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

November 30, 2009

We are devastated.....

I'm sure everyone has heard about the murder of 4 Lakewood police officers in Parkland, Washington, by a career criminal who was granted a pardon by former Arkansas Gov. and Republican Presidental Candidate, Mike Huckabee. A big fat THANK YOU to Huckabee for unleashing this piece of scum on my state. We are NOT amused. Last night he issued a statement, blaming just about everyone and everything, except himself, for this gross error in judgment. We are still trying to move past the execution of Office Brenton in Seattle on Halloween night, and now 4 more officers are killed while sitting in a coffee shop prior to their shift.

In fact, it's making me really sick the way all of the public agencies here and in Arkansas are saying, "Nope, we followed procedure, not our fault".

Lakewood & Parkland are very close to me. I worked there when we moved here 10 years ago and I still go there to get my photos processed at the camera shop. Although we have a huge population, Pierce County has maintained a small town/community feel. We were on tenterhooks all day yesterday, waiting for the names of the officers to be released, in case we might have known them (we didn't).

I was surprised at how emotional I got yesterday. What a craptastic way to end the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. All I could think about was how they probably had a wonderful holiday with their family and friends, kissed their families yesterday morning and headed off to work.....the families probably went out shopping or started decorating....only to have their lives shattered and forever altered by this piece of human shit.

The suspect, Maurice Clemmons, is still at large, which of course has the entire region gripped in fear. He is wounded, apparently significantly, and bleeding profusely. If he's not dead already, he's in serious pain. There are people that are helping him too, which shocks me. He managed to get from Parkland to Seattle, and slipped away this morning during an 11 hour standoff at a house in which he was said to be hiding.

I looked him up on the Pierce County Court website to see what kind of rap sheet he had up here. Because I work in a law firm, we have an account with the Court so that we can view all of the documents filed in any case. Turns out Clemmons was busted in May for breaking and entering and harassment. He had a bench warrant out this summer for failure to appear. He was also busted this summer for rape of a child and assault. During the summer, one of the Judges ordered him to have a psych evaluation at Western State Hospital, but I didn't see where the report or recommendations were filed. I did, however, see that another Judge released him on November 24th on a $150,000 bond. Judges have immunity in situations like this, so they can't be sued. But I am sure that the Judge feels absolutely horrible. If bail had been set higher, or had Clemmons been remanded w/o bail, this never would have happened.

Apparently, in his 5 days of freedom, he managed to take off his electronic monitoring anklet and procure a weapon. He went into the Forza Cafe near McChord AFB yesterday morning where the officers were having coffee and started firing. There was no robbery, just the execution of 4 police officers. It was devastating to hear that one of the officers managed to get to the door of the cafe and struggle, and get off at least 1 shot that (hopefully) wounded Clemmons. The police have been looking for him over 24 hours now and they can't find him. There was an 11 hour standoff at a home in Seattle overnight, but when they finally went inside, no one was there.

The grief is unbelievable. The CEO of the Forza Coffee stores was in tears on the news tonite. Pierce County Sheriff media spokesman, Sheriff Ed Troyer, looks dazed, exhausted and at times, extremely angry & annoyed by the press' stupid questions last night during the press conference. Yesterday, in St. Louis, the Seattle Seahawks head coach, Jim Mora, addressed the reporters after the game and downplayed the badly-needed win in order to make a statement extending the team's concern and sadness for what was happening in Washington.

Top left is Sgt. Mark Renninger, age 39. Leaves a wife, 2 daughters and a son.
Top right is Officer Ronald Owens, age 37. Has a daughter.
Bottom left is Officer Tina Griswold, age 40. Leaves a 21 year old daughter, 7 year old son and husband.
Bottom right is Officer Greg Richards, age 42. Leaves a wife & three kids.

I assume that the rest of the world is now talking about America's so-called "gun culture". The bottom line is that criminals will always be able to find weapons, whether or not they are illegal, or even regulated like in Canada. There are shootings in Toronto and Vancouver all the time. Personally I'd like to see the days of the Old West come back where everyone carried a gun. It levels the playing field dramatically. The right to bear arms is in our Constitution and that will never change. Responsible gun owners would never, and have never, done anything like this.

Meanwhile, the County is struggling to come to grips with this horrific, premeditated crime. It's going to take a long time to heal.

The cop killer is DEAD! Shot overnight by a Seattle police officer. However, there are 3 people in custody, accused of providing Clemmons with money, cell phones, rides and weapons, and several others are expected to be arrested. I hope they throw the book at them!!
If anyone is interested in reading Maurice Clemmons' Pierce County Superior Court files, they are being made available to the public at this website: Follow the directions at the top of the screen to log into LINX.

November 27, 2009

Birthday Suit

I just HAD to show you what Madi made and posted it on my Facebook Wall!!!!Makes me think naughty thoughts about icing and Vincent. *snicker snicker*
Thanks Madi!!! xoxoxoxo

November 25, 2009

Things for which I am thankful

Boy it's been a rough 16 months or so. In fact, I will go so far as to say it's been the worst 10 years ever, and not just for us.

However, it's Thanksgiving here in the States, and I do have a few things for which I am thankful:

My incredible, sweet, generous, funny and thoughtful friends. I love all of you and nothing would please me more than to meet each and every one of you in person. Maybe my New Years resolution should be to play the lottery till I win. Then I can fly all of you to a central meeting place so that we can all hang out. And I'll have enough money leftover for bail, for we will, no doubt, get arrested for disorderly conduct at some point. lol

My hubby and our marriage. We've had our ups and downs, but 20 years later, we still love each other and still laugh hysterically on a daily basis. I'm thankful that we haven't turned on each other like so many couples have during this economic crisis.

My family, especially my cousins. I'm lucky to have grown up in such a large Italian family with so many cousins!!

My job and boss. I don't like the clients, but I like the work. And my boss is such a great guy. It's hard to believe that I'm closing in on 9 years working for Steve. My commute isn't too bad and I'm thankful that I don't have to work in Seattle.

My fuzzy little four-legged children who also make me laugh every day with their silly antics. There's nothing quite like cuddling with a doggie. There's also nothing quite like the joyful and enthusiastic reception I get when I come home from work.

I'm thankful that our house isn't upside down and our cars are paid for. I see people's financial information every day and I'm grateful that we are not in that kind of debt. I would be catatonic.

I'm also grateful to the psychiatrist I saw back in 1989, who encouraged me to follow my heart and quit my job at Channel 56 so that I could live out my dream of living in San Francisco. That man saved my life. I wish I could remember his name b/c I would love to drop him a line to say thanks.

Then we have my many celebrity crushes. I am thankful that all these hot guys exist for my viewing pleasure: Vincent, Dean, Vincent, Pyper, Vincent, Christopher....did I mention Vincent?

Finally, I'm thankful for my craft habit. I don't think I could possibly survive the crushing stress without that outlet.

I hope everyone in the States has a wonderful Thanksgiving, full of food, football and good company!

November 20, 2009

Canine Math

What do you get when you take one of these
Add it to one of these
Mix in a smidge of this.....
....And a smidge of that....
And add it to one of these?








You get
We had an ancestry analysis done on Pepper and the results are in! All this time we were certain she was a Shepherd Retriever mix. We were only partly right.

20% - 36% of her DNA is Cocker Spaniel
10% - 19% Doberman Pinscher
10% - 19% German Shepherd Dog
10% - 19% Weimaraner
10% - 19% West Highland White Terrier.

November 17, 2009

Sick of the Holidays

And they haven't even started yet.

I've been trying to figure out why I'm so Bah Humbug when it comes to the holiday season, because I never used to be. I noticed a marked change around 2003 when we stopped putting lights in the windows and outside. It was just too much damn trouble and half the time the suction cups would fall off the windows, so the lights would be hanging in crazy swoops. Or it'd be howling out, pouring down buckets, and Brian would have to go outside to unplug the lights out there. The last time I went all out decorating was for Xmas 2005. It took hours to drag all the boxes out and lovingly decorate the upstairs and downstairs. As I unpacked everything, I couldn't help but think that it felt like I'd just put it all away and now I had to drag it all out again. Then on December 26th, I spent hours packing it all back up.

One of the reasons we've scaled back is that Sagan is just too, erm.....'enthusiastic' and rather than have a precious, one of a kind ornament broken, we decided not to put them all out anymore, including a live tree like we had for the first 15 years of our marriage. Or the really cool wire tree that holds all the beaded ornaments I made & my modest collection of Christopher Radkos. I think I miss that more than anything else. But Sagan could easily take that whole thing down with his tail, and the results would be disastrous.

When you are a child, it seems like it takes forever for the holidays to arrive. Nothing went up in the stores till after Thanksgiving. When Santa arrived at the end of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, you knew the holidays were officially here. About the only mention of Xmas was when the big Sears Wish Book would arrive in the fall. No one put up any decorations till at least the first or second weekend in December. You got one chance to see the holiday specials. I remember one year, I had to have been 9 or 10, my parents & I went to Hyannis after school, to shop. At 7:45 I had a complete meltdown because "Charlie Brown Christmas" was starting at 8 and we'd never get home in time. My dad didn't yell at me often, but he yelled at me that night. Told me I'd seen it before and it'd be on again next year. That seemed like FOREVER away. But I loved Xmas when I was a kid, and even the first few years Brian & I were married in San Francisco were amazing. I got so excited, it was so special.

Slowly but surely, over the years, the holidays have begun to creep into our lives earlier and earlier. It's gotten to the point now where I can't stand hearing Xmas carols because everywhere you go, they are blasting. I would go postal if I had to work in any retail store or bank and have to listen to it all day long. One of my Facebook friends took down her Halloween decorations on 11/7 and put up all her Xmas decorations that day. It makes me feel kind of bad for Thanksgiving, getting lost in the shuffle between Halloween and the December holidays. It's just too early.

Catalogs arrive in July, packed with decorations and ornaments. Cable networks decide to be cute and run "Christmas in July" specials. It's 100 fucking degrees out and I'm supposed to get jazzed for the holidays? Are you kidding me? I went to Fred Meyer in late September and not only was it jammed with Halloween decorations (which of course went up in August), the end of the aisles had boxes of lighted deer, wreaths, holly, trees, etc. Xmas crap for sale in September.

I'm convinced that the reason the years are flying by is that everywhere we go, we are bombarded with advertising, rushing us through the seasons. Go into any store on Dec. 23rd and you'll see the Valentines Day stuff going up. February 12, the St. Patrick's Day stuff will be out, and Easter immediately after that. After Easter, all the lawn & gardening crap goes out. Grills, beach balls, etc. Back to school ads start immediately after July 4th, Halloween decorations are available by the end of August. We're never allowed to enjoy the lulls between holidays and seasons anymore. As soon as one ends, the next one must be prepared for.

It was October 4, and we saw the first commercial for The Seattle Ballet's Nutcracker. As I pounced on the mute button, I said to Brian, "It's gonna be a loooooooong next 3 months if this ad is gonna start running now..." This damn ad runs constantly, morning, noon and night, and has done so since we moved here. I can't help but wonder if the little girl in the ad is already out of college by now. I am so fucking sick of hearing Nutcracker music it's not even funny. And I used to love that soundtrack too.

Try watching college or NFL football this time of year. OMG, we had to mute every single commercial break this weekend. Could they be more annoying? And loud? The diamond ads, the car ads and oh my god the fucking Walmart ads (don't get me started on my Walmart rant). And who the fuck buys someone a car for Xmas? Seriously! Esp. in this economy?!?!?!
The diamond jewelry ads really send me into orbit. "DIAMONDS! Give her the gift she REALLY wants! Buy factory direct and SAVE!" Or the snotty shrew of a housewife emasculating her husband in front of the entire family, upon observing another female family member's diamond jewelry gift, sniping "HE went to JARED!" I went apeshit the first time I heard the commercial for DeBeers engagement rings that touted, "what better way to spend two months' salary?" TWO MONTHS' SALARY? On a ring? I said to Brian, "I swear to god if you have a spare 2 months' salary burning a hole in your pocket and you want to spend it on me, and you buy me diamonds, I will Kick. Your. Ass." (also, don't even get me started on my blood diamond rant). Every single year there is some new, usually ugly and/or gaudy diamond encrusted pendant that you MUST give your wife or girlfriend because it's the only way to truly express your love. Didn't I hear that last year with the journey pendant? And the year before with the circle pendant? And the year before that with the Past, Present & Future pendant? Quite frankly I'd much rather have Brian put the toilet seat down, or think of me when he's out and picks me up a little something, even if it's just a pack of gum or an ice cream. That means way more to me than some diamond gift that the media has guilt tripped him into buying. He has bought me diamond earrings and a beautiful and very unique diamond pendant, but never, ever because I goaded him into it.

BUY BUY BUY!!!!! YOU NEED THAT!!! Your significant other/child/parent/aunt/third cousin six times removed NEEDS THIS!!!! Can't live without it!!! SHOP SHOP SHOP! Host the perfect dinner! Decorate the perfect house! Buy the perfect gifts! And let's face it, the absolute last thing any of us need is to incur more debt.....or anymore "stuff". Take a listen to George Carlin's routine, "A Place for My Stuff". It's hilarious. It's true. And I'm just as much to blame. We've reached maximum density in a 4 bedroom house b/c it's so full of "stuff".

Watch all the specials over and over and over again! When I was a kid I couldn't imagine being able to watch Charlie Brown Christmas more than once in a season, much less be able to own it on DVD. If you missed it, you missed it. Now you can watch "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" any time you want, if you own it. "It's a Wonderful Life" in the dog days of summer.

"Carol of the Bells"? Used to be my absolute FAVE carol. Ever since it was used in an Andre Cold Duck ad in the 1970's. Walmart uses it now. So does Garmin GPS. And many others. I think I did a blog post about it's overuse last year, in fact. Well the Carol of the Bells onslaught is upon me again and I'm about to take hostages.

The ad agencies are making me hate Xmas long before the actual date ever arrives. I'm already sick of looking at decorations and hearing the music. It's unfortunate too, because we have a lot of beautiful and very unique ornaments and stuff, and I love to take them out once a year and reminisce about them, but it's just so much damn work and there's always this huge feeling of letdown on December 25th. After the excitement of the morning, the afternoon is always thick and heavy, the night is always subdued. All that buildup, months and months of obnoxious advertising and it's over in 3 hours the morning of the 25th.

Just in time for the after Xmas sales on December 26th...

November 14, 2009

Seasonal Dragons

I started these in June and worked on them during my lunch break all summer, finishing in September. Finally found frames I liked at Artco, so I framed them today. Click on the pics for a detailed view.

Spring. When I bought the kit, I had no idea it included beaded accents, so that was a nice surprise.
Fall. It's hard to see but there are sparkly blending-filament threads mixed in with the floss. It seems to show up best in the light orange areas.

November 4, 2009

Our Little Earthquake Detectors

I have heard many stories about how people notice a change in their animals, right before earthquakes. Many pets run away in the days before a quake. But it's only after the fact that the people realize that their animals were trying to tell them something.

The last 2 nights in a row, Pepper....
...and Sagieboo....

were acting really weird. They were really clingy and restless. They wouldn't lay down, they would just stand in the family room either near the slider or in the doorway to the hall, and stare at us. We kept saying, "Lay down. Sit. Down." and they'd just stare at us. When they get like this, I'll always say, "What's up with you guys? Is Timmy trapped in the well? Are we gonna have an earthquake or what?"

Sometime very early this morning, my bed was shaking very hard and fast. I assumed it was Pepper either climbing up, jumping off, or perhaps she was shaking b/c she'd heard a loud noise. I may have muttered, "settle down Beanie." But when I moved my leg over, she was laying very still, although she did jump off the bed right after that. I turned over and thought, "wonder if we just had a quake?" A few minutes later, I looked at the clock and it was 4:55 am, so I went back to sleep for an hour. I woke up at 6, forgot about the shaking bed, turned on KING-5 news and saw this story:

"PORTLAND - Federal officials say a 5.3 magnitude quake off the Oregon coast Wednesday morning did not generate a tsunami. The U.S. Geological Survey Web site did not have any initial reports that the quake was felt on the coast. The USGS reports the quake occurred at 4:38 a.m., 249 miles southwest of Portland or 124 miles west of Barview."

Although the quake was at least an additional 160+ miles from where we live, I am certain that's what I felt. I asked Brian and he said he didn't consciously feel any shaking, although he did get up to use the washroom and noticed that it was 4:38 am.

There was a small quake off Humboldt County in California the day before.

Could Bee and Say have sensed them before they happened? It would explain their behaviour the past 2 nights. Since Brian and I both try to approach things scientifically, we do take notice of the way they act, to gain insight into how dogs interact with each other and with humans. And living in "Earthquake Country" for the past 20+ years, we are extremely aware of the many lost pet or unusually hyper pet stories, especially after the 1989 San Francisco earthquake. A couple of weeks after that quake, I remember I was walking to the store in my neighborhood. I could hear dogs barking and howling in apartments. I thought, "Oh god we're gonna have an aftershock, I just know it...." There was an aftershock that very night.

Next time we'll take Bean's & Boo's restlessness a bit more seriously!