11 October 2008


Fire in relation to my house

Yeah, this afternoon has been kind of wack. There's a fire about 3 blocks away in the riverbottom where homeless people camp, fortunately across a highway. The wind is blowing super hard in my direction and I kind of hemmed and hawed about what to do.

I packed some essentials in the car (laptop! HELLO!) and Goldie and I went up the hill by the park with the rest of the west end's population to take a look and shoot photos.

After determining we were in no great danger, we bought some Mexican popsicles (paletas) and returned home. We got pecan and rice pudding flavors. I must say paletas flavors rule all over American popsicles. Rum raisin, anyone?

Warily keeping an eye on the County Fire web page and the California Highway Patrol page. The worst part is that the 2 helicopters on scene keep setting off all the car alarms in the area, which makes it sound like something terrible is happening.

Updated to add: The fire was contained by 3:30. At about 5:30, Goldie and I went down to wave goodbye to the firefighters and yell "Thank you!" It is a fine California fire-season tradition.

Sabado Tarde

Who woulda thunk my own sister would be busting my chops on my own blog about voting for Obama? What a world, what a world. Like there is anything on this earth that would make me vote for McCain.

If something truly horrifying came out about Obama - say, that he encouraged shooting wolves from airplanes, I would vote for Nader. Again.

But not John McCain. No way. For one, his font choice is just so 1985. Look, I'm an old friend of Optima and Palatino, but come on - don't you think their time has passed? The Obama campaign obviously has a much better handle on modernity, rocking the Gill Sans and Centennial like nobody's business. Very 21st century.

(No, it isn't my ONLY reason. Or even a real reason. If you dare think it is, STFU and go away, because there is something so wrong with your brain that I don't even want you resting your eyeballs on my pixels. I just love to talk typography).

Yes, I'm a typestyle geek. I blame my former boss, Brian.

I bet you could suss out who is voting for whom 95% of the time just by asking them which campaign's fonts they prefer.

If I were running for office, my signs would be in Franklin Gothic and Americana. Would you vote for me?

Tell me there are other font geeks out there.

09 October 2008

Shining my light

This post is for Queen of Spain who asks us to shine our light in advance of the election.

The front page of www.barackobama.com says "I'm asking you to believe. Not just in my ability to bring about real change in Washington…I’m asking you to believe in yours."

Punctuation aside, that is why I am supporting Barack Obama. Because he says it isn't about HIM. It is about US.

And Barack Obama has inspired me, just by asking, to get up off my butt and do something. Crazy that a politican could make me do this, but since he was brave enough to say that he believed in our power to make positive changes, I decided to take the ball and run with it in my own little way.

Here's my program: Do something to make change happen on a personal, local, national and international level.

Personally, I joined Toastmasters. I want to improve my public speaking skills so I can be a more effective communicator, no matter what else I do.

Locally, I called up the city to see how I could support a long-term public works project that is close to my heart – building a community swimming facility on my side of town. I will attend advisory meetings and volunteer to do what I can to help. This is something that may take 10 to 20 years, but I am willing to commit for the long haul.

I serve on my church board. I have talked about that here before.

I also do beach clean-up every time I go to the beach. I take a plastic shopping bag and fill it with bits of trash I find. I figure over the course of a year, I can pick up almost half a ton of trash.

On the national and international level, I have become active in Amnesty International again to support human rights in the U.S. and everywhere. And I sponsor a woman in Nigeria through Women for Women International, so that she can learn to read, gain business skills and better support her family.

That’s my plan. Here’s my challenge – if you believe in America, if you believe we all need to work to make this a better place, develop a plan of your own for yourself and your family. Something that fits your beliefs and your lifestyle. It doesn’t have to be huge, it doesn’t have to be hard, but I think we should all do something.

Quit cursing the darkness. Spread the light.

Anyone up for it?

Things that make you say "Of Course"

Of course the only people in front of me in the Target return line were not returning one item. Or two. Or even less than a dozen.

And of course they were not returning more than one of the same thing. Or things they had bought at THAT Target. Or even things that particular Target carried.

No, the only people in front of me were two ladies who did not look particularly bad off, but they were returning about 20 grocery items, many of which were of less than $1 in value.

It would have gone faster, but the cashier had to try and scan every single item two or three times

Scan ****BEEEP***** Scan
Scan ****BEEEP***** Scan
Scan ****BEEEP***** Scan
Scan ****BEEEP***** Scan

and so on before she typed in the 43-digit barcode, because, as she explained cheerfully and at length, this Target was one of the few left that did not carry many grocery items and while there were plans to carry more groceries in the future and the whole staff hoped that groceries would soon be carried at this location as they were at so many other Target locations including the one just up the street, THIS Target did not yet carry groceries, thus she had to try and scan each item repeatedly but the scanner did not work and so then she had to type in the bar code.

They returned bags of sunflower seeds. They returned Mac n Cheese. They returned dish soap. WHO RETURNS DISH SOAP?

But I was good. I did not sigh nor roll my eyes, even though I was secretly thinking that this might be a good time to be struck by lightning because it would save me from listening to this woman yammer on for hours while she refunded $26.81 worth of groceries.

When I finally got up there with my one rather expensive, non-working item (an electric tea kettle by Black and Decker, by the way - it shut off the second the water reached a boil, which may be a safety feature, but one thing I count on for a kettle to do is BOIL WATER and keep it hot) for which I had carefully preserved every single piece of packaging including all the tiny cardboards that protect each part, her manner turned abruptly.

"What is wrong with it?" she snapped, not in a friendly conversational way, but in a "You better tell me there is something wrong with it or I might not process this return for you," kind of way.

"Um, doesn't boil water?" I peeped.

"It will go back on your card," she said, so I produced my debit card.

"I don't NEED your card," she snapped, glaring.

"Oh," I whispered, backing slowly away. I don't know what I did wrong. Maybe I should have returned some dish soap instead.

08 October 2008

The modern version of spinach in your teeth

Audience questions:

When you call someone's voice mail and their outgoing message is from a long time ago ("Hi, this is Jamie and I'll be out of the office from August 10th to the 15th...") do you tell them?

And if someone has spinach in their teeth, do you tell them? Why or why not?

06 October 2008

I know, I know

The great cartoonist B. Kliban (famous for his Cats) had a piece titled "The Shock of Recognition." It was just a scruffy guy looking at himself in the mirror first thing in the morning.

I love that. You wake up feeling ok, and then you see your reflection. The Shock of Recognition.

These past few weeks have caused me to be jolted into recognition in some awful and scary ways.

I hate to say it, but I see myself in Sarah Palin's cute-lil'-bunny act. The woman who is over the hill and no one dares say it to her, so she keeps popping off with these little inappropriate cutenesses.

Oh gah. Now every time I wink or shimmy, I see myself in her at the VP debate and it makes me kind of nauseous. Here we are, in middle age with our broad middle-aged butts, still thinking we can get away with acting like giggly teens.

"Can I call ya Joe?" she chirped as I cringed. There are times and places you can "Work it, girl" but a vice-presidential debate is probably not one of those.

We forget, as we age, that we are aging. In our heads, we think we are still young. My sister Laura told me about a time in her late thirties when someone asked her how old she was. She said "Eighteen" without hesitating, because, in her mind, she WAS 18. It wasn't until they snorted that she was brought up short.

Like the protagonist in Milan Kundera's novel Immortality, I fear that Ms. Palin and I are trapped in a picture of ourselves that no longer exists.

Please forgive me if I ever appear pathetic as I navigate these perilous waters of midlife womanhood. And if you see Sarah Palin, tell her I understand.

05 October 2008

A philosophical question

I have been wondering this for some time and I have never gotten a good answer, so I will throw it out there to you, my wonderful readers (even though I know many of you are godless heathens): Is it possible to be a Christian and not need the Bible?

I wonder because I hear people talking about their "personal relationship with Christ" and that they talk to Jesus in prayer and that Jesus or God answers them.

If you have a personal relationship with Jesus, can't you just ask HIM what you need to know, instead of reading a book? Relying on the Bible instead of talking to Jesus seems kind of like looking up the wikipedia entry on physics when Einstein lives upstairs.

Do you ever come to a point where you are done with the Bible?

Please help a sister out.
Back to top