October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

A good day weather-wise for all the little ghosts and goblins.
High of almost 70! We’ve had snow some years.

Enjoyed a beautiful sunrise on my morning walk, and went to the local park for a picnic lunch. Trying to enjoy as much as this lovely weather window as I can.

Am still trying to get used to the fact that I’ve gained an hour with “fall back”. My internal clock has not caught up yet, and I’m reminded again of how arbitrary the concept of time really is – we can add or loose an hour at will. And we all drink the cool-aid. Except for certain states, and I believe Indiana is one such state that refuses to play along. Makes it all very confusing when you call people across time zones.

We’ve stocked up on candy – only the types I’ll eat – and look forward to the little ones tonight. I mean really, what mean person buys cheap candy of a type they themselves would not eat? There are circumstances when I understand the need to egg someone’s car or mailbox.

Trick or Treat!

October 28, 2006

Visual Journal 1

I created a journal to play in over the summer. Selected papers, and wrapped the covers with wallpaper samples (these work great!) Had the book bound at Staples.
Here's what it looks like on the outside.

(click to on pics to enlarge)

October 27, 2006


Folks at work went on a team building adventure yesterday afternoon to TOMB on Brookline Street. Anyone else been there? If you haven’t you are not really missing much.

I think it is targeted for middle school kids – or adults with that skill level. The premise is that we are scientists who uncover an ancient Egyptian Tomb in Boston – anyone else already scratching their head? We meet up with our “guide” – boy aged about 15.

At the start of the expedition, we are told of the grave dangers, of others who have lost their lives in this quest, etc. We’re given several flashlights for the group and then have to find the way in. Guess the flashing blue button hidden behind a shrub would not have been a dead giveaway if one was 15.

Once inside the tomb, we are tested and have to pass several tests in each room – 3 or 4 rooms in total. The idea being you have to work as a team to solve the puzzles. One thing that did get my heart pounding was a test of our courage as “vipers” attacked. Those who know of my snake sagas, know that it was touch and go for a moment. Turns out that the vipers were really short puffs of air – even I was not moved.

In the end, we solved the puzzles, found the pharaohs body – so he can now rest in peace, and booked it over to the nearest bar for a stiff drink where the team building really began.

October 26, 2006

Dinner in Goa

I am always on the lookout for new Indian restaurants near me, and when Café Goa opened up in Westford this summer, we had to check it out.

I am delighted to say that as long as you know what to order off the menu, the food is quite delicious. I prefer the items on their menu as opposed to the weekend buffet – not enough variety (the only meat is the safe one – Chicken). And I am partial to Lamb.

It’s always an adventure when you order wine in an Indian Restaurant. The first time we ordered a bottle of red at Café Goa, we watched in amusement as every man that worked there came out to offer their advice on how to uncork the bottle. Just as one of us was going to walk over to the bar and offer to help, one of the guys succeeded in getting the cork out.

Am delighted to report that since our last visit, someone took the time to train our waiter on wine etiquette. Last night, he brought the bottle to our table. Showed it to us. Uncorked it and had me taste. Proceeded to fill the glasses in the correct order. Left the cork on the table. Halleluiah! His mother could not have been more proud.

October 25, 2006

Smart Cars

Anyone else seen the ads for these cars that park themselves?

While I am the first to admit that my parallel parking skills could use a little fine-tuning (Susan has shown me a foolproof method that works everytime) - what's up with cars that do it for you?

Is the goal to dumb down every thing, so that our noggins can shed our remaining cells faster?
I know people who cannot read a map. Well, they can always stop at a gas station and get directions I suppose. Now that we have cars that park for us, what else is there for us to do? Might as well talk on that phone, drink scalding hot coffee and eat a donut or two.

Happy parking.

October 24, 2006

October 23, 2006

Halloween Safety Tips

Thought since Halloween is approaching you may need to brush up on your Halloween Safety Tips.

1. When it appears that you have killed the monster, NEVER check to see if it's really dead.

2. Never read a book of demon summoning aloud, even just for kicks.

3. Do not search the basement, especially if the power has gone out.

4. If your children speak to you in Latin or any other language which they should not know, shoot them immediately. It will save you a lot of grief in the long run. However, it will probably take several rounds to kill them, so be prepared. This also applies to kids who speak with somebody else's voice.

5. When you have the benefit of numbers, NEVER pair off and go alone

6. As a general rule, don't solve puzzles that open portals to Hell.

7. Never stand in, on, or above a grave, tomb, or crypt. This would apply to any other house of the dead as well.

8. If you're searching for something which caused a loud noise and find out that it's just the cat, GET THE HELL OUT!

9. If appliances start operating by themselves, do not check for short circuits, just get out.

10. Do not take ANYTHING from the dead.

11. If you find a town which looks deserted, there's probably a good reason for it. Don't stop and look round.

12. Don't fool with recombinant DNA technology unless you're absolutely sure you know what you're doing.

13. If you're running from the monster, expect to trip or fall down at least twice, more if you are of the female persuasion. Also note that, despite the fact that you are running and the monster is merely shambling along, it's still moving fast enough to catch up with you.

14. If your companions suddenly begin to exhibit uncharacteristic behavior such as hissing, fascination for blood, glowing eyes, increasing hairiness, and so on, kill them off them immediately. You'll thank yourself later.

15. Stay away from certain geographical locations, some of which are listed here: Amityville, Elm Street, Transylvania, Nilbog (you're already in trouble if you recognize this one), anywhere in Texas where chainsaws are sold, the Bermuda Triangle, or any small town in Maine. Also, California and Ohio are good spots to avoid this and every other time of year. I mean, the answer's in the question.

16. If your car runs out of gas at night on a lonely road, do not go to the nearby deserted-looking house to phone for help. If you think that it is strange you ran out of gas because you thought you had most of a tank, shoot yourself instead. You are going to die anyway and most likely be eaten.

17. Beware of strangers bearing strange tools. For example: chainsaws, nail guns, hedge trimmers, electric carving knives, combines, lawnmowers, butane torches, soldering irons, band saws or any devices made from deceased companions.

18. If you find that your house is built upon a cemetery, now is the time to move in with the in-laws. (It's a toss-up. We know.) This also applies to houses that had previous inhabitants who went mad, committed suicide, died in some horrible fashion, OR had inhabitants who performed satanic practices in your house.

19. (And perhaps the most important..) Always get out as soon as the scary music starts playing.

....Thanks Philip for passing this along....


What would my life be like if I did not read? I cannot even begin to imagine it. I have read for as long as I can remember. Can not think of a time in my life when I did not have several books going. Reading gives me pleasure, joy, solace, peace, thrills, adventure .... I could go on and on.

How could I not pass along the gift to my n's. I hope to nuture the next generation of readers in my family.

Everytime Luke and Jonah come to visit, we read. (Click on pics to enlarge)

October 20, 2006

Cat Presents

Rafiki loves to bring me presents. Usually it is still alive when he lays it at my feet.

This morning, my present was a little field mouse. Do I know the difference between a field and house mouse? I do not. But since it was brown, assumed that meant it was a field mouse.

The little guy was in a state of shock. Rafiki drops it near my yoga mat while I’m in the boat pose. Well, got out of the boat in a flash. Must have startled the mouse who made a quick get-a-away dash. Yelled at Rafiki to “get him” and he obediently brought the mouse back. Frantically looked for a rag/towel/shirt to pick it up in, and then let him go outside. The little mouse fled down the stairs into the early morning darkness.

So here is my dilemma. Can one really scold a cat for showing love in the way he is programmed to show it? And to add to the confusion, I did tell him to catch it when it was trying to escape. At least this gift was living. Other gifts have not been so lucky, and then the entire saga takes on a dark tinge. The most exciting gifts are the ones that get away and hide under furniture. Ever tried to catch a chipmunk? They are darn fast.

October 19, 2006

News from North Korea

Is anyone else a little squirmy about Diane Sawyer’s dispatches from North Korea?

I think she is a very accomplished journalist, and maybe that’s the problem. Granted this is Good Morning America (GMA) – I catch about 10 mins before I run out the door in the morning.

Stories like “We’ll see what they eat for breakfast” can hardly be considered news from a country that is planning a second nuclear test. I know that she’ll probably have her visa revoked if she said anything controversial, and maybe we’ll hear the real scoop once she’s back in the US. But, I for one am disappointed at my peek into what makes “those people” tick.

Do we really need another wealthy American asking the “natives” why they hate America?

I for one want some real news – like what exactly is the problem with Madonna adopting a child from Africa?

October 18, 2006


Over the Columbus Day Holidays, S and I celebrated our 15 year anniversary.

I couldn’t quite believe it and actually had to do the math several times! 15 years! How did that happen?

It’s been a ride with ups, downs, thrills and spills. It’s wonderful to know that we can make things work when we’re both really busy and stressed out, and when we are both taking extended periods of time off. We’ve learned how to be together and when to take needed time apart. We continue to change, challenge each other and most importantly find each other immensely amusing.

For the blessing that we still talk for hours daily, that we often have great ideas to solve the world’s problems, that we still surprise each other, that we are still best friends, warts and all – I am incredibly grateful.

October 17, 2006

Quote of the Day

"Health is so necessary to all the duties,
as well as pleasures of life,
that the crime of squandering it is equal to folly."

--Samuel Johnson


I have gripped for ages about the "old school" Boston T system. Granted it is an old system, but let's catch up with the rest of the century already.

Why can I not buy a card that allows me to swipe my way through? A card that allows me to carry a balance and skip all that wasted time trying to find tokens I bought on previous trips to “save me time” later.

Well, the MBTA gods have answered my prayers.

Enter the Charlie. Now those of you, like me, who were not aware of the cultural significance of “The Wizard of Oz”, might be wondering at the name.

Charlie? Who is Charlie? Turns out the name comes from an old song about a guy who did not have a nickel to get off the trains (payment was required at exit not entry), so rode about forever – while his wife handed him sandwiches for sustenance. Why not simply hand him a nickel? All I can say is that I do not claim to understand everything of cultural significance.

Those of you (and you know who you are) who relish Big Dig sagas, know that there is a catch. And it’s a big one. Only a handful of T stops can handle the Charlie. For most of the stops you still need tokens. So now, I’ve doubled what I have to look for on every trip – tokens and that card. (much shaking of head).

October 16, 2006


I'll be the first to admit that I'm not a huge baseball fan.
Sure, I'll watch a game if it's on in front of me, but go out of my way to catch a game? Hardly.

I have watched quite a few games in the past week or so however. How could I not when Susan has dug up the old Tigers pendant and baseball hat? The win on Saturday was super sweet for all those Detroit fans - who have been waiting since I was 2 (and knew nothing about baseball) for a moment like this. A good game that was decided in the bottom of the ninth (yup- I do have all the lingo down).

If only to make my partner happy - I say:

Go Tigers!

October 13, 2006


I spent the first week at work trying a different route to and from work each day. Found that time on the highways made me tense and I’d arrive at work with my shoulders tight. Decided to try back roads, and have found the perfect one. It takes me past farms, a river and ponds. It is windy and offers much to look at. The places where traffic back up are not too bad.

I listen to audio books on my drive. Discovered the joy of audio books several years ago, and find them perfect for books that I am not hot to actually read myself, but am interested in.

Not all books make good audio books. They must be written well. Be read by someone whose voice and reading style does not put your teeth on edge. Not require too much concentration – at least for me.

I’ve listened to both fiction and non-fiction audio books. Last week I laughed my way to and from work listening to a Jimmy Tingle CD. The guy is really funny. Am currently listening to “The Hungry Tide” by Amitav Ghosh. So far so good.

Daily Walks

When I started working in tech again, I decided that this time around, I was going to be diligent about having more balance in my life. Make the time to play, read, do things that fill my batteries. One of the commitments I made to myself was that I would take a daily walk. And I am quite proud of myself. I have only missed one day since I started work 4 weeks ago.

I usually go out first thing in the morning – cannot wake up enough to have a conversation with myself – as I talk myself out of it (too cold, too tired, etc). I’m on my walk around 5:30am, and it has quickly become one of the favorite parts of my day. Something I do just for me.

I get to greet the morning and slowly wake up outside as my heart gets pumping. I get a chance to noodle over things that happened the day before, or plan things that need to happen that day. I watch the leaves turn, the moon wax and wane, the stars twinkle, the clouds change shapes, the birds and little critters wake up.

As we head towards the Winter Solstice, the days shorten, and my entire walk is in the dark. Not really being able to see has its own rewards. I rely less on what I can see and am more tuned in to what I hear and smell.

This has become a daily ritual that sustains me.

October 6, 2006

Foot Binding

(Click on images to see larger)

This topic has been on my mind since reading the book "Snow Flower and the Secret Fan" by Lisa See. I'll write a review of the book later, wanted to comment on several things:

1. I do not think that I appreciate my feet enough. So have started to regularly slather them with lotion and give myself a good foot massage.

2. While reading the book, I was actually in tears at the time the main character has her foot bound - guess I never really thought about how it was done. And now that I know, I am not sure I am better for it.

3. A couple of women met at Laurels to discuss the book (not my regular book club) and one of the things I asked the group was "what is so appealing about helpless women in all cultures?" Okay so we don't have foot binding as the Chinese practiced it, but look at this:

Is that not a form of foot binding? Jimmy Cho is spitting on his white persian rug at the moment I'm sure. But honestly, what gives with wearing shoes that "look great, but I cannot walk in"?

One woman last night nailed it for me - "It makes my ass look higher".

October 3, 2006

"The Science of Sleep"

"Stephane Miroux (Gael García Bernal) is an eccentric young man whose dreams constantly invade his waking life. While slumbering, he is the charismatic host of Stephane TV, expounding on "The Science of Sleep" in front of cardboard cameras. In "real life," he has a boring job at a Parisian calendar publisher and pines for Stephanie (Charlotte Gainsbourg), the girl in the apartment across the hall. Unable to find the secret to Stephanie's heart while awake, Stephane searches for the answer in his dreams. A playful romantic fantasy written and directed by Michel Gondry (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

Cast: Gael García Bernal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Alain Chabat, Miou-Miou, Pierre Vaneck, Emma de Caunes, Aurélia Petit, Sacha Bourdo, Stéphane Metzger, Decourt Moyen, Inigo Lezzi, Jean-Michel Bernard, Yvette Petit, Eric Mariotto, Bertrand Delpierre"

This was probably the longest 1hr and 45mins of my life - and I did not stay 'til the end of the movie! As much as I like Gael G Bernal, this movie was too surrealistic - even for me.
If you liked it, I'd love to hear why.