Monday, December 29, 2008

It’s easy if you try...

"I’ve often wondered why _______"

This is one of the writing prompts suggested to try to waken the muse. I've been a little stymied in the past week or so with my writing, not only here but also with a project I've been working on. The idea is in my head, but I haven't been able to transfer the thoughts to the keyboard. So, I've been looking for inspiration by reading and watching movies. This afternoon, I finally Googled "muse" and came up with a plethora of sites on how to get your muse back, the site above was mentioned.

Here's where the blog thought line was going... We're in the last week of this very historic year, the news channels are doing their usual presentations and they seem (to me) to be filled with death and strife. My friend, Michael Levin, over at "The Funniest Blog in America" let it rip with his post, "How I Really Feel"... His words hit home for me, but much more eloquently than I could have written! This was followed by reading two articles in the NY Times; Bob Herbert's "Stop Being Stupid", and Guy Trebay's "Change We Could Live With".

Which brings me to the point I am at right now. Stuck. It sucks. I can't even say how bad it sucks because I don't have the words. Question is, how to get over it? Maybe I need Cher to smack me in the face and say, "Snap out of it!"

Being duly inspired by all three articles, I have decided to define my New Year resolution a little early. It came to me as I was walking home from the grocery store. "Make it better." Whatever it is: make it better, even if it is just one little thing... make it better. Can you imagine if we all tried doing that? One tiny step towards making something or someone or some place just a little bit better? That's my goal this year. Make it better.

Happy 2009, may all things be better!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Louie, Louie....

If you haven't been there yet, get your hungry self down to Di Palo's in Little Italy for the best whatever Italian flavor you desire! We went this past Sunday afternoon, the line was almost out the door (be sure to grab a number on your way in), but it was well worth the wait!

Di Palo's is one of those great foodie places where you go in thinking you only need one item and you end up walking out with ten. We were there for the San Daniele prosciutto, but we walked away with some fresh ricotta (heaven!), a peppery loaf of freshly baked bread (only available on Sundays) that was loaded with bits of prosciutto (to spread the ricotta on), two big blocks of parmigiano reggiano (I brought one home with me), fresh sausages, a chunk of pancetta and some marinated peppers...

We got to sample bits of everything we bought, and we got the inside scoop on some great local restos, not to be missed. Ask me!

My NYC trip was fast-paced and all-to-soon, it was over with! I arrived Saturday afternoon and was promptly picked up at the airport by John Hung, my driver for the weekend... door-to-door service with a great smile! (Ask me for his number!) My friend Brad came into the city and we enjoyed a great home-cooked meal chez Tobi. Sunday started with a long walk and ball chasing in Central Park with Tucker, (dogs can run free before 9am) followed by bagels and coffee, then the shopping tour. We hopped on the train and went downtown, starting at Di Palo's, then we headed up to Bloomingdale's and caught some great sales! Met up with another friend and had dinner at Canyon Road, a great little Mexican place near Tobi's. The duck burritos and frozen margaritas are the way to go!

Monday was a Chinese lunch with friends and a little more Christmas shopping, then I met up with Tobi and we had a quick dinner at Patsy's and we headed over to Madison Square Garden for Neil Young! He was great! He hasn't slowed down a bit, he still has his voice and he rocked the Garden with old tunes, and new! Cinnamon Girl, Old Man, Heart of Gold... mixed in with his new stuff (that I don't know yet!), excellent! The opening bands were Everest and Wilco, both sounding a bit like wannabes, although I did like Wilco a bit more than Everest. He didn't do Down by the River or Southern Man, but with his repertoire, he covered a lot of the major ones.

The next concert (that I have tickets for) is Jackson Browne here in Paris in April. Right now I need to wrap my head around Christmas and get some copy writing done for a project. The brain is in gear, I just have to sit and put the words on the page. For the moment, it's nice to be home. My son has been extra cuddly, I guess he missed me more than he thought he would... and yes, I missed him, too! :-)
I think we'll spend the holidays at home together.

Keep on rockin' in the free world...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Take the long way home...

Please note the fine Helvetica. Designed to put you in a good mood.

Tuesday, December 2: CDG, ORD, MLI (look it up), DEN.
Sunday, December 7: DEN, DFW, IAD, CDG.
That was the good news.

I flew United. The flight to Chicago was fine. I was in Economy Plus, that extra six inches makes a big difference! Landed, cleared customs, got my bags, rechecked them and went to the gate with no problems and minimum waiting time. Rolled out and went to Moline... got off at Gate 15. Sat at Gate 15 for an hour or so, got on the next plane at Gate 15... my luggage didn't. Got to Denver, no bag. Made a claim, grabbed the shuttle bus and was dropped off at the wrong hotel (for some reason, Marriott has two Residence Inns in Denver??). Took a taxi to the right hotel. Having had previous experience of losing my luggage with United, I fortunately had packed some jammies and a toothbrush. Happy day. Went to bed...

Did the CMS Expo, see previous post.

Got up at 0430 MDT Sunday morning, made it to the airport by 6am, flew to Dallas, quick connection to Washington, DC for the 1720 EDT departure. Had enough time to grab an Obama t-shirt for my son, boarded the flight to Paris... pushed back and waited. They couldn't get the left engine started, "it'll be a few minutes"... Three hours later (still on the tarmac) they pulled us back to the gate, released us to the terminal and said check back in an hour. After an hour they rolled out the meal carts. (That is NEVER a good sign!) After another two hours they announced that the flight was canceled. Mad rush to the customer service area...

Two hours later and I had a voucher for the Hyatt, $15 for a meal and a reroute to Paris via Frankfurt. Luckily for me, I have a guardian angel who was kind enough to have me upgraded to Business. Thank you!!

Here's the fun part. As the saying goes, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade... While waiting in the gate area, I managed to find a spot next to a guy who was recharging his iPod, the other socket was still open, so I asked him if he could plug me in... we started chatting and I asked him what he does. He said he works in Communications for! I almost fell over! I went to the CMS Expo hoping to speak to someone from iContact. They had a lot of people saying good things about them, but no rep! (Hint for the Chicago Expo!) Taylor, thank you for your advice, I hope you made it to YOUR conference!

While standing on the customer service line, I was chatting with Jacques, a nice French tour guide who helped make the time go by. We traded stories and buddied up to get to the hotel. First we had to claim our bags. His bags never made it on the plane from NY! Jacques, if you are reading this, get in touch!

Next day, I was checking out of the hotel and ran into Stephen who was carrying a huge bag with a bunch of Christmas goodies and his "Oscar" award. We shared the van ride to the airport and did the United check-in process. Upon boarding, and due to the above mentioned guardian angel, I was lucky enough to get upgraded and had to leave Stephen in order to nestle into my comfy chair. My seatmate arrived. Tony. A fireman. A man among men. He was reading "Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus". In public! He was on his way to visit his sons in Frankfurt (also firemen). He was 6 feet 4 inches of kind, considerate gorgeousness, he made my flight.

We finally landed in Frankfurt, and I met up with Stephen again. We ran through customs and headed over to gate C (if you know Frankfurt airport, you know how long it is between terminals). I had a 1:40 connection, he had the next flight out at 5:30. Stephen, when I get back from NY we will have that café!

So, what's the bottom line from all this? Shit happens. Keep your sense of humor and things will work out. Smile, and the world smiles with you...

...and don't forget to pack clean underwear!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Dress code...

This guy was waiting on the corner of 16th Street and Tremont here in Denver for his animator friends. I asked his permission and was able to snap this quick shot. Just so you know, it is the Parade of Lights tonight in Denver and folks are dressed up in all sorts of garb and costumes. Unfortunately, I have a pickup at 0535 to head to the airport. Tonight, I shall be snuggled up in bed in preparation for the long trip home.

The CMS Expo was good... it was held at the Brown Palace Hotel, a beautiful old hotel in downtown Denver. Our hosts, John and Linda Coonen made us feel right at home from the get-go. A quick thank you to LeRoy for your smile and graciousness!

Aside from our gang getting together, I had the opportunity to meet some interesting people, a few stand outs: Tom Elliott from, Azrul Rahim from, Kenneth Crowder from Crowder Web Design, Chris Rault from Joomla Junkies and very briefly, Karen Phelps from Landmark Innovations. A quick hey! to Paula Dawson and Susan Wolak, it was nice to meet you both!

A few of the things I discovered: YUI (Yahoo User Interface), jQuery, cool CSS tips and a bunch of sweet tidbits and “ah-ha” moments.

Follow up on the restaurant request.... we went to Blue Bonnet the first night. We were not impressed. The reviews are right, the place is hit or miss. I guess you kind of expect to have your fajitas served on a a sizzling platter. It didn't happen. The next night we dined at The Old Spaghetti Factory. The food was good, the ambiance relaxing, we had a chance to unwind over cocktails and then continued in that mode over our meals.

It was great to meet the rest of our virtual team, I'm looking forward to seeing you in NYC next Monday!

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.
~Chinese Proverb

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Rocky Mountain Way...

I'm heading to Denver this week to meet up with colleagues for the CMS Expo, a chance to fill my head with OpenSource matters! While there we will also be looking to graze in a few of Denver's restaurants. So, here's a call to dedicated foodies, Democratic conventioneers and Denver locals... What's your favorite restaurant in the Mile High City?? If you have a website or an address to go along with your recommendation, it would be much appreciated. You can post a comment here, or send me an email (see above profile for address).

I'm looking forward to this trip, I haven't been to the American west in a long time! I'll be bringing the camera, and hopefully, I'll have a little bit of time to snap a few pix.

Speaking of pix, last night I was going through some photos of NYC from this past summer. Since part of the trip included the CSN concert in Boston, I was also listening to a couple of CSNY tunes. Here is a great version of Down by the River from the David Steinberg show... he had a show??!! Neil Young sounded so good that I thought, I have to go see him live. So, I went to the Neil Young website and guess what? He's on tour! I immediately emailed Tobi and said, "Concert?". She said, "Yes!"... Long story short, we have tix for Neil Young at Madison Square Garden on December 15th! I got an amazingly dirt cheap fare to NY for the weekend and booked it! Call it an early Christmas present!

Lest you think I have gone completely over the edge, there is a little more to this than just looking through vacation photos. Part of the NY reminiscing was because of a movie I watched the other day called Helvetica. It's a film about fonts, typography and graphic design. Many of the scenes were shot in NYC and when you get right down to it, Helvetica is everywhere. Since I'll be staying with Tobi, there'll be plenty of opportunities while walking Tucker to shoot sidewalk scenes of Helvetica finds. (I feel another alphabet series coming on!)

In the meantime, all you food denizens, your Mile High resto recommendations are much appreciated!

My, my... hey, hey...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Night at the Opera....

I saw Sting and Elvis Costello last night at the Théâtre du Châtelet... in an opera! It was great, the acoustics were amazing!

This was truly a neophyte's introduction to opera via "Welcome to the Voice", written by Steve Nieve. Here's a blurb from Bill Flanagan at CBS News:

"Welcome To The Voice" is a new classical piece — oh, I might as well admit it, it's an opera with a libretto by the French writer Muriel Teodori and music by Steve Nieve, best known to the hoi polloi as the brilliant pianist in Elvis Costello & the Attractions. It's a piece about the clash between high culture and low, the upper class and the workers, and Nieve has very cleverly cast legit opera singers such as Barbara Bonney and Amanda Roocroft as the Sacred Voices, and rock singers like Costello and Sting as the Profane Voices. It's a conceit worthy of Bertold Brecht and it really works. Whether you come in through the front door of serious music or the servant's entrance of pop, "Welcome To The Voice" will make you feel welcome at the party.

The story line was was simple; high class vs. lower class. The above write-up describes it very well. Sting as Dionysos and Elvis Costello as the Police Commissioner. The sopranos were amazing... Sylvia Schwartz as Lily, Marie-Ange Todorovitch as The Ghost of Carmen, Sonya Yoncheva as The Ghost of Butterfly, and Anna Gabler as The Ghost of Norma. Sting's son, Joe Sumner, played Dionysos' friend. He looks and sounds just like his dad when he was younger!

I didn't know what to expect going in, but if you tell me Sting is playing anywhere, I'm there! I have always enjoyed opera in the movies; Philadelphia comes to mind, as does Moonstruck, however, not knowing the pieces, I never knew which direction to turn to for further listening. I have a short stack of CD's from my mom, but after a little while, I always lowered the volume or just changed the CD to something more familiar.

After hearing the sopranos in all their richness and volume, I would love to go see Madame Butterfly, or something similar. Any opera aficionados out there, please guide me! As my "date" said, "Once you get used to the fullness and quality of opera, it's like having tasted real chocolate... Hershey's just doesn't satisfy!"

Something I also need to do is go see more stage productions. The only real Broadway show I have ever seen was "Oh, Calcutta"... not much of a stretch for costume design there!

My thanks to Andy and Mollie for the heads up on the show (another Facebook tidbit!). I am hoping to write before I head to Denver on Monday. I've got to get into the Christmas spirit somehow! Maybe a little cold weather and mountains will help?

"You can't fool me. There ain't no Sanity Clause!"

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Tangled up in blue...

It has been a while since the last post and I apologize! I've been really busy, happily!

I was contacted today by Ben... He emailed me to say that he saw my photos from Sri Lanka on GoogleMaps. He said he is heading there soon and wanted to know "what not to miss". I gave him a few pointers and suggestions... Enjoy your trip, Ben... send a few photos over!

It's hard to believe that it is now a year since I was there, taking in exotica, the sights, the sounds, the smells... (I'm lighting the incense now!)... I still have good memories of that trip. What began as a journey of expressions, turned into a serendipity of sorts and who knew I would be where I am today? I am moving forward, doing things I never thought I would be doing and going to places I never thought I would see.

Right now, I'm planning a trip to Denver for a geek conference in December. I'm looking forward to meeting some folks I have only known through forums and virtual encounters, and attending some workshops to learn some new tricks and techniques. Following this trip, there are a few more destinations to some far-flung places in the next few months that I am looking forward to seeing!

Facebook continues to amaze me. I have found several of my favorite crew members from my flying days! I might dig out some of those old photos and put an album together! Look out! A friend said, "you know a lot of different people", all I could say was I've lived a lot of lives. I can break my life into sections of where I lived and what I was doing at the time. Each "life section" has taught me a great deal. I feel like I have lived, loved and learned everywhere I have been. I'm still learning... there's so much more to learn!

Lord knows I've paid some dues getting through...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Beyond black and white...

Yes We Did! That's what I wrote on my Facebook wall. The elation felt overseas totally resonates with America's heartfelt joy.

I had a comment from my brother (who, it turns out, is a rather right-wing Republican) asking me, "What is this 'we' crap there froggy????" I guess he doesn't realize that A.) I am (still) an American, B.) I (still) vote by absentee ballot, and C.) That vote (still) counts.

I spent this weekend in the company of groups of Americans here in Paris and the keywords mentioned were "hope" and "change". More than one person said they wore an American flag on November 5th, pointing out that they hadn't felt "comfortable" doing that during the past eight years.

I had lunch with Alice and a Japanese friend on November 5th. While getting dressed, I dug out my Swarovski heart-shaped American flag pin and proudly wore it, something I didn't feel I could do for so long! Americans in America may not understand what we expats have been feeling, and it is hard to explain. We are not the "other" Americans. We are, to quote Phyllis Michaux, "The Unknown Ambassadors".

I think the world has high expectations for Mr. Obama. I think he is in for the challenge of this century to turn America around. Saying that, I also feel that his acceptance speech laid down the gauntlet for America to pick up. It reminded me a lot of John F. Kennedy's "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country" speech. He spoke of the 106-year-old woman and the changes and progress she saw in her lifetime and tied it in nicely with the question, what will our children witness in their lifetime?

I think of my son. He was three years old when he first sat at a computer. He started with the C:\ prompt to play his games. At 17, he is now light years ahead of me. There are things we can't even imagine that are already on the horizon... I keep singing the Jetson's theme song with some of the projects I am working on now. (I can sync my sneakers to the Nike site to see how many miles I will be walking!... and that makes me feel like Agent 99!)

My point is, it will take more than Obama to make the change. We need to make it with him. We, the people, need to get our hands dirty and dig in. We need to give back. We need to turn it around and we need to do it now. Here's a great video. Alice's daughter (thanks Cat!) posted it on Facebook. Watch it, then share it with your kid. Heck, share it with everyone you know!

The future is now...

Friday, November 7, 2008

Nice nuts...

These beautiful walnuts came from the farm of a neighbor of Alice. There's nothing like the flavor of "real" fresh walnuts on an autumn night. However, I will say this, Alice is in great need of a genuine nutcracker... those plumber's wrenches just won't do! (Yo, head's up you family Christmas list planners!)

Here comes the segue...

Feeling a bit "squeezed"? NYT has announced "Jobless Rate at 14-Year High After Big October Losses"... What are we going to do??? How about we go back to basics? I think the the real turn on of Obama's campaign was trying to be human. (Mind you, I live in Paris and was not subjected to "robocalls" and TV ads ad nauseum...) So, let's think back to easier times...

I recently pulled out a photo album from 1970, I then scanned and posted a few of those photos to Facebook. They were of my old neighborhood friends and our activities growing up. We were kids, doing kid things; ice-skating on a frozen backyard patio, playing in our tree fort, building mud constructions and waging battles with "epees"... As one friend said, "There was no better childhood." Another said, "W section Lord of the Flies!!! Remember all those empty houses we used to play in? We had so much fun."

Life used to be so much easier when we weren't over-extended... we relied on ourselves to provide and get the job done. There was a more innocent feel, you had to use your imagination to build the game you wanted to play. We didn't have PlayStation or the internet. Forget about cell phones, we were using cans and string! Our favorite pastimes were touch football on Wilmont Turnpike.... we had to break up the game to let a car go by... and THAT was on the busy street! We used to venture down to the "new" houses still under construction and play in the foundations. Our mothers didn't worry about where we were. We were together. We'd come home. Can you imagine the same thing today??? Just think of your kid being incommunicado for a whole 6 hours! You'd be on the blower to the police in minutes!

My (uneducated and rambling) point here is this. Baseball, hot dogs, apple pie and Chevrolet. The basics. We lost the plot. We need to be Ozzie and Harriet for a little while. We need to get grounded. You lost your job? I understand. Take this time to reinvent yourself. Find your passion. It's not easy. I know. I've been there. I'm still there, but I'm doing it. The beauty lies in discovering just what it is you are capable of doing. Then do it. Like I said...

Nice nuts.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes We Can!

A friend sent this to me from Times Square. He said, "The environment was electric... The world will change from tomorrow onwards, it will be a better place..."

I got up at 5:30 and turned on CNN. I saw the numbers and then I had the extreme joy to watch President-elect Obama address the crowd. The hope is back. The heavy feeling of the last eight years is lifted.

It is pouring rain in Paris today, but there will be bright smiles everywhere, I'm sure!

Oh happy day!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Hope for Change....

...and pray for peace.

History being made and I hope it will be made in a good way. A screen shot of CNN about a half hour ago. I couldn't help but shed a tear, watching this moment and thinking that tomorrow will bring about a new beginning.

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.
~ Barack Obama

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Halloween, you Mavericks!

We had a virtual Halloween party last night... the star of the show was "Sarah Palin"... good likeness! The above is a screen shot as we were signing in.

November has hit Paris in a cold, wet and windy way. Perfect preparation for an upcoming conference in Denver this December! I'm going to immerse myself in geekdom.... sweet code, design tricks and people who will "get" me. I can't wait! (I never thought I'd be such a NERD!)

My son doesn't know about this trip yet... but... he has recently given me hope and faith to leave him on his own without worrying about the police showing up at the door after midnight. His girlfriend told me she wanted to plan a surprise birthday party for him. She was looking at a place that was a tad pricey, she asked her mother if she could have it at her place... still questionable at the last minute, so... I offered up my place. I left the key with her, packed an overnight bag to stay at "Ms. Palin's" pad and hoped for the best.

It was good all the way around. I came home to a spotlessly clean apartment, no breakage, no law suits pending... and they had a good time. Merci a tous!

Back to the cold weather... it is perfect for curling up with a good book. I have been out of reading material for a few weeks and luckily "Ms. Palin" had a stack of books for me to take home. In the pile: The Cluetrain Manifesto, The Tipping Point, The World is Flat, Influencer, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, and I am hoping for a copy to be sent of Crowd Sourcing by Jeff Howe. For me, these are a treat!

Here's another treat, just think... in 3 days the President-elect will be known!

What Washington needs is adult supervision.
~ Barack Obama

Monday, October 27, 2008

Everything’s coming up roses...

Yesterday my son and his friend reamed my cave. I guess that sounds worse than the deed itself. In layman's terms... take an over-piled storage area, ruthlessly start chucking stuff. Have your kid take the refuse out to the street. Con his best friend into reconstructing an Ikea armoire in the newly available space. Fill said space with crap you will be reaming the next time around. Rejoice. Rejoice again cuz it's worth rejoicing over the reclaimed space in the living quarters. Lather. Rinse. Repeat. Rejoice.

I should be at the Casino de Paris listening to Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten right now. But I gave my ticket to the above mentioned best friend. When I handed him the ticket this afternoon, he kept saying, non... non... then he ran out of the apartment. Whatever. I had my weird moments as a teenager way back when.

He came back with the above white roses. Mon ange. I think we'll keep him! ;-)

Things look swell, things look great...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Put a little love in your heart...

It doesn't take much to make someone's day!

I am working on a project that involves a "virtual team". There are several of us in four countries putting our minds together. The other day was one team member's birthday and we had a virtual surprise birthday party (via web conferencing) complete with hats, a blower, cards and flowers. We each created a birthday wish Power Point page in Google docs and shared it with the birthday girl. It was nice for her and a great experience for the team to bond this way.

What blows me away is that we are able to do this! The only thing missing was being able to smell the roses and taste the cake! I'm sure there is a genius out there who is working on that now.

Speaking of geniuses, the senior lunch the other day was a lot of fun. There was a total of 61 women in attendance. We took a little election poll and I want to share those numbers with you as inspiration. All the women are American, 40 have received AND returned their absentee ballot, 6 were still waiting for their ballots, 3 were voting in the US and 3 were not voting for whatever reason. The rest abstained. Those are incredible numbers! (If you haven't gotten your ballot yet, go to These women are all over 60, some of them are in their 80s and THEY have time to vote! (You see it's getting late... oh please don't hesitate...)

I saw Al Green a few years ago at the Olympia. He was amazing, the crowd never sat down! Here he is with Annie Lennox.

And the world will be a better place...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

To everything, turn, turn, turn...

I've been taking photos of the trees outside my kitchen balcony... I started on September 26 when the leaves just started turning. It is now October 19 and there are only a few die-hards still clinging to the branches.

Speaking of die-hards (and I mean that in the nicest way!), since I hit the big 5-0 this year, I am now officially a "junior Senior". I received my first invitation to attend the AAWE Senior luncheon this Tuesday with about 40 of my favorite senior women. (Earplugs optional!) As their saying goes, "once a senior, always a senior!"

These women have been an inspiration to me over the past 15 years. Their stories span decades and "eras", their experience goes beyond the average American woman of their generation, and they continue to reach out to the newbies in France to share their wisdom. I'm looking forward to seeing you all!

We are also getting down to the last days of the campaign. I have already sent in my absentee ballot... Have You??

If you have registered but not yet recieved your ballot in the mail, go to: to get a Federal Write-in Absentee Ballot. The FWAB is an alternative ballot for overseas and uniformed services voters whose ballots are late. Every vote counts!

A time for peace, I swear its not too late...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The Deep End....

I'm going to take the advice of Skype's opening message... "Take a deep breath."

I just had the plumbers here. The bathtub drain was clogged and not getting any better despite the weapons of mass chemical destruction over the past few weeks. I finally called the plumber today expecting that they would be able to get here on Monday. I got the number from one of those cards that gets shoved under the door... you know, Infos Quartier: Electricite, Serrurerie, Plomberie, etc... They said they could come by this afternoon. Hoo-ray!

I should give you a little history... I have long hair. My son has long hair. This is not the first time this has happened. But, in our defense, it always seems to happen after la rentree. Here's my theory: in August, people are gone for a month, the drains in the building get limited usage... not a lot of hot water passing through the pipes to keep things moving, the goo has a chance to 'solidify' and clog up the works. Everyone comes home at around the same time and all of a sudden, the pipes go into overload and stuff gets backed up. Add hair to this equation. Still with me? Nod your head and say yeah.

So, this afternoon the plumbers (Actif-Services) show up. They looked like Dumb and Dumber. Ugh. I won't even mention butt crack. (No offense to Joe the Plumber!) They immediately go into the good plumber, bad plumber routine. "It can be fixed." "It can't be fixed." They pulled out the POWER PLUNGER. Mind you, I know that a power plunger goes for about 30-40 euros retail. I almost bought one a few years ago and I still kick myself in the butt (pardon my potty humor!) for not having done so!

They made a grand show of said apparatus and power plunged a few times. Now, even I know, YOU HAVE TO PLUG THE OTHER DRAINS AND OVERFLOW HOLES TO GET SUCTION. EXCUSE ME! I politely mentioned this to them. Dumb says, there must be a flood. [what?] Dumber nods his head and they go into my son's room and pull the bed away to access the pipes. There's no flood. So, they "confer" and Dumb starts writing up a big list of everything that needs to be replaced. Pipes, drains, sockets, wiring... Dumber is nodding his head in agreement. They present me with a devis for 998 euros hors taxe. All I'm thinking now is how much do I owe these guys just for showing up? So I asked them. Dumber (or Dumb, I can't remember who was good plumber in this) pulls out his power plunger again and says "We can do this, allons-y!"

Plot spoiler coming up: Here's a trick I am going to pass along in the interest of humanity. After power plunging for a few more plunges, he took the shower hose, removed the showerhead, and shoved the "hose" into the bathtub drain. He blocked it off with a good guest towel (grr) and proceeded to open the hot water tap full steam ahead. He let the HOT water run for a good three minutes or so, then whipped out the power plunger and pumped that baby a few more times: water, air, water, air, water, air, water, air... Guess what?

Yes, the almighty drain orgasm. That orbiting spiral of water, the release of a gurgling sigh as the clog gave up its soul... If I still smoked, I would have been puffing a big one. Ahhhhh.

Segue into the living room. This is where it got hairy. (Again, pardon my pun.)

Dumb (or Dumber) reworks the devis to a mere 568 euros. "A promotion!" My face must have been a visual for "are you out of your fucking mind?" because Dumber (or Dumb) immediately got on the cell phone to his "patron" to discuss the price. I pulled out the receipt for the exact same work on the exact same pipes done almost exactly 2 years ago for a total of 118 euros and 60 centimes. I also pulled out my checkbook and wrote a check for 150 euros. I got a friend on the phone in case I needed back up and I told them to take it or leave it. Dumb wrote up a new devis, added "prix promo", took my check, packed up and they left. Good riddance.

Here's a shameless plug: Do not call anyone (except perhaps the pompiers) on those "under the door" cards. Holley Duran is a reputable plumber. I used them two years ago and I should have called them back. (I found their old receipt in my 2005 books.) Go with what you know.

And away go troubles down the drain...

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wild thing...

Whenever people come to Paris, one of the things they want to do is experience the food. Some friends from the US are here this week, but not for the sights. They are here for the restaurants. They are "Serious Foodies".

Let me introduce you... I met Tobi through an AOL support board almost 10 years ago! We have stayed in touch and visited each other over the past few years... she's come to Paris, I've gone to NYC. Tobi is a member of several other forums and boards, the topics include Paris, travel and food. Peg is a member of the travel and food boards. She's also a professional caterer in Atlanta. Jo (a friend of Peg's) and her husband, Don, are from the San Francisco area and come to Paris for a month or so every year.

We all had lunch together on Sunday at Brasserie Balzar in the 5th and the topic turned (naturally) to which restaurants they had been to on this trip. Jo whipped a sheet of paper out of her purse that I HAD to see. She has compiled an impressive list of restaurants and cafes that is broken down by arrondissement and includes price ranges and comments by friends and critics. She very kindly gave me a copy of it. It's better than a Zagat guide!

The conversation then segued into the variety of entrees, plats and desserts that have been tasted and sampled during the week. I was astounded when Peg said she had had cassoulet for dinner the night before and then ordered charcroute for lunch! (I could feel my arteries hardening by the second!) But, I totally understand the "I want to have all my favorites while I'm here" syndrome. I did the same thing in NY & Boston; Reubens, bagels with cream cheese, garlic pickles, lobsters... I won't even tell you what I go for in the South!

We met again for dinner last night at L'Epigramme in the 6th. I had the canard sauvage, the others had the cote de cochon basque. The duck was tasty and came with the added ingredient of buckshot. I have long ago learned never to take a solid bite into anything "sauvage".

I used to be quite a chef back when I had time to cook and someone appreciative of the efforts. In my old neighborhood of Suresnes, I had all my "guys"... the wine guy, the cheese guy, the fish guy... my favorite was my butcher. These are the people you really need to know if you live in France. I once got a gift of a dead pheasant. It arrived in a FNAC bag, its tail feathers sticking out the top. I had no idea what to do with it. So, I took it to my boucher and he did all the magic things that one does to make it cookable, charged me 25 francs and off I went. I called a friend whose husband is a chef and asked, "What do I do with it now?" Well, let me tell you... I barded that baby in bacon, browned it, then doused it with Calvados, threw in some onion and apple slices and let it simmer for a short time. I invited said friend and her cheffing hubby for dinner that night, et voila... I got the seal of approval! Kudos (and Calvados) all around!

We'll be meeting up for one more dinner on Sunday night before they all head back to the US. Not sure where we'll be dining, but it will be good, I'm counting on it!

You make everything, groovy!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Like a bridge over troubled water...

The last few weeks have been a journey through my past. Through conversations with old friends and "new", I am discovering not only who I am, but who my true friends really are. The memories being relived, back and forth, are revealing. Between what I remember and what a friend remembers, we stitch together pieces of our past that may have been forgotten, but which suddenly explain certain events and their outcomes.

This process is also revealing to me my choices in life and the different path I seem to have always taken given my parent's lifestyle and the choices they made. Moving around as a Navy brat, constantly entering and leaving neighborhoods/friendships/schools/states made for an abbreviated grasp on the meaning of long term relationships. I have lived in Paris longer than I have lived anywhere else in my life. And I'm not French! It's not my culture, nor my country, background or language, and yet... here I am.

I am discovering (I think I have a little more learning to do on this subject!) that certain people who I thought I could count on are not at all who I thought they were. That is a huge disappointment to me. And others, relationships built slowly over time, have proved to be more than I ever thought they could be; I thank you for that. In your heart, you know who you are.

This has been a difficult journey. There have been tears, a lot of self-reflection and questioning of who I am on my part. I know this is a journey I can only make on my own. And I know that when the end of this particular path comes to its fork, I will have learned more about me and I will be ready to make my next move with strength and confidence.

I have a lot to go through in the next coming months. Life changes combined with today's climate of economic incertitude... I'll need to know who my friends really are.

Sail on silver girl...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Rainy day, dream away...

The heat has finally been turned on in my building, and brrr... just in the nick of time... it is COLD and rainy! My son came home for lunch today and left wearing a leather jacket and a scarf!

I've been watching the trees change in my "jardin" and taking a daily photo. It's amazing how quickly they are changing this year. A portent of a cold winter?

In the meantime, some friends arrived this morning from the US and we have tickets (row 8 center!) to see Stephen Stills on Sunday! Having just seen him with Crosby and Nash this summer, I am looking forward to seeing him on his own.

At the end of the month I have tickets for a show featuring Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller and Victor Wooten.... this is with my son, a friend of his and his friend's dad. If anyone can direct Dave Mason to Paris, let me know!

Short post, I have been digging on the cooler weather, slightly slower pace and satisfying work with good people.

Let the sun take a holiday...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Black and white...

Went to see the Richard Avedon exhibit at the Jeu de Paume. I loved seeing the portraits enlarged as to be able to see the reflection in the eyes of the subject. The images were all so powerful and the exhibition space lent itself to the black and white starkness of his work.

I had my little Olympus with me and took a few shots indoors of the windows and space... the above was taken outside after we left the building. It was just a blank wall, but the shadows and the play of light on the leaves made an interesting pattern. The person I was with asked me, "how do you see that?" as I nudged her in that direction and took the shot. The beauty of digital is it is right there. I showed her the preview. I don't know the answer to that. It's just there... it pleases my eye.

Here's a link to the Fraenkel Gallery in San Francisco. A lot of pleasure in this site. Enjoy.

Note to self: This was such an inspiration. Make more time to go see more shows and make it a point to go out and just shoot.

I speak through my photographs more intricately, more deeply than with words.
~Richard Avedon

Friday, September 26, 2008

Mois de la Photo

A few years ago I took a digital photography course at Parsons School of Design here in Paris given by Bob Bishop, the editor of Paris Voice. I've been rehashing a few of those photos here in this blog, including the above taken at the Jardin des Tuileries.

For me, the course was a refresher in how to look at things. He gave us a great assignment of shape, form and texture. Simple and subtle. I enjoyed going out, camera in hand, with a specific task in mind.

To be honest, I've never been technically astute with my equipment, but I think I have a good eye. I saw an interview once with Gabriel Byrne and something he said captured the essence of my photography and how I like to shoot. He said, "The camera photographs thought. It photographs emotion. If you think it, the camera picks it up." That says it all for me.

Here comes the shameless plug.

The Mois de la Photo is coming up soon here in Paris. I had emailed earlier this afternoon with Bob and he sent a link of photo events that will be happening around Paris for the next few weeks.

Hopefully, he'll be adding the upcoming Mona Bismarck exhibition "Serendipity: Photographs by Kim Powell". Kim is a friend and a professional photographer. We did a trip to Sri Lanka together last November to photograph and document the works of 60 Sri Lankan artists for Expressions of Independence, the previous MBF show. We spent an amazing 12 days in Sri Lanka, touring the island, the temples, and getting a feel for the culture. If you haven't been there, you must make it a destination to be seen and experienced. It will take hold of all your senses.

Much of our time was spent in the back seat of our car being transported to different sites by Nalin, our driver. We quickly figured out that if we wanted to capture anything, it was going to be on the move. There are a lot of motion shots, lots of movement and color blurs. But it seemed to capture the essence of what we both saw, incorporating thought and emotion.

My photos from the trip are rotating in the little photo sidebar on this site. Here's a link to the bigger slideshow.

If you are in Paris between October 22, 2008 and January 10, 2009 be sure to stop by the Mona Bismarck Foundation to see Kim's work. As I write this, it is still being set up, but having shared the experience with her, I can assure you, it will be well worth the visit.

Say "fromage"!

Monday, September 22, 2008

All the leaves are brown...

Well, not yet... but it is autumn!

I love the fall. I love when it gets chilly enough at night to throw on the big thick comforter. I love watching the leaves go through their changing metamorphosis of colors and the rustling they bring when the winds blows. The days begin to grow noticeably shorter and soup makes its way onto the menu...

Here in Paris, the chestnut leaves will be falling soon. I call them landmines because you never know what might be under them. I wrote an "Ode to Fall" when I first moved here... I wish I could find it. Suffice to say it involved sidewalks, big leaves and small dogs.

For those of you considering a visit to Paris, the autumn is the best time of year to come over. The weather is still good, everything is open, most of the regular tourists are gone and the fêtes and salons are in full swing.

The last few days here have been perfect. The next few should be just as good. A friend's mom is here from San Francisco, we're going to try to do a Cordon Bleu class. The Richard Avedon show ends next week and I'm meeting someone on Saturday to take that in. I started yoga classes every Thursday evening... all is good. A brief break in the rentrée schedule.

Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.
~Elizabeth Lawrence

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Blast from the past...

This is really stretching it... first the FA days and now this!

As part of a learning process for a project I am working on, I was asked to join FaceBook (social networking, community building, et al). This was something I have always been reluctant to do as I already spend more than enough time on the web. But, I did it. I'm still learning how it works... and I need to make a few adjustments to the privacy settings.

I will say this... it is instantaneous as far as getting in touch with old friends. Especially for old farts like me! I have gotten back in contact with most of the old neighborhood gang, and people I haven't heard from since HS graduation day! So, to bring back the haze... here's a self-portrait of moi, circa 1976.

I used to have "my darkroom" in the bathroom... (please note the fine 1970s vintage wallpaper à la Strathmore East!) I had the enlarger and trays set up on a folding table... turn on the red light, lock the door and block out the light at the floor with towels... et voila. I'd spend hours in there, developing film, printing... lost in my own little world. My friends were my best subjects. Candid shots, portraits, staged photos, just doing what we did... it's nice to go back and look at them... even better to see they survived after 32 years!

And we survived too. So, Floyd, Sue, Anita, Sue, Jim, Kev... here's looking at you!

Ah, how good it feels! The hand of an old friend.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Welcome aboard...

There was an article on today's NYT website entitled, "Flying the Unfriendly Skies". The author, Michelle Higgins, went through American Airlines' Flight Attendant Training School and reported her experience. It had a video that went with it called, "Flight School Confidential"... I had to watch it.

As you know, I was a Flight Attendant for 10 years, and let me tell you, FA training is not easy. Judging by the video, it has not gotten any easier over the years.

The above photo is of a few of us crew members lolling around in a 747 engine, that's me standing. (Sometimes it got a little boring hanging around on the tarmac...) Luckily, we had a ladder and a few "ramp rats" to help us up and down. In training, it was a different story. To qualify on the 747, we had to jump out of a mock up cabin... Our trainer popped the door open, blew the slide and down we went, JUMP, JUMP, JUMP... It's a scary thing to do that without the adrenalin rush of an actual "event". We were given the opportunity to jump out of the upper deck... no takers. A single lane slide 47 feet up? After you.

My flying experience began as a bet. There was an ad in Newsday... I was sitting around with my boss at the time and read the ad to him. He said, "I'll give you the day off if you go to the interview". Sure, why not? That began my whirlwind career of "sky-walking". I had the opportunity to see places I never would have traveled to otherwise. I met people of many different cultures, tasted foods from all over and sated my wanderlust nature.

As cliche as it is, I met my future husband on a layover... it was April in Paris... he worked for a French airline, I worked for an American airline... we dated NY-Paris for a year and ended up getting married. Long story short, I'm still here, he's not... see my profile.

I worked for three different airlines, all charter (I wanted to do international flights and not just Peoria-Pitt-Philly-Phoenix). The last one was American Trans Air (ATA). They just went bankrupt this past spring. I met my roommate (DD) in training and we shared a house in Long Beach, NY, just four blocks from the beach and close to JFK. Our hours were not normal, we had two phone "signals", one for friends and one for crew scheduling... we had "The Wall of Shame"... photos from layovers that you wouldn't want your mom to see. We had a lot of fun. We also lost a lot of friends. It was the 80s and HIV/AIDS was still not quite defined.

Some of the more memorable flights include flying the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to Washington, DC for George H. W. Bush's 1989 inauguration. I kept asking them to sing something and after a bit of egging on, the forward cabin broke into song. It was amazing to be surrounded in that sound. We flew Sir Richard Branson, his wife and several of his guests including John Hurt, from Miami to London when Virgin's plane broke down. He's an inspirational man. I had the opportunity to work a flight to the "North Pole" with the Sunshine Foundation. We had kids and their parents on board for an hour or so, with clowns and Santa... we just inched along the empty runways, but the kids enjoyed every minute of it. So did I. I have a lot of good memories.

These days, post 9/11, it just doesn't seem like it would be much fun anymore. The training video included smoke hoods and defibrillators! We were lucky enough to have a basic first aid kit and CPR certification. If you want a good laugh, go rent the movie "Stewardess School".

Fasten your seat belts!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Herd mentality...

I left this shot in a larger format because I want you to click on it and enjoy the details. It's the screen saver on my second monitor and it takes me back to that day. We were at the baby elephant orphanage in Sri Lanka and it was at the end of bathing time in the river. As you can see, there's always one hold out in every crowd. I like to think that maybe s/he thinks s/he can break free... Why not?

The reason for this photo is exactly what you see... the herd mentality. I was thinking about it today in reference to the campaign and all the mindless polls... let's just vote already! NYT's Gail Collins must have been reading my mind. Check out her column today.

This is just a quick post, knee-deep in a big deadline...

I wonder what an elephant would look like with lipstick??

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Oooops, I did it again...

I love French taxi drivers.

Between yesterday and today I have been in 5 cabs, zipping back and forth across Paris. Until I open my mouth, I'm French. Then they ask me where I am from. New York. Then they ask, who am I voting for? They smile when I say Obama.

On my iGoogle home page, I have the NYT feed. One of the headlines today was "Straining to Reach Goal, Obama Presses Donors"... Ever since I donated a few days ago, I have been getting a bunch of emails from the Obama campaign. IMHO... y'all need a good copywriter to punch up the pitch! ---> Moi, (a registered Democrat abroad) didn't realize that Obama had made a decision to bypass public financing for the general election!

For that reason, I whipped out the credit card and made another donation. Check out the Obama website. They even have a $5 button for donations! Isn't that what a latte-choco-moto-whatever-it-is costs at Starbucks? Put YOUR money where your mouth is... and don't forget to register and VOTE!

I'm not that innocent...

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Pump up the volume...

I'm on a few mailing lists. I am also a member of FAWCO. This came in the other day from the FAWCO list...

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has proposed new regulations that would effectively redefine commonly used birth control methods as “abortions” and restrict the access of millions of women to contraception methods and information about alternative methods of birth control.

Women’s groups are disappointed that a department of the US Government which should normally be concerned about women’s welfare is using its power to try to curb and dramatically restrict the ability of women, particularly the 17 million women who depend on federally-supported medical facilities, to receive contraceptive services.

FAWCO, in keeping with its Resolutions & Recommendations which state:

2. Resolves to encourage and support FAWCO members to promote human rights and welfare with a special focus on the most vulnerable women and children through education and awareness-raising, and recommends:

c. Affirming a person’s right to accurate information about reproductive and sexual health, including HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases; supporting health education programs aimed at preventing, controlling and treating diseases, as well as publishing information on cardiovascular disease, cancer and other health issues;

has written a letter to the Secretary of Health and Human Services, Mike Leavitt recommending that the department drop the proposed regulatory change and concentrate on improving and expanding medical services for women, particularly those least able to afford private clinics.

Our letter is on our website under UN/NGO “FAWCO Speaks Out.

For a complete copy of the regulations the Department of Health and Human Services is proposing, go to

The government has a 30-day public comment period, which will continue until Sept 20. During this time, if you wish to comment you can contact the government at

If you would like more information go to NOW’s website at:

Are we that far removed from reality? Where are we headed? I feel like women are going back in time. Judith Martin's blog today spoke volumes.

Words fail me.

Friday, September 5, 2008

We won’t get fooled again...

I'm gonna need a few cases of Alter Ego to get through the next eight weeks.

In order to be bipartisan, I watched the reruns this morning of McCain's speech at the RNC. (No way was I getting up in the middle of the night to see it live!) I noticed, as the cameras panned the audience, that there was something missing. In that sea of American humanity, cowboy hats and red, white and blue buttons aside, it looked pretty pale compared to Obama's crowd. Where's the diversity? Where's the melting pot of America? And I kept hearing the same word over and over... 'fight'. Aren't we tired of fighting??

Speaking of fighting, let's move on to the pitbull in lipstick... While listening to Ms. Palin’s party acceptance speech yesterday, I had to put a finger in my good ear (I’m half deaf) to soften the shrillness of her voice. I kept saying to my son, “She sounds like, like...” and couldn’t remember who... until this afternoon. Think back to 1984 and the movie Splash. You know... Tom Hanks, Darryl Hannah? Here’s a clip from the movie, you’ll have to wait until very close to the end to hear what I mean, but it’s totally worth watching. I especially enjoyed the Crazy Eddie commercial.... IN-SANE!

Here's another little tidbit: Gail Collins' NYT op-ed today mentioned some off-mic chatter made by MSNBC commentators. I'd rate this exchange right up there with Jesse Jackson's recent gaffe. However, it's interesting to get some honest opinions from "the experts".

Now that the conventions are over, it's time for the debates. I hope CNN will give those the same full election coverage we've come to expect for the viewers overseas. I am looking forward to seeing Joe Biden and Sarah Palin face off in the swimsuit competition...

The change, it had to come...

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

They’re baaack!

It's official. Anyone who held out until the last possible minute has made their way back to Paris to what is known as "La Rentrée". I can hear the Xanax being popped across the city... I can also hear the roaming street band outside... they wasted no time getting back in the swing of things. Cue Strangers in the Night... it sounds like they spent their summer learning some new tunes! It also sounds like they bought some new amps.

For those of you who have no clue as to what la rentrée is, it's the traditional time of year when, following five glorious weeks of French vacation, you pack up your bags (and your attitude) and make your way back into the grind. Work, school, whatever... then, you start counting down the weeks to the Toussaint vacation. Six weeks on, two weeks off. I love France.

It also means everything is open for business again! Cafes, bistros, newsstands, the open air markets are back with all the stalls and regular vendors. The kids have returned to school and routines fall into place.

Autumn has always been my favorite season, no matter where I lived. A time to begin anew and hopefully, make some real changes to the schedule. In my mind, it's better than making New Year's resolutions that you know you'll never keep.

Right now, I am busy working on the catalogue for our next show, (I will be shamelessly plugging that in the upcoming weeks) and I once again find myself glued to the chair and box for long hours. As you know, I have been trying to figure out some nifty time management tricks over the past few months. I've sort of come up with a list... or as I like to call it, Notes to Self. Feel free to add your suggestions!

Note to Self: Do not go to Carrefour after 4pm. The mom brigade is out in force to pick up the kids at school and head en masse to do the grocery shopping. I now have the luxury of doing daytime shopping. I just have to get off my butt and do it.

Note to Self: Roll your butt out of bed, throw something on, bypass the Nespresso machine and go do a 45 minute walk around the lake. You owe it to yourself. Side note: I hear the blind man tapping his way around the block everyday at 5pm-ish and the guilt sets in. My son has to be out of here at 8am every morning, Monday through Friday. (No Saturday classes this year!) I must build in a regular walk schedule, so if I don't answer the phone first thing in the a.m., you'll know where I am!

Note to Self: Take advantage of this amazing city and go see more stuff. There are two photo shows on right now: Annie Leibovitz and Richard Avedon. The artistic input will be a point of inspiration and, who knows? I might even meet some new folks in the process!

On that note, a friend's mom is coming over to visit in a week or so and I have promised to do a class with her at Cordon Bleu. I haven't done that in years! It will be fun to see her again and to spend the afternoon doing something we both enjoy... cooking! I'll have more on this later. Until then...

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts.
~ Albert Einstein

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Hot Fun in the Summertime...

This morning, after reading way too many blogs and news articles about McCain's VP choice, I decided to put my money where my mouth is. I made a donation to Obama's campaign.

I was Skyping with a friend in the US and watching CNN International (multi-tasking!) when yesterday's announcement was made... my jaw dropped. I won't tell you which emoticon we both used, but it was immediate and unanimous.

My first thought was, 5 kids? My mom had 5 kids... she barely had time to go to the bathroom and this woman could potentially be "a heartbeat away" from the presidency? Then I found out the youngest was born in April, with Down Syndrome? I'm sorry. My priorities would be with my family. I'm still shaking my head in disbelief. What is he thinking? What is she thinking?

Here's what some other bloggers are thinking... I found a few to share with you. I just needed to have a little chuckle.

From the "Funniest Blog in America" McCain Taps Palin of Alaska After First 37 Choices Turn Him Down:

"I know Vice President isn't a glamorous job," Sen. McCain admitted. "You mostly go to funerals of foreign leaders, unless you're inventing the Internet like Al Gore or running America like Dick Cheney. But the job is frankly what you make of it, and I would have thought I could find someone who had some sort of stature or name recognition or even came from a state where there are more electoral votes than caribou."

A few comments from Jack Cafferty's blog:

KS from KS (August 29th, 2008 3:31 pm ET): She’s gonna whip Biden in the swimsuit competition during the VP debate.
Laura from SF (August 29th, 2008 3:38 pm ET): Grandpa and his Alaskan pistol-packin’ mamma are gonna save the world from terrorists...oh boy!

This comes from Wikipedia*:

"She and her father would sometimes wake at 3 a.m. to hunt moose before school..."

I guess we can all see where that 3 a.m. phone call ad will be going now... [gunshot heard echoing in the background]...

*This just in... Apparently there has been a lot of recent editing to Ms. Palin's Wikipedia entry. Here's a link to her bio prior to the announcement.

From Gail Collins:

"This year, Hillary Clinton took things to a whole new level. She didn’t run for president as a symbol but as the best-prepared candidate in the Democratic pack. Whether you liked her or not, she convinced the nation that women could be qualified to both run the country and be commander in chief. That was an enormous breakthrough, and Palin’s nomination feels, in comparison, like a step back."

From Tim Kaine: Real Time with Bill Maher

And one more: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Those summer days...

Friday, August 29, 2008

Cruising into middle age...

The big 5-0 milestone has been reached and it ain't so bad. As the saying goes... consider the alternative!

The birthday excursion to Switzerland was quite enjoyable. The weather was a bit iffy for a Saturday evening dinner cruise, so we opted for a Sunday lunch cruise on the lake which lasted for 3 hours. We got off the boat feeling like it was over a little too soon, (the weather was perfect!) so we drove to Lausanne and caught another boat and did another three hours, this time accompanied by the above bucket. Cheers!

This past week has been spent working by day and watching the Democratic Convention by night, thus the late post. Last night I stayed up until 5:30am to see the entire closing event and watch Barack Obama accept the nomination. I know I posted this before, but I remember back in 1992 when Bill Clinton accepted the nomination, my first real "involvement" with politics. He was inspiring and even back then it was time for a change from the first Bush. I think both Bill and Hillary did the right thing by putting their dreams aside for the better good of the Democratic party.

Watching the speeches this week has given me a new sense of hope, that perhaps the US can pick itself up and dust itself off and go forward. Hopefully, come November, those of us living abroad won't have to once again say, "But I didn't vote for 'him'!". (I guess you know my affiliation by now!)

That said, whatever your party choice, I hope you are all registered and that you will send in your absentee ballot. If you need help getting registered, or want some information on how to vote from overseas, visit the AARO website and click on Voting. (When did I become such an activist?)

I think Barack Obama's message of looking forward and not turning back is appropriate for this milestone. It is time for new beginnings... because, like I said earlier...

Consider the alternative.