Thursday, August 31, 2006

Oneonta tunnel reborn!

After being plugged for more than sixty years, the Oneonta Tunnel is being reopened and restored. Look here and here for details.

This makes me very, very happy.

Dueling quotes

"I will give you a talisman. Whenever you are in doubt, or when the self becomes too much with you, apply the following test. Recall the face of the poorest and the weakest man whom you may have seen, and ask yourself, if the step you contemplate is going to be of any use to him. Will he gain anything by it? Will it restore him to a control over his own life and destiny? In other words, will it lead to swaraj [freedom] for the hungry and spiritually starving millions? Then you will find your doubts and your self melt away.""

--M.K. Gandhi, 1958

"You never know what your history is going to be like until long after you're gone."
-- George W. Bush

Okay, now you choose.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair!

(Tip of the hat to Sue Barrette on that....)

Bill and I went to the Oregon State Fair last night. We had great fun! We saw....

Goats in coats...

An angry rooster...

A black poodle chicken...

Huge horses! This Belgian's back was almost 7 feet above the ground!

The Oscar Meyer Weinermobile...

A mother pig who needs a shoe to live in (9 piglets!) ...

The midway, as dusk fell...

Food consumption this year was sedate: really yummy chicken teriyaki with yakisoba and veggies, a huge butterscotch sundae (shared), and cotton candy (duh). No deep-fried Twinkies this year, thanks.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

This makes me happy....

Barbaro remains a happy, comfortable horse

August 22, 2006

KENNETT SQUARE, PA — Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro remains comfortable according to veterinarians at Penn’s George D. Widener Hospital . “Barbaro is doing well on both hind limbs,” said Dr. Dean Richardson, Chief of Surgery. “Because of this, we do not plan to change his right hind cast in the next two weeks.”

The colt’s left hind foot has laminitis, but Barbaro seems comfortable with that foot as well. “He needs to continue to improve over the next few months before we will have a better idea about his long term comfort.” said Dr. Richardson. “Barbaro’s appetite and his attitude right now are phenomenal; he attacks his feed and when he goes out to graze, he acts like he thinks he could train.”

Doctors remain cautious about Barbaro’s prognosis because, according to Dr. Richardson, there is no assurance that he will surmount all of his medical problems. “Right now, he is a surprisingly happy horse,” he said. “He is gaining weight and has had his pain medications reduced without any effect on his well being. His strength and overall appearance have been improving since he became well enough to be walked outside each day.”

Barbaro remains in the Intensive Care Unit of the University of Pennsylvania’s George D. Widener Hospital, where he is recovering from injuries suffered at the Preakness on May 20.

The next update will be posted on Tuesday, August 29 unless there is a significant change in Barbaro’s condition.

This makes me sad....

I've been avoiding writing this letter for weeks, but it must be done. It saddens me to inform you that there will be no 2007 edition of the Cosmo Doogood's Urban Almanac. It simply has not sold enough copies to cover its costs and I can no longer afford to cover the losses.

I've loved editing and publishing the almanac. I've learned things I never imagined knowing—about the rhythms of the sun, moon, planets and stars, the workings of the weather, and the wondrous habits of various urban flora and fauna. I've savored the wit and wisdom of countless poets and pundits. I even learned some important urban survival strategies, like how to un-stick a stuck tongue. And many of the people I've met, both contributors and readers, have become friends for life.

The 2006 Cosmo Doogood's Urban Almanac is still available in many bookstores, or you can order online. We think it's beautiful, naturally, and chockfull of things to intrigue and delight you, like a revolutionary exercise program, a guide to clouds, tips on how to tap your backyard maple tree, charming advice from a French household almanac, urban survival strategies, like "How to sound intelligent," and of course Doc Weather's predictions and our signature seasonal poems. Perhaps it, and the 2005 premier edition, will now become collector's items.

We've also introduced a "Boomer Edition" this year—the same content in a slightly larger format with a nod to the diminishing eyesight of a certain generation. It also happens to be a practical size for newsstand sales and you can find it at most Whole Foods stores. If you don't see it displayed at the cash register, please ask them for it.

Cosmo may live to see another day, perhaps as a quarterly magazine, supported by ads. Or as an insert in a Franklin Covey or Day-Timer calendar. Or, as a daily, web-based information service. Or, or...who knows? If something does happen, we'll be sure to let you know.

Thanks for your interest and support,

Still yours for a greener, kinder, and more rhythmic world,

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Yeah, I knew this.

These quizzes were posted on the Grey School site by one of the students....

i'm in ravenclaw!

be sorted @

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

Although recently I test out more on real Meyers-Briggs as an INTJ, but it's close enough. And I'm all about McGonnagall!

Your Quirk Factor: 48%

You're a pretty quirky person, but you're just normal enough to hide it.
Congratulations - you've fooled other people into thinking you're just like them!

See, kids-- I'm not as odd as you thought!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Trying to make up for the Janice Dickinson post

Words of wisdom, from a Druidry list I subscribe to:

In the eating hall, a stuffed parrot hung from the ceiling, and from its golden beak dangled a card that read, "We are in training to be nobody special." I had often repeated this to myself, working against my need for achievement and recognition, and the discontent that could engender. "I am in training to be nobody special." Saying the words in my mind, I felt how they redirected me from a certain seductive struggle and excitement and disease, into a more stable focus: forget what others think of you, forget the future goal of achievement; arrive instead in this body/mind, attending to this present moment. This is is the whole of practice.

--from Sandy Boucher, "Hidden Spring"

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

My guilty pleasure

For the last couple of months, I've been enjoying a shameful, guilty pleasure.

Yes, it's the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency. There she is, left, at her... ribbon cutting. (This guy should probably look a little more worried, given that a hopped-up person with an apparent mood disorder is holding that giant pair of scissors awfully close to his, well....)

And tonight is the season-ender. Pink slips, my friends, for all those little model wannabes who don't measure up to Janice's "standards." Here's a taste.

(P.S. Don't worry Erin and Katie-- I'm taping the whole series for both of you.)

Now I must hang my head in shame and return to my writing.

Writing, writing, and more writing

Hi everyone. I have nothing to report-- I spend most of my day writing, doing research for writing, or thinking about writing. And then I write about that. Really! My book is due ONE MONTH FROM TODAY. And actually, while it's feeling really good, I'm not kidding myself-- I know I'll be working and reworking on it right up until the last minute.

Right now, my typical day involves 1-2 hour sessions of writing, interspersed with periods of housework, yard work, walking, etc., to make sure my blood doesn't clot up or anything. (You think I'm kidding?)

What else is bugging me right now. Let's see....

Kate Hudson and her husband are splitting up. Why is this considered news?

According to the newspaper today, the obese now outnumber the hungry. You do the math. Obese isn't as simple as it used to be, either. It used to be matter of looking at some hugely overweight person and thinking, "Now they are obese!" Now it simply means that your bmi exceeds 30, which can apple to people who are even 20-25 lbs. overweight in some instances. I'm trying to do my part-- have lost 9 lbs in the past 5 weeks. For those of us who are overweight, is it becoming an issue of environmentalism? If I need to lose 30 more pounds, do those 30 pounds represent my ridiculous overuse of the grazing land, water, and fossil fuels that it took to create all of that extra food that I shouldn't have eaten?

Dell is recalling a million and a half laptop batteries, a repair needed to keep the laptops from bursting into flame. Wouldn't you love to see that? (Buy Apple, people... buy Apple.)

Finally, an end-of-summer movie tip: Wicker Man, with Nicholas Cage. The original Wicker Man was a grade-B British cult classic (I own a copy) and the remake should be interesting and entertaining. And anything with Nicholas Cage, well-- he's great. Plus Ellen Burstyn will play the bad guy, er... gal, so we're in for some fun. Go here for the trailer. And here for a cool picture.

Monday, August 07, 2006

First Fruits, Weird Dogs, and a Write of Passage

Lughnasadh came on August 2 at 1:46 am-- it's the first of the harvest holidays, and a good time to honor the season's "first fruits."

The turn of August also means the arrival of Tilton apricots at my greengrocer. These are just about the best possible 'cots for canning or making preserves.

Above are my 40 pounds worth... a bargain at $29!

Take out the pits, add a little bit of lemon juice and some sugar...

Boil quickly in a wide pan. No need to add pectin-- these apricots thicken as if by, well... magick! Double double, toil and trouble....

The result? Apricot preserves! Perfect for spreading over toast or scones, and also wonderful when cooking chicken or pork, or making curry. There's also something inherently rewarding about working with apricots-- maybe it's their sunny, gold color, invoking the Sun.

In any case, my freezer is rich now with preserves, dried apricots, and apricot halves, frozen with sugar for later use in desserts or stirred into yogurt.

Okay, now about weird dogs. This picture speaks for itself. What it doesn't show is that one of his hind legs is right under his face. I just don't know....

And finally, as many of you know, I'm writing my first book, Gargoyles. It's due to the publisher in 1 month and 8 days, and I'm thoroughly immersed in it, spending several hours per day writing, researching, revising, etc.. With no school, no teaching, and no crises of any kind (knock on wood), I'm discovering what the life of a writer is like, this idea of sinking into a task to the point that you seem to enter another world. I'll sit down to write and find, when I look up, that 3 hours have passed, silently. It is a true write/rite of passage, and so far, a nearly spiritual experience.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Pirates and Potter

I forgot to mention one thing.... When we go to a film, Bill and I always (always!) stay through the credits. You'll see all kinds of interesting things there, because most filmmakers seem to have taken to sticking some sort of goodie or easter egg in the credits. And there's a GREAT one in Pirates, one that you have to sit through the entire list of credits to see.

Well worth it!

Also, one of my favorite actresses is joining the Harry Potter crew! See below, from USAToday:

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Helena Bonham Carter has signed on to play fanatically evil Lord Voldemort devotee Bellatrix Lestrange in the next Harry Potter film.

The Oscar nominee joins incoming composer Nicholas Hooper, who will create the score for Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, the fifth film adaptation of author J.K. Rowling's epic series, according to a statement released Wednesday by Warner Bros.

Directed by Hooper's longtime collaborator David Yates, the movie also includes newcomers Imelda Staunton as frumpy Dolores Umbridge and Evanna Lynch as Luna "Loony" Lovegood.

Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson return as teen wizards Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger.

"It's going to be a really cool cast," said Carter's publicist Jay Waterman.

Carter's film credits include 2005's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and 1997's The Wings of the Dove, for which she received a best actress Oscar nomination.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Happy Lughnasadh!

In the traditional “Wheel of the Year,” Lughnasadh—also known by the Wiccanized name of Lammas—is the first of a triad of harvest Sabbat celebrations (the other two being the fall equinox/Mabon and Samhain). Lughnasadh began here in the Pacific Northwest at 1:46 this morning.

Lughnasadh is the time to consider our personal harvest. What have we grown, manifested, and harvested in the past year? What have we nurtured to fruition? What do we look to create and produce in the year to come?

It’s traditional to celebrate this day by feasting on the “first fruits” of the harvest: grains, fruits, veggies, herbs, etc. Corn and wheat are significant symbols of the Sabbat. Last night, Grey School friend Aaran and I shared a small “feast” of organic peasant bread with an olive oil/herb dip, fresh blackberry preserves, blackberries picked in my yard, raspberry cordial (thanks, Valbo!), and hot apple cider. Mmm….

Above is my Lughnasadh altar, paying homage to seeds and herbs and growing things, and always, always with GG’s little cauldron at the back.

Many blessings!