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

April 28, 2008

Headin' East

Well my long awaited trip to Cape Cod is approaching. I leave Seattle on the red eye, Wednesday night, and arrive in Boston at 6:45 a.m. Thursday. As mentioned before, I'm in first class for this part of the trip b/c I want to be comfortable. And, in the unlikely event that the plane gets to the gate by 6:15, I can be first off and get on the 6:30 a.m. bus to the Cape. But I'm sure that I'll get in after that one leaves, so I'll have to wait around at the airport for the 7:30 bus, which gets into West Barnstable at 9:20 a.m. I think everyone will agree that flying east is a very grueling task because of the time difference. I'm not a huge fan of the red eye, but it's the most efficient way, time-wise, to go from here to there, because you can hopefully get some sleep. And no one can come pick me up at Logan Airport....furthermore, I wouldn't ask anyone too. Those highways and tunnels are a complete clusterfuck. Even with the new and allegedly "better" road construction, it's a complete mystery to me. The best way to get from the airport to the Cape is on the Plymouth & Brockton bus, a method of travel of which I am a very seasoned traveler. In high school and college, my friends and I used to take the bus to go shopping in Boston, and when I went to school in Boston, I'd take it to go home for long weekends and short vacations.

I hate to fly, I really do. I always start getting uneasy feelings about the flight and the plane and terrorists and so forth. Thank god for tranquilizers. And my extra special traveling partner, pictured above, Lucky. When we found out that my dad had cancer, I went to the Cape in April of 2003, basically to say goodbye. I was a complete mess, and on top of it, stressed about the flight and having all those same uneasy feelings I get every time I fly. About a week before my trip, I came home to find a package from Liz. Inside was a gift bag and inside the gift bag was this little Beanie baby doggie that her son Ryan picked out for me. He wanted me to have it for good luck, a safe trip, and also because we'd just gotten Pepper and he knew I'd miss her. I don't think that Ryan will ever know just how much that gesture meant to me. I think he was like 9 years old at the time. The kid has a HUGE heart, which is a testament to his parents and their families. Liz & Jim - ya done good with both kids! So I take Lucky with me every time I travel now, be it by plane, car or ferry. He's gone to Canada with me every year, and to the Cape w/ me every time too.

At least my cousins will be there. And I heard that they are bringing my 94 year old Uncle Dick down from Boston to see me too. He's actually my great-uncle (my nana's brother), but because he lived up the street from me, he was always more like a grandfather. Don't know if we'll have time to jam in every single thing that we'd like to do. Ideally, Paul & Sharon would like to take us all out four-wheeling at Sandy Neck Beach. That'd be a blast. I've only done it once before, gone all the way out to the end. It's only accessable by 4-wheel drive vehicles, or an extremely loooooong walk. Paul wants to take me for a spin on his Harley. I'm just playing it by ear, and prepared to be really flexible, esp. since Di will have all 3 kids w/ her too. The important thing is to spend time with them, not what we do or where we go. It'd be just as good to just sit around the kitchen table and shoot the shit and laugh for hours on end too!

I'm one of these super weird people who has to come home to a clean house after I go away. My spring cleaning is going really well. It took me all weekend, but the kitchen looks like a million dollars now...but for the ugly dark brown 1970's-era cabinets. Ellen sent me a "sticky" on Facebook that says, "A clean house is the sign of a wasted life". I cracked up when I saw it.
So I expect I'll be pretty homesick....not just for Brian and my sweet doggies, but for my life, house, region, sports teams, and yes, even my pain in the ass stressful beyond belief job. I just hate being away from the west coast. I'll miss you guys and will try to check in from the library in Sandwich.
Hey Fen, thanks for the book!!! I'll be taking it with me for sure.
See ya'll when I get back!!

April 24, 2008

Facebook is my crack

"Hi, my name is Joanne..."
Hi Joanne!
"....and I'm addicted to Facebook".

Lawdy lawdy lawdy. Ever since Axe, and some of my other friends, invited me to join Facebook, I've been a Facebook fiend. I put it off joining for awhile b/c I thought it'd be like My Space. Not that there's anything wrong w/ My Space, I just never bothered to open up a My Space page b/c it didn't seem like there was much I could do w/ it. Little did I know how much fun Facebook really is.

I can't get enough of it. It's unbelievably fun and so interactive. Brian started a Facebook for himself but he finds it a bit too "ADD" for him. lol

The one thing I don't like is that you are required to forward applications requests to your friends in order to get them to stick on your own page. Until I built up my friends network, I had to bombard some of you guys with tons of requests in order to get the applications onto my own page. Or as my cousin Sharon very tactfully put it, "You've been a real firecracker on Facebook, haven't you?" So, for those of you with pages who don't update regularly, like Sharon, I apologize for the mass carpet bombing of applications requests from me. Although in my defense, I have sent some of you guys Vincent D'Onofrio flash.....

On Tuesday, I had to call in sick b/c I'd twisted my ankle on Monday afternoon. I wanted to stay home and keep ice on it. Now, everyone who knows me well, knows that I cannot sit still. When we were first married, my constant buzzing around used to make Brian practically hyperventilate. I've mentioned before that his nickname for me is "Schmaby" so when I start buzzing around the house doing stuff, we call it "Schmabing". So there I am on Tuesday, on the couch, and I start to fidget. My mind starts to race, "I have soooo much to do. What cleaning can I do w/o having to be on my feet?" I put that thought to rest quickly b/c I knew I'd get read the riot act when Brian got home. In fact, he even called me at 9:00 a.m. to make sure I wasn't cleaning. He graciously granted me the use of his laptop computer, in order to keep me sedentary. I found out that it is possible to spend an entire day on Facebook. By 3:00 pm, I couldn't even feel my ass, because I'd been sitting so long.

So with every spare minute of my day, after I make my regular blog rounds, I am on Facebook. As soon as I see that my boss is on a phone call, I dart over to Facebook. The second he takes a client in his office or leaves for Court, I'm on Facebook.

Well, gotta go for now.....Facebook awaits.

April 20, 2008

Remembering Daddy

"She thinks when she was small
There on her father's knee
How he had promised her
You'll always be my baby....." Dave Matthews

photo taken approx. November, 1966 I have so many wonderful memories of my beloved dad. The family gatherings and parties, his memorable solo performances in the annual Minstrel Show, the Red Sox games he took me to in Boston, vacations together, his incredible fondness for fart jokes (just saying,"Hey dad....FART!" to him and he'd bust up laughing), his distinctive laugh, parades he marched in, being out and about in town with him and have him stopped by people everywhere we went, his quiet faith. However, every now and then, a simple, long forgotten memory will make it's way through, usually brought on by hearing a song that he liked or used to sing. This past Saturday, I had one of those memories surface.

My dad was born in 1922 in Georgetown, British Guiana in South America. He, his older sister and younger brother were orphans. Dad left school after the 8th grade and went to work as a cook on freighters that ran between S. America and the USA. He obtained his US citizenship when he was around 19 and immediately joined the US Army and fought in World War II, where he was wounded & received the Purple Heart. Because his last name of "Mendonza" came alphabetically after my Uncle Pete Mendola, Pete befriended this nice boy who had no family, and brought him home to meet his family. My great-grandmother took my dad to her heart immediately. My mom and dad corresponded during the war, mom was only like 16 at the time, and they married in 1947.

My dad had absolutely no role model on how to be a good father. Yet it came sooo natural to him. He was the best daddy a little girl could have. One of my earliest memories from before I went to kindergarten was when I'd see dad's truck pull in at the end of the work day. I'd go hide under the diningroom table or behind a chair and tell mom, "sshh! Don't tell daddy that I'm hiding!". Dad would come in and say, "Where's Joanne?" I'm sure my mom quietly gestured that I was hiding....because then daddy's voice would get louder, "I wonder where Joanne could be? Is she in the desk?" then he'd open the desk. "Is she under here?" and he'd lift up the notepad....but by then my giggles would give me away. He'd stoop down and find me under the table and go, "THERE SHE IS!!" and catch me up in a big hug. Sometimes he'd have brought me a little toy & would have it in his shirt pocket for me to find. But I digress.....

This past Saturday, it was snowing at my house, believe it or not. I'd left work early on Friday and did all my errands, so when I got up on Sat., I didn't have to leave the house. I came downstairs in my jammies, grabbed a colouring book & markers, got under my blanket and settled in. I'd DVR'd a Bugs Bunny 90-minute cartoon/movie so Brian suggested that we watch it, since it was Sat. morning.

Now, for those of you not brought up in the States, or brought up after the 1970's, Bugs Bunny cartoons were the cornerstone of Saturday mornings. We had no Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon or Disney Channels. Cartoons were on NBC, ABC or CBS. Bugs was shown on CBS at 10 am, and always ran 90 minutes. I never missed it. I love the whole Warner Brothers gang - Yosemite Sam, Michigan J. Frog, Taz, Bugs, Daffy, Elmer Fudd, Sylvester & Tweety, Roadrunner & Wile E. Coyote, Gossamer, Marvin the Martian.....etc. Some of my friends' parents thought that Bugs Bunny was too violent. Fortunately, my parents did not view it that way.

Brian and I began watching the Bugs show and we are both in hysterics over the antics. Even though we knew what was coming, we were still laughing; it's just classic stuff. In this particular set of cartoons, Sylvester was really taking his lumps. One after the other, Sylvester's attempts to eat Tweety and/or mice were thwarted. At one point, I glanced up from my colouring book to see the snow falling, then my eyes went to the TV where Sylvester was getting creamed and I was transported back 35 years.

Pick any cold, snowy Saturday morning from November thru March, between 1970 and 1979, and you'd find me on the couch in our livingroom, watching cartoons, under the throw blanket. I'd get up pretty early, grab my shoebox of "treasures", some crayons & paper, my fave stuffed toy horse Trax, and set up shop in the livingroom to watch my shows. Mom always let me do my chores in the afternoon after the cartoons were over.

My dad owned his own business, "John Mendonza Plumbing & Heating", and for awhile, was the only plumber in our town & everyone knew him. He worked 5 days a week, and usually till 1:00 on Saturday. He'd usually pop back in during the day to get more supplies from the barn, have lunch, & ask mom if she needed anything at the store. These were the days before answering machines and he needed my mom to stay home to answer the service calls, which is why she couldn't break away to get to the store if we ran out of bread or milk, so dad would always ask what we needed.

Sometimes if he got home early on Saturday, like at 11, he'd drift into the livingroom to say Hi to me, glance at the TV to see what I was watching, then sit on the little footstool in front of the rocking chair and watch the last half hour of Bugs Bunny with me. He would just roar with laughter every time Wile E. Coyote was smashed by a boulder and they'd make that accordian sound as he walked away all folded up, or whenever Tweety would outsmart Sylvester. He got a serious charge out of it.

So there I was this past Sat., lost in my own memories and trying not to start weeping. When I shut my eyes, I could see the cheery, yellow livingroom at my parent's house, and the green carpet....I could see their old Zenith TV on the TV stand, dad in his grey work pants and shirt, perched on that tiny little footstool, sometimes balancing a plate with his sandwich on his knees, the two of us watching Bugs Bunny cartoons and laughing. I'd always clear off the endtable and a space on the couch and beckon to him to make himself more comfortable & eat at the table, but he always loved sitting on that footstool. Even at family parties when the guests would be occupying the chairs, couch and rockingchair, he'd sit on the footstool.

Dad and I always shared a love for cartoons, and thinking back on that 1970's Saturday morning memory, made me also remember that we'd watch a lot of Yogi Bear, Huckleberry Hound, Trixie Dixie & Minxie, etc. together in the afternoons after school too. I remember one day in junior high, I was up in my room listening to records, but I could hear my dad downstairs maniacally laughing. I went down to see what he was watching and it was Yogi Bear!! In the early 80's, Channel 38 in Boston showed "Night-toons", a half hour block of Bugs Bunny shown at 11 pm on Saturday nights, and dad and I ALWAYS made a "date" to watch "Night-toons" together.

I consider myself a very lucky girl to have had a daddy like mine.

April 17, 2008


Craig's List scares me. Seriously. At first, I thought it was a cool idea to share stuff via a free classified website, but there have been a few news stories lately that have made me think twice about ever using Craig's List, either as a buyer or seller. And we do have a whole bunch of stuff to sell (all the crap we bought for the Neilton place which is still brand new and never been used), but I'm just gonna have to kick it old school and place an ad in the Little Nickle, or have a yard sale.

Sometime in late '06 or last year, a woman in Tacoma used Craig's List to get back at a relative with whom she'd had a falling out. The woman placed the ad, saying, "everything must go. all free. take what you want", but gave her relative's name & address. The home was literally stripped to the bare walls. Baseboards were even taken, as were the wood trim around windows & doors, but that didn't matter because the windows and doors were gone too. Everything. Every fucking thing was taken out of that home in a matter of hours.

Then last fall, there was another Craig's List problem with a guy in Port Angeles who used a phony business check to buy a diamond ring for $5,200.00. Luckily the victim was able to seek police intervention and a sting was set up. And just this week, a guy who was renting a room at a private home in Puyallup had a confrontation with police and blew the house up. Seriously. Blew it right the fuck up. The whole second story went flying all over the neighborhood and the rest of the house went up in flames. The renter had answered the couple's Craig's List ad for a room to rent. As it turns out, the criminal was a sex offender and was making vast quantities of explosives in the room he was renting. Now this couple has lost everything. Ultimately the responsibility lies on the purchaser/landlord, buyer beware and all, but man alive!

If these stories made it into our local news in a short period of time, then there have to be many, many other horror stories that aren't big enough to make it on the news. And if it's happening here, it has to be happening everywhere. Have any of you used Craig's List to buy or sell? What was your experience? What have you heard about it?

So last night, we were watching The Learning Channel and we saw an ad for yet another reality show. Is anyone else as sick of them as I am? Isn't their 15 minutes of fame up yet? I loathe them. I won't watch them. I don't care about American Midol. And now it seems like everyone has them. There's one about a couple raising 8 kids. Um.....not that big a deal people. My great-grandmother, an Italian immigrant, was a widow at age 37 and raising 8 kids, alone, in New York, in the 1920's. And who the hell are The Kadashians and why do they have a show?

The ad for the show on TLC was called something like "Date My House". The premise of the show is that the host helps the homeowner makeover their home to get ready to sell. Then potential buyers are allowed to sleep over, host a dinner party, etc. to see if the home is right for them. WTF???? I mean, these people are sleeping in the guy's bedroom!! Can you imagine what must be on that mattress? Spray some luminol on it, get a black light and watch the bedroom light up!! Ew. I know that hotel mattresses must be as bad, but I sure don't want strange people doing it in my bed, you know?

Well, I want in on these reality shows. I want people to compete for something for me. These are the names of the reality shows I plan on pitching to Hollywood:

"Clean My House"
"Mow My Lawn"
"Drive me to and from work"
"Cook My Dinner"

Well, you get the idea.

Tomorrow, April 18, will be the 102nd anniversary of the Great San Francisco Earthquake and Fire of 1906. Modern science estimates that it was probably around a 7.8, and it shook The City for a damn long time. The San Andreas Fault ripped open for 296 miles. This is in the tiny town of Olema, near Pt. Reyes National Seashore, at the epicenter of the quake. Olema is about 20 miles west from where we lived in Fairfax. The San Andreas Fault shoots out of the land at Pt. Reyes, into the Pacific and runs along just outside the Golden Gate, and then rejoins the land again south of San Francisco. That would be the second red line from the left. There is an earthquake trail at Pt. Reyes National Seashore, in Marin, and you see the fences not lined up as the North American and Pacific plates slowly slide past each other. (all pictures are from the internet).

See how far apart they are?Val, I hope I'm not freaking you out..... It's just one of the realities you accept in order to live on the west coast, the most beautiful place on earth.

It wasn't so much the quake that destroyed 1/3 of The City, it was the 3 day fire that followed, from all the ruptured gas lines. A bit farther south, in San Jose, Sarah Winchester was shaken out of her bed in the magnificent mansion she was building, because the spirits told her to never stop building (work went on, 24/7 for 30 years). The chimney collapsed and walls knocked so askew that she couldn't get out of her room. She thought it was a sign from the spirits that they were displeased with the progress, so she increased the building tenfold. The Winchester Mystery House was the final result.

In the photo below, you can see a column in the island, on the left middle side. That's Lotta's Fountain on Market Street x 3rd. Every year after the quake, on 4/18 at 5:13 in the morning, survivors would gather to observe the moment. When we lived there, we watched the numbers of survivors dwindle substantially, till all that were left were people who were babies in 1906, and had no actual memory of it. I worked right across the street from Lotta's Fountain. It was donated by Lotta Crabtree in 1875, a local and much beloved burlesque/vaudeville entertainer, with a bawdy sense of humor and penchant for cigars. When I was there, the fountain was a pretty shabby brownstone, and the basins were always filled w/ trash. Fortunately, it got a make-over in 2003. The buildings behind the fountain are the Sheraton Palace Hotel on the left, and the Monadnock Building, which is where I worked from Sept. 1990 till we relocated our office to Berkeley in Feb. 1996. In fact, all the windows you see on the sixth floor were my office. (Annie, did you know that the alley between the Palace and Monadnock is called "Annie's Alley"?)
Enrico Caruso had given a concert the night before the quake and was staying in the Palace. The next morning, he was so frightened by the quake that all he could think to do was throw open his window and sing. He was found later on, wandering the streets with everyone else, trying to get on a ferry to Oakland to escape the conflagration. He never returned to San Francisco.

The way those houses lean crazily kind of creeps me out. It reminds me of those super weird early Disney cartoons where houses would be dancing from side to side; their windows were eyes and doors were mouths.

Finally, I'm still pretty goal-oriented, which was my new years thing. Am still working out a couple times a week. I've thoroughly cleaned a good portion of the house, and hope to get the kitchen completely done this weekend. I've also kept up with my craft projects and I feel like I've gotten more done on them in 3.5 months than I did in all of 2007. And 2 weeks from today, I'll be on the east coast.

April 14, 2008

The Sun Canvas

We've had the good fortune of living in 2 homes that get a Stonehenge-like effect in the spring and fall.

In our townhouse in Fairfax, CA, we had skylights in the cathedral ceilings and twice a year, a beam of light would creep down the wall on the stairs and light up the usually dark livingroom for a brief few minutes. We even hung a crystal prism that didn't see sunlight for most of the year, except on those few days in the spring and fall, when it would shoot rainbows all over the walls. Every time someone new would come over they'd say the same thing, "um...why do you have a crystal hanging there?"

Unfortunately I did not realize I had black & white film in my camera when I shot this picture, the one day that we were actually home for the full-on sunbeam hitting the crystal, in September, 1998. It was the only time I was able to shoot the effect and I blew it w/ b&w film! Oh well.
Then we moved into our house in Washington in August, 1999. That September, we witnessed the same kind of "Stonehenge effect", only this time it was with the cut glass in our front door and the hallway wall downstairs. Then it happened again in April, 2000, where the circle was centered on the wall. We decided that we would not hang any posters on this wall, and just call it the "Sun Canvas". Although the cut glass provides pretty rainbows and light during the long summer days, only in Sept. and Apr. is the design centered like this. I shot this on Sunday, 4/13. See the kind of pointy shadow on the left? That's Sagan's ear. He, of course, had to escort me to the landing and sit next to me as I shot.

Closeup of rainbow on the wall.

The frosted design on the pane acts as a stencil.

April 12, 2008

Mrs. Bean Jeans

We got Pepper in early 2003, long before I had a blog, or even knew what a blog was. Consequently, all of the great pictures of her are permanently adhered in her special scrapbook, which is why I seem to post more pics of Sagan than I do Beanie.

I'm starting to gather stuff together to pack for my trip to Cape Cod, and I always take along a small "travel album" of pics of my sweet little furkids. Here are some pictures of little Pepper from that album.

Brian shot this about 30 minutes after he'd brought her home from the Humane Society. Isn't it sweet? The info left by her family said she was about 2. She was still very puppy-like that first year. She was an outside dog at the time, and so for a few months, she lived in a kennel next to the garage, but she was inside by summer. She didn't know what toys were, and she didn't even know how to walk up and down stairs!! We had to teach her all that stuff, as well as housebreaking. OK, this may be the reason that Snuggsy doesn't like having her picture taken. She was not on board with these bunny ears and it took a lot of time and patience to get a decent picture of her with the Easter stuff on the table. What I was doing was taking seasonal photos of her to compile into a custom-made calendar for 2004, and I needed a shot for the Easter page. This particular photo is one of the outtakes, as the best one is in her scrapbook.
We took Mrs. Bean Jeans to the Maris Farms Corn Maze (or "maize maze" if you will) in October, 2003. She was sooooo happy to be on such a long walk and she got lots of attention with her bandanna. What a pretty little girl!!!
Her first snow, November, 2003. "Wut dis cold stuff?"

Christmas Day 2003. We had this photo made into holiday cards for the following year.
Long Beach, Washington, February, 2005. She tentatively went to the water's edge to have a sniff. A little wave came in, sucked the sand out from under her back feet and she was struggling to find purchase. Needless to say, she avoided the water's edge after that.
"HALP! I drowned'ed!"

Washington and Oregon are very dog-friendly states, and dogs are allowed off-leash on the beaches. There were a few running around on Long Beach when we visited in Feb. '05. This looks more vicious than it actually was. They were playing and chasing each other around. I forgot I'd even taken this picture till I got them back. It's a great action shot!

And finally, a professional portrait we had done in 2003 as well.

April 10, 2008

Seeds of Compassion

Brian just got the good news today that one of the people he interviewed a few weeks ago on his radio show has an extra ticket to see His Holiness The Dalai Lama in Seattle on Saturday, at Qwest Field. This is a huge event here, and tickets were gone within minutes. This has been a dream of Brian's to see The Dalai Lama speak in person. He came to San Francisco years ago and spoke at Grace Cathedral but we opted not to go because there was a media frenzy due to the fact that Richard Gere would be attending. Although Gere is a devout Buddhist & had brought the Dalai Lama to The City, unfortunately the vast majority of the people who went were there to swoon at Richard Gere. In the early 90's, my dear friend Holly went on a trip to India and met the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. It changed her life.

Brian has studied Buddhism for many years, but I don't have the personality for it. It just seems like every time I try to do a good deed, or show compassion, it blows up in my face. I've just gotten so cynical and angry. I also can't sit still long enough to meditate and I admit that I am VERY attached to material possessions. But I do have great love and admiration for the Dalai Lama. He is an amazing human being. If only the world could heed his message of peace, love and compassion.

This is a fantastic opportunity for Brian and I'm really pleased for him. Fortunately one of the local TV stations is carrying the event live, so I can DVR it and we can watch it when he gets home.

This is one of my favourite scenes, from the classic comedy "Caddyshack":

Carl Spackler (Bill Murray): "So I jump ship in Hong Kong and make my way over to Tibet, and I get on as a looper at a course over in the Himalayas. A looper, you know, a caddy, a looper, a jock. So, I tell them I'm a pro jock, and who do you think they give me? The Dalai Lama, himself. Twelfth son of the Lama. The flowing robes, the grace, bald... striking. So, I'm on the first tee with him. I give him the driver. He hauls off and whacks one - big hitter, the Lama - long, into a ten-thousand foot crevasse, right at the base of this glacier. Do you know what the Lama says? Gunga galunga... gunga, gunga-galunga. So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness." So I got that goin' for me, which is nice."

April 6, 2008

I love my doggies

Here are some recent pics of my sweet little furkids. If it seems like there are more of Sagan, that's because there are. It's not that we don't take pics of Pepperbean, we have an entire scrapbook full. But she's always had a love/hate relationship w/ my camera. She'll intentionally turn away or just give me this withering look as I pose her for the shot. But other times, when she's in the mood, she will give me a big smile.

Boopie, on the other hand, is a complete ham. He loves to have his picture taken. He's always up for it. If it seems fun for us, then it's fun for him too. What's especially hilarious is sometimes he'll be upstairs, looking out of our livingroom window with this bone in his mouth, perfectly grasped in the middle. We're always hoping that the neighbors can't's a bit embarrassing to have this 80+ lb. police dog looking out the window with an outragously large, bright yellow stuffed bone in his mouth.
He's such an angel. When he wants to be.

"We can has cheezburger!!!" Daddy brought home an extra cheezburger from Dairy Queen, so the kids were patiently waiting to nom on their speshul treat. Of course you can't tell from a still photo, but their tails were sweeping back and forth on the floor, in unison.

I was reading the paper and didn't know Snuggsy was snoozing on the floor below my couch. I tossed the section onto the floor and it landed on her. She never even woke up.

Fiercely guarding a new toy from Bubba, and giving me that, "seriously mom, enough with the camera" look.

Meanwhile on the other side of the room, Sagie keeps a watchful eye on "Quackers" the duck, and his red googie eye santa ball, which we just call "googie". We do have names for most of their toys. I mean why not, right? Pepper has a Snoopy dog that we call Noopies or NooNoo.

This is the cushion from Sagan's upstairs bagel bed, in the living room. No matter how many times I keep putting it back in the bed, he pulls it out and carries it around the house, sometimes whipping it from side to side and attacking it. Then he'll sit in the bed, without the cushion, so we've nicknamed the upstairs bed, "The S.S. Sagie" cause he looks like he's in a life raft. We call started calling the cushion "enemy" which of course morphed into, "emeny" then "m.m.e." The cushion ends up in the family room from time to time, but I keep bringing it back upstairs. This day he dragged it onto the couch and used it for a pillow, which we found quite adorable and endearing.

April 3, 2008

In like a lamb, out like a lion

I can never remember that saying about the month of March. Is it "in like a lion, out like a lamb" or the other way around?

Anyway, this was the scene at our house a week ago. It kind of took everyone by surprise as we'd been having a run of dry, partly sunny weather for quite awhile. March definitely went out like a lion this year.

The one (and only) nice thing about it being lighter, later, is that for the first time, we were able to enjoy the falling snow for a little while after work. It was very relaxing.

The snow was especially pretty on the pink-blossomed trees. As you can see, it was really coming down. (note: the stained glass thing was my one foray into stained glass. It was a kit.).

Some of the flakes were as big as your hand. It was a very wet snow, however, so there was a lot of concern about snow laden branches tearing down the lines.

And speaking of lines being torn down, the thinner cable under the large one is for our cable TV. A branch did come down and land on it, but fortunately, it's still connected to the house and the pole on the street, so we continue to have our cable service. But we have to get Comcast to come out and tighten the slack, as it's swooping very low to the ground now.

That pink house is sitting empty now and was up for sale. Any Vixens care to move out here and live next door to me????

April 1, 2008

Only in America.....

Molester claims he was victim of Bigfoot

Child molester attributes his start to Bigfoot
Date published: 3/26/2008

A man who claims that he was molested by Bigfoot as a child was ordered to serve 20 years in prison yesterday for his own molestation-related activities.

Gene R. Morrill, 57, of New Ipswich, N.H., had previously pleaded guilty in Stafford Circuit Court to 20 charges stemming from his efforts to solicit 13-year-old boys over the Internet.
Defense attorney Terrence Patton cited Morrill's mental health issues in seeking leniency from Judge J. Howe Brown.

Morrill told an investigator preparing his pre-sentence report about being sexually assaulted by the legendary Bigfoot, a North American folklore character said to be between 7 and 10 feet tall, and covered in dark brown or dark reddish hair. Patton said Morrill really believes the assaulted happened.

However, Morrill was determined to be mentally competent to stand trial. The judge also couldn't have been impressed with Morrill's criminal record, which includes a rape conviction involving a child in New Hampshire.

According to the evidence presented by prosecutor Jim Peterson, Morrill was one of several out-of-state online predators identified last year by Detectives Darryl Wells and John Chapman.
The detectives made Internet contact with Morrill and others while pretending to be young boys.

Chapman introduced another suspected predator to Wells, his "13-year-old friend," and both detectives received pictures and movies of boys having sex with other children and adults.

The real boys were between 5 and 12 years old. The other predator brought Morrill into the conversations and Peterson presented pages of online discussions in which Morrill expresses his desire for sex acts with young boys.

Morrill was convicted of five counts of attempting to take indecent liberties with a child, five counts of using electronic equipment to solicit a juvenile and 10 counts of reproducing child pornography.

Morrill is still facing similar charges in Prince William County.


So that's how it is in New Hampshah!