Thursday, November 09, 2006

9. Where's your favorite place to be?

Cozy at home with my sweetie. That's easy. Note that his presence is necessary to the favorite-ness of the place.

Which reminds me, we're getting the house (outside and a couple rooms inside) painted next week. We really need to settle on the colors this weekend. :P

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

sunshiny day

Well. Now this will be interesting. Too bad Pelosi isn't going to push impeachment, but I understand the point of view that it would get in the way of all the other important things that need fixing and doing, like restoring habeas corpus, and fun with subpoenas, and explaining to those who seem not to get it that: no, the executive in the American system of government does not get to do whatever s/he wants however s/he likes.

First woman Speaker of the House! Cool. Go go San Francisco values! Which to me means: let people do what they want short of hurting someone else, treat all people fairly and equally, try to have a safety net for the unlucky, and be creative.

edit: and environmentalism, of course. that (almost) goes without saying.

My favorite reading for the day was Glenn Greenwald here and here.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

a taste of Hawaii

Here is a photo from the first place we stayed, which was our favorite. (It didn't hurt that they upgraded us.) This is a little after 7 AM on our first morning there. I had walked roughly 100 yards across a palm-studded lawn to reach this point from our room's first-floor patio. Later in the day, while snorkeling over by those rocks at the end of the beach, we saw our first two sea turtles of the trip. The word for "turtle" in Hawaiian is "honu."

8. What's the last movie you saw in the cinema?

Since the cost of a pair of movie tickets these days is roughly comparable to the price of a re-watchable-in-the-comfort-of-one's-home DVD, we don't get out to theaters a whole lot. I think it was An Inconvenient Truth. Which, btw, everyone needs to (a) see, and (b) make other people watch who haven't seen it. Gore/Obama '08: dream ticket. Too bad the press hates Gore, seemingly because he's not as much "fun" as they'd like. If you want to pick on him for something, I'd choose the idea of Lieberman as veep. But at least it would have gotten Mr. Pomposity out of his Senate seat, which otherwise he seems to think is his personal property.

Next theater-movie will probably be the new James Bond, since the sweetie is a Bond partisan.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

farewell to runnymede

I haven't been paying as much attention as I should, and neither have a lot of other people, but I am at least awake enough to notice that today appears to be a historic day. If I'm understanding correctly, today is the day that 791 years of Anglo-American tradition -- that the head of state cannot simply imprison people at whim, but must either charge and try them, or release them -- is interrupted. For Congress is giving Our Leader the power to imprison anyone he wants, U.S. citizen or not, at his whim and for as long as he wishes, simply by deciding that the person has been aiding terrorism in some way. If the person (or anyone else on their behalf) disagrees, tough shit. Nobody gets to second-guess The Decider. Unless something is done to overturn this bill later, the history of the USA might be all downhill from here. That's without even getting into the part in the bill about torture.

I can't completely believe this. Fine, the House has been taken over, but I thought there were more Senators left with some sense. Obviously not. And McCain is a complete poser. Why is nobody even trying to filibuster this? If I were in there, they'd have to physically drag me from the podium; at least that way maybe a few more people might passingly notice the situation. No, I'm probably still being too optimistic.

Anyway, go read Glenn Greenwald linked up there in the title; he's got the rundown.

Friday, September 15, 2006

IN style

Driving home last night I found myself following an Indiana license plate of recent vintage. On top it said "Indiana," and along the bottom it said

Thought 1: Welcome to the 21st century.
Thought 2: Wait. Why wasn't California, home of Silicon Valley, the one to do this first?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

7. What's the last CD you bought?

hrm. I have never been a music junkie, in the sense of buying up lots of music, although music in certain contexts (e.g., film scores) is important to me. And now we're in the era of MP3s and iPods. I honestly can't say for sure, but I think it might have been the spoken-word album put out around last Christmas by Sarah Bunting of Tomato Nation, collecting her phone-conversation-with-a-friend essays into audio form.

(I've got all the honeymoon pics back now, but I still have to sift for the best ones and scan them.)

Monday, August 21, 2006

back to reality

Whew. In case you've never been there (I hadn't), the Big Island of Hawai'i? Is beautiful. We just got back this last weekend. I took a bunch of pictures that I can't show you yet because they're in old-school slide form yet to be developed. Partly this is because I am somewhat old-school in attitude, and partly this is because I am not-rich and have no digital SLR (used "my" old standby Nikon N70 which technically belongs to my dad, but we share it). I did once have a little pocket-size digicam, but it had a fatal chip attack a few months ago. So. Patience.

The theme, or perhaps mascot, or symbol of our honeymoon trip I have decreed to be TURTLES.

Friday, August 04, 2006

who's a princess? i am i am

okay, i have both a makeup and a hair person now (have had since shortly after that last post, but it's been a bit hectic 'round here). and we are back to the original hair plan which is piles o curls cascading partly down the back. because my dress is rather poofy and so i felt the hair needed some poof to balance. wow, i'm going to be married by this time tomorrow. wow.

Friday, July 28, 2006


I haven't lined up a replacement hairstylist yet. I've contacted a couple of people, but I haven't been pursuing it as doggedly as I could, because a thought has been growing in my mind: maybe I don't truly need one. The rubberbands and hairpins necessary to create the gorgeous mass of cascading curls in both of my trials began giving me a bit of a headache, later in each afternoon. Don't want headache. Maybe a simple braid, of the front part of my hair, down the back of the rest of my hair, naturally straight, long and free-flowing, like usual. Not only shouldn't it give me a headache, but it feels more ME. The me who, normally, hardly gives much thought to hair or makeup. The braiding would still allow for putting in some flowers and attaching the veil. I think. And it's something that my mother used to do with my hair once in a while, back in the day. We could probably do it again. In fact, that might be kind of neat.

6. Gold or silver?

Silver, the mirror, the moonlight and starlight, the echo of
mithril, the family heirlooms, the jewelry gift of my love on a birthday.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

5. Favorite physical feature of the opposite sex

Smile, which is as much about the eyes as it is about the mouth. Both are incredibly sexy on my sweetie.

His nice strong arms are close runners-up, though. Hugs good.

Friday, July 21, 2006


Right. Wedding. So. Everything has been going fine, until yesterday, when drama at last arrived. The short version, as best I can tell, is that my hair and makeup artist decamped to Boston sometime around mid to late June, without notifying me or indeed many other brides who had booked her. And paid her. It seems likely that if I had not attempted to check in and confirm our arrangements yesterday, I might have discovered this only when she did not show up the day of. Luckily I've got a couple more weeks, and have already lined up another makeup artist who is a friend of a friend. Still working on the hairstylist, but at least we've got two weeks to find one instead of two hours.

Long version:

Yesterday I decided to call her just to confirm everything was set, and discuss exactly what time we wanted her to show up. I tried to pull up her website for her phone number, and discovered the site no longer exists.


I googled the website's name, Artistry By Tess (also known as the Artistry Group), and discovered an entry called "Special Report: The Artistry Group" at a blog called Wedding Bee.

Goodbye disconcerting, hello lead weights in my stomach. I'm one of the people who paid in full to get the discount, back in April, on the basis of several years' (I think) worth of glowing reviews on the and forums with nary a dissenting voice. At least I paid only for me, and my maid of honor's hair, and not more. It sounds like others may have lost significantly more.

The bottom line appears to be that Tess Standley (aka maiden name Teresa Johnson, according to her pricing page) says she has cancer, and also a pending divorce from her husband, and has decided to stay in Boston with her family while she undergoes treatment and tries to rebuild her career there. A blog where she made several posts about these things during early July had already been taken down by yesterday, but helpful Google has cached a copy here.

Using emails previously exchanged, I looked up her (Pasadena studio) phone number and tried calling it, and it is indeed disconnected. I sent a brief email inquiry, half expecting it to completely bounce, and got an autoreply, which seems to be missing a few lines in the first paragraph:

For updates pleasde visit:

As you may or not be aware, I have been fighting cancer since March. On
a recent trip to Boston to see my family have been my closest
assistance for the past 5 years and can always mimic what I have done.

I understand that this may cause you stress and anxiety and having been
a bride, I can completely understand.

I have provided a list of contacts below as replacements for your
services. Design Visage and Stacy Oliver are happily taking brides.

I am so sad that I will not be able to personally fulfill my obligation
to you on your wedding day.

Love and Thanks

followed by a list of contact information for several Southern California hair and makeup stylists.

I did discover a mirror of her website which is still up at this writing, which announces "Booking both Los Angeles and New England appointments for 2007," although the phone number listed is still the disconnected Pasadena one:

I'm a patient sort (sometimes too patient) who usually gives a person the benefit of the doubt, until I have reason to do otherwise. It is possible that she is telling the truth. Fighting cancer is as good a reason as any to have a bit of a nervous breakdown, BUT: not notifying her clients of this situation is a big ol' honkin' red flag. She had enough energy to set up and publish a blog, if only for a week or so. Said blog, and the email auto-reply, would only reach those who attempt to find her. Those who do not suspect that anything is wrong, which was me until yesterday, would have none of that information. In my opinion, the honest professional's very first response to a situation beyond their control would be the mass-email notification of all clients. The autoreply demonstrates that she does or did have access to her email, which presumably contains her clients' addresses, yet she did not do this.

That said, I sent her another email today taking her at her word and inquiring about refund procedure, and I will give her a chance to answer before I decide whether to take further action. Anyway, I've got a few errands this weekend, what with getting married in a couple weeks and having to find a new hairstylist and all.

feral feline update

At least for this last stretch of falling-down-on-the-posting, I have the pretty good excuse of getting ready for my imminent wedding. More on that front in a moment, but first I want to follow up to that last post.

We've only done the one round of trapping so far, with the two traps we borrowed from TLC Adoptions. We got the mother and the black-and-white kitten, who also turned out to be female. Poor kitties were freaked right the hell out, of course, to be picked up and carried along in strange boxes to be stashed in the garage. It was a bit stressful on me, too, keeping them in the traps in the garage overnight for those two nights on either side of the trip to the vet (they were still groggy afterwards, and it wouldn't have been safe for them to let them out yet) -- I hated causing them so much fear, even though we were doing it For Their Own Good.

Of course after I let them out, those two in particular made themselves very scarce for the next many days. Happily, they seem to have forgotten now, a month and a half later, and have resumed thinking of me as the Person Who Puts Food Out. (If Fiance steps outside though, whist! no cats anywhere. They don't associate him with anything else besides the traps.) Mom and kids are always waiting for me outside the sliding door every morning now.

Gray kitten ... I really need to figure out what their names are. Gray kitten is bold enough to even brush past me now and then, dancing around my feet when I have a food bowl in hand. He probably won't do that any more after we trap him, sigh. But my goal is to have at least our core little family -- mama and two kittens -- fixed and living happily in our yard, as long as they choose to.

My digital camera's been broken for the last couple months. When I decide either to fix it or get a new one, maybe I'll put up some pictures of them.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Cat houses. Not that kind.

I have cats in my backyard. Feral cats. I suspect the mom (a tuxedo with white back feet) is herself one of a batch of kittens we discovered in a box in the carport when we were first moving in, a year and a half ago. Sometime around mid-March this year, she had two babies. "Papa cat" has been hanging round quite a bit too, making a cute cozy family group out on the patio of an evening. Papa is a gray tabby with black down his spine and tail. "Uncle cat" is a gray whose tabbiness (stripiness) is less defined; he's around sometimes too, when Papa's feeling tolerant. The bold kitten is another gray tabby, with white back feet like mom and black spine like dad. The timid kitten is another tuxedo, with white whisker patches.

This is actually the third batch of kittens that has lived in our yard. Batch A, from the carport, disappeared for a bit, then began to be seen again, before disappearing around the time the kittens were weaning-age. Batch B, last summer-ish, was based both in the carport (which we don't use, for cars anyway) and in the fern jungle along the south fence. My brother tried to catch/play with them once in a while, and named the (relatively) tamest one Balthasar. Now we have Batch C, population 2.

I'm going to try to catch them tonight. (The kittens, and hopefully the mom, at least.)

I've been doing a bit of reading, and apparently the current best practice re: humanely managing feral cat colonies is Trap-Neuter-Release (TNR). You trap the feral cats without hurting them, take them to get spayed or neutered, and then release them back where you found them. This means that the cats (who, once they have grown up without human contact, are unadoptable) can live out their lives reasonably happily, but without multiplying. A colony, allowing for the occasional wandering new arrival, will over time shrink in numbers.

I poked around the web a bit and finally found a local group called TLC Adoptions that could help me out a bit with information* and a couple of loaner traps. Trying to make sure I'm doing everything right, and not forgetting anything, is stressing me out today not quite as much as being caught is going to stress out the kitties. I just wish I'd been more organized and got round to this sooner, when the kittens could have been young enough to be adopted. But hopefully they will have a reasonably happy -- though childless -- life around our backyard. Perhaps they will discourage any gophers from developing designs on my carrots.

*Some of the information was verrrry interesting: they were not unfamiliar with our neighborhood, indeed a particular house farther down our alley is apparently a sort of cat-multiplication Ground Zero. When kitten batches A and B disappeared around the time they got old enough to be weaned, it was probably because their mom (yet another tuxedo, now dubbed "Grandma"; she's started showing up in the yard again this last week, too) took them "home"... there.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

4. If you could eat lunch with one famous person, who would it be?

What I'd really like to do is get all of my friends and a lot of the people whose websites I read (some are sort of famous, depending on your criteria) together in one place, and form a rational political party, and sweep the nation, and fix everything. The good party names are probably already taken, though.

I dodged this question last time. I'd rather answer it this round. I'm just having trouble thinking of an answer.

[ten minutes pass as I go stream-of-consciousness trying to think of famous people]

Maybe Aung San Suu Kyi. How strange a shadow-life she has been trapped in. Apparently she is known for (among other things) a speech/essay titled "Freedom from Fear." FDR had something to say about that too, as I recall. I think fear is a root of so many things. If one can let it go, how much lighter life becomes.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

song of myself 2 & 3

The re-launch of All About Me continues.

2. What time do you wake up in the morning?
I usually wake up spontaneously around 6 AM, if I've had enough sleep. This is harder in winter, but still happens. Sleep deprivation may lead to the need for an alarm, but even if I'm free to sleep in as long as I like, I can't usually stay abed past 7:30.

That was a short one. Let's do one more.

3. What's your favorite article of clothing?
Hmmmmmm. I could be cute and say my wedding dress, and I do love it so, but obviously there's some symbolism clouding the issue. Discounting that, I choose a dress I bought last fall that is a knee-length green chiffon number with purple flowers embroidered on it. Not that I've had an opportunity to wear that in public yet either, since it's kind of summery (soon now, soon!). If we're talking about things I wear regularly, then I pronounce a tie between two t-shirts, one mottled green with silver shiny-sparklies around a rose near my shoulder, and the other purple with a golden peacock with sparklies in his tail. Not only are they pretty in perfect colors, but my honey got them for me.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

blackbird singing in the dead of night

Actually, it's a mockingbird. It is nine minutes to midnight (yes, I have been puttering with computer funthings, and my sweetie is out of town and not here to gently push me to bed), and our resident Mockingbird of Insanity is chirruping away. I love mockingbirds, and songbirds of all kinds, but I don't understand why this one is singing at night. They don't, normally, do they? This one does.

I'M going to sleep now.

edit 14 Sep 06: I since learned that night singing is a "feature" of mockingbirds well known to many people other than me. I guess I just never happened to be awake to hear one before. Live and learn.

song of myself redux

Three years ago, I posted my answers to an "answer these questions to describe yourself" email forward, which I had received in two different forms from two different friends. I merged the two sets of questions and answered the whole shebang, over several days.

This proved to be a mildly fateful decision, because only a few months later, I met the man who is now my fiance. His interest piqued, he decided to do a little "research" on me by reading the purple tricycle, and found the April 2003 question-and-answer sequence enlightening. In a positive way, luckily.

I'm in the mood to kick off this new Blogger phase of my journaling by revisiting those questions and comparing present to past answers. I'll try not to look at the old answers before writing the new ones. For those interested in following along with the 2003 sequence, it begins
here. I did several per post before, but this time I'll do one per.

1. If you could build a house anywhere, where would it be?
I have a better idea of the sort of house it would be -- solar-paneled, well-insulated, capable of transitioning off the grid in the future, when that becomes necessary -- a house on enough quality land to raise some good food with. The size of this envisioned farm, and whether it includes farm animals, fluctuates with my mood. It would be a solid house capable of anchoring an extended family over many generations. I'm still trying to figure out where good locations would be for it, though. I want it to be at least 300 feet above the current sea level, so that it will still be above water when the polar ice melts. It should also be within a strong, friendly, like-minded community in or not too far from a town, because a farm in the middle of nowhere will be no good in case of banditry. (I'm thinking very long term, collapse-of-the-Roman-Empire timeframe, in case you hadn't noticed.) Current possibilities include the vicinities of San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and the Pacific Northwest, as well as Vancouver and Victoria in Canada in case of theocracy.

I don't want it to be very far from the ocean partly because of weather moderation, partly because fishing could be a secondary food source, and partly because I simply love the ocean.