Monday, April 28, 2008

PIE! piepiepiepie!

MMMmmmmmMMMMMmmmmmm PIE!

My husband and I went to a benefit pie contest this past weekend. I had planned on entering the contest, but decided not to. We still went, because for a $5.00 donation you could have all the pie you wanted. I was in hog heaven!

I love pies - more than any other dessert. I can pass up a cake without giving it a second thought, but pie? No way! I learned to make pies about 8 years ago, so that I could make apple pies for my dad. My mother used to make them, but her Alzheimer's changed her personality in such a way that she no longer enjoyed baking and cooking. The first pie I made for my dad was I baked in a 13" by 9" pan. My mother and I each had one piece but my father, over the course of a week, ate the rest of it all by himself. Evidently he liked it.

A few years after that I was able to make a black raspberry pie for my mom, the summer before she died. Pies were her favorite dessert too and black raspberry was her favorite pie. But she hadn't had any since she was a girl on a farm in eastern Ohio, since black raspberries are so hard to come by in the city (until recently). The day I gave her the pie was a bad day for her (Alzheimer's patients often have good and bad days or periods). When my sister and I eye sat down to eat some pie with her, I watched her face as she tasted it and for just a moment I saw my mom again. Her eyes lit up in recognition of the taste and she made an "okay" signal with her right hand and kept enjoying her pie. It was a moment I'll never forget. It was worth the hours I spent on the berry farm picking the berries, just to know that she got her black raspberry pie again.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

My favorite time of year

This is my favorite time of year - early spring. The grass is lush and green. The leaves on the trees aren't fully out yet, so they're all different shades of green. Tulips, hyacinths and other flowers just bursting with color and scent. Warm days, cool night and NO BUGS, at least not yet.

We don't always get a spring like that. I live in Ohio, so lots of springs are grey, cold and rainy.
But this spring is what God had in mind when spring was created. Just gorgeous.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Wheel of Time

I just read that the last book in the Wheel of Time series will be published in Autumn 2009. (this being news from the publishing world, one must Capitalize Autumn. Ahem). I'm psyched.

That book being published at all is bigger news than it may first seem, if you haven't read the series. You see the author is now dead and didn't actually finish the last book. ANOTHER sci-fi/fantasy series' author dead before the series is finished! (YEAH I'M LOOKING AT YOU FRANK HERBERT!!!!) I was seriously annoyed. Yes, yes sad too, but ANNOYED.

But Robert Jordan (author's nom de plume) knew he was sick,, had already begun what was planned to be the last book in the series and made copious notes of what was going to happen. His widow has chosen an author to finish the book (Brandon Sanderson), who has begun his first draft. WOO HOO!

This book, when it comes out, will be the 12th book in the series. The books average about 750 pages a piece. The first 3 books were incredibly good. The next 3 were good, but not great. The rest of them were - MEH! I know, why keep reading when all I thought of them was MEH? Because I'm invested in the characters now. I want to know how their stories end.

So I guess next January I'll start re-reading the series from the beginning so I can read that last book with a clear picture of all the characters and all the plot lines. Sounds like fun!

Bumper Sticker

I saw a funny bumper sticker on the way to work today and thought I'd share: "Your child may be an honor student, but you're still an idiot."

(I didn't say it was polite.)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Earth Day posting

I've decided to make a list of the simple things that my husband and I have done around our house to use less energy. This isn't intended to be a self-congratulatory posting. I'm hoping that it will give other people some ideas and frankly I think the ecology movement really misses the boat by not celebrating their successes. All that "whoa is us" talk can be demoralizing. So hopefully this posting will be one step in that positive-thinking direction.

1. We installed an electronic thermostat, which regulates the furnace in the winter and AC in the summer to minimize energy usage. We have fairly predictable schedules, so this works really well for us. It cost about $100 or so at a big box hardware store. My husband installed it (he's handy and actually reads directions and manuals )

2. We wash our clothes in cold water only - using a cold water detergent. Frankly this may work for us because we don't have kids - but it does save energy.

3. We don't run the dishwasher unless it's full and when we run it, we turn the heated drying function off and let the dishes air dry.

There are other things we do, I'm sure, but that's the main things that I can think of. Our energy costs are remarkably low, considering the size of our house. My goals for the coming year are:

Short term: check insulation in the attic to be sure it's adequate. Install more, if needed.
Long term: investigate the cost of installing passive solar panels on our roof. We have southern exposure in the back of our house, so this could be a big help for 9 months of the year.

Happy Earth Day!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pennsylvania Election

Six weeks ago the Clinton campaign (and all the talking heads) were saying that if Hillary didn't win the PA primary by at least 20 points she would "have to" drop out of the race. Here it is one day before the primary and now the Clinton campaign is saying "a win is a win is a win." Big surprise.

That woman will never drop out. Obama will have to pry her hands off of the bible so before he can take the oath of office....

Seriously though, my prediction is that if the democratic candidate isn't decided before the Democratic Convention, then the Democratic nominee for 2008 will be Al Gore. I'm not saying how likely that is, but the longer that Hillary hangs on, the more likely it becomes.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


This primary season has been going on for nearly 16 months and that's crazy! I realize being President of the USA is the most important job on the planet, but let's get real. No one pays attention for 16 months. I'm originally from PA and my family is still there. They've had the political world focusing their attention on PA for 6 WEEKS and everyone I know of in PA has stopped listening.

I think we out to change our primaries so that no state can have their primary election before Memorial Day and all primaries must be over by Labor Day. If a candidate can't make their case in 3 months, they don't deserve the presidency.

And maybe, with a much for focused election season, people will actually pay attention.

Saturday, April 19, 2008


This is a picture of my front garden. My husband and I have been here nearly four years now, but the garden is only about a year and a half old. The house was a new build, and we had other priorities the first couple of years. This spring the garden (so far) looks great. I can't take much credit for it though, since we hired someone to put it in.

I have arthritis in several places and that makes heavy labor (like installing a new garden in clay soil) impossible. But the garden was designed so that there's not much upkeep to it, so I can keep it up and get some exercise too. It's important to get outside after spending all day indoors in cubicle-land for work.

The yellow flowers you see are daffodils, yellow hyacinth (which I didn't know even existed!) and tulips. The crocuses (crocii?) have come and gone already and some purple and white tulips and purple irises still to come. The bulbed plants bloom from early spring to early summer, then the bushes and climbing vines take over - rose bushes, hydrangea bushes and climbing roses and hydrangeas. So there's some color in the garden from early spring through September. I'm really happy with it. Still want to put a roof over the front porch at some point, then the front yard will be done.

Then the BACK yard. We're going for more of a Japanese garden feel for the back yard.


Cats are the only creatures that can manage to look up at you and down their nose at the same time.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Avenue Q

My husband and I saw Avenue Q last weekend. What a great show! Calling it irreverent doesn't quite capture it. It's like calling the ocean moist. It's not inaccurate per se, but the scope is missing.

For those who haven't heard about: Avenue Q is musical (still on Broadway) with puppets. That being said, it is NOT intended for children. When you order tickets on the phone, the operators even ask you if you understand that it's not for children! But with song titles like "It Sucks to be Me" and "You Can be as Loud as You Want When You're Making Love" you can understand why.

I've had the CD of the broadway cast for several years now and I got a book about the show for Christmas last year, but had never seen the show. The book says the writers' description of it is "Sesame Street meets Friends" I would add "if Friends were on HBO." I don't remember the last time I laughed so often at a show. Friends of ours came too, and even DK (who doesn't like musicals) liked this one.

So, if the show comes to your town, my advice is to see it - but leave the kids at home. (There is a website, of course:

And no, I don't get a commission if you buy a ticket.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Getting out of Iraq

I don't understand why no one is talking about a practical way of getting out Iraq. I don't mean the current administration, they're nothing but a bunch of nimrods. They wouldn't handle leaving Iraq any more competently than they've done anything else, even if they wanted to leave Iraq - which they don't. Look at what it's done to the price of their oil company stocks. (Don't forget how many in the Bush administration were oil company execs or board members before they came to work for ol' Shrub).

Even the presidential aren't talking about leaving Iraq in what I think is a practical way out. First McCain, at least when it comes to the Iraq war, is just another Bush president; he doesn't really want out either. But neither of the Democratic candidates do more than give numbers of how long it will take to get all the troops out - then hoping you won't read their website to see that they'll both remove COMBAT troops but leave behind other types of security troops (50,000 to 70,000). That's just too much like three-card monty - sorry.

First of all I should be up front and say that I'm Quaker. As such, I am against war, period. I'll write about that some other time, but this exiting Iraq issue has been on my mind so I'm writing about that today. Secondly I should say that I have one nephew who has already served one tour in Iraq. He has nearly 2 years of obligation left to the army because of ROTC, so will likely be there for at least one more tour - assuming he isn't stop-lossed which would mean he could be there as long as the army wants him there. His specialty is military police, so the current plans of the Democratic candidates won't change the likelihood of him going back to Iraq, since they'll be needing security forces there for years or decades to come. Third, I have at least one other nephew who wants to join the army too, also through ROTC paying for his college. So all of that taken together means that my opinion may be colored, but that doesn't mean I don't GET an opinion.

If you're going to be practical about leaving Iraq, you have to admit that this a regional conflict not just an Iraq war. More than 2 million Iraqi citizens have left the country since the start of the war. They went SOMEwhere. Wouldn't the countries who had to absorb these refugees (that's what they are now) be willing (maybe happy) to talk to the US about how to stabilize the country? If Iraq is stable, maybe the refugees would return to Iraq. That's leverage that we still have and could use, but aren't. And many of the refugees were middle-class people with skills Iraq will need again when the violence is curtailed.

So, why not a regional peace conference? That will mean talking to all of Iraq's bordering neighbors - even Iran. The thought of a regional peace conference during a time of war wasn't so unusual in any other war we've waged. Of course, we had competent presidents and secretaries of state then too, unlike now. But a peace conference would put all the affected parties (including the Iraqi government, such as it is) all in the same place talking about a way toward peace. Maybe some sort of federalist plan for the Iraqi government for the short term, with a long term goal of dividing the country - like what was done in Yugoslavia 10 years ago. But with all affected countries at the table making the decision, you'd have a better chance of avoiding violence down the road. Unlike the way that modern Israel was established by the UN. That is NOT a model to follow.

I guess my underlying concern is that no one is talking about the importance that diplomacy will play if we ever hope to get out of Iraq completely and permanently. I know that Bush won't talk diplomacy and that's just as well. His idea of diplomacy is "we'll sit down and talk with you only if you give us everything we want before we talk." But Bush's time in office is coming to an end. It's past time for the candidates to get serious about their Iraq plans. And in my opinion, peace will only come through diplomacy.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


I recently had some minor surgery. The night before the operation I was the normal kind of nervous you get before something like this. Not really scared, just a bit apprehensive. So I didn't sleep well early that night; kept tossing and turning and waking up.

Then I had this weird dream. I was being wheeled into the operating room when the nurse asked me what kind of music I wanted to be played during the operation. I told her "Put on 'Blame it on the Bosa Nova.'"

I then woke up, laughed my ass off, and slept great for the rest of the night. I have no idea why.

That song doesn't mean a thing to me. I knew it WAS a song, but if you had put a gun to my head, hummed the melody and said "name that tune!" I would have come up empty. I even googled the lyrics to see if there was some hidden MEANING in the words. Nope. Just BLAME IT ON THE BOSA NOVA! LA la la LA LA!

Like I said in the first post: I like to laugh.


As yesterday's post may have tipped you off, I had a migraine. Have had them for, I dunno, 25 years now? (oy that sounds like such a long time). So today's post will be short too, though not as minute as yesterday's. Oh and if it doesn't 'hang together' well, at least you'll know why. Please excuse.

So why am I blogging? I mean at ALL, not just today after a migraine when I still feel mentally fuzzy? Because I'm good at writing - something I have known all my life - and don't have the discipline to write the stories, plays and poems in my head. I'm kind of hoping that blogging will get me in the habit of writing generally, which I can then transfer to creative writing. I read a piece on Andrew Sullivan's blog about how "addictive" blogging is, and I must admit that that was the final impetus to get moving. He, of course, was talking about addictive being a bad thing (which it is, of course), but I'm hoping to put that addictive-quality to good use. We'll see how it works out.

Friday, April 11, 2008


Migraines are yucky.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

What took so long?

I just re-read yesterday's post and was surprised how it ended. How gruff I sounded! Then I remembered: bluntness is my stock-in-trade!

I have friends who have blogs. They were my friends first, and then later started blogs. (not sure why that's important, but there you are). And one friend in particular has chosen to be quite circumspect in describing any information that could be traced back to him personally. He gives pseudonyms to the people he mentions in his blog, for example. I realize that he does that to protect his identity against theft or just generally against yahoos (not the website).

I hadn't really considered that before I started reading his blog and for some reason it stopped me from starting mine. I had thought of blogs being much more like the site or site. (See? I like my bloggers GAY and named ANDREW!). Both bloggers write about what they know (politics and politics/finance, respectively) and about themselves. They give their names, their partners names, etc. Neither writes about personal stuff very often, but when they do let it all hang out. I thought everyone blogged that way, until I read my friend's site.

So I was in a quandry. Which way would I blog? My friend's or my Andrews'? Because I couldn't figure out the answer to that, I delayed beginning this blog until yesterday - when I just couldn't stand it anymore! The truth is, I have no idea how I'll handle the personal information issue - but probably somewhere between the two. It doesn't bother me that people know I live in central Ohio, but I don't give my name. So, I'll find my way through the issue and see how it goes. I also won't give a link to my friend's blog, so I don't give out information about him that he would prefer to keep private. But he knows who he is. (Hi!)

And when did I become so indecisive?

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Welcome to Blogifesto!

Don't worry, I'm not in the habit of inventing words. But for some reason the word "blogifesto" just seemed like the right name for my blog. I had another name for this blog for months and I didn't write a single thing for it. But when I thought of "blogifesto", it seemed to sum up what I was hoping this blog would be AND it made me laugh. (If you read this blog much, you'll see how often laughter motivates me. In a good way.)

I intend to write on all sorts of some subjects - serious and otherwise. Politics is something I find interesting, and this being a presidential election year, I'll definitely write about that. Religion is also something that is important to me, so that will definitely be a writing subject. But so will the movies and TV shows I watch and books I read. Any and all subjects are fair game as far as I'm concerned. And while I welcome comments, any comments that I find rude or confrontational will be deleted. Don't like my blog? Don't read it, just don't lecture me about it in the comments.