more playing around

create your own personalized map of the USA

better than I thought. 22 out of 51 states.

playing around

countries i've visited:

Thought I had been around. Seems not so much, when I look at my travels this way.


making me happy today

www.librarything.com blows me away and sucks up my day/night/day/night.




This Washington Post story about Kinky Friedman is very well written. And once you read it, you will see why a Jewish, devout democrat living in Texas, is conflicted. I don't know who to vote for. I can tell you it won't be Perry. I've hated him since he was our Ag. Commish. He's just a head of hair, which is all our Gov really is anyway. But, Texas's gov has a lot of figureheadedness since one became **shudder** President. So here's the dilemma, and I think it's a dilemma lots of Dems are facing these days.

Do I vote for Kinky, the independent who would likely embarrass the state, piss off everyone (including sometimes me and my feminist kind), but who really cares about real issues (education, housing, health care, jobs, environment).

Do I vote for What's-his-name, the Democratic candidate, who has about a snowball's chance in hell of getting elected in this 87% or so Republican state?

Or do I vote for **shudder** Republican not so cleverly disguised as Independent "Grandma" Keeton Rylander Strayhorn, who if she can't keep her name to save her dignity or her political career, what is she going to sell us out for, but has the best chance of being elected 2nd to Governor Good Hair?

Here are my thoughts on the issue:
I love the Democratic party, as flawed and flailing as it is. I think we have the true family values. Values of tolerance, inclusiveness, economic realities (hello budget) and concern (hello social services). I want to kick it in the arse, though. We need strong candidates, but seriously, can you blame anyone in their right mind (who is most likely a Democrat) for not wanting to run for public office when you are surrounded by and competing with a bunch of idiots? I mean Chris Bell seems like an excellent public servant, slightly boring, gets along well with most groups, doesn't yell freakishly, and he's not so good looking or charismatic that every woman on his campaign or leading a political caucus will want to sleep with him, or claim they did. But, that's the problem, too. We've frightened away the really electable ones. I don't want to throw my vote away. I still believe I can make a difference. (I'm still stinging from fickle, less-than-one-term, State Rep. Todd Baxter's win by 46 votes, ok, so it's better now, but still!)

Carole is who I thought I was going to vote for, until the past few days when I've begun to think about the realities of who she is and who the other candidates are. I reasoned that she is the only one with a chance to dethrone the R incumbent and give Texas fresh look. She appeals to my still buring love for Ann Richards. But who am I kidding, she's no Ann. She's an R and that's the one reason she does have a chance to get elected. I can't vote for an R;I wouldn't respect myself in the morning. And I don't respect her, although I do love her for giving Perry hell.

Which is why voting for Kinkster is looking more and more like my best option. I may still give it an old D vote, just for moral support, to let them know we are still here, don't forget us. But, I may swing to the Jewish cowboy. Either way, it's a symbolic vote. Ain't no way either of these men will make it to the Gov's mansion. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm not betting the odds.


Current reading

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen - I'm about halfway through and I'm still not all that interested in these people. I did search the forums on bookcrossing to see if I should bother when I was about 100 pages into it and hated it. Luckily lots of people had commented how much they hated the characters. Somehow, knowing that these people were idiotic characters meant to be despised, ridiculed and laughed at, not with, made the reading easier. I usually empathize with characters. It's interesting to read a book in which I am so dispassionate about what happens to the people involved.

The Blind Assassin by Margaret Atwood - I have read a few classic Atwoods, Handmaid's Tale was my favorite. I noticed as I started this that I have started it before, but never got through the very beginning. So, I'm trying again. I'm back at this one and it's getting more interesting. I love her writing, so I'm not surprised.

Breathing Lessons by Anne Tyler. She has such a following, I thought I would read this that I found at an unofficial Bookcrossing Zone. I'm half-way through and it's getting better. The first half has been boring. I finished the book before actually posting this so I thought I would give you an update. I hated this book! I can't believe how many people liked it. I looked it up on Amazon and it had over 3 stars. WTF? Do you people like reading about boring. My life is boring enough, I want to read thrillers, interesting characters, strange situations, humor. Make me laugh (Molly Ivins, Jennifer Weiner), make me cry (Michael Onnjade), keep me on the edge of my seat (J.K. Rowling) or at least MAKE ME THINK (Steinbeck, Douglas, McCarthy, Bradbury).

So, now that you see the list of 3 books that I'm reading simultaneously (which I hardly ever do), I wonder, why are they all boring me? I Hate not finishing a book. I will, just not very often. I keep hoping, some part of me must be an eternal optimist, that it will improve, the characters will bring forth some sort of empathy, connection.


A neighbor of mine, a really nice, sweet woman who homeschools her children (a whole another subject) invited me to join a Bunco group she was organizing for the women on our street. If you have never heard of Bunco you aren't missing much. It's a strange suburban phenomena, spawned from a desire to have an excuse to go out (to the spouse), but not want to learn the rules for bridge or some other card game with too many rules, like gin rummy or canasta. I had scoffed at Bunco for years, and here I was accepting this invite, because, although she homeschools her children, this woman is very nice, down to earth, friendly and a neighbor. I like getting to know my neighbors. It's what makes my neighborhood so damn popular (as I watch our appraisals/taxes skyrocket). We like each other, watch out for the kids, water plants, feed animals for each other. It's a Mayberry-ish enclave in a big city. Boy, I really digress.

So, last Fall, I started going once a month to different neighbors' homes for dinner and Bunco. I was skeptical, I was suspicious, but I was also interested in meeting my neighbors. I loved seeing all of their homes and seeing what wonderful food they prepared. And, I made some wonderful friends. I can't believe I have lived on my street for almost 7 years, and did not know these women. They are wonderful. And, best of all, we all laugh at Bunco. It's just an excuse and a date (like date-night for your girlfriends).

Well, last night was my turn. We rotate from house to house each month. So this week found me stressing that no one would show up and, god forbid, that I wouldn't have enough food. So wonderful husband cooked 3 chickens (he wanted to do 2 - for 12 women, what!) a la beer can chicken! I made my cold carrot salad, spinach salad and bow tie pasta with a Rachel Ray (sort of) tomato sauce. There was enough food for 20 people. The didn't make a dent in the chickens. Then of course, we had Cheesecake Factory Cheesecake for dessert-white chocolate raspberry truffle, I think. It was amazing.

The night went so well, even though I am not a good hostess. I don't mean that I don't love having people over, I do. I just stress way too much. I don't remember the details, so I always feel like I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off. And I don't think about making sure I have all of the stuff you need to throw a dinner or party. I don't have lots of serving utensils. I had paper plates (not enough of the same kind, of course) and no plastic utensils, so I had to use real forks and knives, a mix of our every day with the good silverware. Nothing matchy matchy. It's beyond me.

But, all in all, it was fun. We laughed and I got to catch up with some of my favorite neighbors. Some of these women have incredible stories to tell about what they've done. You wouldn't believe it to look at them. I'm always so amazed (I shouldn't be, I know). I have a little bit of ageism and a bit of disbelief that non-immigrants can have interesting backgrounds. Some of them are behind me on the age/life curve, pregnant or with younger kids. It's fun to be able to give them advice, pass on some ideas, clothes, toys, etc. It's nice to be on the other side sometimes.



Create a station by suggesting a band, artist, song that you like, or are in the mood to listen to. This site is run by the Music Genome Project(TM). They have analyzed the type of music you suggest and will start playing songs with similar qualities. You can find new bands, new songs, new music, or just sit back and listen to the station play while you work, love, lay out, whatever. As you listen to songs, you can bookmark them, say yay or nay (in which case they discreetly fade out), or buy them from Amazon.com or itunes.com.

You can also listen to other people's radio stations, although I don't think you can tweak them. I created what I called Latin radio (from my suggestions of the Gypsy Kings, Susana Baca, Equatorial by Borges, Chan Chan by Buena Vista Social Club, and Fio Maravilha by Jorge Ben Jor). I also created an easy listening station to listen to while at work. I used Norah Jones, Simon and Garfunkle, Billy Joel, Jack Johnson and Harry Connick Jr. They play some of these artists, but probably 5:1 with new artists in the majority.

Definintely check it out! The free version has ads, but I hardly notice them. They are very minimalistic. www.Pandora.com