Friday, November 28, 2008

Meet Louie. Louie is the 5 month old rat terrier puppy who lives next door. He adores the girls, so while his people are out of town this weekend, he's bunking with us. He mostly leaves Hanna alone, and doesn't annoy her. On the other hand, he constantly annoys Samantha by trying to get her to play with him. He's a total spaz, really sweet, and kind of confused by the rat terrier living inside the mirror in my bedroom.
Thanksgiving was nice, and the Hanna wine was quite good. I'm off now for a long walk/run to try to get some exercise to work off the sweet potato pie that my Louie's mom brought by.
How was your turkey day?

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving! (My turkey should come out looking so good . . .)

Dinner is at my house, so the family and a couple friends should be stopping by today. I have mixed feelings about the holidays this year. The economic crisis has me concerned about spending, Hanna's illness has me in the dumps a bit, and I'm not much in the mood to celebrate, but here we go, ready or not!

I'm grateful to have my health and a job that pays my bills, and the support of friends and family. I'm particularly thankful to those of you in the blogosphere for giving me an outlet to express my ongoing distress over Hanna's condition. I tend not to share my feelings with others in real time, so I have truly appreciated the kind words, thoughts and support from all of you the past few months . . .

So, let's eat, drink and be merry!

In honor of the big girl, today we are drinking Hanna wine!

Monday, November 24, 2008

More and more, I only watch tv from the shows recorded on my DVR. It's convenient, and you can fast forward through the commercials. I've moved up to recording an ongoing series, instead of re-entering the info each week. These are the shows I currently regularly record:

  • 30 Rock - I actually watched last week's episode (with Steve Martin), twice, to catch all the funny dialogue
  • The Office - this show remains one of my favorites
  • Life on Mars - I loved the BBC version, but this USA version is good too. Sam Tyler wakes up back in 1973, still a cop, but back in his old neighborhood. The music is great!
  • The Mentalist - I am a huge fan of Aussie Simon Baker, and am pleased that his new show is good. I was worried it'd be a cheap knock off of Psych, but it's been good so far
  • Dexter - in its 3rd season, and it still hits a home run. Jimmy Smits as a none too ethical DA has been a good edition
  • Californication - I'm a few weeks behind on this one, but at some point I'll go on a Duchovny bender
  • Murder She Wrote - yep - re-runs from the '80s. It remains one of my favorite shows
  • Diagnosis Murder - Dick Van Dyke can do no wrong.
Last year at Christmas, Hanna kept trying to steal a purple stuffed teddy bear that my mother had bought for my niece. So, my mom bought her one of her own. Here she rests on it, after bringing it along on our afternoon walk on Sunday. A golden retriever came by to say hello, but didn't dare try to steal the teddy.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Here Hanna enjoys a tamale corn husk she found last weekend, or as I like to call it, roughage. Hanna had a bit of a rough week. In one day the side of her lower jaw blew up like the proverbial balloon. We went to the old family vet, who gave us some antibiotics and some pain pills. The swelling went down almost immediately, so she feels much better. On the way home from the vet I wanted to give her a pill right away, so we drove through Carl's Jr. The gal at the window and I decided the best dog friendly order would be a cheeseburger without any condiments. We went for the combo, and split the fries. I got the soda.

After taking a couple weeks off, last week I was back on Jenny Craig, and my total weight loss is now up to 9.2 lbs., and 8.5 inches - whoo hoo!

I'm off to treat myself to a manicure/pedicure, and then to the pub for the football pool.

See ya!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Man, am I boring lately . . .

Between audible books, regular books and the books on my iPhone, I'm currently "reading" a ridiculous number of books.

  • "The Price of Butcher's Meat" by Reginald Hill, the latest in his Dalziel/Pascoe series about those 2 Yorkshire police inspectors. So far, the book is set up in an interesting format, with a first person account by Dalziel interspersed with emails being sent by "Charlie" to her sister, who's a nurse in Africa. Odd, but it works.

  • "The Father Hunt" by Rex Stout, a Nero Wolfe mystery. I was a huge sucker for the Nero Wolfe tv series, starring Timothy Hutton, and the books are almost as satisfactory.

  • "The Murder of Roger Ackroyd" by Agatha Christie - a classic Hercule Poirot mystery.

  • "The Comforts of a Muddy Saturday" by Alexander McCall Smith. His Isabel Dalhousie books are not as satisfying as his No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency Books, but are still pretty good.
  • "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.

The official website describes it as:

January 1946: London is emerging from the shadow of the Second World War, and writer Juliet Ashton is looking for her next book subject. Who could imagine that she would find it in a letter from a man she's never met, a native of the island of Guernsey, who has come across her name written inside a book by Charles Lamb.

As Juliet and her new correspondent exchange letters, Juliet is drawn into the world of this man and his friends—and what a wonderfully eccentric world it is. Born as a spur-of-the-moment alibi when its members were discovered breaking curfew by the Germans occupying their island, the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society boasts a charming, funny, deeply human cast of characters, from pig farmers to phrenologists, literature lovers all.

Juliet begins a remarkable correspondence with the society's members, learning about their island, their taste in books, and the impact the recent German occupation has had on their lives. Captivated by their stories, she sets sail for Guernsey, and what she finds will change her forever.

Written with warmth and humor as a series of letters, this novel is a celebration of the written word in all its guises, and of finding connection in the most surprising ways.

I'm not too far into this one yet, but I think it will turn out to be as delightful as its description.

I've been pretty exhausted lately between work and not getting much sleep because of Hanna's condition. Most nights we get up a couple of times after going to sleep so Hanna can go outside and relieve herself. Last night, however, she woke me up about midnight to give her some love. I know she wasn't feeling well, so she sat next to the bed and I petted her and scratched her for awhile. She also seems to have developed a fast growing tumor inside her lower lip, although it does not appear to be painful. I don't expect Hanna to make it to Christmas. I just hope and pray I'll know when the bad outweighs the good, and it's time to give her relief. We're not there yet, but that dreaded day is coming.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

One of two ginormous pigeons enjoying the bird bath this morning . . .

The air quality in so cal today is miserable because of all the fires. It's so bad that they cancelled the Pasadena Marathon that was scheduled for today.

I was chatting yesterday with a local fellow who worked the polls on election day and learned that at the end of the day, at each polling place, they post the results of the election at that location. 800 of my neighbors voted (the town population is only about 1300). We voted against Proposition 8 - the proposition to ban gay marriage), and we voted for McCain - but only by 10 votes. This is Orange County where McCain won by a landslide (and Prop Hate passed by a landslide), so I'm pleased to know that my neighbors didn't follow the trend.
My team - the sucky SD Chargers - is playing my neighbor's team - the Pittsburgh Steelers -today, so we may go watch the game at a local bar - loser buys. I best make a quick run to the bank before game time.

Friday, November 14, 2008

We have an It’s Pat who works on the same floor. It's always slightly unsettling when she comes out of a bathroom stall.

For some inexplicable reason, I always get big ideas about all the homemade holiday gifts I'm going to craft each year. This year, it's homemade soap. It took me awhile to hunt down pure lye to use with the soap making materials, but the experiment begins this weekend. I will likely be distributing these cherished bars of lavender and citrus scented works of art to all available friends and acquaintances, so if la complains about a skin rash in early 2009, you'll know why.

Hanna is hanging in there, even though she is losing interest in her peanut butter bone - a rubber bone with slots at each end that I stuff with baby carrots and peanut butter. This is one of her favorite toys, and customarily, she gets two in the morning and two at night. This morning, after she turned up her nose, Noodles got the extra goodies. Here's Hanna this morning, showing she can still do the regal look.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Is it wrong that I will probably play hookie from work Friday afternoon to go see the new James Bond movie, Quantum of Solace? (Ive seen every Bond movie in the theater).

Is it wrong that I've been sharing the cake from the dog cookie store with Nanners and Noodles?
Is it wrong that I've replaced checking polls online every five minutes to checking on the 6 Shibu Ina puppies that have taken the internet by storm? (There are 3 girls and 3 boys, they turn five weeks old today and can be seen here. When they are not all sleeping, they are six total knuckleheads).
Now that I've shared the highlights of my week, what are you doing "wrong" this week?

Monday, November 10, 2008

My iPhone photo of the Who, not suitable for framing . . .

But you can see that our seats were pretty good. They played at the Nokia Theater, adjacent to the Staples Center in LA. It holds about 7,000 people, is pretty cool inside, and the acoustics are great.

I've seen the Who many times, but this time through LA, they seem to be especially enjoying themselves. Daltrey and Townsend have grown into an old married couple (in the best way), and a calmness and ease has made its way into their relationship. (I contrast this with the Rolling Stones. While Mick may be the best showman around, and the band puts on a fantastic show, it's always clear that Mick and Keith barely tolerate each other.)

They opened with Can't Explain, moved into the Seeker, played some obscure tunes, worked in two songs from Quadrophenia - 5:15 and Love Reign O'er Me, played the CSI hits, and worked in Tommy for the encore - Pinball Wizard and See me, Feel me/Listening to You. They finished the night with just Roger and Pete and Tea and Sympathy.

Both Roger and Pete looked great and fit, and my crush on Roger can continue unabashed from 1975 to the present.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

(My Bird of Paradise is back in bloom.)

It's a cold, windy morning here at Casa Diane. We got up at 5 am, (thanks, Hanna!), but now the house is quiet again, except for the sounds of the wind chimes and Hanna's snores. I'm laying in bed shopping for some songs and audiobooks on iTunes, and the girls are sleeping off their breakfast.

This week, the Hanna World Tour takes us to the dog cookie store for a special cake. I ordered it yesterday, but will pick it up later today.

Tonight I'm off to see the Who at the Nokia theater in downtown LA; this will be my first trip to this venue, but I think we have pretty good seats. (Ok, they look good on the seating chart I pulled up on the computer.)

I haven't been reading much lately, (but am starting to get back into the groove), but I did recently finish The Monkey Wrench Gang by Edward Abbey, a man who spent most of his time in the American Southwest, an early environmentalist, and a man who used the power of the pen to protest the rape of the planet.

Published in 1975, the book is about 4 "environmental warriors" liberating parts of Utah and Arizona from evil road-builders, miners and rednecks. The book fueled a new generation of angry young environmentalists practicing "monkey-wrenching", sabotage for the sake of protecting the wilderness. The four warriors are best described as an eclectic bunch, which keeps the tone light, while still conveying the seriousness of the subject. Brought together on a river rafting trip are an ex-Green Beret, a polygamous jack Mormon, a feminist from the Bronx, and an aging surgeon who's hobby is torching billboards along the highways. As our heroes start to wreak havoc, the establishment they seek to disrupt gives chase, and the book has almost a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid type tone to it.

"Down in the center of the wash below the ridge, the scrapers, the earthmovers and the dump trucks with eighty ton beds unloaded their loads, building up the fill as the machines beyond were deepening the cut. Cut and fill, cut and fill, all afternoon the work went on. The object in mind was a modern high-speed highway for the convenience of the trucking industry, with grades no greater than 8 percent. That was the immediate object. The ideal lay still farther on. The engineers' dream is a model of perfect sphericity, the planet Earth with all irregularities removed, highways merely painted on a surface smooth as glass. Of course the engineers still have a long way to go but they are patient tireless little fellows; they keep hustling on, like termites in a termitorium. It's steady work, and their only natural enemies, they believe, are mechanical breakdown or "down time" for the equipement, and labor troubles, and bad weather, and sometimes faulty preparation by the geologists and surveyors."

"The one enemy the contractor would not and did not think of was the band of four idealists stretched out on their stomachs under the desert sky." (Page 80.)

I enjoyed this book alot, and in a day and age where President Bush is using his last days in office to remove enviromental regulations protecting our air, water and planet, (he just signed an order allowing uranium mining within 3 miles of the Grand Canyon and the Colorado River, endangering the drinking water for most of the west)*, this book still has relevance. There's been many a time I've driven past the home building on some local wetlands, (which is also disrupting a native american burial site), and have wished I could lob a monkey wrench into their plans.

*Seriously, does W possess even a shred of decency, or does he truly believe that his despicable actions will be smiled upon by St. Peter when he arrives at the Pearly Gates?

**Addendum - it was reported in the Washington Post that the Obama team has already compiled a list of 200 such executive orders signed by Bush to be immediately overturned by Obama, on issues such as the environment, stem cell research and reproductive rights. YES WE CAN!!!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

It's a new day dawning in America, and around the world . . . (taken from my window this morning)
I was first eligible to vote in 1979. In 28 years of voting, only two of the candidates I supported have prevailed - Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. I believe Clinton was a good president, and I hope that Obama will be a great one. I delight in seeing our position in the international community improve. I'm relieved to find a man with a healthy respect for the Constitution in a position to appoint Supreme Court justices. I'm hopeful we'll move towards green energy, and a respect for the planet.

There is no doubt that Obama ran an amazing campaign, and that he energized millions of people to join in the process. I personally participated more in this election than I ever have before. Obama's campaign was a thing of beauty to perceive - organized from the ground up, while fully utilizing the internet and other modern technical advances. I even have an Obama iPhone application that allowed me to access his position on the issues, and alerted me to campaign events in my area.

I also sincerely hope that the Republican party takes a long, hard look at themselves, and decides to get back to its roots, and to move away from the far right. If McCain had run as a moderate, I think he might have prevailed. Instead, he opted to sell his soul to the far right, ran his campaign on hate and fear, and in doing so, he alienated a large part of the country. He also put all his eggs in the "Victory in Iraq" basket, and fumbled with his response to the economic meltdown.

While no one applauds abortion, most Americans do not want to see Roe v. Wade overturned - strict anti-abortion propositions were defeated in South Dakota and Colorado, and it appears that a parental notification proposition in California was defeated for the 3rd time in 4 years. I'm disappointed that it appears that Proposition 8 likely passed in California, but I take heart that it passed narrowly.

I've repeatedly blogged about my involvement with Knitters for Obama - now more than 4,000 members strong. We raised over $32,000 for the general election, and delivered more than 2,000 knitted items to homeless veterans around the country. I'm delighted to have been a part of this amazing group.

While I've generally avoided reading the conversation threads at Knitters for McCain (with approximately 600 members), I took a peek this morning and found it disturbing. The primary conversation involved their hope that the Supreme Court will nullify the election because, as everyone knows, Obama is not really an American citizen. (I also read in the Orange County Register that 1/3 of Orange County Republicans believe that Obama is not a citizen). The response to the death of Obama's grandmother was to chastize him for not being the man McCain is, and not suspending his campaign in response to her passing.

I sincerely hope the GOP reclaims its mantle of being in favor of limited government and fiscally conservative - I think those are valid positions that need to be considered for our country to thrive. I hope the GOP disclaims the part of the party running on hate and fear.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Indeed, I did!
For the first time in nearly 30 years of voting there was a line out the door! My polling location wasn't too bad, but another location about a mile away, had a line down the block! I know there was at least one other like minded person voting about the time that I was, and I was happy to see so many young people there participating in the process.
I was also happy to see that the weather had cleared - when Hanna headed out at 4l45 am to go potty, it was raining pretty hard. Noodles, who is no fool, decided she'd wait for the 7 am potty run.
I'm cautiously optimistic. In 2000 I wondered how I could make it through 4 years of Bush, and in 2004, I wondered how I could make it through 4 more years of Bush. We did make it, but bearing a lot of wounds, and I hope that the healing can begin.
Oh, and I heard Palin on the radio decline to say how she had voted, citing to her right to privacy. Umm, Sarah, that would be the right to privacy upon which Roe v. Wade is based. To overturn Roe, the Supreme Court will have to find that the US Constitution does not contain any right to privacy. Ironic? Hypocritical? Not in Palin's world.

Monday, November 03, 2008

The Hanna World Tour!

We found out last week that Hanna will likely only be with us for another 2-4 months, so we're going to make the best of the time we have.

Saturday, the girls and I went to a restaurant on the water where dogs are welcome. There is a lovely view, they had water, and I ordered some potato chips for them to share. (I kept the artichoke for myself.)

We then ran into some friends who were boating around the harbor, and they were kind enough to invite us along. Both dogs were very good sports about taking a cruise around the harbor.

Next stop on the World Tour? TBD!

In the comments, ryan mentioned he hoped to hear about some of Hanna's eccentric new friends. First up Sherri - her fellow cancer sufferer. Sherri, who is undergoing experimental cancer treatment for a melanoma that has metastasized, was hanging out at the restaurant, listening to her friend's karaoke and enjoying some red wine. She ended up spending a fair amount of time hanging outside with the girls and me. I learned that she gave up a daughter for adoption when she was a teenager, and that this daugther, now in her 30s, recently re-connected with her. Sherri, who's now widowed, never had any other children. We talked about how nice it was to know that the daughter had had a wonderful upbringing and a happy childhood. She harbored some resentment against Sherri for giving her up for adoption, but had forgiven her for this, particularly in light of her battle with cancer.

She had a wonderful attitude, and I hope to meet her again, and that she continues her brave battle with cancer.