Friday, May 23, 2008

Hanna has figured out that something is up and she is not happy with the prospect . . . she was restless all last night and very needy today, but I know my brother - her Uncle Tom, will take good care of her and Noodles.
Fingers crossed that the weather clears before my plane takes off at 9:10 tomorrow morning. I'm looking forward to a week in Maui, and I wish you all a great Memorial weekend, and a safe and sane week.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tonight I watched Casino Royale again - this time in HD! I've been a big Bond fan since I spent whole nights in the '60s, at the Drive-In, with my brother and dad, watching Bond triple features, in my pajamas, in the back of the Dodge Station Wagon. Oddly enough, my mom took a pass on these family outings.

Here is my one criticism of Casino Royale - I think it was a mistake to substitute Texas Hold 'Em poker for Baccarat. One is timeless, the other doesn't pull in the same ratings on ESPN any more.

I'd have to vote Dr. No as being my favorite old school Sean Connery as Bond movie. Nobody but Connery could pull off the outfits they dressed him in for the early films.

That's right, Bond is wearing baby blue polyester from head to toe. Of course, he's wearing the best accessory of all, a hot Bond girl. In this case, my favorite Bond girl, Ursula Andress as Honey Ryder. Ursula was John Derek's first wife, before he traded her in for a young Linda Evans, and then an even younger, Bo Derek.

I wish I could find a photo of Connery wearing a terry cloth, belted, short shorts jumpsuit from the opening scenes of Goldfinger where he is hanging out by a pool. Best bad outfit of all time, and only Sean Connery could pull it off with aplomb.

Anywhoo, I am very excited about the new Bond coming out in October. I do believe I've seen every Bond film from Connery to Craig in the movie theater.

High winds have played havoc with my gladiolas, causing a number of stalks to break, so I brought them indoors . . . it's not easy to find a container to accomodate yard long stalks of flowers!

The meds seem to be working, and after going to bed at 8 pm, today is looking to be a cheerier one. Well, except for the fact that I just threw my slipper at Hanna as she was trying to get a dish out of the sink to lick clean. She was neither surprised, nor particularly startled by this action. Remind me to pay more attention to training next time around . . .

By the way - did you see that a Northern California biotech company announced Wednesday that it will clone dogs for the five highest bidders in a series of online auctions? Opening bids start at $100,000 for the service being offered by Mill Valley-based BioArts International. The cloning process is to be performed by a South Korean scientist who suffered international disgrace after being found to have faked research. . . .

I love Nanners and Noodles, but you have GOT to be kidding me . . .

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Please allow me another rant.

(Long term readers of Nanners and Noodles [Hi, LA!], will recognize my posts this week as being tinged by the Diane-really-needs-to-get-away-before-she-kills-someone syndrome that occurs the week before I head to Maui for some R and R).

Let me start by saying that I am fortunate enough to NOT be one of the millions of uninsured Americans. As a self employed person, I have my own health insurance for which I pay more than $3,000/year. The policy I have suits my needs. It covers standard annual exams, such as an ob-gyn well woman exam, an annual physical, and a mammogram. After that, I have a significant deductible that, (knock on wood), I never come close to satisfying. So, in essence, besides standard care, it would cover a major medical situation.

Until I meet my deductible, I pay cash for my prescriptions, and I cannot even describe for you how this sends the clerks at the pharmacy into a tizzy. My best guess is that this is the reaction you get when you try to cash a welfare check, or show up at an emergency room needing help without having the all powerful proof of insurance card.

I'm guessing my income is four times what these little snots make, and they act like I'm standing at the freeway on-ramp asking for spare change when I confirm that I will be paying CASH for my prescriptions.

I can't imagine how they treat folks who are truly struggling to make ends meet.

Note - the fact that as I write this I'm waiting for prescriptions to be filled for a uninary tract infection and a sinus infection may be contributing to my black mood.

On a happier note - look, my pink calla lilies are back!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Calgon, take me away . . .

I leave for Maui on Saturday, and at this moment, it seems very, very far away . . . Work is CRAZY, and getting crazier.

My motto for this week: "Poor planning on your part does not equate to an emergency . . .".

The older I get, (and the more experienced), the less tolerance I have for co-workers who expect everyone to jump in with both feet when they have failed to plan ahead and allocate sufficient time to complete a project. Or those who expect others - at the last minute - to save a project that they have irretrievably mucked up.

The other thing that age has taught me? Everyone appreciates being appreciated. Two of the men I work for are always very gracious and appreciative - a sincere thank you goes a long way. The other two wouldn't thank you for singlehandedly saving a tall building from going up in flames. I get paid the same for working with any of these gents - guess which two get most of my time and effort?

Anywhoo, I'll be sitting on the patio of Kimos drinking a cold beer in 4 days and 6 hours . . . not that I'm counting or anything . . .

Monday, May 19, 2008

I remain obsessed with my gladiolas. I planted the bulbs maybe 6 years ago, and every spring I so look forward to the resulting flowers.

It's really foggy at the beach this morning, and hopefully that portends a cooler day. I've been gathering my stuff for my week in Maui, and for the life of me, I can't remember where I stashed my water bottle fanny pack that I want to bring with me for long walks. It's one of those things that always seems to be in my way until now, when I want to find it . . .

I stopped at Target last night for a fresh supply of sunblock and found out that spray on sunblock is all the rage . . . will this mean I'll finally be able to cover all exposed areas of my back? Sunburn test results to follow . . .

Does anyone else watch the Tudors on Showtime, Sunday nights? If you've been watching the show, or know anything about Henry VIII, things do not bode well for Anne Boleyn.

It's estimated that 75,000 came out to see Barack Obama in Portland this weekend. I think it's exciting to see so many people engaged in the election this year. More people need to pay attention to what's happening locally, nationally and internationally in the world these days .

Happy Monday, to one and all!

Saturday, May 17, 2008

It's been hotter than . . . well, you get the idea, here in So Cal today. The girls and I had a nice, long walk while it was still cool, (thanks to Hanna for waking up at 5:30), and then I headed over to the driving range for practice and a lesson. While I was carrying my golf bag, the handle broke (the bag is about 15 years old), so I'm working on convincing myself that this is a sign I should get a new golf bag and this beauty:

I have to work all day tomorrow (which may just give me grounds to justify the new driver), but I had a nice day today. After an hour and a half in the sun hitting golf balls, I wandered into the bar and told the bartender I wanted something really, really cold to drink. I settled on a beer, and then tried to determine which beer would be coldest. Is draft colder than bottles? The bartender was kind enough to indulge me, and we settled on a tall, draft Coors Light.

It was 10:30 a.m.

But damn, did that cold beer taste great.

Got a pedicure, had my favorite lunch at the local Greek place, did my errands, and came home for some quiet time (that's naptime to you and me) with the girls. I also watched Miss Potter - the story of Beatrix Potter starring Renee Zellwegger, Ewan MacGregor and Emily Watson. It's a sweet little movie, and I recommend it.

Tomorrow I have to head into the office . . . and don't think I'm not figuring out how many hours I'll have to put in tomorrow to pay for that Big Bertha driver . . .

Thursday, May 15, 2008

My gladiolas are a few weeks ahead of schedule . . .

Do you have any favorite websites?
Right now, I'd have to list my top three as Ravelry, Etsy, and Zappos.

Ravelry is a community of knitters and crocheters. The website provides tools for organizing your crafts, and for sharing information. It's easy to contact another member who has completed a project similar to yours to obtain helpful information. You can find all kinds of projects for any type of yarn in your "stash", and the site has all kinds of "groups" for members to join. The groups are far ranging; I'm a member of not only Knitters for Obama, but also a group that enjoys reading British Mystery Novels.
I plan to do all my Christmas shopping next year on Etsy - a site for artists and craftspersons to sell their wares.
And Zappos has revolutionized shoe buying - a topic near and dear to every woman's heart. Free shipping both ways (if you need to return a pair), good prices and helpful reviews make it a great place to shop.
I recently ordered some books from another old favorite - Amazon - and even though I'm already reading Mark Haddon's A Spot of Bother, I started to page through Carl Hiassen's The Downhill Lie - about his return to golf after a 32 year layoff, and couldn't put it down . . . he won me over for good when about 10 pages in he points out that "Labrador Retrievers, while possessing cheery and endearing personalities, are not Mensa candidates in the canine kingdom", noting that they will lick or eat anything they can get their paws on . . .
As I was reading these lines, I was distracted by the sound of Hanna horfing up some rawhide she'd swallowed without adequately chewing it first.
Good times!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

For my fellow California Voters . . .

According to my friends at the National Wildlife Federation:

Get the Conservation Connection on Election Day!
National Wildlife Federation urges you to vote NO on Proposition 98 YES on Proposition 99 Healthy fish and wildlife depend on it!

Dear Friend of Wildlife,

I'm writing today to let you know about two ballot initiatives in California that have the potential to really impact you and the wildlife and wild places of our state.


Proposition 98 is bad for California because it would severely restrict the ability of state and local government to impose new regulations to protect and preserve our natural resources and environment. Prop 98 contains loopholes that would roll back laws, regulations, and zoning decisions intended to protect wildlife and regulate development.We urge you to cast a vote for healthy habitats, cleaner water, and a step toward protecting California's wildlife heritage.


Luckily, we have an alternative proposition on the ballot that protects private property rights without hurting wildlife. Prop 99 is honest eminent domain reform that would prohibit government from taking a home to transfer to a private developer. Prop 99 does not contain the environmental loopholes or dangerous provisions of Prop 98.

NWF and partner organizations have worked hard to get this alternative onto the ballot. It is supported by the Planning and Conservation League, our California affiliate, and over 150 other environmental, business, social, and community organizations.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day, to mothers one and all! Hanna and Samantha were kind enough to send me a Mother's Day card earlier this week, but I suspect they were aided by my mom. Just the thought of shopping for a card finds them exhausted by the effort.

The girls were kind enough this morning to allow me a bit of a lie in this morning. After our walk, I've gone back to bed to knit and watch a Miss Marple video - - such a luxury!

I went to my golf lesson yesterday. The instructor - who has the patience of a saint - videotaped my swing which was helpful to watch. First of all, I don't look like an idiot - my swing looks better than the result achieved. And second, I have developed old lady upper arms. It's definitely time to ramp up the upper body work outs . . .

Saturday, May 10, 2008

(Lots of Gladiolas coming my way!!!!)
I was tagged by Tiffany Norris, so here goes!

*Maybe I should...learn to be more patient.

*I love the smell of... lavender, my roses, jasmine and plumeria, and coffee brewing.

* People would say that I...need to get out more.

* I don’t understand why...people aren't nicer.

* When I wake up in the morning...I get a cup of coffee, feed the dogs, and then give them their "Kongs" filled with frozen dog stew so that I can take a few minutes to drink my cup of joe before we head out for our walk.

* I lost my will power to...use the library more instead of buying lots of books.

* Life is wonderful dogs, my books, and my knitting. Oh, and my 42 inch HDTV doesn't hurt.

* My past made me...stronger.

* I get annoyed when...things are inefficient.

*Parties are not...just for special occasions.

* Dogs are...the best way to learn about loyalty, patience and unwavering love.

* Cats...are independent spirits (and I love them!).

* Tomorrow I am going mom's for Mother's Day.

* I have a low tolerance for...people who are unkind or mistreat animals or children.

* I'm totally terrified of...bugs.

* I wonder why I thought my life would be...just as it is.

* Never in my life...have I been able to do a cartwheel.

* High school was something that...I'm glad is long over.

* When I'm nervous...I get nauseous and try to take breaths to achieve a "zen-like" calm.

* Take my advice...plant a tree or flowers and adopt an animal.

* Making my bed is...something that makes the sheets feel better when you climb back into bed at night.

* I'm almost always...listening to books on my iPod and thinking about my next meal or planning my next trip.

* I'm addicted to...books and knitting.

* I want to spend some quality time with.

Friday, May 09, 2008

The first time I ever really got involved in any political races as an adult was in the 2004 presidential election. For the first time, I put up my "Kerry/Edwards 2004" sign, and donated money to democratic candidates. In 2006, I again donated to democratic candidates for the House and Senate.

But I have to admit, I have been fascinated by the 2008 presidential primaries. A year ago, any betting man would have predicted that the GOP candidate would be Rudy Guiliani, and the DEM candidate, Hillary Clinton. More and more, it looks like any such prediction was dead wrong.

Of all the GOP candidates, Guiliani, with his socially liberal leanings, was obviously my favorite. I'm still at a loss as to why he derailed his own candidacy by ignoring every primary and caucus until Florida, where he was run over by McCain and the other candidates. If anything, this primary season has proven the value of momentum. By waiting until Florida, Guiliani became the forgotten candidate. I assume his campaign manager and strategists are looking for new lines of employment.

In yesterday's Time Magazine online, they looked at where the Clinton candidacy may have also miscalculated. According to Time, Clinton made at least five big mistakes, each of which compounded the others:

1. She misjudged the mood. In a cycle that has been all about change, Clinton chose an incumbent's strategy, running on experience, preparedness, inevitability. But in putting her focus on positioning herself to win the general election in November, Clinton completely misread the mood of Democratic-primary voters, who were desperate to turn the page.

2. She didn't master the rules. Clinton picked people for her team primarily for their loyalty to her, instead of their mastery of the game - - chief strategist Mark Penn confidently predicted that an early win in California would put her over the top because she would pick up all the state's 370 delegates. It sounded smart, but Penn was wrong: Democrats, unlike the Republicans, apportion their delegates according to vote totals, rather than allowing any state to award them winner-take-all. Her campaign records reveal that this knucklehead is still owed millions of dollars for his services.

Note - I had no idea how delegates were allocated either . . . and still barely understand the primary process

3. She underestimated the caucus states. While Clinton based her strategy on the big contests, she seemed to virtually overlook states like Minnesota, Nebraska and Kansas, which choose their delegates through caucuses, and it was in the caucus states that Obama piled up his lead among pledged delegates.

Note - I still have no idea how the caucuses work

4. She relied on old money. For a decade or more, the Clintons set the standard for political fund-raising in the Democratic Party, but something had happened to fund-raising: the Internet. Though Clinton's totals from working the shrimp-cocktail circuit remained impressive by every historic measure, her donors were typically big-check writers. And once they had ponied up the $2,300 allowed by law, they were forbidden to give more. Obama relied instead on a different model: the 800,000-plus people who had signed up on his website and could continue sending money his way $5, $10 and $50 at a time.

Note - Obama receiving donations from more 1,500,000 individuals is really an amazing accomplishment by any politician

5. She never counted on a long haul. If she could win Iowa, she believed, the race would be over. Clinton spent lavishly there yet finished a disappointing third. What surprised the Obama forces was how long it took her campaign to retool. She fought him to a tie in the Feb. 5 Super Tuesday contests but didn't have any troops in place for the states that followed.

As I said, I've never been a student of politics, but have been mesmerized by this year's races. It looks like Obama will be facing McCain in November, but there are still nearly 25 percent of GOP voters going for Paul and others in the recent primaries. It seems that neither candidate has completely won over his party. I'm hopeful that Obama can and will reach out to Clinton's supporters so that the party can unite. I also hope and think that McCain is miscalculating by moving farther to the right to appeal to the GOP's conservative branch, rather than courting the party's moderates. Schwarzenegger showed in 2006 that this strategy works for Republican candidates, when he was re-elected governor of California while Republicans across the country were being defeated.

But what do I know? Not a whole helluva lot!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

I was surprised to find when I got home tonight, my first Plumeria bloom of the year . . .
This is the plant I have had the longest. I bought this Plumeria in 1995, when I first moved into my home. It took some abuse when Hanna joined our family in 2001, but it made a good comeback, and still reliably produces wonderfully scented flowers every summer . . .

Summertime . . . and the reading is easy . . .

I've been loading up my iPod over the past few months with all kinds of good books to enjoy this summer. Yesterday I downloaded Thirteen Moons by Charles Frasier for the Southern Reading Challenge.

I've also recently become addicted to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum Number series. After blowing through Seven Up and Hard Eight, I decided I'd save a few for my upcoming trip to Maui and beyond. Loaded onto the iPod are: To the Nines; Ten Big Ones; Eleven on Top; Twelve Sharp and Lean Mean Thirteen.

It's not all frivolous. I also have John Adams by David McCulloch, Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, and Bleak House by Charles Dickens downloaded.

Did I mention that I love all those gigabytes? Well, I do, so I've also stashed: Friend of the Devil by Peter Robinson, Please Pass the Guilt by Rex Stout, (a Nero Wolfe Mystery) , Life Class by Pat Barker, and Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt.

Here's hoping for lots of long walks along pretty paths and plenty of fair weather . . .

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

If I had smaller feet, these socks would already be done . . .

And Hanna wants to know why I'm taking pictures of my feet instead of petting her . . .

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Trust me on this one - if you're shopping for rose bushes, look for the Memorial Day rose - it has the sweetest scent of all my rose bushes.

Once again this year, I'll be participating in
Maggie’s Southern Reading Challenge. My books are:

1. Dead Until Dark by Charlene Harris

2. Mudbound by Hillary Jordan

3. Thirteen Moons (audible) by Charles Frazier.
Maggie runs a great challenge, and even sends out yummy, yummy pecans to lucky participants. I hope to be so lucky 2 years in a row!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

My first attempt with hydrangeas . . . We'll see how long they stay so pretty. It's overcast and cool here this morning, and I'm meeting friends for breakfast, and then the month long birthday celebration should be at an end. My remaining plans for the day include hitting the driving range, going to Petco and the grocery store, cleaning the fish tank and watching the Angels game. I know, how much excitement can one gal take?
What are your plans for this Sunday?
Since we had a very busy day yesterday, Hanna took her self off to bed early last night.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

I worked at home yesterday, which I love to do. Benefits include:
  • Saving 2 gallons of gas commuting to the office and back
  • Working in shorts
  • Hanging out with the dogs
  • Listening to the birds chirping around the feeder

Saturday is off to a good start. Hanna, Samantha and I walked 3 miles this morning, I'm off to a golf lesson shortly, I managed to (at least temporarily) fix a flat tire with a can of Fix Flat Now, and the good people of Guam are seeing fit to give their support to Obama in caucuses today.

Did anyone watch 30 Rock on Thursday? It was seriously laugh out loud funny -

Donaghy: "You know who hates unicorns? Mark Wahlberg."

Thursday, May 01, 2008

The view as I headed out the door to work this morning . . .

Hanna definitely does not suffer from separation anxiety.

Yesterday morning on my way into work I stopped at the drug store because:

1. My ancient, prehistoric blowdryer had blown it's last hot breath; and

2. I had a sinus headache.

First of all, let me just note that my new blowdryer (Vidal Sassoon!) cost 14.95, and dries my hair in about 1/4 the time of my old one. I've been known to spend money like a drunken sailor, but I can't buy a new appliance until the old one goes completely kaput. So, to save a few dollars, I've been wasting time every day using a blow dryer less effective than my old method of driving to work with the top down on my convertible. (I had to ditch this method in 2002 when I got my Hyundai Santa Fe).

Second, I am constantly amazed by the regulations one must comply with to acquire a box of Aleve Sinus Headache medicine. Besides being required to show my driver's license, I had to fill out a form with my name, address and signature. I don't need to do any of this to buy Vicodin, or a case of Tequila, but I do for an OTC medication.

Is methamphetamine abuse a problem? Absolutely. Is this bureaucracy solving the problem? No f-ing way.

And I can only imagine how many storm troopers will show up at my house if I try to acquire a second box of 12 too soon . . .