Wednesday, January 28, 2009

It's Getting Worse Out There

We are having a winter storm. I am stuck in the house. Things are bad outside. Roads are closed, with flocks of trucks parked on them. They can't go anywhere. Malls are closed; universities are closed. They are telling people to stay off the roads. There is a layer of snow, then a layer of ice, then another layer of snow on top of that. Tree branches are breaking, taking power lines with them. It's getting colder and the wind is picking up.

Snow and Ice!

Yesterday we got six inches of snow. Last night we got a thick coating of ice on top of that. Today we are getting more snow, maybe another five or six inches.

I took this photo of my outdoor table yesterday. Snow, but no ice:

Here is my outdoor table today. Snow plus icicles:

Icicles formed everywhere while I was sleeping:

This is what it's like in Northern Kentucky this morning. Some areas don't have any power. Ya gotta love winter!

In the meantime, I am dreaming of this:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Would You Buy a Used Car from Any of These Guys?

This One's For Natalie...

Snow Day!

We had snow last night, and we have been promised more over the next 24 hours, topped off by a little sleet and freezing rain after that. (Fun!!) Everything is closed, so I will be staying at home today.
This is the view out my back door:

I went outside and measured it... six inches!

I will be spending the day with my kitties, with quilts, hot tea, and a fire in the fireplace. This is Tinkerbell, doing what cats do on snow days (and every other day as well!).

Monday, January 26, 2009

All Kinds of Blogs

I discovered the world of blogging a couple of years ago. Before that, I had an ancient PC with a dial-up connection. It took forever to do anything, so about all I could do was send and receive emails. Then I got my MacBook, and my world opened up. Through blogging I can visit with people all over the globe. People write about what interests them, and the variety is endless. I guess I am addicted to reading blogs. This is about the ones I like to read.

Mommy Blogs: Although I've never had children, I enjoy reading the stories of parenthood. They share the good, the bad, the frustrations, and the joys of parenthood. Sometimes they are serious; other times they are hilarious. I find mommy bloggers to be honest and entertaining.

Cooking Blogs: I am attracted to cooking blogs because I love to cook. People who love to cook share their recipes. The variety is endless... food from all over the world.

Some of my favorite blogs are "Pet Blogs". People show photos of their pets and tell stories about them. They are always heartwarming and often funny. Sometimes, of course, they are sad, as pets get sick or go missing. I am an animal lover, and I have a soft spot in my heart for other animal lovers.

There are so many gorgeous blogs devoted to interior design and decor. They show beautiful, awe-inspiring photos. It inspires me to see the imaginative ideas of designers.

I spend a lot of time looking at Craft Blogs. Quilting, sewing, knitting, crocheting, so much inspiration. So many awesome people doing beautiful work. I especially enjoy quilting, and I often find myself envious of how talented these people are.

Some blogs are pure artistic inspiration. Designers, poets, philosophers, writers. They blog about literature, art, ideas. They are thoughtful and wide-ranging in their interests.

There are funny blogs. These people look at the lighter side of laugh and share their often quirky sense of humor. I like quirky... quirky is good.

Some bloggers blog about gardening. Often they pair this interest with an interest in photography. They show beautiful photos of their gardens and amazing close-ups of flowers. Now I know what a macro lens is used for.

During the past year, lots of bloggers have been blogging about politics. Political blogs can be controversial. They often set off a barrage of comments coming from all sides. Often, the commenters get into arguments with each other. I think it requires a certain amount of courage to put up a political blog.

There are many other types of blogs, and some incorporate elements of several or all of these. Many bloggers just blog about whatever they are feeling that day. Readers leave comments and bloggers respond. Relationships are formed at a distance. People find kindred spirits, help and encourage each other. It's a new kind of community.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Searching for the Truth

Three years ago, we moved from Philadelphia to Kentucky. I sensed a fundamental change in prevailing opinions. The simplest explanation I can think of is, we moved from a "blue" state to a "red" state. We moved from the "east coast" to the "bible belt". We moved here to be closer to family. It's good to be close to family. We can get together without getting on a plane. We see much more of family than we did when we lived at a distance. It is interesting, though, to listen to the conversations around the dinner table. I know there are many others who share this experience; I have read about it on other blogs. When you vote for Obama and the rest of your family favored the McCain/Palin ticket, things can get a bit bizarre.

Last night we had dinner with family. I was hoping the subject of politics wouldn't come up. But of course it did. Someone I love stated that they are very frightened, and everyone else agreed with that. I wanted to know "why"? Why are they frightened? Their explanation in so many words: "Obama wants to take control of our 401K accounts and put them in a big pot with Social Security. Then, instead of getting two checks a month I will get only one, it will be less than what I am getting now, and someone else will get the difference."

WHAT? Where did that idea come from? I had not heard a word about this plan before. I haven't heard of anything in Obama's plans about seizing our 401K accounts. Have you? (I do know that mine dropped 50% in value when the prior administration was in charge.) I think I know where they got this idea. They watch Fox News. They listen to Rush Limbaugh. They trust these sources. They believe the things they hear.

What can we do? How to get people to look at the facts? It's not that I think I'm right and others are wrong. But I think some extreme ideas are being put out there. I meet many people who embrace those ideas. They think we Dems have "drunk the Kool Aid" fed to us by the "liberal press". I don't trust the media they trust. How can we close the gap? It's something I worry about. Where is the truth? Maybe this is just the way the system works. But it seems divisive to me and I see it in my everyday life. I would love to see true bipartisan efforts to get things done in our country, but I wonder if that is possible.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

The Obtuseness (or is it Obtusity?) of AOL

Yesterday I visited the Genius Bar at the Apple Store. The genius guy got me all straightened out, reconciling my screen names and passwords, and updating my i-tunes software.

He answered all my questions, but there was one that stumped even him. The unsolvable problem was... AOL. He said I would have to contact someone at AOL, which is easier said than done. I talked about that yesterday, so I won't go over it again. This morning I googled AOL customer service and came upon a website where problems are reported. There are comments from a long list of people, each describing the same problem I am having. Individuals who have been using AOL email for years have suddenly found themselves locked out of their accounts. They are not able to access any of their mail or contacts. They try to establish a new password and are foiled at every turn by AOL's security system. And no one can figure out how to talk to a real person at any of their phone numbers.

I have had AOL for ten years. At first, there was a monthly fee. Then they announced it was free. Now they want a credit card account number to reactivate my access. Others on the site said the same thing... accounts are being frozen and access is being denied. What is going on? I, for one, am giving up on them. I don't need this in my life.

If anyone reading this is trying to reach me on aol, I won't be able to get your message. You can find me on Gmail now.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Pulling My Hair Out

This is me. Well, it's not really me in the photo, but I am blonde and I do have bangs. And my computer has a little Apple on top, not like the one in the photo. But it does portray exactly how I am feeling at the moment. It's a long story, but I will try to make it short.

I am new to the computer, new to the i-phone, new to i-tunes. Well, fairly new. I have mastered the computer well enough to create this blog. And I can make phone calls and pull up email on my i-phone. But that's about it. Last week, I decided to start using i-tunes so I could listen to my favorite music. Problem is, I had logged on to i-tunes a while ago but didn't really get around to using it. So, I already had a user I.D. and a password. Well, of course I couldn't remember either one, so I decided to start over. The sign on-screen hinted that my user I.D. might be the same as my email address. So, I tried putting that in and went to "forgot my password". It wouldn't give me a new password because it said my answer to the "personal question" was wrong. How could that be? I had only one first home address and that's what I had used when I originally logged on months ago.

So, I decided to start over with a new user I.D. It wouldn't let me do that either. It said there was already someone at that email address. Yes, I know... that was me! I was confused because it said I needed and "Apple I.D." to use i-tunes. Then it gave me choice of whether to use my "Apple I.D." or my "AOL I.D." I didn't know I had an "AOL I.D." I had an email address and password.. was that the same thing? I called the help line and they were no help... damned recordings!

Long story short... I fiddled with it most of Thursday morning, and finally got on i-tunes with a new I.D. (I think it's an "Apple I.D" but I'm not sure... it might be an "AOL I.D".) YAY! Now I can get into i-tunes!

This morning? Now I can't get into AOL. It doesn't recognize my screen name or my password. And when I try to get a new password, it keeps telling me that I don't know my own first address OR my pet's name. (That's because one question asks "what was the name of your first pet?" and another one asks "who is your current pet"? Well, they are different, so I never know which one I should use.

So... back to the pulling out my hair part. I am a card-carrying member of Mensa (really) but I can't figure out all these "screen names", "user I.D.", and "passwords". And, apparently I can't remember my first home address either.

I did manage to sign on to my apple account so I could make an appointment at the "Genius Bar". So, this afternoon, instead of doing what I had planned to do with my Friday, I will be driving an hour and a half up to my local (sort of local) Apple Store to consult with a Genius. Wish me luck! Grrrr!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Why I Feel Hopeful Today

I've been watching the prayer service at the National Cathedral this morning. I am encouraged by the ecumenicalism that is being emphasized by the new administration. President Obama speaks to Christians, Muslims, Jews, and non-believers alike. He sees a bigger picture. He has a world view. I believe he has begun to repair the rift between the USA and the rest of the world. In this century, all nations of the world are inter-related. I believe we have to learn to live together, or we will all perish. I think he struck the right note in his Inauguration speech, stating that we will not cave in to zealots and terrorists (my words, not his) but that we are open to listening to those who embrace a hope for peace and cooperation.

I believe he is a good man. I believe he has a good head on his shoulders. I believe he is a man of wisdom and decency.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

January 20th, 2009

That was then... (4 years ago)

This is now...

I am holding my breath, waiting, hoping, for good things to happen. I know there are many problems, but I feel like we have been given a new start.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Stopping to Remember

He would be eighty years old now.

Looking back and looking forward all at once today...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

It's Almost Here!

I took this photo of my Blazer this morning. I have had this sticker on the back for about a year now.

I can't believe it's almost here!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

An "Avant-Garde" Performance

Tuesday night my nieces' Montessori school held their winter program. It was billed as an "avant-garde" performance, so no one knew exactly what to expect. They acted out an African myth, complete with African drums and dancing. The main character was the Anansi, who is a spider and a trickster . (I found out there are many "Anansi Myths" in African legend.) My niece played a supporting character, a firefly. They mixed in a few traditional winter songs (the program was originally to take place near Christmas but got postponed due to weather). I was impressed with the depth and breadth of the learning that was represented. The children ranged in age from three to twelve, and each had a part. The youngest children had non-speaking parts as singers and dancers. The older children portrayed the Anansi, the firefly (my niece) as well as tigers, trees, monkeys, and other creatures and characters.

These two girls were trees. The Anansi hid in their branches when he was chased by a pack of wild dogs. The girl on the right is a pepper tree... notice that she's holding a yellow pepper in her hand. The girl on the left is my nine-year old niece. They didn't specify what kind of tree she was, but she waved her branches beautifully.

This is my eleven-year old niece. She played the firefly. I couldn't get a picture of her with her wings and tail light in place, because she wouldn't put them on except when she was "in the role". In this photo she was holding on to her wings, waiting to put them on. The strap around her waist held her "tail light" which flashed in the back.

These two were in the chorus. The girl on the right is my seven-year old niece. They are sharing a few pre-performance jitters, I think. Serious discussion of their craft, no doubt. (They do take it very seriously.)

The program was a success. Because of it I came home and looked up African myths. I learned things that I had not known before. The kids learned, and I learned, and I imagine some other audience members learned, too. My nieces often surprise me by the things they learn about other cultures, about nature, and about life in other parts of the world. Very smart, those Montessori school kids.

Speaking of the Montessori school, the photo below shows my youngest niece (she's in the middle) at her graduation ceremony last year. These kids are so cute! Yes, I am the proud aunt... can you tell?

"Lost" Fever

Guess what I will be watching tonight? The recap of last season's finale of "Lost"! I have been fascinated with "Lost" ever since I saw the first show. I'm afraid I have become one of those crazy "Lost" addicts. It's been three long months... and next week it's back!

Do you know "Lost"? Do you think it's silly, or do you love it? I was thinking about it this morning, trying to decide why I am so addicted to it. Usually, I don't even like made-up television shows that much. (I'm mostly a news hound.)

Then I started thinking about my dad. I wish he were still alive so I could know what he would think of this show. I think he would love it, too. My dad was a "geek" who loved math, science and computers. He died before computers were household items, but he had one in the basement and loved inventing games on it. For entertainment, he taught my sister and me little math games. Once he took me to work to show me his electron microscope and his spectrometer. He sparked an interest in science in me. Back then girls were not encouraged to study science... hard to believe now but it was true, and I was not enough of a rebel to defy convention.

In addition to hard science, he loved science fiction. He had a huge collection of science fiction paperbacks. One day my sister tried to count them all, but finally got tired and gave up. Whenever I was home from school on a sick day, I would spend the day reading science fiction. I think I inherited a love of science fiction and fantasy from him. Now I realize that he lived much of his life inside his own head. I do that too. I love to find authors who create other worlds that are fascinating and mysterious. I know that's why I love Tolkien so much. I have read "Lord of the Rings" three times.

"Lost" is very different from "Lord of the Rings" of course. But it evokes a similar response in me. It's mysterious and sparks the imagination. When my dad died, he left a mystery for the rest of us. The day of his funeral we went back to the house. In his bedroom, we found a little yellow Post-It on his dresser. On it he had written "Magic Number" and then a five-digit number. We have researched the possible meaning of this "magic number" but it remains a mystery. That reminds me of something that would happen on "Lost".

All "Lost" addicts have a favorite character. Guess who mine is? His picture is below... Daniel Faraday, the rumpled, seemingly absent-minded scientist, of course.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Sunday Horoscope

Yesterday, my Sunday paper had the following message for my birth sign:

"There is something in you that needs to be expressed."

I don't usually put much faith in the horoscope. I don't even look at it every day. But I think I was meant to see this one. As soon as a read it, my reaction was "No kidding!"

There is something inside me that is fighting to get out, but I can't get in touch with it. Remember the post I wrote last week about being depressed? I am in an impervious shell. My feelings are all bottled up inside and I feel incapable of taking any action.

I've been taking Prozac now for at least 15 years. I don't think it's working anymore. I think I need to try something else. Has anyone else had this experience? What other meds have been helpful? (I asked my doctor, but he doesn't seem to be very proactive in this area... he just increased my dose a bit, had no other suggestions.)

Friday, January 9, 2009


Today I'm just hanging out with my cats. I think they are enjoying the sunshine this morning as much as I am. Here they are, hanging out in the alcove by the windows. I have quilts all over the place, and the kitties love to lounge around on them.

Here is Katie... I caught her unaware and got this photo.

After that, she turned her back on me. She's camera shy.

This is Tinkerbell. This is her favorite place, to sit and look out the back window. You can see a little bit of snow on the back porch. We are supposed to have a winter storm this weekend, so no doubt we will have more soon. Note her friend, the ceramic cat on the who lives on the windowsill

Such a peaceful scene... cats are so contemplative.

Tiger is a boy kittie. The quilts are too "girly" for him. He prefers stretching out on the flokati rug. (Or is it shag? I'm not really sure; but it's white and fluffy so I like it.)

That's how Friday looks here. I hope everyone has a good weekend!