Wednesday, January 28, 2009

To Complain or Not Complain

Photo: kittyprydekitty

To Complain or Not Complain

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to start a blog, which I did. My other resolution was to stop complaining. When I complain, I don't feel good about myself. To me, complaining is taking a negative position on a subject that I have no intention of trying to resolve. Complaining is when it is easier to yak, yak, yak than to act, act act. It is different than making an objective observation and then creating a plan for improvement. Breaking the habit of complaining may be harder than losing weight or quitting smoking.
If I can be good for two more days, I will have made one whole month without complaining. Is complaining about not complaining, complaining? If I want to make it to month number two, I had better end this post now! I'll let you know how this works out.

Photo: phanmale

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Brightness and Contrast

Photo: Sam Kittner Photobucket. com

Brightness and Contrast

Today is the one-week anniversary
of President Obama’s inauguration—
a day filled with brightness and contrast of the
hardscapes and softscapes of civic scenery.
Blue hung next to red and stripes separated stars.
Donkeys and elephants attended the political circus.
Millions of spectator heads on the lawns looked
like the dotted portrait of an impressionist painter.

We are one.

Barrack’s joy, energy, enthusiasm and freshness
played against Bush’s sad, tiredness, thinly veiled,
from carrying the weight of his terms, like the
Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, the ring bearer of Shire fame.
George’s approval rating was down to 22%.
Support for Obama was overwhelming.
Citizens rushed to get to Capitol Mall
and then spent many hours being stuck in crowds.

We are one.

Stocks were down that day with financials leading the way.
Public expectancy was jubilant
and optimistically high at Capitol Mall.
The stock market was silent with introspective
speculation of financial stimulus execution.
The parade route was loud with noisy anticipation.
Main Street America cried for attention while
Wall Street financiers waited for decisive action.

We are one.

Waiting at home, blog sites were uncharacteristically
quite that morning as we waited for events to
unfold. Inaugural attending, Berry Bloggers’
frenetically texted play-by-play ceremonial action.
Cell phone service in DC crashed as visitors
called friends and dispatched photos. The health crises
of senators Kennedy and Bird paralleled
the health care crisis occurring in our nation.

We are one.

The Secret Service, en masse, dressed in black suits,
drove black SUVs, and policed Obama’s
inauguration, the most heavily defended
event in the history of our Republic.
Only one Huey helicopter escorted
GWB’s departure from Washington, DC.
The most visited page on the inaugural website was
the recipe page. Hungry people in the streets begged for a meal. Photo: Hector Emanuel

We are one.

British banks were down as they faced recession.
The US is already in a recession.
The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, stated
that he was waiting for Barrack to get to work
so they can work to heal the world together.
Barrack took the oath of office. Using a Mulligan,
he retook the oath to insure a fundamental
American idea; for those willing to work for it, a better life is in store.

We are one.

“Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, north, south,
east and west, black, white, Latino, Asian, and
Native American, gay and straight, disabled and not—
(our Muslim brothers)…Our future is our choice, if we could
just recognize ourselves in one another and bring
everyone together –then not only would we
resotre hope and opportunity in places that
yearned for both but maybe, just maybe, we might
perfect our union in the process,” said Obama.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bits and Pieces

After all of the heady excitement and activities of the inauguration, I feel the need to center my bodies and integrate all of the changes. Shavasana, or the Corpse Pose, is a relaxing, rejuvenating and rebuilding pose often used to conclude a yoga session. So, it is time for Shavasana for my brain. I intend to hover in simpleton, no-brain strain land for couple of days.

"Bits and Pieces" is my ode to "Clean out the refrigerator day!" It is the day I recycle all the leftover odds and ends into a meal or, in this case, a post. If not exciting, it is, at the very least, eclectic. I might end up serving you something like Tofu Spaghetti with Brussels Sprouts French Onion Soup. Mmmmm, good!

Cute Pet Contest

I ran across this article in HealtyPet Magazine. They are conducting a Cute Pet Contest. I just can't decide which of my perky puppies to submit. (Photos: Yin-The Headless Hound ( top left) Sweet Miss BB La La (top right) Maaco the Crazed in "I Think I Just Ate My Own Tongue" (lower center). The date of the deadline was not listed on the page advertising the spring contest so, don't delay submitting your entry. I don't have a scanner to show you the winners of the last contest. However, all of them showed full frontal dog, sitting or standing, not just head shots. Have fun and may the best critter win!

By sharing a photo of your cutest dog or cat, you could win a
valued at more than $1000!* Send a
high-quality photo of your cute pet to HealthyPet Magazine, Attn: Cute
Pet Photo Contest, 7777 Center Avenue, Suite 359, Huntington Beach, CA 92647.
Please include your name, city, and state and your pet's name, breed, age, along
with a one-line description of the submitted photograph.
*Photos become the property of HealthyPet Magazine, which
reserves the right, without further consideration, to use all photos in any
publication, media, and related promotions. We cannot confirm receipt or
return entries. By submitting your photos, you agree that the photos and your
name, city, and state can be posted in HealthyPet Magazine and on
owned by Zoasis Corporation.

Harley Owners Group

Redding California Chapter #0286
Present their 20Th Annual American Motorcycle Show

February 21-22, 2009 at the Mt. Shasta Mall, Redding, CA

Sponsored by Redding Harley Davidson

Entry forms, rules,etc are available at

Enter your bike for exhibit or

Stop by and see these wondrous machines.


Activities: Poker Walks, Raffles, Fashion Shows, and more.

Jan Parker, Silent Auction Coordinator, sez:

"Although we are not a nonprofit organization, we do sponsor many charitable events throughout the year including donations to senior homes, and families in need at Easter and Christmas. A gift from you will Help us keep doing this in the future."

Keep your business in the public eye! Make a donation to the Silent Auction and your name will be posted on the donation board visible to mall traffic and announced at the awards dinner during the auction.

For more information call:

Jan Parker, Silent Auction Coordinator



Mervyn's Closes

The company that became synonymous with the catch phrase, "Open, open, open," is now "Closed, closed, closed." I stopped by our local Redding, California store and took some photos through the front windows. Not much is left.

Mervyn's, was opened in 1949 by Mervin Morris in San Lorenzo, California. The store measured less than 3000 feet, had only two full-time employees and a couple of part-time workers. The competitive company grew and went public in 1971. In 1978, it was purchased by the Dayton Hudson Corp., which is now the Target Corp., and continued its expansion. Mervyn's was sold to Sun Capital Partners in 1978, making it, again, a privately held company which operated 175 stores in 7 states.

After filing Chapter 11, in July, 2008 and failing to find a buyer, it was decided that all of their stores will be closed. The chain's base has been especially hard hit by the low housing market and high fuel prices. Mervyn's customers are typically low- to middle-income shoppers who live in areas especially hard hit by foreclosures such as California's Central Valley and Redding. That description precisely depicts our socio-economic status.

Redding's store was opened in April of 1984. Apparently their last day for merchandise sales was Sunday, December 28, 2008.

Mervyn's joins an ever growing list of iconic American business facing extinction.

New Foster Farms Packaging

Now, I know that many of you realize that I don't get out much. That being said, it is the simple pleasures that flutter my tutu. I am really excited over the new chicken packaging that Costco has. If like me, you find warehouse shopping prices attractive but find the quantities too large for two people, check this out! The packages come as a large piece that zips into smaller packages. I can prepare as many or as few as I need. It sure beats the snark out of having to come home and re-package my purchases into small sections before freezing.

I wish the packaging was "greener" but the concept is GREAT and I am sure it will evolve to conform to contemporary environmental wishes. For all I know, chicken has been coming like this for years and I am just now finding out. If so, I apologize for spreading old news but, hey, call me next time something new comes out!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The Obama Man March

Photo: Reya Mellicker "The Gold Puppy" (

The Obama Man March

From the left coast to the right coast, visitors swarm.
Like hippies on the thruway to Max Yasgur’s farm.
Same as Woodstock in the 60’s, this is an historic event
Giving witness to swearing-in our first Black President.

To the inauguration we travel, hoping to see
Barack Obama unveil his true alchemy.
We optimistically wait, if I may be so bold,
For him to turn our nation’s problems into gold.

Bracing for impact at ground zero is being done
By locals prepping for Tuesday’s invasion.
Washington’s businesses will mostly be closed
Except for cafes and shops with stuff to be sold

Not since the 60’s, have I felt such excitement
The air charged with sparks, static and lightnin.’
As signs on hotels flash “NO VACANCY,”
DC residents hawk rentals for large currency.

With so many millions coming, what will we need?
More power! More cell towers! More bathrooms! Take heed!
Walking will be the preferred mode of the day.
And, surely, much faster than the flippin’subway.

JFK voted for the Civil Rights Act of ’57.
It finally passed Congress after lots of contention.
For African Americans, was this voters’ rights bill,
Which helped Barack clear a path to the top of the Hill.
Many think that Obama and Kennedy are a lot alike.
Both are young with two children and smart, stylish wives.
Jackie wore one-of couturier fashions designed just for a few.
Michelle is more comfortable in off the rack clothes by J. Crew.

Kennedy was king of the television screen.
Barack bent the Net to serve his needs.
They both took many ethnic sticks
One a black man…one an Irish Mick.

The world sees them both as political studs,
Very well received and very well thought of.
May your day be happy, Mr. 44th in line,
Because your new job is, frankly, quite hard and unkind.

Photo: tadung

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Suze Orman's Free Download

Suze Orman’s Free Download

If you feel like you need help with your economics, Suze Orman, financial expert, can help. At the end of last week, she announced her new book, Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan: Keeping your Money Safe and Sound.” In this book she outlines what to do with your money, when to do it, and how to do it. She has made her book free for downloading. But hurry! It is only available until 11: 59 p.m., tonight, Thursday, January 15, 2009.

To get this free download, go to Oprah’s website at, toggle the Money tab, and you will see the download information. This book will also be available in paperback wherever books are sold. ISBN # 978-0-385-530934.

Additionally, Suze will answer questions in a live web cast on Thursday, January 15, 2009 at 9 p.m. Eastern/ 8 p.m. Central time. Register in advance to reserve your seat. Thank you, Suze, for setting an example of giving back.

I originally started this blog with “In these dire times, we need all the help we can get.” Then, I caught myself. I thought of my friend, Jeanne. Her husband wakes her up every morning. Jacked up on crunches and the morning news, he angrily relates desperate political and economic atrocities. She doesn’t want that heaviness flavoring her day. She longing asks him, instead, to bring her stories of Mother Teresa and hope. It hasn’t worked so far but she keeps trying.

I resist, with all of my heart, being pulled into the consumptive black hole of low frequency, dense, negative energy that prevails. I hold fiercely to my eternal belief that these travails serve only to distract us from that which is most important—grace, gratitude, and love. I hold the energy of that belief for all (despite daily etheric beatings from the masses). I stand as a tower of light in the darkness. I summon others who are calm enough to hear…join me, NOW! Together we can bring peace and hope to fruition.

Oh, yes…I see you! One tower, and then another, then another, and another, and…

Photos: Reya Mellicker,

Author of "The Gold Puppy"

Monday, January 12, 2009

Today is bejeweled. The stuff about which The Mamas and the Papas lament in their song California Dreamin'. I am mesmerized every year, and I was born here, by the beauty of upper northern California, specifically Redding. After a long string of 30 to 40 degree days, complete with snow and ice, frost and fog, wind and rain, this treasure reveals itself. Today I wear those jewels of the sun. I wear them on my shoulders, bared by my tank top. My wrists, adorned with glowing, jeweled bracelets of light, flash as I tend the flowers of winter. The Calendula and daffodil, violets and Narcissus, in defiance, display their jelly bean colors. They sparkle around my ankles as I trim trees and rose bushes--seemingly more play than work. I wear them as a glittery tiara on my crown, drawing in the sun's rays. My sleepy dog naps in the diamond-dusted sunlight, warming himself on radiant bricks. This day brings joy. This day brings the wish, the kiss, the tease of spring's jewels, striking against the dark, still infancy of the newborn year.

Carpe Warm Diem!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

I wonder...Can Obama Pull it All Togther?

(Sorry for no paragraph breaks--can't get program to give me them either by spacing or indent)
Now, those of you who know me, know that I am rarely a political person. However, this morning President-elect Barack Obama spoke on the state of our nation's economy. This is twelve days before his inauguration as President of the United States. This is twelve days before he has any power to enact his policies. This morning he served as U.S. Tour Guide on our ride to Destination Recession. Pointing out Greedy Banking & Mortgage Court, Consumer Over Spending Blvd., and Congressional Blind-Eye Way. He showed us his map of Reformation and Rehabilitation. Identifying the need for broad, sweeping change and creation of employment for the millions of unemployed workers to generate national cash flow. He will create work on our infrastructure and renewable resources while protecting police, fire, and education services. Tax breaks and unemployment extensions will be given. Affordable health care for all Americans is a goal. In five years, all medical records must be accessible electronically. This will ensure costly tests will not have to be repeated. There will be many more stops along the route.
His directions to Solvency and Stability Street are broad and unclear. I felt unsettled by the largess of the map and the lack of direct specificity. I felt he quickly jumped over Affordable Health Care Way. Maybe he doesn't have a real plan for this or maybe he just doesn't want to step in the Hillary Clinton Health Care Bog of Death. We'll find out in twelve days.
What Guide Obama did make clear was that the turn around starts TODAY! RIGHT NOW! We have no more time for equivocation. For all the many directions mentioned, there were two essential stops. Firstly, Obama was smacking the collective Congressional ass; putting an end to bipartisan, me-first temper tantrums. Lastly, he's trying to pull us, a nation, together.
It will take a long time to recover from our illness. Our addictions will be hard to conquer alone. Even though he doesn't yet have power, Congress does. They have twelve days in which they can get a lot of work done. He wants them all to know that he's watching them with the Stank Eye even though he can't give them orders. He knows that Wall Street is watching and unless action is taken, a month could make recovery perilous.
Ironically, today a Financial Summit commenced in France hosted by French President Nicolas Sarkozy. Economists, government leaders, and intellectuals were invited. The two day focus is on overhaulin' and rethinkin' capitalism. The specific focus is on re-regulating financial markets as free market capitalism is out of control. According to Sarkozy, "certain aspects are amoral. I agree with him on this point. It is time to think in new directions and without destroying it, add values into the system. The U.S. Ambassador was in attendance but many felt more officials from the United States should have come. This meeting is a prelude to a larger meeting that will be held in two months. This meeting will include our newly elected president Barack Obama.
NOW is the time for Rehabilitation of the People by the People. TODAY Barack Obama became not only our tour guide but, apparently, our sponsor. Today I felt HOPE! Having hope is what makes the difference between swimming and drowning.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

I wonder...would you like to know how to create a blog?

A blog is a cyberspace web log or journal. Over time, the phrase "web log" morphed into "blog." Currently, there are millions of these Internet journals being written. Interest in creating them continues to rise. There are regular text blogs, audio blogs, video blogs, and pictorial blogs. I see now that it can be a very useful tool for communication, expression and creativity. It is not necessary to be a Hemingway to publish.

I ran into a friend of mine, Sally Birkawhite, at Costco. She had seen my blog and expressed interest in creating one but doesn't think she has anything to post. She felt all she has to share is her ever increasing collection of grandchildren. I see that Sally could share some of her fantastic recipes, entertaining tips, or crafty decoration projects. She could post pictures of her completed projects. She could inform us that she can provide meal assistance for us. And, of course, she could post pictures of her grand kids for friends and family to see. So could my sister, Tami. She has a new, first grandson. She's as proud as a Blue Ribbon Apple Pie winner at the county fair and loves her point and shoot camera. Jeanne could share tips on words, vocabulary, books, and launch the literacy campaign she dreams of mobilizing. Michele could establish a video and audio blog with her unique view and interpretation of the world. Nina could share her millions upon millions of ideas. This woman's well never dries up. She could probably post at least 10 ideas a day. She's not as crazy about implementation. But maybe by posting some of them, others who aren't as creative will help her implement her visions. Susan could use hers to serve as both a message board for friends and a testament to the last two years. She and her husband, Bill, lived on their sail boat in the bay area. They learned coastal navigation, downsizing and adaptability. Their blog could be a text and photo journal of their current sailing adventure from Half Moon Bay to Baja, Cabo, and beyond. Instead of having to e-mail all of their friends, their friends could check into their site. I would go to each one these women's sites!

My blog will cover many topics. I tried to pick one subject but every time I started to select a working title for my site, another subject would catch my interest. Then, I would try to make that idea work. That was partly why it took me so long to get this project going. Finally, I just had to step up to the plate and start batting the ol' blog ball around to see where it would roll.

Before you begin creating your blog, you will need to select a blog platform. This is a site where you will establish an account, log in to write your posts and upload your photos. There are many platforms available for you to choose from. Some are simple while others are more advanced. A number of sites are free and others have varied pricing.

I have chosen to start up on Blogger, which is a free service owned by Google. Just go to to view a tutorial or establish an account so you can create your own blog. Other easy-to-use platforms are Typepad, owned by Six Apart and Livejournal, owned by SUP. As I get comfortable with the process of using blog software, I could upgrade to a more complex program which would allow me greater customization. One such platform is Wordpress, owned by Automatic. Wordpress is one of the largest providers of self-publishing technology. They offer software that is free to install and use.

If you take some time to consider some of the following, the creation process will go much quicker than it did for me:

Time: How much time do you have to spend on this project. Blogging is fun, but like all hobbies, you must set aside dedicated time to practice. Professional or celebrity bloggers post nearly every day. I know I can't do that. So I have decided to try to post two days a week--Tuesdays and Thursdays. This might be too often for me. I will just have to experiment. Try to be consistent so that your viewers know when to look for you. If you know you are going to be busy for two weeks at Christmas, say so.

Audience: Consider whom you want to reach with your work. Do you want to set up a site for your family and friends with photos and personal information? Do you want to share specific information such as recipes or book reviews?

Subject matter: What topics do you want to cover? What is your passion? Can you share your business expertise? Can you share your training or life experiences? This is your business. You're the BOSS! Your postings can be as specific or as general as you like. Just strive for balance in consistency in what and how you post.

Linking: Link to other bloggers to connect to a network. This is a great way to learn tips, tricks, and pick up useful how-to information. Reach out to other writers to gain interest in your own blog. Add them to your "Blogroll."

Content: Most platforms allow you to upload pictures of family, projects or other images you can use to punctuate your articles. Blogger makes it easy to add photos. Don't worry if it takes you a while to figure out the techie portion of the program, you can always let the strength of your writing and passion to draw readers to your posts.

AdSense: After your site is established you can choose to allow ads if you wish. The ads you're displaying on your site are a combination of cost-per-click (CPC) and cost-per-thousand-impression (CPM) ads. You'll get paid for each valid user click on a CPC ad and each time a user views a CPM ad. Keep in mind that you won't generate any earnings from clicking on your own ads. It could provide you with a little ancillary income. The process takes a couple of days.

So, get on out there and start your own mini publishing company today. You are all talented enough. If you need help, call me at (530) 241-7628 or e-mail After all, I've been a blogger for almost a week now!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

I wonder...can a New Year's party get any more fun?

Well, last night we, my husband, Randy, and I, went to this party hosted by Bill and Jeanne Casparino. It was also attended by: Lee and Nina Bortolazzo, Colette and Rick Duquette, Jim and Tami Tomsich, and Tess the Treat Stealing Dog (see photo bottom right). Martha Stewart and Smack Down Bobby Flay RSVP'd but failed to arrive. I wonder...what's UP?

It was an East Coast New Year's Eve Party held on the left coast. Meaning, we started at 6 p.m. Pacific Time, celebrated the East Coast New Year's at 9 p.m. PT and were home by 9:30. Just in time to stop our big-bag-of-crazy dog from turning our door jams into more splinters than just a few. The neighbors must have been setting off firecrackers early. Maaco the Crazy was reaching a high-anxiety paranoia-strikes-deep state by our home arrival. (See photo below).

The evenings feast consisted of a sumptuous array of appetizers and hospitality De Casparino, Calamari a la Bortolazzo, Crab cakes Duquette, Tomsich Sampler, Laveen Love Rolls, and, of course, Tess Treats. Highlights of the evening included a real time New Year's conference call with Right Coaster, Flossie, a 50Th Birthday celebration for Jim, including a sensuous chocolate cake crafted by Colette, a rousing game of Scategories with such exciting answers from many players as "I got nothin" to billiant scoring by the Queen of Words, Jeanne.

Great Party!

Great Friends!

I wonder...should I make a New Year's Resolution?

So, I wondered...should I make a New Year's Resolution this year? Initially, I decided no...that is just setting myself up for failure. Then I thought that today, January 1, 2009, is the perfect day for starting up the blog I have been wanting to create for some time. After spending nearly 50 minutes in quick on-line research and blog site creation, my resolution was complete. I thought of all of the time I had spent in unsatisfying mental masturbation as I contemplated the imagined enormity of this project over the last couple of years. I felt like I needed a good spanking.

Blog site creation is so EASY I smugly thought as I created my first posting! I also sadly thought of shopping list of items I wanted to tackle this year but knew I probably won't get accomplished: solutions to world peace, hunger, and Earth healing; learning to sing, dance, draw, paint, play an instrument; learn photography and computers backward and forward; organize all of my digital photos, house, drawers, attic, yard, and garage; alphabetize my extensive ephemera and comic collection; and display my 18" Austin Powers Doctor Evil Mini-Me, dressed in silver astronaut suit, in a better place than in his box. By comparison, blog-site creation was a simple pimple.

Well, the site creation was easy. But drafting the posting took me sometime as I considered the fact that now that I had a forum for my voice, what was it that I wanted to communicate? So after a cranial review, I noted that I had many wondrous thoughts wandering around my brain. My topics will be eclectic and varied; just like me! So on and on I typed...blah, blah, blah, blog. Blogged my little brain out, I did. Then, I thought I would try to upload a photo. I carefully selected the perfect picture to punctuate my article. Didn't save my work before uploading, I didn't. And, you guessed it, the program locked up and I lost my first post. A new one I had to write. So, not only did I complete my resolution this year, I did it twice. SAVE, SAVE, SAVE! Not only is it a mantra for our future, it is a mantra for computer work. Oh, well, live and learn and learn and re-learn. Happy 2009!

P.S. After I re-wrote this blog, I learned better how to navigate this web site and found my original first post. As I stated previously, live and learn and learn and relearn.