Saturday, May 31, 2008

First Rose of the Summer

This is the first rose this summer from the climbing rose vine along side the garage. By the looks of things though, it will have plenty of company soon! I've been fertilizing it and that, along with the good (if cool) weather this spring seems to have helped it immensely. There are already several dozen buds on the vines. I'm just concerned that the trellis I put it on is already too small for it - and it's only the second summer. This vine itself grew so much at the end of last summer - one branch in particular grew more than 3 feet in a week - that it's likely to look like man-eating plant from that musical whose name escapes me at the moment...

As glad as I am to see the rose vine blooming, I'm really excited to see what happens with the climbing hydrangeas. I have two of those, one on either side of the climbing rose vine. Neither of them bloomed last year because of that freak snow storm in mid-April. The plants themselves survived, but not in good enough condition to bloom. So this years blooms will be the first time blooming. I have no idea what to expect. Both plants are doing well. One needs to be worked into the trellis better than it is, but I'm going to wait a few more days for my arthritis flare-up to pass before I try that. Stooping that low for that long doesn't seem like a good idea.

The regular hydrangea bushes are doing quite well. One is bigger than the other and has more blooms, so I think they must do better in a shadier area, because that's the only difference I can see.

I'll be sure to post more pictures as thing continue to bloom. I love the warm weather.


Arthritis is just as yucky as migraines are.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Jelly Bean update

Well it's official. The jelly beans are gone. (sniff, sniff). They'll be missed.

But I want to make sure that everyone knows that Husband finished HIS jelly beans BEFORE I finished mine. Two whole days before, in fact.


Friday, May 23, 2008

Attention Obamacons!

Senator Clinton said some very inflammatory things today. Here's a quote from the Huffington Post: "My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it." (emphasis added). I think it's pretty clear what she's suggesting, so I wrote to her via her US Senate address. I urge you to do the same. Go to the website. Look for the section that says "Search for your state" Click on NY, then Senator Clinton. You have to go through all this rigamarole, because her campaign website doesn't allow users to send email.

Here's my email to her:

"I am absolutely APPALLED at your comment today about how "We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. I don't understand it." I understand it Senator. This is clearly a not-so-subtle plea to some nut-job out there to do your dirty work and kill Senator Obama.

It angers me that I have to write you about this. I voted for your husband in 1992. I decided not to vote for him in 1996 because of his decision to sign the so-called Defense of Marriage act in 1996. I thought then, and still think now, it was a craven act of political opportunism. But despite that, I supported your husband throughout his second term and after. During the impeachment hearings and long afterwards, when your husband was a laughingstock,I stuck up for him.

But that all stopped when you he campaigned earlier this year in South Carolina. The blatantly racist comments that you both made were unconscionable. I had already decided to support Senator Obama by then, but if you won the nomination I would have gladly have supported you. But with the two of you were so dismissive of him and his campaign, I could stand no more.

Now this. You should be ashamed of yourself. You are a professional public speaker and have been for 35 years. You cannot claim, without totally destroying your own argument of experience, that you didn't mean it that way or couldn't have forseen how others would take it. If 35 years of experience didn't teach you that about public speaking, what are the chances that those same 35 years trained you to be President.

You are a disgrace to Democratic Party and I urge you to apologize to Senator Obama and stop your presidential campaign."

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I must be a bigger geek than I realize

I've been reading a lot of news websites about gay rights in general since the CA Supreme Court decision on gay marriage. One of the other issues for many gay people is gays in the US military and the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law. That law is usually shortened to "DADT" on websites.

Invariably I read that to myself "Defense Against the Dark Arts" first, before going NO WAIT! Does that mean I'm a geek first THEN gay?

If so, why don't I work in the computer field?


Cats don't talk because they don't NEED to. They can make themselves understood quite well, thank you!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

California Supreme Court decision on gay marriage

I've been involved in the gay marriage issue for a long time. As a member of the Pittsburgh Friends Meeting (Quakers) back in the early 1990's, the issue was one of the central questions of the meeting at the time. I won't go in to details (it took several years to get to a place where everyone felt comfortable. And explaining the Quaker method of making decisons would be a book all to itself.), but it finally culminated in re-writing the book that Meeting used for Meetings for Marriage. I was asked to work with the group of Friends re-writing the book. I can't tell you how honored I felt, since these were all people I greatly admired.

But getting TO that point was long and laborous, not to mention necessary. From a Quaker perspective, a decision can't be made unless there is not one single person in the Meeting who would stand opposed to that decision. As I'm sure everyone has seen for themselves over the last 5 or 6 years, marriage is something that many people have strong feelings about. Changing the institution riles some to the point of being irrational - on ALL sides of the issue. And if it took this long in a Quaker Meeting - individually some of the most liberal people you will find - imagine how long it will take the rest of the country! Change will come, but it will come slowly.

That being said, the CA decision is a big step forward. Especially because what they based their decision on was equal protection. They didn't proscribe a particular remedy, only that the remedy the legislature comes up with must treat both heterosexual and homosexual couples equally. It is entirely possible (and recommended, from my perspective) that the CA legislature will decide to call all committed relationships that have been legally sanctioned "civil unions" and let churches decide for themselves whether or when to call a couple's union a "marriage."

Readers of this blog may have gathered for themselves the level of commitment I have with my partner, since I refer to him as "husband". And, living in Ohio, we live in a state that has discrimination written into its constituion, when it comes to same-sex marriage. We don't feel this discrimination on an everyday basis, of course. If we did, why would we stay? But there are real ramifications of not being able to get married, and we have both felt them in the past.

Both of us have had other partners before entering this relationship. And both of us had that partner die. In my case, because my first partner wasn't out, I had to pay his estate back for the down payment for the house we had just bought together. I had to pay this back, without his income to help pay the expenses of owning a home (and his income was twice what mine was). I was working and going to school, living in a house I couldn't afford and trying desperately not to go bankrupt and lose the house. I managed, barely, but it took me 11 years to dig out of that financial mess. A mess that a married straight couple wouldn't have had to worry about, because current marriage laws protect them.

My husband, on the other hand, has not one picture of his late partner - a man he spent 10 years of his life with. His parents demanded all of his belongings after he died, because after all, why would he want them? It never crossed their minds, I'm sure.

So I guess I've seen both sides of the issue - people of all kinds who support same sex marriage and people of all kinds who don't. The time will come when this won't be an issue - either for government or for religions - but we aren't there yet. Honestly, I doubt that I will live long enough to see it. I'm not saying that because I'm pessimistic, but because I've seen how long real, lasting change can take. The thing to focus on though, is that things ARE changing for the better.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Telling on myself

Sometimes I do funny things. Sometimes I do stupid things. Sometimes I do things that are stupid AND funny. When I do, and I feel the urge to share them, I'll put them under this title. And today I feel the need to share.

Once in a while I have a period where I can't seem to get enough of a particular food. And the food is never GOOD for me either. At the moment I seem to be in one of those periods and the food that I'm obsessing over is jelly beans (and no, I was not a Reagan fan.) It's happened before with jelly beans, but not for about 9 years. Like I said, it happens once in a while.

Anyway I went grocery shopping with my husband. We went to a particular grocery store because we knew that this store had a Jelly Belly display that included Sours. Now when I get this jelly bean craving they don't have to be Jelly Belly. I'm no jelly bean snob or anything. They have to be fruit flavored (spice - EW!), but other than that, I don't care. But once I had those sours in mind, well, I did mention that I was obsessed, right?

Anyway, I walk up to the display and tear off a plastic bag. I give it a cursory glance and figure it will hold about 1 pound of candy. Great. Perfect. So I fill up my bag with Sours I had been obsessing over for about a month, put them in the grocery cart and start to push the cart away from the display. Husband says something like "Aren't you going to get any other flavors?" PERMISSION to satisfy my obsession? Why YES! YES, thank you VERY much!

So I grab another bag, and go to the other flavors that he wanted to try (all fruit flavored. YEAH!) and put them in the bag. Then, just to top off the bag mind you, I put in a few other flavors that sounded yummy. Plum? Oh My God That Sounds SO Good! I nearly fill that bag too and we're done with jelly beans and off to fill the rest of grocery needs.

We weren't buying a TON of things so when we got to the check out and the cashier said "That'll be $89.13" I vaguely thought "that's a little more than I thought it would be." But I chalked it up to rising food prices and put the bags in the cart. (To those of you who have figured out where this is going, stop skipping ahead of the class!) Then Husband looks at the receipt and gives me this Look. It's a look that says "I know something that is very funny and I DARE you to ask me about it in front of ALL of these people." Naturally I asked about it in the parking lot.

It turns out that we spent $89.13 on groceries but $31.00 of that was on JELLY BEANS! The plastic bags held more than 2 pounds a piece and we had nearly filled two of them, so we bought over 4 pounds of jelly beans (and it was ALmost enough!)And to top it off Jelly Bellies are over $7.00 a POUND! Can you IMAGINE? $7.00 a pound for jelly beans? I hadn't even looked at the price on the display. It never occurred to me that they would be that expensive.

If we had a safe at home, I'd probably put the darn things in the safe. When you spend $31.00 on jelly beans, the darn things ought to last a while.

But with my current jelly bean obsession, they probably won't.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Never buy a cat a toy designed by a human. The best you can hope for is that they won't be afraid of it.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Front Garden - as promised

Here's a picture of the Korean lilac bush in full bloom. Of course it's raining today (hard!), so the rain will likely wash off all the flowers. So I took a picture of it so I can have it to enjoy!

Hope you do too!

YUM! A recipe for beef

I don't often eat beef - 3 or 4 times a year at most. Until recently, I didn't eat beef at all and hadn't for over 20 years. So when I DO eat beef, I eat the best I can find/afford.

A few weeks ago my husband and I were watching an episode of America's Test Kitchen on our local PBS station. (a show I highly recommend) One of the recipes on this episode was for something called Steak Diane. I had never heard of it before that show, but evidently it's an old, old recipe that doesn't get made very often. Turns out the original recipe called for a sauce that took 3 days to make. In a culture that finds it difficult to make a whole meal in 30 minutes, taking 3 days just to make a sauce is impossible.

That's where the America's Test Kitchen show comes in. They found a way to make a reasonable substitute for the sauce that takes 20 minutes of preparation time and 1 hour of cooking time. Then you put it over a steak of your choice (though they recommend a NY strip). We tried the recipe last night and had BS and his husband DK over for dinner. It was unbelievably good. If I even think of the steak, my mouth starts watering.

So if you have a special occasion and you eat beef, I highly recommend Steak Diane. You can get the recipe at the website. The site is free, but you have to sign up for a user ID and password.


Saturday, May 10, 2008

A Practical Joke I've Never Played

Ohio has lots of lotteries - instant lotteries and the kind that you have to wait until 7 PM every evening to see if you won. Included in the latter are Pick 3 and Pick 4 - lotteries where you pick 3 (or 4) digits and can win as much as $500 on a $1 bet. Numbers - just the mafia used to run - but I digress.

Every night when they pick the numbers, they always do it in the same order: Pick 3 then Pick 4. One night I'm sitting there watching it (actually waiting for Two and a Half Men reruns to come on), when it occured to me: the Pick 3 and Pick 4 numbers look like a phone number when you put them together.

That's when the Mr. Hyde part of my personality came out.

I think it would be hysterical to call the phone number that the Pick 3 and Pick 4 number generates and ask "Is this 123-4567? It is? Well you'd be really rich right now if you had played your phone number." And then hang up.

Mr. Hyde is not, needless to say, MATURE.

And I'll write about some of the practical jokes I HAVE played at some point in the future. I don't do it often, but when I think of a really good one, it's hard to resist.

Friday, May 9, 2008

You Better Be Good to me!


Yesterday Cher and Tina Turner were on the Oprah show. The gay union sent a blast email telling everyone about the show, so naturally I watched it. Time to punch another notch in the gay union card.

A prisoner of your love
Entangled in your web

The show was worth watching - I still have it on my DVR to share with friends tomorrow night after dinner. But the BEST thing, was when Tina Turner announced she was going to go on tour again starting on October 1st! WOO HOO!!

Hot whispers in the night
Im captured by your spell

See the last time Tina toured (which was supposed to be her last tour, but I'm NOT complaining), I didn't get to see her. I was flat broke and couldn't afford a ticket. It was a real regret of mine that I had never seen her in concert, when I'm such a big fan of hers. And I try to live my life so that I have no regrets.

Oh yes Im touched by this show of emotion
Should I be fractured by your lack of devotion
Should I? Should I?

Tickets don't go on sale until Monday, May 12th, but the Oprah show's website had details on how to order tickets early. So I immediately went upstairs, got on the computer and ordered 2 tickets for her show in Chicago on 10/3/08. No shows in Columbus. I then left a voicemail for my friend BS saying "I hope you can get time off on your new job, because you and I are going to see Tina Turner in concert in Chicago in October. Call me." (See? I'm blunt in real life too, not just online). BS grew up in Chicago and still has friends there. And I know how much he loves music generally - although I wasn't sure of his opinion of Tina. But I HAD DECIDED. (G)

You better be good to me
Thats how its gotta be now

A little later I was talking with one of my brothers-in-law, FE. FE said to me, "Why didn't you ask your husband?" It wasn't until that point that I consciously thought about it, but I KNEW that he wouldn't want to go. He doesn't care for vocal music and he HATES large crowds. Traveling to to Chicago to go to a Tina Turner concert? Not likely. Just to be sure, I asked him about it later. He looked at me like I had grown a second (extremely UGLY) head on my shoulders and said "No. I don't want to go." He didn't SAY "Are you nuts?" but he didn't need to. Facial expressions can be very clear.

Cause I dont have no use
For what you loosely call the truth

So BS and I are going to the concert on Friday and will stay in Chicago until Sunday. I've decided that this weekend getaway will be the tail-end of my 50th birthday celebration. Unless I can get afford to go to Vegas and see Cher in concert. THEN ALL BETS ARE OFF!

You better be good to me

I decided to put the first verse and chorus of "You Better Be Good to Me" in this posting so that you could know what I've been like all day. That song has been running through my head since I ordered tickets yesterday!

I'm back!

I haven't posted in a few days because I've been under the weather. As I've written before, I get migraine headaches that can be triggered by a number of things. I had a migraine a week ago that lasted for about 8 hours. Although the migraine went away, I still had a regular headache for another 3 days. Finally on Tuesday, I'm sitting at work with my elbows on my desk and my face in my hands thinking "My face hurts so much!" (don't go there!)

Then, all of a sudden, it occured to me: I have a sinus infection. All of my headache pain started in the sinuses - and I had other symptoms that are just too gross to explain (but if you've ever had a sinus infection, I'm sure you know what I mean). So I contacted my doctor and he wrote a script for antibiotics. Doctors don't normally do this, but I've had sinus infections for years and had sinus surgery. I know when I'm infected and know how important it is not take antibiotics more than absolutely necessary.

So, I've take the pills, slept a LOT and am feeling a lot more myself. Now my face only hurts me when I look in the mirror! (it's okay when I do it) I have a few things on my mind, so I'll be posting a lot over the weekend.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Front Garden

This is a close up of a flowering shrub in our front garden. It's called a Korean lilac bush, or so I'm told. It's kind of like a lilac bush if Jackson Pollack had designed it. Right now it has these splotches of lilaccy purple buds all over the place. Last year that's all we got - buds. Since this is a bush I'm not familiar with, I'm not sure if that's what's supposed to happen or not.
You see, early last spring we had VERY warm weather - promptly followed by 6 inches of snow. This on our then brand-new garden. So, I'm still learning things about the plants in our garden because last year was kind of a bust, garden wise. So, I decided to take a picture of the lilac bush now, because even if these buds don't bloom it's still really beautiful. I love this bush. (and yes I just mixed politics with gardening). If the buds actually bloom, I'll be sure to take another picture of it in bloom and I'll post that too.
The Japanese maple tree are both doing really well, as are the climbing hyrdrangeas. Two of the boxwoods are dying as is one of the lavendar bushes. But c'est le vie. I didn't care for the boxwoods anyway and now I know that growing lavendar is an iffy thing at best in Ohio. Not sure why.
Does anyone know of a variety of lavendar that grows well in Ohio? I'm not terribly concerned about the scent (which I know some are), I'm more concerned about it being winter hardy so I don't have to replant some every year. Happy gardening!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Question for Wii users!

I bought a Wii console and a couple of games a few months ago and haven't used it as much as I thought I would when I bought it. I'm thinking that may be because most of the games (with the exception of Wii Sports) are single player games. I think I'd use the console more, I think, if both my husband and I could use it. He gets bored watching me play, and I feel like I'm hogging the television when I play single player games.

So, my question for Wii users is: what multiplayer Wii games have you played and recommend? See? This time I'm asking for a recommendation rather than giving one.

Neither of us like shoot'em ups, but other than that any games are fine. Thanks for the help!


How glad must the Obama campaign be that April is over? Let's hope that May is the first month of a 6 months of good things for Obama and his candidacy.