Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On don't ask don't tell

I have no strong opinion on homosexuality. In the immortal words of Seinfeld - not that there's anything wrong with that. It's perfectly fine if that's what you're into.  I'm all for legal unions that provide the rights of people of any gender combination to create a family of two or more - though I won't debate with anyone on whether that should be called marriage or not.  Semantics, people!  I'm also not much of a political thinker, so you won't often hear me pontificating on social issues.  However, I was taken aback when I heard a story on NPR about enforcement changes being implemented by the military to the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

Under the policy, commanders are prohibited from questioning members of the armed services about their sexual orientation.  However, a basis for discharge exists if "the member has said that he or she is a homosexual or bisexual, or made some other statement that indicates a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts."  There are guidelines governing investigation into such matters, but according to information at Solomon Response.Org the Services continually violate the basic rules designed to make investigation and enforcement of this policy humane.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Sunshine makes me happy

Lovely blogess Nicki - bless her - posts every day.  And I enjoy reading those posts every day - they add a little bit of sunshine, even when we are mucking about in some of Oregon's famous rain.  As a side note, Nicki is planning her wedding and is blogging that here.  There are few things I like more than all things wedding.  The dresses, the hair, the rings, the venues, the wedding parties large or small, flowers, beautiful photos etc. etc. etc.  Since I've been there and done that myself, now I get a little vicarious thrill from other's wedding plans.  Weddings seem to be a theme amongst my blog peeps at the moment as lovely blogess Helen is also planning her wedding, and lovely blogess Capclassique is looking forward to another bang up job as maid of honor at the end of this year.  Oh, the fun I will have following along.

Earlier this week, I was pleased to find that Nicki had nominated me for a Sunshine Blog award.  Isn't that a pretty award badge?  It's to be awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire others.  Thanks for your support Nicki!

I thought this little commendation might go well with a photo post I had in mind to document all the lovely variations of daffodils that spring up every year in Mae's garden.  It's the garden that surrounds our little house on the prairie, but I still think of it as hers.  There really is an amazing array of daffodils - I could probably have found at least another 5 or 6 other less striking versions of the flower that I didn't bother to photograph.

If you would like to see a closer view of any of these lovelies, there is a slideshow of the photos here.

And now to pass on the sunshine... I find something to make me smile whenever I visit the blogs of these inspiring ladies:

Lisa at Lemon Gloria
Lisa at Curious Girl

Roll on sunshine!  And thanks again, Nicki!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Superstitious much?

The last time I went to DMV to register a car, they showed me a couple of the available license plates in the stack and asked me to choose the random series of numbers and letters that appealed to me most. I chose one that rhymed - along the lines of xyZ 123, so I could kind of sing it to myself to try to remember it.

I’m sure this is a courtesy not allowed to all DMV customers, as it probably depends on whether the surly person behind the counter who speaks English as a second language and is just about as happy to be there as you are is having a good day or not.

Now, I’m not really a superstitious person. 13 is my lucky number, having been born on the thirteenth day of January. But even if I wasn’t offered a choice of plates, I think would throw a bit of a hissy fit before accepting THIS** license plate assignment:

** Note - I just saw it on the morning commute, I wasn't actually confronted with the decision at the DMV or anything.  I wonder what other weird things have happened to this driver, besides having some odd girl driving down the street trying to take a picture of the back of their car.

Um, no thanks – I think I’d pony up the cash for a vanity plate if it was the only way out of the situation.  Beelzebub is NOT my copilot.

What do you think? Would you accept that plate? Should certain license plate numbers, much like the 13th floor in some buildings, simply not exist?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Looking closely

Spied on a walk at the Fern Hill wetlands, this little dewdrop jewel cupped in an unusual plant is why I always have a camera with me - even if it is only the pocket digital that snapped this image.

Also, isn't Fern Hill Wetlands just the sweetest name? It reminds me of Fern Gully and I want to believe if I look closely enough, I'll find faeries.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Lovely day for a Guinness

I've discussed before that I am lacking a fundamental life skill - the one that involves combining edible ingredients with heat and producing something, well, edible.  When I was single my dinners frequently consisted solely of breakfast cereal, or for protein, beef jerky and a serving of cottage cheese.  Yep - I'm not what you would call a foodie.  It's just sustenance.  If it tastes good, bonus, but I'm not much of a discerning critic.  Fortunately, D is gifted in this area and generally enjoys cooking.  However, there are times when when the banality of keeping us fed frustrates him, and I make an attempt to step up my contribution in that area.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I am Zen; I am calm

I recently visited the Portland Japanese Garden, considered to be one of the most authentic Japanese-style gardens outside of Japan.  It is five impeccably-landscaped acres of serenity.  A Japanese garden is a study in composition - placing emphasis on symbolic placement of garden elements to suggest and replicate natural landscape elements such as rivers and mountain ranges.  There is nothing placed therein without being thoroughly considered.  Since I am flummoxed by our little half-acre, which is thankfully the husband's passion anyway, I am in awe of the talents of those that designed and maintain this Japanese garden.

Visiting on a warm early-spring day, during the week so there were few other people around, I felt so relaxed and peaceful.  It is absolutely gorgeous.  I've put together a short slideshow of some photos snapped with a pocket digital camera during my stroll through the garden.  I hope it suggests something of the quiet emerald tranquility that emanates throughout the place.

The soundtrack is "Crystal Deva" from the album Crystal Healing by Anthony Miles.  This music is quite possibly the most calming I have ever heard.  D first introduced me to this album, given to him by my dear mother-in-law, back when we were in the long-distance period of our relationship.  I used to listen to it when I was upset, or stressed, or just missing him and trying to get to sleep.

Every now and then it pops up in my mp3 rotation at work - and as soon as it starts playing, I swear I can feel my heartbeat slow and relaxation begin to creep into my soul.  Bliss.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


This past summer, I finally dipped my toe in the facebook pool.  I know, I know.  I jump on bandwagons long past the point when it might be cool and never, ever when it is cutting edge.  Trust me, if the CPAs are doing it (even if she is rocking a belly button ring 'cuz I'm cool like that) then surely the trend in question is hopelessly passe (like the belly button ring - 'cuz I'm uncool like that).  However, there are others arriving at the party even later than I am, and I was only recently f-befriended by a long lost cousin, C, who I think I last saw almost three decades ago during a visit to the midwest when I was 8.

Until I received her friend request, I'm ashamed to admit I literally hadn't thought of her in years.  But reconnect we did, and it has been awesome.  I'm fortunate that C has a fairly passionate interest in genealogical research.  She has built an extensive family tree on Ancestry.com, documenting some of our forefathers (or forepeople for the politically correct?) back as far as the late 1600s.  I don't have the dedication to do the research myself, but I find it all very interesting.  It's kind of like the odd habit I have of enjoying a wander through old pioneer cemeteries, examining family plots and dates and birthplaces and ruminating about the relationships and lives of those marked by the gravestones.  Ancestry.com lets me do that too - only all those people have a genetic relationship to me.

One fascinating thing that Ancestry.com provides (especially if you have a dedicated family member like C to do the hard work for you) is a search for notorious relatives back in the family tree.  I discovered a surprising number of notable people with whom I share ancestors. For instance, apparently Jane Austen and I share a great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandparent.  Isaac Newton is listed as my 3rd cousin, 14 times removed, which apparently means one of my great, great, great grandparents had a direct ancestor 14 generations ago who was Isaac Newton's cousin.  Now I know this is basically meaningless, as it's actually playing the six-degrees-of-separation game with a bit of genetics thrown in, but here is the list of other interesting characters named among my distant relatives:

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Who, me?

During my daily visit to Nicki's awesome blog, I nearly fell off my chair when I saw that she had named me for a Kreativ Blogger award.  I'm fairly new to this bloggity blogging thing, so holding true to my Type A Capricorn nature, I went to google what this award is all about.

The Kreativ Blogger Award comes with some rules:

1. Thank the person who has given you the award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who has nominated you for the award.
4. Write 5-7 things about yourself that people don't know already.
5. Nominate other Kreativ Bloggers and share the link love.

So first off, I'd like to thank Nicki.  Seriously Nicki, you are an inspiration, both in writing and in life.  I'm honored to be nominated by you and appreciate your support of my little corner of the internet.  For those of you who don't know her, you should totally check her out.  Her writing is beautiful, insightful, and at the risk of being redundant, inspirational.  And her life is totally unpredictable, so there's a high entertainment value quotient as well.

Well, well, what is there to say about me?

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Yesterday morning, when I opened the curtains to the sunrise, I was presented with the following scene:

I grabbed my camera, threw on some shoes and went out to capture this fleeting fusion of light and fog.  In a T-shirt. In 36 degrees.  I was entranced by the sun slicing through the fog, kissing the daffodils which were linked by gossamer spiderwebs strung with dew pearls.  And I spent about 15 minutes shooting and shooting, oblivious to the cold.

I've mentioned before about how much I detest being cold.  This is ironic, considering I lived without central heat for three winters and one of my favorite pastimes is snowboarding.  Apparently, however, concentrating on capturing an ephemeral moment on a camera's sensor can completely distract me.

There was once one other thing that proved I could be distracted from my aversion to cold.  When D and I were touring New Zealand, we visited a river famous for on-going successful gold panning.  Lacking the proper equipment, namely - a pan, D went down to the river and began sifting through the black sand looking for gold with his bare hands.  I stood off, skeptical, fully expecting his efforts to come to nothing.  But they didn't.  After a few minutes he called me over and presented a few teeny flakes of gold.

I DO love me some shiny sparkly things, so now the quest was on.  I plunged my hands into the icy water over and over again and found some of my very own gold flakes.  After about 1/2 hour, D was bored of the exercise and our take was feeble given the effort expended.  But I think he probably had to lightly threaten to take the campervan and leave me to my treasure hunt in order to persuade me to cease the search.  My hands were numb and I had lost circulation in my feet from crouching on rocks in the river for so long.

But like yesterday morning, I didn't even feel the cold until I stopped concentrating on the task at hand.  Then I felt the chill to my very core.

Friday, March 5, 2010

This too shall pass

Astonishing and awesome. Thanks to Sue at It's not as easy as it looks for sharing.  Can you even imagine what it must have taken to film this?  Any guesses on whether it was one long take or not?  There once was a whole episode of Mythbusters (yes, I watch geek TV, don't judge) where they demonstrated how insanely hard it is to get right.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Roundup: best of the Olympic moments

So the Olympics have come and gone and Vancouver is apparently nursing a huge hangover, eh?  I have really gotten into the Olympics this go-round.  Since I have the sweet, heady power of the DVR fast-forward button at my disposal, I was able to enjoy a lot more of the Olympic moments than in times past.  Don't get me wrong, it was my own Olympic effort of sorts, and required a fair amount of dedication over the past few weeks to watch as much of the action as I did.  In fact, this post is a few days past its sell-by date already because it took me until yesterday to get through the rest of the recorded coverage.  I'm not sure what I'll do with all my free time now that its over... though I'm pretty sure I should start with getting back on my workout schedule.  Sigh.

I've already written briefly about the first Olympic moment that really sucked me in - Alexandre Bilodeau's first Canadian gold medal awarded on home soil.  Below is a round-up (in chrono order) of the other Olympic moments that drew me in, made me cheer, made me tear or made me smile.  If you'd like to relive it with me, the links direct you to video on the NBC site, since they don't allow embedding.  If you only watch one, I recommend #5.