Mt. Rainier and Lenticular Clouds - Dec. 2008 copyright: JMM

November 29, 2006

Merry Christmas vs. Happy Holidays

The Season of Brotherly Shove is, once again, upon us.
Yesterday I was reading an article in one of my hubby's secular humanist magazines about how the Christians are trying to shove "Merry Christmas" down everyone's throats now and how important it is not to let them. As you all know, that expression has fallen out of favor and it's more "politically correct" (if ever there was an oxymoron) to say "Happy Holidays", in order to include all religious beliefs (or non-beliefs), and people.
I realize that the word "Christmas" contains the word "Christ" and not all people believe in Christ, which is totally cool with me. Personally I think Christ was a pretty cool dude who did good things; the son of god however? Not so much. But to me, "Christmas" is just a word. I like saying "Merry Christmas". It feels more, I don't know, festive I guess. It hearkens back to a simpler time when there seemed to be more love, caring and sharing than there is now.
I was raised Catholic, Brian was raised Lutheran. He stopped believing in god long ago and is atheist. He's way too scientific to believe in god!! I was, at best, a "Christmas Catholic" after I got older and no longer had to participate in religious instruction so as to be confirmed. I don't really remember Sunday school, I spent most of the time staring at the stained glass windows and daydreaming. I rarely, if ever, did the "homework" and I memorized the prayers just to get by. But I always enjoyed going to Christmas Eve Mass at 5:00 p.m. My hometown was much smaller in those days, and many of my classmates were at Mass too. My father was well known and respected in town, and therefore, knew just about everyone at Mass. It was fun to see my friends, wish them Merry Christmas, then go socializing afterwards to my parents' best friends' homes (they all had kids my age).
I always associated Christmas with Santa, not so much the nativity story, although I enjoyed setting up our family's creche. I used to put the wisemen far away from the stable and move them closer each day till they arrived on Christmas Eve. My parents thought that was adorable.
Nowadays, elementary schools won't even decorate. I remember how much fun it was to decorate our classrooms with construction paper, have a party on the last day of school, give presents to my friends, see the tree in the school lobby as we arrived each day. Remember how much fun it was, that last day of school and you were ready to get on the school bus, and everyone was saying, "Merry Christmas!!"? Wasn't it exciting? Didn't it put you more in the spirit?

When I was a senior in college, I befriended a Jewish girl and we became good friends. She lamented that, growing up, she'd always missed out on Christmas. I had a key to her room, so one night I decorated it and got her a 12", but live, decorated tree. She was so excited!! And when school got out for Christmas break, she came down to my house on the Cape and helped decorate our family Christmas tree. Meantime, she taught me how to play Dreidl, using Chanukkah gelt for our winnings. She didn't have a Menorah at school, so she bought a set of 8 plastic flower shaped birthday candle holders and each night we lit one of the candles. I had a great time doing that! (She now celebrates both holidays with her children).

I have dabbled in Native American spirituality, but am currently studying Wicca. I respect other people's right to believe what they want. My only problem is with the rampant hypocrisy of so-called Christians. I'm not sure if there's a god or not. I don't believe much of the religious doctrine that I was brought up to believe. I find the Bible stories to be interesting and fascinating, but I don't necessarily take them to be "truth".
The winter solstice holiday, Yule, takes it's roots from paganism. The evergreen tree was the only live, colourful thing in the forest during those dark, winter days and was brought inside and lit with candles on winter solstice to celebrate the end of the dark and the return of the sun. There are many other pagan, solstice traditions from "olde Europe". Unfortunately, Christians decided to take over the Yule/solstice celebration by announcing that the holiday was to celebrate the birth of Jesus, thereby squashing the pagans under the heel of their collective boot.
Brian doesn't even like to say "Christmas Presents", "Christmas Tree", "Christmas Cards", etc. I pretty much type it as "Xmas" when I'm emailing people. We are a secular home, but I don't see what the fuss is about saying "Merry Christmas" to people you know celebrate it, whether or not they are religious. However, when I made a bunch of cards last weekend, I stopped short of using any actual, direct "Christmas" reference, opting instead for "Have a Cool Yule" or "Have a Happy Holiday Season" because I didn't want to offend anyone!
However, where do you draw the line? If you eradicate "Merry Christmas", then does that mean all references to Christmas have to be removed from carols and movies/shows to avoid offending non-Christians? Will we now sing, "It's beginning to look a lot like the last week of December"? "I'm dreaming of a white winter"? "A red ryder bb gun story"? "...then one foggy December 24th evening, Santa came to say...."? "The Grinch who stole December 25th"?
But I digress.
I have friends and family of all faiths and beliefs and I'd like to know what do YOU think? How do you acknowledge the season to your family and friends? Is it more acceptable to say "Happy Holidays" to people you know celebrate Christmas? Is saying "Merry Christmas" really that bad, if one realizes that "Christmas" is just a word? It's not even pronounced "Christ-mas", so I don't see what the big deal is!! Do you have to be a Christian to celebrate Christmas? Do my Jewish friends wish their non-Jewish friends "Happy Holidays" or "Merry Christmas"? Let me know!!

November 28, 2006

Snow Day!!

We woke up today to snow and ice, and the WSDOT advised everyone to stay home and avoid driving. I told my boss I'd try to come in once it got sunny, but he told me not to try it because of the treacherous conditions. And even though it is sunny now, it's still in the 20's and the roads are very icy. I will probably work at some point over the weekend to make up for the time I've missed so far this week.
Last night the Seahawks came back to beat the Packers in what is becoming known as "The Seattle Snow Bowl". First time in history that it's snowed at a Hawks game.
Western WA has also broken the "wettest month" record by exceeding 15" of precipitation.
My doggies are enjoying chasing each other around in the snow; as you can see above, Pepper was having a great time this morning!
I'm trying to make good use of the day by preparing my holiday cards and packages to send out, and I really need to clean out "the cupboard under the stairs" which holds a lot of my craft supplies. It's getting like "Fibber Magee's Closet".

November 27, 2006

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional

I turn "twenty-twenty two" officially at 11:20 p.m. I have the distinction of sharing my birthday with Jimi Hendrix and Carolyn Kennedy, and every once in awhile, it falls on Thanksgiving which is always fun. One time in college, when I got back from Thanksgiving break and was showing my roommate/spiritual twin/sisterfriend the stuff I got, she says, "You spoiled little brat! You get presents for Thanksgiving???" I was stunned and stammered, "but....but....but it was my birthday!" Needless to say, she was eating crow for a few days. Now, 23 years later, we still joke about it. Michelle - if you read this, I love ya babe!!
And I suppose I should do a pre-emptive strike before "Anonymous" leaves some torrid scenario about me and Michelle as roommates, which he is prone to do frequently, so "keep it in yer pants, dear, it wasn't like that!"
Speaking of "Anonymous", I've no idea what hubby got me as I won't open any pressies till I get home, but hopefully there'll be something Vincent-related!!
So happy birthday to me, and here are some tasty pics from Eliza, thereel, eBay and others who I cannot recall but you know who you are!

November 26, 2006

From torrential rains to snow

The wettest November on record continues, this time with some snow. It's not a lot, but any snow in the Puget Sound area is newsworthy. We usually get at least a couple of inches each year. But once 4" - 6" falls, the entire region shuts down because we are not equipped to handle it like they are in the mountains and in Eastern Washington.
It's still snowing up north in the Bellingham area (about 30 miles south of the Canadian border) but it's just warm enough here to start raining. When we bought the house in June, 1999, we were in love with the big horseshoe driveway. Now it's more like, "what were we thinking?" We've had snow and ice so bad that we've had to put kitty litter down to get enough traction to drive to the top, after getting a running start down the street. And storm cleanup is no picnic either when you have to use a snow shovel to get the thick, slippery coat of pine needles removed. You get quite a bit of exercise trying to clean up this driveway, let me tell ya!!
I expect the snow to be gone by early afternoon. But it's fun to see when it happens!!

November 25, 2006

Well I've finally emerged from my triptophan (trytophan?) stupor long enough to post some pictures from Thanksgiving Day. It was awesome. The weather was cold and rainy all day, which is what we pray for each year.

Here's our table; a lovely mixture of paper plates and fine crystal stemware. I scored the cornucopia flower arrangement at the Fred Meyer store where I went to do my last minute shopping on Wednesday morning. I couldn't believe my luck!
I wish that the next two photos could convey how hard it was raining, and how dark the sky really was. Rain was pouring out of our overflowing gutters.

A cozy scene in our livingroom.

I love Thanksgiving weekend and I think it's really my favourite holiday, even over Christmas. I get to live in pj pants or sweats for 5 days. But oh how I dread Monday when I have to wear pants again. And nice clothes too because my boss is taking me out to lunch for my birthday to an upscale restaurant in Tacoma called Stanley & Seaforts. I'm thinkin' I better get back to the gym before the Christmas food season is upon us!

November 22, 2006

Current Conditions

It's pouring rain down here in Bonney Lake, but this is a shot of Stevens Pass, which is north of us, where it's snowing like crazy. Stevens Pass is one of 3 passes that run east-west through the Cascades, and it's approximately 4,000 feet up. I got this off of the KING-5 live camera at 10:30 pm. It's supposed to get very cold and the snow level is dropping to about 1,000 feet by Sunday so we might even see snow at my house. I'm glad I'm not traveling for Thanksgiving because it's supposed to be very bad in the mountains.

November 21, 2006

Cool photo

Just had to post this was taken today during another storm, by one of the KOMO-4 tower cameras in downtown Seattle. The lightening is striking both the Space Needle and Washington Mutual Tower.

Happy Turkey Day!

Ok so these are seagulls.... But anyway, hope all my stateside friends have a great and safe Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

I am thankful to my hubby for putting up with my Vincent obsession. And my craft obsession. And putting up with me in general lo these 17+ years. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful and supportive hubby. XOXOXO

I am thankful for all of my new "V-love friends". I truly enjoy our blogging and emails and am very fortunate to have met all of you, even if only in cyberspace. Someday we'll have to plan that trip to NYC so we can stalk the D'evine One.

I am thankful for my dear friends and family, who are always there for me whenever I need a hug or shoulder to cry on. You all know who you are!

I am thankful for my little furbabies, Pepper and Sagan who make me laugh on a daily basis. I don't know what I'd do without my sweet doggies to snuzzle.

I am thankful that the Democrats took the House and Senate.

I am thankful that Vincent D'Onofrio went into acting so that I can lust after him.

November 20, 2006

Dear Santa

All I want for Christmas is:

wearing a couple of strategically placed bows and/or ribbons. Can that be arranged???

November 19, 2006

Kraft Korner

This is my "Kraft Korner", where I make all my beaded jewelry and other crafts. It's set up in the family room, downstairs and is very cozy.This is what the family room looks like when I'm at my craft table. Groovy celestial curtains, no? I made them about 12 years ago for our kitchen in an apartment we lived in for a year in San Rafael, CA. These are pictures of my maternal grandparents, Maria Marganella and Anthony Marsh (the last name is Americanized from either Masciarelli or Marsharello; the family debate continues....) Brian got me the neon "Boulevard of Broken Dreams" sign for Christmas a few years ago. If you've never seen it, James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and Bogey are the patrons, and a young Elvis is the soda jerk. It's based on Edward Hopper's "The Nighthawks" which was the poster that was hanging in this spot till I got the new one. Everyone recognize sweet Vincent under the beaded amulet bag (made by my best friend in Maine)?
More supply drawers and boxes. The ribbons are "Participation" ribbons from a couple of entries in the Puyallup Fair a few years ago.

It's getting a little bit crowded as I continue to amass more and more supplies for beading and card making.

November 15, 2006


When I stand up for myself and my beliefs, they call me a bitch.
When I stand up for those I love, they call me a bitch.
When I speak my mind, think my own thoughts or do things my own way, they call me a bitch.
Being a bitch means I won't compromise what's in my heart.
It means I live my life, my way.
It means I won't allow anyone to step on me.
When I refuse to tolerate injustice and speak against it, I am defined as a bitch.
The same thing happens when I take time for myself instead of being everyone's maid or when I act a little selfish.
It means I have the courage and strength to allow myself to be who I truly am and won't become anyone else's idea of what they think I "should" be.
I am outspoken, opinionated and determined.
I want what I want and there is nothing wrong with that!
So try to stomp on me, try to douse my inner flame, try to squash every ounce of beauty I hold within me.
You won't succeed.
And if that makes me a bitch, so be it.
I embrace the title and am proud to bear it!!

B - Babe
I - In
T - Total
C - Control of
H - Herself

B - Beautiful
I - Intelligent
T - Talented
C - Charming
H - Hell of a Woman!

B - Beautiful
I - Individual
T - That
C - Can
H - Handle ANYTHING!

November 14, 2006

Six Degrees of Vincent D'Onofrio

Val and I were chatting by way of IM earlier today, discussing the "name dropping" posts we did. I asked if she remembered the "Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon" thing that went around a few years ago, where someone figured out that every actor/actress was within six degrees of working with Kevin Bacon. I told Val, that by virtue of the fact that one of my cousins worked on a Kevin Bacon movie in the early 1990's, that Val (and everyone else I know) are also within six degrees of Kevin Bacon.

That got us musing about all the amazing actors and actresses Vincent has worked with, and could someone do "Six Degrees of VDO".... for example, what would be the 6 degree link between Vincent and, say, Gregory Peck? OK, maybe that's a bad example b/c Gregory Peck was in "Cape Fear" with Juliette Lewis who was in "Crooked Hearts" and "Strange Days" with Vincent....But you get the idea!
Unfortunately I don't have the time to research this. So I'm tossing out the challenge to my V-Love Gals out there in blog land.

November 13, 2006

Name Dropping 101

Val's challenged us to drop some names of famous people with whom we've rubbed shoulders. I am admittedly a "Star Collector" (song by the Monkees about a girl who collects autographs, but it's not a very complimentary song), so I've met and/or seen a lot of famous people, so I'll just include the biggies.

I met the Clash backstage at the Cape Cod Coliseum in August, 1982. They were in town on the "Combat Rock" tour and we just made ourselves as quiet and inconspicuous as possible, and when the crowd thinned out, the Clash's manager at the time, Cosmo Vinyl, let people in to meet them. Ellen Foley was there, hanging all over Mick Jones and glowering at all the women. It was Joe's birthday and we all told him "happy birthday" as he signed autographs. I met Elvis Costello backstage at the Cape Cod Coliseum in the summer of 1983, on the "Punch the Clock" tour. He signed my ticket stub and concert program.
Robert Urich's "Spencer for Hire" was filmed in Boston, when I was at Emerson College. A lot of kids from Emerson would end up as extras on the show. One day, me and my friend Ellen cut a bunch of classes to watch them shoot a scene on Charles Street, where they blew up a car. It was really cool! After the scene was over, Mr. Urich signed autographs for everyone.
The Saul Zaentz Company/Fantasy Records was a client of the first law firm I worked for. My boss at the time, Malcolm Burnstein, was SZC's former in-house counsel and when he went on his own, they stayed on as clients. We were involved in a great deal of litigation against John Fogerty although I never met him. But one year Mal took me to SZC for a tour and I watched them editing "The English Patient". As a side note, Mal Burnstein was the lead counsel for the students arrested during the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley in the 60's. I was VERY fortunate to have worked for him.
And the crown jewel of my autograph collection, Bob Weir & Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead. We met them at a benefit in June of 1990, in San Francisco. I was so nervous to talk to them, but I plucked up my courage, introduced myself, shook their hands and got their autographs.

November 10, 2006

C'mon baby light my fire

The license plate frame is from eBay....and thanks to Eliza for the picture. Hope she doesn't mind me posting it the day after she did, but it's so ultra delicious that I couldn't resist Frisky Friday.

Have a great weekend! V-love to all my gals - you know who you are!!

November 8, 2006


OK, the Oakland Raiders really sank to a new low on Monday Night Football. Tyler Brayton kneed Seattle Seahawk Jerramy Stevens right in the family jewels. Although he was tossed out of the game, he was only fined $25,000. I thought there'd be a suspension for sure. Just to show that I'm fair, Jerramy Stevens was not exactly the paragon of virtue in this game either, and he too was fined $15,000 for his own cheap shot earlier in the night. Not to mention a dropped pass that would have resulted in a touchdown.


"Listen, if I can't have my way, then I'm taking my toys and going HOME!"

That's what it looks like Rummy is saying, doesn't it? Well, at least he woke up, smelled the latte and retired. Or quit like the loser pussy that he is.
We're all pretty happy with the election results, except for our choice for our US Congress District 8, where incumbent Dave Reichert (R) is edging out newcomer Darcy Burner, which is a disappointment. And it seems that I was in the minority on all of the local issues as well. But at least we got the changes we so desperately needed. And Shrub saying he wants to work with the Democrats. Right. I'll believe it when I see it. He just wants to make nice-nice so they don't impeach his ass which I am hoping is the first order of business. Actually the second order of business...the first should be getting our troops home from Iraq before any more of them die in an illegal war.
Sun's out, rivers are receding, ground's drying, highways are's all good!

November 7, 2006

Creative Commuting

Well, the storm really gave Western Washington a one-two punch for sure. Got home OK last night, but woke up this morning to find out that the main highway out of Bonney Lake was closed down the hill in Sumner, because water was over the jersey barrier in both the east and west bound lanes. I had to go up to the town north of me, Auburn, and get off the hill there, and then back track to my normal route to work. Took me an hour to go the 22 miles when normally in the morning it takes 30 minutes. I've seen the Puyallup River very high before, but today it was just about road level, and in some parts, was under the guardrail on the edge of the road. And it's still raining and very humid! At least my hair is curly. The Seahawks won against the Oakland "Rayduh's", at home last night in the rain. It was a great game!
This is the Puyallup River as seen in Sumner. The town decorates this bridge with white lights and red ribbons for the holidays. Although I did not cross this bridge today, this is the same river I drive alongside on my way to & from work, on River Road. This photo was taken by Drew Perine from the Tacoma News Tribune and posted on their website this morning.
This is a picture of Tahoma Creek in Mt. Rainier National Park. Looks more like a river than a creek! Photo courtesy of Mt. Rainier National Park Service.This is what Snoqualmie Falls looked like yesterday. It's a magnificent, thundering waterfall about 30 miles or so east of Seattle. You can either look at the falls from the platform, or you can hike down to the bottom. I hiked the trail once w/ my best friends from Maine, several years ago, but it was at the end of June after a dry winter, and the waterfall was much less impressive. Photo courtesy of KIRO TV Channel 7.

November 6, 2006

Aloha from........Washington????

We've been living up here for over 7 years now and I've never seen it rain this hard, for this long. It's a very wet, but very warm storm, known on the West Coast as "The Pineapple Express" because it's warm air coming directly from Hawaii which brings a ton of rain. It's about 60 degrees out and extremely humid....At least my hair is curly today!!

I'm hoping that I have no problems getting home on River Road, which is actually a levee along the Puyallup River that keeps the water from flooding the farms on the other side. I wonder if I can use my car seat as a personal floatation device?
Here's a Doppler radar picture from yesterday afternoon of the storms coming in from the South and North. I don't know why it shows a "rain shadow" on the coast and interior Olympic Mountains (below Forks) because it's been pouring down rain there as well.
I got the next few pictures from our local news websites. This one shows an accident near Shelton, which is pretty far from where I live. Mud and debris over the road are responsible for this one.
Here's a killer "rooster tail" taken on a local road in Pierce County, where I live. Earlier today, my boss, coworker and I were watching the drivers slam into the huge puddles in front of our building - we saw some great splashes!
Don't think anyone's going to be returning their rental cars at SeaTac International Airport today....

Friends Don't Let Friends Vote Republican

Tomorrow's the election and it's a very important one at that. This country is going down the tubes faster than I ever thought possible, and it's all thanks to that moron who calls himself the President. If you are not outraged, then you are not paying attention.

Back in 2000 when Shrub wasn't elected, I said, "mark my words - he will turn out to be the WORST president in the history of the US", and he really has turned out to be the worst one, at least in the last century. I mean, given the choice, I'd take Nixon over Shrub at this point.

The important thing is to get out there and vote tomorrow. Vote for a change. Vote to bring our troops back home from the quagmire that is Iraq. Remember, Shrub lied to us about the reason we invaded: He said there were weapons of mass destructions, which there weren't, and to avenge the US for 9/11, in which Iraq had no involvement.
If the Democrats can gain control of the House and the Senate, we have a shot at getting us back on the right track. The entire world HATES us! All because of Shrub and his cronies.
What have we had in the last 6 years? Scandals, lies, senseless killing, more lies, hypocracy up the kazoo from so-called "Christians", even more lies......
So get out there and vote. The future of the country and your children depend on it. Don't be a little lamb going to the slaughter and follow along with the other mindless Republican morons who can't open their eyes and see for one second what a mess Shrub has made of this country.
Remember, voting is a right and a privilege. People in other countries have died for the right to vote. It's your obligation and civic duty.

November 2, 2006

Vincent D'Onofrio - Sexiest Man in the Universe

The last 2 days, I've gotten Google News Alerts regarding VDO emailed to me. Both days, Val's blog, "life-and-vincent" have come up in the news alert. A week or so ago, Madi's blog was in the news alert. So I'm just trying to see if my blog shows up in the Google news alert tomorrow!
V-Love to All!!!

November 1, 2006

"Saw" mask - $45.00
Second hand black blazer - $6.99
Red fabric to make bow tie - $2.50
Hearing the piercing shriek of a young girl rip the cold Halloween night air - Priceless.

We got only one group of 8 kids last night; they looked to be about junior high school age. Our house is a split level, so Brian waited in the family room in his costume, looking out the window which faces the driveway and stairs to the front door. I was on the landing at the door giving out the candy. As I was handing out candy to the last 2 kids, I heard a very shrill scream from one of the kids. It was so loud you could hear it echo throughout our neighborhood. As I shut the door and turned back around, I saw Brian staggering into the hallway downstairs, mask in one hand, other hand over his stomach, laughing so hard he wasn't making a sound except to try to breathe. I was laughing pretty hard by that time too. He said the look of shock and horror on her face was absolutely hilarious and she jumped a mile when she turned around and saw him standing in the window. It was the kind of hair-raising scare that almost makes you pee your pants.