Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My sentiments exactly

Ello asked me to mention the following and I'm happy to do so:

"Dr. Gigi Durham, the author of the Lolita Effect, the media sexualization of young girls and what we can do about it, is guest appearing on my blog this coming WEdnesday to answer questions on this very important topic. It would be wonderful if you could help spread the word or at the very least stop by and be part of our Q&A discussions."

Monday, May 26, 2008

Another reason being old can suck

If I'd had this surgery 20 years ago, I'd be doing cartwheels and climbing Mt. Rainier by now. My body always recovered quickly - until now!

So today, instead of taking advantage of all the sales and buying more shoes so Doreen, Polly and Robin don't overtake me, mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, enjoying all the Memorial Day activities and getting on with life.......

I'm wrapped up like an Eskimo on the chaise lounge, eating toast, Campbell's regular chicken noodle soup, tea, juice, bananas and water, popping pain pills because every time I try to wean myself from them the pain returns, wearing an incredibly uncomfortable ugly white collar, wearing even uglier anti-embolism stockings and feeling sorry for my pitiful self.

What a woos!

There is some good news. I took a shower this morning - being extremely careful not to get soap on my neck - and even washed my hair. Do you know how hard it is to wash your hair when you can't bend your neck or get soap on it? Let's just say an hour's nap was required after that. I also washed the protective covering on my collar and the lovely socks. They may not be comfortable, but they're clean.

Belle has been pouting for days. Every time I open the door to let her out to poo, she gets so excited because she thinks we're going for a walk. Major disappointment = major pouting!

Anyway, I could use some cheering up. Jokes, stories - hit me with your best shots! Please!

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Still a little loopy from the anesthesia, but definitely better. No more pain in my shoulder and head. Lots of baby sitters taking good care of me. Good drugs. Appetite returning. Can't take a bath until the 24th (baby sitters will probably start deserting me pretty soon). Get to wear lovely anti-embolism stockings for next few days. Try not to be too jealous of the lovely collar.
Thanks for all the good thoughts. Much appreciated!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Thanks, Miss Snark

(This is early, but my surgery is at 0Dark:30 in the morning and hopefully the drugs will be good enough to keep me hallucinating all day. No way I could miss the opportunity to pay tribute to the great one!)

Miss Snark was my hero.

Her cluegun delivered stinging blows to stupidity. Her stilettos left punctured egos in the dust. Her kitchen sink had three faucets – hot, cold and gin. Clooney was her boy toy. Killer Yapp and Grandmother Snark provided aid in her distress – and vice versa.

Unless she was responding to a total nitwit, her advice was always straightforward. She gave us the facts – nothing but the facts. She didn’t sugar coat the publishing business. She presented it realistically and gave us the good and the bad. We gasped when she set her hair on fire – a sure sign another ultimate nitwit had appeared in her inbox.

Her Snarklings were addicted to her. Any recognition from her – positive or negative – could send us jumping for joy or down to the Nitwit Lounge to drown our sorrows. We trusted her advice and opinions and had complete faith in the wisdom she imparted. Had she advised sprinkling glitter on themselves and running down Broadway naked to guarantee being pubilshed, some of them probably would have. Running is not my thing.

For Belle and the late Rosie, Killer Yapp was the Clooney of canines. They would have done anything for him. Squirrels – we don’t want no stinking squirrels!

This blog started because I thought you had to have a one to respond to Miss Snark. After lurking on her site for months I dared ask a question. Her response was honest and informative. I was a nitwit, but she was gentle with me.

I entered her Ides of March contest and was thrilled to receive the "Best Suck-Up" award. The fact that she didn’t delete my entry was a triumph! That she recognized my ability to kiss ass was breathtaking

May 20, 2007 was a day of mourning in publishing blogland. From the day she announced her retirement until that final day, I was depressed. Like so many others, I prayed she would reconsider. But she was determined and exited gracefully leaving broken hearted Snarklings soaking in their gin.

Normally one year completes an official mourning cycle, but my heart is still heavy and the hope for her return refuses to dim. Thanks to Miss Snark, I had the opportunity to "meet" people in many different countries and made some wonderful new friends. She was and still is the greatest.

I miss you Miss Snark and Killer Yapp! Thank you for everything you did for us.

Please come back!

PS. Please keep me in your thoughts today. Keep repeating, “Sober, steady-handed surgeon!”

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Great Shoe Off

My love for shoes has not gone unnoticed. Apparently I'm not the only shoewhore in the blogging universe. Doreen Orion, Polly Kahl, and Robin Altman are having a Shoe Off. They each believe their shoes are the best and most stylish. They've seen my shoe posts and believe I'm an easy mark. They throw around names like Prada - starts with P like pooh!

Fie on them! I searched through my vast shoe collection and pulled a few meager entries for the shoe off.
You've met Vivian before. Red, comfortable and sexy. Did I say red? Sofft Shoe.
Don't know the name so we'll just call them black and hot! Alfani!
Sexy, silver sandals. And they're comfortable. Believe it or not - Naturalizers.
This pair makes everyone take notice. Nice straw look with a cute little flower. One of the least comfortable pair I've ever worn - but very sexy! What's a little pain? Lifestyle.
My newest babies - Charis. Comfortable, lightweight and yummy. Sofft.
Yes, I know we're only supposed to do 5 pairs, but I have so many great shoes it seemed only appropriate to throw in one more. Unnamed, comfortable, stylish. Ann Klein.
Take that, Doreen, Robin and Polly! Anyone out there brave enough to challenge me?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Shoes, Glorious Shoes!

First, let me apologize for not being active in blogland lately. With my upcoming surgery, there seems to be a never-ending stream of last minute details to which I must attend.

In March I posted about my new shoes and the epiphany they inspired. Despite how my posts may sometimes sound, I’m a humble person and grateful for everything. It took lots of hard work and determination to get here, but my life is very good – great job, wonderful friends, comfortable home, sweet dog, no debt.

I’m a lucky woman, but not in a winning the lottery way. My blessings have come through hard work and perseverance. I’m used to fulfilling my own needs, not having others help me. All my donations are done anonymously and I don’t expect thanks or anything else in return. I’m the giver, not the receiver.

The post about my favorite brand of shoes was done to express gratitude for all the good in my life. Imagine my surprise when an e-mail arrived from Katie, the Director of Media Relations at Sofft Shoes thanking me for the post and for being a loyal customer. Even more surprising was her offer of a free pair of shoes.

I was stunned and thrilled by the offer. How incredibly generous of them. I searched their website and found several potential additions to my shoe wardrobe, then went out to some local stores to try them on for size. One pair followed me home. To assist in the decision, I requested my fellow bloggers’ opinions and gave three lovely choices.

Decision made. E-mail sent to Katie. A week later the new pair arrived. Meet Charis!

Isn’t she adorable? The color is sun bronze.

Her new Sofft shoe mates were somewhat wary of her at first? She’s pretty racy compared to the rest of them.

After checking her out thoroughly, they had her pose at the front of the group before making a decision.

Belle offered her opinion, then promptly fell asleep.

In the end, she won them over and is now part of the Sofft shoe crowd in my cluttered closet.

Thank you to Katie and everyone at Sofft shoes, not only for making wonderful, comfortable and stylish shoes, but for your incredible generosity. I really appreciate this!

I’m a very lucky woman!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

My Town Monday - Seattle - Space Needle

The Space Needle is a major landmark of the Pacific Northwest and a symbol of Seattle. Located at the Seattle Center, it was built for the 1962 World's Fair, during which time nearly 20,000 people a day used the elevators, with over 2.3 million visitors in all for the World Fair.

The Space Needle is 605 feet high and 138 feet wide at its widest point and weighs 9,550 tons. When it was completed it was the tallest structure west of the Mississippi River. It is built to withstand winds of up to 200 mph and earthquakes up to 9.5 magnitude and has 25 lightning rods on the roof to prevent lightning damage.

Edward E. Carlson, chairman of the 1962 World's Fair in Seattle, originally had an idea for erecting a tower with a restaurant at the top as part of the World's Fair celebration. Carlson was then president of a hotel company and not previously known for art or design, but he was inspired by a recent visit to the Stuttgart Tower of Germany.

John Graham, a noted architect became involved in the planning and design. Graham's first move was to make the restaurant featured in the plans revolve, in the same manner as a tower he had previously designed for the Ala Moana shopping center in Honolulu.

The proposed Space Needle had no land on which to be built. Since it was not financed by the city, land had to be purchased that was within the fairgrounds. It was thought there would be no land available to build a tower and the search was nearly dead when in 1961, a 120 foot by 120 foot plot that contained switching equipment for the fire and police alarm systems was discovered and sold to the investors for $75,000. At this point, only one year remained before the World's Fair would begin.

It was privately built and financed by the "Pentagram Corporation" which consisted of Bagley Wright, contractor Howard S. Wright, architect John Graham, Ned Skinner, and Norton Clapp. In 1977 Bagley, Skinner and Clapp sold their interest to Howard Wright who now controls it under the name of Space Needle Corporation.

The earthquake stability of the Space Needle was ensured when a hole was dug 30 feet deep and 120 feet across. An army of cement trucks (467 in all) took one full day to fill it up. In fact, the foundation alone weighs almost 6,000 tons and there are 250 tons of reinforcing steel in the base. With this concrete base weighing the same as the above-ground structure, the Needle's center of gravity is just 5 feet above ground level. The entire structure is bolted to the foundation with 72 bolts, each bolt being 30 feet long.

The construction team worked around the clock. The top dome housing the top five levels (including the restaurants and observation deck) was perfectly balanced so that the restaurant could rotate with the help of one tiny electric motor, originally 1 hp but later replaced with a 1.5 hp motor. With fresh paint of such names as Orbital Olive for the body, Astronaut White for the legs, Re-entry Red for the saucer, and Galaxy Gold for the roof, the Space Needle was finished in less than one year. It was completed in April 1962 at a cost of $4.5 million; the last elevator car was installed the day before the Fair opened on April 21.

In 1974, author Stephen Cosgrove's children's book Wheedle on the Needle postulated a furry creature called a Wheedle who lived on top of the Space Needle and caused its light to flash. Its closing quatrain is: There's a Wheedle on the Needle/I know just what you're thinking/But if you look up late at night/You'll see his red nose blinking. The Wheedle had since become a fixture of Seattle, becoming for a time the mascot of the Seattle Supersonics.

In 1982, the SkyLine level was added at a height of 100 ft. While this level had been depicted in the original plans for the Space Needle, it was not built until this time. Today, the SkyLine Banquet Facility can accommodate groups of 20–360 people.

A panoramic view of the Space Needle, Downtown Seattle, Qwest Field, and Safeco Field.Renovations were completed in 2000 that cost nearly five times the original price ($21 million). Renovations between 1999 and 2000 included the SkyCity restaurant, SpaceBase retail store, Skybeam installation, Observation Deck overhaul, lighting additions, and of course, new coats of paint all over.

On May 19, 2007, the Space Needle welcomed its 45 millionth visitor. The guest, Greg Novoa of San Francisco, received a free trip for two to Paris which included a VIP dinner at the Eiffel Tower.

Every year on New Year's Eve, the Space Needle celebrates with a fireworks show at midnight that is synchronized to music.

My Town Monday is the brilliant idea of Travis Erwin. Please visit his blog for links to others participating in this fun exercise.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Difficult decisions

I was gone most of Monday and Tuesday – over in Eastern Washington for a cult meeting. I spent 7 hours in the car on Monday and 3 on Tuesday. Yes, I’m crazy!

I’ve had neck problems for a long time. Four years ago my regular doc referred me to an ortho specialist. After an MRI detailed the problem, he put me through 2 extensive rounds of physical therapy. Didn’t work.

Then we tried steroid shots in my spine. Worked fine for about 5 months. Then the pain came back even worse.

Another MRI last month revealed the problem is worse. The bone spurs are pressing on the nerve and causing major pain on my left side – just my left side. My right side is young and happy and having a great time. My left side is old and miserable and in agony. It’s the newest version of schizophrenia.

So I had another steroid shot in my spine about 2 weeks ago. It provided minor relief for a while. The drive to Eastern Washington clarified the need to find a more permanent solution. Today I called and scheduled surgery for May 20th. I figured since I would already be sad and in mourning because it’s the one year anniversary of our beloved Miss Snark going dark, being totally drugged might help get me through the day without too much trauma.

I will miss the party honoring Miss Snark at Pat Wood’s blog. I have to be at the hospital at 5:45 a.m. and since Pat, and most other normal people, will still be asleep then, I won’t be able to post and party with you all. However, I’ll try to post a tribute to the Queen of Snark before they take me away.

Yes, I’m concerned. They do the operation through the front of my neck. Do you know how much important stuff is located in your neck? But the pain outweighs the concern. I’ll try not to mention it again until it’s over. Don’t want to bore you with it. But I’m asking all my blogging buddies to think positive thoughts for me.


Sunday, May 4, 2008

Things I've Learned - Lesson 2

It's often better to be happy than to be right.

When I first moved to Seattle, I was an emotional mess. Abandonment issues from my childhood caused me to live in a hard-shelled cocoon of self-preservation. I wanted to love and trust people, but didn’t know how and so was self-sufficient in the extreme. Knowing it wasn’t healthy to be like that – master’s degree in psychology – I decided to seek help. However, since no one was trustworthy, finding an alternate way to healing was critical.

During my first year in Seattle, I found a non-denominational new-age church. It was small, in an intimate setting and suited me very well. Some people at the church decided to start a Course in Miracles study group, and I was delighted. We met every Saturday morning.

In case you are unfamiliar, The Course is divided into three sections: the “Text,” the “Workbook for Students,” and the “Manual for Teachers.” At the advice of our original group leader, we started by reading from the “Text” and then closed every session with one lesson from the “Workbook.” By the time we got to the “Manual for Teachers” we realized it was probably where we should have started, because according to The Course, everyone is a teacher and that section was the most basic and easiest to understand.

Over time, we went through The Course from cover to cover several times – all 1,108 pages of it - not including indexes. The first time through, it was like walking through a maze. We’d round a corner and see what looked like an exit only to find a dead end which propelled us back into the labyrinth. We talked for hours about what it meant, reading one heading and sometimes one paragraph per session in our attempt to decipher it. It was confounding and confusing and frustrating.

There were times I walked away from our meetings thinking I would never break through the complicated language to find meaning from the words. But slowly over time it started to make sense. It was through our own united willpower and desire that we were finally able to break through.

I learned it’s more important to be happy than to be right. I never thought about how detrimental my stubbornness was to my happiness, and how hurtful it could be to others. Sometimes the things, about which I most needed to be right, were not very important in the general scheme of things. Simple things like how to arrange your kitchen cabinets didn’t really matter. I had to let them go.

I learned that the world is filled with love and happiness and we will find what we are looking for when we know what we want. This was a difficult concept for me because, since my early childhood, I’d never known real love and happiness. I had no idea of what I really wanted and how it was supposed to look and feel. There was no role model to go by. There was no list and no rules to guide me. Figuring out what I wanted was a seemingly impossible task.

I learned every person we meet is a mere reflection of ourselves. We can learn something from them all, and the briefest encounters or the longest relationships provide opportunities for us to grow. Since I didn’t particularly like a lot of the people I met, it was painful to think they were personal reflections. The most irritating part was, many of the people I disliked kept hanging around. When I finally realized the only way to make them go away was to actually learn the lesson they were here to teach, they gradually started disappearing.

I learned everything that happens is either from love or from a call for love. All the negative feelings - anger, fear, hatred, envy, etc, - are just a call for love. We can see things differently just by looking at situations and people with unprejudiced eyes. Instead of reacting to the negative feelings with more negativity, if I looked at them as a cry for help from that person, it was easier to tap into the love inside myself and return love to them.

Applying these lessons isn’t always easy, but over time it’s become deep-rooted in me and it’s more natural now to react from love.

Sometimes being perfect is really, really hard work!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Cool author's week.

Our friend and blogging buddy, Christine Eldin has a week of contests, prizes and fun happening next week. Be sure to stop by and join in.

A week of contests, prizes, fun!!!! And don't forget hobnobbing with famous authors!!!!

Festivities will kick off on Saturday May 3 with an Oldies but Goodies Contest.

Who are the Oldies but Goodies, you ask. Well, they are just the swellest group of authors who first supported my idea of "Author's Week." To thank them for their encouragement, I will be hosting a weekend contest based on some personal information I was able to dig up. And I will be giving away cool prizes from Dubai. Josephine wants a camel. I'll see what I can do.

The Oldies but Goodies authors are listed below. They might pop in. But really it's about thanking them for their generosity in the past.
Mary Cunningham CURSE OF THE BAYOU
Edna Cabcabin Moran THE SLEEPING GIANT
John Elder Robison LOOK ME IN THE EYE
Patricia Wood LOTTERY

Author's Week!!!!! May 5 - May 9
May 5 - May 9 will feature the following authors giving away books and making appearances on my blog. Come chat, make jokes, win prizes!!! Every day, 9am - 9pm eastern U.S. time.
Monday, May 5: Charles Allen Gramlich “Swords of Talera”http://charlesgramlich.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, May 6: Holly Kennedy "The Silver Compass"http://author-in-the-trenches.blogspot.com/
Wednesday, May 7: Daniel Tomasulo "Confessions of a Former Child"http://www.formerchild.com/
Thursday, May 8: Sandra Cormier "The Space Between"http://chumpletwrites.blogspot.com/
Friday, May 9: Stacia Kane "Personal Demons"http://decemberquinn.blogspot.com/