Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Coke or Pepsi?

Bud or Coors?

McCain or Obama?

Lennon or McCartney?

For me, the choices are easy - Pepsi (Diet), Coors (Light), Obama by a mile and Lennon all the way. I'm not only a fan of Lennon's music, but his art work, so when I was in Maui, I bought a Lennon seriagraph - "Puppy Love" - and it finally arrived on the slow boat on which it was shipped.
I know just where it will hang in my house.
Despite my own best efforts to sabotage my trip to NYC, I am packed and ready to go. I have brought WAY too many clothes, and lots of comfie shoes. Tomorrow we will be whisked to the Big Apple on Jet Blue.
Many photos to follow . . .
Have a great week, everyone!

Monday, June 23, 2008

You want to know why I'll never be able to get over my obsessive compulsive disorder by which I keep checking things (like going back in the house to see that the stove is turned off, or constantly checking to see that I have my wallet with me when I'm travelling)? Because I screw up just enough that the disorder is not entirely irrational.
Perhaps an example is in order. On April 4, 2008, I made all the reservations - 2 1/2 months in advance, mind you - for my trip to NYC with my niece. Airline, hotel, Broadway shows. So, last night it occurs to me that I should call and confirm the hotel reservation. Everything is done online, of course, but I have printed copies of all my paperwork. Oddly enough, my hotel reservation doesn't have a confirmation number. Rather, it appears that I printed out the screen preceding the confirmation page, and I can't find any emails etc., that show that the reservation was actually ever made. Apparently, I missed one step - the one where you push the button to actually confirm the reservation.
Not surprisingly, when I called the reservation hotline, there is no reservation under my name.
Fortunately, I was able to easily book alternative accommadations, but I was sick to my stomach thinking I almost showed up at the original hotel, with my 19 year old niece in tow, only to find out we had no place to stay.
Idjit, idjit, idjit.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

How to beat the heat . . .

The dogs lay very, very still . . .

The birds gather at the bird bath . . .

I'm going to brunch in an air-conditioned restaurant . . .

The good news it that it is local, so I can ride my bike there!

In the mean time, I'm watching the classic Disney flick - The Love Bug!

What are your plans for the day?

Saturday, June 21, 2008

It can only get better from here . . .

I've mentioned before that I rarely, if ever, use an alarm clock. No need when you live with the canine alarm clock, Hanna. As soon as the sun peeks over the horizon, she's at the side of the bed nuzzling me to get up and get her breakfast. This time of year, that occurs somewhere between 5:20 and 5:30 a.m. In her defense, she tries to be patient, and will sometimes comply with my request that she "go lay down". But even when she does that, I can feel her eyes boring into the back of my head for the 5 minutes this respite lasts. I'm one of the few people that looks forward to shorter days.

With the temperature expected to be in the 90s today, getting up early has its advantages. Chores are taken care of before it gets too hot, and before the summer crowds make parking or getting out of town impossible. By 8:30 am we had gone for a walk, watered all the flowers, gone to the grocery store, gone to the drug store, picked up some Costa Rican coffee beans from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, gone to Nick's Deli for one of his world famous breakfast burritos, put on a pot of dog stew to simmer, and headed out to the front porch to enjoy the morning quiet.

Here we are sitting on the front porch. The sight of Hanna sitting next to me like a proud princess, and Noodles sitting on my lap usually draws a few comments from passers by . . .

Friday, June 20, 2008

A Pink Hibiscus for a Friday . . .

My horoscope for today:
"Upcoming travel plans are on your brain today, and they could be distracting you."
'tis true. I have my trip next Wednesday to NYC bubbling away in my little pea brain. What to pack? What will the weather be like? Will my niece bring appropriate clothing and good walking shoes? (After I left her a lengthy message describing what she should bring, the response was "So, I should pack some shorts and tank tops?") When we are in Little Italy, should we eat at Angelo's or Taormina?
Here's the thing - in my first two visits to NYC, I managed to avoid taking the subway. This time I'm ready to take the plunge - I found a very cool website - hopstop.com. Plug in any two NYC addresses, and it give you detailed subway directions to get from one location to the other.
Sometime over the weekend, I will be forced to withdraw from my latest addiction - listening to Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum Number series. In the past week, I've made it through Ten Big Ones, Eleven On Top and Twelve Sharp, and I am in the middle of Lean Mean Thirteen. They just released Fearsome Fourteen, but then I will have run the series - at least those that are available unabridged as audiobooks.
They are alot of fun and the reader is awesome.
I think I will need another audiobook to transition me before I will be ready to feed my brain with David McCulloch's John Adams . . .

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

From my friends at Orange County for Obama . . .

There are many things people do not know about BARACK OBAMA. It is every American's duty to read this message and pass it along to all of their friends and loved ones.

Barack Obama wears a FLAG PIN at all times. Even in the shower.

Barack Obama says the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE every time he sees an American flag. He also ends every sentence by saying, "WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL." Click here for video of Obama quietly mouthing the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE in his sleep.

A tape exists of Michelle Obama saying the PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE at a conference on PATRIOTISM.

Every weekend, Barack and Michelle take their daughters HUNTING.

Barack Obama is a PATRIOTIC AMERICAN. He has one HAND over his HEART at all times. He occasionally switches when one arm gets tired, which is almost never because he is STRONG.

Barack Obama has the DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE tattooed on his stomach. It's upside-down, so he can read it while doing sit-ups.

There's only one artist on Barack Obama's iPod: FRANCIS SCOTT KEY.

Barack Obama is a DEVOUT CHRISTIAN. His favorite book is the BIBLE, which he has memorized. His name means HE WHO LOVES JESUS in the ancient language of Aramaic. He is PROUD that Jesus was an American.

Barack Obama goes to church every morning. He goes to church every afternoon. He goes to church every evening. He is IN CHURCH RIGHT NOW.

Barack Obama's new airplane includes a conference room, a kitchen, and a MEGACHURCH.

Barack Obama's skin is the color of AMERICAN SOIL.


He travels mostly by FORKLIFT.
Barack Obama says that Americans cling to GUNS and RELIGION because they are AWESOME.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Some photos from my Maui trip . . .

Honolua Bay . . .

Me in Honolua Bay . . .

Fishies below me in Honolua Bay . . .

More fishy photos to come!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I haven't been much inspired with my knitting lately, so I decided to join a "knit a long" on Ravelry, and this is the sweater that a few hundred of us are knitting.
I cast on yesterday, and am making pretty good progress.

The yarn is a slightly variegated seafoam green merino wool from Australia.
The girls and I had a kick back day watching the US Open golf tournament. They napped and enjoyed some rawhide bones, I worked on my new sweater.

I finally finished listening to Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer - a modern take on the Count of Monte Cristo. Many parts of it had me on the edge of my seat, and sometimes I'd have to stop listening for a bit because the suspense was killing me.

Overall, a very nice weekend. Hope your's was too.

Friday, June 13, 2008

And this week's award for coolest t-shirt goes to . . . .
I left work early, stopped for lunch at a yummy Mexican restaurant, went to Petco for a 25 lb. bag of bird seed and some Dingo bones and headed home. One of the reasons it was slow at the office today was because a couple of the guys are down at the US Open at Torrey Pines in LaJolla. It's a beautiful course, but since we walked by it on day two of the 3 day 60 mile charity walk in 2002, every bone, muscle, ligament and tendon from my hips to my toes starts to ache when I see it.
I hope to get a bit of exercise this weekend, and maybe work in a bit of fun too. I'm invited to meet some folks for chicken wings and beers tomorrow, but these folks make me look like a lightweight, and I'm not sure I want to consume that many grams of fat and that many schooners of beer in one afternoon . . .
And what's up for you this weekend?

Thursday, June 12, 2008

More pink calla lilies!
For those of you unfamiliar, South Coast Plaza is the best shopping mall in Southern California. The stores range from Sears to Saks Fifth Avenue, and everything in between. The mall has greatly expanded over the years. When I was a kid, it went from May Co. at one end, to Sears at the other. In the middle was a Merry Go Round, that still draws in the kids. Since then, the mall has expanded so that the old corridor is (roughly) the top of a capital "I".
I've been gathering gift cards to South Coast Plaza for the last couple of years. I've received some generous gift cards at Christmas from the folks I work with, and one of them was kind enough to show his thanks for our hard work over last week and this past weekend by giving out some additional gift cards.
In reviewing my stash, I now have - can you believe it - One Thousand Dollars (!!!!!!) - to spend at South Coast Plaza!
Possible extravagant purchases include:
A new camera
An HDTV for my bedroom
A new sewing machine
Possible practical purchases include:
A new energy efficient refrigerator
Or I could ride the Merry go round a few hundred times.
Oh, the mind boggles . . .

Since I'm disturbed by the number of people who think John McCain is a moderate . . .

From MoveOn.org

10 things you should know about John McCain (but probably don't):

John McCain voted against establishing a national holiday in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Now he says his position has "evolved," yet he's continued to oppose key civil rights laws.1

According to Bloomberg News, McCain is more hawkish than Bush on Iraq, Russia and China. Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan says McCain "will make Cheney look like Gandhi."2

His reputation is built on his opposition to torture, but McCain voted against a bill to ban waterboarding, and then applauded President Bush for vetoing that ban.3

McCain opposes a woman's right to choose. He said, "I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned."4

The Children's Defense Fund rated McCain as the worst senator in Congress for children. He voted against the children's health care bill last year, then defended Bush's veto of the bill.5

He's one of the richest people in a Senate filled with millionaires. The Associated Press reports he and his wife own at least eight homes! Yet McCain says the solution to the housing crisis is for people facing foreclosure to get a "second job" and skip their vacations.6

Many of McCain's fellow Republican senators say he's too reckless to be commander in chief. One Republican senator said: "The thought of his being president sends a cold chill down my spine. He's erratic. He's hotheaded. He loses his temper and he worries me."7

McCain talks a lot about taking on special interests, but his campaign manager and top advisers are actually lobbyists. The government watchdog group Public Citizen says McCain has 59 lobbyists raising money for his campaign, more than any of the other presidential candidates.8

McCain has sought closer ties to the extreme religious right in recent years. The pastor McCain calls his "spiritual guide," Rod Parsley, believes America's founding mission is to destroy Islam, which he calls a "false religion." McCain sought the political support of right-wing preacher John Hagee, who believes Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for gay rights and called the Catholic Church "the Antichrist" and a "false cult."9

He positions himself as pro-environment, but he scored a 0�"yes, zero�"from the League of Conservation Voters last year.10 -
1. "The Complicated History of John McCain and MLK Day," ABC News, April 3, 2008 http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2008/04/the-complicated.html"McCain Facts," ColorOfChange.org, April 4, 2008 http://colorofchange.org/mccain_facts

2. "McCain More Hawkish Than Bush on Russia, China, Iraq," Bloomberg News, March 12, 2008 http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=aF28rSCtk0ZM&refer=us "Buchanan: John McCain 'Will Make Cheney Look Like Gandhi,'" ThinkProgress, February 6, 2008 http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/06/buchanan-gandhi-mccain/

3. "McCain Sides With Bush On Torture Again, Supports Veto Of Anti-Waterboarding Bill," ThinkProgress, February 20, 2008 http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/20/mccain-torture-veto/

4. "McCain says Roe v. Wade should be overturned," MSNBC, February 18, 2007 http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/17222147/

5. "2007 Children's Defense Fund Action Council® Nonpartisan Congressional Scorecard," February 2008 http://www.childrensdefense.org/site/PageServer?pagename=act_learn_scorecard2007 "McCain: Bush right to veto kids health insurance expansion," CNN, October 3, 2007 http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/mccain.interview/

6. "Beer Executive Could Be Next First Lady," Associated Press, April 3, 2008http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5h-S1sWHm0tchtdMP5LcLywg5ZtMgD8VQ86M80 "McCain Says Bank Bailout Should End `Systemic Risk,'" Bloomberg News, March 25, 2008 http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601087&sid=aHMiDVYaXZFM&refer=home

7. "Will McCain's Temper Be a Liability?," Associated Press, February 16, 2008 http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory?id=4301022 "Famed McCain temper is tamed," Boston Globe, January 27, 2008 http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/01/27/famed_mccain_temper_is_tamed/
8. "Black Claims McCain's Campaign Is Above Lobbyist Influence: 'I Don't Know What The Criticism Is,'" ThinkProgress, April 2, 2008 http://thinkprogress.org/2008/04/02/mccain-black-lobbyist/ "McCain's Lobbyist Friends Rally 'Round Their Man," ABC News, January 29, 2008 http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/story?id=4210251

9. "McCain's Spiritual Guide: Destroy Islam," Mother Jones Magazine, March 12, 2008 http://www.motherjones.com/washington_dispatch/2008/03/john-mccain-rod-parsley-spiritual-guide.html "Will McCain Specifically 'Repudiate' Hagee's Anti-Gay Comments?," ThinkProgress, March 12, 2008 http://thinkprogress.org/2008/03/12/mccain-hagee-anti-gay/ "McCain 'Very Honored' By Support Of Pastor Preaching 'End-Time Confrontation With Iran,'" ThinkProgress, February 28, 2008 http://thinkprogress.org/2008/02/28/hagee-mccain-endorsement/

10. "John McCain Gets a Zero Rating for His Environmental Record," Sierra Club, February 28, 2008 http://www.alternet.org/blogs/environment/77913/

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Floras, floras, floras!
Best landscaping move of the year? Buying that pack of Nasturtium seeds somewhere. I planted them all over, and I have lots of pretty yellow, orange and red nasturtiums.
So what's going on this week?
We're on the cusp of the longest day of the year, which means we're rising about 5:30 am at Casa Diane. This doesn't necessarily mean I'm getting into work early, though. I find that my time at home in the morning is the best part of my day. I feed the girls, and have a cup of coffee. One big cup with Vanilla creamer mixed with half and half. We enjoy a nice walk, and then I come home and check my emails and the internet. Next up is a nice bath, and reading a couple chapters of my book - which right now is Dust, by Martha Grimes. Then off to work.
What's the best part of your day?

Sunday, June 08, 2008

A photo of my flowers from this morning. Astromeria, (aka Peruvian Lilies), Nasturtiums, and a Hibiscus flower.
Did you watch the Belmont yesterday? Man, it would have been fun to a have a twenty on the longshot - who lead wire to wire and won going away with it. It was hot, it was humid, and Big Brown was just not in the mood to run. That is basically what it is like to try to get Hanna to walk in the mid-day sun. It doesn't do any good to get after her, you just take a break and rest in the shade.
The Governor of NY had a cool story - many years ago a possible Triple Crown winner was defeated by a horse that had been shod by his blacksmith grandfather. How amazing is it that in two generations his family had moved from the barn to the Governor's mansion for the state of NY?
A big bunch of us are in the office today working on the big project due tomorrow. The good news is that I'm listening to a book on my iPod, and there is good food available. I'm enjoying Friend of the Devil, by Peter Robinson, a Detective Alan Banks mystery. It ties in nicely with an older book by Robinson - in the newest book, an evil character from an earlier book gets her due.
One of my favorite tv shows is back tonight with a new episode - Law and Order - Criminal Intent. It's my favorite of the three L&O franchises.
With football season just around the corner Robster/CaliTejano and I have entered into a friendly wager over the new look Raiders - Rob is confident they will finish over .500, I am sure they will finish below .500. The winner gets a gift certificate to Barnes and Noble.
The other good news is that in 17 days, I'll be back in NYC, this time with my 19 year old niece. Hopefully, the brutal heat wave they are currently suffering with will be long gone by then. (Yes, with my usual careful planning, I have managed to pack a year's worth of vacation into a 6 week span).
Gotta run - the Angels' game is starting!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Today is the second anniversary of Nanners and Noodles - my blog named after my two best friends - Hanna Banana and Samantha Jane Noodles.

Thanks to everyone who occasionally stops by to read my rantings, ravings, and babblings about mostly nothing. I've enjoyed these past two years immensely.

Friday, June 06, 2008

One of the advantages of living in Mayberry by the Sea is that our electricity goes out on a very regular basis. After awhile, you stop re-setting the message on your answering machine, (mine is permanently on the default mechanical voice), and you leave your VCR on permanent blink.
Here, Hanna waits for the house to get darker,
while Samantha Jane Noodles contemplates the fact that Basenjis are number two on the list of dumbest dogs.

Of course, they are number one on the list of sweetest dogs. And maybe also number one on the list of dogs that are able to make the most annoying screeching noises that will lead to every living creature with ears in the surrounding area giving in to whatever the basenji wants to make it be quiet.

I've been a good streak with my reading lately. I'm totally digging Prisoner of Birth by Jeffrey Archer in my car - a modern day take on the Count of Monte Cristo. I also just finished Getting Stoned with Cannibals by J. Maarten Troost, recounting his days living in Vanuatu and Fiji.

At work we're trying to pound out a big project due Monday. The good news? I made the boss bring in tacos for lunch. Yes, I can be bought for two chicken tacos, chips and guacamole.

My first book for Maggie's Southern Reading Challenge is Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris - the first in her Southern Vampire Series.
Sookie Stackhouse is young woman working as a cocktail waitress in Merlotte's bar in Bon Temps, Louisiana when she meets the "man" of her dreams - -
"I'd been waiting for the vampire for years when he walked into the bar. Ever since vampires came out of the coffin (as they laughingly put it) two years ago, I'd hoped one would come to Bon Temps."
Sookie is sympathetic to the vamp's plight in not belonging entirely to this world - she can read minds, and has discovered that makes dating impossible. Who can enjoy a nice evening out, when you can read every dirty thought of the guy sitting next to you at the movies?
She's not a "fang banger" - "men and women that hang around with vampires and enjoy being bitten. Vampire groupies." But she quickly learns that she can't read Bill the vampire's mind . . . and that's all she needs to know to make him the man of her dreams.
Unfortunately, for Bill and his kind, some of the fang bangers start showing up dead, and the suspicion falls on the vampires.
I enjoyed this book - it's a little bit romance, a bit of sex, a bit of mystery, and a bit of fun. I"ll definitely read some others in the series.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

He's got my vote in November!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Meet Rufus, my latest baby starling that fell out of its nest . . .

He seems to be laboring with his breathing, so I'm not hopeful that he will be another Buddy and make it through the night, but we'll see . . .

Update - Sadly, Rufus didn't make it. His breathing never got easier, I had a hard time warming him up, and he died about 9:30 last night. Thanks to everyone for their good wishes for a baby bird.

On a cheerier note, my gladiolas are going crazy!

As part of the fabulous Southern Reading Challenge hosted by the mighty Maggie, a side challenge is to write a haiku about one of your books. Mine is about Dead Until Dark, a book from Charlaine Harris' southern vampire series. (I hope to post my review of that book soon).

Young Sookie Stackhouse

It's vampire love for her

Undead sex is best

Sunday, June 01, 2008

One week in Maui

4 snorkelling expeditions

One sea turtle

One spotted ray
One eel

One barracuda

Lots of pretty fish

Three long, hilly walks early in the morning

One cool music mix to walk to created on my iPhone

One sock started with some caramel yarn

One book finished on the plane there

Two books read on the island

One book finished on the plane home

One jigsaw puzzle (500 piece) completed

Two underwater cameras used

A lot of Pinot Grigio was enjoyed

Five scoops of ice cream consumed

And a grand time had by all......