Saturday, March 31, 2007

How has your Saturday morning been going so far?
First off, I did run the WHOLE 5k today, even though I'd been remiss in my training; that is, if we count it as running no matter how slow I go - 38:15 was my time. 25 minutes into the race, my iPod went on the fritz. To my credit, I tried to fix it, while still running. No go, but I have fixed it since then. (FYI - when an iPod freezes up, set the hold switch to hold, then turn it back off, and push center and menu for 6 seconds to re-set [thanks la!])
While I was standing in line for an outhouse I noticed a guy friend I used to sleep with about 8 years ago and his wife, (no, he wasn't married then) who's name I can never remember (the wife's - I know his name). I would like to say this was a guy I used to date, but that would be misleading. I immediately regretted my decision to attend the race sans grooming, so I avoided them like the plague.
By 9 am, I was seated at Hennesey's with a cocktail in hand . . . thanks to la for joining my friends and I for breakfast!
Now I intend to spend the rest of the day slightly drunk and laying around in the sun . . .
Hope every one else has a good weekend too!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Friday, in summary . . . .

Worked this morning . . . .

Got a pedicure this afternoon . . . .

Then hung out with the girls . . . .

And started a baby sweater for baby Ella, due in July . . . .

Tomorrow morning is a 5k - will I walk, will I run? Only time (and my knees) will tell . . . .

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Showtime is on a role . . .

I've always been interested in 15th and 16th century British History and have read a number of books on that period - including many by Allison Weir and Antonia Fraser, such as their books on Elizabeth I, the Six Wives of Henry VIII, Mary, Queen of Scots, the Wars of the Roses and Faith and Treason - the Story of the Gunpowder Plot.

So, I was pretty excited to see that Showtime has produced a series on Henry VIII - but a young Henry - starring Jonathan Rhys-Myers as the King and Sam Neill as Cardinal Woolsey. I watched the first 2 episodes on Showtime's website and found the series to be very well done. We see the young King go from being influenced by the humanism of Sir Thomas More, to the political cunning of Machiavelli, and bedding lots of ladies of Court along the way . . .

The series premieres this Sunday on Showtime, and anyone who enjoys history, or even just BBC type programming will likely enjoy it. Highly recommended!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

My first tulip from the bulbs I planted last fall! I stuck bulbs wherever there was some dirt, so I was surprised to find this flower in with my snapdragons! I love the springtime . . .
Doggie Heimlich?

Toby, a 2-year-old golden retriever, saw his owner choking on a piece of fruit and began jumping up and down on the woman's chest. The dog's owner believes the dog was trying to perform the Heimlich maneuver and saved her life. Debbie Parkhurst, 45, of Calvert told the Cecil Whig she was eating an apple at her home Friday when a piece lodged in her throat. She attempted to perform the Heimlich maneuver on herself but it didn't work. After she began beating on her chest, she said Toby noticed and got involved.

"The next think I know, Toby's up on his hind feet and he's got his front paws on my shoulders," she recalled. "He pushed me to the ground, and once I was on my back, he began jumping up and down on my chest." That's when the apple dislodged and Toby started licking her face to keep her from passing out, she said.

Now, I'm a pet lover (see photo of Hanna wearing her patriotic scarf for 4th of July), but I have news for Debbie . . . the dog was just hungry for a nice chunk of apple . . .

Monday, March 26, 2007

My Dancing with the Stars voting pattern is to throw my support behind the retired athlete - Jerry Rice, Emmitt Smith, and this year Clyde Drexler. Clyde the Glide is in the bottom three of points from the judges (along with Billy Ray Cyrus and Leeza Gibbons), so I used my 22 online votes to hopefully keep him in the running.

My prediction for first star voted off? Leeza Gibbons or Shandi the ex-beauty queen. Overall, the quality of the dance was pretty good this week - even Billy Ray managed to pull it together and to look like he bathed recently - but the 2 gals are lagging, and I don't see them as having the fan base to make up for the judge's scores.

Is it wrong that I want to see Blades of Glory, and I think it looks really funny?

How can this plot line go wrong? In 2002, two rival Olympic ice skaters were stripped of their gold medals and permanently banned from men's single competition. Presently, however, they've found a loophole that will allow them to qualify as a pairs team . . .

The skaters? Will Ferrell and Jon (Napoleon Dynamite) Heder . . .

Here is a photo of the boys being interviewed by real life skater Scott Hamilton (who I once saw walking down Melrose, drunk off his tiny ass, with a much larger then he blond woman). Maybe I've got office fever today, but this just screams out comic genius for some reason . . .

Hmmm - now I can't see the photos I posted yesterday - anyone have any suggestions?

Sunday, March 25, 2007

I am making progress on the baby blanket that I started knitting some time during the Reagan Administration. The pattern for the blanket describes it as the "8 hour" baby blanket. I'm not sure who could finish this in 8 hours, but it sure isn't me.

This pretty little sparrow was at the feeder this morning.
And Hanna questions why I need another photo of her sleeping . . . who knew a shoe would make a good pillow?

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Before I took up jewelry making and knitting, I took a mosaic class, and started attaching tiles to everything that didn't move. Here are a couple of samples of my work. I haven't done much lately, but a friend wants to do add some mosaic to her kitchen, and has asked me to help. Tomorrow I'm going by to check it out and see what we can (reasonably) do. As a kid, my father did alot of mosaic work, and consequently, I am fond of this craft.

The girls and I walked a couple of miles this morning, and I found out that the surprise party I was planning on attending tonight, was actually last night - whoops. But it looks like my golf game is still on for this afternoon . . . other than that, I hope to have a pretty lazy weekend. I need to work a bit - my colleague - one of the nicest men on the planet - is having prostate surgery on Monday (cancer) and I need to cover something for him that the client needs by Monday; I am happy to do so, and will keep him in my thoughts and prayers.

I hope everyone else has a nice, easy weekend, too.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

April 17 . . . Mark it on your calendars!
That is the day that the next installment in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Series will be released:
In Good Husband, Smith once again combines a loving depiction of ordinary life in modern Botswana with memorable characters and an engaging mystery in the eighth installment in his beloved No. 1 Ladies Detective series (after Blue Shoes and Happiness). Dr. Cronje, who's half Xhosa and half Afrikaner, consults Smith's sleuth, the gentle and insightful Precious Ramotswe, because patients at his hospital who have occupied a particular bed have been dying mysteriously at the same time of day. Meanwhile, Mma Ramotswe's recently engaged assistant, Grace Makutsi, threatens to break their longstanding association. Mma Ramotswe must adjust their relationship in order to retain Mma Makutsi's services. The author's subtlety of touch and humane portrayal of figures at all levels of society will continue to win him new readers even as his deepening of the ties binding the main figures will satisfy those who have followed the lady detectives from their first recorded case.
I can't say enough about these gentle, life affirming books that focus on the good in human nature. I highly recommend them to anyone who enjoys a good read, and would urge new readers to start with the debut - "The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency", and to read them in order.
Fans of these books range from First Lady Laura Bush to Flea, from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Critics across the country also rave:

"Enchanting . . . An inspiration to us all. . . The sweet, chuckling voice of Precious Ramotswe falls gentle on the ear." –The New York Times Book Review
"Beautiful in spirit . . . Botswana and its way of life are described in exquisite detail . . . Delightful . . . Positively uplifting." –Winston-Salem Journal
"What a treat to discover . . . Brims with good humor and compassion." –Entertainment Weekly
"Utterly charming and compulsively readable." –Newsweek
"Endearing, amusing . . . Sparkles with African sunshine and wit."–The Dallas Morning News
"Smart and sassy [with] the power to amuse or shock or touch the heart, sometimes all at once." –Los Angeles Times
"McCall Smith’s simple, sweet descriptions of everyday pleasures–a cup of tea, walking around one’s garden–are enticing." –The Boston Globe
McCall Smith also writes 3 or 4 other series of books - 2 of which I read - - the Isabel Dalhousie Philosophy Club books and 44 Scotland Street books. Both series are set in Edinburgh, one of my favorite places. Both series are good, though neither reaches the heights of No. 1 Ladies . . . .
If I can introduce one person to Mma. Ramotswe and her friends, I will consider myself to have done some good in the world this week.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Can Showtime hit another home run after Dexter?

According to the AP:
"David Duchovny, who starred as special agent Fox Mulder in "The X-Files," will return to television in a new Showtime comedy about a self-destructive writer. The 46-year-old actor will play Hank, a novelist whose "obsession with truth-telling and self-destructive behavior — drinks, drugs and relationships — are both destroying and enriching his career," the cable network announced Thursday.
Hank's issues complicate his relationships with his 13-year-old daughter (played by Madeleine Martin) and an ex-girlfriend (Natascha McElhone).

The series will premiere in August, said Showtime Networks Inc., a division of CBS Corp. The show does not yet have a title. "The X-Files" ran from 1993 to 2002."
I still watch X-Files re-runs, and I am a huge fan of Duchovny, even though he hasn't really been in anything I liked since he played Mulder. I hope this show takes advantage of his dry wit and charm. Personally, if I was writing this show, I'd probably drop the undoubtedly precocious daughter and the irritating ex, but what do I know?

Monday, March 19, 2007

The new season of Dancing with the Stars started tonight . . . there are eleven couples, let's see how many I can make it through . . .

First up - Ian Ziering with 2 time champion Cheryl Burke - he's a bit stiff dancing the ChaCha, but could turn into a contender.

The first lady out is Paulina Porizkova - she's still a beauty, and surprisingly likable in the candid video segment. She dances a graceful fox trot. I can hardly wait for the first shots of Ric Ocasek cheering her on from the audience - maybe next week?

Apparently, Billy Ray Cyrus stars in "Hannah Montana" with his real life daughter - what happened to "Doc"? Cyrus describes himself as a Kentucky Hillbilly, which doubtless has those hillbillies with televisions cringing across the south. We have our first candidate for most likely to be voted off. He looks dirty, and he can't dance a lick.

Leeza Gibbons is stiff as a board, and will be reduced to tears by her partner, Tony Dovolani, within 2 weeks - she scores even lower than Billy Ray.

Joey Fatone is hoping to lost "a lot" of weight so he will no longer be known as Joey Fat One (I'm not making this up.) Maybe not dressing him in white pants and vest would help. He and his partner do a fun Saturday Night Fever, but is it a Cha Cha? The judges love it, and immediately crown him the star to beat in the competition.

Laila Ali may not float like a butterfly, but she is graceful and sexy.

(I just took the girls out for their bedtime pee, and missed someone . . . . .)*

Next up, some beauty queen I've never heard of "Shandi" - her partner is kind of effeminate, which makes the banter about their great "chemistry" a tad awkward.

This season's ex-pro-athlete is former NBA great Clyde - the Glide - Drexler. At 6'7" tall, he is 15 inches taller than his partner, but is a pretty decent dancer. I'd put him higher than Jerry Rice, but maybe not in Emmitt Smith territory.

The moment we have been waiting for - Heather Mills - who describes herself as an animal rights campaigner hoping to inspire the disabled. Everyone is wondering - will the leg fly off in a spin? It will not.

The last dancer is Apollo Anton Ohno, the Olympic speed skater. He is partnered with an 18 year old professional dancer, who is following him around the world to train with him while he competes in skating competitions. They both decry the lack of practice time, but it is clear that he is a natural, and they are adorable together.

The top picks for the Mirror Ball Trophy? Fatone, Ali, and Ohno.

Note to Getflix - The Ramones were inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002.

* I missed John Ratzenberger - Cliff from Cheers!

I hope I didn't use up all my good luck for 2007 . . .

Today I golfed in a fun tournament in Coto de Caza. Coto is where the Real Housewives of Orange County is set. It's a beautiful area, but kind of Stepford-ish. While on the course - which is surrounded by million dollar homes - we saw almost no signs of life besides squirrels on the course. No people on their balconies, no dogs barking, no kids playing . . . there is a lot of peace and quiet, but sometimes there can be too much of a good thing.

The tournament benefitted the Children's Miracle Network, a worthy cause. Our team (2 gals and 2 fellas) got our only birdie when I made a really difficult 50 foot putt - the proverbial blind squirrel finding the nut!

Even more amazingly, I bought some raffle tickets, and won 2 of the 10 available prizes - - a 3 night stay at the Flamingo in Las Vegas, and the big prize - a 4 night stay at any of a number of Marriott Villas - every where from Palm Desert to Marbella, Spain, to Thailand! Both prizes are good for a year . . .

Sunday, March 18, 2007

I've had the dvd for Babel for a few weeks now, and tried to watch it this morning . . . I am underwhelmed so far - has anyone seen it? Should I continue to plod on? I know it was nominated for best picture and all . . .

Saturday shopping - Nanners and Noodles got new bones from Trader Joe's, and I got a new golf hat!
I have golfed the last two days, and I am pretty tired and sore, but I am going to make myself hit the driving range today. I'm putting pretty well, but not striking the ball that well, so hopefully some time on the range will help - tomorrow is the tournament, and I plan to wear my new hat!
Speaking of the tournament, I was kind of surprised that I had not heard from the gal who invited me to play, Ella. Ella is a friend of a friend. I've met her a few times, and golfed with her and our friend Diana once. So Diana tells me on Friday that she thinks Ella is kind of miffed at me because she sent me an email about some trip she plans to take and I never replied. Diana said she told her she was surprised because it sounded like a trip I would be interested in.
Of course, I never got the email, and since I'd like to make nice nice at least until the tournament is over, I emailed Ella and told her I'd hadn't received the email. Ella sent me the information - she and two other women are planning to go to some new resort in Dubai in September. Based on the powerpoint presentation she sent me, think Vegas, only tackier . . . . She was giddy with the information - the room is 120 bucks a night, so cheap with four sharing, and, she said, the flight would be less than $2,000.
I cannot think of a less appealing vacation. First of all, since 1999, these are the trips I have taken: Surf Camp in Mexico, driving with a friend around Costa Rica, the Galapagos Islands, the Amazon, dolphin research in Belize and wolf watching in Yellowstone. If you added in going to a tacky resort in the Middle East, which would seem like it didn't belong? If I am going to spend two grand on a flight, it will be to Botswana or New Zealand. And I stopped sharing rooms with 3 women to save money 20 years ago. . . . so I told her I'd check out the information, but was not really interested in travelling to the Middle East these days . . . she assures me Americans are welcome there, but who cares?

Thursday, March 15, 2007

For me, I have alot going on over the next few days . . .

Tonight I am going with a friend to see the Eifman Ballet perform Anna Karenina at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. I saw this company perform Red Giselle in 2005, and enjoyed it very much. Boris Eifman is a rather avant garde choreographer, but the quality of the dance is quite high.

Tomorrow I am golfing in the afternoon, and also golfing Saturday afternoon, after my golf lesson in the morning . . . all this in preparation for the charity golf tournament on Monday. . .

So, the big question is . . . when I am going to get all my actual work done? You know, the kind that allows me to buy plaid golf capris and Flying Lady hot pink golf balls?

Looks like Sunday will not be a day of rest this week . . .

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

I've never read any Philip Roth before, but I am listening to American Pastoral, read by Ron Silver.

The framing device employed in the book is a 45th high school reunion attended by the narrator, Nathan Zuckerman. There he meets former-classmate Jerry Levov (Seymour "Swede" Levov's younger brother) who describes to him the tragic course of Seymour's adult life. Called "the Swede" because of his anomalous blond hair, blue eyes and Nordic good looks, he is a star athlete in three sports and Zuckerman's idol and hero. "The Swede" eventually takes over his father's glove factory -"Newark Maid"- and marries Dawn Dwyer, an Irish-American Miss New Jersey 1949 winner.

Levov establishes what he believes to be a perfect American life with a beloved family, a satisfying business life, and a beautiful old home in rural, Republican New Jersey. Yet as the Vietnam War and racial unrest wrack the country and destroy inner-city Newark, Seymour's teenage daughter, whose only flaw has been a stutter, becomes angry and fat and increasingly radicalized joining the far left radical organisation 'The Weathermen'. Levov's "pastoral" life implodes in a devastating act of violence that changes everything.

This novel won the Pulitzer Prize in 1998, and was included in the list of 100 Greatest Novels compiled by Time Magazine in 2005. How many have you read on the list? (I'm at about 26, but some I read so long ago, I barely remember them . . .).

Knitty has published its Spring 2007 issue, and this is the sweater I have my eye on for a spring/summer project . . . . Could it be any cuter with jeans?

Last night was my first foray into Season 6 of American Idol, and I can only say . . . Wow . . . if these are the 12 that made it through, I can't even imagine what the others were like . . . were they singing in Cantonese? Did they have all their body parts?

There is absolutely no possibility of any male singer winning the competition - they were unbelievably bad. I thought the guy I heard singing the karaoke version of Stone Temple Pilot's Plush on Saturday night was bad, (don't ask) but he's a superstar next to these knuckleheads. Couldn't they have least pushed through some eye candy? And God Bless Sanjaya for being out and proud, but that doesn't substitute for being able to carry a tune.

So since it seems certain that only Melinda Doolittle or Lakisha Jones can possibly win, let's just spend the next 11 weeks having a sing-off between these two, and letting the others appear as background singers, and in videos showing all the wackiness going on at the AI house in the Hills. Enough with this nonsense.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Places I'd rather be today, instead of inside an office in Irvine, California . . .

With Nanners on the porch . . .

Dodging crocodiles in Belize . . . .

Watching a sea lion pup nurse in the Galapagos Islands . . .

Hiking near a stream in the Cleveland National Forest . . .

Where would you rather be today?

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Today I downloaded The Bloomsday Dead by Adrian McKinty - the third book in the "Dead" trilogy (the first two were Dead I Well May Be and the Dead Yard). Each features Michael Forsythe, an Irish mercenary constantly on the run from the Irish mob in America. The books are filled with lots of mayhem, twists and turns, but also with a wonderful, dark Irish humor.

Shortly, I will be off for my next golf lesson. I actually played pretty well yesterday - except for my ATROCIOUS putting. It may be time to spend some time away from the driving range and on the putting green.

Tonight a friend is coming by, and we are hoping to go to dinner, and then find a spot locally to listen to some live music. There is a new club in town, but tonight is Metal night, so it looks like we will have the usual choice of a bad lounge act, or a bad bar band.

It quickly became apparent that the amount of yarn indicated for the baby blanket was not nearly enough, but I was able to order some more of the same dye lot by phone . . . I probably now have way too much, but I hate knitting something that I think I will come up short on . . . so the extra yarn is well spent for my peace of mind - and it can always be used for a baby cap or two . . .

So, Happy Saturday to anybody stopping by today!

Friday, March 09, 2007

I'm meeting with my CPA on Tuesday, which means this weekend I have to make sure all my paperwork is in order. My CPA sends me very helpful worksheets, so it really is as streamlined as he can make it for me, if I only kept my records in a more organized fashion. This will honestly only take a couple of hours of work at a maximum, but I am already dreading it.

My other big project for the weekend is only slightly more appealing to me. I need to organize my 500 (yes, 500) photos from Yellowstone into some sort of cohesive, viewer friendly format. One hobby I have always avoided is scrapbooking, so all I am really aiming to do is to buy a photo album or two, get rid of the bad, repetitive photos, and slap them into the album. Nevertheless, I would welcome a root canal to avoid doing this . . .

But these are the worries for this weekend . . . today I am working half day then golfing 9 holes with my brother. Fingers crossed that I don't totally suck . . .

A few photos of this and that . . .

The baby blanket I am knitting to be donated to a local charity . . .

My pink jasmine is back in bloom, and smells wonderful . . .

Just outside of Yellowstone is the studio of Dan and Cindy Hartman, and this a poor quality photograph of the beautiful photographs of wolves I bought from Dan and Cindy.

Here, Noodles removes the last bit of stuffing from the Pink Octopus, and Nanners spends some quality time with the Blue Bunny.