Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Moving Day

Well, I'm moving over to my very own domain today. I've enjoyed blogger, but decided to get categories, and hopefully avoid the problems that blogger so often has. The place will be a bit of a mess for awhile...meaning some pictures from old posts may not work right away, and I need to go through and categorize all of my old posts, etc. But it's an adventure, just like any move.

We tried for "", but it wasn't available. So the new domain is a combination of two nicknames I've had in the past. For a brief while in high school, my friends called me "Jelly", and I have often gone by the nickname, "Jules", so come see me at the new place, "". See you there!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Killer Popcorn

Have any of you heard of the dangers of microwave popcorn? I first read of it at Pureland Mountain, though I can't link to the post anymore. On Saturday, I heard a story on NPR about the dangers of working at popcorn plants. The danger comes from the butter flavoring that is added to some microwave popcorn, and the danger is to the employees who work there. Some people have died, and many others are suffering from serious health effects to their lungs. Some popcorn manufacturers have voluntarily imposed safer methods of making their popcorn, while others are ignoring the danger, and I suspect won't make any changes until federal regulations come down. Unfortunatly, our government is failing us here, because no such regulations are on the way. All of you folks who say that industries should be left to 'do the right thing' and keep government out of it? Go work in a popcorn plant, OK?

Does this mean that we need to give up popcorn? Or that we need to break out our old hot air poppers, or use the stove? Maybe this is good for Jiffypop? I don't know. But it seems to me, if the danger comes from the butter flavoring on your microwave (by the way, they have yet to test whether making butter flavored popcorn in your own home is safe or not), then a very easy (and tasty) solution is to buy plain, unflavored popcorn, pop that up in your microwave, and add your own butter.

Think you can't make a difference? Think one little person doesn't matter to the health of these workers? Remember the tuna/dolphin issue? Nowadays, it's quite difficult to find canned tuna that isn't 'dolphin safe', and all because consumers refused to buy tuna that was caught using nets, nets which also resulted in the drowning deaths of dolphins. Changing the fishing industry around was expensive, far more expensive, I would think, than no longer adding a flavoring to popcorn kernels. And yet they did it, because the power at the checkstand was strong. I happen to think that all life is important, that dolphins are worth saving. But I also think that human lives are even more important and valuable, and if all it takes for me to not be complicit in damaging people's lungs is to melt some yummy butter on my stovetop once in awhile? I'm more than happy to comply.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Romantic? Or Realist?

Every once in awhile, I'll be talking to someone, and they'll mention that someone is (or isn't) their 'soulmate'. The idea, the way I understand it, is that there is one person out there, who is perfect for you, and assuming you want to be in a relationship, you have to find them. I find this difficult to believe. Also, somewhat depressing. What if they're perfect for you, but they get hit by a car, and you never get to meet them? What if they're already married? What if they're perfect for you, but they're in Sudan, and you're in Stockton, and you never have a chance to meet? What if they're 90, and you're 2, and there's no way it's gonna work out? Then what? And why, if there IS someone perfect for each of us, don't we take more care when getting involved? Why is divorce so rampant? Is it that we just haven't found the right person yet? I watched "My Husband's Three Wives" last night on TLC, and the third 'wife' (who was divorced from her first husband) was just devastated, because she felt that she had met her soulmate, the one man for her, and dang it all, he had two wives already, and they weren't too excited about having another join the household.

Personally, I think there there are a lot of people out there for each of us. At least several. There are people out there with whom we can be happy, with whom we are the person we want to be, with whom we 'click'. So, what if I had gone to USC instead of SFSU? I wouldn't have met Ted. (Although, he thought of going to USC too, so maybe in an alternate universe, we're together though we met there...hmmmm) If I hadn't met Ted, would I be in a miserable relationship? Or alone? (Picture the spinster Mary, from "It's a Wonderful Life", doomed to spend her days in that place of unimaginable horror...THE LIBRARY!)

Somehow, I doubt it. I think I would have dated awhile, and found someone that was a pretty great guy, and we would have gotten married, and we would be happy. Also, Ted would have dated a bit, and found another woman, gotten married, and would also be happy. I mean, there are a lot of great men out there. A lot of great women out there. We would have met them, and we would be fine and happy. I don't think it's very hard to find people to date when you're in your 20s.

Of course, there are plenty of people out there that we could have married who would have made our lives a living hell. They could have locked us up in the basement of disappointment and dread and threw away the key. We could be working on our 6th divorces by now. But I don't think that would have happened. I think (I hope) we would have found someone wonderful.

The danger, I think, with believing that there is only one person out there for you, one perfect person who 'completes' you, makes you happy and strong and wonderfully blissful, is that into every relationship comes troubles. And if you think that another person can make you happy, and you're not happy with the person that you're with, you're much more likely to think...maybe this is the wrong person. Maybe this isn't my 'soulmate'. Maybe what I should have done was kept looking. Maybe he/she isn't THE ONE. So instead of working through a rough patch, committing to your marriage/relationship, and making it as strong and vibrant as it can be, instead of looking at your partner, you're looking over their shoulder, wondering...when, when will I meet my Mr./Ms. Right?

So, for those of you out there who are still looking, don't despair. I don't think there is just one person out there, and you have to find them or be miserable or alone (not the same thing, many people are not in relationships and are perfectly happy that way...the idea that you have to be married to be happy is pretty stupid, and I think pushed on us by Hollywood and religion and our culture in general...but that's another post entirely.) I think there are many people out there with whom you can make it work. :) The trick, I think, is being open to that and finding them.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Sunday Cooking

OK, so I know most people don't bother reading blogs on the weekend, since you have lives and chores and families and so on, so I save the easy ones for these days. Posts that I figure maybe 3 people will read, and I'll get maybe one comment. I've learned my lesson, people, I've poured my heart and soul into a weekend post, and seen on my site meter that it is basically ignored.

The perfect lazy post is a recipe that I can just copy and paste from a website. I mean, at that point, why do I even bother? Because I can't help myself, I guess.

Maya has decided that she wants to give this whole vegetarian thing a try. We're trying to support her, while we are not exactly willing to give up the meat ourselves, because we love it too much, and we are souless, evil, animal eating fiends. Ahem. Some nights, I'll make a meat based meal for us, like lamb chops, mashed potatoes, and broccoli. Maya can have the mashed potatoes and broccoli, and some fake chick'n strips, ala Morningstar Farms. Other days, we'll all eat vegetarian, such as one of our many pasta dishes, or perhaps some yummy black bean chili from my Greens Cookbook (mine got wet and moldy, actually, so I have to buy another copy...but I will, and then we can have black bean chili again, and black bean enchiladas with homemade tomatillo sauce...mmmm...looking forward to colder weather already!). The other night, I decided to try one of the recipes on the back of the Morningstar Farms chick'n patty box. Know what? Mighty tasty. Not restaurant, WOW fabulous tasty, but hey, this-is-pretty-good-and-SO-easy-one-skillet-meal-is-groovy-good-tasty. So I'm going to share it with you, and you can all try it, not just the vegetarians out there, OK? OK.

Prep Time
5 minutes

1/2 cup uncooked orzo pasta
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn
1 cup thick and chunky salsa
2 1/2 cups water
1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1 package Morningstar Farms® Chik Patties® Breaded Veggie Patties (thawed and cubed)
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1. Combine all ingredients except MORNINGSTAR FARMS CHIK PATTIES and cilantro in 12-inch frypan. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until mixture
starts to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer 20 minutes or until pasta is

2. Stir in MORNINGSTAR FARMS CHIK PATTIES and cilantro. (J's Note: I heated mine up in the toaster oven while the pasta was cooking, because I wanted that bit of crispy texture.) Continue heating 5 minutes longer or until patties are hot. Serve hot.
You're welcome. Happy weekend!

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Elephant Appreciation

Yesterday was Elephant Appreciation Day*. I thought it was September 23rd, but I was wrong, and thus, I missed it. But really, is it ever too late to appreciate elephants? And, since elephants in the wild are pretty much in Africa and India and Southeastern Asian countries, shouldn't I have celebrated on Thursday night? Do elephants care about such things?

I'll admit that I never had much of an opinion about elephants growing up. I mean, they're big, and they're kind of prehistoric looking, but what else? Dumbo? Dumbo's cute. That's about as far as I went. Then, when I was an International Relations major in college, we watched a film about I-Don't-Know-What, except at least part of it was talking about the illegal poaching of elephants. The filmmakers captured an elephant being poached on film. (I tried that sentence with 'being shot on film', but since you shoot film, it seemed awkward. I hope none of you think the poor thing was being boiled.) I was struck, to tears actually, by the compassion of the other members of the elephant herd. Any other herd animal, most animals, I would think, if one of their members goes down like that, it means DANGER, and the rest would scatter. Imagine a sniper in a major city. Think people would get the hell out of there asap? You bet. Not the elephants. They all rushed to the aid of the poor elephant who had been shot. They tried to help it up. They didn't want to leave it behind. I don't know if this behavior is because elephants don't have many predators, so they don't have that instinct, or if it is because they are more compassionate than other herd animals. But it went straight to my heart, and elephants went to the top of list of "J's favorite wild animals". (Right up there with those eyelashes...and wolves, just because, well, they're so wolf-y.)

Here's Maya, appreciating an elephant at the SF Zoo, when she was 2. :)

So, in honor of all of the elephants, both in captivity and in the wild, my hat is off to you, and I salute you. Happy Elephant Appreciation Day, everyone!

*Thanks to Mom-101 for the alert.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Calling all Gramarians

Awhile ago, I posted a list of thirteen grammar mistakes that bug me. If you like that kind of thing, you might enjoy listening to this. It's "To The Best Of Our Knowledge", from NPR, and it talks about IM and text messaging, but also about changes to grammar in general. My favorite part so far is an interview with the author of "Woe is I". I'm about 2/3 through (Have it on my iPod, and I listen while I walk the dog...), and I'm enjoying it. Hope you do as well.

Book Meme

I've been tagged by Lotus Reads for an interesting meme about books. The hard thing is that I tend to read a lot. Not nearly as much as I would like to, or as much as I used to, but a lot. At the same time, I have a pretty crappy memory, so I might answer these questions one way today, and if you asked me again in a year, or a week, you might get all different answers. :)

1. One book that changed your life?

"The Blood of Others", by Simone de Beauvoir. I read this my senior year in college, and I remember the feeling that I got from it...the idea that we are deeply responsible for our actions, because they can have truly profound effects upon others...great stuff. I remember while reading this book, I walked over to the movie theater near my house one rainy afternoon, and saw the movie "Glory". Somehow black battalion in the Civil War, trying to take control of their own destiny, seemed even more poingnant to me because of the book I was reading. (There was a film version of The Blood of Others, back in the mid-80s, but it pretty much stunk. Jodie Foster, but not her best work.)

2. One book you have read more than once?

I've read a lot of books more than once. I'm a re-reader. I've read "Gone With the Wind" and the Laura Ingalls Wilder books more times than I can count. (GWTW...Scarlett's conflict, between what she has to do, and what she things she SHOULD resonates with many, I think.) But for a grown up, serious book that I LOVE, I would answer "The Dead", by James Joyce. (I know, it's not a book, it's a short story. So sue me.) It's one of the most touching stories that I've ever read. I felt humbled by the experience. (They did a beautiful job with a movie version a while ago, too. If you're a John Huston fan, I believe this was his last film.)

Honorable Mention here would go to The Unbearable Lightness of Being. I love that book. The movie was good, but really, only after reading the book. I didn't understand the motivations well enough from the movie without that background. Milan Kundera is amazing.

3. One book you would want on a desert island?

Probably Ulysses, by James Joyce. Why Ulysses? 2 reasons. 1. Because the time I tried to read it, I had to laugh at the phrase, "The sea, the sea, the snot green sea"; and, 2. Because stuck on a desert island is probably the only way I would ever get through it. It's a literary laberynth.

4. One book that made you cry?

I'm not sure any book has actually made me physically cry. I cry at movies all of the time, and songs, and commercials. But books, I can't think of any right now. However, some books have made me depressed and sick to my stomach, does that count? The Kite Runner and The Lovely Bones are two more recent examples that have really hit hard.

5. One book that made you laugh?

The Gashlycrumb Tinies by Edward Gorey. You can enjoy it online, here. Sick humor at its best. The first time I found this book was in a bookstore in Philadelphia, and Ted and I were cracking up. That's the bookstore where I first found Swami on Rye and Max Makes a Million, two books that I had to immediately buy for my as yet unborn child. I may not have even been pregnant yet, but I knew she had to have these books.

6. One book you wish had been written?

"How we ended poverty, hunger, war, and disease in the 20th century."

7. One book you wish had never been written?

Sadly, most textbooks. Boy, they can suck the life out of even the most interesting subjects.

8. One book you are currently reading?

I'm reading Eat Cake, which was recommended to me by Cherry and La Luna, both bakers and eaters of yummy cakes. I'm not as big a cake fan as they are, and I'm not very far in, but so far, so good. I'm enjoying it.

9. One book you have been meaning to read?

I've been meaning to read Little Dorrit, by Charles Dickens. My New Years Resolution last year was to read some of the classics of literature that I missed while I was in school. Along the way, I realized that I haven't read any Dickens. That made me feel somewhat uneducated, so I looked around and picked one. It's an interesting, though bleak, topic. Debters prisons in England in the 18th century. But 18th century novels are written in a different tempo, a different rythem than books today. You kind of have to get in a certain groove to really get into it, I think. At least, that's true for me. Maybe I'll reread "Pride and Predjudice" for practice.

10. Three people you will tag.
Emily - She's a new blog friend, and I think pretty literary, so I'll be interested to see her answers. If she doesn't want to do it, I'll understand. I mean, I tagged her very recently for another meme, and maybe she's tired of the damn things. Also, looking at her island meme from awhile ago, she kind of answered some of these already. Hell, I'm tagging her anyway.

Wendy - I'm always trying to figure out what makes her tick, so this could be interesting. She also did the island meme, I think, which had 5 books on it...but that's a different question, and she is on a different blog. So there.

Heidi - She of the amazing photography. I'd like to know what kind of books get her motor running.

Anyone else want to play? Write it up on your blog and let me know. I'd love to see your answers.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

13 6 Misc. Thursday Thoughts

1. Mr. Armani, jumping into the fray about overly thin fashion models (in Madrid recently, they forbade models with a BMI lower than 18. Medically, a BMI of under 20 is considered underweight.) "conceded that he had always used models "on the slender side", adding: "This was because the clothes I design and the sort of fabrics I use need to hang correctly on the body"." (Quote from Yahoo news.) OK, but then shouldn't the largest size you sell be a 0? Because if I'm understanding you correctly, a healthy woman cannot wear your clothing and have it 'hang correctly'. So, my advice? Either sell only to size 0 women, or start using different designs & fabrics. Asshole. (Asshole who admittedly does design some beautiful clothes. I just don't agree with his F**KED up logic.)

2. Anyone thinking of watching My Husband's Three Wives on TLC? No? Me neither. Well, maybe.

They're obviously trying to get in on the Big Love bandwagon, but we don't get HBO, so I can't watch Big Love, and I'll admit to being a touch intrigued by this one. I think it's more of a cheapo reality show, rather than a scripted drama. I know, it's sick and wrong of me, but I'm thinking about it.

3. Very cool...Maya has started guitar lessons. Her first instrument. :)
So far, so good.

4. Another nice thing about working from home...Maya's feeling a bit puny this morning, and I don't have to call in sick myself to be home with her.

5. Why is that darned laundry pile always so huge? The pile to be ironed seems to get bigger every day. One solution, of course, would be to stop washing the clothes, but that just transfers the problem to the dirty clothes hamper. Another solution would be to iron the clothes. Which I fully intend to do. Just as soon as I finish all of the other things I would prefer to do.

6. I wish I could find the perfect yoga class. I really like the teacher I have right now, but I kind of suspect she isn't correcting my posture as much as I would like. My stepmom teaches Iyengar style Yoga, and she's pretty darned great. She has a nice studio, and teaches each level separately. But she's in Portland, and I'm in the Bay Area. What I'm looking for is convenient timing (earlyish on a weeknight, cause I like to be home by 7 or so), level one only (I don't want to be slowing other people down when the teacher comes to show me things), and maybe Iyengar, with all of the props, etc. I don't know that I'm going to find all of that on this side of the tunnel. There is a place that has Iyengar downtown, but they group their levels together. My MIL teaches, but the times are later than I would like and she doesn't yet have the props. Maybe I'll just stick with the class I'm currently taking.

That's it. I was going to make this a Thursday 13, but I can't muster the other 7 misc. thoughts. I'm sure you're devastated. ;)


Saturday, we were driving around in the car, listening to the radio, and my perhaps favorite new song came on: "I Write Sins Not Tragedies", by Panic! at the Disco. Why do I like this song so much? Because, in addition to a catchy pop tune, it reminds me of my Grandpa. Here are the lyrics:

I'd chime in with a
"Haven't you people ever heard of
closing a goddamn door?!"
No, it's much better to face these
kinds of things with a sense of
poise and rationality.

I had to laugh, because that "Haven't you people ever heard of closing a goddamn door?!" sounded JUST like something he would say. He could be in the video.

Which is one way of saying that my Grandpa wasn't the nicest guy around. He could be downright abusive. He could also be kind and generous and loving. I suspect he was my first introduction to the concept that people can be complicated. That most folks aren't black and white, good and bad, right or wrong. Loving him as dearly as I did was an exercise in acceptance, I'll tell you, because he could be a mean SOB.

Anyway, he was my Grandpa, the man I called 'daddy' when I was small. He was 19 years older than my Grandma, so I never remember him as anything but old. He had that skinny old man body, too, kind of like George Burns. He had surgery at a young age that removed part of his stomach (I'm guessing due to some infection or another, but I'm not sure), and he could never eat very much, so he was always painfully thin.

I don't think I ever remember him saying those exact words, "Haven't you people ever heard of closing a goddamn door?!" but it does sound just exactly like something he would say.

Here are a few of his colloquialisms:
"I wouldn't cross the street to piss on her if her guts were on fire!"

"He's so stupid he couldn't pour piss out of a boot if the instructions were written on the heel!"

"For the amount of money I spent on that cat, I could have had a dog!"

"It's always your friends who stab you in the back because you don't let your enemies get close enough."

"If a man is born to hang, you don't have to help it along, just get out from between him and the rope."

"2,400 square feet in this house, and you have to sit RIGHT in front of the damn TV!"

"If I had your nose full of nickels I'd be able to retire."

"She's six ax-handles across the ass."

"He sits when he pees."

"If you ever (did what I'm asking you to do, like get home on time, take out the garbage, etc.), I'd have a heart attack and die."

"You always take, you never give"

"Who was your slave this time last year?"

"Let's talk about little dogs with distemper." (His way of telling you it was time to change the subject.)
Thanks to my mom for remembering most of these. When I started reading, I was cracking up, because some of them are pretty funny. Then I started remembering how it made people FEEL when he said some of that stuff, and I kind of stopped laughing.

But then, I also remember the good things.
That he didn't make chocolate cake (oh, did he have a sweet tooth) when I was a little girl, because I had just had fillings and couldn't eat anything but mush that night.

That when I lost my Smokey the Bear, and I was walking around with my hand in a fist, he asked me what was in my hand. I said, my Smokey. That broke his heart, so he went and got another Smokey, and he told me that when he went to the hospital to get his emphysema treatment, Smokey was being wheeled out in a wheelchair, and was ready to come home to me. This was a scene that was unfortunately repeated several times.

That he took me with him to Mr. D's for burgers and potato chips for lunch. (So fancy! Served in a basket! With chips, not fries!)

That he would hold my hand when we watched TV, because he loved me.

That he came and got me at school when I was sick, and I went to his house and drank 7-Up until my mom got off of work.

That he took me to the pound to get Samantha when she got out of the yard, and he paid the fine for her not having a license.

Is it OK that I still love him? The mean, mean old man? Because I feel very conflicted, knowing the hell he put my mom, my aunt, and my uncle through, how miserable he made their home life as children. So miserable that my mom moved away to live with her Great Aunt. But even so, I love him very much.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

My Horse Picture

When I was maybe 7 or 8 years old, my mom worked as both a Montessori school teacher, and because we all know how well teaching pays (esp a private school), she also worked at a local restaurant. The restaurant, as I remember it, was next door to a small art gallery, where they sold paintings by local artists. I'm not sure how we ended up going inside the gallery, but we did, and I fell in love with one of the paintings. It was of two horses, running in a field, and it was painted on a piece of wood. My love of horses knew no bounds, and this was the perfect painting. I was in love. The problem? The painting was expensive. It was $16.55. This was the early 70s, and $16.55 was a lot of money. My allowance was $0.75 a week.

My other love at the time was a dessert that they served at the restaurant where my mom worked. It was called a "European Iced Chocolate", and I think it was a tall glass with chocolate ice cream, chocolate milk, and some whipped cream. Sort of like a chocolate chocolate float, maybe. I'm not sure what made it 'European', but I sure loved them. Yummy. (That's when I was in my chocolate phase...all chocolate, all the time!) They were $0.50, and if I bought one with my allowance, I had to leave the other $0.25 as a tip for the waitress. My mother didn't want to raise stingy children. ;)

I was definitely in the habit of taking my $0.75 to the restaurant every week. But I also REALLY wanted that picture. My mom decided that $16.55 was just too much for a 7 or 8 year old to have to come up with, so she paid $10 to the gallery, and they put the picture on layaway for me. For you whippersnappers who may not know what layaway is, you put down part of the money up front, and then you make payments towards your desired object. I don't remember if I saved the $6.55 up and paid it all at once, but I kind of remember going in every week and giving them my $0.75. There I was, right next to the restaurant. The European Iced Chocolate was CALLING to me. I had to have it. But I also had to have that painting. So I resisted. For over 2 months, I resisted. It was a difficult two months.

Finally, the day came, and I was able to purchase my painting. I was SO proud of myself. So proud that I had saved that long, an eternity to a child. That I had foregone the delicacy that was a European Iced Chocolate for over 8 weeks. Amazing.
On the day when we finally went to get the picture, the woman behind the counter wrapped it carefully for me, and treated me with as much respect as any adult customer. Then my mom took me next door, and bought me a European Iced Chocolate to celebrate. That was probably the best one I ever had. :)

A year or so ago, I realized that I could probably make them at home, seeing as how they sell chocolate ice cream, chocolate milk, and whipped cream at Safeway. Not sure why it took me this long to figure it out, but c'est la vie, eh? So, just the other night, we had them for dessert. Yum.

Movie Time

We have watched several DVDs over the last few days...I watched "Last Holiday", which was cute, but I didn't laugh even once. It's a remake, and the premise, if you don't know, is that a quiet, mousy woman is told that she's going to die in a couple of weeks...which motivates her to take the bull by the horns and finally live life. She goes to Europe and spends a week or so living with such gusto, such abandon, that everyone around her is enthralled and falls under her spell of forthright talking and joie de vivre. Like I said, cute. No more.

We TRIED to watch "Super Troopers", but it was just too dumb, so we gave up. The idea, from what I could gather, was a small Vermont town with a bunch of pot head loser state troopers, battling the local police department in order to stay open. Supposed to be more fun than a bowl full of monkeys, but really, just about as much fun as one monkey that pees in your dishwasher. The best part of that one was singing the ABBA song, "Super Trooper" (Sup-poop-per Troop-poop-per).

Finally, we hit a jackpot. We watched The Girl in the Cafe, about a painfully shy, lonely man who is going to the G8 summit in Iceland, and on a whim, invites a shy, lonely girl whom he meets in a cafe to join him. I highly recommend it. Very good. In addition to being a good film, with a nice May/December type romance, it is a story of what good an individual can do in the world, how we can all, perhaps, make a difference. You know, just in case we're ever invited to the G8 summit. A nice balm for some of the cynicism that has been infecting me lately, and threatens to get worse by the time the stupid elections are behind us.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Birth Story

Black Belt Mama has a second blog, called Birth Story, where you can tell the story of the birth of your child if you want to. I wrote about Maya's birth there awhile ago, and my mom just wrote about my birth. If you're so inclined, go check it out. ;) (My mom's birth, Lilith Joycelyn, and my brother's birth, Richard Roland, are also there. Which led Maya to wonder if her Granny might write the story of my Grandma's birth as well.)


I was reading Dooce yesterday. I don't usually read her blog, because when someone gets 400+ comments on a post about nothing at all, I get a little jealous, and I don't want to hang with them anymore. Of course, she never knew I was hanging with her to begin with. Anyway, once in awhile, I'll come back and check out her blog, and see what's new in Dooceland.

On this particular day, she was talking about her friend Maggie (who is cousin to a friend of ours), another big time blogger, and how she has a book out called No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog. Cherry talked about this same book a few weeks ago, and I'm looking forward to hearing some of the ideas that come out of it, and what she does with them. The idea that Dooce picked up on was:
“What are your relationship deal breakers? Some folks are annoyed if a date shows up ten minutes late. Others look for something weightier, like a felony record. Have you ever rejected someone over something that seems insignificant to your friends? Or do you have selective blindness for red flags?”

To be fair, I haven't dated in so long, it's hard to remember what a deal breaker might be for me. I mean, Ted and I have been together since the end of 1987. I was only 21 (almost 22) at the time, so I didn't have a TON of experience in the dating world. But, here are the deal breakers from my short time dating:

1. The guy who says, "Lately, I've been dating mostly fat girls. I'm not sure why. I've decided, hey, I'm better than that, and so I'm dating thin chicks now." Um, not this thin chick, you asshat.

2. The guy who told me his favorite actor of all time was Tom Cruise. Even back then, that signified 'no brains here' to me.

3. The guy who wouldn't believe the things that I knew to be true, because I was a female. But would believe the same things from a man. Hated that.

4. The guy, who, when we were kissing, actually said, "If you don't leave now, you'll have to stay the night." Ugh. BYE!

OK, that's not a long list, but it's long enough. People are gross sometimes, huh? What were your dealbreakers, back in the day? (Or today, if you're still dating?)

Monday, September 18, 2006

Sitcom Theme Songs I Can't Help But Sing Along With...

This one is kind of embarrasing, but I can't help myself. I totally ripped off the lovely Tracy at The Starshine Report, but really, I have no shame. ;) I've decided to pump it up a bit for you, though, so you can watch the videos yourself, and see/hear the theme songs. Enjoy!

1. The Jeffersons.
I dare you not to sing along. I, too, want a piece of the pie. And remember the interracial couple next door? The black woman was my boyfriend Lenny Kravitz's mom. Whew.

2. Alice.
This show was funny enough, but somehow, I just really liked the song. :)

3. One Day at a Time.
The older daughter had my name, but I identified more with Barbara. Until the time she came out of the shower in full make up. That was weird.

4. The Brady Bunch.
I know. I'm shameless. But really, unless you were like my sisters*, and didn't have TV, you surely know the words to this one:

*And if you're wondering how I had tv and my sisters didn't, obviously you haven't been reading my blog very long, because they're my half sisters, who were raised by my tv hating dad, and I was raised by my tv loving mom. :)

5. Happy Days.
OK, I know, very unhip and uncool now, but back in the day, this was the coolest show on TV. At least when you're 8 or however old I was. The song is very catchy, too. ;)

That's it. Hope you enjoyed it. How about you? Do you have favorite theme songs from the past that you're willing to admit to? Anyone?

PS, to Bite My Cookie, if you're reading this, I'm having a hell of a time commenting on your blog. Tried 4 times in three days, keep getting some kind of HTML error. WTF?

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Zachary's Pizza

If you're from the Chicago area, you probably can get Chicago style pizza any time you want. I've never been closer to Chicago than I-80, driving from San Francisco to Philadelphia, so I don't know for sure. But if you live in the Bay Area, the best place to get Chicago style pizza is indisputably at Zachary's. The problem is that Zachary's is always CROWDED. There is one location in Oakland, another in Berkeley, and the wait is often over an hour. So the 'in the know' solution is to get your pizza 'half baked', and take it home, finish cooking it there, and enjoy.

Well, good news to those of us on the "wrong side of the tunnel" as I like to say. There's a brand new Zachary's restaurant, located in San Ramon, and boy, it's tasty pizza. If you don't know Chicago Style pizza (at least what Zachary's calls Chicago style I said, I've never been to Chicago), it's deep dish, which at Zachary's, means stuffed pizza. From their web site:

  • Different from a traditional "deep dish" pizza or calzone, stuffed pizza is unique.
  • We begin this luscious creation with a bottom layer of dough inside a two inch deep pan.
  • A hearty helping of cheese topped with ingredients of your choice are added next.
  • Then another thin layer of dough covers the ingredients, and our zesty tomato sauce tops the pie!
  • As the pizza cooks, the top layer of dough will melt into the cheese, and the result is a delicious pie that you will enjoy!

  • Looking at their webpage, I'm thinking Z's takes a bit of liberty, and it's different than other Chicago style pizzas.

    No matter. What matters here is that it's seriously yummy pizza, and that the best time to go is probably at the most inconvenient time, because if it's inconvenient for you, it's probably inconvenient for others as well. We went at 4:00 in the afternoon on a Saturday, their 4th day of business. They were full, asked for our name, but as we were giving it to them, a table came available. By the time we left, there was quite a long wait outside. Consider yourself warned.

    They are famous for their Spinach and Mushroom pizza. It's their signature dish, really. Unfortunately, spinach isn't such a lovely thing to eat right now, so they weren't serving it. No matter. Avoiding meat for our newly vegetarian daughter, we opted for the Mediterranean Pizza, which was filled with a mixture of red bell peppers, artichoke hearts, and green olives with feta and jack cheeses. The menu didn't say so, but the red bell peppers tasted roasted to me, if that matters.

    So, if you live in the Bay Area, and you're at all interested in Pizza, please note that there are now THREE Zachary's you can visit, and they are all yummy, and, fortunately for them, they are ALL very busy.

    A side note...seems that the owners, Barbara and Zachary, are retiring, and instead of selling the restaurants, they have decided to make it an employee owned business. Pretty cool, huh?

    Saturday, September 16, 2006

    I'm Just Sayin'

    I bought a cute dress at once, and now I get these emails telling me of their new lines, etc. The one I received yesterday came with the subject line, "Snazz up your office wardrobe", and this picture. Tell me, if the girl in the middle doesn't work at Vogue, where could that possibly be appropriate office attire? I've only been working from home for a few months here...has office culture changed THAT much? Wait...maybe she works from home, so she can wear whatever she wants? I'm thinking maybe she should add a bra to her ensamble.

    Friday, September 15, 2006


    Did you know that Maya was born on Jupiter? Perhaps that would explain why she's so darned smart and beautiful and yummy as well. I love this picture. She's just so pretty. :)

    When she was a baby, she had a birthmark on the back of her head. It was a large red hemangioma (sometimes called a 'strawberry'), which looked remarkably like the big red spot on Jupiter. So we decided that she was FROM Jupiter, and thus, a Jupterian.

    When she was little, and asked where babies came from, we gave her a couple of answers. We sometimes told her the truth, and we sometimes told her that she was from Jupiter. That all babies are on different planets in our solar system, and they get transported into their mother's womb just before birth. Well, maybe a few months before. Don't try to tie me down with logic here, OK?

    Anyway, this never caused any real confusion on her part...she knew the truth, and she knew the fun, and she liked them both. (Though she always thought the sex part was kind of gross...)

    One day, when she was maybe 4, we were shopping at Lunardis (grocery store near us), and she was sitting in the cart, and suddenly her friends on Jupiter transmitted some secret code to her, which caused her to overcome her debilitating shyness long enough for her to tell everyone we passed that she was from Jupiter. What I liked best about that day was that not one person blew her off, or said, "Oh, really?" and looked at me in that semi-superior way that some adults have, and that sensible children find unbearable. No, they all played along. She got answers like, "Really? I'm from Saturn. Aren't Earthlings STRANGE?" or, "That's great. My sister's from Jupiter. Have you met?" She must have told 10 people of her intergalactic heritage, and not one person batted an eyelash.

    My summation of all of this? Apparently, not ALL people suck.

    *This post is really just an excuse for me to share this picture, because I love it so much. And it's a cute story, and I didn't have a blog when it happened...

    Thursday, September 14, 2006

    Old Friends

    Old friends,
    Old friends
    Sat on their park bench
    Like bookends.
    A newspaper blown though the grass
    Falls on the round toes
    Of the high shoes
    Of the old friends.

    Old friends,
    Winter companions,
    The old men
    Lost in their overcoats,
    Waiting for the sunset.
    The sounds of the city,
    Sifting through trees,
    Settle like dust
    On the shoulders
    Of the old friends.

    Can you imagine us
    Years from today,
    Sharing a park bench quietly?
    How terribly strange
    To be seventy.
    Old friends,
    Memory brushes the same years
    Silently sharing the same fears.
    - Paul Simon

    Does anyone understand how it is that friendships grow, then wither away? How do we come to be so very close to someone, and then one day look back and realize that it's been years since we spoke? Sometimes we are the initiator of this change, and sometimes, it is merely inertia that does a friendship in. I have a few friends, friends whom I thought would be with me forever, and now, I'm not so sure. I thought we'd be like those friends on the park bench that Paul Simon talks about. Only time will tell.

    The first of these friends, I'll call Leslie. This is because her name is Leslie. We met at Delta Jr. College in Stockton, maybe in a History class. Leslie is tall and beautiful and smart and wonderful. Leslie and I became close, and I came to think of her as one of my very dearest friends. We agreed on politics, we agreed on movies and books and we had a similar sense of humor. I loved her. I wanted her to be in my life always. When we first moved to San Francisco, she lived a block away from in an apartment, she in the USF dorms. We saw each other often. When she moved to the east coast, we kept in touch. These were the days before email, and we wrote letters and made phone calls. We went to the east coast for a convention, and she cancelled a camping trip so she could come visit us. When she came to the west coast, we would get together for drinks and dinner. We always had a great time. She moved back west, we moved out east, she moved back east, and through it all, we were friends.

    Then, something happened, and we lost touch. I wrote. She didn't write back. I called. She didn't return my call. Finally, I got desperate, and I called her mother (a wonderful woman whom I considered a friend as well.) I asked her if her Leslie was OK. She said, No, Leslie isn't OK. She's going through a divorce (I was her maid of honor, she was one of my bridesmaids), and she's terribly depressed. Don't give up on her. So I didn't. I kept trying. She called me one day, and I cried with relief to talk to her. But after the first part of the conversation, where she told me of her divorce, of how she had gotten back together with her high school boyfriend, who was also divorced, and how she was going to move to Idaho soon, our conversation sort of...faltered. It was like, beyond catching up, we didn't have much to say to each other anymore. Was it that our lives were too different, me with my toddler, she with her divorce? Was it just time that had passed? I don't know. She promised me that when she moved to Idaho, she would call and give me her new number. That was over 8 years ago, and she has never called. My number hasn't changed. At one point, I mailed a letter to her, in care of her mother, but she never wrote back. Maybe she didn't want to be friends anymore. Maybe she couldn't use her words and tell me that she didn't like me anymore. It's possible. But boy, it hurt.

    Which reminds me of a friend of Ted's, who he no longer wanted to be friends with. They had been very close for years, but the friendship had changed, and the friend couldn't come over without them getting into a shouting match about something. I don't think that Ted ever told him that he didn't want to be friends anymore (although they did have some conversations, trying to figure out what the anger was about, so it's not like he didn't TRY to fix it), but when this friend would call, Ted wouldn't call back. When I think of this friend, I think, is that me? Am I the annoying friend who won't go away, and Leslie is Ted? Because honestly, I've done that before...ignored someone's calls until they went away, just because they had become SO unpleasant to be around. But my vanity doesn't want to accept that I could be the person on the other end of this relationship.

    But even if all it was was inertia on her part, it hurt me deeply to know that I wasn't important enough for her to try a little. I'm going to write her whole name here, in case she might someday google herself, find me here, and contact me. My phone number is in the book, Leslie Lucchesi. If you're ever interested, I'm here.

    God, I sound pathetic.

    Then there are the friends that I have lost through inertia.

    Karol Ann, whom I also met in Stockton, at a hotel we both worked at. We were very close for a short time, and at this point, we are Christmas card friends. We write to each other once a year, but we don't take the time to get together, even though we only live about an hour away from each other.

    Neva, who was my best friend in 6th grade. We slept at each others houses every weekend. We loved each other like sisters. Then we went to different Jr. High schools, and nothing was the same again. This one, happily, has a happy ending. We got in touch about 5 or 6 years ago, through, and we are darling friends again. We get together for dinner, we laugh, we shop, we eat and drink and are merry. Thank god for Neva, who knew me even before I had boobs.

    Rosemary, my soulmate friend. We met in the 9th grade, and we were best friends, literally, from the first day we met. (And you know I don't use literally unless I mean it!) We were so very close for so very long. I loved her more than I loved myself. And I suspect we will come together again as our lives slow down, but at this point, she is so damned busy that she only has a passing thought to spare for me, only a bit of time to spare so we can get together when she's in town (they live on the east coast). This hurts a lot. I miss her. But I don't know what to do about it. She is one of the most defensive people I know, and if I confront her, will she even hear me? I guess if I care this much, I need to at least try.

    Rainie, another Stockton friend. She moved to San Francisco a semester before I did, and we attended San Francisco State together. She was the first of my friends to get married. The first to have a baby. Her husband is Pakistani, and they moved there in '92 so they could care for his aging parents. They returned to the US when Pakistan started getting scary fundamentalist, and we got together once, but neither of us has bothered beyond that.

    Why is that? Why is it that there are these people in life, people that you love so damned much, they feel like your tell them everything about yourself, they tell you everything, you share so many joys and sorrows...and then...they just drift away, only to be replaced by newer friends, perhaps as close, perhaps as not, but people who are willing to make the effort required to maintain a relationship? I don't know. Do I need a psychology class? Or perhaps a sociology class? Or maybe, I just need to make more of an effort. But so far, my experience has been that this effort is one sided, and I get tired of feeling like I'm not worth the effort that the other person would have to make.

    I wish I understood this kind of thing.

    Rest In Peace, Ann

    I was sorry to boot up my computer this morning and learn that Ann Richards, former governor of Texas, had succomed to cancer. I wrote about her once before, here. She was a hell of a woman, and we sure need more like her. She will be missed in the fight for what's right.

    Wednesday, September 13, 2006


    I don't even know what to say about this...I was just reading Salon's Broadsheet, and came across a trifecta of bullshit that should make every woman in the United States wretch, and hopefully, make both men and women understand why it is so important that we claim the term Feminist, and fight this shit. I don't have the energy to try to paraphrase, so I'm just going to copy and paste.

    Some days there is just so much repulsive news that it would be, well, criminally depressing to separate it into three separate entries. So for everyone's vomitous convenience, I present the three grossest stories of the day, in no particular order.

    The first item is technically not a "today" story. In fact, Page Rockwell mentioned it briefly in Friday's "What Else We're Reading." But have you seen these Bratz dolls and their provocative underwear sets? These little pink and purple numbers include padded "bralettes" to better enhance your 6-year-old's cleavage. According to a piece in Saturday's Australian Herald Sun, these sets are for girls who are 6 and 7 years old. That's kindergarten, first grade, second grade, folks. And don't let the diminutive "bralette" fool you. These are brassieres. For Broadsheet readers who may not have experience with this: Girls that age do not typically wear bras. At all. Because they do not have breasts. Because they are children.

    A spokeswoman from Bratz distributor Funtastic told the Herald Sun that the notion that the bras might sexualize children was silly. "The idea of the padding is for girls to be discreet as they develop ... It is more about hiding what you have got than showing it off." A Target spokesperson likewise argued that the padded bras "give girls modesty and style as they go through development changes." The message is that everyone should calm down: No one's trying to make your little girls voluptuous by selling them padded bras. They're just trying to make them feel shame about their bodies six years before puberty!

    While rummaging around the Web for more information on the "bralettes," I found this blog entry that also has photos of some Bratz dolls, Phoebe "Sugar" and Roxxi "Spice," dressed only in cropped fur and leather jackets and their undergarments. The dolls have baby milk bottles chained to their ankles. Because, like so many imps named "Roxxi," they just love to hang out in their lacy underthings and furs and drink milk from their sippy cups.

    Onward and upward to our next uplifting tale: today's report in the New York Post about two waitresses suing the pub that employed them for sexual harassment. Their particular harassment is what makes this story stand out. The women claim that they were regularly weighed by their bosses, who also kept track of their poundage on a spreadsheet and on a Web site that supposedly tracked and compared the weights of the female serving staffs of other New York City eateries. One of the waitresses, Kristen McRedmond, told the Post that she was summoned into the manager's office, where she was told she "needed to get on the scale." When she resisted, she claims that a manager tried to pick her up and put her on the scale while another man looked on. McRedmond and her fellow complainant allege that only female workers were asked to weigh in, and that managers would comment when the female wait staff ordered fatty fried food for their own dinners. The women's lawyer, Rosemarie Arnold, told the Post, "I've been doing sexual-harassment law for 20 years, and this has to be the most egregious case of degradation to women that I have ever seen."

    And last but by no means least on the barfometer is this fashion spread, singled out by Gawker yesterday, from Italian Vogue. Called "State of Emergency," it's a series of photographs by Steven Meisel in which, in a moving tribute to a post-9/11 world, scantily clad women in vertiginous heels and various states of undress are subjected to a stunning array of physical brutalities at the hands of big policemen. Some of the highlights include a woman being forced to the ground by officers, her dress pulled up and her legs spread with a cop's knee between them; a model who has been shoved against a car, her dress also hiked to a height at which her lower ass is visible, her legs forcibly separated; a woman in a red cocktail dress, prone on a dirty sidewalk with a big boot stomping her neck. And then there's the woman who's being strip-searched in an airport, standing in a lacy black bra.

    You can just about imagine all these stories getting rolled into one arresting photo spread: a 6-year-old girl clad only in her bralette being forced at gunpoint to stand on a scale.

    -- Rebecca Traister

    Please join me in outrage and disgust.