moon.jpg

Unholy whispers
swivel through the air
I hear them, I hear them.
Ghosts and spirits
whisk in the shadows, studying me.
They scrape
in the gutters with the
dry, dead leaves.
It's time to lock my windows,
my doors, to crouch on the floor,
and look up at the coal-black sky.
The pitch black night sky.
The moon, a blank orb,
hangs in wait.
There!
Witches swish to the sky
leaving their wake full of
cackles and cries!
Come play, they say. Come play!
Tonight their mischief is
expected.
As they dip and dive, black
hair twisting behind them, eyes
ablaze, hellish and excited,
we hide. This, this
is the witching hour.
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nancy_and_frank_dark.jpg "How would you like to go to a party, Frank?"

Frank Hardy glanced up at his attractive, eighteen-year-old girlfriend and smiled. "Nancy, you know I never stay home from a party."

With a toss of her red hair, Nancy pulled the invitation from her pocket and said, "I'm glad to hear that, Frank, because I've got a mystery for us to solve!"

The idea of a new puzzle made Frank's pulse quicken. He stood quickly. "What kind of mystery, Nance?"

"Just take a look at this!"

The two huddled around the ornate invitation. Nancy slid her finger around the edge, tracing the twisted gilded gold frame. Her eyes lit up.

"What do you see, Nancy?" Frank furrowed his brow and waited for her answer.

"Well," Nancy began, moving her face closer to his so as to direct him appropriately to her discovery. "Look at the rose in this corner. Do you see anything strange about that?"

Frank gasped. He grabbed Nancy's hand and picked up his trusty flashlight. "Come on, Nance. We've got work to do."

nancy_and_frank_lights.jpgOkay, so the original idea for our Halloween costumes didn't quite turn out the way we'd planned (the Kandy Korn costume was too much for me...). Instead we opted for an original idea that also gave me an excuse to buy cute shoes. I was America's favorite red-haired sleuth, Nancy Drew. And Jon was my buddy Frank Hardy, of the Hardy Boys, of course.

Our day didn't start with the idea of a mystery. Rather, we had a plan. And it worked! Breakfast, grocery shopping, bread baking, watching Ghost Breakers, costume prepping and partying. The pumpkins look great! Let's hope they stay fresh at least until tomorrow night. I can't wait to give out candy. That's another cool thing about being all grown up and in our own house... we get to answer the door for the trick-or-treat crowd. Someday we may not see that as a privilege. For now, though, I jump up when I hear the doorbell ring!

There was no mystery about the night, naturally. We went to the annual Halloween party at the Youd's house (or Mr. and Mrs. Dracula's castle), and had a really good time! There were some really original costumes, too:

1. Ultimate Dodgeball Team Members
2. A chick magnet (Pete in a black shirt peppered with peeps.)
3. The Geek who missed BlizCon
4. A Pirate and his booty... er... Treasure
5. The Bride and Pai Mei (of Kill Bill Vol. 2... Steve did carry around an eyeball all night for authenticity's sake)
6. Post-Baby Britney Spears
7. A Cat Burglar (who did not once let her cat out of the bag!)
8. (Center Director) Bob the Builder (it was a guy named Bob, which made the costume funnier)

baking_pumpkinbread.jpgMy contribution, beyond my cute costume, was my famous pumpkin bread. Now that we've come around to the three months in the year that pumpkin bread is appropriate... I plan to churn it out for any and every occasion. If you don't want pumpkin bread, don't ask me to bake.

After some good rounds of Apples to Apples, which really is one of my favorite games, and some classic (seemingly endless) games of Beirut we called it a night. I'd blog more about the party, but today is a very sleepy day.

The pictures are up in our gallery (user name/password: friends/friends). Hope your Halloweens are happy!

P.S. I am a red head now. It's exciting. And thankfully the reviews have all been positive. It wasn't just as a tribute to Nancy Drew, either. I actually dyed my hair before the idea to change costumes came to me. But it turned out great! And Jon likes it, too. Hehe!

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Breast cancer doesn't just affect
Women.
in the U.S.
alone
two-hundred thousand women will be
Diagnosed
with breast cancer this year
and nearly forty-thousand will
Die.
Sadly
they won't be the only casualties
consider the
families and
friends who
Survive them.

Think_Pink.jpg

October is Breat Cancer Awareness Month. Whether you choose to celebrate the survivors or donate to research that will stop this deadly disease, please acknowledge the loss any kind of cancer brings upon people world-wide.

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bridesladies.jpgKindergarten was a good year for me. I made some wonderful friends that year. And the one who has really stuck be me, remaining my best friend for seventeen years and counting, is Julie Michelle Vaughan (formerly Valent-Bolduc... far right in the photo).

Living so far from a friend is hard. In this age of email and cell phones communication is definitely easier, but prioritizing as a young wife and college student and employee is still tough! We don't talk nearly enough. But when we do it is just as if not a moment had passed. She's wearing pigtails and I'm sporting stretch pants. Children of the early nineties... that's us. Yet, we aren't playing house anymore. We have homes of our own. We work and learn and cook and clean and support and love like real women do. Aren't we lucky to be doing this at the same time?

We were in the same class but didn't get to know each other until recess. The story goes something like this:

Two little girls energetically playing separate games collided on the playground. In the nurse's office they shared a cot. From that moment on they were inseparable.

Julie and me, buddies always. She was sweeter than me. I was louder than her. We balanced one another out. I knew her whole family, too. Her mom, Debbie, worked at our school and I saw her daily. Julie's brothers and sister were all just a few grades above us. With my brothers also at the same school, occupying the grades below us, education was a family affair.

Soon she was spending lots of time at my house after school and on weekends. Playing "pretend" is so much better when you have a friend to do it with. As I thought up exotic locales, exciting characters for us to play and insanely intricate stories for us to act out (dogsledding orphan sisters in the yukon protecting our late father's gold mine from evil con men... singers advancing quickly from night club acts to broadway... friends on the oregon trail fighting off indians, bears and typhoid... descendents of egyptian royalty hunting for the treasures in the tombs of our ancestors... etc.), Jules put her heart into the game every time.

Our birthdays are a mere ten days apart; Julie is the oldest. So each year our parties landed withing a week of one another, and both usually included an Easter theme (to take advantage of the discounted candy, no doubt!). Not that we kids had any idea that our parents were seeking to cut down on the expense of our celebrations. We were too high on all the sugar! Julie's mom always managed to make up the best Easter egg hunts, too!

I remember our first "crushes", if you could call them that. Being aware that boys were indeed different, finding them cute, doesn't really count as anything. We didn't know these boys at all really. But Jules had the advantage of having an older sister. Connie liked boys and they liked her. She dated first, kissed first... and we took notes. While I was head over heels in love with Dennis Miller, Julie latched onto David Childers. Each of those affairs lasted a few months before we let our affections move on. Chris Gray, David Dickerson, Travis Armenio... we loved them all alternately.

Once she dated Matt. My Matt. I'd staked that claim so long before! But he and I were only friends. Oh, the intricacies of girlhood. Their "relationship" lasted three days and my friendship with both of them survived somehow. Aren't I dramatic? The boys we dated had almost nothing in common. Sometimes I did worry about her choices when it came to men, but everything worked itself out eventually. Most importantly we continued to value friendship above relationships always.

We did have a falling out once. Of the two of us I usually take on the leading role, and I immaturely resented it when anyone else swayed Julie's opinions. Over the summer after eighth grade I had embarked on my Christian walk, accepting Jesus Christ as my personal savior, and I was intent upon bringing everyone I knew and loved with me! They didn't have a choice... if you asked me. Julie didn't agree. She didn't like my new "holy roller attitude"... the limited selection of music I would listen to (I remember a particularly bitter feud over Alanis Morrisette), etc. In my haste to wash myself clean I almost lost a friend.

Thankfully we're bound at the heart, Julie and I. Even after I moved to Livermore we kept writing to each other. Unfortunately she didn't have email or even a very permanent address. But I was at her graduation ceremony and the party that followed! I beamed when she accepted her diploma. My sister had made it!

Julie's life has never been as easy as mine. Life has thrown her curve balls that even experienced adults would have trouble dealing with. And she was still a kid at heart. Over time she developed street smarts that I'll never understand. But they were necessary for her. Sometimes I worried that she had developed a hard exterior that blocked all her sweetness and light. Then she would visit me and all of that would melt away. Above all we found a common plane no matter what life situations we currently and separately occupied. We owe that to the magic of friendship.

That magic was something I often likened to Anne Shirley's relationship with her neighbor and "bosom friend" Diana. Julie and I were kindred spirits from the moment we met. I would have done anything for her, and vice versa.

She has always supported me. When I got engaged and began planning my wedding, I knew that it wouldn't be perfect unless Julie was at my side. My oldest friend. She knows me deeper than anyone else can understand. While the rest of the world sees what I am, Julie knows what I have become, all of my varied layers, my past. So much of my essence is caught up in her. Thankfully she made it to every event of the wedding planning process. At my wedding she walked down the aisle on my brother's arm, ready to help give me away to a man she'd grown to respect and love. Julie, too, gave her blessing to the union. She knows what is best for me and wants me to have it more than anything.

So when she called to tell me that she also had become engaged, I shrieked with joy! Her fiance, also named Jonathan (confusing... you don't even know!), is a good man, too. I felt blessed to be invited to reverse our roles. I became bridesmaid to her beautiful, blushing bride. Jon and I drove out to Boise, Idaho, where Julie now lives with her husband, to be at the wedding. It was a joyous event, full of fun and activity. I felt as she had felt mere months before for me. Lucky sisters.

I thank God that Jules found her Jon. He loves her so truly. At this point in time we're each in a good place, a thousand miles from each other though it is. I pray that this kinship lasts our lifetime, eternally strong no matter what we go through. The fact that it's lasted this long is a testament to us both. I miss her.

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patriot.jpg"Would you like a lesson, sir, in the rules of war?"

When a cruel green-eyed captain snarls these words at Mel Gibson in The Patriot, he is standing an arm's length away behind a carefully aimed pistol. And this is only moments after he has ordered his troops to execute every wounded enemy soldier on Gibson's property, and then to burn the house and barns, kill the livestock. What is his point?

There are no rules of war.

Fifty years earlier, a romantic comedy called "Dear Ruth" was a smash at the box office. Young, dashing William Holden played a war hero home on leave to see his girl. Cute movie. Along the way Ruth says to him, "Bill, you're not being fair." His reply?

"Oh, all's fair in love and war, and I'm in both!"

Okay. So where are we? Oh, yeah. There are no rules of war. Or are there? Or should there be?

Should civilians be off limits? Should prisoners be fed? Should torture be used in the interrogation process? Should we be allowed to get angry when these tactics are used on our citizens and soldiers when we're fine with using these same tactics on our enemies?

A few days ago the Australian press broadcast images of American troops setting the bodies of slain Iraqi insurgents on fire in the street. And it's been over a year since the images of Abu Ghraib prison leaked. What are we doing?

Responding. For months we watched hostage after hostage, civilians from many countries, beheaded by radical terrorist militant groups... proudly, defiantly. Our people, American citizens with families, were unsafe. And so Iraq's worst individuals taught us about the rules of war. Those intangible and seemingly non-existant rules.

But I don't think that reaction is justified. As angering as the terrorists' actions are, and as much as they evoke an animal rage within me, I hate to see our boys resort to those measures. I hate to see them sink that low. Because eventually, when those who make it home are home, and they sit back and think it all over, that will be something that haunts them. The self-defense killings, the inevitable collateral damage, will all balance out because our flag will still wave overhead. The acrid smoke and the stench of burning flesh and the hellish flames dancing on and in the bodies of the dead they have burned for bravado or as bait... that will never balance out. Instead it will hang in the minds of the men who committed the act, at an odd angle, never to be forgotten because they will wonder at its necessity.

Or, worse, it will be forgotten. And in the wars of the future the list of rules prohibiting crimes against humanity will diminish... becoming the "all's fair" and decreasing the gap between us and the barbarians of our history and our present.

I'm not saying that these dead men set ablaze don't deserve this treatment. The evil men who beheaded the hostages, the men who flew planes in the World Trade Center and all who commit these kinds of atrocities world-wide deserve this much and more. Still, we need to remember that this war isn't about what they deserve. It's about what we deserve: a better, safer, more tolerant world.

We curse Saddam as he sits smug and clean in a chair in a court half-way across the world, and as he proclaims that he is still in charge. We want him to pay for the massacre of more than a 100 innocent men, a whole town. And we want him to pay for more than that, too. He is evil, we say; he is inhuman. I say that, too. But we can only continue to look down on Saddam, call him those names and believe we are just when we sentence him to death, if we refuse to operate on his terms.

When we begin tormenting and torturing prisoners and defacing the bodies of the dead, then Saddam is right. He IS in charge. We're no better.

Playing World Police isn't easy, and it's probably not even a job that most of us want to focus on. Our country, after all, could use a little domestic overhaul. Still, the sucker punch we received on 9/11 akwakened a terribly patriotic beast. It was vengeful, our reaction, at first. Now it has become more, though. The idea of ridding the planet of terrorism entirely is an ideal one. It may even be impossible. But it remains noble!

That's our trump card. In a world that hounds us for our Shock and Awe Campaign and our bombing of Afghanistan and Iraq, we stand apart and alone... but tall, a head above the rest, because we're willing to refuse to be bullied, and we're able to stand up for those countries that can't afford the luxury of that stand on their own.

In the end, however, and as always, our victory must also be principled. We must be able to say that we did all we could to make this world better. Ridding the world of terrorism doesn't mean anything if we only become terrorists in the process.

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stein_picasso.jpgA bay area poet of the generation before ours and before our parents', Gertrude Stein stood out even in her controversial environment. She was a friend of Picasso (his portrait of her is on the left), and to other artists of the day. And her poetry maintains its value as it endures in its uniqueness. In fact, her poetry dares us to analyze it.

Stein is perhaps most famous for saying things like, "A rose is a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose is a rose..." By abandoning all boundaries perpetuated by human logic, she shot into the atmosphere of poetry, boldly going where others had only dreamed of going before.

Today in my comparative literature class (which I'm taking because I believe my senior year of college really ought to be fun) we read a couple of her most memorable poems. Bear with me...

A Dog
A little monkey goes like a donkey that means to say that means to say that more sighs last goes. Leave with it. A little monkey goes like a donkey.

What?

Let me preface this last by saying that I'm not a great fan of Stein. As when it comes to art, I prefer that which is easy to understand. A glimpse of a painting should give me the synopsis of a story... when I look closer, longer I should see the details that make the story precious and special and necessary to tell. That's why I love Rockwell. In poetry I feel much the same. I'm not lazy. I'll work for the meaning. But I tend to appreciate the poet who is sure enough of his/her intent to give it to me blank and beautiful. Stein isn't like that. Rather she is so sure of herself that she believes the only truth is completely pure, the initial thoughts.

In the poem above she confuses us all. The lack of grammatical structure, the odd repetition and the unusual comparisons make every reader a skeptic. Go back to the title. That's what I told my class. Picture Gertrude Stein, the eccentric and pioneering lesbian poet of the early and mid twentieth century, sitting on her couch watching her ugly little dog go nuts, chasing himself around the living room. How does one describe anything that an animal does, really? Stein wrote the way her mind translated.

A little monkey goes like a donkey...

that means to say...

that means to say...

that more...

*sighs*

last goes...

Leave with it.

A little monkey goes like a donkey.

If we allow Stein's voice to talk us through the image the way she talked herself through the image, we get at least a glimpse at the truth... and that's way better than just drowning in her apparent insanity. I'm not sure she deserves this much effort, but Stein was ahead of her time. Today I will cut her some slack. Hopefully someday someone will do the same for me.

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The crunch of the apple and the tang of its skin
makes me smile, makes me laugh, makes me drink the ripe in.
This is me in a sunbeam on a not-so-hot day
looking for something to inspire my play.

There's a bonnie bright sky bellowing blue overhead,
herding the clouds to the end of my sight,
and sheltering my mind, my heart and my head
from all that reality will bring to this fight.

Laugh harder and drive, I think to me in my car
as I wonder whether a tankfull will get me too far.
My lunch time is halting and sputtering to an end,
soon responsibility will pull me away, my good friend.

I can't escape now, but I don't really want to.
That's a truth I now choke on, surprised and alarmed.
Since when do I sit all day long at a desk
and feel rewarded, controlled and disarmed?

This is it now, grab on, your only last shot,
for the school bell's to ring, and the iron's so hot.
Don't worry about jumping from this runaway train.
Que sera, sera. It's about credit, not blame.

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pumpkinday_03.jpgOctober Sundays are so beautiful. My favorites, in fact. Jon and I have been planning for today for a long time. It's a tradition of ours to drive out to Half Moon Bay to pick out our pumpkins. There's a pumpkin patch on the way into town, a darling little one called Pastorino's Pumpkin Farm. We go there every year and find the perfect pumpkins, eat candy corn, pet the fuzzy farm animals... get ready for the big day! Halloween!

I'm sure I'll write more about October and Halloween this month. For now I'm just going to talk about today. Today was Pumpkin Day 2005.

pumpkinday_05.jpgWe got a late start this morning, leaving the house around noon. Lunch was at Red Robin (again, yummy fries!). Traffic was horrible! Apparently everyone was out to get their pumpkins... their October fun. So we detoured.

It was a beautiful day at the beach. We kicked off our shoes and jogged in the sand, played in the ocean, took lots and lots of pictures. The warm October sunshine washed over us, we blinked into the glint of the sun off the water. After forty-five minutes of winding through the oak-covered hills of the California coast, the splash of icy water on our bare feet was refreshing. I dug my toes into the wet sand, relishing the gritty softness on my skin.

pumpkinday_06.jpgJon's love of photography is always encouraged by our day trips to lovely, local locations. Today I saw him kneeling in the sand, twisting the lens to get focus and contrast perfect. He snapped shots of seagulls posturing and crying in mid-air, of the cliffs fading into mist at the horizon, of me.

And then it was time for the pumpkins!

We braved the traffic a little longer and smiled at one another when the pumpkin farm came into view.

pumpkinday_02.jpgWhen I was little girl my parents took me there. We have some great pictures of me playing a water-balloon game with my dad, cradling a pumpkin I'd chosen (easily weighing as much as my 3-year-old body) with my mom, and pointing at the "Aunt Audrey's Pie Shoppe" sign hanging above the snack shack near the gift pavillion. That sign is still there, which is part of the reason we go back now. Jon is helping me keep this October tradition alive.

As Jon played Ansel Adams all around me, I was on the hunt for the perfect pumpkin. Too small, too lumpy, too yellow, too tall, too flat, too icky, too big... OOOOOH! I found it in the middle of the patch, between thousands of other mediocre pumpkins (that's where you should look, because other, lazier, distracted pumpkin-pickers tend to stay on the edges). My selection was a perfectly round, bright orange pumpkin with an adequate stem handle and enough of a face for a terrific jack-o-lantern.

Jon annexed my pumpkin.

Or, he attemped a hostile takeover. But no one should ever underestimate the seriousness with which I take the choosing of my pumpkin. Once a year, folks. That's all I get. Jon backed off and found a pumpkin of his own. His was too bulbous for me, onion-shaped. But my Jonathan is creative. His jack-o-lantern will surely be unique (no pressure).

pumpkinday_01.jpgAfter we'd purchased our lucky pumpkins, we picked up some candy corn for me (Jon hates them... ALL MINE!). Yummy. Inside the store we enjoyed the displays of Halloween figurines, quilts, autumn leaf wreaths and garlands. Everything about this holiday, this season, I love.

We're home, ending the second gorgeous October Sunday of this year, looking forward to the next one (when I will hopefully be recuperating from Half Dome 3). Now we're two pumpkins richer and only 22 days from Halloween! BOO!

By the way, all the great pix we took today have already been posted in our Gallery.

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100

(((Trumpets and Cheering))) This is my one hundredth blog entry. Thank you, thank you. You're too kind. When I began this journal in May of this year, I don't think I really believed it would last longer than a month or so. I have a notoriously short attention span. But the writing has become almost habitual, and always soothing. I never feel worse after I blog. Sometimes it takes the hand of God to push me in front of the computer... because I'm a busy lady. In the end, however, the accomplishment can be truly seen. Thousands of words have been written, thoughts recorded, lessons shared. It's more than an outlet for my soul. This is my soul, virtually. It is me.

Let's go back. To the first month of writing. It was almost daily. What on earth did I have to say?

I have more going around in my imagination, fueled by the daily grind and the soul-penetrating events of my past, my history, than even I know what to do with. Hopefully this will become my outlet. Some of this steam needs to go! (4/22/05)

Before it began I had no idea what was going to be bent, nor did I understand how fantastic it would be to be able to bend whatever it was like David Beckham is boasted to be able to bend it. (4/23/05)

After all, once I'm terribly famous, my scrapbooks will be perfect for the museum that will be erected in my honor. Easy and compact versions of my story, told exclusively by me. And, if not, no one will ever wonder what I did in high school and college, how I met and fell in love with and married Jon, who my friends were, what I found to be most important... (4/23/05)

Dad bought the red paint with Mom's blessing. By noon the next day our front door, clearly visible from the street, was a vibrant tomato red. It shouted our originality into the neighborhood. (4/24/05)

Now I must learn to handle Camp in all its monosyllabic glory. Is there a way to make a capital C pretty? (4/25/05)

Tonight I was reminded that I am not omniscient. Sometimes I forget. And then I begin rattling off erroneous advice like a madwoman (thinking all the while that I am not only brilliant but entirely correct). (4/26/05)

I won't deny that I spent time with the Sweet Valley Twins, Boxcar Children... I worshipped Nancy Drew. (4/27/05)

Being married is beautiful (99% of the time anyway). A while ago I wrote this poem after one of the first times I woke up next to Jon. And it's still true. I hope it always will be (99% of the time anyway). (4/28/05)

I do love camping. (Now that I'm a Camp, technically everything I do is "Camping", eh?) (4/29/05)

Again, I did interesting stuff, but the suede jacket was the highlight. (4/30/05)

Tarta di formaggio... (cheesecake sounds good in any language!) (5/1/05)

Tonight I will surely dream of perfect creases, smoothed fabrics, piles of evenly stacked SWEATERS! (5/1/05)

Then May dawns and she brings the sun out with her. We should shed our clothes (not all, but a respectable amount) and dance in the streets! We should frolick in meadows of brand new flowers, and we should all fall head over heels into love. (5/2/05)

And, while my toe isn't calling out to me like a little toe-shaped fig newton right now... there are other things I'd like to do that I simply can't. (5/3/05)

I think what spurred me on most (beyond the obvious birth of my skill) were the comments I heard through the headphones: "Tell you wife to stop picking on me!" (5/3/05)

Crypto is a BIG kitty. And, she has the prettiest green eyes. Did I mention how big Crypto is? Yes? Sorry. Anyway, she's very soft and... fat! Oops, slipped out again. Don't you love this picture? She isn't terribly playful, but occasionally she'll flip... er... roll... no, both sound too active. Occasionally she'll flop down and ease onto her back. (5/4/05)

"Jackson wouldn't want to go topless in France." (5/4/05)

So, on a very hot September weekend we took our show on the road, adopted two cute spider monkies (Chloe and Jack Sparrow the Monkey... no, not letting Jon name our children). And yes, we did wear them around our necks, joined at their velcroed feet. And yes, we got plenty of "Awwwww, how adorable"s and "Aren't they sweet togethers" and "Man, get a room"s, too. (5/5/05)

After dinner I suffered a devastating loss at Hearts to both Youds (something which will not happen again as I have resolved to kick my "delightful competitiveness" into a higher, scarier gear). (5/7/05)

There was one year, and this is the only time I'll ever admit it, that I attempted to be a cheerleader because I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my esteemed cheerleader of a mother. I failed, both regretfully and thankfully. Valiant effort. I kept forgetting to snap and stomp! (5/8/05)

Anyway, before the nose crisis was the one-eye-is-bigger-than-the-other fiasco. (5/10/05)

I'd slathered myself with sunscreen, SPF 30, so I emerged from the excursion unscathed. Jon earned himself a very flattering shade of pink... er... light red. I suppose I shouldn't tease him about that, but at least this will eventually turn into a tan for him! I NEVER tan. No fair! (5/12/05)

No cavities once again. Don't give me all the credit, though ('cuz I don't floss!). I'm simply California-grown, nourished with water that contains fluoride. (5/16/05)

(I was bundled up like the poster child for Gortex). Because of the recent flooding in the park, the waterfalls had swelled to unimaginable point... gushing and pouring... the Mist Trail became the Torrential Rain Trail (for those of you who have already heard some of my jokes- I'm sorry. I am unoriginal.). (5/21/05)

That was an interesting journey. Some of that stuff was funnier when taken out of context! I wish I had the time or energy to be more original than this, but it actually did me good to go back and see what I started with. Thankfully I haven't strayed far from my original purpose with this blog, and any change I have observed seems an awful lot like progress to me. The writing may not be better, necessarily, but it accomplishes something. It eases the strain of my mind brimming and swelling with the ideas of a thousand people. Let's hope I can continue and look back again after another 100.

PS. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes are having a baby. What on God's green earth is the world coming to?

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teacup.jpgIt's like a sick circle. On Monday I collapsed backwards into my bed immediately upon waking up. BAM! I was so sick. I think I called my mom and mumbled something about a cough... a fever... prickles on the bottoms of my feet. That's when I really know I'm sick. The prickles on my heels when I stand up are a dead give away. Anyway, I slept hard. I mean, hard core sleeping. The deep, outrageously deep breathing, the sweat, the uncurled fingers. Beautiful. Okay, I didn't mention the drool. Occasionally during these uber-sleeps I drool. Give me a break. I was sick!

Back to the sick circle. The morning I got sick I found out that my dad had been sick all weekend. We hadn't been in touch at all, though, so that couldn't be it. Oh, and a guy who'd been at the cabin with us this last weekend stayed home sick. But maybe he meant he was 'sick'. Still on the search for the villain who rendered me unconscious.

And then there was everyone else who got sick. The coughing seemed to be everywhere. In my third class on Tuesday the girl three rows back kept blowing her nose. Now I know that some people are going to call me out on the fact that I never blow my nose. That's not true. Sometimes I do. It's just... the Unicorn Effect. You haven't seen it, therefore you think it's not true. I just don't think it's dainty. And you know me; I'm all about the dainty.

Then, last night, I heard that Cindy was sick, too. Not in the 'I hear voices in my head' kind of sick, either. Though she does claim that she can't read a single book without hearing me reading it to her... and analyze it to her... Okay, so the chick is crazy. But there's something undeniably strong about our bond. I do think she made me sick. That's it. I'm blaming Cindy. And I also think there's a very good chance Ames just felt a little chill, a little sneeze, maybe even prickles on the bottoms of her feet. Contagious nothing. Just being related can do it to ya.

Speaking of related, there's a new show on the WB called just that. Related is the story of four sisters, ages 20-30, all living in New York in various stages of life and love, relying on each other to get themselves through and to party with each other when they get there. One episode, the first one, aired tonight. It's just a start, and it needs some polishing, but from the creators of Friends and Sex In The City... I have to say I like this one already.

As I launch into a year of endless Brit Lit and Insurance and Seriousness, finding a few carefree shows in which to lounge is a relief. Friends is over, Gilmore Girls is fading fast, reality TV is lame (not saying I don't watch it... just stating the obvious). Perhaps Related will give me a chance to truly sit back and enjoy the show.

Especially when I'm feeling sick. The circle continues, of course. Mom barely made it through the day at work. Careful, Jon. You could be next! *sneeze*!

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delladuck.jpgWhat you are about to read may easily be mistaken for a discussion between third graders at recess. Do not be fooled. It is actually a discussion, practically verbatim, between my ultra mature husband and the ever-adult me. Again, please don't freak out. As long as we've been together we've played a game in which I throw out hypothetical names for our very hypothetical children (usually a hypothetical daughter because girls are more fun to name anyway... hypothetically), and Jon rejcts each and every prospect for various, silly reasons. Not making any sense? Read on.

"What about Della?"

"Smella."


"Lydia?"

"Chlamydia."

"Ewwwwwwww!"

"I know. Lydia is a disgusting name."


"Charlotte?"

"One letter away from 'Harlot'."

"Actually, it's three letters away from Harlot."

"What?"

"Harlot doesn't end with T-T-E."

"Oh."


"Cora?"

"The name of the girl I had a crush on in 2nd grade."

"Awwwwwwww."

"That doesn't matter?"

"No."

"Oh."

"She wasn't a tramp in second grade, was she?"

"No."


"Okay then. What about Mariska?"

"What?"

"Mariska."

"I don't even understand what you're saying."


"How about Daniella?"

"Why does that sound familiar?"

"I don't know."

"Oh, it's because I was talking to a woman today named Danielle."

"I see. So?"

"So what?"

"Is that a bad thing?"

"No."

"So you like the name?"

"No."


"Clara?"

"Clare-uh?"

"CLAR-uh."

"We're already having trouble."


"No, seriously. What about Della?"

"Okay."

"Really?"

"Only if I get to pick her middle name."

"Fine. You wouldn't brand our hypothetical daughter with something ridiculous."

"Right."

"So what is it?"

"Della...."

"Della what?"

"Isadumbname."

"Jonathan."

"Not a good name for a girl."

"No, I'm talking to you."

"Oh."

"You can't simply veto everything I put out there."

"I can if I think it's dumb."

"You don't think all of these names are dumb."

"Yes I do."

"I like Della."

"Audrey, think about it. If her name was Della and we were attempting to get her dressed in the morning, there's a chance that you might call out to me, 'Honey, what should Della-wear?..."

Not that this is a reason I married him, this complete compartmentalization of all things random. Who breaks words down into their elements and considers them syllabically? No one. No one except my sweet husband. Who also, I might add, mentioned Della-cate and Della-gate as reasons to reject my favorite name. Oh, and Della-catessan.

Anyway, we laughed a lot over this episode of the Name Game. And it was even funnier when we heard that Nicholas Cage named his brand new son Kalel (Superman's name on the planet Krypton... Jeremy, aren't you proud?). Apparently I'm not the worst at this sport.

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