Monday, November 29, 2010

Scenic Black and White

This week's iheartfaces contest is black and whites that are a scenic in their composition with the person.  I took this pic when LK and I were traveling in the San Fran area.  We were driving back from Napa on our way to the airport and stopped to stretch our legs at Cesar Chavez Park and have tapas in some small hole when I saw her sitting in the grass-

To see more scenic black and whites, check out other entries at iheartfaces.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I think Jason Mraz is stalking me

Or maybe it's just the 14 hour painting spree I've just come off of. (It's very possible that this blog post will go unfinished because my hands will leave in protest of still being used now that I'm back at Old House).

Why might I think he stalking me? Because no matter what Pandora station I listened to today he kept showing up- Hip Hop (yes, I listen to Hip Hop), The Killers station, Folk- doesn't seem to matter he is always there. So clearly he is either the common denominator of all music genres or ... a Pandora restraining order against him might be necessary.

Other thoughts that I have from spending 14 hours with my Pandora account and paint

1. After prolonged exposure to Counting Crows from various live recordings, I think it is quiet possible that Adam Duritz may one day start lowly committing suicide on stage mid-concert and no one will really be shocked given the tone of his live concerts.

2. Does anyone think Justin Timberlake sounds Michael Jackson-esque in Rock Your Body?  Maybe that was what he was going for but close your eyes and think about it.

3. I plugged in Human to Pandora (Because I hadn't heard it awhile and so I put it on, that's why) and everything that came back sounded like it belonged on some sort of movie sound track or at least a Scrubs episode.

And now I'm off to talk LK into massaging my right thumb a bit more.  If by chance this post makes no sense to you, let's blame it paint.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Crazy Target Lady

I won't be getting up to fight off crowds at 3, 4, or 5am. I won't be camping out in front of stores to be the first through the doors. Why? Because unlike this women, I have not lost my mind.

Seriously lady, seek medical attention.

Gobble Gobble

What time is it: 838P

Where am I: at back home after an afternoon with family

Listening to: Football game in one room, ELF on in here - love the way Zooey sings

Last ate: Oh good heavens! It's Thanksgiving, I don't know if I want to (or could) even answer that.

Thoughts:  Thanksgiving.

I am thankful for my family- those immediate, and those extended.  Those here now, those gone already, those yet to come.

I'm thankful for my friends- the new ones I've been blessed to meet this year and those who are my steady constants.

I'm thankful for my job.

I'm thankful for the trips I've been able to take this year.

I'm thankful for my boys and for their wonderfully curly hair.

I'm thankful for LK and the marriage that, as we were both discussing late one night, we can't imagine being without.

I'm thankful for the life that I have no idea why I have been blessed to live- but the life I hope I am living to the fullest- giving back and enjoying the ride.

My cup overflows,

Monday, November 22, 2010

TSA a follow up thought

I know, I know, I just published something on the TSA all but moments ago.  But then Yahoo News had to go and post and article with the statement:
A year ago, [authorities] prevented a Christmas Day attempt to blow up a flight to Detroit with a bomb hidden in a passenger's clothes.
For the record- the authorities let the one-way-ticket-buying, pay-in-cash, on-a-watch-list, no-luggage-carrying, would-be bomber on board.  The would-be attack could have been prevented not by backscatters and shouldn't-you-buy-me-dinner-first pat downs but by the authorities actually paying attention to the flags raised by the systems already in place. 

And for the record it was not the authorities who stopped the would-be attack.
Abdulmutallab spent about 20 minutes in the bathroom as it approached Detroit, and then covered himself with a blanket after returning to his seat. Other passengers then heard popping noises, smelled a foul odor, and some saw Abdulmutallab’s trouser leg and the wall of the plane on fire. Fellow passenger Jasper Schuringa, a Dutch film director, jumped on Abdulmutallab and subdued him as flight attendants used fire extinguishers to douse the flames.[118]
Stepping down off my soap box for a little while now,

Thoughts on the TSA

I'll admit, typing that header alone has me wonder if I'll now be flagged for searching when I travel next.  But I, like others, have concerns that I want to process through on the new TSA screenings. And honestly, it's one of those jumbled-thoughts-where-to-start sort of processing so stick with me here.

When LK first told me about these scanners and pat downs I told him the article was wrong.  I live in America, I told him- they won't let those things happen.  There's no way that's legal.  No way that is really happening. But it is.  And that alone has me a bit turned around.

I'm all for profiling those who need to be profiled.  When I worked inside the a brick and mortar agency, I once called the FBI because a family came in wanting to buy their daughter a one-way ticket from Memphis to Tehran on a specific day, specific flights, routing specifically through Amsterdam and wanted to pay cash.  When I gave them an extremely high rate for that day, they didn't want me to look into other options and they didn't want to give me any contact information.  To me, that was enough to raise a flag or two and I reported it.

And I'm all for airport security.  I enjoy traveling and would prefer to not die mid flight, so checking for weapons is okay by me.

What I'm not okay with, like many travelers (though surprisingly not as many as I thought), is the backscatter machines and the amazingly up-close and personal body checks.  So bare with me as I try to explain why.

Where do these pictures go?  I googled TSA images and was able to find several pics online- though most of them appeared to be given to the media from the TSA.  What I found wasn't as graphic as this website suggested back in January that they would be, but on the two sites I found I was able to copy the picture like the January website said, Crtl + i and was able to, how shall I put this, see more of these people than I wanted to.  With today's information age, how can be sure these pictures will never get out?

Honestly, if you want to backscatter me, fine.  If you want to put my picture up online, fine (after all, it would provide interesting results the next time I google my name), but stick my child in one of those machines and have the possibility that his picture could be out on some website and watch this mama bear roar.

Plus, tell me how you can be so sure some closet pedophile isn't on the other side of that machine.  How can I be sure my child isn't the victim of someone's sick obsession simply because we wanted to board a plane.

Pat Downs-
For the last three years I've worked with women who are the survivors of abuse.  In our group we don't even hug the other person without asking first because you can never know what will set off the other. People of past abuse don't normally like close physical contact and unwanted physical contact can be a trigger for very bad things. Tell me how these experiences aren't asking for a survivor to go into a panic attack just because they wanted to travel.

Tell me how in the name of security things like this are necessary. Tell me how in the name of security I either get to give you an all but naked picture of myself or I have to let you grope me in order to go through security.  And that really?!?!?!?  once I've started the process my only 3rd option is the threat of a huge fine?  How does that work?!  Especially when the TSA website isn't even all updated on which airports have these systems and which don't on the off chance that I wanted to pick the option of driving further to fly from an airport that currently won't subject me to this mess.

So basically what I'm wondering is this- and, if someone can help me understand this I'd be more than happy to oblige with these security measures when needed- how is that in the last nine years security has gotten more and more out of hand and yet their measures have all been a matter a whiplash reaction to what they didn't catch the first go round.  As one report today noted:
Since 9/11, the only two terrorist threats to U.S. airlines were the shoe bomber (December 2001) and the underwear bomber (December 2009). Both of these individuals rang every bell there was to say, “Look, I am a terrorist!” Both of came from foreign airports and passed through security checks that should have stopped them long before they walked onto airliners.
Isn't it worth thinking about for just a minute- just to stop and think before sending out some new and invasive rule- that these people got through security and that
It should be noted that the new full-body scanners would not have singled out either of these two individuals, who checked in for international flights with one-way tickets purchased with cash and no luggage. Furthermore, it was the passengers and flight attendants who stopped these would-be bombers, not the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).
This people all but wore a shirt that said I'M A TERRORIST! And yet the TSA thinks all these new measures is what is going to keep us safer?  Ignoring all the one-way tickets, paid in cash, no luggage, flags and rely on groping them as the fail-proof measure?

This same report pointed out that:
Wouldn’t our skies be safer if we used the security procedures employed by some foreign countries and had layers of well-trained experts, who by asking simple questions can recognize those who appear suspicious? Israel's El Al Airlines, for example, has developed one of the most successful security programs in the world. Its security starts before anyone approaches the airport screening lines and incorporates layers of verification using well-trained security professionals.
And in Israel people don't get felt up just for wanting to get Grandma.

And another thought.  As of November 1 the TSA now requires me, as a travel agent, or you if you book a flight online for yourself, to enter in vast amounts of information.  What is the purpose of that whole mess if they're just going to backscatter me anyway?

To me, there are too many "unanswereds" out there for me to be okay with this.

That's why I agree with what National Opt Out Day is doing.  They're not asking for you to stage a sit in and protest the whole messy thing, or asking you to make a scene.  They're very clear that
There is no intent or desire to delay passengers en route to friends and family over Thanksgiving.  People also need to remember to stay within the confines of the law and the regulations of TSA when exercising their right to a pat down.
But that the reason they want everyone to opt out so that people will be able to
sit around the dinner table, eating turkey, [and talk] about their experience - what constitutes an unreasonable search, how forceful of a pat down will we allow on certain areas of our body, and that of our children, and how much privacy are we will to give up for flying?
But don't let it stop there.  The next step, as they say, is to tell the government about your experience.  On their website they list several places to submit your TSA experience.  But one that don't have listed is the US Travel Association.  Who wants to know people's experiences because they believe by hearing about them, they can address Congress and ask can we do better.

And as I end these can-this-really-be-processing-thoughts the travel agent in me feels the need to tell anyone who will be traveling on Wednesday, opting out or not, please please please arrive earlier than you normally would.  My guess is places with backscatters will be more of a zoo than normal holiday traffic would cause and places without them will still have TSA agents on pretty high alert.

This will, above all, not be a good day to tell them you have a live chicken in your bag- believe you me. But then, that would be another story for another day.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pardon Me While I Zip Back Up

Thanks for indulging me in my little electronic transparency last night.  I don't often let it all hang out like that- but I suppose that means I'm trusting you more :)

Frankly, I'm going to blame it all on the leaves.

We have a showing today (pray for a sale!) and with the way the wind has been sweeping down the plains, the black jack oaks in the front yard had dumped a load of leaves.  (I never thought I would long for the tree-less days of MWC).  I knew by the time LK (who is normally captain of raking around these parts) got home it would be too dark for any real productive work on the leaves and I wanted the house to look great for this afternoon.

I know that leaves make me sick, I know that an hour and half with my face in them and I my brain would no longer be getting adequate oxygen.  But with the desire for a leaf-less lawn and the captain out of pocket- what else was I to do?

I guess my impromptu leaf-mold shield was not as effective as planned.  Basically all it did was have the neighbors wondering if I've converted.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Random Thought Thursday: When

I. Am. Tired.

I am ready to be done painting.

I am ready for the house to sell.

I am, however, not ready to have to pack and move.

It seems at these times in life I understand the deist stance. That or the pagan thought of what sacrifice do I need to offer to make this harvest plentiful.

Is 9pm too early for bed?

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Discussing Pets and Christmas

While taking the vacuum from one house to the other ISH notices the special tools for pet-hair-removal.

ISH: Oh this vacuum has a tool to clean doggies.

Me: No, it's not to clean pets, it's for picking up pet hair when they shed.

ISH: Oh good thing we don't have cat ... they shed ... silence ... thinking ... silence .... But maybe we could get a parrot.  Or a monkey.

Me (in a slightly sarcastic mutter): Yeah, because those are so much alike.

ISH: They're not alike.  Parrots fly and monkeys are crazy.  They're not similar because there's no such thing as flying monkeys*

*said the child who to my knowledge has never seen the Wizard of Oz


Last Saturday night while LK went to the OU home game, I roamed the aisles of Target with the boys.  I went in for bread and a baby gift and while in there decided to let the boys play in the toy aisles and get some ideas for Christmas.

Geo: So then we find things we would like, make a list, and leave it for Santa ... and then Santa comes down the chimney and sees the list and say "Hmm, I guess I need to go to Target."

And yes, Target, you're welcome to my children for your commercials, they're pretty dang photogenic.

I suppose this is what I get for all those years of telling them Agatha the Gift Bearing Beagle is responsible for all those Christmas presents.

Monday, November 15, 2010


This week's iheartfaces photo contest is "Silhouettes."  My entry is a picture from my recent trip to Brazil.  I not only love this picture because of how dear to me the two women photographed are, but also because in this small captured moment I can see the years of friendship they have had.   I am truly blessed by these women and blessed to observe their sweet care of each other.

Check out more silhouetted pictures at iheartfaces.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Define: Acapella

I got a call this week from Acapella. They needed help getting to Jamaica for a concert in December and Uber Agent to the rescue.

So I call an airline to get some prices

Uber Agent: Yes, I need rates for a group of 12 going to Jamaica ... (details of trip, blah, blah, blah).

Airline Reservationist: Is the group for business or tourism?

UA: Well, it's an acapella singing group going to Jamaica for a concert. Would whether or not they're getting paid open up a special rate?

AR: No, we just try to keep track for our records. ... So a band ... will they need to purchase extra seats for all their instruments?

UA: Um... no... Their instruments will fit fine in the seats with them.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Dear Rainstorm

Dear rainstorm,

While I appreciate your watering the earth and all, we have a showing at 12:30pm today. So, if you could kindly get this out of your system before then and let some sunshine come and make our house for sale look all happy and homey, that would be greatly appreciated.


Thursday, November 11, 2010

Random Thought Thursday: Rocks

What time is it: 1102P

Where am I: at the old house (oh the life of a land baroness)

Listening to: Frasier rerun

Last ate: I don't know if it counts as "eaten" but I did finally get around to trying an Earl Gray Latte from Starbucks, pretty good. Not a regular choice in the making, but not bad.

I think next year they'll add "2 bags of playground rocks" to Geo's school supply list. Judging by the amount of rocks the kid brings home in his shoes each day that's the minimum I will owe them by August of next year.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Simple Way to Learn a Foreign Language

The boys like to listen to a CD before going to bed.  On Monday, Wednesday and Friday Geo chooses the CD and Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday ISH does (Sunday night, everyone's favorite Parent's Choice Night).

For a few nights of Geo's choosing he selected the Learn to Speak Russian CD that he got awhile back in his Chick-Fil-A kids meal.  I didn't really think much of it- after all I had tried in 8th grade to memorize a scene from Romeo and Juliet I had put off learning until the night before by listening to a recorded section of the play over and over again while I slept and that didn't really seem to work- but today as Geo walked by and randomly muttered Russian to me, I started thinking that there might be something to subliminal learning.

So here's how you do it-
Step 1: Get a CD
Step 2: Play it while you're asleep.

I mean, it seemed to work for Geo.  Now, anyone else have any foreign language CDs we can add to the rotation?  Maybe something a bit more useful than Russian?

Monday, November 8, 2010

More Accessories From Scrap Fabric

Mondo I am not, but I have been having fun with scrap fabric and turning it into different clothing accessories.  I call this one Ode to Japan, the fabric is left over outdoor fabric from when I recovered my outdoor furniture.

I held it together in the back with a rubber band and then wrapped some twine around me and around the rubber band.

I also wrapped some twine around a bobby pin and put it in my hair.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

A Champion for Thanksgiving

As I walked into Lowes two weeks before Halloween and saw their Christmas tree display already up, I felt sorry for Thanksgiving.

As my blog reader went from how to decorate for Halloween to to how to decorate for Christmas, I felt sorry for Thanksgiving.

As I drove past a local university and saw the fence around the student housing decorated with "Merry Christmas," I felt sorry for Thanksgiving.

Since when did we go straight for give me candy to give me presents without stopping even for one small month to at least give thanks?

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Random Thought Thursday: The Other

What time is it: 257P

Where am I: in line at Geo's school waiting for pick up time

Listening to: ISH in the backseat count to 100 over and over then randomly break into some previously unknown song.

Last ate: Fuji Apple salad from Panera. About to go to Starbucks and get some afternoon coffee with Mom (thankful to have them in town for a bit)

Yes, I'm one of those people. I'm one of those people who googles my name every now and then to see what's out there. But what I have found from this exercise has become very helpful over the last few weeks. Apparently there is another with my exact name, another who creates some pretty interesting things. Another whose friends inadvertently send emails to me which are originally intended for the other. Such as emails from her love interest inviting her to New York for the weekend. Or emails from the place she use to work asking her to come to this year's Christmas party. Or emails from other roommates with new roommate applications attached. You have no idea the temptation I've had to fight from the reality of the fun I could have screwing with her life.

Word to the wise - check the "to" field when sending emails.  You never know what kind of a weapon that information in the hands of the other could become.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


I was a bit skeptical when Geo asked to join boy scouts.  I mean- this is my kid that hates being outside.  So does he realize that outside is what the boy scouts are?

But this past weekend that same hate-the-outside-kid opted to go camping over trick or treating around the neighborhood.

I can only remember in-tent camping two other times in my life.  Once when I was sometime around 8 when we were visiting my grandparents at their lake lot.  We caught a turtle and named it Sara.  Dad explained that Sara could not be kept (why I can't now remember) and that he would buy us a turtle when we got home.  Little did he know turtles were, at that time, against the law to sell in our home state.

The second in-tent-camping experience I can remember is when Geo was 11 months old and me, LK, a baby Geo and four other friends drove all night from Memphis to Biloxi in hopes of camping on the beach.  Did you know camping on the beach is verboten in Biloxi?  We didn't either.  So instead we camped at a KOA with the fire ants and attempted to make s'mores with heat from the car heater.  That one was really a special adventure.

So given those experiences, I didn't really know what to expect. But- he loved it!  And me- I loved spending two nights in a 2 man tent with my 4 favorite people.  I loved ISH sharing his blakenty with me during the night and him singing children songs in my ear when he woke up.  I loved watching Geo be all boy - running through the creek and throwing things in the fire - with the other boys and looking up with him at the clearest, starriest sky I have ever seen.

So, dare we say it- we may just find ourselves camping again sooner than 2016.

A few pics from the weekend:

A beautiful sunset on our way to Camp George Thomas

A late night tent set up

Outside our tent on a lovely 42 degree morning

The Scouts and doing a disability awareness activity (the kid with his bandana up was practicing his hearing disability I suppose)

Nature time and the world's most patient Scout leader.

One happy cub scout

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Halloween Recap

I've managed to surface from new-house-painting long enough to sit and watch the election results with LK and catch up on both my blogging and reading of others blogs.

So, better two days late than never- a Halloween Recap.

ISH was watching a Special Agent OSO and started asking to carve a pumpkin (OSO makes it look so easy).  What OSO didn't talk about was the smell, which apparently ISH found repulsive.

So he sat back and let other de-gut the pumpkins

LK helped some with the gutting as well

ISH did get a bit more excited when I gave him a pen and told him to draw what he wanted me to carve.

We all decided ISH's was channeling his inner Picasso (or his inner Uncle Bruce-- for those who know my roady artist uncle- you would agree).  Geo wanted his to be cat-like.

And for costumes- Geo has been wanting to be Dry Bones since November 1, 2009.  So after looking around I was thankfully able to find an idea to jump off of for his costume.  And since November 1, 2009, ISH has wanted to be Luke Skywalker from Episode VI when he meets Jabba the Hutt.  So.. drum roll please ... here are their costumes for this Halloween 2010.

Hope your Halloween was full of fun and candy!