
Funeral coach
Did you dance on the porch?
Did you pop some champagne?
Did you cry just a little
Or a lot?
Do you finally know what Grace
Looks like,
Tastes like,
Feels like?
A new day

Yes We Can

Monday, November 3, 2008

Night Storm

The sudden crack and rumble from the summer storm, bitch slaps the cabin in the stillness of a hot summer night. The disorienting violence yanking me from another plane. Reoriented only by the afterburn of rain slamming the metal rooftop like pee hitting a flat rock behind a roadside bar. Once relieved, that bitch moves on down the river. I can hear her as she curses out the neighboring land, pushing her way down through the forest burg. I lay there, happy that she’s found other places to unleash her anger. Settling back into a long wait until dawn now. The wet moss and pine trees pushing their scent through the open screen window: they too are delighted she has moved along. Inhale the coolness deeply through my alert nose: I love the cold tickle in my sinuses after the forest rain. It’s happy hour. Drink it in until goofy. In the morning, those who were awakened by the bitch’s sudden appearance in the still heat of the summer night talk about her violence. And wonder at the ability of those who weren’t awakened to sleep through her fury.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

The Buzz about Secret Life (Movie Review)

Dearest friends, treat yourself to a good cry (you know the good kind) and catch "Secret Life of Bees" at your nearest theatre. I had the pleasure of catching the matine with Charlie and Stacie yesterday afternoon. It's always a risk watching a movie of a book I've enjoyed but it had been a long time since I'd read this beautiful novel by Sue Monk Kidd. In this case the movie was not a dissapointment. Dakota Fanning touches the part of our hearts that repeats the stories of how we've ruined things in our past. Queen Latifah, much like the Charater "Papa" in The Shack provides the strong, wise mother figure standing by to help us discover the love that was always there. Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys and Sophie Okenedo each provide special and convincing supporting roles. The setting in place (rural South Carolina) and time (1960's) is a timely reminder of our priveledge and duty to vote on Tuesday (a sub plot is the Civil Rights bill which allowed blacks to vote). And I'm always a sucker for a good coming of age flick. This is a movie I'm definately investing in for my home stash when it comes out for sale.

Do You Remember Necktie Skirts?


Love Sightings

I spotted the pick-up truck pulling into the shop and go store near the gas pumps where I was loading my car up. It was a typical farmer’s truck: extra high suspension over extra big tires, a thin coat of dust over all surfaces. Some extra lights up on top. Very typical for the Palouse farm country I was driving through. The farm guy got out, wearing mechanic’s overalls, like many of them do. Though I wasn’t close enough to confirm this I have no doubt that his lower lip was full of chew. In fact he was probably picking up more at this store. But what caught my eye first was the advertising on the side of the truck: a photo of a lovely pastry and the words “Gourmet Desserts” and then a phone number. That looked out of character for a farming truck. Then I saw love written all over. Well the words “love” weren’t anywhere on the truck. What it did say was “Elizabeth’s Slumber Parties.” Followed by a phone number and then a few other descriptive words. This guy was driving around town and country advertising for his wife’s very girlie businesses. It seemed so incongruent on the farm truck. I couldn’t get my husband to ride across town with a box of kotex for me hidden in a paper bag in his trunk. Nothing the least bit feminine could be found inside or outside of his oh so manly Subaru. But this guy here. I think he really loved his wife. It made me smile, and even a little bit envious.

Thoughts at Sunrise

Yesterday was chock full o' writing inspiration, from the joy of fixing coffee for a friend who dropped by to start the day, to spending time at JRC interviewing families for the Christmas gifting program (do you know about Bakugan Balls? You will by Christmas), to running long put off errands to the dry cleaner, gathering up things for needed forms for Sudan trip, to hitting my favorite thrift shop, to watching a most incredible movie (Secret Life of Bees) with two wonderful women friends, to helping an amazing friend from way back celebrate her 50th at a great restaurant that I haven't been to in a long time. So I've got movie and restaurant reviews, thrift shop treasures to share, heartbreaking stories of families in need and a tribute to my friend Dee who is an inspiration in perseverance and survival and then all these other random thoughts of other things I wanted to share like necktie skirts and my Michael Jordan stories. Not sure where to start. I'm looking forward to hanging out in pyjamas, drinking a latté in bed and working on some of this. Then again, it's not even seven AM yet...oh yes, and I just remembered I got another hour today with the clock reset. Life is good.
Photo taken in a Sicilian lemon grove at sunrise, 2007